|Progressive Calendar 01.01.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2007 15:41:39 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 01.01.07 1. 3000 dead/bridge 1.01 5pm 2. 3000 dead/Plymouth 1.01 6:45pm 3. Conversation salon 1.02 6:30pm 4. Arise free films 1.02 7pm 5. uhcan-mn 1.02 7pm 6. Ramsey/immigration 1.02 time? 7. Arabic classes 1 8. Anthony Cowell - Highway robbery: privatizing New Jersey's toll roads 9. Jim Lobe - A bad year for empire 10. David Swanson - New Year's utopianism needed fast 11. Dennis Harvey - Review of new film on Ralph Nader 12. PC Roberts - Official lies, unaccountable power: the new dark age 13. Ralph Nader - The prospects for progressive politics 14. Marge Piercy - Pushing the clock hands back (2 poems) --------1 of 14-------- Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2006 21:29:23 -0000 From: braun044 <braun044 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: 3000 dead/bridge 1.01 5pm Dear Peacemakers, We are sorry to announce that the U.S. military death toll in Iraq has reached 3000. While every life is important, it is only natural to pause and think about the human cost of war when we reach such a grim milestone. We invite you to gather with others on January 1, at 5:00 pm on the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge to commemorate the civilian and military losses in Iraq. Please pass on the information below regarding an emergency vigil in the Twin Cities area. U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Reaches 3000 -- A Call to Action Not One More Death. Not One More Dollar! January 1, 2007 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge Over the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul Please bring your own candles and signs. As we gather with friends and neighbors to commemorate the civilian and military losses in Iraq, we will be joining thousands of people in hundreds of towns and cities to call for an end to the war on Iraq. . . And to tell Congress that the country's pro-peace/anti-war majority wants Congress to stop the killing in Iraq by ending funding for the war. The vigil will not only mark the 3000th U.S death in Iraq, but will also commemorate the massive toll of Iraqi people who have died as a result of the war. The call for this vigil is initiated by members of the Iraq Peace Action Coalition, Women Against Military Madness, Anti-War Committee, Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq, Military Families Speak Out, and other groups. This effort was initiated by the American Friends Service Committee and other organizations. These national groups have asked people across the U.S. to stand up and say that the needless killing of U.S. troops and Iraqis must stop. We call on our government to reallocate resources going to the war in Iraq into much needed human services, including housing, health care and education. For more information call the Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq at 612-522-1861. Peace in the struggle, Marie Braun for Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq --------2 of 14-------- Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2006 15:44:05 -0600 From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: 3000-dead/Plymouth 1.01 6:45pm There will be a candlelight vigil on the day following the day of the announcement of the 3000 US life lost in Iraq. Those who may be unable to attend the 5-6 PM vigil at the Lake Street bridge, are invited to join NWN4P at a candlelight vigil in Plymouth. It will take place between 6:45 and 7:30 at the SW corner of Northwest Blvd. and County Rd. 9 (aka Rockford Rd. or 42nd Avenue N.) in Plymouth. The "Little Church" of the Parish Community of St. Joseph is on a hill on that corner and the entrance to the parking lot is just east of the strip mall on the southern side of County Rd. 9 near Vinewood. If you are coming from the east on County Rd. 9, it is necessary to make a U turn at Vinewood (this is one block east of 494) and then get in the right lane to make a turn into the parking lot before reaching the next signal light at NW Blvd. If you are coming from the west, exit onto County Rd. 9 and travel three tenths of a mile before turning right into the parking lot. If you are now hopelessly confused, please call Carole Rydberg - 764-546-5368. --------3 of 14-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Conversational salon 1.02 6:30pm Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------4 of 14-------- From: Kiera Coonan <kieracoonan [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Arise free films 1.02 7pm Arise! Bookstore to Host Winter Film Series Minneapolis, MN: Following up their summer events series, Arise! Bookstore is hosting a weekly Winter Film Series to take place every Tuesday night from January 2, 2006 through April 10, 2007. The collection of films to be featured in the series has been selected by volunteers and consists of films about music, politics, books, and fun. Every second and fourth Tuesday, Arise will feature the Book Nerd/Film Nerd book club as a part of the series: anyone can come get the featured book, watch the movie based on the book, and hang out afterwards to discuss. All films start at 7:00 P.M and the event is free. Free popcorn will be provided to all who attend. Arise! is a collectively-run progressive bookstore and resource center located in Uptown Minneapolis at 2441 Lyndale Ave S. 55404. For further information, please go to www.arisebookstore.org or contact Kiera Coonan at 651.399.6058 Calendar: 1/2 Leningrad Cowboys Go America 1/9 BOOK NERD/FILM NERD BOOK CLUB PRESENTS: The Yes Men 1/16 Celluloid Closet 1/23 BOOK NERD/FILM NERD BOOK CLUB PRESENTS: The Secret of NIMH 1/30 Eraserhead 2/6 Slam 2/13 BOOK NERD/FILM NERD BOOK CLUB PRESENTS: Blade Runner 2/20 Pom Poko 2/27 BOOK NERD/FILM NERD BOOK CLUB PRESENTS: A Clockwork Orange 3/6 Well Done Now Sod Off (documentary about Chumbawamba) 3/13 BOOK NERD/FILM NERD BOOK CLUB PRESENTS: The Princess Bride 3/20 Weekend. 