|Progressive Calendar 11.24.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2006 06:09:52 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 11.24.06 buy nothing day 1. Buy nothing day 11.24 2. Palestine vigil 11.24 4pm 3. Sister Rita funeral 11.24 4/5:30/7pm 4. WAMM vigil 11.24 5pm Chisago City MN 5. Bobby(Kennedy)/film 11.24 6. Vs Knollwood army 11.25 10:30am 7. NW F4P vigil 11.25 11am 8. Northtown vigil 11.25 1pm 9. Whistleblow/leak/TV 11.25 8pm 10. KFAI/Indian 11.26 4pm 11. Robert Jensen - No thanks to Thanksgiving 12. Elliott Minor - Thousands demand closing of Latin training school 13. Alexander Cockburn - Head for the Iraq exits, now! 14. PC Roberts - Defeating the Bill of Rights; Bush's lone victory 15. Dave Lindorff - Rescind AUMF military force 16. John V Walsh - Spoilers of the world unite! ... Now! 17. Joe Mowrey - The Armani Dems/our progressive nightmare --------1 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Buy nothing day 11.24 Friday, 11/24 ("Buy Nothing Day"), all day. Usually a U.S. holy day for those who worship Mammon, please consider spending a day without spending. www.rogeerwendell.com/buynothingday.html --------2 of 17-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Palestine vigil 11.24 4pm Vigil to End the Occupation of Palestine and the Siege of Gaza Friday, November 24, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. 50th and France, Edina (location change for one week only). The United States supplies the weapons that are killing Palestinians - 2,300 Gazans have been killed in the last six years. Since the Hamas government was elected, there has been a U.S.-driven international siege on Gaza, which is creating misery and despair. Beginning its military offensive on November 1, Israeli military forces killed 83 Palestinian civilians in northern Gaza. On November 9, Israel's 12-missle shelling of five homes in the Al-Kafarnah neighborhood left 18 civilians dead, including 7 children, 6 women and 11 members of the same family. U.S. weapons are provided as military aid to Israel, in violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts. The U.S. Arms Export Control Acts limits the use of U.S.-supplied weapons to self-defense and internal policing and forbids their use against civilians. The Foreign Assistance Act bans all U.S. assistance to countries which engage in a systematic pattern of human rights violations. WAMM opposes all military madness. Of course, we do not advocate for homemade Kassan rockets to be launched against Israel, either and we mourn all lives lost, but as U.S. citizens, our responsibility is to stop U.S. funding of Israeli weaponry used to occupy and destroy Palestine and Palestinians. --------3 of 17-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Sister Rita funeral 11.24 4/5:30/7pm This is all the information I have (from Monca Nillssen). Please share with all those who knew and loved Sister Rita. Her spirit of fierce love of justice and her compassionate heart will continue to inspire so many. Lydia Howell Funeral services for Rita Steinhagen will be THIS Friday, Nov 24 at St. Kate's. Wake at 4pm, sharing of memories at 5:30pm and funeral at 7pm. Fr. Patrick Griffin will preside. --------4 of 17-------- From: erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: WAMM vigil 11.24 5pm Chisago City MN Friday, November 24: Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) Peace Vigil in Chisago City. 5-6PM at Moberg Park (Isabel and Highway 8). Come out and show your support for a peaceful resolution. For more info visit www.worldwidewamm.org or call 612/827-5364. --------5 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Bobby/film 11.24 11/24 to 11/30, film "Bobby" about assassination of Robert Kennedy through lens of race, gender and class differences, Edina Cinema, 3911 W 50th St, Edina. 651-649-4416 --------6 of 17-------- From: margaret <hope4peace22000 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Vs Knollwood army 11.25 10:30am Weekly protest at Army Recruitment Center Knollwood Mall Saturday, 10:30am Meet under the large Knollwood Mall sign (Hwy 7 and Aquila), St. Louis Park Army opening "Career Center" in Knollwood Mall in a Children First community? Knollwood is a community meeting place. Our kids spend time there, sometimes alone or with friends. Army recruiters, who are increasingly desperate, aggressively target them, using highly coercive tactics as well as falsehoods. This is unacceptable and we demand that they leave our neighborhood. ProtectAction is a group of local folks working to protect our kids. www.ProtectAction.blogspot.com --------7 of 17-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NW F4P vigil 11.25 11am The NW Neighbors for Peace demonstrations every Saturday between 11 AM and noon along Vinewood, near Rockford Rd. (also known as 42nd Avenue or Cty. Rd. 9) and just east of 494. This is the entrance to Target, Rainbow, and other stores. --------8 of 17-------- From: Lennie <major18 [at] comcast.net> Subject: Northtown vigil 11.25 1pm Mounds View peace vigiling EVERY SATURDAY from 1-2pm at the at the southeast corner of the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE in Blaine, which is the northwest most corner of the Northtown Mall area. This is a MUCH better location. We'll have extra signs. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. For further information, email major18 [at] comcast.net or call Lennie at 763-717-9168 --------9 of 17-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Whistleblow/leak/TV 11.25 8pm Whistleblowing or Leaking? tpt17 Saturday, November 25 at 8PM A federal judge and journalists discuss whether divulging secrets serves or endangers the public. Co-produced with William Mitchell College of Law. --------10 of 17-------- From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org> Subject: KFAI/Indian 11.26 4pm KFAI's Indian Uprising for November 26th THANKSGIVING: A NATIVE AMERICAN VIEW by Jacqueline Keeler (Dine/Dakota), Pure Water Gazette Magazine. Thanksgiving to me has never been about Pilgrims. When I was six, my mother, a woman of the Dineh nation, told my sister and me not to sing "Land of the Pilgrim's pride" in "America the Beautiful." Our people, she said, had been here much longer and taken much better care of the land. We were to sing "Land of the Indian's pride" instead. REFLECTIONS FROM THE AH-NISH-I-NAH-BAEOT-JIB-WAY(WE, THE PEOPLE) by Wub-e-ke-niew (Ojibwe) for the Native American Press/ON, November 26, 1993. Greetings, Pilgrims, and all you foreign-born Europeans who call