Progressive Calendar 10.27.05
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2005 06:38:25 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R      10.27.05

1. Mayoral answers 10.27 10:30am
2. Mpls mingle     10.27 7pm
3. Comic artist    10.27 8:30pm

4. Sensible vigil  10.30 12noon
5. GPSP CC         10.30 4pm
6. Aaron Neumann   10.30 4pm
7. MUI/Samhain     10.30 7pm

8. Superior hiking 10.31 10am Duluth
9. The word on SOA 10.31 12noon

10. Kathy Kelly   - 100,000s pay for the imperial ambitions of a few
11. Mike Marqusee - Empire of denial
12. Joshua Frank  - Fitzgerald v BushCo: hold your elation in check
13. Ted Rall      - Why Bush is unimpeachable
14. David Swanson - Why I'm getting arrested at the White House today
15. Gerard Smith  - To hell in a hand basket
16. ed            - Friends don't let friends vote for Hillary (poem)

--------1 of 16--------

Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005
From: The Sustainable St Paul Team <web [at] elizabethdickinson.org>
Subject: Mayoral answers 10.27 10:30am

Mayoral Questionnaires Available On Thursday!
Come to Our Press Conference & Read the Web Site

On Thursday, Chris Coleman and Randy Kelly's responses to the Sustainable
St Paul Questionnaire will be made public.  You can read the full texts on
our web site:  www.sustainablestpaul.org.

We encourage everyone to read their replies closely and assess.  Let us
here at Sustainable St Paul know what you think.  More importantly, let
your neighborhood and city newspapers know what you think about the
mayoral candidates' stands on sustainability issues!  Offer your opinion
to friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  Continue to advocate for the
cleaner and greener city we're trying to create.

If you're able to, we encourage you to attend our press conference
tomorrow morning.  The press conference is at 10:30am, Thursday, October
27th, in Memorial Hall, St Paul City Hall.

In addition to inviting the media, we've invited the Kelly and Coleman
campaigns to attend, too.  We are trying to do something more positive
than 'politics as usual' and would rather each campaign respond directly
to media questions about their stands on sustainability issues.  Both the
Coleman and Kelly campaigns will have spokespeople at the event.  We'd
love to see you, too.

---
Attend Upcoming Mayoral Debates and Raise Our Issues!

We're hoping to see Sustainable St Paul supporters at each of the next
four mayoral debates.  We're hoping to insert our platform points - and
the key questions we raise - into the upcoming dialogue.

Here's the debate schedule.

Thursday, October 27:  7 pm at Lao Family Community of MN, 320 W.
University and sponsored by WSCO, Got Voice? Got Power!

Friday, October 28:  6:45 on Almanac, Twin Cities Public Television

Tuesday, November 1:  7 pm at Sundin Musical Hall, Hamline University and
sponsored by the Hamline University Student Congress

Wednesday, November 2:  7 pm at Central Presbyterian Church, 500 Cedar
Street and sponsored by MPR, Central Presbyterian Church, Capitol River
District Council

Keep Up the Good Work
We know you're out there.

We know Dickinson supporters are still talking to neighbors and friends,
revisiting the issues, debating our current choices and lamenting the loss
of the better candidate!

Thanks for continuing to think about and advocate for progressive issues.
Together, we've already influenced the mayoral race to this point.  More
importantly, we hope to continue to influence public opinion and policy in
order to create a more sustainable, equitable, and just St Paul.  Thanks
for your part in this!

The Sustainable St Paul Team
Sustainable St Paul
E-mail: mailings [at] elizabethdickinson.org
Phone: (651) 226-3527
Web Site: http://www.elizabethdickinson.org


--------2 of 16--------

From: "Krueger, Rodney" <rodney.krueger [at] frontiercorp.com>
Subject: Mpls mingle 10.27 7pm

What is the Minneapolis Mingle?

  An opportunity to:
   - meet your downtown Minneapolis neighbors
   - learn about the wide array of lifelong learning and recreation options
   - take in a free seminar on a variety of topics
   - mingle with your neighbors and enjoy refreshments from area restaurants
   - get information on schools, parks & libraries

When is it?
Thursday October 27, 7-9pm

Where is it?
Minneapolis Community College, Wheelock Whitney Hall 3rd floor, 1501
Hennepin Av Parking: Hennepin Av ramp ($5 per entry), metered street
parking, & bus routes.

Like to join us?
Please call 612.659.6500 or email Victoria.Lauing [at] minneapolis.edu

Hosted by the Minneapolis Lifelong Learning Collective, including
Minneapolis Community & Technical College, Minneapolis Public Schools,
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, and the Minneapolis Public Library.


--------3 of 16--------

From: Arise! <arise [at] arisebookstore.org>
Subject: Comic artist 10.27 8:30pm

Keith Knight
Comic artist and author of The K Chronicles and The Beginner's Guide to
Community-Based Art
Thursday 10/27
8:30 pm

>From his website: Keef comes to the Midwest with his world famous
comix/slideshow to promote the latest K Chronicles collection The Passion
of the Keef and his brand-new Beginner's Guide to Community-Based Art.

Here's the deal: You show up (casual dress). Keef shows up, sets up his
slide projector and runs through a slide show of some of his comics, along
with stories of censorship, editorial insanity, and the Truth behind some
of the strips. Keef then takes questions from the audience. Finally, you
have the rare opportunity to give Keef money, in exchange for a book or
CD. Keef will write and draw whatever you want on the book.

