Progressive Calendar 12.09.06
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 03:36:35 -0800 (PST)
               P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    12.09.06

1. Child labor      12.09 9am
2. Stevens art sale 12.09 10am
3. "Fair trade"     12.09 10am
4. Vs recruiting    12.09 11am
5. NW V4P vigil     12.09 11am
6. Northtown vigil  12.09 1pm

7. Islam conflict   12.10 10am
8. Impeach!         12.10 1pm
9. AI writes        12.10 2pm
10. Papa John plays 12.10 3pm
11. KFAI Indian     12.10 4pm

12. Rights rally    12.11 4:30pm
13. Spirit progs    12.11 7pm

14. Matt Pascarella - Congresswoman McKinney files Articles of Impeachment
15. Ray McGovern    - Senate Democrats give Gates a free pass
16. David Shove     - Antiques Show & Tell - decoy gophers

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Child labor 12.09 9am

Saturday, 12/9, 9 to 11:30 am, program "Buried Hope - Child Labor in
Bolivia" by Unity's Mano a Mano Bolivia Outreach Team, Unity Church, 732
Holly Ave, St Paul.  651-228-1456.


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

From: Curt Lund <curt [at] trueenough.com>
Subject: Stevens art sale 12.09 10am
EVENT: Holiday Art Sale at Stevens Square Center for the Arts

November 28, 2006
Contact: Stevens Square Center for the Arts, 612-879-0200

Stevens Square Center for the Arts (SSCA) will be having a Holiday Art Sale
and Gift Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 9th, from 10am to 5pm.

This is an opportunity to find one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays. See a
wide variety of artwork, photography, cards, handmade crafts and gift
items at great prices. Over 20 exhibitors, including members of Stevens
Square Center for the Arts co-op. Concessions will also be available.

Also at SSCA: Secret Handshake is the 4th annual members' exhibit at SSCA,
showcasing the work of 14 of its members in a variety of media:
photography, painting, sculpture, screenprinting, cartoon, collage and
more. This year's members show will feature the latest work of SSCA
artists who make SSCA possible. Gallery hours are Fridays, Saturdays and
Sundays, 1pm-5pm. Exhibit runs through December 17.

Stevens Square Center for the Arts
1905 3rd Ave South, Minneapolis MN 55404
For more information visit www.stevensarts.org or call 612-879-0200.


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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: "Fair trade" 12.09 10am

Saturday, 12/9, 10 to 11:30 am, Tomas Johnson talks about "Fair Trade,"
Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave, Mpls.  www.americas.org


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

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Vs recruiting 12.09 11am

Cookies, Cocoa and the Constitution! Protect Against Recruiting

Saturday, December 9, 11:00 a.m. Knollwood Mall (in front of the big
sign), Highway 7 and Aquila, St. Louis Park. The Army has opened a "career
center" in Knollwood Mall, come help eat, drink and defend our young
people from recruiters, while exercising your right to free speech!
Sponsored by: Protect Action. Endorsed by WAMM.


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

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NW V4P vigil 12.09 11am

The NW Neighbors for Peace weekly demonstrations every Saturday between
11am 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.


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

From: Lennie <major18 [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Northtown vigil 12.09 1pm

Mounds View peace vigil 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


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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Islam conflict 12.10 10am

Sunday, 12/10, 10 am, breakfast buffet ($10) with the Critical Thinking
Club of MN as retired U of M classics prof Eva Keuls presents "Islam and
the West: The Essentials of the Conflict," the Kelly Inn, just off Marion
St exit from I-94 near downtown St Paul.  RSVP to
criticalthinkingclub [at] gmail.com


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

From: admin <lists [at] impeachforpeace.org>
Subject: Impeach! 12.10 1pm

Impeachment Day Protest
Sunday, December 10, 2006 [at] 1:00pm for 2 hours.
Informal Rally for Presidential Accountability

Rally and demonstration to show that not all people in this Bush
neighborhood are OK with our loss of freedoms and the war crimes being
committed based on the lies of Cheney and Bush being spread about Iraq.

Purgatory Recreational Area SW corner Prairie Center Drive and Technology
Drive, Eden Prairie, MN.

Directions
>From highway 5 go south on Prairie Center Drive to Technology Drive.
Parking is available in the back of the park off of Prairie Center drive by
the Health Club.

