At the end of Eighty-eighth,
across from the museum and as west as east
will take you to the park from Gracie Mansion.
Before the lightning brought it down,
As US Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, chaired Tuesday's hearing on irregularities in the presidential voting in Ohio on November 2, the Rev. Jesse Jackson warned that the session must be more than merely an opportunity to "vent."
"We cannot vent and then have Congress not act. If these reports are not investigated, we have all wasted our time," the two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination declared. "This cannot simply be an academic venting session. Take this struggle to the streets and legitimize it there, as they did in Selma."
Jackson is right. There is no question that the voting and ballot counting processes in Ohio--and a number of other states--were deeply flawed. Those flaws are well outlined in the letter that Conyers and eleven other Democratic representatives sent earlier this month to Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. (Click here to read the letter and other recent communications from Conyers to state and federal officials regarding the electoral troubles in Ohio.)
In a historic effort to hold US officials accountable for acts of torture, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and four Iraqi citizens recently filed a criminal complaint with the German Federal Prosecutor's Office at the Karlsruhe Court in Karlsruhe, Germany against high ranking United States officials over the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere in Iraq. The four Iraqis all allege abuse at the hands of US troops, including severe beatings, sleep and food deprivation, hooding and sexual abuse.
The German Prosecutor is considering the case under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction, which allows suspected war criminals to be prosecuted irrespective of where they are located. "German law in this area is leading the world," Peter Weiss, vice president of the New York-based CCR, a human rights group, said in an interview with the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. "We file these cases here because there is simply no other place to go," he added. "It is clear that the US government is not willing to open an investigation into these allegations against these officials."
The Prosecutor has wide discretion in deciding how far to go with an investigation. CCR asks supporters of these legal proceedings to let his office know that people around the world support this effort. Click here to add your voice to the international campaign.
This article, from the August 26, 1968, issue of The Nation, is a special selection from The Nation Digital Archive. If you want to read everything The Nation has ever published on war and politics, click here for information on how to acquire individual access to the Archive--an electronic database of every Nation article since 1865.
Democrats are talking a lot these days about how to reconnect with rural voters. It's an important conversation, as much about the decline in the party's fortunes can be traced to the fact that people who live on farms and in small towns, who not that many years ago were about evenly divided in their partisan loyalties, provided President Bush and the Republican Party with overwhelming support in 2004.
Unfortunately, most of the talk involves tortured discussions about how to tip-toe around issues such as gay rights and gun control.
Such discussions miss the point of the party's problem in small-town America completely. Gays and guns are only big issues in rural regions because Democrats have done a lousy job of distinguishing themselves on the big-ticket economic issues -- trade policy, protection of family farmers, rural development -- that define whether rural Americans can maintain their livelihoods and lifestyles.
If it had been even a primitive nuclear weapon that hit the World Trade Center three years ago, hundreds of thousands of people would have died instead of fewer than 3,000, and the free society w
Social Security is a very popular system. A pillar of the New Deal, it provides tens of millions of workers with a guaranteed retirement income as well as disability and life insurance during their working lives.
Moreover, contrary to conservative rhetoric, the Social Security system is extremely efficient. According to economist Dean Baker, writing recently in TomPaine.Com, the administrative costs of Social Security are just 0.6 cents of every dollar that gets paid out in benefits, a very low figure for a major government agency. Social Security also has a minimal amount of fraud and abuse, Baker adds, as numerous government audits have repeatedly documented.
Despite this track record, privatizing Social Security is one of George Bush's top second-term priorities. In the face of warnings from numerous economists of all political stripes, the financial industry-- which stands to make billions in new business on privatized retirement accounts--and the Bush White House have been on a steady propaganda campaign to convince the public that Social Security is on the edge of bankruptcy and needs a quick fix.
A critic of US-Chile policy paid the price.
Music for America (MfA) is Example A of why the future is for the young and MfA-type organizations who are inspired now more than ever to continue to effect positive change. Twenty-one million Americans under the age of 30 cast ballots, 4.6 million of them were new voters. This was the highest youth turnout since the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1972, and it's an important example of what went right in the campaign.
If only 18, 19 and 20 year olds had been permitted to vote in this election, Kerry would have carried Ohio, Florida and Missouri, defeating Bush by more than 200 electoral votes. MfA supplied a lot of the muscle. It recruited almost 20,000 volunteers, allied with more than 200 bands and helped arrange over 2,000 concerts, which, the group's savvy 25-year old executive director Molly Moon says, reached two million people.
The real story behind MfA's success, however, lies beyond a mere recitation of post-election statistics. Culture and politics were fused together in new ways, as MfA worked to speak to communities through the force of music. Its artists tailored their messages to homegrown audiences and inspired their fans through local appeals. Artists included Caustic Resin--"Boise, Idaho favorites," as Alias Records described them; Cold Duck Complex, from Northampton, Mass., playing "music that makes you think"; and Amersterband, "round pegs in square holes" from the Ozarks in Southwest Missouri, according to MfA's website. MfA's 45,000 members connected with peers through blogs, concerts and other peer-to-peer interactions.
