` Waldo County Democratic Committee (has moved to http://waldodems.blogspot.com/ ): Events, articles, misc....

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Events, articles, misc....

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
To: peacectr_list@lists.peacectr.org
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 12:16 PM
Subject: [Peacectr_list] Dave Mallett to perform at 5th Annivesary of Iraq War Commemoration

Dave Mallett to perform at 5th Anniversary of Iraq War
Commemoration in Bangor March l5th
1:00 p.m. Paul Bunyan Park in Bangor

Bangor - Internationally acclaimed Maine Singer-songwriter Dave Mallett will perform at a rally to commemorate the Fifth Anniversary of the Iraq War on Saturday, March l5th (snow date March l6th) at 1:00 p.m. at Paul Bunyan Park on Main Street in Bangor. The rally will also include short talks by Bill Murphy, Director of the Bureau of Labor Education at the University of Maine and and Kay Carter from Community Health and Counseling. They will speak about the impact of budget cuts and war spending on the people of Maine. The talks will be followed by the President of the Bangor Chapter of Veterans for Peace who will introduce the reading the names of Maine troops killed in Iraq.
After the rally participants will form a Chain of Concern along Maine street from the Paul Bunyan statue towards the Bangor Homeless shelter for a vigil. According Ilze Petersons of the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, organizer of the event, they will hold signs "expressing concerns about the war on Iraq which has cost so many young lives, maimed tens of thousands of more and devastated our economy. Signs will call for a re-prioritizing of our tax dollars to be invested in education, health care, veterans benefits, social services, our country's crumbling infrastructure, a fragile world ecology, and to insure our children's future. We invite all concerned citizens are to participate. Signs will be available for those who do not want to bring their own".

This event is one of several being held around the state as part of the From Every Village Green campaign calling for "Not One More Death. Not One More Dollar. Bring them Home Now". Concerned citizens will hold events in Lincoln, Belfast, Orono Caribou, Ellsworth, Portalnd and other Maine communities. Some will also travel from their communities to Bangor to join the Chain of Concern. Carpools to Bangor are being organized from Lincoln, Belfast, Winterport, Pittsfield, Dover-Foxcroft, Hampden, Orono and Old Town. For more information on statewide events visit www.everyvillage-me.us

These statewide events are being held in support of Iraq and Afghan Veterans who are holding Winter Soldier Hearings in Maryland from March 12-l6th to call attention to the terrible reality of the war for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. (See description from Iraq Veterans Against the War www.ivaw.org website below).
Testimony from those hearings will be aired on Sunday, March l6th at 7:00 p.m. at the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, 170 Park Street, Bangor along with a showing of "Soldiers of Conscience". The documentary features U.S. troops from West Point grads to drill sargeants from Abu Ghraib interrogators to low ranking reservist -mechanics; soldiers in the US Army today who reveal their deepest moral concerns about what they are asked to do in war. The airing is free and open to the public and will be followed by a discussion.

For more information about these and other events planned to commemorate the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq war in Bangor call 942-9343 or visit www.peacectr.org

From www.ivaw.org:

"In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote: "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

In 1971, a courageous group of veterans exposed the criminal nature of the Vietnam War in an event called Winter Soldier. Once again, we will demand that the voices of veterans are heard.

Once again, we are fighting for the soul of our country. We will demonstrate our patriotism by speaking out with honor and integrity instead of blindly following failed policy. Winter Soldier is a difficult but essential service to our country.

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan will feature testimony from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations, giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground.

The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan - and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.
When: Thursday March 13 to Sunday March 16"


The Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
170 Park Street
Bangor ME 04401
(207) 942-9343
fax 992-2288
email: info@peacectr.org
check our website: www.peacectr.org

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Organic Consumers Association
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 1:07 PM
Subject: Organic Bytes: Factory Farms, Science Fraud, Pig Disease, Oreo Cookies, and more.

Organic Consumers Association

Hello CHRIS,

Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!


Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins



The EPA is accepting public comments until March 27, 2008 on an outrageous proposal to eliminate clean air standards for factory farms. Federal laws currently require industry of any type to report hazardous substances they are spewing into the atmosphere, but according to the EPA, factory farms should be exempt so as to "to reduce the burden on the regulated community." It's time to tell the EPA to stop allowing factory farms to poison the air in our rural communities.
Learn more and take action: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_10380.cfm


We need your support today to continue to
our work fighting for health, justice and sustainability!

Donate Now!


photo parody
More than 15,000 government scientists have endorsed a report to Congress protesting government cover-ups of scientific data. The report cites multiple examples of government manipulation of science for the sake of political gain, saying the current Administration has censored, suppressed and falsified important environmental and health research. "Although surely the worst, the Bush Administration is not the first, nor will it be the last administration to mistreat and misuse science and scientists," said Anthony Robbins, the former director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The interference has been directed at climate change research, new birth control drugs, species protection, consumer safety studies and agricultural research, the scientists said.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_10369.cfm


"Politically sensitive and controversial issues require discretion..."

Excerpt from a Bush Administration memo advising scientists to conceal recent discoveries that antibiotic resistant bacteria are contaminating the air in communities near factory farms.


In the last issue of Organic Bytes, we reported on the outbreak of a new serious neurological disease in an Austin, MN factory farm slaughterhouse. Since then, two additional slaughterhouses have reported workers contracting this mysterious disease: one in Indiana and one in Nebraska. Investigators believe the spread of the disease is due to tiny bits of pig brains in the factory air. Government officials have not issued a recall on any of the pork products in question and claim that local communities are not at risk.


Watch this short entertaining video by our allies at True Majority to see how the federal government is spending our tax money. Tax policies may seem abstract, but not when you visualize them in terms of cookies: http://www.truemajorityaction.org/oreos/index_oca.php


This quick Fluoride Action Network video shows us some of the major concerns of fluoride in drinking water. Check out the warning label on your toothpaste tube. It notes that the amount of fluoride in a single brushing (.25 mg) should not be swallowed, and if so, the label says you should contact a Poison Control Center. Interestingly, that's the same amount that's in an average glass of tap water. Learn more and watch: http://www.fluoridealert.org/


image parody

Although the USDA only recently removed a voluntary market sale moratorium on foods from cloned animals, a Kansas cattleman claims these products are already in the U.S. food supply. "I have sold offspring of cloned animals into feedlots, and they are in the food chain," said Donald Coover, a cattleman and veterinarian. Coover says he has sold semen from clones to many US meat producers in the past few years, and that others have been doing the same. Despite strong public opposition, the FDA has announced that these foods do not need to be labeled as such, so consumers buying meat dairy and eggs don't know if the product came from a cloned animal. Fortunately, the USDA has clarified that foods labeled as "organic" cannot come from cloned animals.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_10496.cfm


OCA recommends that we all buy organic, but also "buy local". Unfortunately buying local in the middle of the winter for many Americans is quite a challenge. But you'd be surprised at the diversity of foods you can grow in your own house or apartment. You can't get any more local (or fresh) than food harvested from your own windowsill. Foods that can be successfully grown indoors include salad greens, tomatoes, green onions, garlic, alfalfa sprouts and even avocado. Here are some tips and resources: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_10529.cfm


As farmers and consumers go green, innovative ideas are constantly being developed. Although biodynamic farming is hardly a new concept (it's roots go back to 1924), organic foods grown with this method are just now starting to enter the natural products mainstream. Surveys show most consumers don't really understand what biodynamic farming is all about. Here's a quick overview:

* Treating the farm as a living organism wherein where all aspects of the farm (i.e. water, soil, pests, fertility, etc.) are managed holistically.
* Intentional focus on biodiversity in plants, animals and soil bacteria.
* All input comes from the farm itself (as opposed to importing fertilizer or compost, for example).
* Utilizing observation of celestial activity to aid in aligning the farming system. Learn more in the Biodynamics section of OCA's website: http://www.organicconsumers.org/biodynamics.cfm

Only the OCA provides a nationwide network with health, justice and sustainability news on global, national, and local levels. Check out the new state pages on our website to find news and events near you. We want your help in keeping the state pages as relevant and up to date as possible. We are striving to organize or publicize 50 new state campaigns each month, but we can't do that without your help. You can help by becoming a writer for OCA. Please email us campaign updates. You can also send us ideas for campaigns if you are not sure how to write them up for the site, and we will work with you to develop a campaign update. Email your ideas to volunteer@organicconsumers.org Please visit your local OCA webpage today by choosing your state in the dropdown menu in the left-hand navigation bar and clicking on the "Become a news scout" link on your state page. http://www.organicconsumers.org


******** support our supporters*********



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Gain the various health benefits of garlic with your meals. Learn more about Garlic Gold's special offer here.


Eden Foods is one of the few national organic food producers who goes beyond the USDA Organic Standards. Although Eden Foods is USDA certified, their products do not bear the USDA seal, because they say the USDA standard really represents a "minimum standard" that Eden Foods goes far beyond. As a subscriber to Organic Bytes, you can enjoy a discount rate on any Eden Foods products by clicking here

Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on websites, print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!


Organic Bytes is a great tool for keeping your staff and customers up to date on the latest issues. Feel free to forward this email to your staff and print for posting on bulletin boards and staff break tables. You are also welcome to use this material for your newsletters. There's an attractive print-friendly PDF version of this available for free download at http://www.organicconsumers.org/organicbytes.cfm

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From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: susan lauchlan
To: peace@lists.riseup.net
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 4:45 PM
Subject: [peace] Help End Violence Against Women NOW: Two Simple Actions You Can Take

From: now@now.org
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 09:00:00 -0500

NOW Action Alert
Support NOW's Work | February 26, 2008 | Tell a Friend
Action Needed
All NOW Actions
More on Violence Against Women

Help End Violence Against Women NOW: Two Simple Actions You Can Take
Write to your senators today and ask them to sponsor the following two bills. Both of these proposals are crucial in the effort to end violence against women in the U.S. and around the globe.

Action Needed:
I. Urge your Senators to Co-Sponsor International VAWA (S.2279)
According to the World Health Organization, one in three women in the world experience some violence in their lifetime.
The International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA - S.2279), sponsored by Senator Joe Biden, D-DE, will put in place steps to help end gender-based violence worldwide in its many forms – including rape, domestic violence, sexual violence, genital mutilation, forced and child marriage, "honor" killings, dowry related violence, and human trafficking.
The bill requires the U.S. State Department to develop a five-year comprehensive strategy to address violence against women in as many as 20 countries and an annual funding stream of $175 million to support coordinated programs including legal reform, health care, economic empowerment, educational opportunities, and public awareness. The bill also strengthens the protection of women and girls in areas of armed conflict.
Women around the world are counting on the U.S. government to take the lead in the international effort to end violence against women. Please contact your senators and urge them to co-sponsor the IVAWA (S.2279).
II. Put Volunteer Attorneys to Work for Domestic Violence Survivors (S. 1515)
Survivors of domestic violence face multiple problems and challenges in their fight to end the abuse. Quality, experienced legal assistance is very often beyond their financial reach. Abused women without access to legal counsel often identify the criminal and family law justice system as yet another hurdle to overcome and do not see the system as a pathway to physical safety and financial protection.
The National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act (S.1515), sponsored by Senator Joe Biden, D-DE, will provide low-income women access to the same legal resources so readily available to victims with greater financial resources and access to networks within the criminal justice system. The bill would set in motion an effort to mobilize 100,000 volunteer attorneys willing to work on behalf of survivors of abuse.
Studies estimate that fewer than one in five low-income survivors of domestic violence ever even see a lawyer. Legal advice is key for these women to receive protection orders, initiate separation proceedings, or design safe child custody arrangements.
The act would work hand-in-hand with other programs like those already in place and funded by the Violence Against Women Act, filling in the legal services gap. This act will also give the National Domestic Violence Hotline $500,000 so it can provide legal referrals to victims who call in requesting help.
Tell your senators to take the lead in helping survivors of violence navigate the judicial system and secure justice for themselves and their children by sponsoring S.1515.
Don't forget to send both messages. Our system makes it easy for you to do this: Once you've sent your first message (it doesn't matter which one), just follow the link on the confirmation page and it will take you to the other message.
Take action NOW!

Amnesty International's fact sheet on IVAWA (PDF)
Senator Biden's statement on IVAWA
Senator Biden's statement on the National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act
American Bar Association's letter of support for S. 1515 (PDF)

Support NOW's Work for Equal Rights | Join NOW | Monthly Giving | Catalog | Shop Amazon

Get Involved | Find Your Nearest Chapter | Tell a Friend | Learn More

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From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: susan lauchlan
To: peace@lists.riseup.net
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 4:51 PM
Subject: [peace] URGENT: Help pass the most important energy efficiency bill this year!

Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 05:00:40 -0600
From: takeaction@nrcm.org

Natural Resources Council of Maine

YOU have the power to help ensure that Maine's new-home buyers get energy efficient buildings. Your legislator serves on the committee that will decide the fate of a proposed law that would improve the energy efficiency of all new homes constructed in Maine.

This bill is called “An Act to Promote Residential and Commercial Energy Conservation” (LD 2179). It would keep more money in Maine people’s wallets and economy, reduce Maine’s gas and oil imports, and cut global warming and air pollution, by setting minimum standards to ensure that new homes built in Maine are reasonably energy efficient.

Your legislator needs to hear from you because they serve on the committee that will determine the outcome of this important legislation. Click here to email your legislator! To make your voice even stronger, please call your legislator. Click here for their phone numbers.

The public hearing for LD 2179 is this Thursday, February 28th, at 1:00 p.m. in room 208 of the Cross State Office Building, Augusta Please call your legislator today and ask them to stand with you in support of LD 2179. building_home2

A home is usually a family’s biggest investment. LD 2179 will save Maine families money and protect our health and the environment by setting cost-effective energy efficiency standards for new homes. Maine is the only state in the Northeast without a state energy performance standard for new homes. As a result, 84 percent of new homes built in Maine today would be ILLEGAL to build in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, even though they could affordably meet this standard. With the high cost of heating oil and the global warming crisis, it is imperative that this changes!

For more information on LD 2179, click here. Or you can contact me at: slovitz@nrcm.org or call (800) 287-2345.

Thank you for taking action today!


Sara Lovitz
Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator

Natural Resources Council of Maine, 3 Wade Street, Augusta, Maine 04330
Phone: 800-287-2345 Fax: 207-622-4343 Email: nrcm@nrcm.org | Unsubscribe Me

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
To: peacectr_list@lists.peacectr.org
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 12:28 PM
Subject: [Peacectr_list] E- mail Today to bring the Troops Home

If you click on "contact your senator" below, you can send an e-mail to make your voice heard.

Subject: Call Today to Bring the Troops Home
X_email_KEY: 542565902
Dear Supporter:
The Senate will vote today on "supplemental" funding on the Iraq War. But it's not supplemental or emergency funding at all. And it's time for it to stop.
Fix the Supplemental
The Senate is expected to take up these issues TODAY! Please contact your Senators, either electronically by clicking the link below, or by phone at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to support a withdrawal plan and oppose giving the Pentagon an outsized backdoor to the federal budget.

Please act now!
That's why we're asking you to call or write your Senator and ask them to vote YES on a bill (S.2633) that honors our troops in Iraq by prohibiting any money from being spent on the war except for specific purposes such as withdrawing our troops. This limit would go into effect 120 days after the legislation is enacted.
The bill is sponsored by Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). It deserves our support.
Moreover, the "Supplemental" itself is a lie. As detailed by Fred Kaplan at Slate Magazine, though called an Emergency Supplemental Appropriation, this is neither an emergency nor supplemental. Instead, it is a backdoor to funding the Pentagon's voracious appetite for your tax dollars. The $189.3 billion request, by far the largest so far, has little to do with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So why are they doing it this way? Simple. This is a strategy to avoid spending caps on the Defense Budget. It is a backdoor way to ensure that the bloated Federal budget is made even larger by the Department of Defense. Supplementals used to be a way to fund a war for which costs could not be estimated in advance. But in 2006, the Pentagon decided that anything could be funded with money for the wars--including long term research and development that would never find its way into either Afghanistan or Iraq.

This must stop.
That's why we're asking you to contact your Senators. Urge them to vote yes on S. 2633, bringing our troops home. And urge them to make sure that the emergency supplemental budget is exactly that: supplemental. All non-war related costs should be prioritized along with our domestic spending, and in the context of an overall budget deficit that is an alarming $400 billion.

Thanks for all you do!

Ron Zucker
Legislative Director

Sign Up For Alerts! http://www.2020vision.org/join.cfm


The Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
170 Park Street
Bangor ME 04401
(207) 942-9343
fax 992-2288
email: info@peacectr.org
check our website: www.peacectr.org

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Kelly Bellis
To: paxchristimaine@yahoogroups.com ; list@mepjn.org
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 6:20 PM
Subject: Fwd: please share with your group

> To: info@paxchristimaine.org
> From: ron greenberg
> Subject: please share with your group
> Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 16:28:14 -0500
> MARCH 15, 2008
> In support of the Winter Soldier project of Iraq Veterans Against the War in Washington, DC, and for an end to funding of the tragic and destructive US occupation of Iraq, Mainers around the state will gather in their local towns, county centers and village greens on March 15, 2008, commemorating five years since the US military invasion of Iraq. Together with our friends, neighbors and family, we will loudly and clearly demand: NOT ONE MORE DEATH! NOT ONE MORE DOLLAR! BRING THEM HOME NOW! All Maine people are invited to join a local observance. For more information about these events and to see what is being planned in your county or town visit our website: www.everyvillage-us.me or contact Larry Dansinger, 525-7776, rosc@psouth.net or Ron Greenberg at 288-8225, ron@me.acadia.net .

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 6:00 PM
Subject: [DontWasteME] 50% of Casella landfill trucks fail inspection
inSouthbridge, MA

> ========Southbridge Evening News
> February 22, 2008
> 50 percent of trucks fail landfill inspection
> Health Board decries 'alarming statistic'
> News Staff Writer
> SOUTHBRIDGE - Several trucks hauling waste material to the
> Southbridge landfill were subjected to comprehensive inspections
> last year. According to a recent report, exactly half of them
> failed.
> The trucks were inspected for materials banned at the landfill,
> including whole tires, batteries, brick, asphalt and many other
> unwelcome items.
> Over the course of 261 regular business days in 2007, monitors
> examined the cargo of 50 trash trucks depositing their load at the
> Barefoot Road landfill, flunking them on 25 occasions.
> Hauling companies whose trucks failed inspections were penalized
> with a fee, but none were prohibited from using the town landfill.
> The results were outlined in the 2007 Solid Waste Facility Report on
> the town landfill, which was submitted to the Massachusetts
> Department of Environmental Protection last week.
> Members of the Board of Health were in agreement yesterday that the
> trash truck inspections data for 2007 were unacceptable.
> Dr. Thomas O'Leary, the board chairman, called the 50 percent
> failure rate "an alarming statistic."
> According to a chart included in the solid waste report, 14 of the
> 25 trucks that failed inspections were cited for carrying tires.
> Two failing trucks were flagged for transporting cathode ray tubes
> (CRTs), which are found in televisions, computer monitors, video
> cameras and other electronic screens. The tubes, or CRTs, are
> problematic for the environment because they contain lead,
> phosphorous and other hazardous substances, which could escape into
> the landfill if they are broken open.
> Nine other trucks failed the inspections because they were carrying
> more than one category of banned material.
> The report also provides statistics for ongoing efforts to scan
> landfill waste for banned materials.
> Those figures show that 375 tires were removed waste stream; 65 CRTs
> were extricated; 65 "white goods" such as old refrigerators were
> taken out; 4 batteries were sifted out; and 35 of the removed items
> were classified as "mixed."
> Board of health members seized on the 2007 solid waste report as
> evidence that the town needs to beef up its inspections program at
> the landfill. If 25 of 50 trucks failed an examination, they said,
> untold others could have slipped through the cracks, creating a
> potential public health risk.
> O'Leary said the town and its landfill operator, Vermont-based
> Casella Waste Systems, need to cooperate more aggressively to
> capture banned substances, always with the mentality of "want[ing]
> to get the next tire."
> John Gatti, a Briarwood Avenue resident who watches landfill issues
> closely, issued a call for more "boots on the ground" at the
> Barefoot Road property.
> Health Inspector James Philbrook, a Lieutenant in the Southbridge
> Fire Department, said the Board of Health needs to bring this matter
> to the attention of interim town manager, John Healey. That meeting
> could take place as soon as next week.
> Dating back to the administration of former town manager Clayton
> Carlisle, the board has been mulling over a push for an independent
> budget, an office of its own and a full-time employee with some
> public health expertise.
> Town funding would provide resources to allocate toward the
> enforcement of landfill policies and health regulations at the
> Barefoot Road site, board members said.
> The 2007 solid waste report will be distributed among parties to the
> public hearings on Casella's request for a site assignment
> modification at the landfill. The change, if approved, would allow
> Casella to shift toward the collection or more regular trash, but
> less construction and demolition material.
> The hearings resume March 12 with more cross-examination of Casella
> witnesses and experts on public health matters.
> John Schwalbe, Casella operations director, said in his company's
> defense that the trucks failing inspection often carried only minor
> instances of the forbidden materials, while the vast majority of
> their contents were acceptable wastes.
> Schwalbe said he agreed with Health Board members about the urgency
> of patrolling incoming trucks more stringently.
> News Staff Writer Matt Reynolds may be reached at (508) 909-4132, or
> by e-mail at mreynolds@stonebridgepress.com.

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Jonathan Falk
To: starkchange@gwi.net
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 11:31 AM
Subject: Join us at the Suchi 13 Victory Party -- Sunday, March 9 at 6:00PM

PICA Logo. . . Sometimes, you win!

PICA, and the WERU and MOFGA Sistering Committees invite you to...

Join the Victory Party!
PICA/Peace and Justice Center
170 Park St., Bangor
Sunday March 9, 6:00 PM

Suchi 13 march

After a 7 month "Citizens Not Terrorists" International Solidarity Campaign to free "the Suchitoto 13", the Salvadoran Government this week abandoned its attempt to criminalize legitimate political expression, dropping all charges and abandoning its "anti-terrorism" case.

This is a good story with a great ending! It would never have happened without so many people's support and efforts:
faxes... letters... petitions... phone calls... congressional work... $$$... delegations... national group networking ... newspaper ads... salsa fundraisers...

* hear about it (some great stories)
* watch it (WERU newsbreaking slides)
* sing to it (Brian Stewart will help)
* eat about it (pot luck if you can, but don't worry)
* and celebrate it (The Salvadorans are partying -- it's our job to do the same)

Plus, a sneak preview of and invite to kNOw US&THEM, PICA's Immigration/Trade Project

See you there!

For more information call PICA (207-947-4203), or E-mail us at info@pica.ws

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: susan lauchlan
To: peace@lists.riseup.net
Sent: Monday, February 25, 2008 6:54 PM
Subject: [peace] Mainers: Come lobby your state congresspeople on the 28th

Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 09:50:57 -0500
From: alerts@truemajorityaction.org
To: peacework2@hotmail.com
Subject: Mainers: Come lobby your state congresspeople on the 28th

Maine People's Alliance Lobby Day
Thursday February 28, 2008, 8:30am - 4:00pm

Maine People's Alliance Lobby Day

Thursday February 28, 2008, 8:30am - 4:00pm
Come join our Maine state affiliate, Maine People's Alliance (MPA), on February 28th for their lobby day. It's a great opportunity to talk to your local elected officials about the issues important to you and also a fun way to develop your skills as a grassroots lobbyist.

Following a lobby training session, you'll set out in small groups to talk to your senators and representatives. You'll be able to share your views directly with them and help us determine their positions on key MPA issues.

Here's what we'll be talking to legislators about…

1. Universal Single Payer Health Care
2. Dirigo Health
3. Toxics in children's toys
4. Affordable housing
5. Immigration
6. Clean Elections
7. Paid sick days

..and other issues that everyday Mainers care about.

MPA Lobby Day is the biggest day of grassroots action at the capitol each year -- don't miss it. To be a part of the Lobby Day, simply send your name, address, phone and email to one of MPA's community organizers:

Adam if you are in Greater Bangor (990-0672), adam@mainepeoplesalliance.org
Kate if you are in the Lewiston area (782-7876), kate@mainepeoplesalliance.org
Jenny if you are in Greater Portland (797-0967), jenny@mainepeoplesalliance.org
Ben if you are outside the above areas (782-7876), ben@mainepeoplesalliance.org

Hope you can make it,

Ben Kroetz
TrueMajority.org Online Organizer

Forward this to your friends and family in Maine.
If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for TrueMajorityAction.
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TrueMajorityAction.org is a grassroots group of citizens who believe in America's true values of openness, fairness and compassion. We believe participating in an effective government is the best way to be mutually responsible for our community. TrueMajorityAction is a project of USAction, a 501(c)(4) organization under the IRS tax code.

