Progressive Calendar 11.24.06
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.


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