Sign up for this event, or just show up that day.
http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/ADS/event/distributedEvent.jsp?event_KEY=19259

Questions? Email the host.
http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/api/event/email.jsp?event_KEY=19259


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

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: AI writes 12.10 2pm

GROUP 37 HOLIDAY WRITE-A-THON REMINDER:
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10TH - 2 TO 4 P.M.

Join us from 2 to 4 p.m. on December 10th at the Center for Victims of
Torture for our holiday write-a-thon!

Each December, Group 37 moves our monthly meeting to correspond with
International Human Rights Day and joins thousands of other AI members
around the world in letter-writing: To protect human rights, to encourage
human rights defenders, and to bring hope to prisoners of conscience.

Everyone is welcome, and refreshments will be provided. You may wish to
bring a pen and clipboard, and Group 37 members are encouraged to bring
treats to share.

Please note that this event will take the place of our regular meeting for
December - There will be no regular meeting on December 17th.

Location: Center for Victims of Torture, 717 E. River Rd. SE, Minneapolis
(corner of E. River Rd. and Oak St.). Park on street or in the small lot
behind the center (the Center is a house set back on a large lawn).

A map and directions are available on-line:
http://www.twincitiesamnesty.org/meetings.html.


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

From: Mill City Music <sk [at] millcitymusic.com>
Subject: Papa John plays 12.10 3pm

December 10, 3:00 PM Ginkgo Coffeehouse. 721 N Snelling Ave St Paul CD
Release Concert. Papa John and Clint


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

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org>
Subject: KFAI Indian 12.10 4pm

KFAI's Indian Uprising for December 10th

LOUISE ERDRICH, novelist and poet.  In a 1985 interview with Laura
Coltelli, Karen Louise Erdrich was asked if she considered herself to be a
poet or a storyteller. Erdrich replied, "Oh, a storyteller, a writer." Her
own life story, as well as her novels and poems, are what make Louise
Erdrich so widely known. Erdrich, the oldest of seven children, was born
in Little Falls, Minnesota, on June 7, 1954. The daughter of French Ojibwe
mother and German American father, Louise Erdrich is a member of the
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Erdrich's large extended family lived
nearby, affecting her writing life from an early age.

Her father introduced Louise to William Shakespeare's plays and encouraged
Louise and her sisters to write their own stories. Erdrich comments in a
1991 Writer's Digest interview, "The people in our families made
everything into a story. They love to tell a good story. People just sit
and the stories start coming, one after another. You just sort of grab the
tail of the last person's story: it reminds you of something and you keep
going on. I suppose that when you grow up constantly hearing the stories
rise, break and fall, it gets into you somehow". The exposure to
storytelling had a prodigious influence on Louise's shaping and creation
of plot; it was as important as literary influences if not more ~ by Amy
Leigh McNally and Piyali Nath Dalal.  "My father used to give me a nickel
for every story I wrote.... So at an early age I felt myself to be a
published author earning substantial royalties." ~ Louise Erdrich.
http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/erdrich/about.htm.

Erdrich owns a small independent book store, BirchBark Books, in
Minneapolis. "BirchBark Books and Native Arts is a joint venture of local
book lovers, writers, Native American artists, neighborhood artisans,
carpenters, and painters. We are an independent bookstore, with all of the
accompanying quirks and non-corporate eccentricities. As the malling of
America continues, it is our mission to be other" ~
http://www.birchbarkbooks.com/

* * * *
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.


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

From: awcmere <meredith [at] antiwarcommittee.org>
Subject: Rights rally 12.11 4:30pm

Human Rights Day Rally
Monday, 12/11 @ 4:30pm @ May Day Plaza, 301 Cedar Avenue, Mpls

Come commemorate Human Rights Day and demonstrate against policies of war,
torture and injustice. Take a stand for human rights and peace!

Join us to protest U.S. attacks on human rights in Iraq, Palestine, and at
home.  Following the demonstration, we will go to the Mapps Coffeeshop
nearby at Cedar and Riverside Avenues for political poetry.