TrueMajorityAction.org / USAction, 1825 K St. NW, Suite 210, Washington, DC 20006 (802) 860-6858

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Global Network
To: Peaceworks
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2008 11:07 AM
Subject: Congressional Candidates Forum on Military & Foreign Policy

Public Forum on U.S. Military & Foreign Policy

Hear from CD 1 Congressional Candidates

WHEN: Tuesday, March 11, 6 - 9 pm

WHERE: Rhines Auditorium, Portland Public Library
(Corner of Elm Street and Congress Street)

Six Democratic candidates who have filed for Tom Allen's House seat. Michael Brennan, Adam Cote, Mark Lawrence, Steve Meister, Chellie Pingree and Ethan Strimling have been invited by 12 Maine peace and justice organizations to participate in a Public Forum (see list of co-sponsors below).

The topics to be discussed will be centered around U.S. military and foreign policy. It will give us, 1st District voters, an opportunity to ask questions of invited candidates allowing us to judge responses to questions as to how a candidate would, if elected, respond to unfolding world and current events. It is important that we hear their views on foreign policy topics such as Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Israel-Palestine, nuclear weapons, expanding military budgets and U.S. bases, economic conversion, impeachment and the like.

The forum will be moderated by Reverend Bill Bliss, United Church of Christ, Bath. All Maine media outlets will be invited to attend. The event will be video taped and shown on public access stations throughout the district.

Each candidate will be given a 5 minute opening and a 5 minute closing statement. The audience will be invited to ask questions (one minute each) of the candidates. Refreshments will be served.

The following candidates have agreed to attend the March 11 forum:

* MICHAEL BRENNAN: http://brennanforcongress.org.
* ADAM COTE: www.adamcote.com
* MARK LAWRENCE: www.marklawrence.org
* CHELLIE PINGREE: www.pingreeforcongress.com
* ETHAN STRIMLING: www.ethan08.com

This event is being sponsored by the following organizations:

- Maine Veterans For Peace Chapter 001
- Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space
- Kennebunk Peace Department
- Maine Campaign to Impeach
- Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks
- Maine Women's International League for Peace & Freedom
- Mid-Coast Peace & Justice Group
- University of Southern Maine, Department of Sociology
- Pax Christi Maine
- Sound Ecology Radio Program
- Maine Department of Peace
- Citizens Offering New Alternatives (CONA)

For more information please call 772-1442 or 443-9502

Help us spread the word about this event. Please forward this announcement to your local lists.

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
Election Madness
By Howard Zinn
The Progressive March 2008 Issue
There's a man in Florida who has been writing to me for years (ten pages, handwritten) though I've never met him. He tells me the kinds of jobs he has held-security guard, repairman, etc. He has worked all kinds of shifts, night and day, to barely keep his family going. His letters to me have always been angry, railing against our capitalist system for its failure to assure "life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness" for working people.

Just today, a letter came. To my relief it was not handwritten because he is now using e-mail: "Well, I'm writing to you today because there is a wretched situation in this country that I cannot abide and must say something about. I am so enraged about this mortgage crisis. That the majority of Americans must live their lives in perpetual debt, and so many are sinking beneath the load, has me so steamed. Damn, that makes me so mad, I can't tell you. . . . I did a security guard job today that involved watching over a house that had been foreclosed on and was up for auction. They held an open house, and I was there to watch over the place during this event. There were three of the guards doing the same thing in three other homes in this same community. I was sitting there during the quiet moments and wondering about who those people were who had been evicted and where they were now."

On the same day I received this letter, there was a front-page story in the Boston Globe, with the headline "Thousands in Mass. Foreclosed on in '07."

The subhead was "7,563 homes were seized, nearly 3 times the '06 rate."

A few nights before, CBS television reported that 750,000 people with disabilities have been waiting for years for their Social Security benefits because the system is underfunded and there are not enough personnel to handle all the requests, even desperate ones.

Stories like these may be reported in the media, but they are gone in a flash. What's not gone, what occupies the press day after day, impossible to ignore, is the election frenzy.

This seizes the country every four years because we have all been brought up to believe that voting is crucial in determining our destiny, that the most important act a citizen can engage in is to go to the polls and choose one of the two mediocrities who have already been chosen for us. It is a multiple choice test so narrow, so specious, that no self-respecting teacher would give it to students.

And sad to say, the Presidential contest has mesmerized liberals and radicals alike. We are all vulnerable.
Is it possible to get together with friends these days and avoid the subject of the Presidential elections?

The very people who should know better, having criticized the hold of the media on the national mind, find themselves transfixed by the press, glued to the television set, as the candidates preen and smile and bring forth a shower of clichés with a solemnity appropriate for epic poetry.

Even in the so-called left periodicals, we must admit there is an exorbitant amount of attention given to minutely examining the major candidates. An occasional bone is thrown to the minor candidates, though everyone knows our marvelous democratic political system won't allow them in.

No, I'm not taking some ultra-left position that elections are totally insignificant, and that we should refuse to vote to preserve our moral purity. Yes, there are candidates who are somewhat better than others, and at certain times of national crisis (the Thirties, for instance, or right now) where even a slight difference between the two parties may be a matter of life and death.

I'm talking about a sense of proportion that gets lost in the election madness. Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes-the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth.

But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice.

Let's remember that even when there is a "better" candidate (yes, better Roosevelt than Hoover, better anyone than George Bush), that difference will not mean anything unless the power of the people asserts itself in ways that the occupant of the White House will find it dangerous to ignore.

The unprecedented policies of the New Deal-Social Security, unemployment insurance, job creation, minimum wage, subsidized housing-were not simply the result of FDR's progressivism. The Roosevelt Administration, coming into office, faced a nation in turmoil. The last year of the Hoover Administration had experienced the rebellion of the Bonus Army-thousands of veterans of the First World War descending on Washington to demand help from Congress as their families were going hungry. There were disturbances of the unemployed in Detroit, Chicago, Boston, New York, Seattle.

In 1934, early in the Roosevelt Presidency, strikes broke out all over the country, including a general strike in Minneapolis, a general strike in San Francisco, hundreds of thousands on strike in the textile mills of the South. Unemployed councils formed all over the country. Desperate people were taking action on their own, defying the police to put back the furniture of evicted tenants, and creating self-help organizations with hundreds of thousands of members.

Without a national crisis-economic destitution and rebellion-it is not likely the Roosevelt Administration would have instituted the bold reforms that it did.

Today, we can be sure that the Democratic Party, unless it faces a popular upsurge, will not move off center. The two leading Presidential candidates have made it clear that if elected, they will not bring an immediate end to the Iraq War, or institute a system of free health care for all.

They offer no radical change from the status quo.

They do not propose what the present desperation of people cries out for: a government guarantee of jobs to everyone who needs one, a minimum income for every household, housing relief to everyone who faces eviction or foreclosure.

They do not suggest the deep cuts in the military budget or the radical changes in the tax system that would free billions, even trillions, for social programs to transform the way we live.

None of this should surprise us. The Democratic Party has broken with its historic conservatism, its pandering to the rich, its predilection for war, only when it has encountered rebellion from below, as in the Thirties and the Sixties. We should not expect that a victory at the ballot box in November will even begin to budge the nation from its twin fundamental illnesses: capitalist greed and militarism.

So we need to free ourselves from the election madness engulfing the entire society, including the left.
Yes, two minutes. Before that, and after that, we should be taking direct action against the obstacles to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

For instance, the mortgage foreclosures that are driving millions from their homes-they should remind us of a similar situation after the Revolutionary War, when small farmers, many of them war veterans (like so many of our homeless today), could not afford to pay their taxes and were threatened with the loss of the land, their homes. They gathered by the thousands around courthouses and refused to allow the auctions to take place.

The evictions today of people who cannot pay their rents should remind us of what people did in the Thirties when they organized and put the belongings of the evicted families back in their apartments, in defiance of the authorities.

Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war. Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.
Howard Zinn is the author of "A People's History of the United States," "Voices of a People's History" (with Anthony

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
News for Bangor, Belfast, Ellsworth:
Begin forwarded message:

From: "J&P Robbins"
Date: February 21, 2008 8:48:09 PM EST
To: "'robbins'"
Subject: March 15, Events on 5th Anniversary of Iraq War

From the Peace & Justice Center of E. Maine web site:

On SATURDAY MARCH 15, 2008, 1:00 pm at Paul Bunyan Park, Main Street, Bangor will be our Chain-of-Concern Anti-war Action that is part of the Iraq war 5th anniversary statewide From Every Village Green Events. For more information call 942-9343 or visit www.everyvillage-me.us. Click Bangor area for listings in Bangor & Orono. Or, when you get to the FEVG website, use any of the other local links for listings in your specific area.

From the fevg web site:

Saturday March 15th, 1 PM
Speaker: Rob Shetterly
Music by Gray Cox

for additional information: Suzanne Fitzgerald: vfamily@gwi.net


From: campc@gwi.net

From Every Village Green:


There will be a vigil and gathering of Community Remembrance on the fifth anniversary of the War in Iraq, March 15 at 10 AM. Gather in front of the Post Office in Belfast, and walk together to the UU Church on Miller Street for a remembrance of all who suffer from this war, and to share our commitment to continue to work for peace.

Speakers include Mary Trotochaud and Rick McDowell, who have lived in Iraq; and Dan Avener from Veterans for Peace. Poetry by Karin Spitfire and Meredith Bruskin. Venita Robertson will sing and lead us in the Elm Dance, a circle dance for healing and inspiration. Music by local musicians. All are welcome.

Sponsored by the Peace and Justice Group of Waldo County in conjunction with statewide gatherings to end the war, “From Every Village Green”. FMI: 338-5089

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
US Payments to Pakistan Face New Scrutiny
By Robin Wright
The Washington Post

Thursday 21 February 2008

Little accounting for costs to support ally's troops.

Once a month, Pakistan's Defense Ministry delivers 15 to 20 pages of spreadsheets to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. They list costs for feeding, clothing, billeting and maintaining 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistani troops in the volatile tribal area along the Afghan border, in support of U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

No receipts are attached.

In response, the Defense Department has disbursed about $80 million monthly, or roughly $1 billion a year for the past six years, in one of the most generous U.S. military support programs worldwide. The U.S. aim has been to ensure that Pakistan remains the leading ally in combating extremism in South Asia.

But vague accounting, disputed expenses and suspicions about overbilling have recently made these payments to Pakistan highly controversial - even within the U.S. government.

The poor showing in Monday's parliamentary election by the party of President Pervez Musharraf, whose government has overseen local disbursement of the money, may make Congress look closer at all U.S. financial assistance to the country. Questions have already been raised about where the money went and what the Bush administration got in return, given that pro-American sentiment in Pakistan is extremely low and al-Qaeda's presence is growing steadily stronger.

In perhaps the most disputed series of payments, Pakistan received about $80 million a month in 2006 and 2007 for military operations during cease-fires with pro-Taliban tribal elders along the border, including a 10-month truce in which troops returned to their barracks.

The Bush administration has acknowledged some problems, but still says that the program - part of a costly military effort known as the Coalition Support Fund - is worth every penny. "Yes, we may have overpaid, but it's still a good deal," said a senior administration official involved in Pakistan policy, noting that more than 1,000 Pakistani troops have been killed while assisting Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Padding? Sure. Let's be honest, we're talking about Pakistan, which has a legacy of corruption," added another U.S. official familiar with past U.S. payments. "But if they're billing us $5 billion and it's worth only $4 billion, the question is whether it's worth nickel-and-diming it if it's such a top national security objective. If it's in the ballpark, does the bigger picture call for continuing on with a process that does generate significant progress on the war on terror? They do get their hands on people we can't."

U.S. officials say the payments to Pakistan - which over the past six years have totaled $5.7 billion - were cheap compared with expenditures on Iraq, where the United States now spends at least $1 billion a week on military operations alone.

"My sense is that the Pakistani military would not be out on the border if not for the Coalition Support Funds. That's the baseline cost of getting them out on a mission that is really our mission," said Craig Cohen, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the author of a recent study on U.S.-Pakistan relations.