Note: Because this whole thing has gotten out of hand, Keef will no longer
sign body parts unless they're actually attached to a living body. No
exceptions.

Bio: Keith Knight is part of a new generation of talented young
African-American artists raised on hip-hop; artists who infuse their work
with urgency, edge, humor, satire, politics and race. His work has
appeared in various publications worldwide, including Salon.com, ESPN the
Magazine, L.A. Weekly, MAD Magazine, the Funny Times and World War 3
Illustrated.

Keith has published six books; four collections of his multi-panel strip,
the K Chronicles, and his first collection of single panel strips called
Red, White, Black & Blue: a (th)ink anthology, and most recently, The
Beginner's Guide to Community-Based Art.

Check out his website: http://www.kchronicles.com/


--------4 of 16--------

From: skarx001 <skarx001 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Sensible vigil  10.30 12noon

The sensible people for peace hold weekly peace vigils at the intersection
of Snelling and Summit in StPaul, Sunday between noon and 1pm. (This is
across from the Mac campus.) We provide signs protesting current gov.
foreign and domestic policy. We would appreciate others joining our
vigil/protest.


--------5 of 16--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
Subject: GPSP CC 10.30 4pm

Green Party of St Paul
Coordination Committee (CC) meeting
4pm Sunday, 10.30
Cahoots Coffee House
Selby Av 1/2 block E of Snelling in StPaul


--------6 of 16--------

From: Tom Taylor <tom [at] organicconsumers.org>
Subject: Aaron Neumann 10.30 4pm

River hipsters Isabelle, Phil and Otto Harder, are hosting a house party for
MPLS 3rd Ward Green Party candidate Aaron Neumann on Sunday October 30th
from 4 to 8 in the evening.

Come meet Aaron, support his campaign and view the Mississippi River from
one of the coolest locations in lovely lower NE MPLS.

House Party, Sunday Oct 30th. 4pm to 8 for Aaron Neumann at the Harder's,
2208 Marshall Street N.E.

Aaron Neumann is running for Minneapolis City Council Ward 3.

There will be games for kids,apple cider and more. Hopefully the autumn
weather will let us hang out in the backyard and enjoy the Mississippi
river. Come on over and meet Aaron Neumann


--------7 of 16--------

From: Mike Whelan <mpw4883 [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: MUI/Samhain 10.30 7pm

From: Minnestotans for a United Ireland (651) 645-9506
SAMHAIN (the CELTIC NEW YEAR)

At 7pm on Sunday, October 30, Minnesotans for a United Ireland will
sponsor a bonfire at Newell Park, Fairview Avenue and Pierce/Butler Road,
in celebration of Samhain, the Celtic New Year; a tradition from which the
world receives Halloween. This is a family centered, alcohol free event
that will include Irish music and dance, an update on Irish efforts for
national liberation, and other political issues..

The bonfire is symbolic of the time when Irish and other Celts kept a fire
burning all night to protect everyone from falling over to the other side
as the boundaries between this world and the spirit world were opened up
during the transition between October and November. Come for the fun and
sense of community, stay for the Irish bonfire dance, and don't forget to
bring containers to carry home ashes to be spread on the door of your home
for protection over the next year.

Information: (651) 645-9506


--------8 of 16--------

From: GibbsJudy [at] aol.com
Subject: Superior hiking 10.31 10am Duluth

The Superior Hiking Trail Association seeks volunteers to help build 40
miles of trail through the city of Duluth. No experience is needed, tools
provided. Dress for the weather and bring a lunch.

For more information contact Judy at 391-0886 or gibbsjudyaol.com or go to
the website at www.shta.org.

Monday, October 31, 10-3 pm. Meet at the junction of Grand Avenue/Evergreen
Boulevard and 131st Ave. W.
Wednesday, November 2, 10-3 pm. Meet at the junction of Skyline Parkway and
St. Louis River Road.
Thursday, November 3, 10-3 pm. Meet at the junction of Skyline Parkway and
St. Louis River Road.
Friday, November 4, 10-3 pm. Meet at the junction of Skyline Parkway and St.
Louis River Road.
Saturday, November 5, 10-3 pm. Meet at the parking area on Skyline Parkway
halfway between Haines Rd and Piedmont Avenue.

Judy Gibbs 5875 North Shore Drive Duluth, MN 55804 218-391-0886 (mobile)


--------9 of 16--------

From: mnsoaw [at] circlevision.org
Subject: The word on SOA 10.31 12noon

GET THE WORD OUT-SOA
What is the SOA? What is WHINSEC?
Find out at an informational presentation:

Monday October 31 at 12 Noon
Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC)
Helland Center in the Helland Building
1501 Hennepin Avenue
Downtown Minneapolis

Multi-media presentation geared to those who are new to this issue. The
program includes images, portions of a video, real prisoners of
conscience, Minnesota's history with the campaign, witnesses from
delegations to Central and South American countries and legislative
efforts.