Earlier this month, I wrote about the right's linguistic strategy, which is to use words, which may sound moderate to us but mean something completely different to its base. To counter these semantic tactics, I proposed an idea for how we could debunk and decode the right's veritable Orwellian Code of encrypted language: A Republican Dictionary.
I put together a small list to get the project started and asked readers to send me their own entries. Response has been overwhelming--more than 350 people sent me definitions.
Nation reader Laurence Cumbie even thanked me for "the very first laugh I have had since November 3." The idea, he added, "seems to me to be precisely the type of simplistic but effective antidote we need" to counter the linguistic trickery of the right.
Toward that end, I'm publishing a small sample of the new dictionary entries I've received below. We may even create a small book or extended pamphlet using the most creative examples submitted. Many thanks to those who took the time to write and apologies to those whose ideas we weren't able to include in this post. But watch this space. We're going to continue posting additional entries in the weeks ahead. And please click here to suggest your own contributions.
ACTIVIST JUDGE, n. A judge who attempts to protect the rights of minorities--most especially homosexuals--against the tyranny of the majority. (Amy Mashberg, Austin, Texas)
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES, n. New locations to drill for oil and gas. (Peter Scholz, Fort Collins, Colorado)
CIVIL LIBERTIES, n. Unnecessary privileges that you aren't afraid of losing unless you are a God-hating, baby-killing, elitist liberal who loves Saddam Hussein more than your own safety. (Megan Ellis, Bellingham, Washington)
CLIMATE CHANGE, n. Global warming, without that annoying suggestion that something is wrong. (Robert Shanafelt, Statesboro, Georgia)
DEATH TAX, n. A term invented by anti-tax zealots and referring to a tax used to prevent the very wealthy from establishing a dominating aristocracy in this country. (David McNeely, Lutz, Florida)
DEMOCRATIC ALLY, n. Any democracy, monarchy, plutocracy, oligarchy or dictatorship--no matter how ruthless--that verbally supports American diplomatic and economic goals. (L.J. Klass, Concord, New Hampshire)
DEREGULATE, v. To pursue greed and exploitation. (Nathan Taylor, Long Beach, California)
DETAIN, v. Hold in a secret place without recourse to law and treat in any manner one wishes. (Jeannine Bettis, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
ECONOMIC PROGRESS, n. 1. Recession; 2. Rising unemployment; 3. Minimum-wage freeze. (Terry McGarry, East Rockaway, New York)
FAITH-BASED INITIATIVE, n. Christian Right Payoff. (Michael Gendelman, Fair Haven, New Jersey)
FAMILY VALUES, n. Oppression of women. (Nancy Matsunaga, Brooklyn, New York)
FOX NEWS, n. White House Press Office. (Donnalyn Murphy, San Francisco, California)
HARD WORK, n. What Republicans say when they can't think of anything better. (Brain McDowell), Durham, North Carolina)
INSURGENT, n. Armed or unarmed, violent or non-violent Iraqi on the receiving end of an American rocket blast or bullet spray, regardless of age, gender or political affiliation. (Joey Flores, Marina del Ray, California)
MODERNIZE, v. To do away with, as in modernizing Social Security, labor laws, etc. (Robert Sean Roarty, Atlanta, Georgia)
OBSTRUCTIONIST, n. Any elected representative who dares to question Republican radicals on the issue of the day. (Terry Levine, Toronto, Ontario)
OWNERSHIP SOCIETY, n. A society in which Republican donors own the rest of us. (Adrianne Stevens, Seattle, Washington)
PRIVATIZE, v. To steal the resources of the national community and give them to private business. (Susan Dyer, Ottsville, Pennsylvania)
REFORM, v. To eliminate, as in tort reform (to eliminate all lawsuits against businesses and corporations) or Social Security and Medicare reform (to eliminate these programs altogether). (Darren Staley, Millers Creek, North Carolina)
STRICT CONSTRUCTIONIST, n. A judge with extremely conservative beliefs, who interprets laws in a manner that fits his/rarely-her own belief systems, while maintaining that this was the original intent of the law. (Floyd Doney, Athens, Ohio)
SUPPORT THE MILITARY, v. To praise Bush when he sends our young men and women off to die for no reason and without proper body armor. (Marc Goldberg, Vancouver, Washington)
TAX REFORM, n. The shifting of the tax burden from unearned income to earned income, or rather, from the wealthy elite to the working class. (Eric Evans, Gregory, Michigan)
TORT REFORM, n. Corporate immunity and impunity. (Sue Bazy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
UNITER, n. A Leader who brings together his followers by fomenting hatred for anyone who disagrees with him. (Larry Allred, Las Cruces, New Mexico)