|Progressive Calendar 03.06.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2006 04:31:13 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.06.06 1. Immigrants/democracy 3.06 9am 2. House/homeless 3.06 11am/FergusFalls 2pm/Moorhead MN 3. MIC/education 3.06 4:30pm 4. Wi-fi/Cam/discuss 3.06 6pm 5. Dean Reed/rock rad 3.06 7pm 6. Uhcan/health 3.06 7pm 7. MN 911truth 3.06 7pm 8. Court watch 3.07 9am 9. Meet with Cam/ward 2 3.07 9:30am 10. Cavlan/US Senate 3.07 10am 11. Stadium/economist 3.07 12noon 12. Rwanda/genocide 3.07 3:30pm 13. Campaign ads/truth 3.07 5pm 14. Party caucus night 3.07 7pm 15. Chris Floyd - The fix is in for 2008 16. Bernard Weiner - Slicing away liberty: 1933 Germany, 2006 America 17. Gary Olson - There are good reasons Venezuelans like Chavez 18. ed - re/pre 2 --------1 of 18-------- From: humanrts [at] umn.edu Subject: Immigrants/democracy 3.06 9am March 6 - Speaker: The Knowledge of Democracy and the Political Attitudes of Immigrants in the U.S. and Sweden. 9-10:30am. Cost: Free and Open to the Public. Judith Torney-Purta is Professor of Human Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Visiting Scholar this year at the Center for Political Psychology (www.polisci.umn.edu/polipsyc). She was a coordinator for the IEA Civic Education Study in which 140,000 adolescents from 29 countries were tested and surveyed in 1999/2000. She was recognized for this achievement by receipt of the Nevitt Sanford Award from the International Society for Political Psychology (2001) and the Decade of Behavior Research Award in Democracy (2005). She will discuss results from the study and introduce the data base (which has been released for use by researchers). 1114 Social Sciences Building, University of Minnesota West Bank, Minneapolis, MN --------2 of 18-------- From: Joanna Dornfeld <jdornfeld [at] mhponline.org> Subject: House/homeless 3.06 11am/FergusFalls 2pm/Moorhead MN Housing Solutions for a Stronger Minnesota: Lobby Day 2006 March 28 Join HousingMinnesota, the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless and Minnesota NAHRO at the State Capitol as we continue to work for all Minnesotans have a home they can afford. Meet with legislators to help shape policy decisions that will help our communities thrive. For more information about lobby day and to register go to www.housingminnesota.org/lobbyday or see the attached flyler to register. Please register early so we are able to schedule a meeting with your legislator. Affordable Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Trainings HousingMinnesota and the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless are sponsoring a series of advocacy trainings designed for individuals, service providers and developers throughout the state to teach the tools and skills to develop meaningful relationships with your local policy makers. Policy makers need your expertise. Few organizations are closer to the real problems of people who need affordable housing than you: individuals, service providers, developers and local government staff. Personal stories are powerful tools for change. People and policy makers can learn from your story. Attend these trainings to learn how to communicate about the needs in your community and possible solutions. For more information about these events see the attached flyer or go to http://www.housingminnesota.org/events.cfm?PageID=6. Fergus Falls March 6, 11am West Central Initiative 1000 Western Avenue Fergus Falls, MN Moorhead March 6, 2-3:30pm Clay County Family Service Center 715 11th Street North Moorhead, MN Anoka County Area March 7, 2-3pm 1201 89th Ave. NE Room 300 Blaine, MN St. Cloud Area March 8, 10-11:30am Watkins Scout Service Center 1191 Scout Drive Sartell, MN Minnetonka March 14, 7-8:30pm Adath Jeshurun Congregation 10500 Hillside Lane West Minnetonka, MN Use these trainings as a springboard to participate in our annual Lobby Day. For more infomration about any of the events, please contact Joanna Dornfeld at (651) 649-1710 ext. 108 or jdornfeld [at] mhponline.org. --------3 of 18-------- From: humanrts [at] umn.edu Subject: MIC/education 3.06 4:30pm March 6 - MIC Universals of Cultures Workshop: Effective Use of Intercultural Resources in the Classroom. 4:30-8:30pm. Cost: $75 (Includes 3 free presentations by an international speaker, dinner, and 0.4 CEUs). The Minnesota International Center's (MIC) Universals of Cultures workshop: "Effective Use of Intercultural Resources in the Classroom". The International Classroom Connection (ICC) program of the Minnesota International Center would like to invite you to attend an innovative training workshop for K-12 teachers and educators who seek effective ways to use international resources that complement the existing curriculum. The workshop is designed to focus on Universals of Culture as a model to compare and contrast cultures with students. Please consider joining us if you are looking for an opportunity to help your students freshen and expand the way they view the world, foster a global and intercultural mindset in students, bring an international perspective into your classroom, and encourage face-to-face interaction as a means to learn about other cultures. After the workshop, teachers will be able to invite MIC International Speakers to visit their classrooms and ! provide first-hand information to their students. We have limited space, so sign up soon! Send e-mail to icc [at] umn.edu, call 612-625-4421, or see www.micglobe.org for more information. Location: MIC, 711 East River Road on the U of M East Bank, Minneapolis. Limited free on- site parking. --------4 of 18-------- From: Cam Gordon <CamGordon333 [at] msn.com> Subject: Wi-fi/Cam/discuss 3.06 6pm Dear Friends and Neighbors, As part of my ongoing series of public forums on issues of interest and concern to the people of the Second Ward, I'd like to announce our upcoming March forum: Wireless Broadband Internet Initiative: Who Owns and Who Benefits? Monday March 6, 6-8pm Brian Coyle Community Center, 420 15th Ave S, Minneapolis The City of Minneapolis is currently moving forward with a process to develop a privately-owned citywide wireless broadband system (WiFi). One of two trial areas for the proposed system is in the Second Ward, in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood. There