Progressive Calendar 08.09.06
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 03:03:58 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    08.09.06

1. Eat for wamm       8.09 7am
2. S Africa justice   8.09 8pm
3. Walk for Justice   8.09 11:30am
4. OWL/care/insurance 8.09 4:30pm
5. Vigil/Norm         8.09 4:30pm
6. City forum         8.09 4:30pm
7. Full Moon Tour     8.09 7pm
8. Stadiums suck      8.09 7pm
9. War/peace/Q&A      8.09 7:30pm

10. N4P demo          8.10 4pm
11. Eagan peace vigil 8.10 4:30pm
12. Northtown vigil   8.10 5pm
13. NewBrightonParade 8.10 6pm
14. New garden coop   8.10 7pm

15. Truthout      - Lamont defeats Lieberman in CT primary
16. D Provencher  - House party invite, Danene Provencher for Lt Gov
17. Mizna         - Call for submissions: Lebanon is burning
18. David Walsh   - Ballot access specialist speaks out vs Dems in ILL
19. John Murphy   - Dem party running scared - from its own members
20. David Swanson - The shame of not being Mexican
21. ed            - Bananananananas  (poemememememem)

--------1 of 21--------

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Eat for wamm 8.09 7am

Jump Out of the Big Box and Shop Unchained: Trotters Café and Bakery

Wednesday, August 9, 7am to 7pm 232 North Cleveland Avenue (at Marshall
Avenue), St. Paul.

Are you concerned that our economy has our backs up against the Wal-Mart?
You are invited to exercise your dollar power by supporting local,
independent stores and services and WAMM. Creative, tasty hot and cold
breakfast served until 1pm. Salads, soups, sandwiches, light entrees and
desserts served all day. From stocks for soup to organic grain breads and
delicious baked goods, everything in made from scratch on the premises.
Grains and honey are from Minnesota. No additives or preservatives used.
Trotters supports sustainable practices, encourages less packaging, more
recycling, and will fill your own containers.

15% of profits will be donated to WAMM. FFI: Call WAMM at 612-827-5364.


--------2 of 21--------

From: humanrts [at] umn.edu
Subject: S Africa justice 8.09 8pm

August 9 - Laurie Beckie Yetzer on "Partnership for Justice".  8-9:30am

Laurie Beckman Yetzer speaks on "Partnership for Justice," a coalition of
South African churches and community organizations.

FFI: www.justview.org or 763-784-5177
Location: St Martin's Table, 2001 Riverside, Minneapolis, MN


--------3 of 21--------

From: Sarah Caflisch <scaflisch [at] loft.org>
Subject: Walk for Justice 8.09 11:30am

Put Your Best Foot Forward (literally): A Walk for Justice!

There are many ways to rise up against injustice. Writers fight injustice
by giving voice to the voiceless, help us imagine a better world, and move
us to action.

Join the Loft on September 17th for the 11th Annual Walk for Justice
sponsored by Headwaters Foundation. You and thousands of friends and
members of community-based nonprofit organizations will raise awareness
and financial support for organizations that work for social justice in
Minnesota.

Our goal is to raise $7,500 in pledges to support a very important Loft
program, Equilibrium (EQ).  EQ's Spoken Word events draw young adults from
diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in the
literary arts, both as artists and audience members.  Not only does the
program inspire cross-cultural understanding, but also opens dialogue to a
wider variety of voices.

Please Join Us! We Need Your Help to Raise $7,500 to Support the Loft EQ
Program!!

The 11th Annual Walk for Justice (sponsored by Headwaters Foundation)
            Distance: 3.5 miles
Sunday, September 17, 2006
       11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Boom Island Park, Minneapolis
To support Loft Equilibrium program
By securing pledges to support your walk

For more information on how to participate in the Loft's Walk for Justice,
attend a brown-bag-lunch informational session with Kayva Yang and Cynthia
Moothart from the Headwaters Foundation either

Wednesday, August 9 or Friday, August 11, 11:30am-12:30pm at the Loft,
Suite 200.

You'll learn to create your personalized walk webpage that can be shared
with friends, family and your community to help raise funds and support
your walk.

Any questions? Or can't make it to an information session? Please feel
free to contact Kayva at (612) 215-2597 or by e-mail at kyang [at] loft.org or
visit the Loft's Web site: www.loft.org <http://www.loft.org/>


--------4 of 21--------

From: biego001 [at] umn.edu
Subject: OWL/care/insurance 8.09 4:30pm

Wednesday, August 9: Older Women's League of Minnesota (OWL) invites the
community to an early evening social, featuring OWL board member Kathleen
Boyer, Financial Planner, and a representative from the Vital Aging
Network discussing "Long Term Care Resources and Insurance in Minnesota."
Come learn about the community resources available for elders.

