On Sunday afternoon, June 4, 2006, a Forum, which dealt with the topic of “Iraq, Iran and Militarism,” was held at the Cork Gallery in Baltimore. It is located near the historic Greenmount Cemetery. (1) The event was sponsored by the “Generations for Peace and Democracy,” a progressive group. The speaker at the affair was the popular anti-war activist, Kevin Zeese.
Zeese said, “We know that both parties are selling the country to the highest bidder. So, in a historical context, where do you want to be? Republicans controlled by corporations? Democrats controlled by corporations? Or, with some independent movement that is going to challenge the lack of representation of the people. I think in a historical context, we know where we want to be…What we do now will have an effect. We make a difference. So, waking people up to make a difference is very important to moving things forward electorally.”
Zeese is the director of DemocracyRisingUS., an organization working to end the Iraqi War and the Occupation. He served as the press secretary for Ralph Nader in 2004. Presently, he is an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, who is looking to bring together, in a unity campaign, the combined electoral efforts of the Green, Populist and Libertarian Parties, along with disenchanted members of the state’s Democratic and Republican organizations. According to this morning’s Baltimore Sun, “15.3 percent of the state’s 3 million registered voters were either unaffiliated with a political party or enrolled in a minor party. That’s up from 13.4 percent of 2.7 million voters in 2000.” (2)
Zeese underscored in his over hour long address that, “we’ve got to break the two party straight jacket, so people can vote for what they believe in and make their own choice. The two parties treat all of us as children, as lazy morons, who are stuck watching too much TV…So, many voters feel trapped.”
The general election, in Maryland, is set for Nov. 7, 2006. Zeese has labeled the two opposition parties as “corporate dominated.” He has written that if there was ever a moment for Marylanders “to get organized” and to “throw the bums out,” it’s right now. (3) The Baltimore Sun also wrote that Zeese is “addressing issues that major parties won’t, such as challenging U.S. policy in Israel and a tax-reform plan that would exempt an individual’s first $100,000 in income from taxation.”(2)
Continuing with his remarks, Zeese said: “I’m the only person in the U.S. Senate race in Maryland, other than [candidate] Bob Kaufman, who’s opposed [to the U.S.] bombing Iran. And a lot of that again is Hard Right Israeli Lobby pressure. Richard Cohen, who writes for the Washington Post, said that 65 percent of the Democratic Party’s resources comes from the Hard Right Israeli Lobby and 35 percent of the Republican Party’s resources come from the same [place].”
As of today’s date, 2,475 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and another 17,869 seriously wounded. We won’t know, however, for years what effects the radioactive depleted uranium dust has had on the health, and sanity, of those required to serve in Iraq, as well as on the 27 million peoples of that unfortunate country. (4) The cost to U.S. taxpayers for the conflict now stands at $286 billion. The number of Iraqis slain may be as high as 300,000. (5) In addition to the disgraceful Abu Ghraib torture scandal, recent reports indicate that some of the U.S. troops may have engaged in war crimes by intentionally slaughtering unarmed Iraqi civilians, including children. The inept Pentagon czar, Donald Rumsfeld, responded to these latest alleged outrages by suggesting a course “in ethics” for troops. Let’s hope that he doesn’t appoint that confessed fraudster, Jack Abramoff, to handle that job.
Meanwhile, the prime architect of the Iraqi War, the then-Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, a grotesque Neocon, has come out of this debacle smelling like a rose. He was rewarded with the high paying sinecure of the presidency of the World Bank, in Washington, D.C. It is also beyond cavil that the country was lied into the war by slick operatives of the Bush-Cheney Gang, who were aided an abetted by War Hawks in the U.S. Congress, like: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), and the convicted felon and now ex-member of the House of Representatives, Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA). (6) To view pictures of some of dead, and tortured, from the Iraqi bloodbath, go to this footnote. (7)
Zeese touched, in detail, on a variety of subjects, like: on the global economy, the Arms Race, the Middle East and the Militarization of Space, too. He would then engage the audience with their questions. Concluding his comments, Zeese said: “What we are doing to the environment is not a debate anymore. And if we don’t act quickly, I mean in five to ten years. We will have to get some serious changes going to our policies to avoid an environmental disaster and that will be global. These guys [the Energy Industry] are worried about their profits, which are already so outlandish and that’s a whole other story, while ignoring this one…the state of our environment.” (8)
WILLIAM HUGHES writes for the Baltimore Chronicle.
1. Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, among tens of thousands of others, is buried in Greenmount Cemetery. Allen Dulles, once a CIA kingpin, is also entombed there. The locals believe Dulles’ grave is “bugged!” Former Baltimore mayors and Maryland governors; along with notable benefactors, too, who greatly enriched the community; like: Enoch Pratt and Johns Hopkins, lie buried there. Many Confederate and Union veterans of the Civil War also rest in peace in Greenmount Cemetery. See,
2. David Nitkin, June 4, 2006, “Perils of the state’s angry politics.”
8. A Video of excerpts of the above event can be found here:
© WILLIAM HUGHES 2006.
Film of Zeese speaking to Generations for Peace and Democracy: “Kevin Zeese on Breaking the Two Party Straightjacket”visit: http://homepage.mac.com/bhughes2/iMovieTheater202.html