Progressive Calendar 11.02.05
From: David Shove (
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]>
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

Stand Together for Higher Wages and Benefits
Lunch cookout
Thursday, November 3
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 .

--------2 of 20--------

Date: Tue, 01 Nov 2005 14:18:47 -0600
From: Alan Carlson <discern [at]>
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
<> calling
upon our elected officials to do more to move the Midwest towards energy

For more information or to RSVP, please call Stephanie at (651) 696
- 7411 or email  SCOREMN [at] <mailto:SCOREMN [at]>

--------3 of 20--------

Date: Tue, 01 Nov 2005 23:35:07 -0600
From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Terry Peterson 11.03 7pm

A Reading by Terry Peterson
301 Cedar Avenue South

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 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: <larkinl [at]>
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

Call Lynne if you have questions, at 651-222-3787 ext 16.

--------5 of 20--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Ffunch/eat/politics 11.04 11:30am

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]>
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]>
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


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

5:30pm: From Two Men and a War

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]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 11.04 4:15pm

Every Friday
Vigil to End the Occupation of Palestine

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]>
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,

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:

--------10 of 20--------

From: Mary Turck <mturck [at]>
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]>
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]>
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]

--------13 of 20--------

The True Cost of War
by Cindy Sheehan
Published on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 by

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,

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
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

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

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

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

He can be reached at: dlindorff [at]

--------16 of 20--------

Don't Divert: Keep Opposing the Iraq War
by Joshua Frank
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 Joshua can be reached at
Joshua [at]

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

--------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

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

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

--------18 of 20--------

Senate Democrats Show Some Spine
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

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]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
                     over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02
              please send all messages in plain text no attachments

  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.