Como Lake Pavilion in StPaul. 4:30pm Meet for supper together (purchase at
the cafe) at Black Bear Crossing in the lakeside pavilion. 5:45pm Long
Term Care panel and discussion (no charge). 7pm Minnesota State Band (no
charge). Info or call for a ride if you like 651/228-9990. www.owl-mn.org.


--------5 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: vigil/Norm 8.09 4:30pm

Wednesday, 8/9 (and every Wednesday), 4:30 to 5:30 pm, Military Families
Speak Out sponsors vigil in front of Sen. Norm Coleman's office,
University Ave just west of Hwy 280, St. Paul.  annie [at] fireman.net


--------6 of 21--------

From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com>
Subject: City forum 8.09 4:30pm

Wednesday, August 9, from 4:30-6pm.

Community Forum, Our Cities' Children, with Minneapolis Youth Coordinating
Board, the National League of Cities, and the Humphrey Institute of Public
Affairs. at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at 301 19th
Ave S in Minneapolis.


--------7 of 21--------

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Full Moon Tour 8.09 7pm

Full Moon Tour

Wednesday, August 9, 7pm. Minnehaha Park, 54th Street South, Minneapolis
(South End of the Pay Parking Lot). Join in a full moon tour around the
Historic Coldwater Spring Area, featuring Bruce White, PhD., historical
anthropologist and expert on the Coldwater/Ft. Snelling area, who will
talk about the history of Coldwater and will discuss the best ways to
respond to the Final Environmental Impact Statement. All are welcome. FFI:
<www.FriendsofColdwater.org>.


--------8 of 21--------

From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at] attg.net>
Subject: Stadiums suck 8.09 7pm [ed head]

Taxpayers for an Anoka County Stadium Referendum
Wednesday August 9, at 7pm

Centennial Branch Anoka County Libraries
100 Civic Heights Circle, Circle Pines
763-171-3294

There is a lot of speculation about a Vikings Stadium location and the
Vikings still consider Anoka County and our tax dollars as their prime
objective.  No matter where you live in Minnesota, if you haven't already
done so please write your representatives and tell them we do not need to
waste more money on stadium giveaways to Billionaires.  Please continue to
tell them we want a vote as required by state law for any tax increase to
pay for a stadium anywhere.  Write letters to your local paper too.  If
you have done these things once already do it again.  The time is now.
Remind them that the election is only three months away.

AGENDA ITEMS INCLUDE:
What can we do about the September Primaries?
What can we do about November Elections?
Website update
Lawn Signs
Any Questions, comments contact me at: Ron Holch rrholch [at] attg.net
<mailto:rrholch [at] attg.net>


--------9 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: War/peace/Q&A 8.09 7:30pm

Wednesday, 8/9, 7:30 pm, U.S. House candidate Keith Ellison gets together
with peace activists to discuss war and peace issues and the final 33 days
of his campaign, CWA Hall, Lake St and 35th Ave, Mpls.  (An extended Q & A
is planned.)


--------10 of 21--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: N4P demo 8.10 4pm

Thursday August 10, 4PM -6PM
From: NW Neighbors for Peace, Carole Rydberg, carydberg [at] comcast.net

There will be a demonstration at the corner of Winnetka and 42nd Avenue
(County Rd. 9) in New Hope. Signs are available; feel free to join us at
any time between 4 and 6.


--------11 of 21--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.10 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.


--------12 of 21--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.10 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5 to 6 pm, at the intersection of Co.
Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley,
and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com.


--------13 of 21--------

From: Ashley James <Ajames [at] aem.umn.edu>
Subject: NewBrighton parade 8.10 6pm

Come out and march with the Green Party, and support our candidates, this
Thursday evening at the New Brighton Stockyard Days Parade.

New Brighton Stockyard Days Parade
Thursday, August 10th
parade begins at 6pm

The New Brighton Rotary Club will be providing hot dogs and pop for each
parade participant at the end of the parade.


--------14 of 21-------

From: Stephen Eisenmenger <stephen [at] mngreens.org>
Subject: New garden coop 8.10 7pm

I am a Founding Member of a new Garden Store Cooperative to be opened
October 1st in the Greenstone Floral and Nursery retail/greenhouse space
at 36th and Bryant Av. S. I invite you to join with us to establish this
business.

A flyer that describes what we are planning, and information about two
public meetings upcoming to gather input and plan how we will organize,
staff and stock a new coop garden store can be found at
http://www.gardenstorecoop.org/core/GSCBackofFlyer.doc as well as on our
website at www.GardenStoreCoop.org.

This effort is being met with a lot of enthusiasm and support, so we are
going forward, and are looking for advice, input, volunteer help -- and
money!  You can download a Founding Member form here:
http://www.gardenstorecoop.org/core/GSCfoundingmemberform.doc

Please contact me if you would like more information. We have established
a non-profit organization to get the planning underway, and we are looking
for volunteers who can offer help with marketing, fund raising, event
planning, business organization, construction, membership development, and
store operations.

