|Progressive Calendar 11.02.05||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2005 05:23:44 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 11.02.05 1. Labor solidarity 11.02 11:30am 2. Renewable energy 11.02 7pm 3. Terry Peterson 11.03 7pm 4. Healthcare walker 11.04 10am 5. Ffunch/eat/politics 11.04 11:30am 6. Counter recruit 11.04 12noon 7. Get real film fest 11.04-10 2:30 + 8. Palestine vigil 11.04 4:15pm 9. Camilo Mejia/CO 11.04 5pm/7:30pm + 10. Cuban film 11.04 6:30pm? 11. Carol Bly/clergy 11.04 7:30pm 12. Art attack/NE Mpls 11.04-06 13. Cindy Sheehan - The true cost of war 14. Stephanie Wall - Put George at the head of a dreadful list 15. David Lindorff - Thinking about impeachment 16. Joshua Frank - Don't divert: keep opposing the Iraq war 17. Dennis Kucinich - Democrats: it's the war 18. John Nichols - Senate Democrats show some spine 19. Robert Wrubel - Where is the Left in the US? 20. Sharon Olds - The Pope's penis --------1 of 20-------- Date: Wed, 02 Nov 2005 00:47:30 GMT From: Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council <kyle [at] mplscluc.com> Subject: Labor solidarity 11.02 11:30am Want a free lunch? Stand with construction workers Downtown Minneapolis is experiencing a boom in the construction of high-end condominiums. Old warehouses are being bought up by developers and turned into condos, and downtown Minneapolis is being revitalized. The question construction workers are asking is: Will this revitalization raise living standards for workers, or lower it? Right now, the historic Whitney Hotel is being turned into condos, and the construction workers there are not being paid the area standard. Join union and non-union construction workers and concerned activists as we all stand together for higher wages and benefits. And get a free lunch in the process! Stand Together for Higher Wages and Benefits Lunch cookout Thursday, November 3 11:30am-1pm Outside the Whitney Hotel construction site - 150 Portland Ave, Downtown Minneapolis Join us for lunch and to support good jobs with healthcare, retirement benefits, and safe working conditions. Sponsored by Minneapolis Building & Construction Trades Council. For more information, contact Dan McGowan at 651-653-9776. For union news and information, go to www.minneapolisunions.org . --------2 of 20-------- Date: Tue, 01 Nov 2005 14:18:47 -0600 From: Alan Carlson <discern [at] visi.com> Subject: Renewable energy 11.02 7pm As you know, renewable energy is a critical issue for Minnesota's environment, security, and economy. Join the Suburban Communities on Renewable Energy tomorrow night 11.03 for a Community Forum on Renewable Energy and show key suburban legislators that Minnesotans care about this issue. Community Forum on Renewable Energy 7-8:30pm Wednesday, November 2 Shoreview Community Center 4600 Victoria St. N Shoreview, MN 55126 (Victoria St. & Cty. Rd. 96) Featured speakers include: Bob Olson, American Sustainable Energy Council Michael Noble, Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy Paul Steinhauser, White Bear Raquet & Swim Club Tara Widner, United Steelworkers State Senator (invited): Mady Reiter State Representatives (invited): Phil Krinkie, Doug Meslow Can't make it? Click here to sign the petition <http://www.fightback05.org/petitiondetail.asp?Petition_ID=12> calling upon our elected officials to do more to move the Midwest towards energy independence.* For more information or to RSVP, please call Stephanie at (651) 696 - 7411 or email SCOREMN [at] gmail.com <mailto:SCOREMN [at] gmail.com> --------3 of 20-------- Date: Tue, 01 Nov 2005 23:35:07 -0600 From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Terry Peterson 11.03 7pm A Reading by Terry Peterson MAY DAY BOOKS 301 Cedar Avenue South 612-333-4719 Thursday November 3, 7pm Terry Peterson will read from her new book, Hear Our Voices: The Stories Behind the Statistics of the Minnesota Family Investment Program. "Listen to me as I tell you of my life. Believe me when I tell you of my struggles.' The juxtaposition of women's stories and the policies that impact their daily lives is a journey into the world of those who are made invisible ... Reading Terry Peterson's book gave me the opportunity to learn about a family's life and see how a policy directly impacts this family. She clearly and simply details how violence, racism, class, sexism, and white prvilege are at work each day. Her voice challenged me to make the leap towards understanding how this applies to me. I have a responsibility to do something...as simple as understanding, as bold as activating myself to work for change, as important as voting." Joyce Yamamoto, Director of Racial Justice and Social Justice Programs, YWCA of Minneapolis --------4 of 20-------- From: stpaulunions.org <larkinl [at] mtn.org> Subject: Healthcare walker 11.04 10am Think the healthcare system needs to change? So does Sue Eichstadt. She is a machinist from Windom, who is walking 154 miles from Windom to the State Capitol to talk with legislators about our healthcare crisis. Let's give Sue a warm welcome when she arrives in St Paul on Friday, November 4th at 10am. She also has a petition you can sign urging legislators to make healthcare a right for all. You can see more on Sue's story at www.workdayminnesota.org Call Lynne if you have questions, at 651-222-3787 ext 16. --------5 of 20-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Ffunch/eat/politics 11.04 11:30am Meet the FFUNCH BUNCH! 11:30am-1pm First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for Greens/progressives. Informal political talk and hanging out. Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul. Meet in the private room (holds 12+). Day By Day is non-smoking; has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines --------6 of 20-------- From: sarah standefer <scsrn [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Counter recruit 11.04 12noon Counter Recruitment Demonstration Our Children Are Not Cannon Fodder Fridays NOON-1 Recruiting Office at the U of M At Washington and Oak St. next to Chipolte for info call Barb Mishler 612-871-7871 --------7 of 20-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Get real film fest 11.04-10 2:30 + more Get Real!: City Pages Documentary Film Festival November 4-10 Landmark's Lagoon Cinema, on Lagoon Ave. off Hennepin Ave.S, uptown Minneapolis www.citypages.com/getreal FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4 2:30pm: I.F. Stone's Weekly/ The Selling of the Pentagon (double feature, FREE admission) Think IndyMedia invented investigative reporting? Be inspired by IF STONE, a giant of journalism, who started digging for the truth during the 1950s McCarthy-era. His watchword for journalism students was "First thing to remember is: every government lies!" Screens w/1970s classic "Selling of the Pentagon" - essential viewing and more true than ever! 5:30pm: From Two Men and a War BELOW: ANTI-WAR DOUBLE FEATURE: 7:30pm: Why We Fight This BBC production takes up where "Selling of the Pentagon" leaves off, exposing what could be called the Corporate-Military-Congressional-Think Tank Complex.Director Eugene Jerecki makes a chilling case using Dwight Eisenhower's farewell speech as his thesis with interviews with retired offficer from the Office of Special Plans, Chalmers Johnson, military historian Gwynne Dwyer and other credible critics - contrasting them with neo-cos like Richard Perle. Take an Iraq War supporter to this! 9:45pm: Sir! No Sir! SHOULD BE REQUIRED VIEWING! The censored history of Veitnam veterans ANTI-war activitism - both when they came home and also inside the military. Archival footage of young US soldiers in the 1960s who are also interivewed 35 years later. Includes DAVID CLINE, working class draftee, who;s now national president of Vets for Peace. This film offers UNdeniable evidence that opposing war demands as much courage as combat and reveals GI resistance that;s applicable today.INcludes GI Coffeehouse, FTA and lots of myth-busting.One of the most INSPIRING anti-war films I've ever seen. (Opening night party to follow the screening of Sir! No Sir! at Café Barbette, 1600 West Lake Street. Free appetizers, drinks and mingling with the filmmakers and festival staff). --------8 of 20-------- From: peace 2u <tkanous [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Palestine vigil 11.04 4:15pm Every Friday Vigil to End the Occupation of Palestine 4:15-5:15pm Summit & Snelling, St. Paul There are now millions of Palestinians who are refugees due to Israel's refusal to recognize their right under international law to return to their own homes since 1948. --------9 of 20-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Camilo Mejia/CO 11.04 5pm/7:30pm + A Different Kind of Hero: Conscientious Objector, Camilo Mejia Friday, November 4, 5pm Macalester College, Weyerheauser Board Room, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul. Friday, November 4, 7:30pm. University of Minnesota, Blegen Hall, Room 5, 269 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis. Saturday, November 5, 7:30pm. Holy Trinity Church, 2730 East 31st Street, Minneapolis. Camilo Mejia served a year in prison in 2004 and 2005 for refusing to return to the war in Iraq. He is the first Iraq war veteran to file for discharge from the army as a conscientious objector. Come hear him speak about the war, about his experiences, and why he refused to participate in war. Suggested donation: $5.00 (no one turned away for lack of funds). Saturday, November 5, 6:00 p.m. Holy Trinity Church, 2730 East 31st Street, Minneapolis. There will be a pre-talk reception with Camilo. Light dinner provided. Suggested donation: $20.00. Sponsored by: Iraq Peace Action Coalition, Veterans for Peace, Anti-War Committee, Anti-War Organizing League, Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq, Women Against Military Madness, and United Steelworkers Fight Back '05 Campaign. FFI: Call --------10 of 20-------- From: Mary Turck <mturck [at] americas.org> Subject: Cuban film 11.04 6:30pm? Friday, November 4-The Last Supper FREE. Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis 55406 FFI: 612-276-0788. (Directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea) Cuba. Spanish with English subtitles. A kind and moral plantation master recreates the Last Supper, inviting his slaves to come to the table as "disciples" or spiritual equals. Based on an incident from Cuban history. --------11 of 20-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Carol Bly/clergy 11.04 7:30pm Friday Nov 4 Carol Bly and Cynthia Loveland formed Bly and Loveland Press four years ago to write and publish serious books about serious subjects. "A Shout to American Clergy" is their third book. Hear them read at 7:30 pm, Magers and Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis. --------12 of 20-------- From: Catherine & John Geisen-Kisch <geisenkischs [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Art attack/NE Mpls 11.04-06 Nov 4-6: Art Attack - Enjoy 100 arts studios during the annual Art Attack event in the Northeast Minneapolis Art District For example: Photography Exhibit by Catherine Geisen-Kisch Features Around-the-World Photography. Joining the exhibit are two Lao artists: traditional silk weaving and carving. Specifics: November 4th - 6th, in STUDIO 403 of the Northrup King Building, located at 1500 Jackson Street NE, in Minneapolis. Hours are Friday, November 4th from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, November 5th from noon to 5 p.m., and Sunday, November 6th from noon to 4 p.m. The exhibit is held in the Northrup King Building in the Northeat Minneapolis Arts District during the annual Art Attack event - enjoy this free event with over 100 artist studios and complemetary wine, food and entertainment throughout this historic warehouse building. Proceeds benefit Lao America, a local non-profit that build capacity among Lao immigrants and refugees. Funds will also be donated by local Lao artists to fund schools and educational scholarships in the village of Ban Tha Muang, in southern Lao PDR. Catherine and John Geisen-Kisch Geisen-Kisch Consulting1221 West 32nd Street #3 Minneapolis, MN 55408 Telephone: (612) 822-8887 Email: geisenkischs [at] yahoo.com --------13 of 20-------- The True Cost of War by Cindy Sheehan Published on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 by CommonDreams.org This immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq has cost the world so much. George and his reckless war of choice have cost the American taxpayers billions of dollars that could be better spent at home. Judging from Katrina, Iraq has cost our country much of its security. It has cost the US any good standing we enjoyed in the world community. It cost America the post 9/11 good will from almost the entire world. We Americans are the laughing stock of the world community. Not only is our callous and careless leadership disdained, but we the people are scorned because we "re"-elected George for a 2nd term and not only that, we are allowing him to continue to mislead our country into ruin. The price many of us are paying is so much costlier than the mere monetary expense or loss of reputation. Over 2000 American families have paid the price of our dear loved ones to the insanity. Over 15,000 of our young people are wounded with over 400 of those being amputees. The Veterans Administration estimates that over of our children will come home with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. I believe that number is higher, because I know of many cases where the military refuses to allow soldiers to seek treatment for PTSD. Many of them are sent back to battle if they even dare suggest they may be suffering from PTSD. Even if they are not wounded emotionally or physically, or killed, our soldiers will not come home entirely whole. I was standing in front of the White House the other day when the indictments against Scooter were handed down. I was helping to hold a banner that said: Support our Troops: Bring Them Home Now. When we received word of the indictments, many of us protestors outside the White House were cheering with happiness and relief. At last, someone could be held accountable for the lies that led our country into a disastrous invasion of Iraq. But I wasn't cheering. I put down my end of the banner and sat down on the curb and cried. Scooter is just a lap dog for Cheney. He and this administration don't do anything unless the dirty deed is analyzed and planned for maximum damage to the offending party and minimum harm to Bush and Co. The criminals in power meant to hurt Joe Wilson and his family because Joe had the temerity and the audacity to call them liars: and to do it with such intelligence and alacrity was too much for the crooks to bear. If this crooked administration let Joe Wilson get away with telling the truth and calling them liars, then who would be next? Colin Powell? Judith Miller? The main stream media? (It could happen). I cried because there are people in this world who have lied about smaller things and have been punished more harshly. I cried because there was a shill of the right near me holding a sign that read "Put Cindy in Abu Ghraib" when there are war criminals and immoral war profiteers running amok in our country. I cried because George, Dick, Condi, Colin, Alberto, Donald, Scooter, Paul, Karl, Judith, O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, etc., lied about the reasons for invading Iraq and because of their lies, my son, who rarely told anything but the truth, is dead. The liars and lies that led the US to invade Iraq are legion and well documented. (Once, just for giggles, I put George Bush/Lies in a Google search and 272,000 references came up). The lies to maintain the occupation are the same. The liars are now starting to beat the war drum for invading Syria. A mom whose son committed "accidental" suicide in Iraq about 7 months ago called me this morning. She is beside herself with grief. I remember that the 7th month to the 9th month is the hardest. I think this is true because the profound shock is starting to wear off and the horrendous pain sets in. I so vividly remember the days where I ached so badly I didn't know what to do with my pain. I was afraid if I started screaming, I wouldn't be able to stop until every blood vessel in my brain burst open. I was afraid if I started to hit something, I wouldn't be able to stop until it was completely destroyed. I was afraid that I would have to live every single day with heartbreak so intense and overpowering that I would eventually wear myself out from it. The ninth month after Casey was killed was the absolute most devastating for me. I remembered the first nine months of his existence in my womb all warm and protected. How his dad and I anticipated his birth with so much joy and expectation. In contrast, the first nine months he was in the cold, cold womb of our mother earth were so joyless, painful, dark and dismal. Having your child murdered for lies, mistakes, and betrayals is so dark and dismal: no one should have to endure what we are enduring. I was able to reassure the mom in agony somewhat that if she could get through about two more months, she would be able to breathe a little and maybe smile a little and even mean it once in awhile. We who have made the "ultimate sacrifice" know the true cost of war. 92 families found out in October, one of the bloodiest months of this war. Seven of our brave troops were killed today and their families will soon know how much pain the Bush administration's lies will cause them and how much peace, sleep, and joy these same lies cost. For everyone else, this is the true cost of war: Moms and Dads having their hearts and souls violently ripped out. Overwhelming guilt is felt in relentless and pounding waves. Husbands and wives sorrowfully and prematurely burying their life partners. Days and nights ahead filled with loneliness and pain. Brothers and sisters having integral parts of their history seized so cruelly from them. Holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations that will never be the same. Sons and daughters unjustly denied the basic human right to grow up with both of their parents. Other family members and friends mourning and missing someone too young to be killed in an occupation in which the war dead were sold the bill of goods that they would be greeted with chocolates and flowers from the Iraqi people as liberators. A sovereign nation which was no threat to the United States of America lies in ruins and tens of thousands of its innocent citizens have been slaughtered just for the hell