Progressive Calendar 05.25.06
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 14:00:54 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.25.06

1. NWA solidarity   5.26 9am
2. Schultz/AM950    5.26 5pm
3. Cavlan/Fetzer    5.26 7pm

4. AmIndian/AM950   5.27 3pm
5. NCountry Co-op   5.27 7pm
6. Arab coffeehouse 5.27 7:30pm

7. KFAI/Indian      5.28 4pm

8. Vets/memorial    5.29 9am
9. AI Augustana     5.29 8pm

10. David Strand  - IRV Moves to a Minneapolis City Council vote on Friday
11. Corey Stern   - Ballot access problems for third party candidates
12. Kate Randall  - FBI stages unprecedented raid on congressman's office
13. Amnesty Intl  - US et al assault on human rights
14. John Pilger   - Bolivia: a glimpse of freedom
15. Joe Kay       - Dems ensure confirmation of NSA spy chief to head CIA
16. Internet Anon - GWB goes to school (truer than true story)

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

From nwasolidaritymsp [at] Thu May 25 04:59:57 2006
Subject: NWA solidarity 5.26 9am

This is Local 33 president Ted Ludwig

Friday, May 26th, is the National Day of Support and Solidarity for
striking AMFA workers. AMFA will be picketing at airports across the
nation to show we are still on strike against Northwest Airlines. Local 33
has reserved the pavilion at Highland Park in St. Paul as a staging area
for picketing. We are encouraging everyone to attend and bring your family
and friends for a day filled with fellowship and food.

Food and non-alcoholic drinks will be served 9am-7pm and shuttling to and
from the picket sites will be provided.

Mike Hatch and Steve Kelly, both DFL candidates for Governor, will be
speaking at 4pm and 5:15pm, respectively.

We still need some volunteers to help throughout the day.

If you can spare a little time to help, call Susan at 952-224-5410. Please
make every effort to attend this Day of Solidarity and Support, even if
it's only to stop in and say Hi.

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>

Green candidates should invade this event (esepcially after the shameless
votes by DFL State Reps & Senators FOR the Twins stadium Corporate Welfare
this weekend!
 (We shouldn't forget their willingness to shovel money to NWA - $350M in
early 1990s for an Iron Range maintence base that was never built and more
recently after 9/11 MORE money given to NWA - though now, they demand that
workers take a 25% pay cut!)
 Stand with the workers but show them there's an alternative to being sold
out by the DFL! Lydia Howell

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

From: Wyn Douglas <wyn_douglas [at]>
Subject: Schultz/AM950 5.26 5pm

David Schultz, who has provided legal counsel to the Greens, hosts on
Fridays from 5:00 - 6:00 PM, "Minnesota Matters," on Air America
Minnesota radio, 950 AM. Progressive discussion, interviews, and call
in.  GPM members are urged to listen and call in.

So far David Berger has been a guest and topics such as single-payer
health insurance, the environment, political reform, and economic
justice are staples of discussion.

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

From: greenpartymike <ollamhfaery [at]>
Subject: Cavlan/Fetzer 5.26 7pm

There will be a Fundraiser for the Cavlan For US Senate Camapign.

This is just the first heads up about the event. More notices will be
forthcoming. Please feel free to pass on the word to as many
groups/listserves/individuals as possible.

If you would like to be one of the speakers and/or have any questions
please contact Dori Ullman, Campaign Manager (612)414-9528 Michael Cavlan
RN (612)327-6902

Friday May 26 7pm till.....
Fundraiser for Cavlan For US Senate Campaign
Walker Community Church 3104 16th Ave S. Minneapolis, MN 55407
Main Speaker Professor Jim Fetzer U Of M, Duluth

Why:   To get corporate money out of our democracy
How:  Only with your help......

There will be
         Music and Speakers Provided in the Upstairs Area

         Silent Auction
         Political Discussion and
         Lots of Fun in the Downstairs Area

Children welcomed, as all Green events tend to do.
All Other People also welcomed, as Green events tend to do.

We hope to see many of you all there.

If you are interested in helping make this event happen, then please contact
Dori Ullman, Campaign Manager       (612)327-6902
Mary Devitt, Volunteer Co-Ordinator (612)722-7066
Michael Cavlan RN, Candidate          (612)327-6902

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

From: Rick Bernardo [mailto:rickbernardo [at]]
Subject: AmIndian/AM950 5.27 3pm

There's a signpost ahead. where the Daily Show of spirituality and faith
merges with the Car Talk of social change and systemic revolutions. Next
stop: the Spirit Road...  Ride with us on the airwaves this Saturday as
Spirit Road journeys during American Indian Month!

