Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Zinn, Arnove's Voices of a People's History May 2nd, Cooper Union

Please Join
Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove for a special evening of readings from
their book Voices of a People's History of the United States.
With special musical performances by
Allison Moorer
Steve Earle
and readings and vocal performances by
Ally Sheedy
Brian Jones
Danny Glover
Deepa Fernandes
Erin Cherry
Harris Yulin
Kathleen Chalfant
Kerry Washington
Opal Alladin
Staceyann Chin
Stanley Tucci
Narration and introduction by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove
May 2
6:30 pm
The Great Hall, Cooper Union
Free to the public.
Sponsored by The Cooper Union.
Voices of a People's History of the United States
edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove, is the companion volume to
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. It features
the words of rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from our past -- and
The public performances of Voices are inspiring, challenging
reminders of our rich history of protest and its relevance for today.

If anyone visits this site more than once, they should know Howard Zinn is one of my personal favorites -- historian, writer, speaker. In fact we saw him speak recently with Amy Goodman.
C.I.'s noting the above on Thursday and I have group Thursday night so I'm noting it tonight. I can recommend the books (Voices and A People's History) but I only have second hand reports on the readings. I can tell you that Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I. skipped Tom Hayden (whom they like) to see a reading of Voices last year. They were really torn but ending up going to see the reading instead and they really enjoyed it. They still talk about it. Deepa Fernandes hosts WakeUp Call on WBAI, Danny Glover is the actor and activist, Steve Earle wrote and sang "The Revolution Starts Now" and hosts a program on Air America Radio by that name. I wish I knew more of the names. I know the gang enjoyed Earle. He may have been the only one listed who was at the performance they saw. I know Alice Walker read at the one they saw.

But let me explain what the reading is because some people may be lost. Howard Zinn wrote the best selling (mammoth selling) A People's History of the United States. Voices of a People History of the United States was a project he and Anthony Arnove spun off from that. With A People's History, Zinn was showing us how history is made by the people. Voices presents (some of) those people in their own words. C.I. would say, "No one can love Howard Zinn as much as you do." That may be true. But C.I. had both books (and had read them) and was still amazed by the reading. So if you are in the NYC area, I would strongly urge you to attend the reading.

I hope that's captured your interest. If not, blame it on the fact that I'm thinking about how I drive to Boston all the time and they must have done a reading in Boston. How I missed that, I don't know, but I did. If you want to avoid scanning your brain for how you missed it, as I'm doing now, be sure to turn out for it.

By the way, Anthony Arnove, I have no idea what he will do in this event, but he's a wonderful speaker. We saw him in DC with Iraq Veterans Against the War. My memory is shot tonight. This was either in January of this year or March of this year. I believe it was January. It was at a place called Busboys and something. As I said, my memory is shot tonight. Today was sessions and hassles with one insurance company. Tangent warning. I strongly support nationalized health and I do not support Hillary Clinton's 90s proposal of "simply the forms and still fork over millions to insurance companies." I've noticed that she's promised some form of 'universal' healthcare . . . provided she's elected to two terms. I've also noticed that she's failed to present a plan. I hope she's not expecting us to all live through the nightmare that was her closed to the public meetings again -- if she gets voted in. (I don't support or endorse Hillary Clinton for president.)

One of my friends gave input to her taskforce . . . input that was trashed when it was time for her 'plan' to be presented. It was a wonderful plan . . . if you're big business. For a patient or provider, it didn't offer much. She was like Bono trying to take control of the G8 activism, jumping onto something real advocates were working on and providing a distraction that allowed corporations to be off the hook. I read an interview awhile back where Bono was whining that leaders didn't live up to their (empty) promises.

I once like U2 but Bono's soured me on them. I don't think you can talk about 'humanitarian' work and silence yourself on Iraq -- as he admitted that he did to Rolling Stone. I could list a ton of other reasons (actually, Kat could) including being a part of the company that designed a video 'game' where you get to 'take out' Hugo Chavez but Bono has ruined U2 for me. Fortunately, they are over. C.I. pointed that out awhile back on the phone. They're doing a Broadway show. As C.I. noted, Lieber & Stoller, John Phillips, they all see their careers crash and burn when they try to go Broadway.

