|Progressive Calendar 05.25.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] hotmail.com 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] visi.com> 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] yahoo.com> 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] earthlink.net> 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 Food 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] mac.com] 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 ( www.AirAmericaMinnesota.com ) -- 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 <http://www.SpiritRoadRadio.net> <http://www.SpiritRoadRadio.net> 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] yahoo.com> 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. NORTH COUNTRY CO-OP 35th ANNIVERSARY HISTORY EXHIBIT AND TALK, Saturday, 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] mizna.org> 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] spottedeagle.org> 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 http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html. 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 www.lulu.com, 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 www.kfai.org, for two weeks. Click Program Archives and scroll to Indian Uprising. --------8 of 16-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> 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] bitstream.net> 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] tc.umn.edu. --------10 of 16-------- From: David Strand <mncivil [at] yahoo.com> 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 http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/. 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 http://www.betterballotcampaign.org/node/343. --------11 of 16-------- Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 20:46:28 -0000 From: corey_stern <corey [at] coreystern.com> 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 ballot. 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 process. 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 http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/may2006/fbi-m24.shtml 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 powers." 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 branch.' 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-------- http://www.amnestyinternational.org "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 underprivileged. 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 statement. 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 http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2006-05/25pilger.cfm 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 work. 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 heroes." 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 http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/may2006/hayd-m25.shtml 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 state. 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 members. 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 home. 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? -ed] --------16 of 16-------- From: [Internet Anon] Subject: GWB GOES TO SCHOOL George Bush goes to a primary school to talk to the kids to get a little PR. 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] 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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