Saturday at 3:00 on Air America Minnesota AM 950 ( ) --

This time we go "Under the Radar" to visit with:

 Women of Nations (advocates of peace and justice, and one of MN's largest
shelters from domestic violence: and their Native Youth Crisis Hotline
 The Honor the Youth Organization and their nationally-acclaimed Honor
the Youth Spiritual Runs, and
 H.O.N.O.R. Our Neighbors, Origins and Rights, devoted to protecting the
rights of American Indians.

As always, there will be great music, another "Mediation Minute," a stop
at the Transcendent Drive-In for the Movie of the Week contest (call in!
952/946-6205), the Chutes 'n Ladders Spiritual Headlines--and laughs.

Hop in. Enjoy the ride on the Spirit Road (it's Spring so we might even
put the top down). It's a trip.

Rick Bernardo & Burt Berlowe <>
<> SPIRIT ROAD RADIO 612/824-7176
612/722-1504 "On the Road to a Better World"

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

From: North Country Co-op <northcountrycoop [at]>
Subject: NCountry Co-op 5.27 7pm

North Country Co-op's 35th anniversary.  It should be
of interest to anyone curious about creating a cooperative economy.

May 27

Come celebrate the Twin Cities' oldest food co-op with this exhibit on
North Country's history and a reception featuring speakers telling stories
about our history and North Country's impact on the co-op movement.

Speakers include Betsy Raasch-Gilman, author of A History of North Country
Co-op and member of Northland Poster Collective, Craig Cox, author of
Storefront Revolution and editor of the Minneapolis Observer, and John
Sherman, 29-year North Country veteran.

At the Belfry Center for Social & Cultural Activities, 3753 Bloomington
Avenue. 7pm. Free.

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

From: mizna-announce <mizna-announce [at]>
Subject: Arab coffeehouse 5.27 7:30pm

Gallery Talk, Reception, Live Music
Killing Time: An Exploration of the Arab coffeehouse in America
Photography, sound, and text by New York-based artist Aissa Deebi
Artist's talk with Aissa Deebi followed by catered reception, and live
music by North African Band Smaa

Saturday, May 27 7:30 pm
California Building Gallery 2205 California Street NE Minneapolis

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

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at]>
Subject: KFAI/Indian 5.28 4pm

KFAI's Indian Uprising for May 28, 2006

MEMORIAL DAY, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance
for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as
to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns lay in
claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that
organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the
end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are
Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the
South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke
University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo
N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President
Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the
origins of the day.  © 1994 - 2004 David Merchant

POTAWATOMI TRACKS (The Balled of Vietnam and Other Stories), a book by
Larry Mitchell.  He spent a year of active combat duty with the 101st
Airborne Division in Vietnam.  After his tour of duty he struggled with
drug use, homelessness, alcoholism, and was a victim of racism and
discrimination. Thirty years later he discovered that he was really
suffering from the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Potawatomi Tracks serves as a chronicle of these events and struggles.
Paperback.  Originally published via, then by Wasteland Press
(July 2003) and Heliographica Press (January 2005).

* * * *
Indian Uprising is a one-half hour Public & Cultural Affairs radio program
for, by, and about Indigenous people & all their relations, broadcast each
Sunday at 4pm over KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Current
programs are archived online after broadcast at, for two
weeks.  Click Program Archives and scroll to Indian Uprising.

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

From: wamm <wamm [at]>
Subject: Vets/memorial 5.29 9am

Veterans for Peace Memorial Day Service and Gathering

Monday, May 29, 9am Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Minnesota State
Capitol Grounds, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St.
Paul. Open to the public.  Feel free to bring something to read or
share and honor this day as an anti-war day with veterans who oppose
war. Sponsored by: Veterans for Peace. FFI: 612-269-8934.

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

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: AI Augustana 5.29 8pm

Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, May 29th, from 7:00 to
8:00 p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street,
Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at
612/378-1166 or johns779 [at]

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

From: David Strand <mncivil [at]>
Subject: IRV Moves to a Minneapolis City Council Vote on Friday

The Minneapolis City Council will vote on whether or not to send a charter
amendment establishing Instant Runoff Voting for local offices in
Minneapolis to the ballot this upcoming November.

As most of you know, Instant Runoff Voting has been a long term goal of
the Greens and seeing it established in Minneapolis would be a major
victory.  Interestingly, most Minneapolis DFL organizations have endorsed
the ballot iniative this year as well.