Please forward this message to anyone you think may be interested in being
a member of a local garden store co-op.

You and all the public are invited to a public visioning session either
Thursday, Aug 10 at Bryant Square Park in Minneapolis from 7 p.m. to 9
p.m. or Saturday August 12 at the First Universalist Church at 3400 Dupont
Ave S in Minneapolis.

Anyone with questions can contact me. Thanks for spreading the word!

Regards,
Stephen Eisenmenger
CARAG, Mpls


--------15 of 21--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org>
Subject: Lamont Defeats Lieberman in CT Primary

BREAKING | Lamont Defeats Lieberman in CT Primary
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/080806Y.shtml

Just after 11:00pm on Tuesday night, Senator Joeseph Lieberman stepped to
the podium to congratulate his primary challenger, Ned Lamont, on his
victory. A bit of history has been made in this Connecticut race; more
than 95% of incumbents are re-elected to Congress, and a long-time
incumbent losing a primary race is almost unheard of.


--------16 of 21--------

From Danene Provencher PRO826 [at] aol.com
Subject: House Party invite, Danene Provencher for Lt Gov

YOU ARE INVITED

Campaign house party/fundraiser for Danene Provencher, Green Party of MN
endorsed Lt. Governor candidate
Saturday, August 19th from 3-5pm

Danene's back porch
2591 Commerce Blvd.
Mound, MN  55364
952-994-3085
Parking available across the street in the VFW overflow parking lot

If the Ken Pentel/Danene Provencher campaign raises $35,000 in $50
increments by late August to be eligible to receive $42,000 in public
funds.

If you are able to donate $50 to the campaign, you will be eligible for
the Political Contribution Refund (PCR) Program through the state of MN.
You will receive a receipt and a PCR form to complete, mail it into the
state and receive a FULL refund in 6-8 weeks.  If you are unable to attend
the house party, donations can be sent to:

Ken Pentel for Governor
PO Box 583091
Minneapolis, MN  55458

Ken Pentel and Danene Provencher are Green Party of MN endorsed candidates
for the positions of Governor and Lt. Governor.  As stated in the enclosed
literature, our campaign is concerned about MN being the 4th leading state
in the country to take lobbyist money, the lag in progress to institute
renewable energy and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing
health care for all.  In addition, Danene will work towards implementing
conflict resolution courses in school programs, addressing violence
against women and children, demanding a referendum for the Twins stadium
tax instead of providing corporate welfare to billionaires and mercury
levels in our MN lakes.

Danene Provencher Green Party of MN Lt. Governor candidate 952-994-3085


--------17 of 21--------

From: Mizna <mizna-announce [at] mizna.org>
Subject: Call for Submissions: Lebanon is Burning

Call for Submissions: Lebanon is Burning

Mizna, a journal of Arab-American literature, is seeking original writing
for our upcoming publication, with a focus on the current situation in
Lebanon. We welcome journal entries from the ground, poetry, short
stories, personal essays, theatrical pieces, creative non-fiction, and
reflections from abroad and at home on Lebanon. We are particularly
interested in writing that addresses the current destruction of Lebanon,
the struggle of Lebanon, the refugees of Lebanon, and the resistance of
Lebanon. Contributors do not have to be of Arab descent provided their
work is of relevance to the Arab-American community.

If you would like your work to be considered for publication, please send
four hard copies (double-spaced, maximum 2500 words) and a brief biography
(maximum 50 words) to the address below. Alternatively, send your
submission and bio via e-mail as an attachment (not in the body of the
message) to mizna [at] mizna.org. Please include your name, mailing address,
e-mail address, and phone number.

Kindly limit poetry submissions to four poems per submission. Verses
exceeding our page width will be treated with a runover indent. Proofs can
be made available for author approval before publication.

Mizna encourages writers who have recently translated their work into
English to submit. We are available to assist writers through the editing
process if necessary.

Writers whose work is published in Mizna will receive a stipend and
complimentary copies of the journal.

Due to the volume of submissions received, those not conforming to the
above guidelines, as well as previously published material, will not be
considered.

Mizna, Inc. 2205 California Street NE Suite 109A Minneapolis, MN 55418

Mizna is a forum for Arab American art.  Visit our website at
http://www.mizna.org


--------18 of 21--------

Ballot access specialist, Green Party members speak out against Democrats in
Illinois
By David Walsh
4 August 2006
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/aug2006/illi-a04.shtml

In Springfield, Illinois, on Wednesday the Socialist Equality Party
completed the records examination of its petitions to place Joe
Parnarauskis on the ballot in November as SEP candidate in the 52nd
Legislative District in Illinois. This time-consuming process involved
going through each of the 2,500 or more objections leveled by the Illinois
Democratic Party against signatures on the Parnarauskis petitions.