3/27 BOOK NERD/FILM NERD BOOK CLUB PRESENTS: Mother Night 4/3 Afropunk 4/10 BOOK NERD/FILM NERD BOOK CLUB PRESENTS: Ghost World --------5 of 14-------- From: joel michael albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: uhcan-mn 1.02 7pm MN UHCAN meeting, Tuesday January 2, 2007, 7PM, Walker Church basement, 3104 16th ave s (in Mpls, near Lake st. and Bloomington ave). Agenda items: 1.Welcome, intros, background 2. Outreach/Networking needed. This movement is growing. 3 more major organizations- 1 religious, 1 citizen action,1 practitioner- are now focusing on HC reform, 2 of whom are actively trying to build a huge network themselves. How can we network w/ these and our directory of 400 other MN organizations ? In addition to phone calls,emailing etc, we could do a HC Film Series this winter ? 3. MN Legislative session (begins January 3). How can we force a fair, inclusive debate at the legislature ? Several states are way ahead of MN. Ex: In 2001,Calif's legislature was open to all public proposals, and a spectrum of 9 were submitted (3 were single-payer). This lead to passage of SP in Calif last August, which the Gov. vetoed. Will the DFL step-up and work on Single-Payer ? The House DFL Caucus 2006 HC Plan says nothing about universal health care. Work w/ John Marty, others ? 4. Direct Action: Continue to Expose United Health Group. UHG faces more upcoming lawsuits, this time likely criminal charges, giving us major opportunities to get our message out, at their headquarters. 5. Update on forming a grassroots HC Cooperative, as a good first step toward Single-Payer. We can only depend on ourselves. This is a crisis. People need help, and can't depend on the legislature or Governor who have worsened the crisis in MN. Pls contact me w/ other items you may have ? --------6 of 14-------- From: Peter Brown <peterb3121 [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Ramsey/immigration 1.02 time? The proposal by Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega to terminate Ramsey County's agreement with ICE to house immigration detainees in Ramsey County Jail has received much well-deserved publicity lately. If you have missed it so far or want a quick refresher, see our report appearing in the IndyMedia website: http://twincities.indymedia.org/feature/display/27438/index.php The Commissioners will take up this proposal at their first meeting of the New Year, January 2, 2007. [Contact P Brown fot time and place -ed] Many have noted the strong link between human rights violations leading to Maria Inamagua's death and the human rights abuses experienced in Worthington Raids and the need to resist/denounce both. The proposal to close Ramsey County Jail to future immigration detainees provides us with a unifying local focal point. The action question for those concerned about the need to continue a public political response to the Worthington Raids (and to all raids or sweep tactics) and the death of Maria Inamagua in Ramsey County Jail (and the deaths and ill-traetment of all others in custody) is whether we should/can mobilize a presence when the Ramsey County Commissioners consider Commissioner Ortega's proposal on January 2. It would certainly be a stunning development of national significance if the Ramsey County Board does withdraw its support for the federal bankrupt immigration policy by ending ICE's future use of Ramsey County Jail and, at the same time, recognizes the international Human Rights Treaty standards that it needs to comply with for any detainees it continues to hold at Ramsey County Jail. Please comment on this opportunity. We are at a very bad time of year for planning meetings, but please comment on whether you believe the swift mobilization of a public presence on January 2 [at the Board Meeting, at the jail, or both] is desirable and possible. And what part you would be willing to play to help make any of that happen. Peter W. Brown, Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild 612-824-6533 --------7 of 14-------- From: Mizna <mizna-announce [at] mizna.org> Subject: Arabic Classes Sign up for Mizna's Arabic Classes, beginning January 2007. Register online today! Arabic for Beginners Arabic for Teens Arabic 2, 3, and 4 All classes held in Mizna's northeast Minneapolis center. Go to our website to see complete class details and sign up information. Hurry! Classes fill up fast. Go here: http://www.mizna.org/classes/index.html Mizna is a forum for Arab American art. --------8 of 14-------- Privatizing New Jersey's Toll Roads Highway Robbery By ANTHONY COWELL CounterPunch December 28, 2006 Governor Jon Corzine intends to sell New Jersey's toll roads to private investors for $10 billion. Selling or leasing publicly owned toll roads degrades our public and financial security. Toll road takeovers led by Goldman Sachs, where Governor Corzine was the Chairman and CEO before taking elected office, prove the point. Goldman Sachs took the Indiana Toll Road and the Chicago Skyway private in 2005. Goldman invested its own money in both deals. Goldman worked every side of these deals, collecting fees as lobbyists, deal makers and investors. After privatization, tolls on the Indiana Toll Road and the Chicago Skyway immediately doubled. Drivers unable to afford the tolls now use alternate roads, increasing congestion and pollution. But these severely negative impacts to the public don't concern MIG Cintra, the Australian and Spanish corporations that operate these toll roads. MIG Cintra's motivator is greed. MIG Cintra prohibits any competition with its toll roads. It forbids any expansion of adjacent roads. And when MIG Cintra took over the Indiana Toll Road, the 600 people formerly employed by the Indiana Department of Transportation were told to start looking for new jobs. MIG Cintra holds a locked down monopoly where states must pay protection cash to a toll road mafia led by Goldman Sachs, foreign corporations, and super rich investors. [Standard ruling class extortion. Why don't we expunge them? -ed] MIG Cintra uses "access management" schemes to squeeze every possible dollar from toll road users. "Time of day pricing" imposes punitive tolls on certain vehicles, like trucks, to keep them off the road. "Premium pricing" allows access to congestion-free express lanes, although users