Nov 18 NYC teach-in on Indigenous Peoples' Resistance to Economic Globalization





7 East 7th St. (at Third Avenue), from 1 PM to 10 PM

The International Forum on Globalization (IFG) and the Tebtebba Foundation are pleased to announce a public Teach-In celebrating major milestones in the rising resistance and political power of indigenous peoples against the invasions of corporate globalization. The event will feature 30 indigenous and non-indigenous speakers and will celebrate three important developments:

The passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations General Assembly. This momentous achievement, after 22 years of struggle, creates one of the most important political documents of our era, serving to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, their crucial right of self-determination, their collective rights, and sovereignty. Indigenous speakers active in the Declaration process will be present.

The recent political gains of indigenous peoples, especially in South America. They have succeeded in influencing progressive political outcomes in many countries, including election of indigenous leader Evo Morales, president of Bolivia. Speakers actively involved in these struggles will join us.

The publication of a new, expanded edition of “Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Globalization,” edited by Jerry Mander and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, published by Sierra Club Books. The book contains 28 articles on the major issues facing indigenous communities throughout the world, and highlights the many ways their resistance continues to counter corporate globalization’s drive to exploit the world’s last remaining natural resources, much of which is on native lands.


Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Igorot, Philippines), chair, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,
director, Tebtebba Foundation, co-editor Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples Resistance to Economic Globalization.*

Winona LaDuke (Ashinaabeg), indigenous activist, director, White Earth Land Recovery Project, founder, Honor the Earth, author, All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life.*

Tom Goldtooth (Dine’ and Mdewakanton Dakota), director, Indigenous Environmental Network.*

Oren Lyons (Onondaga), faithkeeper, the Turtle Clan, Professor of American Studies, University of Buffalo.*

John Mohawk (Seneca), professor of Indigenous Studies, University of Buffalo, author, Utopian Legacies: A History of Conquest and Oppression in the Western World.*

Jerry Mander, founder, International Forum on Globalization, author, In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations, and co-editor, Paradigm Wars.*

Chief Arthur Manuel (Secwepem, Canada), Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade.*

Mililani Trask (Kanaka Maoli, Hawai’i), indigenous advocate and international human rights expert.*

Joseph Ole Simel (Masaai, Kenya), director, Mainyoito Pastoralist Integrated Development Organization.*

Chief Vilson Benedito de Oliveira (Tupinikim, Brazil), member Tupinikim/Guarani Commission, chief of Caieiras Vehlas.*

Luis Macas (Kichwa, Ecuador), 2006 presidential candidate; founder, Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE).*

Special Guest:
Q’orianka Kilcher (Quechua/Huachipaeri), actress, “The New World.”*

Jeannette Armstrong (Okanagan, Canada), director, En’owkin Centre, recipient of Buffet Award (2003) for Indigenous Leadership.*

Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet Indian Tribe), Executive Director, Native American Community Development Corporation.*

Joan Carling (Igorot, Philippines), Cordillera Peoples Alliance.*

Vandana Shiva (India), founder and director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy, recipient Right Livelihood Award, author, Monocultures of the Mind.

Mirian Masaquiza UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.*

Ali El-Issa Director, Flying Eagle Woman Fund.*

Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson (Haida, Canada), attorney and director, White Raven Law.*

Sheila Watt Cloutier (Inuk) former chair, Inuit Circumpolar Conference.*

Beverly Bell, Coordinator, Other Worlds Are Possible Collaborative, former director, Center for Economic Justice, author, Social Movements and Economic Integration in the Americas.*

Atossa Soltani, director, Amazon Watch.*

Elsa Stamatopoulou, chief of the Secretariat, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.*

Luis Macas, (Quechua, Ecuador), Goldman Prize Award Winner, 2006 Presidential candidate for Ecuador.

Melissa Nelson (Ojibwe), executive director, Cultural Conservancy.*

Maude Barlow, national chairperson, Council of Canadians.*

Judith Kimerling, professor of law, City University of New York.*

many others, to be announced



$10 for students/seniors – Student/Senior Tickets

$15 for general admission – General Admission Tickets

Or call, 1-212-219-2527, ext. 2
New York Open Center


Author and International Forum on Globalization founder, Jerry Mander, will be discussing the IFG’s recent book Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Globalization, published by Sierra Club Books, in various U.S. cities over the next few months. He will be joined by other contributing authors and indigenous activists at many of the book events. Please join him at one of these locations and share this information with friends, family and colleagues.