Although the SEP has established that it has considerably more than the
2,985 valid signatures necessary, various bureaucratic entanglements still
remain, including more likely challenges by the Democrats and further
efforts by the SEP to "rehabilitate" rejected or unresolved signatures.

The process of gaining access to the ballot in Illinois, and in most US
states, is a tortuous one. It is by no means a "level playing field," but
one tilted sharply toward the Democrats and Republicans, with countless
arbitrary, picayune and even arcane aspects.

The State of Illinois Candidate's Guide 2006 reveals the structurally
undemocratic character of the election process. Established party
candidates (i.e., those of the Democrats and Republicans) for the Illinois
state senate (the position for which Parnarauskis is seeking to run) are
only obliged to submit the names of 1 percent, or 1,000, whichever is
greater, of the qualified primary electors of the candidate's party in the
district in order to be eligible for the ballot.

New party candidates have to submit signatures totaling not less than 5
percent of the number of persons who voted at the last general election in
the appropriate district-a task five times more difficult-and independent
candidates are required to submit not less than 10 percent of the number
of voters in the last election-an undertaking ten times as burdensome. And
this is demanded of organizations with a fraction of the money and
resources of the "established parties."

All this, however, is only the immediately undemocratic character of the
process. Once a new party or independent candidate ventures into the
process, a variety of pitfalls (deadlines, petty restrictions, endless
forms) lie in wait. The process is constructed not to facilitate the
intervention of new parties, but to make life as difficult as possible for
them. A single misstep may result in disqualification.

Election officials and legal counsel in most cases, and all the members of
the State Elections Board itself, are affiliated or beholden to either the
Democratic or Republican Party, with a vested interest in preserving their
dominance. Not only do individuals with such affiliations hold the levers
of political power at every level-local, state and national-they possess
perhaps the most precious commodity of all, an intimate knowledge of the
intricacies of the process. This is what a third party is up against.

One of those who guides third parties and independent candidates through
the process in Illinois is Christine Tobin, a 25-year-old resident of
Chicago. Ms. Tobin was helpful to the SEP in surmounting many of the
bureaucratic hurdles in Illinois. The WSWS spoke to her about some of the
issues involved.

"The purpose of the present ballot access laws in Illinois, and
elsewhere," she explained, "is to benefit the two-party monopoly. I've
never seen the Democrats and Republicans so friendly except when it comes
to avoiding choice. Ballot access laws are about eliminating choice. There
are no free and equal elections in Illinois.

"The claim is that ballot access laws are meant to reduce 'voter
confusion.' People would be 'confused' by more than two choices? It's
ridiculous. Do most Americans know about these restrictions? Absolutely
not, they don't know.

"The electoral process is very complicated, there are many technicalities.
If you came unprepared, these people would eat you alive. I'm telling you,
they would eat you alive. It's a nasty thing to be involved in. You can't
trust anyone, you have to be discreet.

"My role is to assist third parties defeat the ballot access laws. We have
to work together on this. Otherwise you end up banging on a closed door.

"This process doesn't only drain the resources of third parties, it wastes
taxpayers' money. What is the cost of weeks and weeks of state election
board employees working on these objections?

"It infuriates me that law firms with powerful political connections send
interns to do the dirty work of attempting to exclude third parties from
the elections. It happened to a friend of mine from high school. They told
him that it was the Republicans trying to get on the ballot, when it was
the Greens. They were all interns from a big, well-connected law firm, and
they were told they had to go do this.

"One intern was in a wheelchair. He was told that he should come and
object to signatures because the Republicans don't support stem cell
research. It wasn't the Republicans he was objecting to. He didn't want to
do it, he was very upset.

"We have to raise the awareness that there's no difference between the
Democrats and Republicans. From my perspective, they're equally bad.

"I've been out of the country for a year and a half. There's a lot of
anger against America. I hate to say it, but I'm embarrassed to be an
American. I don't go out of my way to tell people I'm American. The Bush
government is hated worldwide. In the US too, 60-70 percent oppose him.
I'm happy that Americans are becoming more aware, more open-minded.

"I have a cousin in Iraq, in the military. He's very angry to be part of
this. In my generation, there's a lot of anger. People signed up for the
military, never expecting to be part of this in Iraq, something they feel
hatred for. These feelings are growing by the minute.

"I don't make a living out of this ballot access activity. I'm helping a
cause I believe in. Look, on the other hand, the Democrats have to force
people to do this, interns from law firms, and also union members, I've
been told. That's who they are, state employees, interns and union
members, brought in by the Democrats. But for me, this is my passion,
creating fair and equal elections. I look forward to the future."

We also spoke to Green Party members, who were engaged in an effort to
place their statewide slate of candidates in Illinois-for governor,
lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller and
treasurer-on the November ballot. The minimum number of signatures
required to validate such a slate is 25,000 signatures. The Greens, in
fact, gathered some 39,000 names, of which the Democrats challenged
23,000.