The US Army School of Americas (SOA), based in Fort Benning, Georgia,
trains Latin American soldiers in combat, counter-insurgency, and
counter-narcotics. Graduates of the SOA are responsible for some of the
worst human rights abuses in Latin America. Colombia has the most soldiers
at the school at this time. SOAWatch and our local chapter, MNSOAW is
working to Close the SOA.

www.mnsoaw.org


--------10 of 16--------

100,000s Pay for the Imperial Ambitions of a Few
For Whom They Toll
By KATHY KELLY
CounterPunch
October 26, 2005

Today, in cities and towns throughout the U.S. and beyond, activists will
gather to grieve and protest the carnage wrought by the unlawful and
immoral war in Iraq. Thousands will gather to commemorate the 2,000 lives
of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and call upon U.S. people to stop funding
the war. Others will focus chiefly upon the well over 100,000 Iraqi lives
lost, and, in a campaign launched some months ago, will ring bells 100,000
times 1,000 chimes each in 100 different locations--as names of Iraqi
civilians killed since the start of Shock and Awe are read aloud.

October 25th marked the 2,000th American service-member death in the Iraq
war: October 29th will mark one year since The British Lancet, perhaps the
world's foremost medical journal, estimated from careful research that
tens of thousands of Iraqi people had died due to this same horrific war.
The demonstrations will overlap, but for once we can claim that separate
demonstrations, held simultaneously, can actually raise awareness and
hopefully affect change. These protests are after all the same: One life,
two thousand lives, one hundred thousand lives, or many, many more--are
all too much to pay for the imperial ambitions of the few.

Let me tell you about something I just learned. Eager to help promote the
"100,000 Rings" campaign, I recently accepted an invitation--from a
literature class at a Baltimore community college--to bring some
experiences of injustice and war to the students' literary pursuit--in
this case, the ancient Greek drama, Antigone. It was a surprisingly good
fit. Sophocles' heroine dies utterly forsaken and alone in punishment for
standing against Creon, her king, who decrees that her slain brother,
declared an enemy of state, will rot, unburied, above ground. Antigone
defies the king and adheres to her conscience. In front of witnesses, she
pours dirt upon her brother's corpse, and when the King's guards undo her
work, she returns openly to the scene of her "crime' to repeat her act
once again.

After the King sentences her to be buried alive, the blind seer, Tiresias,
denounces the unjust King, saying: "Thou hast thrust children of the
sunlight to the shades, . . .but keepest in this world . . . a corpse
unburied, unhonoured, all unhallowed," entombing the living and refusing
to honor the dead. When Creon relents, of course it is too late. Tiresias
had warned him of his madness and as the Greeks and others echoing have
said: "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

The lesson for our time is painful.

All over the world, people can see that the U.S. went to war against Iraq
because the ruling elites in this country knew Iraq couldn't fight back.
Enough madness. We are mired in a war that could last ten years or more,
one that is already intensifying other, perhaps even more dangerous
conflicts. Now, whatever security we might establish, as U.S. people or as
people of the world, rests in seeking fair trade relations and raising
vigorous opposition to the warmongers who run this country. Any other
behavior would be madness.

We must not show Creon's callous disregard to those slain by war. A few
months ago, our friend Scott Blackburn went to downtown Chicago, alone,
and rang a bell, once a minute, in memory of each U.S. soldier who had
been killed in Iraq. The dreadful total then was still "only" 1594, and it
kept him there for over 24 hours, ringing his bell once a minute. People
who stopped to talk with him learned that honoring the other dead of this
war would take months. A local reporter came by, and although Scott's
story of our troops made the paper, nothing he had told the reporter about
the Iraqi casualties was considered news. For Scott, the 100,000 rings
project was immediately apparent as a burning obligation.

Like all war, this rotten folly creates victims on all sides. What it has
done to our safety in this most precarious of times, by destroying most of
what was left of our good faith with the world, by further fracturing
international solidarity and understandings of rights and law, by
escalating conflicts of both grave terror and war-making, has prevented
U.S. people from seeing the greatest terrors we face, the disasters
generated by our own degradation of the world's resources and our
planetary environment. And let us each consider also the small but real
tragedy of not being able to look at ourselves in the mirror each day
without wondering how much longer we'll continue to make war against
people for the sake of gluttonously controlling their precious and
irreplaceable energy resources.

Which is to say: if you see people gathered in your neighborhood this
week, in anger or grief or guilt, with their bells or their candles,
perhaps it's best not to ask if it's an observance for 2,000 Americans or
for the well-over 100,000 Iraqi tragedies our government has not yet even
seen fit to count. A life is a life, and the full tragedies of this cruel
war are yet to be told. Advice I read in sixth grade remains true today:
"send not to know for whom the bell tolls."

It tolls for thee.

I'm grateful to my friend and co-worker Sean Reynolds for elements
contributed to this article. For more information on the 100,000 Rings
campaign, visit www.iraqmortality.org.

Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a
Chicago-based campaign to challenge U.S. military and economic warfare
against Iraq. She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams: from Baghdad
to Pekin Prison. She can be reached at: kathy [at] vitw.org


--------11 of 16--------

America's Iron Click
Empire of Denial
By MIKE MARQUSEE
CounterPunch
October 26, 2005

During the heyday of British, French, Belgian or Portuguese colonialism,
if you asked the citizens of London, Paris, Brussels or Lisbon whether
their countries were the seats of great transcontinental empires, they
would have answered 'yes', unhesitatingly, and most would have taken pride
in the fact. But stop an American in the street today, and ask the same
question, and you're most likely to get a quizzical look.