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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Spirit progs 12.11 7pm

Monday, 12/11 (and each month's 2nd Monday), 7 pm (socialize 6:30), Network
of Spiritual Progressives meeting (and potluck this month), Plymouth
Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet, Mpls.  brucelissem [at] aol.com or
www.nspmn.org


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

Congresswoman McKinney Files Articles of Impeachment
By Matt Pascarella
t r u t h o u t | Report
Friday 08 December 2006

On Monday, gathering in a conference room in Washington, DC, Georgia
congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and her advisors worked on a draft copy of
articles of impeachment against President Bush.

At the heart of the charges contained in McKinney's articles of
impeachment is the allegation that President Bush has not upheld the oath
of presidential office and is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Article I states that President Bush has failed to preserve, protect and
defend the Constitution. Specifically cited in this article is the charge
that Bush has manipulated intelligence and lied to justify war:  "George
Walker Bush - in preparing the invasion of Iraq, did withhold intelligence
from the Congress, by refusing to provide Congress with the full
intelligence picture that he was being given, by redacting information -
and actively manipulating the intelligence on Iraq's alleged weapons
programs by pressuring the Central Intelligence Agency and other
intelligence agencies."

This manipulation of intelligence was done, the charge continues, "with
the intent to misinform the people and their representatives in Congress
in order to gain their support for invading Iraq, denying both the people
and their representatives in Congress the right to make an informed
choice."

Article II, "Abuse of office and of executive privilege," states that
President Bush has disregarded his oath of office by "obstructing and
hindering the work of Congressional investigative bodies and by seeking to
expand the scope of the powers of his office." The president has "failed
to take responsibility for, investigate or discipline those responsible
for an ongoing pattern of negligence, incompetence and malfeasance to the
detriment of the American people."

This article continues by indicting Vice President Dick Cheney and
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in their actions to manipulate or
"fix" intelligence and mislead the public about Iraq's weapons programs.
Ultimately, this article calls not only for Bush's impeachment and removal
from office but also asks the same actions to be taken against Cheney and
Rice.

Article III states that President Bush has failed to "ensure the laws are
faithfully executed" and that he has "violated the letter and spirit of
laws and rules of criminal procedure used by civilian and military courts,
and has violated or ignored regulatory codes and practices that carry out
the law."

Specifically, McKinney cites illegal domestic spying as a result of
failing to obtain warrants thereby subverting Congress and the judiciary
in the process: " by circumventing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act courts established by Congress, whose express purpose is to check such
abuses of executive power, provoking the presiding judge of the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court to file a complaint and another judge to
resign in protest, the said program having been subsequently ruled
illegal; he has also concealed the existence of this unlawful program of
spying on American citizens from the people and all but a few of their
representatives in Congress, even resorting to outright public deceit."

The article continues by citing public statements Bush has made that were
blatantly contradictory to his policy and actions regarding domestic
spying.

While the staff was editing the document, one advisor told me, "As we sat
down and worked on this, a pattern became very clear - a pattern to
specifically undermine the Constitution and establish a unitary
presidency."

The charges addressed in McKinney's resolution are nothing revelatory or
new. Rather, they are issues which have been in the public eye for quite
some time and have increasingly been covered in the media over the last
year.

Despite winning the Congressional majority, the Democrats have yet to put
forth a plan to investigate what have become somewhat ubiquitous
allegations.

Speaker-Elect and Congresswoman Pelosi dismissed any possibility of
impeachment, saying it is "off the table" and that it is "a waste of time
- making them lame-ducks is good enough for me," although, in the November
election, 60 percent of the voters in her own district cast ballots in
favor of Proposition J, a measure calling for the impeachment of President
Bush.

In 2005, Congressman John Conyers sponsored a resolution, HR 365, to
create a special committee to investigate allegations against the Bush
administration - a move that would likely lead to the discovery of
impeachable offenses. This resolution was passed to the House Committee on
Rules and was never brought up for a vote.

At that time it was widely believed that if the Democrats took control of
Congress, Conyers would reintroduce the resolution since he would have
subpoena power if selected as leader of the House Judiciary Committee.

A few days after the Democrats won control, Conyers echoed Pelosi's
statement, saying, "I am in total agreement with her on this issue -
impeachment is off the table." Last week, a spokesperson from Conyers's
office said that the resolution would not be reintroduced and that the
congressman had no intention to pursue the matter.

Will other members of Congress support the action Congresswoman McKinney
has brought forth?