November 6, 2006
Modern Times Bookstore
7:30 pm
888 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA

Joining Jerry at Modern Times will be Atossa Soltani of Amazon Watch and Victor Menotti of IFG.

November 8, 2006
Bluestockings Books
7:00 pm
172 Allen Street
New York, NY

November 13, 2006
McNally-Robinson Booksellers
7:00 pm
52 Prince St
New York, NY

Joining Jerry will be Victor Menotti of IFG.

November 14, 2006
Robin’s Bookstore
7:00 pm
1837 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA

November 15, 2006
Busboys and Poets
6:30 pm
2021 14th Street
Washington, DC
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, co-editor of Paradigm Wars, will be joining Jerry at Busboys and Poets, along with Atossa Soltani and Victor Menotti.

November 28, 2006
Cody’s Books
7:00 pm
2 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, co-editor of Paradigm Wars, will be joining Jerry, along with Atossa Soltani and Victor Menotti.

December 6, 2006
City Lights Books
7:00 pm
261 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, co-editor of Paradigm Wars, will be joining Jerry, along with Atossa Soltani and Victor Menotti.

December 10, 2006
Elliot Bay Book Company
2:00 pm
101 South Main Street
Seattle, WA

December 12, 2006
Third Place Books
7:00 pm
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA (12 miles north of downtown Seattle)

December 13, 2006
St Johns Booksellers
7:30 pm
8622 N. Lombard
Portland, OR

Republicans, Democrats: two flavors of the Corporate Business Party.

Democrats Get Late Donations From Business – New York Times

October 28, 2006

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 — Corporate America is already thinking beyond Election Day, increasing its share of last-minute donations to Democratic candidates and quietly devising strategies for how to work with Democrats if they win control of Congress.

The shift in political giving, for the first 18 days of October, has not been this pronounced in the final stages of a campaign since 1994, when Republicans swept control of the House for the first time in four decades.

Though Democratic control of either chamber of Congress is far from certain, the prospect of a power shift is leading interest groups to begin rethinking well-established relationships, with business lobbyists going as far as finding potential Democratic allies in the freshman class — even if they are still trying to defeat them on the campaign trail — and preparing to extend an olive branch the morning after the election.

Lobbyists, some of whom had fallen out of the habit of attending Democratic events, are even talking about making their way to the Sonnenalp Resort in Vail, Colo., where Representative Nancy Pelosi of California is holding a Speaker’s Club ski getaway on Jan. 3. It is an annual affair, but the gathering’s title could be especially apt for Ms. Pelosi, the House minority leader, who will be on hand to accept $15,000 checks, and could, if everything breaks her way, become the first woman to be House speaker.

“Attendance will be high,” said Steve Elmendorf, a former Democratic Congressional aide who has a long list of business lobbying clients. “All Democratic events will see a big increase next year, no question.”

While business groups contained their Democratic contributions to only a handful of candidates throughout the year, a shifting political climate and an expanding field of competitive Congressional races has drawn increased donations from corporate political action committees.

For the first nine months of the year, for example, Pfizer’s political action committee had given 67 percent of contributions to Republican candidates. But October ushered in a sudden change of fortune, according to disclosure reports, and Democrats received 59 percent of the Pfizer contributions.

Over all, the nation’s top corporations still placed larger bets on Republican candidates. But at the very time Republicans began to fret publicly about holding control of Congress, a subtle shift began occurring in contributions to candidates, particularly in open seats.

“We keep fighting up until the last minute of the last day,” said William C. Miller, vice president for political affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, carefully measuring his words to remain positive about the Republicans’ chances. “But when the smoke clears on Nov. 8, there are certainly going to be lots of opportunities for us to get to know the new freshman class.”

An analysis by The New York Times of contributions from Oct. 1 to 18, the latest data available, shows that donations to Republicans from corporate political action committees dropped by 11 percentage points in favor of Democratic candidates, compared with corporate giving from January through September.

Republicans still received 57 percent of contributions, compared with 43 percent for Democrats, but it was the first double-digit October switch since 1994. “A lot will hold their powder for now,” said Brian Wolff, deputy executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “But after the election, we will have a lot of new friends.”