The US maintains military bases in 140 foreign countries (needless to say,
there are no foreign military bases on US territory). Thanks to exorbitant
military spending more than the combined total of the 32 next most
well-armed nations - the US enjoys a unique and coercive global reach, a
monopoly which it intends to preserve at all costs, as the current
National Security Strategy makes clear. The US claims and exercises a
prerogative to topple other regimes and occupy other countries that it
denies to all other nation-states. Through the IMF, WTO and World Bank, it
shapes the economic destinies of most people on the planet. The fact is
that the fate of billions living beyond US borders is determined by
decisions made in Washington.

Yet, we are told, this is not an empire. True, the US prefers indirect
over direct rule; its domination is exercised, for the most part, through
military and commercial alliances, rather than outright conquest. But
empires of the past have also used these methods. What really makes the US
different is the persistence and in most cases the sincerity of its
imperial denial.

Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld insisted to Aljazeera:
"We're not a colonial power. We've never been a colonial power." Colin
Powell agreed: "We have never been imperialists. We seek a world in which
liberty, prosperity and peace can become the heritage of all peoples."
They seemed astonished and offended that anyone could think otherwise.

The litany of disclaimers echoes down the years. Sandy Berger, Clinton's
national security advisor, described the US as "the first global power in
history that is not an imperial power." Nixon wrote in his memoirs that
the US was "the only great power without a history of imperialistic
claims." When Johnson sent troops to topple an elected government in the
Dominican Republic in 1965, he insisted: "Over the years of our history
our forces have gone forth into many lands, but always they returned when
they were no longer needed. For the purpose of America is never to
suppress liberty, but always to save it."

The history of denial is as long as the history of intervention and that
goes back to the first decades of the republic, when US forces engaged in
military action to protect US shipping in the Mediterranean, the
Caribbean, Sumatra and Peru. In US foreign policy, respect for the
sovereignty of others has always come second to commercial interests. By
the end of the 19th century, the US had annexed Hawaii, along with dozens
of smaller islands across the Pacific, and used military force to secure a
foothold in the markets of China and Japan.

When it prised the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico from the dying
Spanish empire in 1898, the US declared "a new day of freedom" in these
"liberated" lands. Filipinos took the rhetoric seriously and rebelled
against the imposition of US rule. After more than a decade of brutal
counter-insurgency, a quarter of a million Filipinos had been killed, and
4200 Americans. This was ten times the number of Americans killed in the
brief Spanish-American War. Yet US history textbooks routinely assign far
more space to the latter than the former.

America, Woodrow Wilson declared, was "the only idealistic nation in the
world". He proclaimed "national self-determination" as the cornerstone of
a new world order, but deployed US military forces overseas more
frequently than any of his predecessors: against Mexico, Haiti, the
Dominican Republic, Cuba, Panama, Nicaragua and the nascent Soviet Union.

Thanks to history textbooks, Hollywood, television and politicians
(Democrat and Republican), the US people are kept in ignorance of their
imperial past. Each intervention is presented as an altruistic response to
a crisis. Since there is no American empire, no pattern, habit or system
of extra-territorial domination, the motive for each intervention is
assessed at face value. Somehow the principles of liberty and human
happiness always seem magically to coincide with American national
self-interest or, more precisely, the economic interests of the US elite.

In recent years, the fact that America is an empire has become less of a
secret, even to Americans. Commentators such as Robert Kaplan and Niall
Fergusson have urged the US to abandon its blushes and face up to its
imperial responsibilities. In a new twist on "the white man's burden"
(which Kipling urged on the US at the time of the Philippine War), they
argue that empires have been and can be benign, and that the US is a
liberal empire, or, in the words of Michael Ignatieff, "an empire lite, a
global hegemony whose grace notes are free markets, human rights and
democracy".

The appeal of this new imperial rhetoric seems largely restricted to
sections of the intelligentsia - both liberal and conservative. Bush and
US spokespersons are careful to avoid or refute it, most Americans are
uncomfortable or bewildered by it, and it is simply unacceptable to those
in Asia, Africa and Latin America whose lives and consciousness have been
shaped by anti-colonial movements.

Opposition to foreign domination is not an emotional spasm. It is grounded
in history and experience and the balance of probabilities (not least the
probability that the imperial power will place its own interests before
those of the people it rules). The rationalisations and even the forms of
empire change but the underlying reality does not. Decisive power,
military and economic, remains in the hands of a distant elite.

Whether it's talk of "empire lite" or Bush-style unilateralism, you can
hear the drumbeat of the old American exceptionalism, the claim that the
US has a unique destiny and that this destiny embodies the fate of
humankind. History has taught peoples in many lands to fear the USA's
altruism. In a poem from the early 1920s entitled 'The Evening Land', DH
Lawrence wrote:

 I am so terrified, America,
 Of the iron click of your human contact.
 And after this
 The winding-sheet of your selfless ideal love.
 Boundless love
 Like a poison gas.

Mike Marqusee is the author of Wicked Messenger: Dylan in the 1960s and
Redemption Song: Muhammed Ali and the Sixties. He can be reach through his
website: www.mikemarqusee.com

This column originally ran in The Hindu.