are a number of legitimate concerns that have been raised about the current proposals and the process that has produced them. Public ownership of WiFi was not seriously studied at any point in the process, and the two ownership models have never been compared head-to-head. I have released a statement on WiFi calling for a serious study of public ownership. The forum will also be attended by City staff, community activists and advocates for publicly-owned WiFi infrastructure. We will also discuss the elements of a potential contract with either of the private vendors. I will be actively soliciting input about what standards residents feel we should be requiring vendors to meet and what recourse we should build into any contract we sign. Please come and share your ideas, hopes and concerns on this important subject. I am convinced that we can only make the best decision to move our city forward through the participation of informed residents who care. Cam Gordon, Council Member, Second Ward --------5 of 18--------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Dean Reed/rock rad 3/06 7pm Monday March 6 at 7pm Magers and Quinn Booksellers; 3038 Hennepin Av S Minneapolis Cost: Free More Info: www.magersandquinn.com Dean Reed was born on a chicken farm in Colorado. He began laying guitar at age 12 and grew up to be a b-movie actor and a rock singer. His radical politics resulted in his being blacklisted and marginalized in his native country. He had a major musical career in South America, was the first American rock star to perform in the Soviet Union (1966) and settled in East Germany where he sold millions of records. Appearing on 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace in 1986, he likened Reagan to Stalin generating much hate mail to CBS. Less than a year later, he was found dead at age 47, floating in a lake outside East Berlin. Chuck Laszewski is a reporter for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. He first became interested in Dean Reed when he saw Reed present his movie El Cantor at the U film Society. When the Berlin Wall fell, Laszewski embarked on a 10 year odyssey to find the facts about Reed's life and to unravel the mystery of his death. Rock n' Roll Radical makes a strong case for Reed's having been murdered. For further information on the reading, please contact David Unowsky at Magers and Quinn Booksellers at (612) 822-4611. ---------6 of 18-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Uhcan/health 3.06 7pm Due to the precinct caucuses being held this Tuesday, we decided at our last organizational meeting to hold our "first Tuesday of the month meeting" THIS MONDAY. Please join us at 7pm at Walker Church (3104 16th Ave S, one block east of Bloomington Ave and one block south of Lake St) THIS MONDAY. Proposed agenda: - Welcome and Introductions - Additional agenda items?? - Reports back (Joel has an art car!) - (continued) planning w/the Gray Panthers for the Mar 12 public forum at Holy Rosary Church - Precinct caucus strategy - Mar 18 St. Patrick's Day benefit dance for Walker Church and UHCAN - Twin Cities hospitalization health care cooperative Looking forward to seeing you and any potential guests :-) Everybody in, nobody out! --------7 of 18-------- From: leslie reindl <alteravista [at] earthlink.net> Subject: MN 911truth 3.06 7pm Monday, March 6, first meeting of Minnesota 911truth group: 7pm, Cahoots Coffee Bar, 1562 Selby Av StPaul (southeast corner, a few stores east of Snelling). All welcome. FFI 651-633-4410. The mission of this group is to raise to public awareness the government coverup of vital data about how 9/11 came to pass, the omissions and distortions of the Kean Commission formed to investigate it, and the very real evidence of government involvement in the event, and to demand an independent thorough investigation. ---------8 of 18-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] minn.net> Subject: Court watch 3.07 9am Lennie Senter Tuesday, March 7, 9am Ramsey County Courthouse 15 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul Lennie was driving in St. Paul when he was pulled over. Police claim he did not "pull over fast enough" though he has proof to the contrary. They pulled him from his car and threw his wallet and money on the sidewalk. They then beat, pepper-sprayed and Tasered him repeatedly. He passed out and woke up in a squad. At the jail, he was beaten again and held all night in cuffs. He suffered from kidney damage and a broken shoulder. He was later charged with 4th degree assault on a police officer--a bogus charge often used on people who were beaten by police. At the arraignment, he pled not guilty and because he wouldn't accept the deal offered, he was placed under a $60,000 bond, which he couldn't raise. He spent 54 days in jail and is now going to trial. He is representing himself and is determined to clear his name. It's extremely important that people go to court and support this man. --------9 of 18-------- From: Cam Gordon <CamGordon333 [at] msn.com> Subject: Meet with Cam 3.07 9:30am Cam Gordon, Council Member, Second Ward 612-673-2202 (w) 612-296-0579 (c) Office Hours: I am happy to announce that beginning in February I will be holding office hours every Tuesday morning in the Second Ward from 9:30-11am. The locations will rotate as follows, so that I can meet with residents in their own neighborhoods: First Tuesdays West Bank / Cedar Riverside neighborhood Hard Times Cafe, 1821 Riverside Ave Second Tuesdays: Prospect Park / East River Road neighborhood Pratt School, 66 Malcolm Ave SE Third Tuesdays: Southeast Como neighborhood SECIA office, 837 15th Ave SE Fourth Tuesdays: Seward / Cooper neighborhoods Seward Tower East Advantage Center, 2910 E Franklin Ave --------10 of 18-------- From: Gerry D'Amour <g [at] hjd.com> Subject: Cavlan/US Senate 3.07 10am MICHAEL CAVLAN FOR US SENATE, Green Party, MN Attention News Rooms A Press Conference is being called by Michael Cavlan, candidate for the US Senate. For Tuesday, March 7, at 10am in Room 125 of the State Capitol Building. Mr. Cavlan has witnessed speeches by the U.S. Senate Candidates, in which positions and facts have been less than honest. At the Press Conference he will charge all Candidates to always speak the truth when addressing the