yourselves Americans. Happy Thanksgiving Day to you! The Mayflower Pilgrims have been here 373 years, and the ecology of this Continent has gotten worse every year that theyıve been here. Pilgrims, youıve over-extended your pilgrimage, and itıs time you packed your bags and went back home. School-children are told that the Pilgrims came here fleeing religious persecution - but in the Mayflower Compact, which was the Pilgrimıs constitution, the point of their journey was exploitation of the vast resources of this Continent, and making money for the Good Olı Boys of the Virginia Company back in England, and for the King who chartered them. England had already been plundered down into the bedrock, and the King was flat-ass broke. GIVE THANKS NO MORE: IT'S TIME FOR A NATIONAL DAY OF ATONEMENT by Robert Jensen, OpEdNews.com, November 21, 2005. One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting. In fact, indigenous people have offered such a model; since 1970 they have marked the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning in a spiritual/political ceremony on Coles Hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, one of the early sites of the European invasion of the Americas. Not only is the thought of such a change in this white-supremacist holiday impossible to imagine, but the very mention of the idea sends most Americans into apoplectic fits -- which speaks volumes about our historical hypocrisy and its relation to the contemporary politics of empire in the United States. See attached. * * * * Indian Uprising a one-half hour Public & Cultural Affairs program is for and by Indigenous people broadcast each Sunday at 4:00 p.m. over KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Producer and host is Chris Spotted Eagle. KFAI Fresh Air Radio, www.kfai.org, is located at 1808 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55454, 612-341-3144. --------11 of 17-------- No Thanks to Thanksgiving By Robert Jensen, AlterNet Posted on November 23, 2005, Printed on November 22, 2006 http://www.alternet.org/story/28584/ One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting. In fact, indigenous people have offered such a model; since 1970 they have marked the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning in a spiritual/political ceremony on Coles Hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, one of the early sites of the European invasion of the Americas. Not only is the thought of such a change in this white-supremacist holiday impossible to imagine, but the very mention of the idea sends most Americans into apoplectic fits - which speaks volumes about our historical hypocrisy and its relation to the contemporary politics of empire in the United States. That the world's great powers achieved "greatness" through criminal brutality on a grand scale is not news, of course. That those same societies are reluctant to highlight this history of barbarism also is predictable. But in the United States, this reluctance to acknowledge our original sin - the genocide of indigenous people - is of special importance today. It's now routine - even among conservative commentators - to describe the United States as an empire, so long as everyone understands we are an inherently benevolent one. Because all our history contradicts that claim, history must be twisted and tortured to serve the purposes of the powerful. One vehicle for taming history is various patriotic holidays, with Thanksgiving at the heart of U.S. myth-building. From an early age, we Americans hear a story about the hearty Pilgrims, whose search for freedom took them from England to Massachusetts. There, aided by the friendly Wampanoag Indians, they survived in a new and harsh environment, leading to a harvest feast in 1621 following the Pilgrims first winter. Some aspects of the conventional story are true enough. But it's also true that by 1637 Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop was proclaiming a thanksgiving for the successful massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, part of the long and bloody process of opening up additional land to the English invaders. The pattern would repeat itself across the continent until between 95 and 99 percent of American Indians had been exterminated and the rest were left to assimilate into white society or die off on reservations, out of the view of polite society. Simply put: Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers. The first president, George Washington, in 1783 said he preferred buying Indians' land rather than driving them off it because that was like driving "wild beasts" from the forest. He compared Indians to wolves, "both being beasts of prey, tho' they differ in shape." Thomas Jefferson - president #3 and author of the Declaration of Independence, which refers to Indians as the "merciless Indian Savages" - was known to romanticize Indians and their culture, but that didn't stop him in 1807 from writing to his secretary of war that in a coming conflict with certain tribes, "[W]e shall destroy all of them." As the genocide was winding down in the early 20th century, Theodore Roosevelt (president #26) defended the expansion of whites across the continent as an inevitable process "due solely to the power of the mighty civilized races which have not lost the fighting instinct, and which by their expansion are gradually bringing peace into the red wastes where the barbarian peoples of the world hold sway." Roosevelt also once said, "I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth." How does a country deal with the fact that some of its most revered historical figures had certain moral values and political views virtually identical to Nazis? Here's how "respectable" politicians, pundits, and professors play the game: When invoking a grand and glorious aspect of our past, then history is all-important. We are told how crucial it is for people to know history, and there is much hand wringing about the younger generations' lack of knowledge about, and respect for, that history. In the United States, we hear constantly about the deep wisdom of the founding fathers, the adventurous spirit of the early explorers, the gritty determination of those who "settled" the country - and about how crucial it is for children to learn these things. But when one brings into historical discussions any facts and interpretations that contest the celebratory story and make people uncomfortable - such as the genocide of indigenous people as the foundational act in the creation of the United States - suddenly the value of history drops precipitously and one is asked, "Why do you insist on dwelling on the past?" This is the mark of a well-disciplined intellectual class - one that can extol the importance of knowing history for contemporary citizenship and, at the same time, argue that we shouldn't spend too much time thinking about history. This off-and-on engagement with history isn't of mere academic interest; as the dominant imperial power of the moment, U.S. elites have a clear stake in the contemporary propaganda value of that history. Obscuring bitter truths about historical crimes helps perpetuate the fantasy of American benevolence, which makes it easier to sell contemporary imperial adventures - such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq - as another benevolent action. Any attempt to complicate this story guarantees hostility from mainstream culture. After raising the barbarism of America's much-revered founding fathers in a lecture, I was once accused of trying to "humble our proud nation" and "undermine young people's faith in our country." Yes, of course - that is exactly what I would hope to achieve. We should practice the virtue of humility and avoid the excessive pride that can, when combined with great power, lead to great abuses of power. History does matter, which is why people in power put so much energy into controlling it. The United States is hardly the only society that has created such mythology. While some historians in Great Britain continue to talk about the benefits that the empire brought to India, political movements in India want to make the mythology of Hindutva into historical fact. Abuses of history go on in the former empire and the former colony. History can be one of the many ways we create and impose hierarchy, or it can be part of a process of liberation. The truth won't set us free, but the telling of truth at least opens the possibility of freedom. As Americans sit down on Thanksgiving Day to gorge themselves on the bounty of empire, many will worry about the expansive effects of overeating on their waistlines. We would be better to think about the constricting effects of the day's mythology on our minds. Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and the author of, most recently, The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005). İ 2006 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/28584/ --------12 of 17-------- Thousands gather to demand closing of Latin training school Elliott Minor, Associated Press Sunday, November 19th 2006 Thousands of protesters paraded, chanted and raised white crosses Sunday outside Fort Benning, the home of the Army's Airborne, Ranger and Infantry training, as they continued a 17-year effort to close a military school they blame for human rights abuses in Latin America. "This is about men with guns," said the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, a Catholic priest who spent five years as a missionary in Bolivia and founded the group, SOA Watch, in 1990, to close the school. "People of these countries are hungry," said Bourgeois, a naval officer during the Vietnam War. "You can't eat guns. You can't eat bullets. They want food ... medicine. They need schools for their children." Officials with the Muscogee County Sheriff's Department estimated the crowd size at 14,000, but Eric LeCompte, events coordinator for SOA Watch, which organized the protest, said they counted 22,000. Fourteen of the protesters, including two grandmothers, managed to get around, under, or over three chain-link fences _ one topped by coils of barbed wire _ and were arrested for trespassing on military property. Each could face up to six months in a federal prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Most of the demonstrators were college-age youths, but there were also toddlers led or carried by their parents, senior citizens and many Catholic nuns and priests. Veterans of the Iraq war and members of the group Veterans for Peace marched in formation to the demonstration on Sunday morning. Others included members of a movement known as 1,000 Grandmothers, which hopes to harness the wisdom of older women for peace, and a civil rights group known as "Living the Dream," dedicated to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of a unified, nonviolent world. Living the Dream ended a weeklong pilgrimage from Selma, Ala., at the three-day demonstration, which ended Sunday after a solemn funeral procession honoring victims of murders, assassinations and other human rights abuses allegedly committed by Latin American soldiers. The demonstrations are timed to commemorate six Jesuit priests who were killed along with their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador on Nov. 19, 1989. Some of the killers had attended the Army's School of the Americas, which moved to Fort Benning from Panama in 1984. It was replaced in 2001 by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), under the Defense Department. The demonstrators contend the changes were only cosmetic, even though human rights courses are mandatory at the new school. "I'm here because I disagree not only with the SOA, but with the United States policy of strong arming foreign governments and foreign militaries throughout the world," said Brendan Kottenstette, 21, a St. Louis University student. "The SOA/WHINSEC is just one part of it." The military has acknowledged that some graduates committed crimes after attending the School of the Americas, but says no cause-and-effect relationship has ever been established. Excited by the changes in Washington and the pullout of three countries, Bourgeois said he hopes the latest demonstration is the last and that next year his group can host a giant victory celebration. "We see hope this coming year could be the year we shut it down," Bourgeois said. "If we shut it down, we'll have a big celebration. We're going to dance." A House bill that would have halted the school's funding failed by 16 votes earlier this year. With 35 Republicans who had opposed the bill now out of office, Bourgeois is optimistic it will pass next year under the new Congress. Meanwhile, Venezuela stopped sending students last year and Argentina and Uruguay did it this year. An SOA Watch delegation had met with leaders of those countries, but Bourgeois credits the pullout to the democratic transformation taking place in Latin America. Meetings with Latin American leaders will continue, he said. "You do not teach human rights behind that concertina wire," he said, gesturing at the Fort