Yet the Bush administration has recently begun to scrutinize Pakistan's bills more closely. Washington delayed payment of about $78 million of $360 million for the March-June 2007 quarter now working its way through the reimbursement process. Pakistan will receive only $282 million later this month, U.S. officials said, with additional payment once it provides more detailed accounting.

It recently rejected a Pakistani bill, officials say, for "roads and tracks" - for its Navy operations, U.S. officials said.

Some regional specialists question whether the Pentagon's money is being well spent. "The amount that's been spent on the Coalition Support Fund, given the results, is a reminder that the Pakistani will just might not be there," Cohen said. "Most Pakistanis see this as America's war."

Congressional officials and others are concerned that the administration has been so eager to prop up Musharraf that it overlooked U.S. foreign aid and accounting standards. A congressional oversight subcommittee is also set to begin an investigation next month, while the Government Accountability Office plans to finish its own inquiry in April.

"We have had an enormous amount of money going out there since 9/11, and I'm not satisfied that we're getting the kind of accounting that would warrant a determination that this is money well spent, or whether we should change the direction of the money and get more bang for our buck another way," said Rep. John F. Tierney (D-Mass.) chairman of the national security and foreign affairs subcommittee of the oversight committee looking into the program.

In a closed-door hearing in December, for example, Hill staffers pressed Richard Boucher, assistant secretary of state for South Asia, to provide receipts for every Pakistani expense over $1 million, a request the State Department has not yet met. The U.S. government generally requires receipts when it reimburses entities for expenses.

A payment process that looks too loose in Washington is seen as too tight in Pakistan, however. Over the past four months, Musharraf complained to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte about delays in Washington's payment, which can take five to eight months, U.S. officials said.

The process is laborious, officials acknowledge, with many players blaming one another for allowing the Pakistani bills to move through the system without stronger oversight.

After the spreadsheets are delivered, officials at the U.S. Embassy try to verify that Pakistan incurred expenses in support of combat activity on the Afghan border. "It's a big job to go through and figure out what the Pakistanis have spent. The State Department doesn't know the toys," said the second U.S. official familiar with policy.

He added: "The embassy doesn't have the manpower or expertise to tell whether an aviator widget doohickey costs 50 or 50,000 rupees, or to find out if they really burned out four aviatics packages in an Apache helicopter and, if so, could we see them because maybe they only need maintenance." This first review takes about a month, officials say.

The spreadsheets then go to U.S. Central Command in Tampa, where officials evaluate claims and recommend reimbursement if the expenditures meet U.S. strategy. But the U.S. Embassy's initial approval greases much of the rest of the process, U.S. officials said. This second review takes about six weeks, the sources said.

The Pakistani bills then go to the Pentagon, where comptrollers determine whether they are reasonable and credible, based in part of the costs of fielding U.S. troops, a senior Pentagon official said. That third review takes about five weeks, U.S. officials said.

The bills are then sent to the Office of Management and Budget, where officials have expressed concern about poor documentation but have little leverage at this stage of the process to challenge them, several U.S. officials said. The undersecretaries of defense and state then formally concur that the operations are consistent with U.S. policy and that they do not change the regional balance of power.

The Pentagon next notifies the four Senate and House defense oversight committees. If no congressional holds are issued within 15 days - and none have been so far in six years - the Pentagon issues a check five days later.

Administration officials insist that the U.S. arrangement with Pakistan is unique. "Don't compare it to an audit," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. "They are a sovereign government assisting us rather than someone who works for us. They are an ally. They are acting on our behalf to go after terrorists in support of Operation Enduring Freedom."

Added a senior Pentagon official: "The last thing we'd want is boxes and boxes of crumpled receipts."

To resolve tensions over the program, Congress, the State Department, and the Office of Management and Budget have all argued for the money to be tied to specific counterterrorism programs, rather than general military support. But some officials still worry that adding conditions would lead Islamabad to reduce cooperation on the most pivotal frontline in fighting extremism.

"We don't want to offend the Pakistanis," said the second U.S. official familiar with the policy. "What if the balance of their calculus changes and they decide that cooperation is more than it's worth? We do have to take that into account."


Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

From: Stark
----- Original Message -----
From: susan lauchlan
To: peace@lists.riseup.net
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:34 PM
Subject: [peace] March 15-From Every Village Green

From: campc@gwi.net

From Every Village Green:


There will be a vigil and gathering of Community Remembrance on the fifth anniversary of the War in Iraq, March 15 at 10 AM. Gather in front of the Post Office in Belfast, and walk together to the UU Church on Miller Street for a remembrance of all who suffer from this war, and to share our commitment to continue to work for peace.

Speakers include Mary Trotochaud and Rick McDowell, who have lived in Iraq; and Dan Avener from Veterans for Peace. Poetry by Karin Spitfire and Meredith Bruskin. Venita Robertson will sing and lead us in the Elm Dance, a circle dance for healing and inspiration. Music by local musicians. All are welcome.

Sponsored by the Peace and Justice Group of Waldo County in conjunction with statewide gatherings to end the war, “From Every Village Green”. FMI: 338-5089

March 15: From Every Village Green events to observe 5th year of US occupation of Iraq on the theme, "Not One More Life, Not One More Dollar, Bring Them Home Now" in counties throughout Maine. Ron Greenberg, 288-8225 or ron@me.acadia.net or Larry Dansinger, 525-7776 or rosc@psouth.net or http://www.everyvillage-me.us.

March 15: Major From Every Village Green actions in Bangor (chain of concern, 1 PM, Bangor Auditorium to Bangor Homeless Shelter on Main St.) and Portland (rally, 1 PM, Monument Square). Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, 942-9343, info@peacectr.org (Bangor) or Peace Action Maine, 772-0680, peaceactionme@peaceactionme.org (Portland).

----- Original Message -----
From: susan lauchlan
To: peace@lists.riseup.net
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:31 PM
Subject: [peace] ACLU Action: Mainers value privacy.

Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 13:00:06 -0600
From: action@aclu.org
To: peacework2@hotmail.com
Subject: Mainers value privacy.

Visit the ACLU Action Center Today!
Dear Friend,
Maine is leading the charge against Real ID -- the federal effort to create a national identity card. Real ID would take us one step closer to a surveillance society, erode our right to privacy and put our personal information at risk.
Luckily, Governor Baldacci courageously rejected this invasive law. Now, we need to urge him to stand his ground so that Congress will be forced to repeal this horrifying program!
Thank Governor Baldacci for standing up against a national ID card. And tell him to keep up the fight!
Real ID would force all states to connect their DMV databases to one single interlinked system -- facilitating government tracking of ordinary Americans.
It would also expose our most sensitive personal information to criminal identity theft.
If states like Maine stand their ground, Congress will be forced to repeal this horrible program. To make sure Maine continues to lead this fight, Governor Baldacci needs to know how many Mainers support his efforts and leadership on this issue. If he hears from you, it will make him more likely to keep fighting. Can you take a moment to send him a thank you email?
Please take a moment to send Governor Baldacci a thank you email.
Then, forward this message to all your friends in Maine.
Thank you.
Shenna Bellows
Executive Director
Maine Civil Liberties Union
P.S. To learn more about REAL ID, visit www.realnightmare.org.
Help the Defense of Civil Liberties!
Did you receive this message from a friend? Sign up for ACLU's Action Network.

To Unsubscribe: You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time by visiting here.

© ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor New York, NY 10004

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Amy Browne
To: News@Weru. Org
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 4:24 PM
Subject: FW: [es-solidarity] Suchitoto 13: Victory!

-----Original Message-----
From: es-solidarity-owner@lists.riseup.net [mailto:es-solidarity-owner@lists.riseup.net]On Behalf Of Sister Cities
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 3:58 PM
To: es-solidarity@lists.riseup.net
Subject: [es-solidarity] Suchitoto 13: Victory!


The case of the Suchitoto 13 and the Citizens Not Terrorists campaign achieved a major victory today.

This is a preliminary report, and we will be working to put out a more in-depth and detailed update in the coming hours that should orient our ongoing work. But here is the fresh info:

This February 19th at an Initial Hearing scheduled in Suchitoto under the new accusations of ?Public Disorder? and ?Aggravated Damages,? the Judge dropped all charges and set the 14 defendants free!

Preliminary reports describe that the Attorney General's office neglected to present official accusations and sufficient evidence, and district attorneys were not present at the hearing on time. The Judge then decided to waive the charges, and decree ?definitive liberty? for the defendants.

This hearing was scheduled after Special Tribunal Judge Ana Lucila Fuentes de Paz recused herself of February 11th and declared the Special Tribunal incompetent to hear the case, as the Building was surrounded by hundreds of community members who had marched over the previous 3 days from the city of Suchitoto. (More information, photos and video of the march here.) Judge Fuentes de Paz?s resolution sent the case back to the conventional court system in Suchitoto, and the local Judge scheduled the initial hearing.

Sister Cities member, Meredith DeFrancesco, was inside the courthouse this morning as an accredited journalist. She describes the scene at the courthouse:

?The building was surrounded with people from the communities holding candles and photos of the 14 defendants. There was a dark and tense moment inside the courthouse as the Judge called each one of the defendants by name, and they each stood awaiting the resolution. When the Judge said that all charges were being dropped, the tense moment collapsed and the whole room spontaneously erupted. Another large group of people from organizations and rural communities was gathered in the park in Suchitoto, celebrating the verdict.?

This is a major victory for the Suchitoto 13, for the CRIPDES communities and national organization, for the Salvadoran social movement, and international solidarity. Rosa Valle, Vice-President of CRIPDES told us that ?this is proof that our organizing work gets results and has great power. The Government responded to our organizing with repression, and now they must recognize their mistake, as they see communities and leaders around the world uniting their voices with the strength of the Salvadoran people to call for justice, dignity, and our own human rights.?

Thank you for all your work and continued attention, support, and action that has been so important over the last 7 months. Please stay tuned for a more in-depth report in the coming hours that will orient our continuing work and strategy to stand with our brothers and sisters in El Salvador to defend human rights!

For more info, check out www.elsalvadorsolidarity.org

From: Peter Misluk


Published on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 by TV 3 News (New Zealand)
Children Are Forty Percent of Cluster Bomb Casualties

Four out of every ten people killed or injured by cluster bombs are children, delegates at a major conference on cluster munitions being held in Wellington were told today. 0219 02

About 560 delegates from 122 countries have converged on Wellington for the conference which aims to draft a treaty text, to be negotiated in Dublin, Ireland, in May.

The attempt to achieve a treaty, known as the Oslo Process, was started last year by New Zealand and six other countries.

Opening the conference, Disarmament Minister Phil Goff said a strong declaration on cluster bombs at the conference would mark a pivotal step in getting the weapons banned.

More than half of the 76 states in the world that stockpile cluster munitions are taking part in the negotiations, along with a majority of the weapon producers.

However, major producers such as the US, Russia, China and Pakistan have not joined the process and have no observers at the conference.

Cluster bombs are built to explode above the ground, releasing thousands of bomblets primed to detonate on impact. But combat statistics show between 10 percent and 40 percent fail to go off and lie primed in the target area to kill and injure civilians.

UNICEF deputy executive director Hilde Frafjord Johnson, speaking on behalf of 14 United Nations entities that form the United Nations Mine Action Team, said the UN wanted cluster bombs banned.

She said the weapons had a horrendous humanitarian, development and human rights impact.

Ms Johnson said the extensive use of cluster munitions in southern Lebanon in 2006 was a tragic reminder of how they caused death and serious injury of civilians.

“Sometimes, the presence of unexploded sub-munitions forced populations out of their homes and prevented those already displaced from returning home to rebuild their lives and communities.”

Ms Johnson spoke of 12-year-old Hassan Hemadi, who in 2006 picked up an object outside his home in southern Lebanon while he was watering the family garden.

“‘I saw a metal object,”‘ Johnson said, quoting Hemadi.

“‘I did not know what it was and so I picked it up. I started playing with the ribbon on the end, twirling it around. Then I don’t know what happened, it exploded. Now I have lost the fingers on my hand.”

Mr Goff urged delegates to tackle difficult areas to come up with a declaration that provided a “solid foundation” for the May negotiations.

“It is now time to put the fence at the top of the cliff, and not simply be the ambulance at the bottom.”

“We need to eliminate the use of cluster munitions where they have an unacceptable effect on civilian populations,” Mr Goff said.

But Amnesty International spokeswoman Margaret Taylor said any declaration that fell short of calling for a complete ban on the destructive weapons would be a failure.