public . The Cavlan Campaign will announce an exciting new initiative called the "Orange Ribbons for Truth". Mr. Cavlan will outline the "Orange Ribbons for Truth" campaign at the press conference. Mr. Cavlan will address how the recent exclusion from the debate sponsored by the North Metro Chamber of Commerce, silences legitimate Third Party participation. and the ability to ask questions the Candidates would rather not hear. Issues to be addressed are Campaign Contribution influences on the Major Party Candidates, and the lack of any Independent Investigation of the current Bush Administration. All are welcome to attend this press conference. There will be a question and answer period after Mr. Cavlan speaks. The Committee to Elect Michael Cavlan P.O.Box 14208, St. Paul. MN 55114-0208 www.cavlan.org PRESS CONTACT GERRY DAMOUR 612-817-4205 --------11 of 18-------- From: Dann Dobson <dddobson1 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Stadium/economist 3.07 12noon Economist to Speak on Vikings Stadium. Dr. Art Rolnick, respected Federal Reserve economist, will be speaking on the economics of the Vikings stadium plan. The address will be March 7th at the Mermaid Events Center in Mounds View. This event will start at 12 Noon and is open to the public! Lunch is included and the cost is $10 per person. The National Federation of Independent Business is the sponsor. To RSVP, call the NFIB at 651-293-1283. --------12 of 18-------- From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Rwanda/genocide 3.07 3:30pm Ethnic Memories in Post-Genocide Rwanda: The Prospects for Peaceful Cohabitation March 7, 3:30pm Nolte Hall, room 125, UofM Speaker: Rene Lemarchand, University of Florida(emeritus) Facilitator: Michele Wagner (History) Looking at both the Holocaust and the Genocide in Rwanda immediately raises the problem of comparison The sense of revulsion inspired by mass murder on such an appalling scale is no reason to gloss over the singularity of each catastrophe. However, while points of convergence between the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide are undeniable, to treat Rwanda as a carbon copy of the Holocaust is likely to obscure its historical specificity and regional context, and ultimately to a misunderstanding of the motivations behind the killings. While many of the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust departed Europe after 1945, both Tutsis and Hutus are faced, for the most part, with attempting to live together after genocide. Professor Lemarchand's talk will focus on how this reconciliation may be possible. --------13 of 18-------- From: Darrell Gerber <darrellgerber [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Campaign ads/truth 3.07 5pm Forum on Truth Telling in Campaign Ads Featured Speaker: Kathleen Hall Jamieson Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, author, and CBS commentator Panelists: Pat Kessler; Journalist, WCCO Television and KTLK Radio Tom Horner; Himle Horner Public Relations Moderator: Lawrence Jacobs; Director, Center for the Study of Politics and Governance Tuesday March 7 5-6:30pm Cowles Auditorium Hubert H. Humphrey Center 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis (U of M West Bank) *Free and open to the public, but advance registration is appreciated Journalists and editors file stories in the face of nearly unprecedented political polarization, the flourishing of a vibrant and at times unruly blogosphere, and sophisticated political consultants determined to frustrate the press by programming candidates to robotically repeat poll-tested talking points. The longstanding press norm of objectivity is now being stretched as coverage of "both sides" often means coverage of extreme views, amplifying fractious debates and deflecting the press from performing its responsibility as a "watch dog." Meanwhile, Americans are bewildered and turned off, distrusting what the candidates say and journalists report. The strains in news reporting have spawned justifiable alarm as well as inchoate and misplaced criticisms. The Humphrey Institute's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance is joining with the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and the Minnesota Journalism Center, both in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, to sponsor a series of forums in 2006 on news reporting of elections. The purpose of the series is to bring together prominent media commentators, working journalists and those who work on election campaigns in order to focus and ground criticism of the press and to foster an environment receptive to innovation in campaign reporting. Kathleen Hall Jamieson - a nationally distinguished scholar and media commentator - will launch the series with a talk on "Truth Telling in Campaign Ads." Her presentation will be followed by a discussion with Pat Kessler (television reporter and radio host) and Tom Horner (a public relations consultant). Lawrence Jacobs (University of Minnesota professor) will moderate the event, which is free and open to the public. *To register, please e-mail cspg [at] hhh.umn.edu with name, address, phone number and email address. Call Jennifer Thompson at 612-625-5340 for more information or look at website: http://www.hhh.umn.edu/centers/cspg/march7.html Directions and parking information: www.hhh.umn.edu/about/contact/parking.html --------14 of 18-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Party caucus night 3.07 7pm Tuesday, March 7, 7pm WAMM is a nonviolent, nonpartisan, grassroots organization whose purpose is to dismantle systems of militarism and global oppression. We encourage everyone to participate in the political election process through the party of their choice. The future belongs to those who show up! The following resolutions are among those which may be introduced at this Tuesday's caucuses: immediate withdrawl and restitution for Iraq; reduction of military budget and corporate tax cuts and increasing funding for human needs; accountable voting processes; protection for national historic site Coldwater Spring-and many more. If you haven't been to a caucus before, you may find the brochure "Minnesota's Precinct Caucuses" helpful for procedures: <http://www.sos.state.mn.us/docs/mn_precinct_caucuses_2006.pdf> More general