Volume 21, Number 11
Battle of St Paul
“FREE GAZA MOVEMENT”
Breaking Gaza's Seige
The Infamous Three G's
Outrageous Gift Offer
Goodbye to Bush Offer
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
Quo Vadis Culture Wars?
US Nuke Threat
Bush Seeks Legacy
Globalization v. Democracy
Jeffrey M. Smith
Eleanor J. Bader
Abortion & Life
Eleanor J. Bader
The American War in Pakistan
Bailout & Election
Bush Economic Legacy
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Bush Frantically Seeks a Legacy
In 2004, at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, President Bush's contribution to the evening's entertainment was his narration of a slide show that pictured him looking around the Oval Office for weapons of mass destruction. In one of the shots, Bush is looking under some furniture and remarks: "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere...." Flash forward to this year's dinner, where Bush played highlights from a number of his previous appearances. In a wise decision, he left out the WMD skit. These days, Bush is no longer concerned about whether WMDs existed in Iraq—instead, he is desperately seeking a legacy.
Team Bush is looking for anything that might belie the fact that a majority of Americans believe that President Bush will go down as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. At this point, it appears that the search has landed him back where he started when, a week after his inauguration in 2001, Bush, surrounded by a host of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy, unveiled his faith-based initiative by issuing an executive order creating the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI). He followed that up with another executive order that eventually established Faith-Based and Community offices at 11 federal agencies.
Though Congress has never even come close to passing legislation legally enacting it, Bush's faith-based initiative has spread its tentacles to a host of federal, state, and local government agencies—35 governors and more than 70 mayors, both Democratic and Republican, have established programs modeled after the federal Faith-Based and Community Initiatives program.
On June 26, 2008 Bush appeared at a Washington, DC conference sponsored by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, where senior administration officials, policymakers, and over 1,000 public- and private-sector representatives of faith-based organizations had gathered. Bush once again touted the successes of his faith-based initiative: "You've helped revolutionize the way government addresses the greatest challenges facing our society," he told an appreciative crowd. "I truly believe the Faith-Based Initiative is one of the most important initiatives of this Administration."
Two days later, during his weekly Saturday radio address, Bush again praised the faith-based initiative, talking about his "new approach called ‘compassionate conservatism'.... Because of you, I'm confident that the progress we have made over the past eight years will continue. Because of you, countless souls have been touched and lives have been healed."
Coincidentally, on June 28, an op-ed piece by Jim Towey, the head person at the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from 2002 to 2006, appeared in the Washington Post. Towey's article "Who'll Keep the Faith-Based Initiative?" also praised the achievements of the program and argued that regardless of who is elected president, the initiative should be continued and enhanced.
That same week, Ryan Messmore, the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at the Heritage Foundation, penned a column for the Modesto Bee titled "Success of faith-based initiative proves the power of the personal." Messmore wrote: "Those who stand in Washington, DC, typically see problems such as poverty, homelessness, and drug addiction in terms of statistics, costs, and caseloads. This view nurtures the mindset that these problems can be solved only by government programs fueled by ever-increasing spending."
Messmore assured readers that it isn't government that can respond to these dire situations. It is "religious and community-based organizations, which President Bush has rightly highlighted from the earliest days of his campaign right up through today ...[that are t]he best expressions of this reorientation toward the local, the flexible and the personal."
From the outset, Bush's faith-based initiative has been rife with controversy. In the beginning, religious right leaders such as Rev. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson opposed the initiative because they thought it would funnel money to groups like the Church of Scientology and the Nation of Islam. (Falwell and Robertson later changed their minds.) There have been a number of lawsuits challenging the use of such groups in prisons. Faith-based groups have also been criticized for how they have used government money, including religious discrimination in hiring, religious proselytizing, and disregard for church-state separation.
Earlier this year, Jay Hein told the Washington Times that it was time for critics, who he called "alarmists," to get over themselves: "‘Can a religious charity provide a social service?' is no longer a question. The question is ‘How?'"