--------12 of 16--------

Hold Your Elation in Check
Fitzgerald vs. the Bush Administration
By JOSHUA FRANK
CounterPunch
October 26, 2005

It is hard not to be elated over what seem to be imminent indictments
resulting from this whole Valerie Plame/CIA leak. Is it going to be
Scooter Libby, Karl Rove or Dick Cheney? Perhaps all three? It is
impossible to say at this point, but as Jason Leopold and John Byrne
recently reported over at RawStory.com, indictments of at least two people
are likely if the grand jury approves Patrick Fitzgerald's charges. We
should know by the end of the week at the latest, they say. If this is
indeed the case and the grand jury gives Fitz the green light to proceed,
the Bush administration will surely take another huge hit in the polls.

This may all seem like very good news for those that despise this
administration and its policies. Any indictments will certainly shed new
light on the corruption of the intel leading up to the Iraq invasion. It's
been rumored that those indicted will likely resign from their White House
posts. But before you get too excited about a potential Bush collapse and
a Rove resignation, let's not forget that their accomplices, many of the
same folks so excited about the potential charges, will still be lurking.

If Republican power topples in the next few years, the party waiting in
line to replace them has no plan to change the crooked course in Iraq. The
enabling Democrats aren't about to be held accountable for embracing the
scandalous neocon agenda, either.

Even if the Democrats miraculously take back the Senate and make in-roads
in the House of Representatives in the 2006 mid-term elections, nothing in
Iraq will change.

The neocon policies will persevere.

The Democrats complicity in the Iraq saga goes much deeper than their
willful support of Bush's war resolution in 2002. How soon we forget that
back in 1998, President Clinton signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act -
drafted by the same Republican hawks that helped thrust forth Bush's own
Iraq policy including; Republican staffer Randy Scheunemann, Donald
Rumsfeld, former-CIA director R. James Woosley, and Ahmad Chalabi.

As I discuss in greater detail in Left Out!, Clinton's legislation
outlined the US's ultimate objective for its involvement in Iraq. That is,
to remove Saddam and overthrow his government. When Clinton signed his
legislation into law in mid-October 1996, Republican Senator Trent Lott
sang his praises: "The Clinton administration regularly calls for
bipartisanship in foreign policy. I support them when I can. Today, we see
a clear example of a policy that has the broadest possible bi-partisan
support. I know the Administration understands the depth of our feeling on
this issue."

Despite Lott's gratitude, Iraq wasn't just a Republican issue - the
Democrats had also long propagated falsehoods about Saddam's potential
WMD threat.

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear,"
President Clinton admitted in February of 1998. "We want to seriously
diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."

In a letter to President Clinton, Democratic Senators Carl Levin, Tom
Daschle, John Kerry among others wrote in October of 1998, "[W]e urge you,
after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution
and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and
missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the
threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction
programs."

The Iraq invasion isn't just about the Democrats buying into Bush's
propaganda. Despite popular belief, the Dems had not been duped. The
illegal invasion of Iraq was a result of a concert of bi-partisan lies
that spewed from the US government over many years. The Democrats were and
are just as responsible for the bloodthirsty deceptions as the
Republicans.

So sure, we can be excited about the potential hit the Bush regime is
about to take from Patrick Fitzgerald. We have to be grateful when we can.
But just keep in mind as you celebrate, that the Plame ordeal and the
fallout of indictments aren't going to rein in all of the bad guys.

Joshua Frank is the author of the brand new book, Left Out!: How Liberals
Helped Reelect George W. Bush, which has just been published by Common
Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at
www.brickburner.org. Joshua can be reached at Joshua [at] brickburner.org.


--------13 of 16--------

Published on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 by Ted Rall
Why Bush Is Unimpeachable
Cracks Appear in the Constitution
by Ted Rall

New York - The phone rings with a blocked caller ID but I know who it is.
My friend the film critic has just put down the same article I've just
finished reading, a front-page blockbuster in the New York Daily News. It
says that George W. Bush knew about Karl Rove's scheme to blow CIA agent
Valerie Plame's cover for years, that he was Rove's partner in treason
from the start, that his claims of ignorance were lies. The News article
is anonymously sourced but we know it's 100 percent true because the White
House won't deny that Bush is a traitor.

"So they'll impeach him now, right?"

My friend asked the same thing in 2001 when recounts proved Bush lost
Florida, when the 9/11 fetishist admitted that he'd never even tried to
catch Osama, when WMDs failed to turn up in Iraq, and when his malignant
neglect killed hundreds of Americans in post-Katrina New Orleans.

"This means impeachment. Right?" Wrong.

Any one of Bush's crimes towers over the combined wickedness of Nixon and
Clinton. And there are so many to choose from! How many times has Bush
"made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving
the people of the United States" (a key count in the Nixon impeachment)?

Stop laughing, you.

Unfortunately for my friend and the United States, impeachment is a
political process, not a legal one. Nixon and Clinton faced Congresses
controlled by the other party. Because Bush belongs to the same party as
the majorities in the House and Senate, nothing he does can get him
impeached.

Our failed Constitutional system means we're stuck with this disastrous
demagogue for three more years. Gloat now, Republican readers, but party
loyalty's stranglehold on impeachment can easily take the form of a
complacent Democratic Congress overlooking the misdeeds of a batty
Democratic president.