information about caucuses can be found at the League of Women Voters Minnesota web site: <http://www.lwvmn.org/EdFund/voting.asp> [The Green Party of MN will hold SENATE DISTRICT caucuses - one in each of the 67 state senate districts. -ed] --------15 of 18-------- The fix is in for 2008. By Chris Floyd 03/02//06 "Moscow Times" - Two weeks ago, an obscure, unelected, Republican-appointed official in California decided the future of the world. That future - at least for the next several years - will be an accelerating nightmare of war, corruption, repression, atrocity and terror. That's because the loyal apparatchik has, with the stroke of a pen, guaranteed the perpetuation of the Bush faction in power in 2008 and beyond. One of the few certainties in modern U.S. politics is that no Democrat can win the presidency without carrying California. Thanks to the Electoral College system set up by the Founding Oligarchs to keep the low-born rabble from voting directly for president, the big haul of California's electoral votes is crucial for Democrats to offset the multitude of small, sparsely populated states that reliably vote Republican. Bagging California doesn't guarantee Democratic victory, but without it, the cliffhanger electoral counts in the goosed elections of 2000 and 2004 wouldn't even have been close. Thus, the sudden, hugger-mugger decision by California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson to override the objections of his own experts and certify the eminently hackable voting machines of the politically partisan firm, Diebold, for use throughout the state means, quite simply, that the fix is in for 2008. It doesn't matter who the Democrats run - Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, George Clooney or Jesus H. Christ in an Uncle Sam suit. It won't make a bit of difference. California is lost, the presidency is lost and the Bushists are in - already. It's over. After Diebold's machines failed miserably in a battery of tests last year, McPherson vowed to put their certification on hold until his own hand-picked panel of experts had fine-combed the system to a fare-thee-well, blogger Brad Friedman reports. The panel delivered their conclusions last month - and the results were staggering, far beyond the worst fears of the most hard-core "conspiracy theorist." The panel found that Diebold's machines were riddled with curious built-in glitches that effectively "ceded complete control of the system" to hackers who could "change vote totals, modify reports, change the names of candidates and change the races being voted on." What's more, "hackers wouldn't need to know passwords or cryptographic keys, or have access to any other part of the system to do their dirty work," the Los Angeles Times notes. "Voters, candidates and election monitors wouldn't necessarily know they'd been rooked." A more perfect vehicle for fixing an election can hardly be imagined. And it would require nothing more than a handful of high-tech zealots, not a vast conspiracy. Naturally, after such a blistering condemnation, McPherson did what any official charged with guaranteeing the integrity and credibility of his state's elections would do: He approved the slipshod system by the dark of the moon, on a Friday before a holiday weekend, without any public hearings - indeed, without waiting for the results of a pending federal review of Diebold's mole-infested code. Now, the Diebold contraptions, whose chronic "breakdowns" have featured in numerous contested elections and last-second "miracle" victories by Republican candidates across the country in recent years, will control California's pot of electoral gold. A good example of how this control works can be found in Alaska. There, the state Democratic Party has long been seeking an audit of some of the 2004 Diebold-counted returns, which produced a series of strange anomalies - including awarding President George W. Bush an extra 100,000 votes that turned out to be phantoms. First, state officials blocked the request because that information, the vote count of a public election, was a "company secret" that belonged exclusively to Diebold, Friedman reports. Then they decided that the returns could be examined - but only on the condition that Diebold and the Republican officials be allowed to "manipulate the data" before it was released. In the end, even this tainted transparency was too much for the Bushist ballot crunchers; late last month, Alaska officials suddenly declared that examining the returns would pose a dire but unspecified "security risk" to the state. America's votes are increasingly controlled by a small number of interrelated corporations: Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia, all of which have close political and financial ties to the Bush faction - and to other dark forces as well. Diebold and ES&S were both bankrolled by tycoon Howard Ahmanson, who was also a major funder of the Christian "Reconstructionist" movement, which openly advocates a totalitarian theocracy in America, including the death penalty for homosexuals, slavery for debtors, stoning for sinners and stripping nonbelievers of citizenship. As journalist Max Blumenthal reports, these extremists have been welcomed as a key part of the Bushist base of politicized evangelicals, whose cadres have been quietly filling government posts for the past five years. Meanwhile, Sequoia - whose machines racked up 100,000 "mistakes" in just one Florida county in 2004, according to a recent audit - is owned by a business partner of the Carlyle Group, the investment firm whose insider deals and war profiteering have earned millions for the Bush family. Thus, the 2008 election will be conducted largely on wide-open machines programmed by avowed partisans and paymasters of a ruthless gang that has already committed demonstrable vote fraud on a massive scale in engineering narrow "victories" in 2000 and 2004. So it doesn't matter who runs, who votes or how unpopular the Bush faction becomes through the murderous ruin of its radical agenda. The "consent of the governed" will be drowned in the blood money that has bought the nation's electoral process. [Nevertheless, millions of Dems will close their eyes and ears, do next to nothing until 2008, then campaign for Hillary, who will lose to stolen