Please contact your city council person if you live in Minneapolis!

IRV Moves to a City Council Vote on Friday

The Minneapolis Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) charter amendment proposal
passed its first hurdle at city hall this week, with a 3 to 1 vote by the
Intergovernmental Relations Committee (IGR) yesterday to move it forward
for consideration by the full council this coming Friday, May 26th.

This is a major step forward in winning full City Council support to put
IRV on the ballot in November.

We believe we will win City Council support on Friday, but the vote may be
close with IRV advocate Council Member Lilligren expected to be absent.

We need to keep the momentum strong. Call your council member TODAY and
come to show your support at the Committee of the Whole meeting tomorrow
or the City Council meeting on Friday.

For council member contact information, see

For a full report on yesterday's IGR Committee meeting and the upcoming
Committee of the Whole meeting (tomorrow) and City Council meeting
(Friday), go to

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

Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 20:46:28 -0000
From: corey_stern <corey [at]>
Subject: MPD: Ballot Access Problems for Third Party Candidates

Since many people in this group vote for third parties or are in third
parties I have some news.  Minnesota legislators have made it more
difficult to collect signatures for third party candidates to get on the

The petition asks people to include their district. This makes it VERY
difficult because many citizens don't know this when asked on the street.

I asked the Secretary of States Office if we could modify the petition,
and we are allowed to, but only from a qualified lawyer. And the form
CAN'T be pre-approved from the Secretary of State's office, but only
disqualified after the petitions have been filled out.  Even the person
who I had talked to at their office thought this seemed like a difficult

How exactly are third parties going to combat this?  I emailed the Green
Party, Libertarian Party, and Constitution Party to ask them about their
ideas and for their support.

If anyone is interested in talking about this issue please contact me.
-Corey Stern Eden Prairie, MN

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

FBI stages unprecedented raid on congressman's office
By Kate Randall
24 May 2006

The FBI conducted a search of the office of Louisiana Representative
William Jefferson over the weekend in what is the first such intrusion by
an agency of the executive branch into the office of a sitting congressman
in US history. In a press conference on Monday, Jefferson, a Democrat,
denounced the raid as an "outrageous intrusion into the separation of

The raid on Jefferson's office in the Rayburn House Office Building on
Saturday night was a politically motivated breach of constitutional
boundaries aimed at asserting the power of the executive branch over the
legislative. It is yet another political marker in the government's moves
towards dictatorial forms of rule.

The action was an unmistakable signal to any congressmen who might be
inclined to seriously investigate the myriad illegal and unconstitutional
actions of the administration, and hold leading members of the
administration accountable.

There were, no doubt, other political calculations as well. The choice of
a Democrat as the target of the raid was not accidental, given the welter
of bribery and influence-peddling scandals that have beset the Republicans
in recent months.

Jefferson is the subject of a bribery investigation. The FBI is probing
allegations that he took hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to
promote business ventures in Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana. His New Orleans
and Washington-area homes were searched by the FBI last August.

In a strongly worded statement, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (Republican,
Illinois) protested the 'overreaching and abuse of power by the executive

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sent an email to congressional
Republicans Sunday night, commenting, 'What happened Saturday night... is
the most blatant violation of the Constitutional Separation of Powers in
my lifetime... I am shaken by this abuse of power.'

In a search-warrant affidavit unsealed on Sunday, the FBI states it has
videotaped evidence of Jefferson taking $100,000 in bribe money and that
it found $90,000 of the same cash inside his apartment freezer. Two other
individuals have pleaded guilty to bribing Jefferson to promote the
Kentucky-based Internet and cable TV company, iGate.

Underscoring the unprecedented and egregious character of the Justice
Department operation is the reaction it has provoked from leading
Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist stated he was "very
concerned" about the incident and said Senate and House counsels would
review it.

In a strongly worded statement, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (Republican,
Illinois) protested the "overreaching and abuse of power by the executive
branch." He continued: "I am very concerned about the necessity of a
Saturday night raid on Congressman Jefferson's Capitol Hill Office in
pursuit of information that was already under subpoena and at a time when
those subpoenas are still pending and all the documents that have been
subpoenaed were being preserved."

Hastert added, "The Founding Fathers were very careful to establish in the
Constitution a Separation of Powers to protect Americans against the
tyranny of any one branch of government. They were particularly concerned
about limiting the power of the Executive Branch.