Any safe can be cracked; every system of safeguards breaks down
eventually. We can't get rid of Bush because the Founding Fathers, who
were smart enough to think of just about everything, dropped the ball when
they drafted the article that provides for presidential impeachment.
Because there were no national political parties back in 1787, their
otherwise ingenious system of checks and balances failed to account for
the possibility that a Congress might choose to overlook a president's
crimes.

Small parties were active on the state and local level during the late
18th century, but James Madison, George Washington and most of the other
Founders despised these organizations as harbingers of petty
"factionalism" that ought to be banned or severely limited. Washington
used the occasion of his 1796 farewell address to decry "the baneful
effects of the spirit of party generally. It serves always to distract the
public councils and enfeeble the public administration," he warned. "It
agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms;
kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasionally
riot and insurrection...In governments purely elective, it is a spirit not
to be encouraged." Voting blocs were the enemy of good government.

In the new republic, Madison wrote in his seminal Federalist No. 10,
political arguments should be considered on their own merits. Since
candidates for and holders of political office would be judged solely as
individuals, Congressmen would focus on the greater good rather than
political alliances when weighing whether to impeach a president. Even
when parties began to emerge as a national force in 1800, few politicians
would have argued that a Democratic-Republican president should be safe
from impeachment unless the Federalist Party happened to control Congress.

Another Constitutional breakdown, concerning the separation of powers,
occurred in June 2004. More than a year after the Supreme Court decided in
Rasul v. Bush that the nearly 600 Muslim men and young boys being held
incommunicado at Guantnamo Bay were entitled to have their cases heard by
U.S. courts, they remain in cold storage - no lawyers, no court dates. The
Bush Administration simply ignored the ruling.

"[Bush's] Justice Department," Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Slate, "sees [the
ruling] through the sophisticated legal prism known as the Toddler
Worldview: Anything one doesn't wish to accept simply isn't true." Because
the Founding Fathers never anticipated the possibility that the nation's
chief executive would treat its final judgments with the respect due an
out-of-state parking ticket issued to a rental car, the Supreme Court has
been rendered as toothless as a gummy bear.

The more you look, the more you'll find that our Constitution has been
subverted to the point of virtual irrelevance. The legislative branch has
abdicated its exclusive right to declare war to the president, who was
appointed by a federal court that undermined the states' constitutional
right to manage and settle election disputes. Individuals' protection
against unreasonable searches have been trashed, habeas corpus is a joke,
and double jeopardy has become routine as those exonerated by criminal
court face second trials in civil court. Our system of checks and balances
has collapsed, the victim of a citizenry more interested in entertaining
distraction than eternal vigilance.

Where evil men rule, law cannot protect those who sleep.
2005 Ted Rall


--------14 of 16--------

Why I'm Getting Arrested at the White House Today
By David Swanson
October 26, 2005

[For a list of similar actions across the country, see
http://www.afsc.org/2000/all_locations.php]

The first reason I'm going to lie down, refuse to move, and wait to be
arrested outside the White House today is my belief that massive civil
disobedience is needed if we are going to end the war and forestall the
next war. The power of nonviolent sacrifice has been tried and tested. It
may not work this time, but nothing else seems remotely likely to do the
job, not even my most extravagant hopes for indictments. I'm being as
practical as I know how to be. Public opinion is widely against the war in
this country, in Iraq, and around the world. Talk is cheap. Our democracy
is a shell. Something more is needed.

But there are other reasons for my action. A few of them are:

* Solidarity - I've been encouraging civil disobedience and reporting on
it, but have not been engaging in it. If I miss another useful opportunity
to engage in it, I become a hypocrite and a bad example. And were I to
miss it, I would miss the bonds of solidarity that are formed in such
actions.

If you think I am right, what do you think about what you, yourself, are
doing? Or not doing?

* Admiration - I plan to get arrested together with Cindy Sheehan and
other leaders of the movement for peace, including veterans of the war and
family members of the dead. I greatly admire these people and consider it
an honor to act with them.

* Honor - I want to honor and remember the people whose lives have been
most directly destroyed by this war, including those who have fought in it
on both sides, and those - the vast majority of the dead - who have died
in this war without ever picking up a gun. These people have been brutally
attacked from behind a desk in an oval-shaped office. Children have lost
limbs and minds by the tens of thousands for the greed and power of a
small number of cruel people.

* Anger - I'm extremely angry. A gang of criminals blatantly lied to the
world about the reasons for the slaughter. There could be no acceptable
reasons for such a thing, but I would be less angry - I think - or it
would be a very different anger if they had given honest reasons and my
compatriots had accepted them. Instead they told lies. They concocted
stories. They forged documents! [
http://www.repubblica.it/2005/j/sezioni/esteri/iraq69/b odv/bodv.html ]
And many of us knew they were lying. They weren't even so much lying as
going through the motions of lying - this was the level of their
arrogance. This sort of arrogance may never before have seen its match
outside of the profession of journalism - a profession about which I am
too angry to speak.

* Disgust - I am disgusted with the debate over whether the hell that is
occupied Iraq might be even worse if it were no longer occupied. What's at
stake here, primarily, is the future of international law, that is: the
future right of the country with the most weapons to aggressively attack
and occupy weaker countries and never face justice. If this war is allowed
to stand, there is no more international law and cannot be for a long long
time - perhaps longer than such a planet will have for human life. The
debate must begin with a demand for justice. If I break into your house
and bust up half your furniture, I do not then own your house and have a
moral obligation to stay the night. If I bully the police into letting me,
then I have created a lawless state. And if I force you to torture your
family members and then claim that you and your family will fight horribly
after I leave, that still does not give me the right to remain. The only
decent thing I can do is get out. When I get out, I owe you reparations
and repair services and counselors and aides of your choosing. But staying
helps nothing and destroys great things.