"The Rights of Children in the United States" (Sharon Smith, CounterPunch):
The U.S. is the only United Nations member-state except Somalia that has neglected to ratify the UN's 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. In February 2001, George W. Bush explicitly objected to its "human rights-based approach"-which, among other things, prohibits prosecuting and incarcerating children as adults because their minds are too immature to form "criminal intent."
Indeed, the U.S. stands alone in its rush to sentence children to a lifetime in prison without the possibility of parole, and is home to more than 99 percent of youths serving this sentence worldwide. According to a joint 2005 study by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the U.S. had 9,400 prisoners serving life prison terms for crimes committed before the age of 18, of which 2,225 were serving life without parole. Of those, 16 percent were between 13 and 15 years old at the time they committed the crimes for which they were convicted.
More than 100,000 children are currently incarcerated in local detention and state correctional institutions across the country. "Zero tolerance" advocates would have us believe that the number has skyrocketed because our nation is overrun with teenage predators committing an unprecedented number of heinous crimes. But statistics belie this explanation. The murder conviction rate for youths fell from 2,234 in 1990 to 1,006 in 2000, a drop of almost 55 percent. Yet during that same period, the percentage of children receiving sentences of life without parole more than tripled, from 2.9 to 9 percent.

How proud does that make you feel? You can't just blame Bully Boy for the treaty. 1989? His father was president. Then came Bill Clinton. So don't read about that and think, "Damn, Bully Boy." Treaty or not, read Smith's article if you're unfamiliar with this, there's no excuse for putting children behind bars.

How did that happen? I can remember 1979 so let's start with that. That was the year of the child, declared by UNICEF. In fact, if you're a Fleetwood Mac fan, Stevie Nicks donated the proceeds of "Beautiful Child" (off Tusk) for the cause. That was still pre-Reagan. I really think Reagan, and his destructive ecnomic policies, set us on this journey where so many people today see an advance for someone else as a huge loss for themselves. Greed was supposed to be the buzzword but I think hatred was the real buzz.

Please note, I'm not saying the world, or even the country, was paradise. Nor am I saying, "There's been a coursening!" I love how Don Imus' idiotic and hateful speech is supposed to represent a coursening of our discourse. I think we've embraced hatred in the last decades more and more. I can remember being shocked, early on in Reagan's presidency, when he fired the air traffic controllers -- shocked by the fact that he fired striking workers and shocked by the fact that the mainstream press played it as a "Way to put them in their place!" I see Bully Boy as the confirmation of that attitude which only got louder and louder.

I'm not fretting the death of faux civility (which I'm not remembering existing) but I am saying that the ones who hated specific groups of people learned quickly that that they didn't have to do so privately. Betty, C.I. and I were talking about this other day and how so many editorial boards enable that spewing their hate at the French or whomever. It's really easy to pin the blame on Imus but the racism coming from the mainstream press since the 80s was much more destructive than anything Imus could have said. (That's not a defense of Imus. I'm glad he's gone. I am noting that when you promote The Bell Curve, for instance, as 'science' and true, you're a lot worse off than some idiot on the radio.)

I guess I am just not going to be able to pull together anything tonight. I always feel pressure on Wednesdays due to the fact that this post stays up until Friday. Rebecca laughs about that and always points out that my Friday post stays up until Monday. That is true but it's true of most of the community sites. So I don't ever worry that someone's coming here on Sunday and thinking, "She hasn't posted! What?" But I do get e-mails still asking why I didn't post Thursday?