pay an even higher toll for the privilege. This is happening on public toll roads that taxpayers bought and paid for generations ago. MotherJones magazine (January/February 2007) destroys the false promises of toll road privatization so desperately sought by Governor Corzine. The bottom line is that Goldman Sachs is promising New Jersey quick cash in exchange for control of public infrastructure, including toll roads, but soon airports as well. Goldman Sachs operates as lobbyist, advisor and investor in selling public assets at fire sale prices - completing the three act play known as "Conflict of Interest." Perhaps the play should be presented in four parts, with Governor Corzine playing the lead role for his former paymaster. And who is Goldman Sachs? In 2006, Goldman paid its executives $16.5 billion; the average salary at Goldman is $623,000. A confraternity of the super rich has New Jersey's public wealth in its gun sights, but New Jersey must protect its transportation infrastructure from Wall Street snake oil salesmen. Corporations have no duty to the public. They exist for profit, not public safety or security. Transportation infrastructure belongs to the people of New Jersey, who rightly expect that public servants will operate pubic property for the benefit of the people. Does MIG Cintra have its own police force to patrol these roads? Who will the police answer to when the Turnpike is sold, a corporate board of unaccountable, non-elected businessmen? When there's an accident, who responds? If deadly chemical, biological or nuclear agents are released on the Turnpike, will MIG Cintra's executives and Goldman Sachs' investment bankers respond in space suits to protect our citizens? Governor Corzine insists that complicated issues are at hand. Is that really so? Goldman Sachs already worked these issues out in Indiana and Illinois. How much is at stake? The risk to New Jersey is immeasurable in lost jobs, safety and profits, but profits for Goldman and its investors are huge. Goldman's calculations on other deals show that investors break even after fifteen years - but these deals last 100 years, which proves that Goldman orchestrates public asset sales at bargain basement prices. In reality, it's fraud. Profit estimates also assume significant toll increases every year or every other year. These deals allow private owners to operate public roads as monopolies for 85 years. As Governor Corzine arranges the sale of the Turnpike, you can rest assured of two things: Turnpike tolls will climb every year, and New Jersey politicians will make the super rich even richer by giving them the roads you own. For political cover, the Governor may choose another investment bank, or require Goldman to partner with another bank. The rotten result for us is the same. If that's good public policy, I'm proud to be thick-headed. Governor Corzine, Ray Lesniak, and Bill Gormley are desperate to sell the Turnpike. They whine that toll increases are intolerable, that maintaining toll roads costs too much. So they won't raise tolls. Rather, they'll sell the roads to private operators, and let them raise the tolls. In reference to privatizing the Turnpike, Mr. Lesniak has said "we are going to allow tolls to go up every year." Where is the public benefit? A few dollars in property tax relief? It's not worth it. Aren't Democrats against selling out our public wealth, not to mention our safety, to private corporations? Don't Democrats oppose privatizing Social Security? Isn't toll road privatization the same thing? Our toll roads are vital, money making assets, but privatizing toll roads is the public finance equivalent of strip mining, which permanently destroys the environmental infrastructure level by level. We can't trade transportation infrastructure for a few bucks up front, because, in the end, we'll be much poorer, and much less safe. Anthony Cowell is a writer and a lawyer, and was a Deputy Attorney General in New Jersey. He can be reached at cowellma [at] verizon.net. [For life on earth to survive the ruling class must perish. -ed] --------9 of 14-------- A Bad Year for Empire by Jim Lobe December 28, 2006 znet WASHINGTON (IPS) - For those who believed that the precise and overwhelming demonstration of U.S. military power in Afghanistan and Iraq would "shock and awe" the rest of the world - and particularly Washington's foes and aspiring rivals - into accepting its benevolent hegemony, 2006 was not a good year. Not only has Washington become ever more bogged down - at the current rate of nearly three billion dollars and 20 soldiers' lives a week - in an increasingly fragmented and violent Iraq whose de facto civil war threatens to draw in its neighbours, but a resurgent Taliban has exposed the fragility of what gains have been made in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led military campaign ousted the group five years ago. In neighbouring Pakistan, the U.S.-backed government of President Pervez Musharraf has withdrawn its forces from tribal areas along the Afghan border, effectively handing control of the region to pro-Taliban forces believed to be sheltering al Qaeda. In Lebanon, a pro-western government, the product of last year's U.S.-backed "Cedar Revolution", finds itself under siege from a Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah which appears to have emerged from last summer's war with Israel stronger and more confident than ever. Meanwhile, North Korea ended its longstanding moratorium on testing its ballistic missiles on the Fourth of July, thus making its own rather defiant contribution to the fireworks traditionally associated with Washington's Independence Day celebrations. Apparently dissatisfied with Washington's appreciation, Pyongyang conducted its first nuclear test four months later. Similarly, Iran, the other surviving member of Bush's "Axis of Evil", announced last April that it successfully enriched uranium and subsequently shrugged off U.S. and European demands that it freeze its programme, even as it hosted a succession of leaders from the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad and offered Washington help in stabilising Iraq provided that it dropped its "arrogant" attitude. An increasingly assertive and energy-rich Russia has also become noticeably more defiant over the past year, challenging with growing success Washington's post-9/11 military encroachment in the Caucasus and Central Asia and effectively reversing two of the three U.S.