* Communication - By pretending to die on the White House sidewalk, we
will symbolize the dead. By being arrested, we will symbolically play out
the only decent action a police officer could perform at the White House:
arresting its occupant. It is my hope that the power of nonviolent action,
and the brilliance of Cindy Sheehan in working the media (you should have
seen them wait in the rain for her yesterday) will communicate the force
of this message to those it has not yet reached, namely the United States
Congress.

* Nausea - The U.S. Congress makes me sick to my stomach. Its members
routinely ignore the will of the residents of their districts. With few
exceptions, they work for corporate greed, not human needs. The exceptions
include Senators (they can be counted on one hand) who have taken baby
steps toward ending the ongoing global crime in Iraq. The main exceptions
are the approximately 75 Members of the House of Representatives who
inconsistently make general motions in the direction of forming an
opposition party against the war party.

The stellar exceptions include the leaders of the Out of Iraq Caucus and
the Progressive Caucus, members like John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Lynn
Woolsey, Barbara Lee, and Charlie Rangel who have raised their voices with
relative strength. Dennis Kucinich has introduced a Resolution of Inquiry
into the White House Iraq Group [ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/whig
]. Jim McGovern is preparing to introduce a bill to cut off funding for
the war [ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/funding ]. Not a single
Congress Member, despite the wishes of 72 percent of Democrats [
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/polling ], has the nerve to support
impeachment.

* Hope - We can give them the nerve. That's what I hope that civil
disobedience will accomplish. (And let's hope for some help from
Fitzgerald as well). There are signs that we may be turning a corner.
There are members of both houses beginning to clear their throats and open
their ears.

* Love - I love my friends, family, and colleagues. Above all, I love my
wife and the baby who is due in March. I can't bring a child into a world
like this without doing what I can to make it better. And I try my best to
love my enemies and to do what I can to defuse their holy hatred.

Join us! 6 p.m. E.T. at the White House.

Take action at your house today:
http://www.afsc.org/2000/all_locations.php

Take action everywhere on November 2:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/3818

Take action at your school on November 17:
http://www.nyspc.net/notyoursoldier.php

Take action at recruiting stations on November 18:
http://www.iraqpledge.org/

Be the change you want to see in the world.

--
David Swanson is creator of MeetWithCindy.org, co- founder of the
AfterDowningStreet.org coalition, a writer and activist, and the
Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive
Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the
Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a
newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including
Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media
Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and
three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of
Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master's degree
in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997. His website is
www.davidswanson.org


--------15 of 16--------

To Hell In A Hand Basket
by Gerard Donnelly Smith
Swans - October 24, 2005

Whether or not you believe in an afterlife - an afterlife of eternal
rebirth back onto this suffering planet or an afterlife of either eternal
damnation in a fiery hell or infinite peace in paradise - you must agree
with Sartre that "other people are hell"; in part, because "other people"
support War, and wage War. Of course, other people can, for a time, bring
you joy, provide ecstatic moments, make you feel warm and fuzzy. Often, I
feel joy when I hold my child. Often my wife and I take ecstatic flight,
and I fall asleep peacefully.

Sometimes, though, when the world becomes too much, I drink enough to feel
warm and fuzzy. Often, I'll pen a poem about a current issue, hoping it
may make some difference. Then I begin to check the facts, rather than
remaining blissfully ignorant in my creature comfort, preferably several
porters. Like an obsessive-compulsive, I read the paper and listen to the
news, rather than just write a love poem to my wife.

What I learn is nothing new. The War on Terror continues as the Bush
administration squanders the goodwill the Islamic world sent the U.S.
after 9/11. The criminal Osama bin Laden is still at large; the
international police investigation to find him seemingly non-existent.
Britain and the U.S. now threaten Iran, Syria, and all others who
supposedly harbor terrorists; the officials in both democratic countries
will not consider that their own actions have terrorized the Islamic
populations and in some measure fueled the insurgency, and the jihad.

So War continues, despite the contradictions underlying its justification.
In the name of peace, our leaders claim they must wage War; in the name of
democracy, our leaders say they must torture, detain, murder, and maim; in
the name of God, our leaders declare an everlasting War on zealots who
declare in the name of God an everlasting war on infidels.

After ten millennia of War, what can one say about humanity's capacity for
change? People still kill others to secure scarce resources; people still
kill others because they have different beliefs, different faiths, and
different skin color. After ten millennia, one must admit, especially in
highly advanced societies like the U.S., that the military has gotten much
better at killing others. The goal to kill without the risk of being
killed in return has almost reached perfection. Some military leaders hope
to replace ground troops with remote-control weapons. To kill from a
distance while creature comforts wait at home - that's the dream of some
military officers, yet others do pray for peace.

Perhaps, I'm being too pessimistic. The United Nations does oppose, in
principle, the development of more effective methods of killing, does
oppose genocide and wars of aggression, and does have as their "Millennium
Goals," the eradication of poverty. The WHO and the CDC work tirelessly to
eradicate disease, to stop the threat of virus. Their work with the
current avian flu strain H5N1 may save 7 to 150 million lives.