The only thing worse than having this feeling is realizing (after I hit "PUBLISH") that I could have added something else. Oh, one thing I do need to add. Gina and Krista's rountable tomorrow night is something I won't be able to participate in because it'll be while I'm doing group. But I could participate. C.I. noted that this morning but Krista e-mailed and asked if I'd note it here. The topic is going to be White women who have said insulting things. Now that's not Ann Coulter whom we expect to say insulting things due to her politics. This is White women who dismiss the NAACP's concerns about media portrayals of African-Americans, this is White woman who take Imus' comments and say it was sexism when it was sexism and it was racism. Gina is African-American. Krista is White. Both will be participating so you do not have to be African-American to participate. But this is becoming an issue in the community and when Gina saw that for the second day in a row, she called C.I. to get it announced because she does want input from African-American community members. If you can't participate, regardless of your race, but you have a comment or an example you want them to address, e-mail Gina or Krista and they'll grab it. Krista wrote that the following are confirmed for participating: Martha, Betty, Erika, Keesha, Cedric, Carl, Billie, Ty, Ava and C.I. They're hoping to have 20 (plus themselves -- Gina and Krista) participating and this usually fills up very quickly. They are receiving a lot of topics and questions but much less requests to participate so Krista thinks that even though C.I. made this point already, some may be thinking that it's only a roundtable for African-American members. If you're someone who's participated often and you're thinking you'll give time to others this go round, that's fine. But Krista wants to be sure that everyone understands that this is a conversation that is open to everyone.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, April 25, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the United Nations raises the issue of Iraqi fatalities, US House Rep and 2008 presidential contender
Dennis Kucinich moves to impeach Dick Cheney, the wall in Baghdad continues to be an issue, and more.

Starting with war resisters. Last Saturday, the latest public war resisters spoke in Greensboro, Terri Johnson.
jarnocan (North Carolina World Can't Wait) reports, "Terri Johnson of Greensboro was like a lot of other young people with limited options after high school who are set upon by US Army recruiters. She believed the promises of the recruiters who told her that the Army was nothing more than a good shot at a college education and a prosperous future. She discovered, as do many others who sign up, that not only wa she signing her life away, but the lives of people targeted by the illegal and immoral war on Iraq as well. So she did the right thing. She refused to fight." Jordan Green (Yes! Weekly) notes that "the granddaughter of past Gressnsboro NAACP President Gladys Shipman, deliberately failed to complete her final fitness test at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, and then went AWOL on Sept. 28, 2006, the day before graduation." Speaking at a rally at Governmental Plaza, Johnson stated: "I'm not anti-war one hundred percent because some wars are worth fighting for. But this war is not worth fighting for. I really don't look at myself as a hero. I was just doing it for me because [the war] wasn't for me. There were a lot of my buddies who didn't want to drop out like me, but they didn't have have the courage to make the decision I did." On leaving during basics, Johnson stated, "All you got to do is leave. Throw the towel in. They cannot stop you. Stay gone for thirty-one days. Get your two-way ticket to Lousiville, Kentucky. The MPs will meet you there and pat you down. You will be there for four days and eat this horrible food. The only thing you cannot do is get a federal job. Okay, I wasn't that interested in working for the federal government anyway. The other thing you can't do is re-enlist in another branch of the military."

Terri Johnson is part of a movement of war resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Dean Walcott, Camilo Mejia, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Camilo Mejia, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Meanwhile, the United Nations is accusing the puppet government in Iraq of a different form of resistance.
Yara Bayoumy (Reuters) reports that the UN states the government is "withholding sensitive civilian casualty figures because the government fears the data would be used to paint a 'very grim' picture of a worsening humanitarian crisis." CNN reports that the refusal to supply the data has prevented the UN from calculating the numbers of Iraqis killed in the first four months of 2007. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) states that numbers the Los Angeles Times have "obtained from various ministries" puts the 2007 civilian toll at 5,509 thus far this year. The Times figures are incomplete, it should be noted, and Susman is incorrect when she claims that the US "military does not count civilian deaths that occur during its operations". The US military has kept a count -- Nancy A. Youssef broke that story right before Knight Ridder became McClatchy Newspapers. You didn't hear much about that because it was time to travel-logue in indymedia. But the US military is keeping figures, has been keeping figures. They will admit to keeping figures since June of 2005. They refuse to release those figures to the press or to the public. So when the puppet government refuses to release figures to the UN, it all has a familiar ring to it.