-backed "colour revolutions" - in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan - in its near abroad. The looming succession battle in Turkmenistan, whose natural gas endowments and strategic perch next to both Iran and Afghanistan make it a very desirable piece of real estate, will likely intensify this latest version of "Great Game". By collaborating with China in both the U.N. Security Council and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Moscow has also challenged the unipolarists' notion that Washington's overwhelming global military dominance would not provoke the creation of countervailing coalitions designed to contain its power. Even in Africa, defying the U.S. came at little cost. Sudan, accused by Bush himself for two years of committing genocide in Darfur, manoeuvred Washington into backing a clearly unworkable peace accord and then, when it fell apart, not only rejected repeated U.S. demands to permit deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force to the region, but also helped spread the conflict into neighbouring Chad and Central African Republic. In nearby Somalia, meanwhile, covert U.S. support for a coalition of warlords, who had kept the country in a permanent state of insecurity for more than a decade, backfired big-time last summer when an Islamic militia that Washington accuses of being linked to al Qaeda chased them out of the country. As the year ends, the U.S. is effectively backing Ethiopia's deployment of thousands of troops in support of the disintegrating interim government in Baidoa, permitting the Islamists' to rally nationalist opinion for a war that analysts fear could burst beyond Somalia's borders. In Latin America, Washington averted the worst - the victory of leftwing presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexican elections last summer. Nonetheless, clumsy U.S. efforts to influence elections over the past year in Bolivia and Nicaragua proved counter-productive, as candidates backed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who appears to delight in nothing more than provoking Bush, won in both countries, as well as in Ecuador. Coupled with Chavez' own sweeping victory earlier this month, the year's elections results in Latin America appear to have confirmed a left-wing populist and anti-U.S. trend - the so-called "pink tide" - which, along with the recent disclosures regarding ties between right-wing paramilitaries and the government of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, poses serious threats to Washington's multi-billion-dollar anti-drug effort in the Andes. Elections elsewhere also proved disappointing to Washington's unipolar ambitions, none more so than last January's victory, despite last-minute efforts by Washington bolster the Fatah, of Hamas in the Palestinian territories. Not only did the election set back prospects for resuming a credible Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but Bush's reaction - to isolate rather than engage the winner, and, more recently, to actively seek in its ouster - made clear that Washington's "freedom agenda" for the Middle East was largely rhetorical, except when aimed against hostile states like Syria or Iran. Indeed, Hamas' victory and the growing strength and popularity of Islamist parties throughout the Arab world brought to a screeching halt U.S. pressure on friendly authoritarian governments, notably Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, to implement democratic reform. Meanwhile, the administration has tried to rope them into an alliance with Israel against what Jordan's King Abdullah has referred to as the ascendant "Shia Crescent" of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Of course, the most important revolt against the Bush administration's Washington's globocop aspirations took place here at home last month when voters handed Democrats control of both houses of Congress in mid-term elections in which Iraq and foreign policy, by virtually all accounts, played the decisive role. While the warhawks predictably claimed that the results reflected more the public's lack of confidence in the way Bush had carried out policy than on the policy itself, a battery of polls in both the run-up to the election and immediately afterward found that that a large majority of citizens believe the administration's belligerent unilateralism had made the United States - as well as the rest of the world - less, rather than more, safe. Nearly eight in 10 respondents in one survey sponsored by the influential Council on Foreign Relations and designed by legendary pollster Daniel Yankelovich said they thought the world saw the U.S. as "arrogant", and nearly 90 percent said such negative perceptions threaten national security. "It's not just a matter of (wanting to be) well-loved or nice," said Yankelovich. Whether the implications of these findings, as well as the elections results - not to mention the foreign policy balance sheet of 2006 - will be absorbed by Bush and his senior policy-makers in 2007, however, remains very much in doubt. The post-election departure of two arch-unilateralists, former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and U.N. Amb. John Bolton, notwithstanding, nothing fires up the imperial impulse more than multiplying acts of defiance. All rights reserved, IPS - Inter Press Service (2006). --------10 of 14-------- New Year's Utopianism Needed Fast by David Swanson AfterDowningStreet.com http://www.truthout.org_2006/122706D.shtml Wednesday 27 December 2006 Unbeknownst to many Americans, there is overwhelming consensus among scientists that we are very close to reaching a point of no turning back on global warming, which is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. We are approaching a point at which all of the following will become unavoidable: massive desertification, rising sea level, explosive growth of insect populations, widespread habitat destruction, mass extinctions, mass migrations (including of humans), the disappearance of sea life, and in all likelihood wars over drinking water that will make the wars over oil look civilized. These changes are likely to lead to human disease, starvation, and death on a scale that will dwarf the current reality, much less what Americans are currently able to imagine. The desperation and suffering involved, combined with the too-late awareness of the planet's fate, will almost certainly bring about a blossoming of religious and magical thinking that will make current American evangelists look reasonable. As the end of human civilization begins to look inevitable, myths that make it look desirable will grow in popularity. Enlightenment notions of human progress will reach extinction as the long-term planning of slow projects becomes seen as futile. Of course, we're almost at that point already. Were we not, we would not be destroying the world of our great grandchildren with the mad furiousness with which we are knowingly destroying it. That is, some of us know we are doing it. And most of us lack the future-historical attention span to process the knowledge. We are pounded with such a flood of infotainment about this week that next century is unthinkable. And so we don't think about it, for now. But unless we very quickly think and act, global warming will take over and violently instruct us or our children as to what we will think about. The loss of hope for the future will be devastating, even if lessened by religion and already shortened attention spans. For a moment, it will look less worthwhile to save and plan for retirement, to research diseases, to study archaeology, to attend architecture school, or to practice the violin. For just a second it will look less significant to prevent torture or the proliferation of nuclear weapons. For an instant it will seem to matter less if you are cruel to someone else. These painful impressions will come and go, but not last long. In part, again, this is because we are almost there already. Already we imprison not to reform for future years but to prevent freedom this week. Already we do not save or plan. Already we seek pleasure in the face of a looming catastrophe that we could stop. Already our political horizon is never further than two years. But the world of global warming will be a leap into fatalism unlike what most of us are used to. That alone will not, however, alter our microscopic, self-absorbed sense of priorities, decency, manners, or ethics. We will struggle through, recognizable, to the end. But why should we - or rather, our grandchildren - have to face this fate? [For life on earth to survive the ruling class must perish] This New Year's let's make a resolution together that we will accept the responsibility that has been thrust upon us. Resolved: we will treat global warming as a dire emergency and reverse the behaviors that cause it before the year is out. How will we do that? We will begin by recognizing the root cause of global warming as a power structure that places immediate corporate profits ahead of even the survival of the human species. We will go on to envision the possibility of a different power structure dominated not by corporate greed but by the needs of people. We will quickly restore to its necessary role in our lives the all-important mechanism of utopianism. And our utopia will be a democracy driven by the will of the majority of a well-informed population. We will inform each other of these facts: We must reduce carbon emissions by at least 50 percent, not the 7 percent we have thus far refused to live up to. By "we" I mean those of us in the United States, where we make up 4 percent of the world's population and produce 36 percent of carbon emissions. We are leading the destruction and can lead its reversal. But we cannot do so with our current government. Rather than directing the necessary shift to wind and solar energy and mass transit, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have led us into an expanded use of oil and coal. They led the effort to remove the Chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change because he favored addressing climate change. They have led efforts to water down, censor, and block reports on global warming, eliminated funding for a series of observation stations called the Climate Reference Network, and defunded Amtrak and fired its president for opposing its elimination. Of course, we could sit back for two more years of destruction and then elect Al Gore president, Al Gore who served eight years as Vice President having already at that time published a book on global warming but who for eight years did nothing to slow or reverse it, Al Gore whose current proposals are seriously insufficient, Al Gore who thought Joe Lieberman would make a good vice president, Al Gore who is not even running for office, Al Gore who would face a Congress still controlled by oil corporations. Or we could refuse to watch two more years of destruction edge us closer to the point of no return. We could seize this opportunity to impose change on Washington and shake up our political system in just the way that might allow the necessary changes to be made in time to make a difference. We will need to begin by restoring the rule of law, including Article 2, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution: "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." We have a President and a Vice President who have lied us into a war, spied without warrant, detained without charge, tortured, murdered, reversed laws with signing statements, and engaged in criminal negligence in the face of global warming. We have a duty to remove them from office. We have an opportunity to save the world by doing so. We will end up with a new version of someone we just lost: Gerald Ford. (Whimpers of "But then we'd have President Cheney" will be as common as cries of fright over "President Agnew".) We will compel the new Ford to begin the repairs, and when we throw the new Ford