At the table in what could be considered her impeachment "war room,"  the
question is brought up a number of times.

Mike, an advisor to McKinney, mentions, "Conyers was supposed to have
investigations. They were chomping at the bit 6 months ago to do
subpoenas."

McKinney quietly replies, "Now they say they aren't even going to issue
subpoenas."

Looking up from her papers, she takes a deep breath, "I'm going in alone
on this one because now it is all about them playing majority politics."

This is McKinney's last week as a member of Congress and this act, to
impeach the president, is the final resolution she will enter into the
Congressional record.

For those who know anything about Cynthia McKinney, it may come as no
surprise that she would file this resolution as her parting gift to
Congress.

McKinney is no stranger to being attacked by the media and has been
isolated from her own party.

>From her inquiries into election fraud in 2000 to her calls for a
transparent and thorough investigation into 9/11, not to mention the
widely covered run-in she had with the Capitol Hill Police, the
congresswoman is aware that this resolution will likely be ignored and
that she will be ruthlessly attacked upon its filing.

"What do you think they are going to do to me this time?" she asks her
staff. Everyone uncomfortably shifts in their seats, and after no answer
comes, McKinney explains: "We have to do this because this is simply the
right thing to do. The American people do want to hold this man and his
office accountable for the crimes they have committed, and if no member of
Congress is willing to do it, than I will."

It is questionable as to how effective this move could be in gaining
support because of her reputation as a firebrand congresswoman and
because, ultimately, she is on her way out of office.

The congresswoman and her staff realize this, but hope that by filing the
articles of impeachment it will, at the very least, open up a discussion
on whether or not President Bush and key members of his administration
have committed impeachable offenses and whether our officials should be
held to account.

"My duty as a member of Congress is merely to uphold and preserve the
Constitution and to represent the will of my constituency. Ultimately, it
isn't up to me or any other member of Congress - it is up to the American
people to decide."

Matt Pascarella is a freelance journalist & producer who was present
during the drafting of the Articles of Impeachment that Congresswoman
McKinney filed today.

[Sen McKinney is frequently suggested by national Greens as a possible
2008 GP presidential candidate. If she ran Green, would you vote for her,
or for "lesser-evil" Hillary? -ed]


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

And the Constitution Takes Another Body Blow
Senate Democrats Give Gates a Free Pass
By RAY McGOVERN
Imagine
December 8, 2006

At Tuesday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the nomination of
Robert Gates to be secretary of defense, it felt like I was paying last
respects to the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution,
though, was not the recipient of the praise customarily heaped on the
deceased. Rather, the bouquets were fulsomely shared back and forth among
the nominee and the senators - all of them "distinguished," but none more
so than the very reverend John Warner, gentleman from Virginia and
departing chair of the committee, who presided at the wake.

Distinguished? The Warner committee is indeed distinguished for the
obsequious way it keeps genuflecting to the executive branch. Beneath the
pomposity lies a dearth of courage. Led by gentleman Warner, the committee
allowed itself to be co-opted by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his
deputies Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith and sat silently as they
disregarded and even ridiculed those few generals with the courage to
testify truthfully - Gen. Erik Shinseki, for example, the Army Chief of
Staff who warned that more troops would be needed for Iraq. In effect, the
committee abnegated its constitutional responsibility to prevent
misadventures like launching a war of aggression on Iraq based on
transparently false pretences and feckless planning.

The Nuremberg Tribunal defined war of aggression as "the supreme
international crime, differing from other war crimes only in that it
contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." Think
kidnapping, "extraordinary rendition," torture, for example. When such
abuses came to light, and the election of 2004 approached, the gentleman
from Virginia deferred unconscionably to the Pentagon and CIA and let them
investigate themselves.

            In the Past, "Distinguished" Meant Something

As I sat at the hearing, truly distinguished Virginia statesmen rushed to
mind-men like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George
Mason who gave their life's blood to ensuring that checks and balances,
and protections of individual rights, were embedded in the U.S.
Constitution. And I thought about how those patriots must be rolling over
in their graves, weeping at the flaccid timidity of their 21st Century
counterparts. I was on the verge of weeping myself, when the thought
struck me that in less than a month another Virginian, plain-speaking
Senator-Elect James Webb, may be able to apply the brakes to the more
recent tradition of substituting mutual fawning for the exercise of
senatorial responsibility. With a son fighting with the Marines in Iraq,
it seems a good bet that Webb will be able to inject some reality and
urgency - and a dose of appropriate anger - into Senate deliberations.