"Insofar as I am aware, since the founding of our Republic 219 years ago,
the Justice Department has never found it necessary to do what it did
Saturday night, crossing this Separation of Powers line, in order to
successfully prosecute corruption by Members of Congress... Nothing I have
learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe there was any necessity
to change the precedent established over those 219 years."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sent an email to congressional
Republicans Sunday night, commenting, "What happened Saturday night... is
the most blatant violation of the Constitutional Separation of Powers in
my lifetime... I am shaken by this abuse of power."

Representative David Dreier, the California Republican who is chairman of
the House Rules Committee, said "I think this is really outrageous."

Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner, speaking with reporters in
an off-camera briefing, said he wondered whether people at the Justice
Department had looked at the Constitution lately. He predicted that the
matter might eventually go to the Supreme Court.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Democrat, California) issued a milder
rebuke, stating that "members of Congress must obey the law and cooperate
fully with any criminal investigation," but that "Justice Department
investigations must be conducted in accordance with constitutional
protections and historical precedent."

The search of a congressional office violates the "speech or debate"
clause of the US Constitution, contained in Section 6 of Article 1,
concerning the legislative branch. This clause was aimed at shielding
legislators from intimidation by the executive branch, and has been
broadly interpreted by the courts throughout history. It traces its
origins back to a clause in the English Bill of Rights of 1689, aimed at
protecting the independence of Parliament against the monarchy.

Charles Tiefer, a University of Baltimore law professor, commented to the
Washington Post that the raid on Jefferson's office constituted "an
intimidating tactic that has never before been used against the
legislative branch." He added, "The framers [of the Constitution] would
turn over in their graves."

Donald Ritchie, a historian with the Senate, said his office could find no
record of a similar incident, though the homes and business offices of
lawmakers had been searched in the past.

Information that has emerged since Saturday night makes clear that Bush
administration officials were well aware they were treading on
constitutionally protected ground in executing the raid. In seeking a
search warrant from a federal district judge in suburban Virginia, the
Justice Department outlined special procedures they would follow,
including the use of a "filter team" to supposedly ensure that the search
did not infringe on privileged legislative material.

This "filter team" - comprised of prosecutors and FBI agents whom the
Justice Department contends are unconnected to the investigation - would
review any seized items or documents to determine whether they are
privileged and therefore immune from the search warrant. It is clear,
however, that the members of this team would be answerable to the Justice
Department, an executive branch agency ultimately accountable to the White
House. As such, this "safeguard" would serve again to establish
presidential powers over the legislative branch.

Another sign of the calculated nature of the operation is the fact that
FBI officials activated a special command center for the sole purpose of
monitoring the raid.

Defending the raid in response to the outcry from members of the Senate
and House, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday would only say, "I
admit that these were unusual steps that were taken in response to an
unusual set of circumstances." On Tuesday he claimed that his office had
decided the search of Jefferson's office was "absolutely essential to move
forward with that investigation."

This is hardly plausible, given the mass of evidence the government had
evidently already assembled against the Democratic congressman. There was,
moreover, no legitimate reason for sidestepping the normal procedure of
issuing subpoenas.

The Justice Department search of Jefferson's office must be seen in the
context of the frontal assault on traditional democratic procedures and
constitutional safeguards being carried out by the Bush administration.
This is a government that operates in secret and refuses to hold itself
accountable either to Congress or to the American people.

Its methods and policies - an illegal war based on lies, the use of
torture, secret prisons and kidnappings, the denial of due process and
habeas corpus rights, a vast and secret program of warrantless spying on
the American people, the repeated refusal to hand over documents to
Congress or allow White House officials to testify in congressional
investigations, the use of the military for domestic policing operations
in violation of the posse comitatus act - constitute preparations for
police state forms of rule that are well advanced.

Only three days ago, Gonzales indicated that the government was
considering prosecuting journalists for reporting, on the basis of leaks
provided by intelligence agency whistle-blowers, information on the
National Security Agency data base of the phone records of more than 200
million Americans and the existence of secret CIA prisons abroad where
alleged terrorists are being held indefinitely without any access to legal
process. He said that the government had the legal authority to prosecute
newspapers and journalists for such disclosures.

A week earlier, on May 15, two ABC News reporters revealed that the FBI,
at the request of the CIA, had been tracking their phone calls.

To condemn the FBI raid in no way implies political support for Jefferson
or suggests he is innocent of the corruption charges. In fact, the rampant
corruption in Washington, which involves both parties, with corporate
money shamelessly used to buy congressmen and their votes, is itself a
manifestation of the same process of political decay. Both parties are
complicit in anti-democratic measures whose essential purpose is to defend
the rule of a narrow financial elite that is enriching itself by driving
down the living standards of the broad mass of working people.