Even before the election, many new contributions were funneled toward open races, like the Eighth Congressional District in Arizona. The Democratic candidate, Gabrielle Giffords, received checks of $5,000 each from the political action committees of United Parcel Service and Union Pacific. Lockheed Martin split the difference, donating $3,000 to Ms. Giffords and sending the same amount to her Republican rival, Randall Graf.

Until October, Lockheed Martin, the giant military contractor, had been following its pattern from recent elections of giving about 70 percent of contributions from its political action committee to Republicans. But Lockheed Martin’s generosity shifted in the first half of October, with Democrats receiving 60 percent of donations, or $127,000.

While Republicans and Democrats are feverishly soliciting contributions until Election Day, campaign finance reports filed this week provide a window into the final days of a raucous midterm election campaign. The analysis of 288 corporate political action committees, which have contributed more than $100,000 this election cycle, found that at least 65 committees had increased their ratio of contributions to Democrats by at least 15 percentage points, including Sprint, United Parcel Service and Hewlett-Packard.

A notable exception to the flurry of last-minute giving is Wal-Mart.

“We had a two-year strategy to build up relationships with Democrats,” said Lee Culpepper, the vice president for federal government relations at Wal-Mart. “This wasn’t something that we decided in August that we needed to do and we ran out helter-skelter to try to do it.”

One sign of fresh interest in the prospects of Democratic Congressional races came one morning this week when more than 100 lobbyists crowded into Democratic Party headquarters on Capitol Hill. Over Dunkin’ Donuts and coffee, the executive director of the party’s Congressional committee, Karin Johanson, delivered a private briefing on the race to a sea of unfamiliar faces, despite spending 30 years in politics.

“People are excited,” she said later in an interview. “It was, by far, the best attended one ever.”

As some young Republican lobbyists fled Washington to spend the final days working on too-close-to-call races in Ohio or Pennsylvania, their senior counterparts stayed behind to begin studying prospective members of the new freshman class. Even if Republicans hold control, the next Congress will almost certainly include at least a handful of moderate Democrats who defeated Republicans and will be looking for allies in the corporate world.

Peter Welch, the Democratic candidate for Vermont’s single House seat, has already been telephoning some members of the Washington business lobby, offering an opportunity to begin a good relationship if he wins election. Never mind that his Republican opponent, Martha Rainville, has received a host of endorsements from the business community.

“The real story of the 2006 contributions is what happens in the early phase of 2007, with a change in party control,” said Bernadette A. Budde, senior vice president of the Business-Industry Political Action Committee. “There will be proverbial meet-and-greets all over town so we will have a sense of who these people are.”

Many of these meet-and-greet sessions will have a dual purpose: political action committees will offer contributions to help candidates wipe away debt their campaigns accrued during the race.

Spending in the midterm election campaign is forecast to reach $2.6 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, including $1 billion from political action committees. While many business groups have been eager to appear as if they have been handily contributing to Democratic efforts, it was not until this month that the trend became apparent enough to quantify beyond party leaders or prospective committee chairmen.

Democrats who are not in tight races — or even standing for re-election in some cases — have seen their contributions increase more than some of those facing the most competitive contests. That is an easy way, lobbyists say, for political action committees to increase the share of their Democratic contributions, a percentage that is carefully tracked by party leaders when they reach the majority.

Representative Adam Smith of Washington, who leads a coalition of centrist Democrats, said he has detected a friendlier relationship with the business community in recent months, a welcome change from years of Republican rule when “Democrats were basically frozen out in every way.”

“I hope that the new Democratic majority will take a more open and cooperative approach,” Mr. Smith said in an interview. “I hope there won’t be a sense of, ‘Oh, you gave too much money to Republicans, so we’re not going to talk to you.’ ”

Fela Kuti Day 2007

Oct 28
2 – 6pm
Leimert Park

Afrobeat Down
Wanlov & The Broken English Band
Isaac Sundiata – Afrodicia Poetry
Sandra Iszadore Queen of Afrobeat

Authentic Nigerian Cuisine from Veronica’s Fufuland
FREE Admission

Humour abounds amid Lagos chaos

By Kieran Cooke
BBC News, Nigeria
Broadcast on Saturday, 28 October, 2006 at 1130 BST on BBC Radio 4.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and has the potential to be one of the richest, but has been plagued by corruption since independence in 1960. But as our correspondent found on a visit to the sprawling city of Lagos, there’s another side to life – the unfailing humour with which Nigerians confront the trials of daily living.