But on Tuesday, it was a sorry spectacle, as pretentiousness and patrician
etiquette trumped courage and vitiated the advise-and-consent prerogative
granted to senators by the framers of our Constitution.

In other news, "A series of particularly brutal attacks across Baghdad
Tuesday resulted in at least 54 Iraqis killed and scores wounded,"
according to the New York Times. The U.S. military announced that three
more American soldiers were killed Monday, adding to the 13 killed over
the weekend. Three more were killed on Tuesday; ten more on Wednesday;
eleven more Thursday. And five Marines are about to be formally charged
with the killing of 24 Iraqis, many of them women and children, in the
village of Haditha in Nov. 2005.

No such bothersome details were allowed into evidence Tuesday by the
stuffed shirts sitting in stuffed Senate seats in a hearing room stuffed
with 80 stenographers from our domesticated press. Real life - and death -
were kept out of earshot, but the room served well as a kind of funeral
parlor for the late Constitution. There was a surfeit of bouquets, but
none smelled genuine.

                              A Free Pass

That Gates would be given a free pass without serious probing was already
clear in ranking member Carl Levin's (D, MI) deference to lame-duck
chairman John Warner's (R, VA) plan for a one-day, carefully scripted
hearing, at which senators could disregard new, documentary evidence of
Gates' deception of both Congress and the Iran-Contra independent counsel.
Expediting the proceeding squandered the leverage given to senators by the
confirmation process, had any of them wished to put that leverage in play.
Moreover, Gates was often able to say, in effect, "Gosh, I just got here;
didn't know about that; haven't read that, but I'll put that on the top of
my reading pile."

Fully expecting that Levin's Democratic colleagues would join him in
acquiescing in this charade, antiwar activists told me before the hearing
began that they had come prepared with a rhyming chant:

"You won the elections.
Now ask real questions!"

I later learned that the activists left after only an hour, unable to
stomach the pompous pretence, as American troops and Iraqi civilians get
blown up in Baghdad. The activists started feeling queasy after Sen.
Warner's introductory remarks raised a brief ray of hope, which was dashed
a moment later. Warner alluded to what he called the "moral obligation
that our government, the executive and legislative, has to the brave men
and women of our armed forces." Moral obligation; sounds good! But he
quickly explained what he meant by "moral obligation" - merely that the
president should "privately consult with the bipartisan leadership of the
new Congress" before making his "final decisions" on Iraq. It gets worse:
witness the hypocrisy shining through the distinguished chairman's
admonition to Gates:

"In short, you simply have to be fearless, I repeat, fearless in
discharging your statutory obligations."

Fearless? It was far from fearless to cede responsibility to the Pentagon
to perform the kind of "full and thorough investigation" reminiscent of
the one President Richard Nixon asked then-Attorney General John Mitchell
to conduct on Watergate.

At the hearing the only thing fearless was the fawning. It doesn't matter
how many times Warner and Levin claim to have dropped into the
hermetically sealed Green Zone in Baghdad. There is always the "In other
news...." And despite the affectation at Tuesday's hearing, none of those
senators are affected in any immediate way by the carnage before the Green
Zone gate.

It is James Webb's Marine son and Iraqi civilians who are Lazarus at the
gate. And, as Benjamin Franklin warned, "Justice will not be served until
those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are."

               From Gates: Candor or Disingenuousness?

On weapons of mass destruction: Little attention is being given to the
disingenuous response Gates gave to this question from Sen. Mark Dayton
(D, MN):

"Given what we know today about the absence of weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq, given the predicament that we're in today, with the benefit of
hindsight, would you say that invading Iraq was the right decision or the
wrong decision?"

Gates left it to "historians" to decide. Defending his early support for
the invasion, he resorted to the well tested, fair-and-balanced FOX
Channel red herring: "I thought he [Saddam] had weapons of mass
destruction...just like every other intelligence service in the world,
apparently, including the French."