The Socialist Equality Party has fundamental political differences with
the Green Party, which seeks to reform the capitalist system. However, the
SEP defends the Greens' right to be on the ballot and has opposed the
systematic efforts by the Democrats to exclude them, in Illinois and
elsewhere.

Eric Much was one of the leaders of the Green Party campaign to defeat the
Democrats in Illinois. We spoke to him in Springfield.

"It's been an enormously time-consuming process," Much explained. "The
Democrats objected to 23,000 of our signatures. We've spent every day for
three weeks on this, first in Chicago, and now in Springfield.

"It's totally frivolous. This is how I imagine it was organized. They got
these law firm interns and told them, 'Come up with objections.' They must
have told them, 'Look at the petitions and, first of all, object to
anything that looks messy.' And after that, it seems to have been
completely random. They just randomly assigned objections, 'out of
district,' for example, when there is no 'out of district.' It's a
statewide slate.

"This costs the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Perhaps
$700-$800,000. For what? In order to disenfranchise citizens. The right to
petition is subverted by a lawyer somewhere filing a motion. We've been in
Springfield alone for two solid weeks, and we're not quite finished. We
expect to go over the 25,000 threshold today, which is the minimum number
we need. The Democrats could withdraw at that point, but they won't.

"Their purpose is to exclude parties. This is a closed two-party system;
they're like two kids in a sandbox, who won't let anyone else in. It's
completely undemocratic.

"We've got to get across to the public how difficult this process is. Some
of the media have covered this, in southern Illinois, in Carbondale,
Peoria. In Chicago, next to nothing. They're intimidated by the Democratic
machine.

"We know that interns for big law firms associated with the Republicans
have helped in the campaign to object to our petitions. They're helping
the Democrats. Are there two parties, or one?"

At a press conference August 2 to announce the Greens' success in
achieving the goal of 25,000 valid signatures, Green Party candidate for
governor Rich Whitney called the Democratic objections "frivolous and
ill-conceived." He noted that the Democrats had challenged his own
signature on a petition sheet, and that the objection was sustained.

Whitney called on the Democrats and Republicans to permit him to take part
in all the gubernatorial debates. He noted that the two parties are
insisting that a candidate must have a certain standing in the polls
before he or she would be admitted. In response to a question, Whitney
called this a "Catch 22." It's difficult for a party to win support from
the public without receiving media attention, he commented, and the
Democrats and Republicans want to make media coverage dependent on public
support.

Whitney also noted that "new parties have to collect five times the
signatures of the two major parties, which is one of the most undemocratic
aspects of the process." Enormous amounts of time and money were consumed
by the objection process, and, for the most part, major media outlets
refuse to cover the issue, he said.

At the end of the press conference, Whitney introduced SEP candidate Joe
Parnarauskis, who spoke briefly about the SEP's effort. Most of the media
got up and left, on the grounds that the Parnarauskis's campaign issues
were for the "Champaign media" [Champaign, Illinois, is in the 52nd
Legislative District] and wasn't a "Springfield story." In this reaction,
it was difficult to tell whether political hostility, provincialism or
indifference predominated.


--------19 of 21--------

A Party on the Run ... from Its Own Members!
Democrats Running Scared, Again
By JOHN A. MURPHY

The Democratic Party in Pennsylvania is once again trembling in fear. The
last time it suffered such a political panic attack was when it faced the
prospect of having to run against Ralph Nader in 2004. Since it could not
possibly deal with Mr. Nader on an issue by issue basis given a candidate
like John Kerry, the leaders of the party decided to destroy democracy in
Pennsylvania.  That sounds like strong language but there are two ways to
destroy democracy.  One is by preventing people from voting, the other is
by preventing worthy candidates from ever appearing on the ballot. In 2004
the Democratic Party removed 63% of the signatures of Pennsylvania
citizens from Ralph Nader's petitions using the minutia embedded in the
anti-democratic ballot access laws it helped create and effectively
destroyed democracy in Pennsylvania.

The Democrats and Republicans in Pennsylvania worked together, in true
bipartisan spirit, to create a set of ballot access laws which would
virtually prevent third party or independent candidates from running for
statewide offices like Governor, Senator or President. These the same laws
even make it four times more difficult for local candidates to run against
duopoly candidates.  Next to Alabama, Pennsylvania's are the worst ballot
access laws in the nation. In fact, if Pennsylvania's ballot access laws
were to be applied to Utah, the Democratic Party would be disqualified as
a major party. If Pennsylvania's ballot access laws were applied to
Massachusetts the Republican Party would be disqualified as a major party.