votes. They will go into denial that the result is fixed, that our democracy has been stolen. Coming out of that criminally negligent denial would be painful, and call for lots of serious radical work. Better to take a tranquilizer and a sleeping pill and a jigger of Jim Beam, and zonk out until the Bushistas abolish the Consitituion and all our rights. And people ridiculed Jews for going quietly to the gas chambers. -ed] --------16 of 18-------- Slicing Away Liberty: 1933 Germany, 2006 America By Bernard Weiner Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers 02/22/06 "ICH" - I must confess that I'm utterly baffled by the lack of sustained, organized outrage and opposition from Democratic officials and ordinary citizens at the Bush Administration's never-ending scandals, corruptions, war-initiations, and the amassing of more and more police-state power into their hands. And so, facing little effective opposition, the Bush juggernaut continues on its rampage. How to explain this? Certainly, one could point to a deficient mass-media, to the soporific drug of TV, to having to work so hard that for many there's no time for activism, to education aimed at taking tests and not how to think, to the residual fear-fallout from 9/11, to a penchant for fantasy over reality, to the timid and unimaginative Democratic leadership, to scandal-fatigue, etc. But I would suggest that even more disturbing answers can be found by examining recent history. Just so nobody misunderstands what follows: I am not saying that George W. Bush is Adolf Hitler, or that the rest of his Administration crew are Nazis. What I am saying is that since history often is opaque (making it difficult to figure out the contemporary parallels), when the past does offer a clear lesson for those of us living today, we should pay special attention. What happened in Germany in the 1920s and '30s can teach us much about how a nation in a few years can lose its freedom in incremental slices as a result of a drumbeat of never-ceasing propaganda, strong-arm tactics, government snooping and harassment, manufactured fear of "the other," and wars begun abroad with the accompanying rally-'round-the-flag patriotism. In America of the 1980s and '90s, it was extremists on the far-right fringes who believed the country was moving toward "black helicopter" authoritarian rule in Washington, and often blamed big-government liberal Democrats. Now, as a result of just four-plus years of the Bush Administration (supposedly anti-big government, conservative Republicans), huge segments of American society, including many in the mainstream middle, wonder what has happened to our democratic republic, our civil liberties, our time-honored system of government. THE ENABLING MANTRA OF 9/11 The Busheviks defend the Administration's harsh, sweeping actions as necessary in a "time of war." The U.S. was attacked by forces representing fanatical Islam, this reasoning goes, and the old rules and systems simply don't apply anymore - they are old-fashioned, "quaint." Instead, we are expected to inculcate the "everything-changed-on-9/11" mantra, the effect of which is to excuse and justify all. Defense of the fatherland comes first and foremost, trumping all other considerations, including the Constitution, checks-and-balances in the three branches of government, separation of powers, the Geneva Conventions, international law, etc. etc. (The Busheviks refuse to believe that one can be muscular in going after terrorists and do so within the law and with proper respect for the Bill of Rights and Constitutional protections of due process.) Not only do the Busheviks pay no attention to modern history, but they seem to have forgotten how our very nation came into existence and why: Our Founding Fathers rebelled against a despotic British monarch, a George who ran roughshod over their rights and privacy and religious beliefs. Learning that hard lesson, they established a system of government that scattered power so that no person or party or religion could easily reinstate authoritarian rule. Politicians and citizens would have to compromise and cooperate in order to get anything done. It's a slow, cumbersome system ("Democracy," said Churchill, "is the worst form of government ever invented, except for all the others"), but the system they devised served this nation well for more than two centuries, making American government a model for much of the rest of the world. And now, using the fear of terrorism as justification for all their actions, the Bush-Rove-Cheney-Rumsfeld crew within just a few years have moved America closer to a militarist, one-party state, led by a ruler in whom virtually all power is vested. In '30s Germany, this was called the Fuhrer Principe, the principle of blind obedience to the wise, all-powerful Supreme Leader. We've seen other such examples in Stalin's Soviet Union, Kim's North Korea, Mao's China, Saddam's Iraq, etc. THE GOOD, THE BAD & LOTS OF UGLY To the Busheviks, there is pure Evil and pure Good, and because we Americans are pure Good, especially blessed by God, we can do anything in the service of fulfilling God's plan, which only we understand. If you're not with us, you're against us; get on board or get out of the way. And so, under BushCheney, we've become an America that has codified torture in official state policy, that admits it went into a war under false premises but continues to keep our targeted troops there anyway, that spies on its citizens without court orders, that is willing to out a covert CIA agent (one who was probing the extent of Iran's nuclear program) for reasons of political retaliation, that "disappears" American citizens into military jails and doesn't permit them any contact with the outside world, that flies suspects in its care to secret prisons abroad and "renders" others to countries that use even more extreme torture measures, that passes laws permitting police agents to "sneak and peek" into citizens' homes, phone records, computer databases, library requests, e-mails and medical records without permission or even informing those whose privacy had been violated, that neuters the Congress by saying it will listen to "suggestions" but that the ultimate decisions are to be made by the Chief Executive, that emasculates the political