Hein may be best remembered for a U.S. Supreme Court case, Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare reported that in 2007, "The Supreme Court ruled in the White House's favor that FFRF, an advocate of church-state separation, did not have the right to sue the federal government for sponsoring national conferences to promote the goals of the Faith-Based and Community Initiative, partially because the White House expenditures were not specifically authorized by Congress."
Barry Lynn, executive director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington, DC-based watchdog group, said "As far as we're concerned, Hein just continued to spread the Bush Administration's misguided faith-based agenda. He seemed to have the same disregard for basic civil rights and civil liberties as his predecessors in the office. If Hein is remembered, it will likely be because his name is on a Supreme Court decision that undercuts the right of Americans to go into court and challenge misuse of tax dollars for religious purposes."
Proof of "Outcomes?"
Frederick Clarkson, co-founder of the blog Talk2Action wrote in an e-mail interview: "Given the Rovian politicization of the grant process—an updated version of the old fashioned spoils system; dressed-up and inoculated from criticism by the term ‘faith-based'—I would wager that a serious study would prove Mr. Bush wrong."
According to Clarkson, "The premise at the outset of the White House Office was that religious agencies were discriminated against or otherwise disadvantaged in obtaining federal grants and contracts...[a claim that] former Faith-Based Initiative official David Kuo has acknowledged that there was no evidence to support.
"Whether coming from the point of view of warm-hearted evangelicalism, or ruthless Republican preferences for privatization of social services, the result has been the same: a diversion of federal funds from existing programs to fund inexperienced and unproved agencies for the sole reason that they were religious and almost exclusively Christian," Clarkson added.
Documented studies continue to be pretty much non-existent. While there are many anecdotes that the president likes to pass off as proof of its success, there is no body of scientific evidence showing that faith-based organizations perform better than, or equal to, secular or government organizations providing similar services.
Ironically, Bush's mini-campaign hyping his faith-based initiative came only days after ABC News revealed that the faith-based initiative was rewarding contracts to administration cronies. According to ABC News, "A former top official in the White House's faith-based office was awarded a lucrative Department of Justice grant under pressure from two senior Bush administration appointees, according to current and former DOJ staff members and a review of internal DOJ documents and emails."
ABC pointed out that a $1.2 million grant "was jointly awarded to a consulting firm run by Lisa Trevino Cummins who previously headed Hispanic outreach efforts for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and a California evangelical group, Victory Outreach. The grant was awarded," ABC found, "over the strong objections of career DOJ staff who did not believe that Victory Outreach was qualified for the grant and that too great an amount of funds was going to Cummins' consulting company instead of being spent on services for children."
ABC News revelations were only the latest information that contradicts the president's rose-colored view of the faith-based initiative. In his book, Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, David Kuo, former second-in-command of the White House Office, provided an insider's account of how the Bush White House politicized the initiative, sometimes rejected applications for federal faith-based funds because they came from non-Christian applicants, mocked leaders of the Christian Right, and betrayed the essence of the faith-based initiative's charge to help the poor.
Kuo "confesses that he and [Jim] Towey hatched a scheme to hold faith-based conferences in congressional districts where Republican incumbents were in political trouble in the 2002 elections," Joe Conn, of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, recently reported.
"The events would showcase the Republican candidates as friends of the disadvantaged and hold out the prospect of federal funding to clergy and charity officials. White House political operatives loved the idea. The scheme was carried out and 19 of 20 targeted GOP candidates won," Conn wrote. In his mid-March interview with the Washington Times, Hein denied that FBCI has served as a political vehicle.
"Compassionate conservatism" and Bush's faith-based initiative comprise a religious patronage system, the political packaging of the conservative movement's long-term goals of limited government, privatization, deregulation, and the creation of a new social contract. "Compassionate conservatism" was "promptly abandoned in favor of tax cuts for the rich, program cuts for everybody else and out-of-control budget deficits driven by the military debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq," the Sacramento News & Review's R.V. Scheide recently pointed out.
With Bush scrambling in search of a legacy, it is interesting that he would turn back the clock to the early days of his Administration when his faith-based initiative appeared fresh and promising.
Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering conservative movements.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.