This year the Green Party candidates, like the Libertarian Party and
Constitutional Party candidates, needed to gather 67,000 signatures just
to get on the ballot and needed 100,000 signatures to cover any
possibility of errors.  Yet the duopoly candidates only need 2,000
signatures. Independent and third-party candidates in essence are required
to obtain 50 times the amount of signatures needed by the Republicans and
Democrats.

This was an impossible number for any party third party in Pennsylvania to
reach let alone an independent candidate. Impossible, that is, unless it
had professional help. But the tiny Green Party could not afford such
help. Help came nevertheless. Help came in the form of contributions from
registered Republicans.

The Republican contributors however did not support the Green Party's
petitioning efforts simply because they believed in fair ballot access
laws. Like the Democratic Party, they too are responsible for creating the
unconstitutional ballot access laws, the modern-day versions of Jim Crow
laws, in Pennsylvania which effectively prevent all but Democrats and
Republicans from running for statewide office.

The Republicans funded the petitioning efforts of the Green Party simply
because they knew that if Carl Romanelli appears on the ballot,
progressive Democrats will vote for him. The way Democrats and Republicans
phrase it however goes something like this "Carl Romanelli will take votes
away from Bob Casey guaranteeing that Rick Santorum will win". That is the
way they talk. The very phrase itself "take votes away from" says it all.
No one can take votes away from anyone unless there is presupposed
ownership in the first place.  That's the problem. The Democrats and
Republicans both believe they actually own our votes. They do not believe
that our votes must be earned.

While this is not the most noble of reasons for the Republicans to fund
the petitioning efforts of the Green Party it does, nevertheless ensure
that justice is done in the final analysis and it is hard to think of a
better way for Republicans to spend their money. While it is never
ethically acceptable to do something wrong in order to achieve something
good, the ends never justify the means; it is quite acceptable to do
something right for the wrong reasons. For whatever reasons the
Republicans had in contributing to the Green Party, they nevertheless did
the right thing. They made sure that the Green Party would not be denied
access to the ballot simply because of the unconstitutional ballot access
laws in Pennsylvania.

Now the Democrats are even more in a snit than they were in 2004. This
year the Democratic Party is running Bob Casey. Like his Republican
opponent, Casey is both anti-choice and pro war. With the Green Party's
Carl Romanelli on the ballot, Casey will now have to face a challenge from
the left as well as the right and deservedly should go down in flames.

This thought makes many rank-and-file Democrats crazy. "What's wrong with
those Greens; do they want six more years of a psychopath like Rick
Santorum?"  That's how Democrats have been taught to think. Instead of
saying "now we actually have a candidate who represents our political
hopes and desires", they have been conditioned to settle for the crumbs
from the corporate owned table of the Democratic Party.

It should be remembered that the corporate owned Democratic Party could
have prevented all of this by creating fair ballot access laws in
Pennsylvania and by introducing Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). But they did
not. They called Ralph Nader a "spoiler" in 2000 and blamed him for the
loss of Gore to Bush.  If they truly believed that Nader was a spoiler
then they would have enacted legislation to install IRV thereby ending the
"spoiler effect". They took no such steps. They want to continue their
little party with the Republicans;  once again however they see that
someone wants to spoil their little party. Now, when a candidate who
offers a real choice comes along like Carl Romanelli, instead of changing
the position of their candidate, or dumping him altogether and supporting
the Green Party candidate, they have decided to remove Romanelli from the
ballot in the same fashion as they removed Ralph Nader.

In a recent press release, "RAMPANT DISCREPANCIES IN GREEN PARTY SIGNATURE
GATHERING", the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania leader T. J. Rooney even
compared the Green Party's petitions to Ralph Nader's petitions of 2004
signaling that just as the Democratic Party aborted the democratic process
in 2004;  they were prepared to do the same thing here in 2006. They even
quoted from a judge who never even looked at Nader's petitions. The
Democratic Party removed 63% of Mr. Nader's signatures yet only 1.4% of
Nader's signatures were rejected as forgeries. The other signatures were
all rejected as being from people who were either not registered to vote
or not registered to vote at the time of signing the petition. The
egregious Pennsylvania ballot access laws were used in a way that can only
be described as "political profiling".

In the case of Mr. Nader's petitions; 6,411 signatures were removed simply
because the signers had moved from one home to another between the time
they had signed the petition and the time when the petitions were
challenged. 1,869 were removed because the signer forgot to write down the
date or neglected to put in their middle initial. 7,851 signatures were
removed because they were "in the hand of another". In other words if a
husband filled out all the information like name and address for both he
and his wife and then passed it to his wife for her signature, the wife's
signature would not be accepted because part of the entry was "in the hand
of another". This also happened in many cases because one signer might
notice a missing date next to another signer's name and then fill in the
blank. 3,513 were removed for "other"  reasons.  This means that instead
of writing the name of their borough they wrote the name of their township
or city.