Ms Taylor said cluster bombs, which could be fired, launched or dropped by aircraft or artillery, were more lethal than landmines yet there was no international treaty on their use.

Amnesty opposed the manufacture, stockpiling, transfer and use of cluster munitions.

© 2008 TV 3 News New Zealand

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: nancy button
To: M/C P&J Central Midcoast
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 9:19 PM
Subject: Programs on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (M/C P&J lists)

The Psychology of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Three Events with Dr. Aaron Ahuvia, Peace Activist and Marketing Professor From the Univ. of Michigan - Dearborn

Why is peace so difficult to achieve? Aaron Ahuvia will talk about psychological research and what it can tell us about the conflict and how to get past obstacles to lasting peace.

1.Portland: Saturday, March 1, 7:30 pm Temple Beth El,
400 Deering Ave.
2.Rockland: Sunday March 2, 9:30 am,
at Adas Yoshuron Synagogue, 50 Willow St.
3.Bangor: Sunday March 2, 1:00 pm,
at Congregation Beth El, 183 French St.

All events are open to the public. Brit Tzedek v'Shalom is Hebrew for Alliance for Justice and Peace. In just four years, it has become America's largest Jewish peace group with over 37,000 supporters and 40 chapters nationwide. Chapters are beginning to form in Maine. For more information, contact Todd Miller at 992-9114 or toddfmiller@gmail.com and see http://www.btvshalom.org/

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
Subject: Pete Seeger

This is interesting:

There is a petition circulating to get Pete Seeger nominated for a Nobel
Peace Prize.
He has been active since the 1950's in environmental stewardship, social
justice, union organizing, folk music, and generally making the world a
happier place.

The website with the petition is here:

The website for the Clearwater Organization (Sloop Clearwater) is here:

Before the sloop Clearwater the Hudson River in the state of New York was
practically a sewer.
Pete Seeger is to thank for that change. The Clearwater also went on to help
in the passing of the Clean Water Act and continues to be an advocate
against nuclear energy.

They also offer internship oppurtunities through- out the year.

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
To: peacectr_list@lists.peacectr.org
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 4:17 PM
Subject: [Peacectr_list] Workers and the War in Iraq at Brewer Worker Center

Special event at the Workers Center of Eastern Maine

This event is being organized by the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine. As part of our Worker Center program, unions and progressive organizations have the opportunity to run programs at the Worker Center on the topic of workers. For more information, please contact Jack McKay.

Saturday February 23, 2008 at the Worker Center, 20 Ivers Street, Brewer; 10am-Noon
Workers and the War in Iraq

I. Introductions
Participants Share ideas and questions about connections between US workers and Iraq workers

II. Introduction and video from Democracy Now!
"Founder of Iraq Oil Workers Union Rejects U.S.-Backed Oil Law as 'Robbery'":
This video features interviews with Faleh Abood Umara, general secretary of the Federation of Oil Unions, and Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, president of the Electrical Utility Workers Union in Iraq.

III. Discussion of issues raised in video and US Labor Against the War

IV. Sharing ideas about ways to continue to raise US worker concerns

Helpful information:
Here are links to the slide show the "Price of Occupation", and the Democracy Now! segment to be shown:

The writer David Bacon, found at the same website as "The Price of Occupation", is particularly good

There is much background information and many references on the Iraq Oil Law at these links:


The Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
170 Park Street
Bangor ME 04401
(207) 942-9343
fax 992-2288
email: info@peacectr.org
check our website: www.peacectr.org

From: Nancy Galland

----- Original Message -----
Dear Richard ( this is a chain letter! please amend to post widely),
Both of us want this war in Iraq to stop now. I¹ve decided to take a
few minutes to help insure that it does. This e-mail is part of a chain
that was initiated to invite all our friends, neighbors and relatives
to join us at a rally on March 15th. Around the state, each county will
be coordinating a similar action. If everyone who receives an e-mail
continues the chain by passing it on to a friend, a neighbor or a
relative, in a few weeks we will have asked hundreds of thousands of
Mainers to join us. Nearly everyone in our county will be invited to
come together on March 15th. Of course, if the chain is broken it won¹t
work. It¹s a simple idea but it needs our help.

Here's the plan: For about an hour on March 15th, people will gather at
a chosen place in their town or a nearby location to demand an end to
this war which has cost so many young lives and maimed tens of
thousands of more and devastated our economy. We¹re calling for a
re-prioritizing of our tax dollars to be invested in education, health
care, veterans benefits, social services, our country¹s crumbling
infrastructure, a fragile world ecology, and to insure our children¹s

Here are some events you may want to take part in during this 6th
anniversary of the start of the Iraq War - or plan one with your peace

March 15th
Those who can make it to Bangor on March 15th can join a large Chain of
Concern from the Paul Bunyan Statue toward the Bangor Homeless shelter.
Bring your signs! Contact the Peace and Justice Center in Bangor for
more info ( peacectr@peacectr.org; tel. 942-9343).

March 16th
On Sunday, March 16th we will be showing the film "Soldiers of
Conscience" at 7:00 p.m. at the Peace & Justice Center, 170 Park Street
in Bangor and hope to have some excerpts from the Winter Soldier
hearings being held in Washington, DC by Iraq Veterans Against the War
that weekend.
Last Updated ( Feb 01, 2008 at 04:52 PM )

March 19th
On Wednesday, March 19th (the actual day of the "shock and awe"
bombing) we hope to have 100 people each take an hour or two to visit
congressional offices on a rotating basis as others collect signatures
on a Voters Pledge outside the Federal Building. Since this is a
workday, any folks who can sign up for an hour or more would be needed
to make this work. Contact the Peace & Justice Center FMI.

March 29th
On Friday, March 29th at 7:00 p.m. there will be a joint concert for
peace with Voices for Peace and Women with Wings at the Brick Church in

Peace. Nancy G.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////WARNING: Due
to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security
Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice.
They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You
have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the
current President.

From: Cathy Mink

----- Original Message -----
To all receipients: Please post the following announcement on your e-mail contact lists. Cathy Mink Any Questions please call 338-4920. Thank you.
----- Original Message -----
From: Maine Campaign to Impeach
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:19 PM
Subject: U.S. Constitution - Obsolete? - Feb 26 - Portland

Maine Campaign to Impeach

On February 26, Maine First District Congressional candidates will discuss with the public their views on whether Congress and the American people have let the U.S. Constitution become impotent and functionally obsolete as Presidential power over our lives and our government has expanded following 9-11 and the Iraq invasion.

Tuesday evening, February 26, 2008, 7 to 9 PM
First Parish of Portland Unitarian Universalist Church 425 Congress Street
Downtown Portland, Maine

* Has Congress allowed the people's rights to be subsumed by a supremely-powerful, big-government Presidency?
* Is this consistent with the balance of powers laid out in our Constitution?
* Does this expanded Presidential power enable representative democracy to continue in the U.S.?
* By letting the Presidency take much of its power, has Congress rendered the U.S. Constitution obsolete?
* Is this desirable because the modern age and modern threats need faster responses by a more powerful Chief Executive?
* Is this a very dangerous situation that turns the U.S. into a post-Constitutional autocracy?
* How will Maine's new First District member of the U.S. House of Representatives respond to this new trend toward overbearing Executive power?

"The Nation" Washington correspondent John Nichols will lead our Congressional candidates and the audience through a discussion of these issues.

Find out how our First District Congressional candidates will deal with this disturbing trend toward a post-Constitutional United States.

Will we reclaim the U.S. Constitution,


Will we simply learn to live without the peoples' controls over "executive" power that the Constitution used to "guarantee"?

Listen, learn, question and challenge.

Tuesday evening, February 26, 2008, 7 to 9 PM
First Parish of Portland Unitarian Universalist Church
425 Congress Street
Downtown Portland, Maine

Pass the message far and wide. People from all over Maine - and all over the U.S. - are invited to attend

If you have questions or comments please email: MaineImpeach@earthlink.net
Also email us if you wish to receive a downloadable poster that can be printed to publicize this event.

Maine Campaign to Impeach
Maine Lawyers for Democracy

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: "Nancy Galland"
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 3:34 PM

> Dear Folks - Whether or not online petitions have any weight at all
> is debatable, but this situation calls for some kind of action and this
> seems to be the only one at hand at the moment. Bill Clinton is a
> super delegate -would you believe?! Go to:
> http://www.democracyforamerica.com/votersdecide


> This is an unprecedented year. Thirty-seven states and U.S. territories
> have already voted and we don't have a clear nominee. Senators Clinton
> and Obama are in a delegate race to the nomination.
> There are a lot of ways that delegates get assigned to a specific
> candidate, but almost all of the allocated delegates are directly tied
> and bound by the actual votes in each primary or caucus -- all of them
> that is, except super-delegates.
> Super-delegates are a contingent of almost 900 elected officials, party
> insiders, and current DNC members and they aren't required to follow
> the voters. In fact, after every Democrat has voted and the last
> allocated delegates are assigned, super-delegates have the power to
> overturn the popular vote and crown a different winner.
> That's right, if super-delegates don't like who you choose to be our
> nominee, they can overturn your vote. We can't let that happen. Our
> nominee must be chosen by Democratic voters, not by back room deals of
> the party elite. Sign our petition now to let the voters decide:
> http://www.democracyforamerica.com/votersdecide
> We must respect the 20 million Democrats who have already voted and the
> millions more who will vote before the convention. It's up to us to
> make sure the almost 900 super-delegates do the right thing.
> Sign the petition today and we'll deliver all of the signatures
> directly to super-delegates.
> And this is just the beginning of our campaign to let the voters
> decide. The longer it takes to win, the more we'll escalate the
> campaign. We'll write letters, make calls, and hold media events.
> Because when it comes to protecting the will of Democratic primary
> voters, DFA members know exactly where we stand.
> www.DemocracyforAmerica.com/VotersDecide
> Thank you for taking action today.
> -Charles
> Charles Chamberlain
> Political Director
> Share this email:



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From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
.... but it's not over yet. Read on...
----- Original Message -----
From: Amy Browne
To: Amy Browne
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 11:16 AM
Subject: FW: [Cispes-Alert] Terrorism charges dropped against 'Suchitoto 13'

-----Original Message-----
From: cispes-ern-bounces+amy=weru.org@lists.people-link.net [mailto:cispes-ern-bounces+amy=weru.org@lists.people-link.net]On Behalf Of CISPES National Office
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 11:03 AM
To: cispes-ern@lists.people-link.net
Subject: [Cispes-Alert] Terrorism charges dropped against 'Suchitoto 13'

go to our webpage www.cispes.org if you're having trouble reading this email

www.cispes.org | 202 521-2510| subscribe| suscribir en español

February 13, 2008

Alert update! Terrorism charges dropped against ‘Suchitoto 13’
Despite solidarity victory, activists still face up to 4 years in prison

Para más información en español, haga ‘click’ aqui

Click here to read CISPES press release regarding Congressional letters to Salvadoran President Saca

El Salvador’s Attorney General last Friday requested that charges of “acts of terrorism” be dropped against 13 peaceful protesters arrested at a demonstration against water privatization last July in the town of Suchitoto. After more than 6 months of investigation into the events of July 2, 2007, the Salvadoran government was unable to substantiate its original terrorism accusations, which carried a potential sentence of up to 60 years in prison. The charges fell under the jurisdiction of El Salvador’s 2006 “Special Law Against Acts of Terrorism,” which was championed by the U.S. Embassy in Sal Salvador. Human rights experts in El Salvador and on the international level uniformly concluded that the Suchitoto protest was lawful and denounced the terrorism charges.

Months of domestic and international pressure for the charges to be dropped, including dozens of letters from U.S. Congressional Representatives and two national “weeks of action” carried out by U.S. solidarity organizations, culminated in the February 8 announcement, which was made before a special anti-terrorism tribunal in San Salvador. In response to grassroots pressure organized by CISPES and allied solidarity organizations, more than 40 members of Congress signed a letter to Salvadoran President Antonio Saca last July questioning the application of the anti-terrorism law in the case of the non-violent Suchitoto protestors. A handful of Congressmen sent personal letters to the Salvadoran government again last week, reiterating their concern for the state of human rights in El Salvador and urging President Saca to respect basic civil liberties, including freedom of political expression.

The Salvadoran government will now seek to convict the 13 “political prisoners” of public disorder and aggravated damages as a result of their participation in last July’s protest. These reduced charges could carry prison sentences of up to 4 years. Family members of the ‘Suchitoto 13’ are calling for all charges be dropped, and have undertaken a 3-day march from Suchitoto to San Salvador to draw continued attention to the case.