out, along with his party, in 2008, it will be with the newfound political strength to lead the world in a direction we currently cannot even dream about: utopia. --------11 of 14--------- An Unreasonable Man (Documentary) Sundance 2006 Movie to be released: January 31, 2007 By _DENNIS HARVEY_ (http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=bio&peopleID=1167) A Two Left Legs production. Produced by Kevin O'Donnell. Executive producers, Henriette Mantel, Stephen Skrovan. Directed by Henriette Mantel, Stephen Skrovan. With: Ralph Nader, Jay Acton, Theresa Amato, Pat Buchanan, Peter Camejo, Scott Carter, Joan Claybrook, John Conyers, Jr., Karen Croft, Phil Donahue, James Fallows, Michael Feinstein, Todd Gitlin, Richard Grossman, Greg Kafoury, Jason Kafoury, Carl Mayer, Tarek Milleron, Morton Mintz, Ross Mirkarimi, Jim Musselman, Claire Nader, Laura Nader, Bryce Nelson, James Ridgeway, Harvey Rosenfield, Donald Ross, Rob Weissman, Dr. Sidney Wolfe. Crusading consumer advocate Ralph Nader's extraordinary career -- and the recent Presidential campaigns that cast a pall over it -- are thoughtfully chronicled in "An Unreasonable Man." A basically admiring if critical portrait, docu by Henriette Mantel and Stephen Skrovan (strangely, both standup comics and TV comedy writer-producers) finds more than enough absorbing material to hold interest through nearly three-hour runtime. Straightforward PBS-style effort will be most at home on the small screen. Hewing mostly to a chronological structure, pic at first jumps around a bit, glimpsing Nader's controversial last few years, skipping back to his first whistle-blowing triumphs in the early- to mid-1960s, then rewinding all the way to his small-town Connecticut upbringing under the wing of a father who imbued his children with the problem-solving, community-minded assurance that "you can fight City Hall." Resulting activist strain was visible in Ralph early on. After graduating from Harvard Law School, a friend's near-fatal car wreck led him toward investigation of the U.S. auto industry. Nader recognized that cost-cutting design flaws and lack of safety equipment were the true culprit in many traffic accidents. When his book "Unsafe at Any Speed" came out in 1965, it caused a public furor that had immediate effect, drastically improving auto safety. Hoping to discredit him, General Motors had Nader spied on and harassed, even trying sexual entrapment. (Unfortunately for them, Nader is a workaholic whose love life remains a mystery -- if it exists at all -- to even his closest allies.) A subsequent $425,000 invasion-of-privacy settlement ironically provided him seed money for even more sweeping investigations of corporate and governmental malfeasance. While Nader's accomplishments are many, his is a personality that turns away personal glory while tempting accusations of megalomania. Many collegiate "Nader's Raiders" who cut their teeth under his leadership then moved on to public office felt the sting of his criticism when their attempts to stir positive change within the compromise-driven cronyism of D.C. politics failed to meet his exacting standards. Feeling the two-party system had turned into a one-sided monopoly, Nader ran for president in 1996, 2000 and 2004. When Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in the bitterly contested 2000 election, much rage was directed toward Nader for "stealing" votes that might otherwise have gone to the Demos. Four years later, when Nader ran again, few liberals still bought his notion that changing the overall party system trumped choosing the lesser evil. While the overall portrait is of a man whose unbending sense of moral imperative can be both admirable and exasperating, the filmmakers clearly hope Nader's rep and accomplishments can re-emerge from the ill-will his political campaigns have generated. (Co-helmer Mantel worked with Nader in the late 1970s.) Mix of archival footage and contemporary interviews is given a smooth editorial shape; other contribs are pro if undistinguished. Camera (color, HD), Mark Raker; Leigh Wilson, John Chater, Matt Davis, Steve Elkins, Melissa Donovan, Sandra Chandler; editors, Alexis Provost, Beth Gallagher; music, Joe Kraemer; sound, Craig Clark; researchers, Elizabeth Olson, Ellie Knaus. Reviewed at Sundance Film Fest (competing), Jan. 24, 2006. Running time: 158 MIN. --------12 of 14-------- Official Lies, Dogma and Unaccountable Power The New Dark Age By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS CounterPunch December 30 / 31, 2006 In her historical mystery, "The Daughter of Time," Josephine Tey (a pen name of Elizabeth MacKintosh), has Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant, while confined to his hospital bed, solve the 15th century murder of the two York princes in the Tower of London. The princes were murdered by Henry VII, and the crime was blamed on Richard III in order to justify the upstart Tudor's violent seizure of the English throne. Tey makes the point that if a 20th century mystery writer can detect the truth about a 15th century murder, historians have no excuse to persist in writing in school textbooks that Richard murdered his nephews. British historians remained loyal to the Tudor propaganda long after the Tudors were no longer around to be feared or served. At the beginning of the scientific era, men had the hope that the ability to discover truth would free mankind from superstition, dogma, and the service of power. The belief in truth was powerful. Truth would deliver justice and bring an end to status-based privileges and the falsehoods propagated by privilege. The faith in truth was short-lived. Today propaganda is everywhere in the ascendency. Every week another apologist for President Bush compares "Bush's fight for Iraqi freedom" to Abraham Lincoln's "fight to free the slaves." The American civil war was not fought to "free the slaves," as Thomas DiLorenzo and other scholars have thoroughly documented, any more than the purpose of Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq was to "bring freedom to Iraqis." The freedom excuse was invented after it became impossible to maintain the