Perhaps, all people aren't hell, just some people, just those who advocate
War and Violence to solve international or domestic conflict, those who
believe that viruses like HIV/AIDS and natural disasters like the 2005
Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina are God's reward for sinners.

Maybe, as these fundamentalist believe, these aren't the end times and
such self-fulfilling prophecies aren't bringing the apocalypse to my
doorstep like some "rough beast, its hour come round at last, "Slouch[ing]
towards Bethlehem to be born." But sometimes it sure looks like the end is
in sight, feels like an end to suffering must come in some form or
another: either fire or ice as Robert Frost suggested, certainly not with
a whimper, but a bang.

Perhaps I should never read W.B. Yeats's "The Second Coming" again. Maybe
I should insist everyone stop reprinting it, reciting it, misquoting it!
What did Yeats fear in 1919, when he penned these lines? He didn't know
the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, now the "new date" for the "end of the
world." Israel hadn't been carved out of Palestine, yet. President Bush
had not yet received "visions from God" to create a Palestinian State, as
if this were a new revelation! Bush had not yet received divine
inspiration to fight his crusade against the so called Axis of Evil and
the Global Islamic Jihad, as he has labeled his enemy.

In 1919, the Allies hadn't built the national boundaries that would ensure
the current conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. Yet, Yeats knew that
man's inhumanity to man had reached new heights in trenches where mustard
gas left victims writhing in agony, and at post offices where occupation
forces shot down civilians and unarmed poets. Poets whose greatest hopes
were freedom, democracy, and peace:

 AND I say to my people's masters: Beware,
 Beware of the thing that is coming, beware of the risen people,
 Who shall take what ye would not give. Did ye think to conquer the
  people,
 Or that Law is stronger than life and than men's desire to be free?
 We will try it out with you, ye that have harried and held,
 Ye that have bullied and bribed, ....... tyrants, hypocrites, liars!
   (From "The Rebel" by Patrick Henry Pearse)

In 1919, what hope did Yeats have that mankind would change its behavior?
Wilfred Owen had shown us all what hope could be had in "Dulce Et Decorum
Est" in which victims of a mustard gas attack plunge at readers
"guttering, chocking, drowning" with their "blood/come gargling from
froth-corrupted lungs." Owen's wished to expose the old lie that it is not
honorable to die, or even kill for ones country! In writing these poems,
did these poets hope the horror would reform politicians, stop generals
from ordering insane assaults on fortified installations, convince parents
to oppose conscription, and shock imperialist into leaving occupied
territories? Did the Vietnam War poets hope their words would stem the
tide of blood?

 But the lie swings back again.
 The lie works only as long as it takes to speak
 and the girl runs only as far
 as the napalm allows
 until her burning tendons and crackling
 muscles draw her up
 into that final position
 burning bodies so perfectly assume. Nothing
 can change that, she is burned behind my eyes
 and not your good love and not the rain-swept air
 and not the jungle-green
 pasture unfolding before us can deny it.
   From "Song of Napalm" by Bruce Weigl

By exposing the old lies, did the Poets against the War and Sam Hamil hope
to change President Bush's heart? Though she understood the power of
poetry to transform lives, Sharon Olds recently refused to attend the
National Book Festival, at the invitation of Laura Bush:

"I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear
witness - as an American who loves her country and its principles and its
writing - against this undeclared and devastating war. But I could not
face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat
with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the
wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.

"What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food
from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that
unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of
permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries
where they will be tortured for us."

Does she hope her refusal will cause Laura Bush, while she lies in bed at
night with George, to convince him to end his War? Hardly is that question
out before one replays the sound bites and the propaganda that justify
mass slaughter. Do we poets honestly think poetry can counter the
propagandist's onslaught?

Despite the images of torture at Abu Ghraib, though we recoil at the girl
aflame with napalm, recoil at the body parts strewn across a street where
there is oil or gold or diamonds or soil to be bought with a pound of
flesh, the military-industrial complex will continue to secure the
resources for its own "national security." As long as middle-class
citizens of the world continue to consume the creature comforts which
supply the power to global corporations, War will continue. Each image of
horror exposed by peace-movement poets and activists, by ethical
journalists, and conscientious politicians will be countered with images
of patriotism, exaggerated fears of terrorism, and by the injection of
mind-numbing entertainment.

Yes, if only in some "smothering dream" the images from the victims' last
moments would haunt everyone, then everyone might wish for peace. Instead,
the population of the willing believes the censored images, believes that
one side is good while the other is evil. When liberation and freedom are
the root causes of suffering, when exposed lies and creationism win over
rock-solid evidence, then what hope for change?

So "where are we and where are we going?" my good editor asks.

Some of us live in hell and some of us are in paradise. Some of us are
burying children, while others bury their heads in books. Some of us are
starving, while some of us shit three times a day. Some of us scour
garbage heaps, while some of us heap up garbage through conspicuous
consumption. Some of us enjoy our creature comforts, while others find no
comfort at all. Some of us are writing poetry, while others are wiring
bombs. Some of us are heading for heaven; the rest, to hell in a hand
basket.


--------16 of 16--------

 Friends don't let friends vote
 for Hillary. Teach them to
 see, that we be free.


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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