In this case, the Bush administration used allegations of corruption as
the pretext for a further assault on the constitutional principle of the
separation of powers between co-equal branches of government - executive,
legislative and judicial - so as to move further toward the establishment
of a presidential dictatorship.

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

"When the powerful are too arrogant to review and reassess their
strategies, the heaviest price is paid by the poor and powerless."
-- Amnesty Secretary-General Irene Khan

LONDON, England (AP) -- Amnesty International said Tuesday that the
relentless pursuit of security by powerful nations had undermined human
rights, draining energy and attention from crises afflicting the poor and

In releasing its 2006 annual report, the human rights watchdog condemned
countries such as the United States, China and Russia for focusing on
narrowly defined interests, diluting efforts to solve conflicts elsewhere
-- such as Sudan's Darfur region.

"There is no doubt that it (the war on terror) has given a new lease on
life to old-fashioned repression," Irene Khan, Amnesty International's
secretary general, told a news conference.

The human rights watchdog called on the United Nations to address abuses
in Darfur, where violence has killed more than 180,000 people and
displaced 2.5 million since 2003. Many of the atrocities are blamed on the
so-called Janjaweed, a disparate group of Arab militiamen allegedly backed
by the Sudanese government.

"(The United States) has basically mortgaged its moral authority on the
streets of Fallujah and Baghdad -- and lost moral authority to speak on
this issue," Khan told AP Television News in regard to Darfur.

Amnesty also called for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, and
for full disclosure on prisoners implicated elsewhere in the "war on
terror." It also asked for the U.N. Human Rights Council to insist on
equal standards "whether in Darfur, Guantanamo, Chechnya or China."

"Guantanamo prison camp is an aberration under international law," Khan
told AP. "It places people outside the rule of law. And it sends a message
to other regimes around the world -- like Egypt or China -- that they too
can ignore human rights. They too can lock people up in the name of
national security."

Amnesty appealed for a change of strategy in Iraq, which it described as
having sunk into "a vortex of sectarian violence."

"When the powerful are too arrogant to review and reassess their
strategies, the heaviest price is paid by the poor and powerless -- in
this case ordinary Iraqi women, men and children," Khan said in a

Amnesty has criticized U.S. President George W. Bush's approach to
tackling international terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks, complaining
that hard-won human rights and civil liberties are being sacrificed in the
name of stepped-up security.

Along with cases of abuse of prisoners in U.S. detention, the assault on
rights makes it harder for Western countries to press other governments to
clean up their rights record, Amnesty said. Countries such as Colombia and
Uzbekistan used counterterrorism to justify the repression of opponents,
it said.

The increasing brutality of terrorist and militant attacks is a "bitter
reminder that the 'war on terror' is failing and will continue to fail
until human rights and human security are given precedence over narrow
national security interests," Khan said.

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

A Glimpse Of Freedom
By John Pilger
May 25, 2006
ZNet Commentary

The long, wide, bleak streets of cobblestones and tufts of petrified grass
reach for the sacred mountain Illimani, whose pyramid of snow is like a
watchtower. There was almost no life here when I first came to Bolivia as
a young reporter - only the freezing airport and its inviting oxygen tent;
now almost a million people live in El Alto, the highest city in the
world, the creation of modern capitalism.

El Alto is as symbolic of Latin America today as Cerro Rico is of the
past. A hill almost solid with silver, Cerro Rico was mined by slave
labour and served to bankroll the Spanish empire for three centuries. Both
places are in the poorest country on a continent of 225 million
inhabitants, half of whom are poor. Debt bondage, even slavery, still
exists secretly in Bolivia, whose hill of silver now takes second place to
other natural treasures of gas and water. I arrived in El Alto in the
early hours of the morning. Through skeins of fog, the moonlit streets
were deserted save for silhouettes of hunched men swaying in the cold,
framed in doorways, waiting, hoping, for the morning's first auctioned

Bolivia was second only to Chile as a laboratory of "neoliberalism", the
jargon for capitalism in its pure, Hobbesian form. The Harvard economist
Jeffrey Sachs designed the "shock therapy" that the IMF and World Bank
administered in Bolivia, adding another dimension of poverty and
suffering. With the privatisation of the mines, tin finally collapsed, and
the miners and their families headed for La Paz, settling on the bitter
plain at El Alto, a thousand feet above the capital, without water and
power and with little food. Farmers forced off their land by IMF diktats
followed them, and their mass migration was typical of that of millions
driven out of secure work by the foreign managers of the "Washington
consensus", a fanaticism conceived at Bretton Woods in 1944 as a tool of
empire. (Sachs sees himself as a liberal and is mentor to the gormless
Bono, of Live Aid et cetera fame.)