Without going into all the other bogus reasons for thwarting the will of
Pennsylvania citizens we can see that the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania
removed 19,704 signatures for purely frivolous reasons in order to destroy
the Nader campaign and at the same time the democratic process in
Pennsylvania. Now the Democratic Party leaders are planning to do the same
thing to the Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli. They will probably get
away with it. Many rank-and-file members of the Democratic Party literally
believe it does not matter how Romanelli is eliminated as long as he is
removed. These Democrats have essentially left the mainstream of American
political thought and have become virtually totalitarian. Just as the ABB
(Anybody But Bush) mania gripped the rank-and-file Democrats in 2004, a
similar fear grips them now in Pennsylvania with respect to incumbent
Republican Senator Rick Santorum.

Make no mistake about it; Rick Santorum is a monstrosity. Given his record
as a pro war, anti-choice Senator it might be supposed that if the
Democratic Party wished to defeat him they would have given the people of
Pennsylvania a candidate that was significantly different.  Instead, their
pro war, anti-choice candidate is now faced with a real alternative to
Rick Santorum; a pro-choice, antiwar Green who would be supported by an
overwhelming number of Democrats. The Democratic Party simply doesn't care
about getting rid of Rick Santorum. The contest between the Democrats and
Republicans is no more significant than an intramural softball game.
Everybody's really on the same side after all when the game is over. This
is why the Democrats did nothing about voter fraud in Florida in 2000 and
nothing about Ohio in 2004. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party doesn't
really mind if it is beaten by a Republican. But if the Republican wins
because a real progressive received a significant number of votes, that is
a real defeat. The Democratic Party in Pennsylvania is cornered again just
as it was cornered by Ralph Nader in 2004.  The Democratic Party
demonstrated quite dastardly in 2004 just how it behaves when it is
cornered.

It is long past time to give up on the Democratic Party. The creation of
the DLC (Democratic Leadership Council) as the representative of corporate
America within the Democratic Party coupled with the addictive influx of
corporate funds has caused the Democratic Party to replace the voter as
its constituency with the lobbyists of the corporations that have financed
its election campaigns.

The plaintive, futile pleadings to "change the system from within," to
make the party "wake up and smell the electorate"  have become both boring
and maddening. This pitiful wailing on the part of progressive Democrats
is not a strategy. It is nothing more than a tragic, senseless wish. The
Democrats must give up their search for Rumblestiltskin.  Their desperate
desire to "take back the Congress" ignores the question "take back the
Congress for whom". The rank-and-file members of the Democratic Party are
constantly encouraged to sacrifice the long run on the altar of the short
and vote for the lesser of two evils; yet voting for the lesser of two
evils has never given us better Republicans only worse Democrats.

It is also time to get rid of the myth of the "spineless Democratic
leadership". The leaders of the Democratic Party are not spineless. They
are doing just what they are told to do by their corporate paymasters.

It is time to stop fearing what will happen when we have finally given up
on the Democratic Party. That fear is really all the Democratic Party has
left.  The Democratic Party is broken beyond repair; denying that reality
supports a sham democracy and one-party politics.  The Democratic leaders
are not stupid. But those rank-and-file Democrats, who are still expecting
something to change, have every reason to wonder about themselves.

John Murphy is independent candidate for House of Representatives in the
16th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. He has been endorsed by
Michael Berg, Peter Camejo, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader and Howard Zinn. He
has been endorsed by two county level Green Parties, two county level
Libertarian Parties, the Pennsylvania Reform Party, the New American
Independent Party of Pennsylvania and the GDI among others. He is also one
of the founding members of the Pennsylvanian Ballot Access Coalition,
working to change ballot access laws in Pennsylvania. He can be reached
at:  johnamurphy [at] comcast.net.
http://www.counterpunch.org/murphy08082006.html


--------20 of 21--------

The Shame of Not Being Mexican
By David Swanson
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/0800206E.shtml
Wednesday 02 August 2006

I'll grant you that in the United States our two big political parties
never nominate a candidate of, by, or for poor people. Nonetheless, we
have now established a pattern of stolen elections, and we have NOT taken
over our nation's capital to demand justice. This fact alone would make me
ashamed right now not to be a Mexican. The Mexicans are doing the only
sensible thing they can, the only thing that can prevent a slide into far
more serious dangers.

Here in the United States, however, we don't just have stolen elections.
Our nation's capital is home to a White House that has eliminated the
Congress and the Supreme Court from any serious role in our government,
not to mention a Congress that has rolled over and refused to resist. Our
unelected president has reversed 800 acts of Congress, torn up half the
Bill of Rights, launched an illegal war based on lies, facilitated another
one, locked people up without charge or trial and tortured them, and
launched massive spying operations outside the rule of law. And yet, we do
not fill the streets.