opposition in Congress by cutting them out of the key decision-making processes, that declares the president has the right to violate the law whenever he so chooses and Congress and the courts have no role to play in reining in that power-grab, that keeps America on a permanent war footing in a never-ending battle against a tactic (terrorism), and on and on. Even though much of the above transpired in secret and is only now being revealed, not all of this desecration of the American ideal happened overnight. As in Germany in the 1930s, the extremists placed in charge of the government said one thing in public and did another in private, slowly slicing away at rights of the citizenry, to avoid triggering a popular uprising. THE SLICING MACHINE In the beginning of their rule, the Nazis would announce restrictive policies aimed at marginalized citizens (the mentally handicapped, for example), and if no great uproar of objection came from any power centers such as the churches or hospitals or political parties, the Nazis would proceed to the next slice aimed, say, at Communists or homosexuals or Jews or Gypsies. All of these moves were carefully couched in terms of saving the "national security" of the Reich or purging the country of "non-productive" or "destructive/dangerous" elements in society. The Nazi propaganda machine was clever, intense and all-pervasive, using the Big Lie technique masterfully - endlessly repeating its falsehoods until the drummed-upon populace came to accept them as truths. Many ordinary "good Germans" and moral arbiters went along with these violations of civil rights and liberties either because they inwardly agreed with the propagandists or because they were afraid to disagree in public. Those few leaders in academia, the church and the press who courageously or even tentatively demurred or asked too many questions tended to be punished - demoted, fired, their honors revoked, etc. - and so more and more citizens got the message to "watch what you say." The Nazi juggernaut pushed on, widening its list of what was forbidden, issuing harsher and harsher edicts, and treating any dissidents roughly. Hitler, leader of the rabidly rightwing Nazi party, was installed as Chancellor in 1933, even though his party was not in the majority, in the hope that he could bring some order and stability to a society still reeling from the horrendous economic/social Great Depression that had devastated the country during the '20s and early-'30s. Given the reins of power, Hitler felt free to unleash policies that most citizens earlier had rejected as way too extreme. He had written about them in his book "Mein Kampf," but many thought he would modify his demented views once he was inside the establishment corridors. The "Enabling Act" that gave Hitler total control of the organs of power in Germany was passed in 1933, following the burning of the German Reichstag (Parliament), an arson that was blamed on Communist "terrorists." Hitler "temporarily" suspended civil liberties during this "national emergency," which of course never ended. Hitler lied to the Reichstag about his true intentions in order to obtain approval of the Enabling Act. Shortly after its passage, Hitler began rounding up tens of thousands of political enemies and sending them to concentration camps. Democracy was dead in Hitler's Germany. The corporate titans, seeing that there might be profit to be gained from Nazi economic and military policies, supported Hitler's rise and rule; those who had objections to what he was doing thought they could tame his passions through their immense influence. But slowly, and then quickly, the Nazis took over one institution after another; totalitarianism was in full force. To stamp out any hint of dissent, all citizens were to spy on each other - "each one of us the Gestapo of the others," to use Sebastian Haffner's scary phrase - and the security forces arrested and tortured at will. (To learn more from Haffner's contemporaneous account, see "Germany in 1933: The Easy Slide Into Fascism"). Arming itself to the teeth, Hitler's military forces carried out lighting-quick wars of conquest ("Blitzkrieg") on weaker nations and the fascist German empire spread over Europe and, in alliance with Japan, in Asia as well. More than 40 million human beings would die in the resulting World War II. Hitler's arrogant belief in his own intuition and infallibility led to his downfall, as, against all common sense and advice and military history, he invaded the Soviet Union and wound up in a destructive quagmire of the worst sort. THE PARALLEL UNIVERSE Again, what follows here is not to allege one-for-one comparisons to Nazism, but to note certain parallel events and tactics that require special consideration if we are to avoid imitating disastrous history even more fully. In our time, a Leader (who, we later learned, probably lost the 2000 election) was installed in the White House by a far-right majority faction of the Supreme Court. The HardRight had been laying plans for a restoration of Republican rule after Clinton won re-election; first they made sure Clinton would be unable to concentrate on his political agenda by constant iterations of supposed scandals that, as various probes demonstrated, revealed no illegality. When Clinton handed the Republicans an opening by engaging in a sexual dalliance in the White House, they engineered an impeachment and trial by the Senate; it didn't really matter that Clinton was not convicted, as the requisite damage had been done, with a side benefit - his Vice President and presumable successor, Al Gore, was tainted by being close to Clinton and thus weakened politically. The point of all this is that the HardRight restoration forces were planning for a Bush administration far in advance of the actual 2000 election. There was no one person's "Mein Kampf," but other writings had laid out in stark terms what this neo-conservative cabal had in mind for the country's foreign/military policy should they return to power, especially in the reports of The Project for The New American Century: "pre-emptive" wars of conquest, permitting no rivals for influence, control of energy sources, etc. (See "How We Got Into This Imperial Pickle: A PNAC Primer", where PNAC lays out the sole-Superpower strategy for