Now, please, Dr. Gates: You know that to be false confirmation - and
anything but fair and balanced. You know better than most where other
intelligence services get information on strategic weapons in denied areas
like Iraq. From the CIA. Independent-minded intelligence analysts in
Australian and Danish intelligence were able to see through the subterfuge
and warn their government leaders of the peril in taking at face value the
intelligence shared by the U.S.

On links between Iraq and al-Qaeda:  Sen. Levin reminded Gates that he
recently told the senator that he saw no "evidence of a link between Iraq
under Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda." Why then, asked Levin, did Gates say
publicly in Feb. 2002 that:

"We know that at least one of the leaders of the September 11 hijackers
met twice in Prague with Iraqi intelligence officers in the months before
the attack."

Levin wanted to know the source of that information. "Strictly a newspaper
story, sir," said Gates. Odd. For Robert Gates is not used to relying on
newspaper stories to make unconfirmed assertions on such neuralgic issues.
It seems altogether likely he would have gotten "confirmation" from his
successor as CIA director, arch-neoconservative James Woolsey, who cooked
up and-together with Vice President Dick Cheney-promoted that cockamamie
story to a fare-thee-well. In a formal report on Sept. 8, 2006, after two
and a half years of investigation, the Senate Intelligence Committee
refuted that story once and for all.

                  Fresh Eyes But No New Ideas

In one moment of genuine - perhaps unintended - candor, Gates indicated he
thought there were no new ideas to be had in addressing the conflict in
Iraq. How about old ideas? Like dispatching more training teams to work
with the Iraqi army and security forces. Gates said, "That certainly is an
option." And he vowed to show "great deference to the judgment of
generals." New emphasis on the training mission is what Gen. John Abizaid
told the committee less than three weeks ago is a "major change." Is that
the "new" strategy? It is, in any case, a feckless exercise, as we know
from Vietnam. Been there; done that; should have known that.

The subject of training came up very early in the Vietnam war. Three
months after John Kennedy's death, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara sent
President Lyndon Johnson a draft of a major speech McNamara planned to
give on defense policy. What follows is a segment of an audiotape of a
conversation between the two on Feb. 25, 1964:

Johnson: Your speech is good, but I wonder if you shouldn't find two
minutes to devote to Vietnam.

McNamara: The problem is what to say about it.

Johnson: I'll tell you what to say about it. I would say we have a
commitment to Vietnamese freedom. We could pull out there; the dominoes
would fall and that part of the world would go to the Communists...Nobody
really understands what is out there...Our purpose is to train [the South
Vietnamese] people, and our training's going good."

McNamara: All right, sir.

It wasn't "going good" then and - as countless middle-grade American
officers have recently conceded - it's not going good now, despite our
having thrown our best generals at the problem. Hewing to this misguided
approach reeks of the "woodenheadedness" of which historian Barbara
Tuchman writes in From Troy to Vietnam: The March of Folly. It is almost
always a forlorn hope that unwelcome occupation troops can succeed in
training indigenous soldiers and police to kill their countrymen. That the
British, who certainly should know better, have also forgotten that lesson
does not excuse the woodenheadedness.

                   Speaking Truth to Power?

Ironically, Tuesday's charade at the Senate Armed Forces Committee
included repeated allusion to the biblical injunction to "speak truth to
power." This has never been Robert Gates' forte. Rather, his modus
operandi has always been to ingratiate himself with the one with the
power, and then recite - or write memos setting forth - what he believes
that person would like to hear. Thus, while CIA Director Bill Casey's
"analysis" suggested that the Soviets would use Nicaragua as a beachhead
to invade Texas, Gates pandered by writing a memo on Dec. 14, 1984
suggesting U.S. air strikes "to destroy a considerable portion of
Nicaragua's military buildup."

This makes me wonder what may be in store for Iran, should Cheney solicit
Gates' help in making a case for bombing Iran's nuclear facilities.

Gates may have "fresh eyes," but if past is precedent he will add only
marginally to the flavor of the self-licking ice cream cone that passes
for Bush's coterie of advisers. What Bush has done is replace Sugary Gates
for Rumsfeldian Tart. Otherwise, the Cheney/Bush recipe is likely to
remain the same as the U.S. draws nearer and nearer to the abyss in Iraq.