Al Jazeera reports, "On Wednesday, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (Unami) blamed the majority of the bloodshed on sectarian fighting, and expressed concern about the human-rights record of Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister." And the response? AFP reports that the puppet, Nouri al-Maliki, issued a statement: "The Iraqi government announces that is has major reservations about this report, which lack precision in its presentation of information, lasts crediblity in many of its points and lacks balance in its presentation of the human rights situation in Iraq." Around the world, chuckles were heard as the puppet questioned someone else's credibility.

The report comes as
IRIN notes that Baghdad's "infrastructure continues to deteriorate, causing more violence, health hazards and misery for its seven million inhabitants" and notes "at least 43 workers have been killed in the past few months while collecting rubbish, changing lights or repairing sewage systems in the capital, mostly in the more dangerous neighborhoods of Sadr City, Alawi, Dora, Bab al-Muadham and Adhamiyah."

Turning to United States, US House Rep and 2008 presidential contender
Dennis Kucinich
"introduced articles of impeachment Tuesday against Vice President Dick Cheney,"
The Post Chronicle reported noting that the "main chrages are that Cheney used manipulated intelligence to win support for the war in Iraq, and falsely claimed a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida." For many outlets it was time to put on the old 45 of Simon & Garfunkle . . . Hello darkness my old friend . . . As they "covered" the news by not covering it. The sounds of silence.

Dennis Bernstein addressed the issue of impeaching Cheney on
Flashpoints yesterday, noting that Kucinich "broke the silence in Congress . . . Kucinich's actions follow on many calls and a series of througly well constructed and researched arguments for impeachment. Among the strongest cases made for impeachment is that by a former prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega with over 2 decades as a federal prosecutor. She is the author of United States v. George W. Bush et al. She's been lecturing on the case for impeachment and following the unraveling also of the Attorney General.".

Elizabeth de la Vega: "I think it's an extremely strong case and what's beautiful about it is that it's very elegantly done and it's just very, very simple. As you mentioned Article I is manipulating the intelligence process to deceive the public and Congress by making up, essentially, a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction so that the administration could invade Iraq. . . . And the specific nature of that fabrication has to do, of course, with the weapons of mass destruction. Article II is very similar except that it relates to the same type of fabrication with regard to a link between . . . al Qaeda and Iraq and 9-11. The third one has to do with Iran. And I think, really, the case is almost irrefutable."

Robert Naiman (The Huffington Post) addresses the press treatment of the issue and notes that "Kucinich seems to be one of the few Members of Congress aware that threatening to attack other countries is a violation of the U.N. Charter, a treaty wo which the U.S. is signatory." Dave Lindorff (who has been covering the impeachment movement across the country) writes (at CounterPunch) that, as a result of Kucinich's actions, "The mainstream corporate media, which has so far been largely ignoring the issue of impeachment, will have to go to extra lengths of censorship to block out the popular movement now, with a bill on the floor of the House, and with impeachment resolutions passing in the Vermont state legislature. It will be interesting to see how the nation's new gatekeepers handle the story now that it is breaking out into the open so forcefully." Those in and near Trenton, New Jersey this weekend, should be aware of the demonstration where "a Human Mural" will spell out "IMPEACH" at the State House in Trenton on 125 W. State Street, Saturday April 28th -- more information can be found here (AfterDowningStreet). That is not the only event across the country. Progressive Democrats of America's Marcy Winograd spoke with Lila Garrett on Connect The Dots With Lila Garrett on KPFK Monday. Winograd and others will be taking part in the California Democratic Party State Convention which will be held in the
San Diego Convention Center this weekend, 111 West Harbor Drive, Convention Center, San Diego. PDA will be mobilizing around many issues including impeachment -- "Impeachment Is On Our Table."