of it. When are we going to stand up as a country and yell a collective: "bull-shit?!!" I have been screaming this until my voice is getting hoarse and people are getting sick of hearing it. How much and how many more are we going to allow the serial liars to rob from us? I say not one more. --------14 of 20-------- Put George at the Head of a Dreadful List by Stephanie G. Wall Published on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 by the Cape Cod Times Last Wednesday, we heard that three more young American soldier deaths in Iraq have pushed the total over the top to 2,000. Their names are Richard Hardy, Timothy Watkins and, the 2,000th, George Alexander of Killeen, Texas. Since President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier in that famous photo-op bragging ''mission accomplished,'' 1,863 young American men and women have perished. The Lancet, a respected British medical journal, tells us that 100,000 Iraqis have died on their own soil in this war. Since the anti-war rally in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24, when some 300,000 citizens from all over the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, rallied against the Iraq War, begging Congress to do its duty and step in to stop the war and bring our children home, 85 more American soldiers have died. No Republican officeholders marched on Sept. 24. With one or two exceptions, all the Democrats skipped the rally, and virtually none was available on Sept. 26 when 1,000 of the protesters stuck around in D.C. for a lobbying day. The offices of Sens. Kennedy and Kerry and Rep. Delahunt were cordial enough, and we met with their junior aides, but not with them. I was part of that march and rally. I was there because I believe, like Cindy Sheehan, that there is no noble cause here, that the war was probably, as many say, for oil, for power, for some kind of Pax Americana that has nothing to do with the needs of our people or of those peoples we seek to dominate. The rationale for war, we now know, was built on a pack of lies. I was there also because I worry about my grandnieces and grandnephews and what kind of a mess they'll have to cope with if we don't get it together and try to leave them a world where diplomacy trumps missiles, where kindness overrides greed. I believe those who fooled the American people into war, with such tragic results, deserve impeachment. At the very least, their party should not be re-elected. But what of the Democrats? Some 56 million of us voted for Sen. Kerry, yet our voices are not heard forcefully in Congress. We hear Bush-light Democratic paraphrasing of Republican mantras: We can't pull out; if we pull out, those who have died will have died in vain; gotta support the troops (even if the policies of ''support'' mean that they come back home through Dover in caskets). The Democrats in the Senate and House seem to cling to their vote for the war instead of renouncing it as a mistake they made, as most Americans did, when they supported the war based on the aforementioned pack of lies. Democrats in the House and Senate must wake up and become relentless. They must lead the way out of this morass by demanding that the war be stopped, that it no longer be funded, that the troops be brought home, that there be no more Richards and Timothys and Georges on a dreadful list that denotes more lives lost before they've been really lived, and more families decimated with grief that never abates. Stephanie G. Wall is a retired physician living in Cape Cod. 2005 The Cape Cod Times --------15 of 20-------- Remember When the GOP Wanted to Impeach Earl Warren? Thinking About Impeachment By DAVID LINDORFF CounterPunch November 1, 2005 There is little doubt that the even if the Bush administration doesn't go down in flames, it will go down in history as one of, if not the most incompetent, corrupt and dangerous presidencies in the history of the republic. The question is, with crimes so colossal, why isn't there a public demand for his impeachment? In fact, there is a powerful and growing popular sentiment for impeachment - we just don't hear about it. The Zogby organization, the only polling outfit to have posed the question to date, found last June that 42 percent of Americans felt Bush should be impeached if he lied about the war (a much larger percentage believe he lied). That, of course, was before the mainstream media began finally reporting, as a result of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of Plamegate, on the disinformation campaign for war against Iraq directed by Vice President Dick Cheney and the White House Iraq Group. It was also before Bush himself was found to have been in on the cover-up of the outing of Valerie Plame by Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and presidential advisor Karl Rove. It was also before the US death toll in Iraq topped 2000. Significantly, it was also before Bush's callous and inept performance following the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans, which has driven his approval rating down to the size of his hard-core conservative base. It's a safe bet that the percentage in favor of impeachment of this liar and joke of a president today would be a lot higher than Zogby found it to be in June - a figure, incidentally, which is higher than it ever was during the entire impeachment saga of President Bill Clinton in 1998/9, when the issue was, not an illegal war but an adulterous blow job. The question now is why Congressional Democrats aren't calling for Cheney's and Bush's impeachment. So far, not one member of the minority party in Senate or House has made that call. Not one Democratic member of the House has tried to introduce a bill of impeachment in the House. The argument being made by even more progressive members of Congress like Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) is that there is no way, with a Republican majority in both houses, that impeachment could happen, and that pursuing that goal would simply make them look like "radicals." Being radical, however, is exactly what is called for today, and fear of that appellation is why the Democratic Party is on such a sustained losing streak. I remember back in the