fictions about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein's connections to Osama bin Laden. Bush has yet to tell the real reason he invaded Iraq. In the US today, demonization and propaganda substitute for facts and analysis. Professors and journalists are quick to lend their names and voices to the untruths that rule our lives. Just as Hitler's foreign policy was based in propaganda, so is Bush's and Blair's. The success of propaganda enhances government's illusion that it has a monopoly on truth. It is the monopoly on truth that gives the Bush regime the right to define the "Iran problem," the "Syria problem," the "Lebanon problem," and the "Korea problem" and to apply coercion in place of understanding and negotiation. Secure in its possession of truth, the Bush administration refuses to talk to the enemies it has manufactured. It will only fight them. When scholars, such as John Walt and Stephen Mearsheimer, or President Jimmy Carter who has tried harder than anyone else to achieve Arab-Israeli peace, point out that Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians is a cause of Middle East turmoil, they are immediately denounced as anti-semites. Columnists and academics who know nothing about the Middle East or its troubles nevertheless know what they are supposed to say whenever anyone mentions Israel in any critical context. And they have no compunction about saying it, the truth be damned. Without commitment to truth, science, justice, and debate falter and disappear. The belief in truth is fading from our society. It is unclear that scientists themselves any longer believe in truth or the ability to discover it. The discovery of truth is no longer the purpose of our criminal justice system. Once prosecutors believed that it was better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent person to be wrongfully convicted. Today prosecutors believe in high conviction rates to justify their budgets and re-election. In the past police solved crimes. Today they round up suspects and pressure them. There was no debate in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, and none today in the US. Many Americans, who imagine themselves to be conservatives even though they have never read, nor could they identify, a conservative writer, equate truth-telling with hatred of America. They are of Bush's mindset: "you are with us or against us." Bush supporters respond to factual articles about Iraq and the rending of the US Constitution by suggesting that as the writer hates America so much, he should move to Cuba or China. In America today each faction's "truths" are defined by the faction's dogma or ideology. Each faction bans factual analysis that it doesn't want to hear. This is as true within the universities as it is at political rallies. The old liberal notion that "we shall follow the truth wherever it may lead" has long departed from America. Think tanks reflect the views of the donors. Studies are no longer independent of their financing. In America, truth has become partisan. All societies have elements of myth, untruths that nevertheless serve to unite a people. But many myths serve as camouflage for evil. One of the greatest myths is that "GIs have died for our freedom." GIs have died for American empire, for the American elite's commitment to England, and for the military-industrial complex's profits. Some may have died in Korea for the freedom of South Koreans, and some may have died trying to save South Vietnamese from the North Vietnamese communists. But it is hogwash that GIs died for our freedom. There was no prospect of North Korea attacking America in the 1950s or Vietnam attacking America in the 1960s and none today. The Nazis were defeated by Russia before US troops landed in Europe. The US never faced any threat of invasion from Germany, Italy, or Japan. America's wars have created hysteria that endanger our freedom. Abraham Lincoln shut down the freedom of the press and arrested editors and state legislators. Woodrow Wilson arrested war critics. Franklin Roosevelt interred American citizens of Japanese descent. George W. Bush has destroyed most of the Bill of Rights. In 2006 Congress appropriated funds for building concentration camps in the US. Recently, Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, said that freedom of speech is inconsistent with "the war on terror" If it takes a police state to fight terror, the country is lost even if Muslim terrorists are defeated. Americans have far more to fear from a homeland police state than from terrorists. The vast majority of the world's terrorists are the recent creations of Bush's invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and of Israel's invasion of Lebanon and brutality toward the Palestinians. Bush is simultaneously creating terrorists and a police state. It serves no one but the police to make their power unaccountable. On December 26 Jeff Cohen explained on Truthout how war propaganda took over TV news and demonized everyone who spoke the truth about Iraq, while pushing war fever to a frenzy. Fox "News" was the worst with its ranks of generals and colonels who sold their integrity for dollars and TV exposure. One of Fox's loudest voices for war was a retired general who sat on the board of a military contractor. When the Clinton administration allowed the media concentration in the 1990s, the independence of the American media was destroyed. Today there are a few large conglomerates whose values depend on broadcast licenses from the government. The conglomerates are run by corporate executives who are not journalists and whose eyes are on advertising revenues. They publish and broadcast what is safe. These conglomerates will take no risks in behalf of free speech or truth. The challenges that America faces are not terrorism and oil supply. The challenges that we face are the police state that Bush has created and the disrespect for truth that is endemic in government, the universities, and the media. The US has entered a dark age of dogmas and unaccountable power. 