Benning fences. --------- Take action! Contact your local media and ask them to run this story from the Associated Press (AP) national wire. Find out contact information for your local media easily here: http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/dbq/media/. --------13 of 17-------- The Democrats and the Slaughterhouse Head for the Exits, Now! By ALEXANDER COCKBURN CounterPunch November 23, 2006 Imagine a steer in the stockyards hollering to his fellows, "We need a phased withdrawal from the slaughterhouse, starting in four to six months. The timetable should not be overly rigid. But there should be no more equivocation." Back and forth among the steers the debate meanders on. Some say, "To withdraw now" would be to "display weakness". Others talk about a carrot and stick approach. Then the men come out with electric prods and shock them up the chute. The way you end a slaughter is by no longer feeding it. Every general, either American or British, with the guts to speak honestly over the past couple of years has said the same thing: the foreign occupation of Iraq by American and British troops is feeding the violence. Iraq is not on the "edge of civil war". It is in the midst of it. There is no Iraqi government. There are Sunni militias and Shia militias inflicting savagery on each other in the awful spiral of reprisal killings familiar from Northern Ireland and Lebanon in the 1970s. Iraq has become Chechnya, headed into that abyss from the day the US invaded in 2003. It's been a steep price to inflict on the Iraqi people for the pleasure of seeing Saddam Hussein die abruptly at the end of a rope. If the US is scheduled for any role, beyond swift withdrawal, it certainly won't be as "honest broker", lecturing fractious sectarians on how to behave properly, like Teacher in some schoolhouse on the prairie. It was always been in the US interest to curb the possibility of the Shia controlling much of Iraq, including most of the oil. By one miscalculation after another, precisely that specter is fast becoming a reality. For months outgoing ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad tried to improve the Sunni position, and it is clear enough that in its covert operations the US has been in touch with the Sunni resistance. If some Sunni substitute for Saddam stepped up to the plate the US would welcome him and propel him into power, but it is too late for such a course. As Henry Kissinger said earlier this week, the war is lost. This is the man who - if we are to believe Bob Woodward's latest narrative - has been advising Bush and Cheney that there could be no more Vietnams, that the war in Iraq could not be lost without humiliating consequences for America's status as the number # 1 bully on the block. When Kissinger says a war is lost, you can reckon that it is. Democrats, put in charge of Congress next January by voters who turned against the war, are now split on what to do. The 80 or so members of the House who favor swift withdrawal got a swift rebuff when Steny Hoyer won the House Majority leader position at a canter from Jack Murtha, humiliating House majority whip Nancy Pelosi in the process. But there are still maneuvers to have Murtha capture a significant role in brokering the rapid exit strategy he stunned Washington by advocating a year ago. Next came Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, who never opens his mouth without testing the wind with a supersensitive finger to test the tolerance levels of respectable opinion. In Chicago on Monday he said there are no good options left in Iraq, but that it "remains possible to salvage an acceptable outcome to this long and misguided war." This time Obama plumped for the "four to six months" option for "phased redeployment", though the schedule should not be "overly rigid", to give - so the senator said - commanders on the ground flexibility to protect the troops or adapt to changing political arrangements in the Iraqi government. Then there followed the familiar agenda for America as stern, disinterested broker: "economic pressure" should be applied to make Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds sit down and forge a lasting peace. "No more coddling, no more equivocation." It sounds great as a clip on the Evening News, provoking another freshet of talk about Obama as presidential candidate. Substantively it means absolutely nothing. What "economic pressure" is he talking about, what "coddling", in ruined, looted Iraq? It's all the language of fantasy. The only time reality enters into Obama's and Democrats' foreign policy advisories is when the subject of Israel comes up. Then there's no lofty talk about "No more coddling", but the utterly predictable green light for Israel to do exactly what it wants - which is at present to reduce Gaza to sub-Chechnyian levels and murder families in Beit Hanoun: this is a Darfur America really could stop but instead is sponsoring and cheering on, to its eternal shame. The Palestinians are effectively defenseless, even as the US Congress cheers Israel on. What political Washington cannot yet quite comprehend is that Iraq is not Palestine; cannot be lectured and given schedules. America is not controlling events in Iraq. If the Shia choose to cut supply lines from Kuwait up to the northern part of the country, the US forces would be in deep, deep trouble. When the Democrats take over Congress in January, they should vote to end funding for anything in Iraq except withdrawing US forces immediately. If they don't, there's nothing but downsides, including without doubt a Third Party peace candidacy that could well cost them the White House in 2008, or - who knows - the return of Al Gore as the peace candidate, now that Russ Feingold has quit the field. Perhaps that's what Obama was trying to head off. Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair's new book, End Times: the Death of the Fourth Estate, will be published in February by CounterPunch Books / AK Press. --------14 of 17-------- Defeating the Bill of Rights Bush's Lone Victory By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS CounterPunch November 22, 2006 George Orwell warned us, but what American would have expected that in the opening years of the 21st century the United States would become a country in which lies and deception by the President and Vice President were the basis for a foreign policy of war and aggression, and in which indefinite detention without charges, torture, and spying on citizens without warrants have displaced the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution? If anyone had predicted that the election of George W. Bush to the presidency would result in an American police state and illegal wars of aggression, he would have been dismissed as a lunatic. What American ever would have thought that any US president and attorney general would defend torture or that a Republican Congress would pass a bill legalizing torture by the executive branch and exempting the executive branch from the Geneva Conventions? What American ever would have expected the US Congress to accept the president's claim that he is above the law? What American could have imagined that if such crimes and travesties occurred, nothing would be done about them and that the media and opposition party would be largely silent? Except for a few columnists, who are denounced by "conservatives" as traitors for defending the Bill of Rights, the defense of US civil liberty has been limited to the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. The few federal judges who have refused to genuflect before the Bush police state are denounced by attorney general Alberto Gonzales as a "grave threat" to US security. Vice president Richard Cheney called a federal judge's ruling against the Bush regime's illegal and unconstitutional warrantless surveillance program "an indefensible act of judicial overreaching." Brainwashed "conservatives" are so accustomed to denouncing federal judges for "judicial activism" that Cheney's charge of overreach goes down smoothly. Vast percentages of the American public are simply unconcerned that their liberty can be revoked at the discretion of a police or military officer and that they can be held without evidence, trial or access to attorney and tortured until they confess to whatever charge their torturers wish to impose. Americans believe that such things can only happen to "real terrorists," despite the overwhelming evidence that most of the Bush regime's detainees have no connections to terrorism. When these points are made to fellow citizens, the reply is usually that "I'm doing nothing wrong. I have nothing to fear." Why, then, did the Founding Fathers write the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? American liberties are the result of an 800 year struggle by the English people to make law a shield of the people instead of a weapon in the hands of government. For centuries English speaking peoples have understood that governments cannot be trusted with unaccountable power. If the Founding Fathers believed it was necessary to tie down a very weak and limited central government with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, these protections are certainly more necessary now that our government has grown in size, scope and power beyond the imagination of the Founding Fathers. But, alas, "law and order conservatives" have been brainwashed for decades that civil liberties are unnecessary interferences with the ability of police to protect us from criminals. Americans have forgot that we need protection from government more than we need protection from criminals. Once we cut down civil liberty so that police may better pursue criminals and terrorists, where do we stand when government turns on us? This is the famous question asked by Sir Thomas More in the play, A Man for All Seasons. The answer is that we stand naked, unprotected by law. It is an act of the utmost ignorance and stupidity to assume that only criminals and terrorists will stand unprotected. Americans should be roused to fury that attorney general Alberto Gonzales and vice president Cheney have condemned the defense of American civil liberty as "a grave threat to US security." This blatant use of an orchestrated and propagandistic fear to create a "national security" wedge against the Bill of Rights is an impeachable offense. Mark my words, the future of civil liberty in the US depends on the impeachment and conviction of Bush, Cheney, and Gonzales. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts [at] yahoo.com --------15 of 17-------- Rescind the Authorization for Use of Military Force The First Task of the New Congress By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch November 22, 2006 Forget Nancy Pelosi's "100 Hours" agenda for the new Democratic Congress. The first thing Democrats need to do when they walk into the Senate and House chambers this January is to vote out a joint resolution repealing the September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was the authorization for the U.S. attack Al Qaeda forces and the Taliban government of Afghanistan. That AUMF has been used, wholly inappropriately and wantonly, by President Bush as the justification for his assault on the US Constitution, for his willful violation of laws domestic and international, and for his unconstitutional usurpation of legislative and judicial power. The president has claimed that the AUMF, far from simply being an authorization to go to war against Afghanistan and against the Al Qaeda organization there, was an open-ended authorization for him to initiate an unending "War on Terror," which he has subsequently claimed has no boundaries, and will be fought around the globe and within the U.S. Bush has further claimed, without a shred of Constitutional authority, that this AUMF makes him commander in chief in that never-ending global conflict, and that as commander in chief, he is not bound by either law or Constitution. It is this spurious and sweeping claim of dictatorial power that the president has used to justify his signing statements, which he has used to render inoperative in whole or in part some 850 or more acts passed by Congress since 9-11. It is this same claim that the president has used to justify his deliberate violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - a felony and violation of the Fourth Amendment. It is likewise this AUMF that he has used to justify his authorization of torture, kidnapping and detention without charge, his refusal to answer legitimate requests for information from Congress and the 9-11 commission, and his ignoring of direct orders from the federal courts. All of these actions by the president are manifestly unconstitutional, and cry out for his impeachment. (The Constitution clearly defines and limits the president's commander in chief role to simply making him the senior officer of the military, not a generalissimo. Furthermore, as Barbara Olshanski and I explain in our book "The Case for Impeachment," the AUMF never gave Bush any authority at all to conduct war inside