achieving "benevolent hegemony" around the globe.) Some of that planning included an invasion of Iraq. Even though Cheney still won't reveal which oil executives were part of his secret energy task-force, we do know that at least part of that panel's meetings in early 2001 involved the question of Iraq, with discussion and a map of which companies might get exploration blocks after Saddam was removed from power. Further, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill revealed how astonished he was that at the first meetings of the Bush Cabinet in early-2001, much time was spent on the need to invade Iraq. The terror attacks of 9/11/2001 served as the equivalent of the "Reichstag Fire" - or, seen another way, as a phrase lifted from a 2000 PNAC document. The Bush Administration's "Enabling Act" came in several key bills passed by Congress: the unread and barely-debated Patriot Act, which gave virtually unlimited police powers to the government in rooting out "terrorism," and the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), written so broadly as to give the "commander in chief" authority to take whatever unspecified actions he considered necessary against those responsible for 9/11. Attorney General Gonzales recently claimed that the AUMF, in conjunction with Article 2 of the Constitution, permits Bush to authorize both the torture of prisoners and spying on American citizens, without the need to seek any court warrants, thus over-riding the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign "new Pearl Harbor," the Intelligence Surveillance Act that states in no uncertain terms that ALL such eavesdropping requires court permission. REINING IN DISSENTERS & THE INTERNET Even though the mainstream, corporate-owned media by and large does the bidding of the Bush Administration, ignoring and playing down bad news and hyping the Administration's spin points, full control of the mass media is still not complete - even with the Bush Administration spending $1.6 billion tax dollars last year on its own public-relations spin. The few insurgent media outlets and reporters, and the unruly analysts on the internet, are still to be dealt with. (FEMA has contracted with Halliburton and others to build several hundred detention camps around the country, ostensibly to house illegal immigrants but easily convertible for malcontents of one sort or another. See Maureen Farrell's "Detention Camp Jitters". Likewise, the Judiciary. Bush&Co. have placed nearly two hundred of its HardRight jurists on the federal appeals courts, and got its new Federalist Society justices onto the Supreme Court - presumably tipping the balance in favor of more rightwing decisions - but more work needs to be done to lock down total control of the Judiciary. The democratic institutions that possibly could still backfire on the Bush agenda are approaching terminal weakness: the Republican-controlled Congress has become a rubber-stamp appendage of Karl Rove's political office; the Democrats are essentially marginalized with no real power except to whine and complain and embarrass. Plus, and most importantly, election votes are counted by the same GOP-friendly corporations that controlled (and appear to have manipulated) the vote-tabulations in 2002 and 2004, that manufacture the computer-voting machines, and that own the secret, proprietary software. The one dangerous element that cannot be fully controlled are the human beings who are the public face of the HardRight elite. Bush is a simpleton who often says more than he should, giving away the game; Cheney is a callous Rasputin whose penchant for secrecy and power-lust as he runs the government constantly gets the group into hot water; Rumsfeld is a media-savvy incompetent whose dirty fingerprints are all over the Iraq disaster and the torture scandal; Rove, a brilliant dirty-pool tactician (his grandfather reportedly was an active Nazi Party supporter in Germany), is likely to be indicted in the Plamegate scandal. Others Administration heavies, such as Condoleezza Rice and Alberto Gonzales are little more than toadies for the big boys. WE'VE BEEN WARNED So, let's see: a Supreme Leader who has taken his country into blitzkrieg ("shock & awe") attacks on foreign nations, bogging down in an ill-advised invasion quagmire in Iraq; who has traded historic civil rights and liberties for defense of the fatherland; who has destroyed or rendered toothless his nominal opposition party; who has wrapped himself in the flag and questioned the patriotism of those who raise questions about his policies; who has engaged in a Big Lie propaganda strategy to move his agenda; who has demonized internal enemies; who violates the law to get what he wants and claims that he serves a higher power in doing so; who has marginalized the other two branches of government; who effectively controls the voting process; and so on. What's scary is that it didn't take much verbal stretching to come up with those parallels, even admitting that life in Bush's U.S.A., however comparable in many areas, can scarcely be equated to life in Hitler's Germany. Even so, history has presented its warnings to us. Will we understand and act in time to return our country to a more moderate balancing point, thus making us better protected in terms of national security? It's up to each of us. This bungling Bush crew seems to have a reverse Midas touch; virtually everything they touch turns not to gold but to foul-smelling waste matter. They are so out of touch with the American mainstream that they've brought their own poll numbers down into the 30s, and key Republicans in self-defense are racing to separate themselves from BushCheney before the November elections. Bush&Co. may be reckless bumblers, endangering America's national security and economy and environment, but they still wield the levers of power and they're not about to give them up; indeed, it appears they are willing to take us all down with them as they fall. That's our challenge, to get rid of them as quickly as possible - by agitating for impeachment hearings now, or moving for impeachment and a Senate trial after taking back the House in November - and help bring America out from its current dark cave to the bright light of hope and civility and reality-based governance. Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at various universities, worked as a writer/editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org). To comment, write crisispapers [at] comcast.net . Copyright 2006, by Bernard Weiner --------17 of 18-------- [And now, news from the center for peace freedom democracy hope and humanity, Latin America. May it be preserved from the over-ripe banana republic to the north. - ed] There are good reasons Venezuelans like Chavez Opinion by Gary Olson The Morning Call (Easton, PA) - February 28, 2006 http://www.mcall.com/news/opinion/all-olson0228,0,1254352.story?coll=all-topnews-pointers "Something must be working, because his approval rating stands at 77 percent, the highest in the Americas..." Here is today's multiple choice question: Who recently provided 1.15 million gallons of low-cost heating oil to thousands of poor and working class families in seven East Coast states, including 25,000 people in the Philadelphia area, and did so with the words, "No one should be forced to sacrifice food, shelter, or medicine to stay warm?" a. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia b. Felix Rodriguez c. George W. Bush d. Oprah Winfrey e. 10 major U.S. oil companies. The correct answer is "b" and Rodriguez is the CEO of Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuela's state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA). On behalf of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, he also distributed free heating oil to dozens of homeless shelters from Maine to Delaware. Venezuela, owner of the largest oil deposits outside the Middle East and the world's fifth-largest oil producer, also sold oil at far lower costs to 15 poor nations in the Caribbean and Central America. Even Native Americans in Maine were recipients. The 10 U.S. oil companies did not respond to requests to help the poor. One of them, in fact, Exxon, reported record profits of $36 billion in 2005. In spite of these good acts, Venezuela's leader is very controversial. Can the twice democratically elected Chavez be the same fellow that Pat Robertson wants the CIA to assassinate, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has likened to Adolf Hitler; and official and semi-official types have placed on the White House "enemies list," labeled a "red devil," as "lethal as Osama bin Laden," and a "madman?" Further, the United States supported an unsuccessful military coup against Chavez in 2002 and Condoleezza Rice has called the Venezuelan government a "major threat to the region." Assuming for the moment that preventing Pennsylvanians from freezing to death hasn't prompted this venomous rhetoric, what could account for it? Perhaps the answer lies in some evil deeds done by President Chavez back in Venezuela. What mischief has he been up to there? The challenges are daunting in Venezuela, where 80 percent of the population is poor and a million children scratch out a bare subsistence in the major cities. After four decades of indifferent upper-class rule, Chavez, a 51-year-old former army paratrooper, was elected president in 1998 and again in 2004. According to Washington- based economist Mark Weisbrot, "The tangible improvements for those living in Caracas's poor barrios have been noticed in the rest of Latin America, a region with the most outrageously unequal income distribution in the world." Here are a few highlights of his tenure: For the first time, universal health care is official state policy and peasants are living longer due to accessible health care. Elementary schools are providing three free meals a day to all students, drawing some million new students to school. Misiones (missions and government projects) are extending vital social services like literacy training, food subsidies and rudimentary health care to the poor. Indigenous Venezuelans, homosexuals and women are now protected in the constitution. Land reform is redistributing idle land to landless peasants. Operation milagro (miracle), a joint venture with Cuban doctors, has restored eyesight to thousands of blind people in the region. Venezuelan elites, who despise Chavez and call him a monkey, have tried mightily to sabotage the economy for eight years, but it grew at a respectable 9 percent in 2005, the highest in the hemisphere. Venezuelan oil has made this possible, but only Chavez acted on the clearly subversive and radical notion that the country's resources should be used to benefit the country's people and even those beyond its borders. Oil was nationalized in 1976, but the oil bureaucracy operated as a "state within a state." The system remains imperfect, but Chavez finally took control in 2001 and the petrodollars are now staying home in the form of social spending, faithfully reflecting social ownership of this natural resource. Something must be working, because his approval rating stands at 77 percent, the highest in the Americas, according to Datanalisis, the country's major polling firm. And, of course, this begins to explain why Chavez is viewed as a threat. An alternative development model where the citizens, not private U.S. foreign investors, are the primary beneficiaries of government policy is feared by U.S. elites. As Latin American expert Prof. Rosa Maria Pegueros observes, from Washington's perspective the real threat is that if Chavez succeeds, he may "create an eqalitarian society that has the power to resist United States hegemony." Who knows where this virus may appear next. To help it spread, I'm filling my tank at the Citgo station from now on. [Gary Olson, Ph.D., is chair of the Political Science Department at Moravian College in Bethlehem. His e-mail address is olson [at] moravian.edu<mailto:olson [at] moravian.edu>] --------18 of 18-------- Wordsmithy re/pre Under the spreading chestnut tree The town wordsmithy stands.. Preferee Home town umpire Preflex Kick the doctor before he hits you Pregurgitate Throw the bad food directly in the toilet Prejection slip Publisher refuses your manuscript before you send it Preligion Lying in bed early Sunday morning Premorse Repent now, sin later Premote control Getting up to change the channel Prepeater rifle Shoots before you pull the trigger ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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