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 --------13 of 14-------- Taking on Chevron and Pelosi The Prospects for Progressive Politics By RALPH NADER CounterPunch December 30 / 31, 2006 San Francisco. It was a packed house at the historic old Roxie Theatre in this city's Mission District. A diverse group of citizens gathered here between Christmas and the New Year to listen and discuss the prospects of progressive politics following the Democrats' victory in Congress and the election of a Green Party candidate as Mayor of the troubled nearby city of Richmond (population 102,000). Gayle McLaughlin - the Mayor-elect - demonstrated why she defeated Chevron (which operates a refinery in Richmond) and other corporate interests, winning decisive votes from the African-American and Hispanic communities that make up a majority of the city's population. Going door-to-door since March, she and her volunteers conveyed specific improvements through a mobilized citizenry that hit home with the residents. Matt Gonzalez, who narrowly missed winning the mayoralty of San Francisco in 2003 as a Green Party candidate, spoke of his decision to vote only for the candidates whose record and agenda he believes in, regardless of Party affiliation. Since leaving the Democratic Party in 2000, he would no longer be trapped into voting for the "least worst" major Party candidate. Mr. Gonzalez has a bright state-wide political future in California. As an elected member of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, Ross Mirkarimi - a long time Green Party leader - spoke of what it will take to create a new politics of sustaining vision with its feet in the neighborhoods and communities. Introduced by Peter Gabel - former president of New College and a veteran leader in public interest law - I commented on the roles of citizens in the home district of the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. I urged the audience to constitute themselves as a non-partisan Congress Watchdog organization to leverage, through their newly empowered Speaker Pelosi, the start of important changes for our country, led by an end to the U.S. war-quagmire in Iraq and fundamental corporate reforms. Clipboards were passed through the aisles for people to sign up and many did. It was an enthusiastic, uplifting gathering with more than a few seasoned citizen activists in attendance, as the discussion period showed. One of them, Medea Benjamin, quickly took responsibility to get this watchdog effort off the ground. Known nationally as a demonstrative peace activist against the Iraq war, Ms. Benjamin is a cunning counterweight to the war-mongering and corporate pressures sure to come down on Speaker Pelosi. If Medea Benjamin were to have a middle name, it would be Medea "here, there and everywhere" Benjamin. In 2004, she submarined the head of the California Green Party, Peter Camejo, splitting his delegation and providing the critical votes at the Green Party Convention to a nominee she supported precisely because he would receive only a few votes, while she urged Greens to vote for John Kerry in the close states. She then played a shadowy role with the Democrats in this close state strategy, while still protesting inside the Democrats' Nominating Convention in Boston against the war. Speakers of the House almost never experience their districts' organized in any way to watch their performance, much less to press them toward more progressive agendas. Speakers get the expected free ride and very easy re-elections. This tradition will be up-ended if Medea Benjamin and her associates become responsible for a growing progressive "Pelosi Watchdog" group in her backyard. Speaker Pelosi should welcome such pressure because starting in January, 2007 all kinds of grasping commercial lobbyists will be knocking on her door looking to retain or enlarge their unconscionable privileges and immunities. She would be advised not to turn her back on Medea Benjamin who is "here, there and everywhere" in more ways than one. --------14 of 14-------- Pushing the Clock Hands Back by Marge Piercy [Monthly Review] Important bloated men squat on the facts thinking they can hide them with their weight: men who think their power like King Canute ordering the sea to behave, can abolish the eons slow inexorable rise of mountains, the branching and dying of species, wind and water that will grind the Himalayas to dust. They lean on the hands of the cosmic clock protesting time itself, legislating false history. Time does not end. Only civilizations mad with power and drunk with riches, building war machines that drain hope and money from the poor and the formerly middle class which is itself going extinct. Time does not end, but species do. Let us vote and rejoice to join our relatives the dodo, the great auk and tyrannosaurus. Time wears all egos down to blowing dust although presidents, CEOs and preachers stand tall and wave their bravado like a red cape trying to stop change. It always comes. Copyright 2006 Marge Piercy, Box 1473, Wellfleet MA 02667 -- Pushing the Clock Hands Back by Marge Piercy Fires crackle in the brittle trees bled dry by drought, the grass, bleached straw on the dusty hills where rain no longer falls in what used to be its season. Polar bears fight to the death on floating islands of loose ice that once were solid. They are starving as sea bird nests float like uprooted bladderwrack. Bread baskets of the plains will blow in the long arid winds as dust. The rice fields will go under rising tides. The only catch for fishermen. huge beached shoals of dying creatures whose waters have grown lethally warm. What do we do to solve this disaster we are creating for all living on this planet except beetles cockroaches and flies? We conquer more oil. We burn more oil and coal. We burn and we burn and we burn. Our smoke rises stinking incense to the heavens while we drown our grand children in refuse and oily muck. Gentlemen, start your engines. Copyright 2006 Marge Piercy, Box 1473, Wellfleet MA 02667 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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 For life on earth to survive the ruling class must perish
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