It happened as the aircraft was about to lift off. A muffled explosion followed by a grating, turbulent sound, rather like a dishwasher gone berserk.

We were flung forward as engines were reversed, brakes slammed on.

The ornate red hat of the podgy man next to me went flying down the cabin, closely followed by a pile of newspapers, a handbag and, the most strange sight of all, a carton of washing powder.

My friend Ibim, a local journalist intent on showing me what she called “the real Nigeria” far away from Lagos, grabbed my thigh in a blood-stopping clasp. We came to a halt, slightly skewed, not far from the end of the runway.

What was most impressive about the incident at Lagos airport – besides the split second decision making of the pilot – was the behaviour of those on board.

No screams, no tears. A shrugging of shoulders – and then, chuckles and laughter.

“You see,” said Ibim. “We Nigerians can take anything.”

It is as if locals combat the haphazard, often frightening world they inhabit with bellyfuls of humour.

“Welcome to Nigeria, the happiest country in Africa” says the sign at the airport – while another carries a more worrying message – “Mind the Roof”, it says.

We limped back to the terminal. The pilot – he had a Russian accent – announced that there had been what he called a “bird strike”.

It must have been some bird. After inspection, one of the two engines was found to be more or less wrecked.

Lagos is one of those places where you wonder just how anything manages to function. It is a city of, well, no-one is entirely sure of the population, but estimates vary between 13-15 million.

Built on a swamp and a series of islands, it is sinking. There is no mass transit system, no proper sewage network, drinking water for only a small portion of the city, and a power supply that is more off than on.

All this in a country which is one of the world’s biggest oil producers but where the majority live in poverty. Nigeria recently celebrated 46 years of independence. Reading the newspapers was a sad business.

“Where did we go wrong?” they asked. Education and health systems which were among the best in Africa, in shambles.

For years the state coffers have been pillaged by the privileged few: again the figures vary widely, but there is no doubt billions of pounds have “gone missing” from state funds over the years.

And yet – amid all the chaos, the potholes and the blackouts – there is a vibrant energy about Lagos, a sense of living on the edge and again, that humour.

Sit in a Lagos traffic jam and look at the dented, people-crammed yellow buses that limp and belch their way round the city.

All seem to have messages elegantly written on them.

“Such is Life” says one. “No Tension” says another – horn blaring.

And – painted on the side of a particularly rusty, blue-smoking, smashed-up-looking bus, my favourite, thought provoking, message: “The downfall of man is not the end of his life.”

In 1991, the capital was moved from Lagos to the far more orderly, new city of Abuja in the centre of the country. All over Lagos there are the abandoned, ugly hulks of what were once central government offices and ministries.

But each weekend officials scurry back from Abuja to this sinking city by the sea, seeming to crave its chaos and its madness.

Such is the state of Lagos traffic – it is not unusual for people to spend six hours a day getting to and from work – that many people do not go shopping, rather the shops come to them.

You can buy everything you need from hawkers who patrol the queues of buses, cars and trucks.

Need a curtain rail? No problem, just wind down the car window.

A mirror? Your groceries? A book, chair or a lampshade? It is all there, in the midst of the choking traffic. One man even had armfuls of toilet seats on offer.

One of the more important roadside industries is the manufacture of formidable looking iron doors and gates.

The wealthy of Lagos live in fortresses – high walls topped with rolls of razor wire. Armed guards. Surveillance cameras.

But then, there is the other side of life. One of the most vibrant music scenes in Africa. Churches of every description side by side with mosques. A strong literary culture.

Back at the airport there is an announcement.

“The replacement aircraft is being serviced” said a cheery voice. “You’ll be on your way just as soon as we’ve put the plane back together again.”

Ibim and I – and the other passengers – collapsed in fits of thigh-grabbing, shoulder-thumping laughter.

We did get there in the end.


This coming Friday, October 27th, there will be a release party for the new issue of Michael Kupperman’s masterpiece of modern humor, TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE (#3).