This Sunday, the truly dedicated will take up residence anew at Camp Casey
in Crawford, Texas. On September 5, Camp Casey will move to the National
Mall in Washington, DC, and expand into Camp Democracy - an attempt to
force fundamental change. One of the groups that will play a lead role in
Camp Democracy is immigrants and activists for immigrants' rights. Some
immigrants' rights groups will also hold a rally and march in DC on
September 7. In recent months, the ability of immigrants to turn out and
march in the United States has shamed all native-born agitators for
justice.

Not only do we all need to learn from the immigrants' rights movement. We
all need to get behind it and support it. The anti-war movement, in
particular, should be backing the cause of immigrants' rights with
everything we've got. And when non-immigrants lobby their elected
representatives on any other issue, they should always raise the cause of
immigrants' rights as well. Because their cause is our cause. Americans'
willingness to abuse Iraqis is not separate from our willingness to
discriminate against Muslim Americans and Americans of Arab or Mexican
descent. This time it's not "first they came for the communists, then they
came for the Jews." This time, it's "first they came for the immigrants."

And that is the point at which to stop it.

Halliburton is building detention camps for "immigration emergencies." But
what are those? An expansion of NAFTA? A surge in global warming? Or are
they the sort of emergencies in which segments of our population become
guilty until proven innocent?

My Congressman, Republican Bush-follower Virgil Goode, recently put out a
statement arguing for allowing the minimum wage to continue to decrease
because restoring any of its value would attract immigrants to this
country. Goode can't seriously imagine that anyone doesn't realize that
non-immigrants, too, are affected by the minimum wage. It's just that
we've reached the point at which fear of immigrants is expected to
persuade us to abuse ourselves, to pick up the chains and voluntarily slip
them on. Bush's new proposal for detaining people without charge or
probable cause or access to an attorney targets citizens, not just
immigrants. We are all in this together, including the Iraqis and the
Lebanese and the Palestinians. Only a people that has been trained to fear
and abuse others could tolerate what our government is doing to those
peoples. Recent immigrants know this better than the rest of us, and we
should be recruiting them into the peace movement.

(And, by the way, has anyone nationally noticed that progressive pro-peace
Democratic candidate Al Weed is rapidly closing in on Goode in the polls?)

Last week an angry Muslim attacked a Jewish institution in Seattle. The
Council on American Islamic Relations released a statement urging us not
to bring the war home. But the war is, from the start, home. The war is in
the heart of every American not camped out in our nation's capital
demanding an end to the insanity and a restoration of the rule of law.

Did you know that many immigrants join the US military as a step toward
citizenship (or death)? Did you know that when people become citizens,
they must answer whether they've ever been a communist or a homosexual?
Did you know that they still can never become president? Because then we
would have needed to ask whether they'd ever slaughtered hundreds of
thousands of Arabs or lied to Congress or tortured innocent prisoners.

Did you know that this nation is almost entirely one of immigrants and the
descendants of slaves; that recent immigrants do not drain our economy -
the war does; that the criminals are in DC, not on the border; and that
the "Immigration Problem" is a problem of discrimination and fear
mongering, not criminality. If we didn't want Mexicans to come north, why
did we NAFTA them? Even Ross Perot has to have understood that giant
sucking sounds are heard on both sides of a border erased by corporate
greed, even if rebuilt by the corporate military.

As my friend Travis Morales points out, the current debate in Congress and
the media is over how to make things worse. The polls focus on how sad we
should be if no immigration bill is passed during this Congress. But, as
long as all the bills take us back to a formal system of apartheid, to a
legalized second-class status, should we be sorry not to see them pass?

If we are going to change the debate, we are going to have to join forces
and recognize that this is all one movement. Immigrants should not be
afraid of opposing the war - opposing the war is majority opinion, and the
stronger it grows, the more minds are moved away from xenophobia and
racism. Peace activists should not be afraid of immigrants' rights, and
should never expect to win respect for distant unseen Iraqis if we cannot
win it for present refugees from NAFTA.

Nor should any of us back away from "raising" the minimum wage, which CBS
says has 85% support. That's the same percentage of Americans who back
single-payer health care, the solution still feared by the man who had his
election stolen in 2004.

Halting global warming, reforming elections and the media, restoring the
right to organize a union, beginning impeachment investigations - these
are all majority positions led by campaigns that sometimes fail to take on
each other's causes for fear of alienating supporters. This fear is
self-defeating.

It is all one movement and will succeed as one movement at
http://www.campdemocracy.org .

David Swanson is creator of MeetWithCindy.org, co-founder of the
AfterDowningStreet.org coalition, a writer and activist, and the
Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive
Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the
Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a
newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including
Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media
Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and
three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of
Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master's degree
in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997. His website is
www.davidswanson.org.


--------21 of 21--------

 To fit its new role
 our republic plants miles
 of banana trees

 Yes we're going
 bananananananas
 right out of our tree


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