the U.S. (In fact, Tom Daschle, who as a Democratic Senator from South Dakota was the Senate Majority Leader at the time the AUMF was passed, specifically denied a last-minute request from the White House to have the words "in the United States" inserted into the wording of the resolution authorization.) Bush should be impeached for all of his abuses of power, as well as for many other crimes, such as his deception in leading the nation into an illegal war against Iraq. But clearly, it will take time for a growing mass movement to pressure a timid Democratic leadership into taking their oath of office seriously and initiating impeachment proceedings. Meanwhile, Congress can pull the rug out from under this usurper right away by simply revoking the September AUMF. There is no justification for the continuation of the 2001 AUMF. Afghanistan is no longer a war. The U.S. is simply contributing military assets to a NATO action in that country at the request of the elected government in Kabul. Such an action requires no AUMF. Meanwhile, the prevention of terror is clearly an intelligence and police issue, not a war. It too does not require an AUMF. A simple majority vote of House and Senate would put the U.S. Constitution back in place, and would restore the balance of power between executive, legislative and judicial branches. Then Congress can get to work on investigating the crimes and abuses of this administration, and to passing progressive legislation without fear of further unconstitutional signing statements and further presidential law-breaking. So how about it Rep. Pelosi and Senator Reid? Are you ready to uphold and defend the Constitution? Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's new book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by Barbara Olshansky. He can be reached at: dlindorff [at] yahoo.com --------16 of 17--------- "To the Spoilers Belong the Victories" Spoilers of the World Unite! ... Now! By JOHN V. WALSH CounterPunch November 21, 2006 Let us start with the biggest lie of all, that the Democrats cannot end the war, are unable to do it, do not have the power to do it. Big, big, big lie. Bush is now asking for another $127 billion to "stay the course." If either the House or the Senate refuses to pass that request, the war cannot be prosecuted. It only requires a simple majority in one chamber House or Senate. That is it. The power is there. In the face of this grammar school fact, it is amazing to hear the pundits prattle on about Bush being in charge, that it takes 60 votes to get things done in the Senate, etc., etc. Let's take it one step further. Do the Democrats want to "stand up for the troops"? OK, let them hand Bush the McGovern bill or its like which provides funds only for the safe and speedy withdrawal of troops. That requires a simple majority in two Houses of Congress. Let Bush veto that. But do not expect the Democrats to take such a course. The election was rigged by Rahm Emanuel in favor of pro-war Democrats, and the beating which John Murtha took at the hands of Hoyer, Emanuel and others is evidence that the war party is firmly in control of Dem foreign policy and will do nothing to end the war. In fact Emanuel wants to raise at least 100,000 more troops. An end to the war is what 60 per cent of the voters wanted in the election of 2006, and the desire for it grows by the day. What are we to do, then? Simple. We can work now on mounting a third party challenge to the Democrats in 2008. The platform of such a challenge would be simple. We are against war and the police state; these are the over-arching issues of the moment and we shall not compromise on them for any reason. The current test of these principles is Iraq. If all troops are out of Iraq by November, 2008, then our issue is gone and we cannot expect to win. If the U.S. remains in Iraq, then we may or may not win - but the Democrats will have to confront us; we may defeat them or we may spoil the election for them. But either way, we will be a force to be reckoned with. How to begin? We must have some nationally known leaders who could start the ball rolling. I can think of Kevin Zeese, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, Justin Raimondo, Lew Rockwell, Alex Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair, Cindy Sheehan, Lila Lipscomb, Patrick Buchanan, perhaps even maverick Democrats like Cynthia McKinney, Maxine Waters, James Webb, Jack Murtha or Carol Shea-Porter - or maverick Republicans like Chuck Hagel, who, Lieberman-like, might declare their independence even while "caucusing" with one of the war parties. There are endless possibilities. First would come some private meetings. Next a national conference could be called, hopefully within months. Out of this would come a movement to publicize the existence of this nascent movement and party, raise funds, bird dog the pro-war Democrats, expose those Democrats who pretend to be antiwar, all in preparation for November 2007. (That's right, 2007). At that point if the U.S. is not completely out of Iraq, a full scale run for the presidency and for some Congressional seats would be started. (An especially good Congressional target would be the Coleman/Franken race in Minnesota since both are hawks.) Hopefully many Greens and Libertarians would join in and commit themselves to running a consensus set of candidates in 2008. This is a two-year strategy. But we must begin now. This will allow the idea to germinate and build as the Democrats show again and again that they are the other War Party. With every sell-out, the movement will grow. Importantly, the Democrats will not be able to say they were not warned. They will have plenty of time to act and prove us wrong. They now have the power to end the war. If they fail to do so, what good are they? This strategy can only apply to the Democrats since the Republicans in the person of McCain or Giuliani or Romney are all openly committed to fight on in Iraq. The Democrats are pretending to be the Party opposed to the war. Let us take them up on that. As Condi Rice might say, "The Democrats have some choices to make here." Nor should the Democrats complain about this choice forced by potential "spoilers," since they just took the Senate because of a Libertarian "spoiler" in Montana. They have not objected to this tactic for success. This is a win-win strategy. If the Democrats extract US forces from Iraq in a year's time, then we have won. If not, then we have started a new political movement, which realigns many forces in preparation for future battles against the War Parties. Victory is inevitable, perhaps suggesting a slogan: "To the spoilers belong the victories." John V.Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com. He suggests that the new movement be called "The Spoilers Party," which might reduce the pundits to complaining that "those Spoilers are just a bunch of spoilers." [Amen. I've long believed in using whatever power we have to press for what we really want. But that will piss off the Dems, who want only our vote and then our invisibility. Anything they do for us will enrage their corporate funders. Yet many speak as if the Dems must be yielded to in everything. This strategy has led us further right every year for decades. It doesn't work. It has never worked. A few big Dem hacks have won, and all the rest of us have lost. -ed] --------17 of 17-------- Here Come the Armani Democrats America's Progressive Nightmare By JOE MOWREY CounterPunch November 20, 2006 We are already beginning to see the results of the "blue wave" which occurred in our recent elections. Lobbyists are retooling to accommodate their favorite Democratic politicians. Harry Reid has promised to increase the military budget by $75 billion. Impeachment is "off the table," not to mention trials for war crimes. And Democrats have pledged to raise the minimum wage to a whopping $7.25 an hour. That's a total income of $15,080 a year, before taxes. Members of Congress will give themselves that much in automatic cost of living increases alone over the next five years. Let's face it, the power elite have successfully executed a changing of the guard. The "progressive" community wasted the last two years and countless resources sponsoring corporate lackeys for election to a fascist system of government. (Fascism was originally defined by Benito Mussolini as a partnership between government and corporations.) Congratulations. There still is no serious anti-war or anti-militarism movement in this country. The corporatists won - peace and social justice lost, again. With progress like this, who needs habeas corpus? As I did before this recent lemming vote-fest, I suggest we spit out the electronic pacifier of the masses and begin a program of vaccination for "chronic voter's syndrome." We should recognize the corrupt system of electoral madness for the farce that it is and implement a boycott of elections, local as well as national. As long as we agree to participate in an Alice-in-Wonderland system of governance we will continue to be ruled by corporations. We will continue to see unlimited manufacture and exportation of arms around the globe. We will continue to witness the wanton destruction of our planet by sociopaths in Armani suits with sound-bite smiles. (Yes, that was an Armani Nancy Pelosi was wearing at her first press conference following the election. No kidding.) Whether for federal, state or local ballot items, which ad campaigns did you like the best? Did you vote for Captain Crunch or Count Chocula? How about that myriad of candidates' forums and policy discussions? Who could keep up with the avalanche of meaningful information we were given about these politicos and their agendas. It was tough deciding whether to vote for "a new direction" or "a positive change." There were so many clever and inspiring slogans, one was hard pressed to choose among them. Some Democrats expressed their opposition to the war but don't hold your breath waiting for them to end it any time soon. While we're busy celebrating the ascension to power of the kinder, gentler fascists, innocent men, women and children continue to die at a rate of thousands per month in Iraq and Afghanistan. You remember Afghanistan, don't you? That's the country we bombed the hell out of, then turned back over to drug lords. Most progressives seem to have forgotten that war. And do you seriously believe those fourteen permanent military bases we're building in Iraq are going to be abandoned any time soon? If so, then I've got a bridge in Baghdad I'd like to sell you. No matter which political party is in power, the United State's military industrial complex will remain the wellspring of death and destruction in the Middle East and around the world. There is no one left to end this reign of terror but you and me. If we have any social conscience at all, we should quit participating in the shell game the criminal elite uses to manipulate our society, our country and the world. Change from within has become an absurd and impossible notion. The structure of government itself is the problem, not which collection of puppets pretends to maintain it. We must seize control, peacefully and nonviolently, of our governing institutions as well as the major corporate broadcast centers that hold our public airwaves hostage. We must organize caucuses nationwide and send delegates to a People's Congress in order to establish a new constitutional government. We must create truth commissions to allow the American people to come to grips with the fact that our culture and our nation, our "land of the free and home of the brave," born of one of the most brutal genocides in history, has been and continues to be a cancer on the world social and political order and the global environment. There is no American dream, only a nightmare which the rest of the world is forced to endure while Americans remain steadfastly asleep in front of their televisions every evening soaking up the infotainment we call news. Or if you are a really wild and crazy liberal you listen to Air America Radio, the so-called new voice of "progressive" media, where people like Al Franken and Randi Rhodes prattle on about what a great president Bill Clinton was. They seem to have forgotten how he bombed Iraq continuously for his entire eight years in office, rammed NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) down our throats, accelerated the consolidation of corporate media and used extraordinary rendition to send our "enemies" to countries around the world to be tortured. You didn't think Cheney and the boys came up with that one on their own, did you? Though estimates vary, even conservative figures attribute the deaths of as many as 350,000 children to the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq during Mr. Clinton's "liberal" administration. These draconian measures were implemented under cover of the United Nations by such "progressive" war criminals as U.N Ambassador Madeleine Albright. Ms. Albright has a new book out in which she laments her blunder in answering yes to Leslie Stahl's question on 