The family members and their social movement allies argue that those arrested at Suchitoto have been targeted not because they committed crimes, but in response to their opposition to the governing, right-wing ARENA party’s plan to decentralize the national public water administration. Those who demonstrated in Suchitoto last summer view this plan as a first step toward the eventual privatization of the El Salvador’s water system. Amnesty International concurred with this analysis in a statement released July 18, 2007, stating that it feared the arrests had been made “to prevent future protest.”

As the ARENA government continues to pursue charges against the protestors arrested at Suchitoto, a number potentially politically-motivated killings remain unresolved, including last month’s assassination of Wilber Funes, the mayor of Allegria who was a member of the FMLN opposition party. Meanwhile, El Salvador’s National Civilian Police (PNC) continues to receive training at the U.S. State Department’s International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), despite international condemnation of its repressive actions against the Suchitoto prisoners, among other recent cases. Stay tuned to the CISPES e-mail list and website in the coming weeks for more ways to help defend democracy and counter U.S.-backed repression in El Salvador.

For a detailed analysis of the latest developments in the legal case against the Suchitoto 13 (put together by U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities) click here.

If you no longer wish to receive our emails, you may unsubscibe here

© 2008 CISPES - The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
CISPES National Office | ph. 202-521-2510 | 1525 Newton St. NW, Wash. DC 20010| cispes@cispes.org

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
The Three Critical Issues by welshTerrier2 www.opednews.com

While establishing a viable third party will not happen anytime soon, especially when the two controlling parties pass laws to make it virtually impossible, viability is NOT the short-term objective. Voting for a third party helps organize progressives into a voting bloc. It gives us a chance to work together and to build our shared vision. Working as individuals inside the Democratic Party marginalizes us. We have no voice there … none. Do you question this? You need look no further than what was done in the debates to Kucinich’s voice.

Is it true that third parties could result in Republicans winning elections and appointing horrible Supreme Court justices? Of course that’s true. Many of us believe, however, that there is an even more important objective. If we continue to endorse the pro-corporate policies of the Democratic Party, we have no say in either the party or our government. Job one, however important the Supreme Court might be, is to ensure that we have a seat at the table. We either have a voice or we don’t. Inside the Democratic Party, our chairs have been removed and our voices stifled. Outside the party, especially if we can build a “voting bloc”, the Democrats might just one day find they need to form a coalition with third party voters in order to win. If we keep voting for them, our votes are taken for granted and they have no incentive to work with us.

There are thousands of important issues. There are very few issues, however, that must be addressed as our first priority. Global warming threatens the entire planet. Our dependence on oil is bankrupting the US Treasury while the oil companies are making record profits. And, our dependence on oil has been used to justify endless war in the Middle East and virtually unlimited “defense” spending. Our dependence on oil has been a key reason US troops occupy more than 730 military bases overseas. The conduct of US oil companies abroad coupled with the occupation of foreign countries by US troops create a deep hatred for the US. Such policies make us far less safe.

For me, the THREE CRITICAL ISSUES are global warming, oil dependency and militarism. Put succinctly, neither Obama nor Clinton has any sort of credible plan to address these issues. There can be no fix for health care; there can be no fix for education; there can be no fix for decaying infrastructure; there can be no fix for the social safety net; in short, there can be no fix for any domestic issue as long as excessive military spending and spending on imported oil continue. The Democratic Party and its two main candidates refuse to address these issues in any meaningful way. We can no longer afford to just go along with them.

We must have radical, immediate solutions to global warming. We will not survive with tokenism and incrementalism and politically “safe” solutions. This is not a “left wing” impatience; it’s science. We need to stop spewing CO2 into the air immediately. The solution is to throw everything we have at a program to develop solar and other forms of alternative energy. We can pay for it by cutting $500 billion per year out of the $1.1 trillion “defense” budget. Has Obama or Clinton called for that? No, of course not. They’re still screwing around with clean coal and CAFE standards. Has Obama or Clinton called for closing down all foreign US military bases and bringing all those troops home? No, they haven’t. Has Obama or Clinton called for the drastic, immediate reductions in CO2 that must be made? No, they haven’t.

We really need not debate the “dead end” issue of whether Democrats are different from Republicans. What we need to debate is whether Democrats have the political courage and the values to do what is needed. The sad answer is that they don’t. The sad answer is that they have chosen political expediency. The sad answer is, that while third parties may indeed be no solution at all, they offer the only possibility, however remote, for the changes we so critically need.

About the author: welshTerrier2 believes all citizens must focus on restoring power to the people. Corporations control our agenda. They promote war. They export our jobs to the lowest bidder. They pollute our air and water. They promote laws to benefit their greedy shareholders at our expense. They control the puppet politicians through their campaign contributions. They control the mainstream media. The dual disasters of global warming and a bankrupt national Treasury demand rapid, radical change. It's hard to envision either of the major parties advocating anything but politically safe policies. To continue supporting them in these times of crisis is nothing short of treasonous.

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Bonnie Preston
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 10:03 PM
Subject: Fwd: AfD e-News: February 12, 2008

Many possible actions in this newsletter.

Bonnie Preston
Alliance for Democracy

Begin forwarded message:

Date: Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:40:24 PM US/Eastern
Subject: AfD e-News: February 12, 2008
Reply-To: afd@TheAllianceForDemocracy.org

The Alliance for Democracy

February 12, 2008 -- E-Newsletter

National News

• Two minute action!
• AfD taking on corporate media
• Chapter/member updates
• Get involved in "Other Voices"

Calendar: March 13-19: 5 years too many of imperialist war

Two minute action--send to your friends--ask them to act now, too!
If you haven't called your representatives in Congress on the new version of the Holt bill, H.R. 5036: Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008, see our alert for analysis and background

TAKE ACTION AND CALL Congress NOW - for the first time or once again. You can reach the Capitol switchboard toll free at 1-800-828-0498, or (202) 224-3121. Links to Representatives’s official sites, including contact info, can be found here.

The bill is stalled in the Committee on House Administration waiting for a course of action to be decided: do nothing, hold a hearing, or move to the House floor for vote.

Please call your Congressperson and ask for the assistant overseeing Bill 5036 on Secure Elections. Inquire whether your legislator has signed on to the bill. If so, say "thank you"; if not, ask that he/she sign on now as co-sponsor. Also call Speaker Pelosi's office and ask that she take a leadership roll to move this bill forward.

Thank you,
David Delk and Nancy Price
AfD’s Honest and Clean Elections Campaign

AfD taking on corporate media
"Hot off the press"--Justice Rising: Grassroots Solutions to Corporate Domination. The new issue, Health for Humans – Not Corporate Profits gives you articles, facts and resources for discussions with family, friends and legislators. If you want extra copies or a copy mailed to a friend or friends, just e-mail or call Barbara at the office, 781-894-1179.

AfD’s Tapestry of the Commons Radio Spots are another way to confront corporate media…by creating our own. If you have a contact at a community radio station, please direct them to www.tapestryofthecommons.org/radio/radio_main.html

The Media Strategy Summit, "Reinventing Free Press in America," Jan. 25-27, in Santa Cruz, CA, focused on independent media power vs. the corporate media coup, "confronting the corporate control of our countries, culture and consciousness....strategizing for democratic survival: a collaborative strategy summit for media pros, scholars, activists and whistleblowers working for truth, transparency and an informed resurgent democracy." Co-chair Nancy Price who attended reports that 330+ dedicated people devoted 2½ days to intense discussions and strategizing all of which is available to view and listen to at www.truthemergency.us, including Green Party presidential hopeful Cynthia McKinney’s speech www.truthemergency.pnn.com

"You'll see from the videos," Nancy reports, "that notes and outlines covered meeting room walls to record deliberations by affinity groups and postings to the 'message' and 'goals' walls." Topics were eventually sorted out and committees formed to carry work forward; one group will work to create a "free and independent" media website to feature investigative reporting and news of record, rather than the circulated and re-circulated editorial and personal opinion that pass for news reporting today.

And, take this Action: Tell Congress: Reject Bush's Cuts to Public Broadcasting Budget! He’s at it again… Bush is asking Congress for big cuts to Corporation for Public Broadcast funding and public television and radio programming nationwide.

You can reach the Capitol switchboard toll free at 1-800-828-0498, or (202) 224-3121. Links to Representatives’s official sites, including contact info, can be found here. Contact information for Senators can be found here.

Every time the administration has tried to cut public broadcast funding, viewers and listeners call on Congress to protect CPB's budget. So take a moment to call or e-mail your congress members and protect public broadcasting from cuts that even a former Republican National Committee co-chair has called "draconian."

Chapter/Member Updates
Tucson, AZ: AfD members are hoping to bring speakers from Global Exchange to their city for a panel discussion on the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. At-large council member Susan Willis hopes to work with other local groups, including groups blocking expansion of Interstate 10, a potential part of the SPP Super Corridor transport system.

Northern California: Chapters in this area will be hosting talks by author/activist Francis Moore Lappe in March. Lappe is the latest of many authors who've visited the region in tours organized by AfD member Tom Wodetzki to speak at AfD events and in local bookstores.

Ashland, MA: At large council member David Whitty is working in his hometown to raise awareness of the corporate agenda driving water fluoridization, including the way that corporations control research and permitting.

Boston Area: The Boston/Cambridge Alliance and North Bridge Alliance (Concord, MA) are working to build support for a bill to create a state-level commission to advise Massachusetts legislators on the effects that individual trade agreements (including SPP) might have on the state’s economy. They'll also be working with a coalition of local groups to bring Global Exchange speakers to Boston for a program on SPP and the Colombia FTA on March 9. Canadian activist Janet Eaton will visit later in March to speak on SPP and trade, hopefully with state legislators.

Indianapolis, IN: More video from the Indiana Summit on Campaign Finance Reform, organized by Jack and Stevie Miller of Indianapolis AfD, is up on You-Tube, including Doris "Granny D" Haddock’s keynote address.

Gettysburg, PA: Granny D will also be speaking in Gettysburg thanks to long-time AfD activists Pat and Lou Hammann, who are working along with local compatriots on impeachment and anti-war actions. Pat Hammann has presented the Tapestry of the Commons workshop locally as well.

(What are you doing locally for democracy? Let us know! Email afd@thealliancefordemocracy.org!

Get involved in "Other Voices"
The "Other Voices" Community Cable Project is now screening progressive political videos on community access cable in 9 towns in Massachusetts. Wherever you live, you may use this program to bring news about grassroots resistance to corporate rule to your neighbors.

"Other Voices" can provide you with DVDs or VHS tapes of programming on a variety of topics, as well as the release forms you need for community access cable broadcast. Our "Other Voices" programmers report that community stations are glad to have the material. The "Other Voices" library has recently acquired DVDs of interviews conducted by the South Sound Alliance for Democracy, South Puget Sound chapter. The "Reclaiming Democracy" TV show features interviews with Antonia Juhasz, John Perkins, and David Korten, among others.

And, check out AfD’s "independent media" programming:
Go to www.afd-e-news.blogspot.com which has a link to Northern California’s public radio station, KZYX & Z, and the show “Corporations and Democracy” hosted by AfD activists Jan Edwards, Linda Perry, Jim Tarbell and Tom Wodetzki. Listen live from 1 to 2 p.m. Pacific time on your computer as they interview the authors, activists, and pundits that you've always wanted to hear.

On the AfD Blogs: News and Alerts features corporate rule questions for bird-doggers, the back-and-forth on NY state DRE's, and an update on Washington State legislators pushing for impeachment investigations. Headlines features Yes! Magazine on the Barnstead water campaign.

March 13-19: 5 years too many of imperialist war

United for Peace and Justice calls for activities on and around the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq. For more information or to find an event visit www.5yearstoomany.org . There will be mass nonviolent direct action in Washington, DC, March 19. UFPJ is working to have all fifty states represented in local actions.

UFPJ encourages voters to "birddog" candidates, especially at the grassroots level where individuals have the largest impact. If your group is working on a house or senate race…bird-dogging, voter registration, or circulating info on candidates, please let the UFPJ Voter Engagement group know at organizing@unitedforpeace.org with the subject line: Voter Engagement 2008. Your info will be used to put together guidelines and training for election work, including info for both 501c3 and 501c4 groups

New Hampshire American Friends Service Committee, a UFPJ member group, has an excellent bird-dogging guide here. And visit the New Hampshire Peace Action website to see the incredible work the NH peace movement did to focus on ending the war, the wars impact on our communities, veterans and military families.