late 1960s, when I used to have hair (long), hitchhiking and sometimes driving cross-country through the vast Midwest, West and Southeast, and seeing big billboards calling for the impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren. Those signs, funded by right-wing Republican groups, seemed Quixotic at the time. With Democrats firmly in control of both houses of Congress, there wasn't a chance in hell of Justice Warren's getting put in the dock. But that seemingly pointless campaign had a tremendous impact on rallying conservatives to the Republican cause, and contributed mightily to the election of Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972, and to the election of Ronald Reagan a decade later. An impeachment campaign aimed at Bush could have the same impact, only much faster. With the interminable war in Iraq getting worse and worse and less and less popular, with the economy wobbly, and with state and local governments struggling because of federal cutbacks in all kinds of programs from education to Medicaid, impeachment could become a campaign rallying cry in the 2006 off-year Congressional elections, when every member of the House and every third member of the Senate must face the voters. It is time for progressives in the House to forget about propriety, to forget about calculation, and to remember what being a progressive is supposed to mean. The spirit of Paul Wellstone, the late and sorely missed senator from Minnesota, who would surely be calling for Bush's head today, needs to be resurrected in the House Progressive Caucus, if it is to continue using that name. I for one will be pushing this argument in a book on impeaching Bush which I am currently working on, with Barbara Olshansky of the Center for Constitutional Rights, for St. Martin's Press, (due out this spring). Fitzgerald's investigation is a welcome blow against the creeping fascism of this most deceitful, manipulative and corrupt regime, but a special prosecutor can only go so far. Progressive forces need to focus now on wresting back the initiative and drumming Republicans out of House and Senate in 2006 - no easy task. A good start would be a concerted impeachment campaign, aimed at tying down the Bush administration with hearings and investigations so it can do no more damage to nation and globe. Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net. He can be reached at: dlindorff [at] yahoo.com --------16 of 20-------- Don't Divert: Keep Opposing the Iraq War by Joshua Frank www.dissidentvoice.org November 1, 2005 How easy it is to forget that we have a war going on here. With all the hoopla over Scooter Libby's indictment, Bush's latest Supreme Court wrangling and Tom DeLay's legal quandary, the media has all but forgotten that the gravest matter, the war in Iraq, is still raging on with October culminating the bloodiest month for US troops since January. On Halloween, seven more US soldiers were killed bringing the monthly total to 92. At this rate we should reach 3,000 US deaths by August, if not sooner. The bombs and attacks that are killing occupation forces are becoming more accurate and sophisticated say Pentagon officials -- so we are only likely to see an increase in deaths as the war continues. Journalists haven't fared much better than soldiers and Iraqi civilians; the total death count of journalists in Iraq already outnumbers the total killed during the entire Vietnam era. Iraq is beset with death thanks to the US government. November's outlook is also grim. The Democrats are likely to spend the majority of their time attempting to oppose Samuel Alito's quest for the high court. So you can bet the war isn't going to take center stage anytime soon. Sure the liberal Dems will pay lip service to the Libby indictments, but they will never go after the heart of the matter: the lengths to which the government is willing to go in order to sell its imperial crusades. Why won't the Democrats address this? Well, the liberal establishment served up the same contaminated cocktails during the lead-up to the Iraq invasion as the Republicans did. The Democrats will always play victim. They'd just as soon declare they were misled than admit that they too lied about Saddam's alleged WMD stash. This is bipartisan war set into motion during Clinton's reign despite what Howard Dean and the rest say. Before we go much further, I think a small clarification is in order. This whole CIA leak and Scooter's latest tribulations are not a product of some personal tit-for-tat aimed at Joseph Wilson, but part of a larger White House effort orchestrated in order to counter increasing CIA rumblings about the short sightedness of the government's Iraq endeavor during the lead up to war. Never mind that outing an undercover CIA officer shouldn't be illegal, but championed. Regardless, the Libby episode isn't about outing a CIA creep, anyway, it's about lying to a grand jury. So back to the bloody war. As chaos, violence and car bombs enflame Iraq, the US government is going about its business as usual. Reconstruction contractors are posting record profits. Weapons producers are fattening their bottom lines. War in Syria and Iran may soon become reality. Campaign coffers are busting at the seams thanks to the same industries profiting in the Middle East. The neocon agenda is persevering despite the bumps in the road and it looks as though they will still be steering the helm after the 2006 elections. If we are ever going to stop this war we can't get sidetracked by alleged victories and poll figures. We've got to keep the pressure on the warmongers as long as US soldiers and corporations occupy Iraq. Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, 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. Listen to an interview with Joshua Frank about Left Out! from KUCI's (CA) Weekly Signals program. Read an excellent review of Left Out! by Adam Engel. --------17 of 20-------- Democrats: It's the War By Dennis Kucinich November 1, 2005 Ending the war in Iraq is right for a lot of reasons. The war was unjustified, unnecessary and unprovoked. It is counterproductive, strengthening al-Qaeda and weakening the moral authority of the United States. It is deadly: Many Americans, and many, many more Iraqis, have been killed or injured as a result of the fighting. And it is costly: Well over $250 billion in taxpayer funds have already been spent, with no end in sight. It is also increasingly unpopular. For all these reasons, plus the increased spotlight that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita put on how much the war is draining resources desperately needed at home, Democrats should clearly call for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. If Democrats do not make this the centerpiece of their campaign in 2006, they risk repeating recent history, in which they failed to recover seats in the House and Senate. National Democratic leaders have already tried, and tried again, to ignore the war, and it didn't work politically. During the 2002 election cycle, when Democrats felt they had historical precedent on their side - the president's party always loses seats in the mid-term election - the Democratic leadership in Congress cut a deal with the president to bring the war resolution to a vote, and appeared with him in a Rose Garden ceremony. "Let no light show" between Democrats and President Bush on foreign policy was the leadership's strategy, and it yielded a historic result: For the first time since Franklin Roosevelt, a president increased his majorities in both houses of Congress during a recession. Then, in 2004, with the president vulnerable on the war, the Democratic Party again sacrificed the opportunity to distinguish itself from Bush. Members avoided the issue of withdrawal from Iraq in the Party platform, omitted it from campaign speeches and deleted it from the national convention. Why is it an unconscionable political blunder to sweep the war and occupation of Iraq under the rug? Because the war is one of the most potent political scandals of all time, and it has energized grassroots activity all over the country. President Bush led the country into war based on false information, falsified threats and a fictitious estimate of the consequences. His war and the continuing occupation transformed Iraq into a training ground for jihadists who want to kill Americans, and a cause celebre for stoking resentment in the Muslim world. Bush's war and occupation squandered the abundant good will felt by the world for America after our 9/11 losses. He enriched his cronies at Halliburton and other private interests through the occupation. And he diverted our attention and abilities away from apprehending the masterminds of the 9/11 attack. Instead, we are mired in an occupation which has already cost over 2,000 American lives and the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis. The issue of the war clearly distinguishes what is wrong with Republican rule. Republicans in Congress won't extricate the United States from the quagmire the president has gotten us into. They have refused to investigate what role the White House played in manipulating pre-war intelligence. They refused to investigate the Downing Street memo. Democrats, on the other hand, mostly voted against the war: Two-thirds of House Democrats and half of Senate Democrats opposed the war in Iraq. Democrats can draw no clearer distinction with the president and the Republican Congress than over this war. Every major poll confirms that the war is a loser for the president and his party. Consider one of the most prominent: The ABC/Washington Post poll, which has surveyed public opinion on the war regularly since March 2003. Responses to all pertinent key questions clearly show eroding support for the war. Support for the president's handling of Iraq has steadily fallen; belief that the war was worth fighting has fallen; belief that the number of U.S. casualties are an acceptable cost of the war has steadily fallen; belief that the war has contributed to U.S. long-term security has steadily fallen, and support for keeping forces in Iraq has steadily fallen. There are no exceptions to this trend. Right is on our side, and public opinion is trending our way. In 2006, Democrats must break from the past and run on the issue of quick withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. The stakes are high: Unless Democrats stand for ending the war in Iraq, this country will not leave Iraq, and Democrats their minority status in Washington, for a long time to come. Of course, no party can win votes on the strength of one issue. Ending the war in Iraq must be at the centerpiece of a campaign that includes standing for national health care and preserving Social Security. This is the constellation of issues with which Democrats can take back the country. --------18 of 20-------- Senate Democrats Show Some Spine by JOHN NICHOLS The Nation [posted online on November 1, 2005] Remarkable as it may sound, there is reason to believe that Congressional Democrats may finally be waking from their long slumber and stirring into a functional opposition party. The United States Senate went back into session Tuesday for the first time since Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, I. Lewis Libby, was indicted for lying to FBI agents and a federal grand jury looking into whether the White House deliberately set out to destroy the reputation of former Ambassador Joe Wilson after he revealed that the Administration's case for war in Iraq relied on a deliberate misreading of intelligence information. But it was not business as usual. Instead, Democrats used a rare procedural move to force the Republican-controlled Senate into a closed session to discuss the status of a promised investigation into the Administration's use and misuse of intelligence prior to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. With a grave tone that seemed dramatically out of character for dormant Democrats in recent years, Senate minority leader Harry Reid took to the floor of the chamber and declared, "I demand on behalf of the American people that we understand why these investigations aren't being conducted." Senate majority leader Bill Frist, who has never left any doubt that his loyalty is to the Republican Party and his President rather than to the Republic, immediately accused Reid of attempting to "hijack" the Senate by forcing a discussion