Until now, Bolivia's modern presidents have all been rich, white men who
ran the country on behalf of a tiny wealthy minority. Owners of vast
tracts of land control the lowlands around Santa Cruz, reminiscent of
their equivalent in South Africa. The pre-Inca indigenous majority were
the "blacks" who were politically invisible, except as occasionally
troublesome workers, especially the miners. People chewed coca leaves to
relieve hunger; many died in their early middle years and their children
were stunted. "My mother was worked to death on a big estate near Santa
Cruz," a campesino told me. "If she was found learning to read, she was
severely punished."

The last president but one, Sanchez de Lozada, a multimillionaire
mine-owner now exiled in Maryland, had grown up in the United States and
spoke better English than Spanish. He was known as "El Gringo". In
colluding with the IMF and selling off the country's gas and water at
knock-down prices to Brazilian, American and European multinationals, he
fulfilled his role, like so many Latin American presidents, as
Washington's viceroy. Indeed, Richard Nixon's contemptuous remark about
Latin America - "People don't give a shit about the place" - was quite
wrong; America's imperial design was inscribed on the lives of the people
in its "backyard".

Last year, I interviewed Pablo Solan, son of the great Bolivian muralist
Walter Solan, in an extraordinary room covered by his father's epic brush
strokes. More visceral than Diego Rivera's images of the Mexican
revolution, the pictures of injustice rage at you; the barbaric
manipulation of people's lives shall not pass, they say. Pablo Solan, now
an adviser to the government of Evo Morales, said: "The story of Bolivia
is not unlike so many resource-rich countries where the majority are very
poor. It is the story of the government behind the government and what the
American embassy allows, for in that building is the true source of power
in this country. The US doesn't have major investments here; what they
fear is another Chavez; they don't want the 'bad example' to spread to
Ecuador and beyond - even to Nigeria, which might be inspired to tax the
oil companies as never before. For the US, any genuine solution to poverty
spells trouble."

"How much would it cost to solve the poverty of Bolivia?" I asked.

"A billion dollars; it's nothing. It's the example that matters, because
that's the threat."

I drove out of El Alto with Juan Delfan, an indigenous church deacon, taxi
driver and artist, who spoke about the conquistadores if they were within
his memory. This is a society where a half-millennium of history is a
presence and its subjugation and impoverishment are understood with anger.
With Illimani looming ahead of us, a cemetery consumed the horizon. On the
other side of the road was a small hill not of silver, but rubbish: a
stinking, smoking, acrid hell of dust and dead dogs and wild pigs and
women in traditional bowler hats digging with pickaxes for something,
anything. "Here you have the symbol of everything we live and reject,"
said Delfan.

He took me to a plaque with the names of 24 people shot to death by the
army in October 2003 when de Lozada tried to stop the people of El Alto
marching down to La Paz in protest against his selling-off of gas. Juan
Delfan linked their deaths to the lines of ordinary graves, many of them
children, "who also died violently, from poverty". A shepherd boy emerged
from a pile of stones where he lived, looking too small for his age.

After de Lozada was driven from Bolivia, his successor Carlos Mesa
capitulated to the demands of the social movements, such as El Alto's
Federation of Neighbourhood Committees. These are a new phenomenon of
Latin America; the Landless People's Movement in Brazil is the best known,
but the most effective, politically, have been in Bolivia. For more than
five years, the movements included almost the entire population of the
city of Cochabamba as they fought the "water wars" against a foreign
consortium led by a subsidiary of the American multinational Bechtel,
which de Lozada had handed the city's public water supply, causing water
bills to consume a third of meagre incomes.  Even the right to collect
rainwater belonged to Bechtel. With an annual revenue of more than $17bn,
the company's power is such that it expected and got (without the
inconvenience of bidding) the contract to rebuild the US fortress in
occupied Iraq. Yet, not only was Bechtel driven out of Bolivia in 2000,
shortly followed by its mentor de Lozada, but the company has now dropped
its compensation action against the government. It is a victory of huge
significance, because it warns other multinationals in Bolivia (such as
British Gas) that even if the government is prepared to compromise the
wrath of the people, the movements are not.