As a member or supporter of the Alliance for Democracy, you'll receive a monthly e-mail newsletter to update you on our work and alert you to ways you can act to support it. We will also send you periodic "Action Alerts" that pertain to our campaigns and those of allied groups.
If you'd like to unsubscribe from our e-mail newsletter or the Action Alerts, please reply to this e-mail with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line. Thanks for your ongoing interest and support of the Alliance!

The Alliance for Democracy
PO Box 540115, Waltham, MA 02454
781-894-1179 * www.thealliancefordemocracy.org

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bonnie Preston"
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 10:09 PM
Subject: Fwd: Join Us to SAY NO! to S.1959

Please attend if you can! This is a wonderful opportunity to protest
what is happening to our democracy!

Bonnie Preston
Alliance for Democracy

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Maureen Block
> Date: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:14:22 PM US/Eastern
> To: maureenfblock@yahoo.com
> Subject: Join Us to SAY NO! to S.1959
> Please post and pass along:
> ********************
> ********************
> A Press Conference and Rally
> Monument Square
> SAY NO! To The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown
> Terrorism Prevention Act 2007 (S.1959) Introduced by
> Senator Susan Collins
> SAY NO! To a bill that uses ambiguous language and
> vague definitions
> To threaten our constitutional rights of free speech
> and freedoms of religion and association
> SAY NO! To a bill that attempts to label informed,
> critically thinking citizens as radicals and
> terrorists
> SAY NO! To using fear and intimidation to suppress the
> will of the people!
> SAY NO! To the further erosion of our civil liberties
> and constitutional protections
> Join a coalition of concerned citizen voices
> in speaking out about this legislation
> “We have it in our power to begin the world again.”
> Thomas Paine
> 11:30 Gather and briefing at Monument Square
> Noon--2pm Press Conference and rally w/ leafleting and
> Street theater, March of the Silent to follow—all
> invited!
> 2-4pm Congressional Office visits-- Delegations will
> call on Senators and Congressman Allen's offices--all
> invited!
> 6-8pm Pizza, Teach-in, networking and strategizing at
> the Meg Perry Center—Learn more about the bill and
> where we go from here?
> For more information contact Maureen Block at
> 763-3953/ maureenfblock@yahoo.com or Danny Muller at
> Peace Action Maine at 772-0680/
> danny@peaceactionme.org
> Co-sponsors include:
> Maine Civil Liberties Union
> National Lawyers Guild, Maine chapter
> Island Peace and Justice
> Peninsula Peace and Justice
> Maine Veterans for Peace (William Ladd Chapter)
> Native Forest Network
> Peace Action Maine

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Larry Dansinger
To: WTR again
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 6:03 PM
Subject: Portland Workshop on War Tax Resistance Rescheduled from Feb. 13to Saturday, Feb. 23


(from Wednesday, February 13, because of forecast for bad travel conditions)

Maine War Tax Resisters and WTR Supporters

Meg Perry Center (Peace Action/Foglight office), 644 Congress St., Portland

Workshop : "Whats, Whys, Hows of WTR" for those new to resistance or interested in starting
Lots of information available for those interested, curious, and experienced


More info: Larry Dansinger, Maine WTR Resource Center
(207) 525-7776 € rosc@psouth.net

From: Stark

----- Original Message -----
From: Jane Sanford
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:59 PM
Subject: Fwd: [usgp-dx] States move toward recalling the Guard from Iraq!

Love this idea. Jane

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Nancy Allen"
Date: February 12, 2008 11:26:10 AM EST
Subject: Fw: [usgp-dx] States move toward recalling the Guard from Iraq!

Please pass this around!! And contact Rep. Ted Koffman in Maine at the phone number below and tell him you support this!!! Great news here.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ben Manski"

~ Liberty Tree News 4.4 ~
February 11, 2008

. . . it begins, again, in Vermont . . . where it ends is in your hands

States move toward recalling the Guard from Iraq!

The debate over the Iraq War changed last week in a simple, but profound way. A bill introduced on Tuesday in the Vermont State Legislature declares that the 2002 federal authorization to call up the State National Guard has expired, and would set in motion steps to recall members of the Vermont Guard. Rep. Michael Fisher, lead sponsor of the Vermont bill says that:

"It is clear that the mission that Congress authorized
no longer exists. The President has no current or permanent
legal authority to keep Guard members in Iraq. The Governor
as Commander-in-Chief of the Vermont National Guard should
take necessary steps to bring them home."

In addition to the Vermont legislation, sponsored by Rep. Michael Fisher and Senate President Pro-Tempore Peter Shumlin, legislators in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island plan to sponsor similar National Guard legislation in the current legislative session. Legislators in six other states, notably Maryland, Maine, and Wisconsin are working on the issue and considering following suit.

In recent years, twelve state legislatures and over 300 communities have passed resolutions protesting the Iraq War and calling withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. This new legislation is something very different. This legislation actually recalls the Guard from Iraq.

News media from public radio, to CBS News, to Pacifica and AlterNet have already picked up the story. This new campaign to inject some democracy into our system of national defense is building.

~ ~ Intrigued?

Please take a moment to read more. We've provided you with a copy of the Vermont legislation itself, an FAQ, media reports, and several articles by Liberty Tree's Ben Manski and IPS' Karen Dolan. Just go to our resources page at: http://www.LibertyTreeFDR.org/guard.php

~ ~ ~ Compelled?

Once you are done reading, it's time for action. Please see below for what you should do.

* * * If you live in VT, WI, RI, PA, NH, MN, ME or MD * * *

Contact the lead legislators and let them know that you support efforts to recall the Guard from Iraq. Offer to help them mobilize public support. And ask to be kept informed of the legislation's progress. The lead legislators are listed below:

Vermont: Rep. Michael Fisher, 802-989-9806
Wisconsin: Rep. Spencer Black, 608-266-7521
Rhode Island: Rep. David Segal, 401-432-7049
Pennsylvania: Rep. Tony Payton, Jr., 215-744-7901
New Hampshire: Rep. Charles Weed, 603-352-8309
Minnesota: Rep. Frank Hornstein, 651-296-9281
Maryland: Sen. Jamie Raskin, 301-858-3634
Maine: Rep. Ted Koffman, 207-288-5015

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* * * If you live anywhere else in the U.S.A. * * *

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Contact your favorite state legislators. Ask them to follow Vermont's lead. Provide them with a copy of the legislation and our other supporting materials, all available on our website at http://www.LibertyTreeFDR.org/guard.php

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* Our media release at http://www.libertytreefdr.org/guardrelease1.php

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* A legal FAQ at http://www.libertytreefdr.org/guardfaq.php

From: Peter Misluk

Go to the link for the comments. p


Published on Friday, February 15, 2008 by TomDispatch.com
The Lost Kristol Tapes
What the New York Times Bought
by Jonathan Schwarz

Imagine that there were a Beatles record only a few people knew existed. And imagine you got the chance to listen to it, and as you did, your excitement grew, note by note. You realized it wasn’t merely as good as Rubber Soul, or Revolver, or Sgt. Pepper’s. It was much, much better. And now, imagine how badly you’d want to tell other Beatles fans all about it.

That’s how I feel for my fellow William Kristol fans. You loved it when Bill said invading Iraq was going to have “terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East”? You have the original recording of him explaining the war would make us “respected around the world” and his classic statement that there’s “almost no evidence” of Iraq experiencing Sunni-Shia conflict? Well, I’ve got something that will blow your mind!

I’m talking about Kristol’s two-hour appearance on C-Span’s Washington Journal on March 28, 2003, just nine days after the President launched his invasion of Iraq. No one remembers it today. You can’t even fish it out of LexisNexis. It’s not there. Yet it’s a masterpiece, a double album of smarm, horrifying ignorance, and bald-faced deceit. While you’ve heard him play those instruments before, he never again reached such heights. It’s a performance for the history books — particularly that chapter about how the American Empire collapsed.

At the time Kristol was merely the son of prominent neoconservative Irving Kristol, former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle (aka “Quayle’s brain”), the editor of Rupert Murdoch’s Weekly Standard, and a frequent Fox News commentator. He hadn’t yet added New York Times columnist to his resumé. Opposite Kristol on the segment was Daniel Ellsberg, famed for leaking the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam era. Their discussion jumped back and forth across 40 years of U.S.-Iraqi relations, and is easiest to understand if rearranged chronologically.

So, sit back, relax, and let me play a little of it for you.

To start with, Ellsberg made the reasonable point that Iraqis might not view the invading Americans as “liberators,” since the U.S. had been instrumental in Saddam Hussein’s rise to power: Here’s how he put it:

“ELLSBERG: People in Iraq… perceive Hussein as a dictator… But as a dictator the Americans chose for them.

“KRISTOL: That’s just not true. We’ve had mistakes in our Iraq policy. It’s just ludicrous — we didn’t choose Hussein. We didn’t put him in power.

“ELLSBERG: In 1963, when there was a brief uprising of the Ba’ath, we supplied specifically Saddam with lists, as we did in Indonesia, lists of people to be eliminated. And since he’s a murderous thug, but at that time our murderous thug, he eliminated them…

“KRISTOL: [surprised] Is that right?…

“ELLSBERG: The same thing went on in ‘68. He was our thug, just as [Panamanian dictator Manuel] Noriega, and lots of other people who were on the leash until they got off the leash and then we eliminated them. Like [Vietnamese president] Ngo Dinh Diem.”

Ellsberg here is referring to U.S. support for a 1963 coup involving the Ba’athist party, for which Saddam was already a prominent enforcer — and then another coup in 1968 when the Ba’athists consolidated control, after which Saddam became the power behind the nominal president. According to one of the 1963 plotters, “We came to power on a CIA train.” (Beyond providing lists of communists and leftists to be murdered, the U.S. also gave the new regime napalm to help them put down a Kurdish uprising we’d previously encouraged.) James Crichtfield, then head of the CIA in the Middle East, said, “We really had the t’s crossed on what was happening” This turned out not to be quite right, since factional infighting among top Iraqis required the second plot five years later for which, explained key participant Abd al-Razzaq al-Nayyif, “you must [also] look to Washington.”

Yet it appears clear on video that Kristol is genuinely startled by what Ellsberg was saying.

Consider the significance of this. Any ordinary citizen could easily have learned about the American role in those two coups — former National Security Council staffer Roger Morris had written about it on the New York Times op-ed page just two weeks before the Kristol-Ellsberg broadcast. And Kristol was far more than an ordinary citizen. He’d been near the apex of government as Quayle’s chief of staff during the first Gulf War in 1991. He’d been advocating the overthrow of the Saddam regime for years. He’d co-written an entire book, The War Over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s Mission, calling for an invasion of that country.

Nevertheless, Kristol was ignorant of basic, critical information about U.S.-Iraq history. Iraqis themselves were not. In a September 2003 article, a returning refugee explained the growing resistance to the occupation: “One of the popular sayings I repeatedly heard in Baghdad, describing the relations between the U.S. and Saddam’s regime, is ‘Rah el sani’, ija el ussta‘ — ‘Gone is the apprentice, in comes the master.’”

What this suggests about the people running America is far worse than if they were simply malevolent super-geniuses: They don’t know the backstory and couldn’t care less. It’s as though we’re riding in the back seat of a car driven by people who demanded the wheel but aren’t sure what the gas pedal does or what a stop sign actually looks like.

Moreover, when Ellsberg tells Kristol this information, he demonstrates no desire to learn more; nor, as best as can be discovered, has he ever mentioned it again. Really? Those colored lights mean something about whether I’m supposed to stop or go? Huh. Anyway, let’s talk more about how all of you complaining in the back seat hate freedom.

Later, when the discussion gets closer to the present. Kristol’s demeanor changes. He appears to be better informed and therefore shifts to straightforward lies:

“ELLSBERG: Why did we support Saddam as recently as when you were in the administration? And the answer is–
“KRISTOL: We didn’t support Saddam when I was in the administration.

“ELLSBERG: When were you in the administration?

“KRISTOL: 89 to 93.”