about accountability in matters of war and peace. Though he did not appear to recognize the irony in his statement, Frist said of the Democrats, "They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas." But Reid pressed his point, calling for a closed session to discuss intelligence matters. Under Senate rules, which traditionally respect demands for closed-door sessions on intelligence, Reid's request was granted without a vote. The galleries of the chamber were cleared of all spectators, and the doors to the Senate were shuttered. Predictably, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, the former majority leader who is always looking for a camera shot, rushed out to accuse Reid of making "some sort of stink about Scooter Libby and the CIA leak" and derided the Democratic leader for seeking a closed-door session to discuss a matter as inconsequential - in Lott's view - as whether the American people and the Congress were lied to prior to the launch of a war that has left more than 2,000 US troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead. But Reid's mission was far more specific than to raise "some sort of stink about Scooter Libby." The Senate minority leader and his chief aide, Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, were taking up what has been a long struggle, conducted mostly by antiwar groups such as Progressive Democrats of America: to force Senate Intelligence Committee chair Pat Roberts, of Kansas, to keep his promise to conduct a thorough investigation of whether the Administration distorted intelligence in order to "sell" the war in Iraq. Frist, Roberts and others huddled Tuesday to figure out a strategy to thwart the demand for the promised inquiry. But Reid's actions have finally focused attention on Roberts's past pledges. And there was serious speculation that the Democrat might force the Intelligence Committee chair to stop stonewalling. Reid - like his predecessor, Tom Daschle - has rarely been as bold as the times have demanded. And the nation has suffered as a result. But Tuesday he had mounted a challenge that is appropriate and necessary. As such, he merits the high praise of being referred to not as a Democrat or a Republican but as the leader of the opposition that this country has so sorely needed. We can only hope that Reid will, by his actions in coming days, seek to retain the title. --------19 of 20-------- Where Is The Left In The U.S.? by Robert Wrubel (Swans - October 24, 2005) Obviously, it is not a party, on the national level. This is too bad, because in multi-party European countries, the Left sometimes gets its positions included in a coalition agenda, and is considered a respectable political voice. It is not a movement, either, held together by a charismatic leader, or ideology, or common interest. Labor partly filled this role, once, but was quickly swallowed up (and then disgorged) by management. It's safe to say the Left is a point of view, held by many - workers, intellectuals, homemakers - sometimes alone, sometimes in small groups, an honorable if untutored leaning of the personality toward the disadvantaged, toward justice and against privilege and humbug. It goes along with non-conformity, modesty about material success and openness toward different life experiences. The Left is also a tradition, a history of actions and movements, sustained by a coterie of publications, scholars and personal experience. It exists in a visible sense in some unions, some Congress people, and some permanent activists like Van Jones who write or lead actual groups promoting social change. At moments of national crisis, such as the present, the Left, in its various forms, is called forth into active associations, which sometimes form alliances, and sometimes don't, which then struggle to fit theory to practice, or practice to theory, trying to act effectively and intelligently at the same time. Like a sleeping giant, at moments of crisis the Left in the U.S. comes awake, rubs its eyes, and strides forth into battle. But how do we recognize this amorphous creature and distinguish it from similar well-meaning but ad hoc responses to crisis? Three elements seem essential: 1) the presence of critical intelligence and historical memory (Chomsky, Edward Herman, and their readers, for example); 2) active involvement in a specific issue (Israel in Palestine, U.S. in Iraq, Wal*Mart, electoral fraud, living wage, affordable health care, etc.); 3) programmatic opposition to or skepticism about the existing order (Porto Allegre movement, economists and historians studying the dynamics of global capitalism.) Activity in any one of these areas qualifies as Left activity, even though there is a danger that purely intellectual activity (1 and 3) is easily co-opted, and purely oppositional activity (2) can turn out to be not progressive at all. The administration official quoted by Ron Suskind who said "We are an empire now; we make reality. You [journalists or intellectuals] can study it all you want - we'll make new realities before you're finished." illustrates the danger of (1). "Anyone But Bush" illustrates the dangers of (2). It's not enough just to read Chomsky; we have to do something with our knowledge. It's also not enough, for a Leftist, to oppose the war; we have to understand and oppose the systemic causes of war. Ideally, a leftist lives a little bit in all three spheres. Intellectual activity, particularly an interest in history, is vitally important today, as corporate control of media has virtually erased history from public discourse. Common sense and common moral sense told many people that the war in Iraq was wrong from the start, but it was much more wrong, and more deeply understood, when it was recognized as a continuation of the policies of the Clinton years. The current destruction of Iraq is actually a postscript to the much greater destruction of eight years of embargo and bombing under Clinton. And the trumped up humanitarian rationale for toppling Saddam was simply a callow repetition of that used for the earlier destruction of Serbia. These linkages and patterns are beyond the competence of contemporary journalists, and so it is up to the Left to provide them. But