60 Minutes about whether the death of so many Iraqi children was worth it in order to punish Saddam Hussein. No mention of how wrong it was to actually enforce the programs that caused those deaths. Hey, she has a book to sell. No time for true confessions now. Then there is Democrat Bill Richardson, one of Albright's successors as U.N. Ambassador, whose reward for continuing to withhold chlorine from water treatment facilities in Iraq was an appointment as Secretary of Energy. Oh, by the way, recently, he also answered yes to the infamous Madeleine Albright question. Now he is the much-touted "progressive" Governor of New Mexico, one of the countries largest repositories of nuclear weapons, home of the latest research into new and improved nuclear weapons technologies in direct violation of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty). New Mexico is drowning in defense-industry blood money while its residents ranked fifth highest in the nation for food insecurity in 2005. What a guy Bill Richardson is. He's my kind of liberal war criminal. He's also been shortlisted as a possible presidential candidate in the next electoral charade. Meanwhile, back at the progressive-pundit ranch, even outspoken critics of the neoconservative status quo refuse to acknowledge the most pressing foreign policy issue of our time - Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank. Al Franken and the rest of the voices on Air America were outraged when Bush and company suspended habeas corpus through the Military Commissions Act. None of them seem to have noticed Israel's long-time policy of detaining Palestinians without trial or charge under its cleverly titled program of "Administrative Detention." They decry George Bush's policy of preemptive war while in the same breath parroting the Israel lobby's talking points about Israel's right to defend itself against those who would dare to resist the brutal invasions and occupations that are part and parcel of the Zionist tragedy unfolding for the last sixty years in "The Promised Land." The idea of a Christian state is out of the question. An Islamic state - what, have you lost your mind? But progressives believe a Jewish state is to be promoted and defended at all costs. Apartheid was morally unacceptable in South Africa. But Israel's Apartheid Wall which imprisons Palestinians in bantustans throughout the West Bank is considered absolutely essential in order to provide 'security' for Israel's colonization of Palestine. The cluster bombs Israel dropped on civilian neighborhoods in the last days of their recent barbaric destruction of the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon aren't a topic of conversation on Air America Radio. Neither is the collective punishment and systematic starvation of one and half million civilians in the Gaza Strip. But what the heck, Al Franken is planning to run for the Senate in '08, and we're looking to put a Democrat in the White House next time around. Those AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) lobbyists and their deep pockets are going to be indispensable. It's time to snap out of our collective state of "liberal" denial and take to the streets, loudly and insistently, in numbers too large to be shot, arrested or ignored. No more platitudes about peace. No more lesser of two evils. No more staking out the middle ground. No more handshakes with war criminals. No more walls or weapons or wars of imperialist aggression. We need to declare our independence from the stultification of corporate hegemony. Though our forebears may not have been the most egalitarian crowd they at least had the courage and tenacity to take a stand against colonial tyranny and exploitation by the British East India Company. There's that familiar corporate element again. Funny how history repeats itself. The Declaration of Independence, a celebrated manifesto for change, was a statement of unyielding principle, not a statement of compromise. We need to draft a new Declaration of Independence. We need to insist on basic principles of human rights and social justice as the foundation for whatever form of government we devise. We need to stand firmly and resolutely on these principles. This is perhaps our only hope of creating an atmosphere where peace, however you choose to define that word, has any chance of becoming even a vague reality in our time - before the end of our time. Okay, so it won't be easy and it certainly won't be pretty. But I would rather plunge into the abyss of social and economic revolution than over the precipice to which corporate plutocracy has brought us. Are you looking forward to a Hillary Clinton/ Barack Obama ticket in 2008? How about the upcoming "surgical air strikes" against Iran, a plan which Mr. Obama has supported? Thank goodness Ms. Clinton has taken a firm stand against flag burning. How courageous of her. In addition, though she made a flamboyant speech on the floor of the Senate opposing torture, publicly she expressed her support for it - only as a last resort, of course. Ain't liberalism grand? Preemptive war, colonization, collective punishment, torture, exploitation of labor, degradation of the environment - the list of progressive values goes on and on. I can hardly wait to vote for the Demicans again, or is it the Republicrats we should be supporting? Those polar ice caps aren't going to stop melting anytime soon. We had all better start asking ourselves how long we think we can tread water. Time is in short supply. Hope and determination never are. To quote a marginally popular bumper sticker from the 60's, "Why vote? It only encourages them." Joe Mowrey is a peace and social justice activist living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He can be contacted at jmowrey [at] ix.netcom.com. Among his other relentlessly futile endeavors, he is one of a small contingent of diehards who have maintained a presence at a major intersection in town every Friday for the last four years in opposition to the illegal and immoral invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. He also manages the database and produces the graphics for the Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Installation, a 450-foot-long [and growing] series of 3 by 6 foot vinyl banners displaying the names, faces and obituaries of the U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Installation is a project of the Santa Fe Chapter of Veterans for Peace. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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