In addition, note this from
Impeachment Day: April 28It's time to say NO to impunity for lying, spying, and torture. George Bush and Dick Cheney's high crimes and misdemeanors demand accountability. Since Congress doesn't get it, on April 28 Americans are going to spell it out for them: I M P E A C H ! More...

A transcript of Dennis Kucinich's press conference can be found
here and, from that, we'll note this from his conference, "This goes beyond partisan terms. This is being done to defend our constitutional system of government. This is being done so that all tose of us who took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States can understand that this impeachment is one valid way in furtherance of the defense of our Constitution. I don't see this as bening distant from anyone, in any capacity in our government. Everyone must reflect on this. Years from now, people will ask, 'Why didn't the United States government respond when they saw this threat to our democracy? Why didn't people inside the government respond?' if this doesn't move forward. And so this really isn't so much, I might add, about the vice president as it is about who we are as a people. What is it that we stand for? What kind of government do the people of the United States expect and deserve? It's not appropriate for the government to lie to people. It is wrong for government officials -- you know, the vice president, in this case -- to take this nation into war based on lies."

In semi-related news, US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice has a subpoena with her name on it from the US House Judiciary Committee.
CBS News and AP report that she will be asked to testify (presumably under oath) about the lies that Iraq "was seeking uranium from Africa." On a 21-10 vote, the committee agreed to compell Rice's testimony.

From what Americans want to what Iraqis want,
CNN reports: "Shiits in Baghdad gathered Wednesday to protest a wall surrounding the Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiya. The U.S. and Iraqi militaries say the wall is for protection, but radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr issued a statement calling the wall sectarian, racist and oppressive. He vowed to support all Iraqis -- Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians -- and called on them to unite against 'the evil will of the occupier'." Al Jazeera notes, "Moqtada al-Sadr's remarks were the first by the Mahdi Army head since the US military said last week that it was building a wall in Baghdad's Adhamiyah district." Sally Kohn (Common Dreams) shares her thoughts on the issue, "Good fences have never made good policy, just as they've never made good neighbors. Bush's embrace of wall building and secrecy reminds me of totalitarian feudal lords. But feudalism failed too, didn't it? Now that Nouri al-Maliki has poked a hole in Bush's Baghdad wall plans, can we start building some bridges instead?"

In violence today in Iraq . . .


CNN reports: "A truck loaded with chlorine detonated Wednesday at a military checkpoint on the western outskirts of Baghdad, killing one Iraqi and wounded two others". Reuters notes a Balad Ruz bombing that killed 9 and left 16 wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing ("near a petrol station") that killed 2, and a Baghdad mortar attack on the west Rashid section of Baghdad resulted one death and five wounded. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul bombing that left one person dead, a bobming near Tikrit that wounded two police officers


Reuters reports Ali al-Bayati ("Iraq's former bodybuilding champion") was shot dead in Mosul, another Mosul shooting claimed two lives and left one person wounded, a police officer shot dead in Tuz Khurmato.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 18 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes a corpse discovered in Hilla.

Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) examines a number of issues (life on the ground in Iraq, scandals of the administration) and we'll zoom in on the commentary regarding the US House and Senate measures, "It is hard to know what to make of these Democratic proposals. To what extent are they designed seriously or only for political cover? The most dangerous one is the open-ended authorization to continue combat operations against 'all extremists', which should be opposed by the anti-war movement and their Democratic allies. The related problem is the resurfacing of the 'humanitarian hawks' who delude themselves into believing the US military can succeed in a more low-visibility role combining counter-insurgency and economic development. The flaw in their thinking is that American soldiers can serve as 'trainers' to an Iraqi state described as sectarian even by the Baker-Hamilton Report.

And today
Amy Goodman interviewed Bill Moyers on Democracy Now! whose Bill Moyers Journal debuts this week on PBS stations (starts tonight on some PBS stations) and the first episode focuses on the selling of the illegal war.