It’s at Rocketship, the most excellent comics store located at 208 Smith Street in Brooklyn, between 8 and 10 PM. Beer and wine will be served.

Progress toward achieving "Idiocracy" in America – update

Washington Post

The Year Of Playing Dirtier
Negative Ads Get Positively Surreal
By Michael Grunwald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 27, 2006; A01

Rep. Ron Kind pays for sex!

Well, that’s what the Republican challenger for his Wisconsin congressional seat, Paul R. Nelson, claims in new ads, the ones with “XXX” stamped across Kind’s face.

It turns out that Kind — along with more than 200 of his fellow hedonists in the House — opposed an unsuccessful effort to stop the National Institutes of Health from pursuing peer-reviewed sex studies. According to Nelson’s ads, the Democrat also wants to “let illegal aliens burn the American flag” and “allow convicted child molesters to enter this country.”

To Nelson, that doesn’t even qualify as negative campaigning.

“Negative campaigning is vicious personal attacks,” he said in an interview. “This isn’t personal at all.”

By 2006 standards, maybe it isn’t.

On the brink of what could be a power-shifting election, it is kitchen-sink time: Desperate candidates are throwing everything. While negative campaigning is a tradition in American politics, this year’s version in many races has an eccentric shade, filled with allegations of moral bankruptcy and sexual perversion.

At the same time, the growth of “independent expenditures” by national parties and other groups has allowed candidates to distance themselves from distasteful attacks on their opponents, while blogs and YouTube have provided free distribution networks for eye-catching hatchet jobs.

“When the news is bad, the ads tend to be negative,” said Shanto Iyengar, a Stanford professor who studies political advertising. “And the more negative the ad, the more likely it is to get free media coverage. So there’s a big incentive to go to the extremes.”

The result has been a carnival of ugly, especially on the GOP side, where operatives are trying to counter what polls show is a hostile political environment by casting opponents as fatally flawed characters. The National Republican Campaign Committee is spending more than 90 percent of its advertising budget on negative ads, according to GOP operatives, and the rest of the party seems to be following suit. A few examples of the “character issues” taking center stage two weeks before Election Day:

· In New York, the NRCC ran an ad accusing Democratic House candidate Michael A. Arcuri, a district attorney, of using taxpayer dollars for phone sex. “Hi, sexy,” a dancing woman purrs. “You’ve reached the live, one-on-one fantasy line.” It turns out that one of Arcuri’s aides had tried to call the state Division of Criminal Justice, which had a number that was almost identical to that of a porn line. The misdial cost taxpayers $1.25.

· In Ohio, GOP gubernatorial candidate J. Kenneth Blackwell, trailing by more than 20 points in polls, has accused front-running Democratic Rep. Ted Strickland of protecting a former aide who was convicted in 1994 on a misdemeanor indecency charge. Blackwell’s campaign is also warning voters through suggestive “push polls” that Strickland failed to support a resolution condemning sex between adults and children. Strickland, a psychiatrist, objected to a line suggesting that sexually abused children cannot have healthy relationships when they grow up.

· The Republican Party of Wisconsin distributed a mailing linking Democratic House candidate Steve Kagen to a convicted serial killer and child rapist. The supposed connection: The “bloodthirsty” attorney for the killer had also done legal work for Kagen.

· In two dozen congressional districts, a political action committee supported by a white Indianapolis businessman, J. Patrick Rooney, is running ads saying Democrats want to abort black babies. A voice says, “If you make a little mistake with one of your hos, you’ll want to dispose of that problem tout de suite, no questions asked.”

· In the most controversial recent ad, the Republican National Committee slammed Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) for attending a Playboy-sponsored Super Bowl party. In the ad, a scantily clad white actress winks as she reminisces about good times with Ford, who is black. That ad has been pulled, but the RNC has a new one saying Ford “wants to give the abortion pill to schoolchildren.”

Some Democrats are playing rough, too. House candidate Chris Carney is running ads slamming the “family values” of Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.), whose former mistress accused him of choking her. And House candidate Kirsten Gillibrand has an ad online ridiculing Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-N.Y.) for attending a late-night fraternity party. “What’s a 50-year-old man doing at a frat party anyway?” one young woman asks, as a faux Sweeney boogies behind her to the Beastie Boys. “Totally creeping me out!” another responds.

