Progressive Calendar 01.01.07
From: David Shove (
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]>
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

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

For more information call the Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq at

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]>
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]>
Subject: Conversational salon 1.02 6:30pm

Pax Salons ( ) 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]>
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

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 or contact Kiera Coonan at 651.399.6058


1/2 Leningrad Cowboys Go America
1/16 Celluloid Closet
1/30 Eraserhead
2/6 Slam
2/20 Pom Poko
3/6 Well Done Now Sod Off (documentary about Chumbawamba)
3/20 Weekend.
4/3 Afropunk

--------5 of 14--------

From: joel michael albers <joel [at]>
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]>
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: 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

--------7 of 14--------

From: Mizna <mizna-announce [at]>
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:

Mizna is a forum for Arab American art.

--------8 of 14--------

Privatizing New Jersey's Toll Roads
Highway Robbery
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

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]

[For life on earth to survive
the ruling class must perish.

--------9 of 14--------

A Bad Year for Empire
by Jim Lobe
December 28, 2006

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

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,

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

"It's not just a matter of (wanting to be) well-loved or nice," said

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
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

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

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
Sundance 2006
Movie to be released:  January 31, 2007

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

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
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

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

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

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]

--------13 of 14--------

Taking on Chevron and Pelosi
The Prospects for Progressive Politics
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

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

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

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

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]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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