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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

State Should Invest In Those Who Do Good

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/27/07 08:55

By Christopher Truscott

The Minnesota Senate should be applauded for its vote to pull the state's investments out of companies that benefit Sudan's government.

Of course we shouldn't put money into businesses that turn a blind eye to genocide in the name of making a buck. It should go without saying.

That it took us four years to make the decision to disinvest from such companies is, of course, another matter. Where were we in 2004? 2005? 2006? It's better late than never, apparently.

But why stop here?

Sure, the crisis in the Darfur region has big names from Hollywood speaking out, but it shouldn't take George Clooney to move the Minnesota Legislature to action.

There are opportunities to do the right thing with our state's money each year. If lack of involvement in genocide is the barometer we're using to determine whether someone's worthy of an investment that doesn't say much for us.

We shouldn't just run from businesses that play footsies with murderous regimes. We should also turn away from those who pollute the environment, pay sub-standard wages and export American jobs.

Since disinvestment from companies that work with Sudan is viewed as a strong economic punishment, why shouldn't we also use our money to reward those companies that do good? Why not invest exclusively in companies we would be proud to work for ourselves?

Christopher Truscott can be reached at chris.truscott@gmail.com. If he could come up with $500, he'd buy a share of Google.
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The War on Words

Category: US Politics
Posted: 04/25/07 12:38

by Dave Mindeman

During the Cold War, propaganda was the weapon of choice. The nuclear deterrents were working but the Capitalist-Communist tug of war depended upon expanding spheres of influence. Since the military was balanced and in check, the war of words became the weapon that was most effective.

Governments lie. They lie to the world, they lie to their own people, they lie to themselves. We would like to think that the United States, with its designs on being the world's moral authority, would at least be more careful on how it disseminates information. Such is not the case.

I think we have all heard the phrase, "The first casualty of war is truth." That is a fact.

Yesterday's hearings involving Jessica Lynch and the family of Pat Tillman were a welcome move toward correcting the record. It is too bad that the Penatagon information (propaganda) machine felt it had to exaggerate their exemplary service to our country.

This "War on Terror" has few real battlefields and the enemy has no flag. Our best weapon is the example we set in human rights, third world support, disaster relief, and economic fairness. We have been found wanting on all fronts.

Instead of refuting the terrorist propaganda that we don't care about the poor... that we only care about our own self interest in oil and economic power.... and that we violate our own human rights standards... instead of refuting all that, we have reenforced it.

Invading Iraq, Abu Ghraib, the Katrina disaster, ignoring South America, slow reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, violating religious customs and cultures, and putting our own freedoms at risk... all of this is not the way to show the world that our ideas and methods are superior to those who terrorize us.

We have not lost any war but we are losing credibility. In a war where words have so much meaning, we have lost an important battle.

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What Next, Mr. President?

Category: US Politics
Posted: 04/24/07 18:04

By Christopher Truscott

Sometime in the next few days President George W. Bush will officially reject troop-funding legislation that calls for an end to major U.S. involvement in Iraq's civil war by April 1, 2008.

He's going to use his second veto as president to kill a bill that would end a quagmire.

Unfortunately that's his prerogative. Despite George Mason's best efforts at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, "maladministration" isn't grounds for impeachment, so the president is free to do as he pleases in this regard. In fact, he can maladminister all he wants until he leaves office 20 months from now.

But before the president wipes the dust off his veto pen he should tell the American people where he believes we'll be 11 months from now. Democrats have been clear on this: by next spring the bulk of the U.S. fighting force will be redeployed from Iraq. What about the president? Where does he believe we'll be then?

Does he believe the death toll in Iraq will begin to slow, even though it's held tragically steady since 2004?

Does he believe the Iraqi government will be able to exercise real authority outside the Green Zone? (And of course the Green Zone isn't even safe today.)

Does he believe Iraqis will somehow change their opinion on the U.S. occupation? For the first time since the invasion, a majority of Iraqis believe it is "acceptable" to attack American troops. Is that number supposed to go down?

Does he believe we'll be any closer to "mission accomplished" than we are today?

Does he believe his horrendous failure of a policy will somehow take hold and Sunnis and Shiites will magically stop killing each other and embrace western-style democracy?

Sadly, the president ? with his faith-based approach to governing ? has become the personification of a timeless Danish proverb: "The sky is not less blue because the blind man does not see it."

Of course that's no consolation to the 70 percent of Americans who see the world and our president as they really are.

Christopher Truscott can be reached at chris.truscott@gmail.com. Perhaps the next president will make Bush ambassador to Iraq.
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