information without action is not enough. Practical action, in the form of coalition building, public education and outreach - even electoral politics - is necessary to keep understanding from becoming defeatist, or elitist (the Right is right about this!). Only by advancing our ideas in larger groups do we find out how they play in Peoria, what language works, what communities of interests are possible. Yet action can be self-defeating, too, if we place too much importance on immediate victories (like getting Karl Rove fired, or blocking a Supreme Court nomination). We need to always have the larger picture in mind - an awareness that democracy, as currently practiced, is a flawed vehicle at best, a shell game at worst. While it may not be essential to read Marx, or advocate revolution, one must at least be able to see that free enterprise capitalism is inherently inimical to justice and equality, and that the state is more the agent of wealth than it is of the people. "Left" is not identical with "Radical," but it shares the view that significant change requires a kind of uprooting. Yet, political activity can always only be appropriate and possible to the time and place it occurs in. This means that unless we are connected to some agent of opposition with actual leverage (a labor union, for example), we are forgiven for not being able to bring about immediate crisis or change. We should not be worried about being called utopians, as long as we are pushing against something specific with the best force we can muster. This means, for many, working mainly in the areas of public opinion, educating our neighbors, working for little victories at the city council and local school board level. It even includes standing by the highway with "Get Out Now" signs, so long as we don't just return home afterwards for a glass of Chardonnay! So, where does this leave us? For clarification one might ask, how is the Left different from the anti-war movement? The mainstream message of this movement seems to be "Bring the Troops Home Now!" It's not important how, or what remains in Iraq after we bring them home; just "end the carnage." There's nothing wrong with this demand, per se - it brings a halt to a process that at any moment could escalate to vastly wider conflicts or reprisals in the homeland - but it's totally inadequate to understanding the full assault on Iraqi sovereignty and lives set in motion by the Bush and Clinton policies. Similarly, opposition to the ascendancy of the Right - the mobilization of fundamentalist religious groups, the militarization of government and society, the attack on civil liberties - is an urgent task of the moment, but it is not in itself an agenda for meaningful social change. Just as the defeat of McCarthyism prepared the way for the consensual conservatism of Eisenhower, the defeat of Bush/Rove and Cheney is likely simply to lead to a second era of Democratic neo-liberal consolidation. In the most advanced and sophisticated capitalist state, the agenda of the Left is necessarily complex, emerging, many-faceted, never completed. Its attitude is skeptical, patient and realistic. However remote and powerful the state appears, the Left understands that that very remoteness is itself creating new injustices to fuel new resistance every day. By way of ending, I'll mention a model of social change, which seems unexceptionable to me. Activist, writer, and former California legislator Tom Hayden describes the cycle of political action in this way: the system throws up an irritant, some injustice, which had previously been invisible (or unarticulated), but now becomes conscious and starts to create active resistance. The process starts at the margins (of society, of awareness, outside the normal political process) but gradually gathers adherents and moves to the center (becomes recognized as "an issue" by the organs of public opinion), where it eventually results in legislation or executive action. The civil rights, anti-nuclear and environmental movements are examples of this. With success in the public sphere, however, activists tend to return to private life, to "enjoy the fruits of their victory." Hayden sees this as a natural human instinct, and it's hard to argue with him. It is hard to argue that any human being, except one in permanent deprivation, can lead a life of permanent revolution. The phrase, coined in the Sixties, Hayden uses to describe the process is "participatory democracy." It is a spontaneous process the system itself produces, by its malfunctioning -- something like a fever -- that eventually is reincorporated into the system, making it healthier. It is a process of reform, not radical change, but it is one that can be repeated over and over again, as long as the system remains open and democratic in any sense, and as long as the habits of skepticism, non-conformity and opposition are alive in some parts of the citizenry. What keeps these habits alive? Is it some innate sense of fairness, some thirst for universal liberty divinely instilled? Perhaps so, but it is safer, more empirical, less speculative to say it is the system itself, which inevitably and continually produces unfairness, inequality, lack of liberty. Whatever we are doing, however deeply immersed in private life, we are confronted with the evidence for it every day. Whenever we buy t-shirts at Target, grapes at Costco, Happy Meals at McDonald's, we know there is an exploited worker at the other end, a tract of ravaged land, and more often than not, a crony government of the U.S. The evidence is especially abundant in the heart of Empire, where material well-being is the drug that secures our compliance. The spirit of the Left and the source of its permanence are rooted in our own self-awareness, our honesty, our need to live a fuller life. --------20 of 20-------- Sharon Olds The Pope's Penis It hangs deep in his robes, a delicate clapper at the center of a bell. It moves when he moves, a ghostly fish in a halo of silver sweaweed, the hair swaying in the dark and the heat - and at night while his eyes sleep, it stands up in praise of God. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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