This is preposterously false. First of all, Kristol worked in the Reagan administration as Education Secretary William Bennett’s chief of staff — when the U.S. famously supported Saddam’s war against Iran with loans, munitions, intelligence, and diplomatic protection for his use of chemical weapons. After George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988, Kristol moved to the same position in Vice President Quayle’s office. During the transition, Bush’s advisors examined the country’s Iraq policy and wrote a memo explaining to the incoming President the choice he faced. In a nutshell, this was “to decide whether to treat Iraq as a distasteful dictatorship to be shunned when possible, or to recognize Iraq’s present and potential power in the region and accord it relatively high priority. We strongly urge the latter view.”

And Bush chose. Internal State Department guidelines from the period stated, “In no way should we associate ourselves with the 60 year-old Kurdish rebellion in Iraq or oppose Iraq’s legitimate attempts to suppress it.” (Saddam’s gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja has occurred less than a year before.) Analysts warning of Iraq’s burgeoning nuclear program were squelched. The Commerce Department loosened restrictions on dual-use WMD material, while Bush the elder approved new government lines of credit for Saddam over congressional objections.

And Saddam was receiving private money as well: most notably from the Atlanta branch of Italian bank BNL. BNL staff would later report that companies wanting to sell to Iraq were referred to them by Kristol’s then-boss, Vice President Quayle. One Quayle family friend would end up constructing a refinery for Saddam to recycle Iraq’s spent artillery shells. The Bush Justice Department prevented investigators from examining transactions like this, while Commerce Department employees were ordered to falsify export licenses.

As Kristol and Ellsberg discuss the buildup to the 1991 Gulf War, Kristol, of course, continues to fiddle with reality:

“KRISTOL: So you were against the liberation of Kuwait.

“ELLSBERG: No, on the contrary. At that time, a number of four star military people, former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were foursquare for containing Saddam, preventing him by military means from getting into Saudi Arabia… When it came to expelling him from Kuwait, they wanted to give the blockade and the embargo [more time], on the belief of people like Admiral Crowe that that would be preferable to the deaths that would be involved in trying to expel him militarily. We didn’t test that theory.

“KRISTOL: The argument was not that the sanctions could get him out of Kuwait. The argument was that we could keep him out of Saudi Arabia. Who seriously thought he could be expelled from Kuwait by sanctions?

“ELLSBERG: Practically everyone who testified before Senator Nunn, who is no left-wing radical. And Senator Nunn himself. You’ve forgotten the history of that.

“KRISTOL: I remember the history vividly.”

Ellsberg is correct, of course: On November 28, 1990, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral William Crowe testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee and its chairman Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.). Crowe stated: “[W]e should give sanctions a fair chance… I personally believe they will bring [Saddam] to his knees” — by which Crowe meant Iraq would be “pushed out of Kuwait.” The same message was delivered by General David Jones, another former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman. The next day, the lede in a page one New York Times story was that Crowe and Jones had “urged the Bush Administration today to postpone military action against Iraq and to give economic sanctions a year or more to work.”

It’s not like Kristol could have missed all this, since the Bush administration immediately disputed such commentary — and one of its point men for the push back was none other than Dan Quayle. An early December 1990 article about a Quayle speech reported: “[Quayle] specifically cited the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee” where “voices have argued that the Bush Administration should allow time for economic sanctions against Iraq to work, getting President Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait voluntarily rather than using force to dislodge him.” (Unfortunately, there’s no available reporting on whether Quayle’s chief of staff wrote this speech for him.)

Then there’s Kristol’s curious explanation of his views on how the Gulf War ended — that moment when George H.W. Bush called upon the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam and then, despite having smashed Saddam’s army and controlling Iraq’s air space, let the dictator’s helicopter gunships take to the air and crush a Shiite uprising. There were even reports the administration forbade the Saudis from aiding the uprising and that U.S. troops blew up caches of Iraqi weapons rather than allow the rebels to use them.

Kristol, however, uses his courtier’s skills to remake reality more pleasingly:

“KRISTOL: I was unhappy in 1991 when we stopped the war and left this brutal tyrant in power. I think we betrayed the people who rose up against Saddam, a genuine popular uprising. That was a big mistake on the part of the Bush administration. A political mistake and a moral mistake.”

So that’s clear: Kristol feels the decision was immoral. Or… was it?

“KRISTOL: I don’t think these were simply immoral decisions by the president. These were judgment calls. There were reasons. There were arguments. There weren’t simply –

“ELLSBERG: But they were immoral –

“KRISTOL: Well, no, that’s not so easy to call a political decision an immoral decision.”

That’s fancy footwork for you! On the one hand, Kristol wants us to know that the decision was indeed “a moral mistake.” The implication is that he should be respected in the post-invasion moment of 2003 as the sort of sensitive tough guy who would indeed invade Iraq to make up for past decisions that lacked morality. On the other hand, we’re talking about a former Republican president and the present President’s father. A straightforward declaration of “immorality,” if pursued far enough, could easily hurt future employment prospects. Kristol has absolutely perfect pitch, managing to strike a blow for moral beauty in politics while maintaining career viability.

Ellsberg then asks questions aimed at just this issue:

“ELLSBERG: Did you consider doing more than disagree? Perhaps putting out the word of your dissent? Perhaps resigning with documents and revealing those to the press and the Congress?

“KRISTOL [scoffing]: I had no documents to put out. There were no secrets about the President’s policy… We didn’t want to occupy Baghdad. The rebellion would have failed anyway. We would have gotten in deeper.”

Hmmm. No secrets about Bush the elder’s policy. Yet there was something that most certainly was secret about the rebellions at the end of the Gulf War: Saddam was using chemical weapons to put down the Shiite uprising in the south. Rumored since 1991, this has been confirmed by the most impeccable source imaginable — the CIA’s final 2004 report on Iraq’s WMD. According to the report, the Iraqi military used Sarin nerve agent, dropped from the helicopters the U.S. had given them permission to fly.

The CIA goes on to to suggest the U.S. government knew about this at the time, describing “reports of attacks in 1991 from refugees and Iraqi military deserters.” And Gulf War veterans have said they passed such reports up the chain of command. Did Kristol know it then? Probably not. But even today there’s no sign he knows: he and the Weekly Standard appear never to have mentioned it. As with the coups in 1963 and 1968, Kristol’s ignorance is of a peculiarly convenient variety.

In any case, here’s what Kristol did know: the Bush administration made the choices it did at war’s end not because, as Kristol says, they felt “the rebellion would have failed.” Their fear was exactly the opposite: that the rebellion would succeed. Yes, the Bush administration preferred Saddam gone, but it wanted him replaced by some other, more amenable group or leader from the Sunni military elite. It most certainly did not want a popular uprising that might leave a largely Shiite government in power in Baghdad, potentially close to Iran. Even worse was the possibility Iraq could fracture, with power shifting to the oil-rich Shiite south. As an administration official told Peter Galbraith, then a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer, “[O]ur policy is to get rid of Saddam Hussein, not the regime.” Later, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman explained that Washington was looking for “the best of all worlds: an iron-fisted Iraqi junta without Saddam Hussein.”

Kristol’s predictions that March day in 2003 are every bit as on target as his descriptions of the past. When Ellsberg raises the possibility of the new Iraq war coming to resemble Vietnam in some fashion, Kristol insists that this is utterly preposterous: “It’s not going to happen. This is going to be a two-month war.”

Here’s the exchange when they turn to what will happen to Iraq’s Kurds:

“ELLSBERG: The Kurds have every reason to believe they will be betrayed again by the United States, as so often in the past. The spectacle of our inviting Turks into this war… could not have been reassuring to the Kurds…

“KRISTOL: I’m against betraying the Kurds. Surely your point isn’t that because we betrayed them in the past we should betray them this time?

“ELLSBERG: Not that we should, just that we will.

“KRISTOL: We will not. We will not.”

This past December, we did. The Bush administration officially looked the other way while Turkey carried out a 50-plane bombing raid on Iraqi Kurdistan against the PKK, a Kurdish rebel group. Ken Silverstein of Harper’s reprinted an email from a former U.S. official there that said, in part:

“The blowback here in Kurdistan is building against the U.S. government because of its help with the Turkish air strikes. The theme is shock and betrayal… The people killed and wounded were villagers, not PKK fighters or support people… The initial explanation from Washington that the United States did not authorize the Turkish strike is bullshit, and every Kurd here knows it.”

No mention of the bombing has appeared in the Weekly Standard. It’s fair to assume, however, that Kristol will eventually call America’s actions there “a moral mistake,” while emphasizing that “these were judgment calls. There were reasons. There were arguments.”

Back in 2003, Kristol was also quite certain, almost touchingly so, that the Bush administration would be well served by relying on Iraqi exiles:

“KRISTOL: We have tens of thousands of Shia exiles [who] have come back to help contribute to the liberation of Iraq.

“ELLSBERG: I’m afraid the people who propose this war have failed one lesson of intelligence history, which is not to rely too much on the knowledge of people who have left the country… The people who’ve come to this country may very well underestimate the desire of those people not to be governed by foreigners.”

This lesson of history goes back a long way. Book II, Chapter XXXI of Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy is titled “How Dangerous It Is to Believe Exiles”:

“It ought to be considered, therefore, how vain are the faith and promises of those who find themselves deprived of their country… such is the extreme desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many things that are false and add many others by art, so that between those they believe and those they say they believe, they fill you with hope, so that relying on them you will incur expenses in vain, or you undertake an enterprise in which you ruin yourself… A Prince, therefore, ought to go slowly in undertaking an enterprise upon the representations of an exile, for most of the times he will be left either with shame or very grave injury.”

The Weekly Standard’s archives show Kristol has published quite a few articles on how political correctness in elite U.S. universities is strangling the teaching of the Western canon. And you can understand where he’s coming from: While Kristol himself received a PhD in government from Harvard, it obviously was during a period when radical multiculturalists had completely expunged Machiavelli from the curriculum. When will the PC brigade ever learn? Teaching Toni Morrison starts wars.

Finally, there’s the most telling moment of the entire two hours, when a caller asks Kristol something he does not at all expect:

“CALLER: I wonder how we reconcile these views with how we treat the American Indians?

“KRISTOL: [raising eyebrows, chuckling] Well, I think the American Indians are now full citizens of the United States of America. We have injustices in our past in treating the American Indians. I’m for equal rights for American Indians and for liberating the people of Iraq from this horrible tyranny.”

Kristol obviously finds the caller’s perspective ridiculous. But the man had, in fact, asked the most profound question possible.

After all, there is a deep cultural connection running from our conquest of the continent to the invasion of Iraq. While Americans have mostly forgotten this, the early settlers did not perceive themselves as simply pushing Indians out of the way. Rather, they came here with the very best of intentions. The 1629 seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony is a picture of an American Indian, who is saying, “Come over and help us.” Three hundred seventy-three years later in 2002, Ahmed Chalabi was being paid by the U.S. government to tell Americans to come over and “help the Iraqi people.” In his book The Winning of the West, Teddy Roosevelt wrote that no nation “has ever treated the original savage owners of the soil with such generosity as has the United States.” In 2004, Fred Barnes wrote (in the Weekly Standard) that the invasion of Iraq might be “the greatest act of benevolence one country has ever done for another.”

Kristol finishes the C-Span show with a crescendo:

“The moral credentials of this war are strong. We’ll see if we follow through. I agree with Mr. Ellsberg on this, if we’re not serious about helping the Iraqi people rebuild their country and about helping promote decent democratic government in Iraq… it will be a much less morally satisfying and fully defensible war… I’m happy to be held to a moral standard. I ask that it be a serious moral standard.”

So, there you have it: a complex, rich experience to be savored by anyone who enjoys watching a master at the very peak of his craft.

Yet trying to encapsulate Kristol’s now almost five year-old chilling performance by turning it into a bitter joke only takes us so far. After all, the joke is on us.

Kristol indeed has been held to a moral standard, but it’s the moral standard of Rupert Murdoch and, more recently, the New York Times. What we learn from this dusty vinyl LP is that some of the most powerful men and institutions in our country are genuinely depraved. They provide Kristol with his prominence not in spite of performances like this one, but precisely because of them. Kristol is giving them just what they want. The fact that he’s a propagandist straight out of Pravda’s archives makes the same impression on them as the fact that John Lennon was a great songwriter might make on you or me.

Of course he is. That’s why we bought the album.

* * *

Jonathan Schwarz is a frequent contributor to Mother Jones and co-author with Michael Gerber of Our Kampf, a collection of their humor from the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and Saturday Night Live. His website is named after a saying of George Orwell’s: “Every joke is a tiny revolution.”

Copyright 2008 Jonathan Schwarz


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