It is also a warning to Evo Morales, whose electoral victory in December
remains largely symbolic here. An indigenous man now leads Bolivia for the
first time; the chequered pre-Inca flags are proudly on high everywhere.
"The elections aren't something we asked for, ever," said Oscar Olivera,
the Cochabamba union leader who led the anti-Bechtel revolt. "What the
social movements need to do now is to continue accumulating popular
forces, to build up our ability to pressure whatever government that
comes. A Morales government would be less difficult to love, but it will
still be difficult."

Unlike his absurd caricature abroad - a previous American ambassador to
Bolivia likened Morales to Osama Bin Laden and his party (MAS) to an
Andean Taliban - "Evo", as he known here, is not a "radical", not yet. His
theatrical announcement of "nationalisation" on 1 May did not mean
expropriation, and he made it clear the multinationals would not lose any
rights. What they will lose is their grotesque share of profits and
benefits; they will now have to pay true market prices for Bolivia's gas,
along with a proper rate of tax. His vice-president, Alvaro Garcia Linera,
has said "capitalism will last for 50 years in Bolivia". Before the
election he told me: "In a small country like Bolivia, you can't be

But many have been heroes, in the blockade of Cochabamba, in the surge of
people from El Alto down into La Paz, facing bullets and expelling their
gringo president. Out of the new spirit abroad in Latin America, perhaps
the Bolivians and Venezuelans have brought true revolutionary change
closest. The contrast is with the "left-wing" Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in
Brazil, who agreed to IMF terms even before he took office and who has
distributed less land than his right-wing predecessor.

The likeable Evo is on notice above all with his own people, but also with
the Americans, the "government behind the government". Unless Washington
can "lobotomise him" (as it did with Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti), it
is likely to encourage a secessionist movement in the landowners'
heartland of Santa Cruz, where the gas is and where the government has
promised to redistribute unused land. Bolivia, like Venezuela, has
glimpsed its freedom and demands our support.

John Pilger's new book, Freedom Next Time, is published by Bantam Press on
8 June (£17.99)

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

Democrats ensure confirmation of NSA spy chief to head CIA
By Joe Kay
25 May 2006

The US Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday gave its support to
General Michael Hayden, the principle architect of recently exposed
domestic spying programs, to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

Leading Democrats joined Republicans in approving Hayden, the former head
of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the current principal deputy
director of national intelligence. Hayden is expected to easily win
confirmation by the full Senate before the end of the week.

Four Democrats and all eight Republicans on the committee voted to
recommend Hayden's confirmation by the full Senate, while three Democrats
voted against. The four Democrats who voted for Hayden are among the most
senior Democrats in the Senate: the ranking Democrat and vice chairman of
the committee, Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia); Carl Levin of Michigan,
the second-ranking Democrat on the committee; Dianne Feinstein of
California; and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.

By ensuring a wide margin on the Senate committee to confirm Hayden, the
Democrats have once again given their imprimatur to the Bush
administration's unprecedented attacks on democratic rights.

The vote came less than two weeks after a USA Today report that the NSA,
under a program initiated by Hayden, has been secretly tracking the
telephone calls of over 200 million Americans since shortly after 9/11.
Without the benefit of court warrants, and in flagrant violation of
federal statutes as well as constitutional safeguards against such
government invasions of privacy, the agency has been amassing a vast
database of telephone records turned over to it by the largest US
telecommunications companies.

That revelation, in turn, was preceded by a December, 2005 New York Times
exposť concerning another NSA program, also initiated under Hayden, to
secretly eavesdrop on phone calls of US citizens without a warrant. Both
programs, which remained hidden from the American people for years,
constitute an unprecedented step in the direction of an American police

The information banks on millions of Americans are aimed not at fighting
terrorism, but at laying the groundwork for political repression on a mass
scale. These measures are being implemented by a ruling elite that sees
the greatest threat to its wealth and power coming not from bands of
Islamic terrorists, but from among the American people. Under conditions
of deepening social and economic crisis, with the gap between the
financial elite and the broad mass of people continually widening, the
intelligence and police apparatus wants to know what individuals are
thinking, and with whom they are associating.

Hayden's central role in this anti-democratic conspiracy proved no
obstacle to his approval by the Senate to head the CIA. Nor did the fact
that both he and President Bush, in public statements made after last
December's exposure of the NSA's warrentless eavesdropping on
communications between the US and other countries, gave false assurances
that the NSA's domestic spying was carefully targeted and strictly limited
to suspected terrorists.