But most harsh Democratic attacks have focused on the policies and performance of the GOP majority, trying to link Republicans to Bush, the unpopular war in Iraq and the scandals involving former representative Mark Foley and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. That is not surprising, given that polls show two-thirds of the electorate thinks the country is going in the wrong direction. And studies show that negative ads can reduce turnout; Democrats hope a constant drumbeat of scandal, Iraq and “stay the course” will persuade conservatives to stay home on Nov. 7.

It is harder for Republicans to blame out-of-power Democrats for the current state of Washington, but they are equally eager to depress Democratic turnout and fire up their conservative base. One GOP strategy has been raising the specter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco liberal, becoming speaker; for example, Rep. John N. Hostettler (R-Ind.) is airing radio ads warning that a Democratic victory would allow Pelosi to “put in motion her radical plan to advance the homosexual agenda.” Then again, Hostettler’s opponent, Democrat Brad Ellsworth, has accused him of promoting the sale of guns to criminals, “including child-rapists.”

Some of this year’s negative ads are more substantive, reprising a successful Republican strategy from 2002 and 2004: portraying Democrats as soft on terrorism. For example, Rep. Nancy L. Johnson (R-Conn.) has an ad lambasting her opponent for opposing Bush’s efforts to conduct wiretaps without search warrants. A host of Democrats have been accused of trying to “cut and run” in Iraq — including House candidate Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who lost both legs in Iraq.

The RNC has raised eyebrows with an ad consisting almost entirely of al-Qaeda videos starring Osama bin Laden and his top deputies. There is no sound except the ticking of a bomb before the final warning: “These are the stakes. Vote November 7th.” John G. Geer, a Vanderbilt professor who has written a book defending negative political ads, said he told a well-connected Republican friend in Washington that the ticking-bomb ploy seemed like a desperation move. The friend e-mailed back: “John, we’re desperate!”

“Look, the electorate is polarized, the stakes are large, and neither party has much to run on right now,” Geer said. “You can expect to see some pretty outlandish ads.”

The “pays for sex” ad against Kind in Wisconsin — along with a similar one aired against Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) — may be the most extreme. It says Kind spent tax dollars to study “the sex lives of Vietnamese prostitutes” and “the masturbation habits of old men” and “to pay teenage girls to watch pornographic movies with probes connected to their genitalia.” Cue the punch line: “Ron Kind pays for sex, but not for soldiers.” The Wisconsin Republican Party denounced the ad, and several TV stations refused to air it, but that only got it more attention. It is the centerpiece of Nelson’s Web site: “This ad is so powerful, a sitting U.S. Congressman threatened TV stations with legal action if they dared to play it.”

Kind joked in an interview that he has been paying for sex ever since he said “I do.” But on a more serious note, he said Nelson’s attack ad is typical of modern politics, in which desperate candidates can attract media coverage and rally their base with distortion. He opposed the amendment in question — as did many Republicans — because he does not think Congress should interfere in peer-reviewed NIH studies, not because of any interest in teenage genitalia. That particular study, incidentally, had nothing to do with teenagers.

“Man, it’s a crazy system, and it’s getting worse every year,” Kind said. “We rip each other to shreds, and then we’re all supposed to come back to Washington and try to work together. It’s a hell of a way to elect representatives.”

At least it is clear who is responsible for Nelson’s ad: Nelson. The Playboy ad bashing Ford, on the other hand, is a typical product of the attack politics of 2006. Its beneficiary, GOP Senate candidate Bob Corker, called it “tacky” but said he cannot do anything about an RNC ad. Even RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman said he is powerless to stop it; it is an “independent expenditure” of the RNC, out of the committee’s control. He doesn’t seem too upset about it, though. Corker has been rising in the polls since it started airing.

Experts say that in the past, negative ads were usually more accurate, better documented and more informative than positive ads; there was a higher burden of proof. Stanford’s Iyengar thinks that is still true for candidate-funded messages, which now require candidates to say they approved them. But it is not true when the messages are produced by political parties, shadowy independent groups or partisans posting on YouTube.

“You’re going to see more of this sensational, off-the-wall stuff,” Iyengar said. “If you get people disgusted, they might withdraw from politics, and that’s the real goal these days.”