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990 and Robert Gates' branch
chief in the early 1970s. McGovern now serves on the Steering Group of
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). He is a contributor
to Imperial Crusades, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.
He can be reached at: rrmcgovern [at] aol.com

An earlier version of this article was posted on Truthout.com


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Antiques Show & Tell - decoy gophers
by David Shove

Well if you thought our last antique was interesting, our next should keep
you glued to your public TV station!
  And here's Jake LaBlott and his rare assemblage of late nineteenth
century decoy gophers.

Hiya.

And here to do the assessment is Mr Reginald Van Smyth, of Masters of
Deception Decoys. Mr Van Smyth?

Thank you. This is quite a grouping you have here, Mr LaBlott.

Thanks. Call me Jake.

Jake, I'm sure everyone wants to know, why decoy gophers?

You're a struggling young farmer; gophers are eating up your profits. You
need them gone, but they're clever little devils. When they smell danger,
like you with a rifle, no way will they come out of the hole. You wait for
hours, and then as soon as you walk away, up they come, eating. Sometimes
just to piss you off. They even seem to be laughing.

Frustrating.

Yeah. But if other gophers are up and out, they figure it's safe. That's
where the decoy gophers come in.

Like decoy ducks.

That's where the idea came from. If you've got five or ten decoy gophers
standing around the hole, the guys figure it's ok to hang out. That's when
you blast the little bastards.  Oh - can I say that?

A little salty talk raises ratings - so yes, you can.

You have to fire fast, or use a shotgun, because it doesn't take long for
the little buggars to dive for cover - those who are still able. A good
gopher guy can cause quite a carnage in just two or three seconds.

Gopher genocide.

You could look at it that way if you want. I do, and I'm for it. The only
good gopher is a dead gopher.

That's a charming bit of Americana, Jake.

Thanks. What most people don't know is that for a few years it was legal
to use Gatling guns on gophers. I can just imagine the joy of killing, the
bloody gopher parts flying helter skelter through the air. But then some
namby-pamby gopher-lovers outlawed that. Sigh.

And I can tell you, Jake, we have verified that these decoys are from the
Gatling period, their rarity considerably raising their value.

Thanks. I was never sure of that. But of course I hoped.

Each one of the decoys has at least one proven Gatling bullet lodged in
it; some have more. Parts of most of the decoys are blasted away - with
other antiques a bad thing, but here, a badge of authenticity. And, DNA
analysis of the numerous brown blotches shows them to be authentic gopher
blood, many decades old.

That's good to know. But has this been a problem, so that you have to
check it out like this?

Oh indeed yes, Jake. You have no idea how many of these very desirable
artifacts are faked by contemporary forgers, just to cash in on the huge
market.

Really?

Oh yes. We've found blood from pigs, cats, raccoons, badgers, even from
hamburger or ground pork or chicken parts from the grocery story, whatever
was handy. These counterfeiters have a shocking lack of ethics.

Shocking.

Jake, I understand you're part of an interest group.

Yeah, the Go For Gophers Guys. Clever, huh? We meet every month on one
members' farm, and have at it. In just a few meetings we managed to wipe
out all his gophers. So we set up a gophery on his farm, to breed and
raise the next generation of gopher targets. Otherwise we'd be out
business.

Interesting.

Uh huh. We're into breeding various grades of gophers - from the fat and
stupid easy-kill variety, to the sleek and smart die-hard super-gopher.

I understand some of these super-gophers have gotten out and are
terrorizing the farm countryside - crops vanishing wholesale, fields
cribbage-boarded full of holes.

Well, yeah, that's how it is. But this should bring back the glory days of
gophering. Already you can't go out into the countryside any time of day
or night without hearing people blasting away at the little bastards. It
does my heart good.

I hear stray bullets have killed a large number of farm animals, and that
there's hardly a car in the county without a few bullet holes.

Yeah, we're pretty proud of that. Just a few forward-looking people, with
a dream, have brought about this gopher hunter's heaven.

A lesson for us all, Jake. And your reward - each of your decoy gophers
would bring $10,000 to $12,000 on today's market. You're a rich man, Jake.

That's Mr LaBlott to you, Reggie.

                                 *

Well, Antiques Show and Tell audience, wasn't _that_ interesting?

And now, Antiquers, it's time to raise money for public TV...


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