Last week's Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on the
general's nomination was a stage-managed exercise in cowardice and
duplicity. The entire process lasted a day, with an open session of few
hours followed by a closed-door meeting of Hayden with the committee

In the open session, Hayden refused to reveal any concrete information
about the domestic spying operations over which he presided, on the
grounds that the programs were classified and any public discussion of
them would jeopardize national security and the so-called "war against
terrorism." The committee chair, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of
Kansas, used his opening remarks to deliver a McCarthyite attack on
journalists and newspapers that informed the public about the existence of
the secret programs, and on politicians who raised objections or called
for investigations into the illegal operations.

None of the Democrats on the committee challenged Roberts' demagogic
attack, which was echoed by Hayden in his own opening statement. They
either praised the general outright or couched half-hearted criticisms of
his methods within affirmations of support for the "war on terrorism" and
the need to strengthen the government's spy agencies.

Hayden refused as well to answer questions on the CIA's use of torture,
renditions and secret detention facilities.

The results of the hearing were a foregone conclusion. Several of the
principle Democrats had been present at briefings on the domestic spying
programs given to selected members of the Senate and the House of
Representatives by the Bush administration, and were therefore complicit
in their implementation. Among the lawmakers who attended at least one of
these briefings were Rockefeller, Feinstein and Levin, all of whom voted
to confirm Hayden.

Following the vote, Levin declared absurdly that Hayden would "stand up to
the president or anybody else who's trying to get him to reach a certain
conclusion on intelligence, and speak truth to power." He added that
Hayden had "some backbone and willingness to say no to power."

During the hearing, in an exchange that could very well have been
pre-arranged, Levin asked the general whether he had had some
disagreements with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over the balance
of power between the different intelligence agencies. Hayden confirmed
that he had, and this was seized on by Levin and other senators as a sign
of Hayden's "independence."

Dianne Feinstein showered praise on Hayden, describing him as "the leader
and honest broker the CIA needs to regain its footing as the world's
premier spy service."

The vote on Hayden is yet another sign that the Democratic Party will seek
to prevent opposition to the attacks on democratic rights from becoming an
issue in the 2006 and 2008 elections, just as it is seeking suppress
popular opposition to the war in Iraq.

Even those Democrats who voted against the nomination issued statements
emphasizing their support for "fighting the terrorists aggressively,"
bolstering the central pretext used by the Bush administration to justify
both the war and the assault on democratic rights.

The easy confirmation of Hayden is a signal from Congress that no serious
investigation will be carried out into what is the most massive violation
of privacy rights in the history of the United States. The Bush
administration has refused to provide details of the programs, and
investigations announced by the Justice Department and the Federal
Communications Commission have been quickly called off on the grounds that
the NSA program is classified.

The breakdown of American democracy is a product of the profound crisis of
American capitalism, the vast growth of social inequality, and the
determination of the American ruling elite to maintain its position
through war abroad and ever greater attacks on the working population at

The confirmation of Hayden with crucial support from the Democrats
underscores a fundamental lesson of more than a decade of anti-democratic
conspiracies - from the impeachment of Clinton, to the theft of the 2000
election, to the launching of a war based on lies: Neither of the two
parties and no section of the ruling elite has a serious commitment to the
defense of democratic rights.

[So what are we doing getting ready to support Hillary? Is the DP really
the lesser evil? One could argue that, as selling out the people's party,
as closing the political system to major opposition, the DP is now the
greater evil. It encourages millions of Americans to acquiesce in the
spread and solidification of a fascist police state. Can you say Gestapo?

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

From: [Internet Anon]

George Bush goes to a primary school to talk to the kids to get a little

After his talk he offers question time.

One little boy puts up his hand and George asks him his name.

"Stanley", he answers.

"And what is your question, Stanley?"

"I have 4 questions:
 First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?
 Second, why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?
 Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?"
 Fourth, why are we so worried about gay-marriage when 1/2 of all
Americans don't have health insurance?

Just then, the bell rings for recess. George Bush informs the kiddies that
they will continue after recess.

When they resume George says, "OK, where were we? Oh, that's right:
question time. Who has a question?"

Another little boy puts up his hand. George points him out and asks him
his name.

"Steve," he responds.

"And what is your question, Steve?"

"Actually, I have 6 questions.
 First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?
 Second, why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?
 Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?
 Fourth, why are we so worried about gay marriage when 1/2 of all
Americans don't have health insurance?
 Fifth, why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early?
 And sixth, what happened to Stanley?"


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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