Progressive Calendar 02.01.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 02:12:55 -0800 (PST)
          P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    02.01.07

1. Lights out        2.01 6:55pm

2. Picket Northwest  2.02 11am
3. Fix broke Tom/SD  2.02 7pm

4. Wetlands summit   2.03 8am
5. Mideast peace now 2.03 9:30am
6. NWN4P demos       2.03 11am
7. US v Bush         2.03 11:30am
8. Living Green conf 2.03 12noon Duluth MN
9. Green Party StP   2.03 12noon
10. Northtown vigil  2.03 1pm
11. Vs RNC in 2008   2.03 2pm
12. US v Bush        2.03 2:30pm
13. SNO ball         2.03 7pm

14. Nix nukes        2.04 3pm
15. Green bus/TV     2.04 6pm
16. Vs Iraq war      2.04+

17. Robert Halfhill  - A major reason why antiwar shut down in 2003
18. Jim Fuller       - No more excuses: Out of Iraq, out with Bush
19. Chalmers Johnson - Empire v democracy: why Nemesis is at our door
20. Ferlinghetti     - Bird with two right wings  (poem)

--------1 of 20--------

From: HolleB [at]
Subject: Lights out 2.01 6:55pm

I just wanted you to know that there is an event circulating through
students on facebook that you can and should take part in!  On Thursday,
February 1st, at 6:55pm, turn out all the lights in the house for 5
minutes (until 7:00).  The idea for this started in France, gravitated to
the UK and now to Canada and the US.  It's to make a statement about
energy and the environment.  51,000 students around the world so far have
signed up to do it and that does not take into account non-facebook

Let's allow the earth to take 5, so to speak :)  Read about it below,
if you think you might want to participate. 
Lights out everyone 1st of feb

On the 1st February, 2007 throughout the world:

The purpose is not just to save electricity for 5 minutes that day, but to
draw the attention of citizens, the media and the authorities to the waste
of energy and the need to initiate action! 5 minutes respite for the
planet: that's not long, it costs nothing and will show our politicians
that climate change is something which should figure prominently in
political debates.

Why the 1st February? Because that is the day on which the latest report
of the United Nations Panel of Experts is to be released in Paris.
Although this event is scheduled to take place in France, we should not
miss this opportunity of drawing attention to the global climatic
situation. If we all participate our actions will have great public and
political resonance, at an important moment in our political life.!

--------2 of 20--------

From: Karen Schultz <schulars [at]>
Subject: Picket Northwest 2.02 11am

Northwest AFA to Meet, Picketing Slated in MSP for Friday

At the direction of the National Mediation Board (NMB), your AFA
negotiating team will be returning to the bargaining table on Friday
February 2, 2007. This will be the first meeting since December 12, 2006,
when the NMB unexpectedly halted negotiations between AFA and Northwest
and returned to Washington D.C.

In order to show full support for our negotiations committee, CHAOS
picketing will occur at the MSP airport on Friday, February 2 from 11 a.m.
(CST) until 12:30 p.m. Your participation in this picket is imperative.
Members not flying are needed to fully support our negotiators as we
continue fighting management for a livable contract.

MSP picketers should meet at 10:45 a.m. for a pre-picketing briefing at
the MSP Airport Transit Center - Bus Stop Level. For additional
information regarding MSP picketing, contact MSP Mobilization Chair Laurie
Gandrud at 952-241-4109, or email at lgandrud [at]

--------3 of 20--------

From: tom [at]
Subject: Fix broke Tom/SD 2.02 7pm

I am selling ALL my artwork that I have made AND Everything is CHEAP,

It looks like I have a second interview for a organizing job in Brookings,
SD so I have to get there and back and MAYBE MOVE.

You may personally think it is weird of anyone to say BUT: HELP ME GET TO
SOUTH DAKOTA!!! ~ YES, I am even MORE serious than George W trying to
shovel even more or our money into his pals pockets!

Please forward onto ANYONE you can think of that likes pretty and not so
pretty pictures or may know me.

The evening of Friday, February 2nd not only offers you a full moon AND
Ground Hogs Day but also a unique opportunity to view and take home pieces
from all our collective pasts. Tom Taylor and Aldo Moroni are opening
their vaults and cleaning house.

Opening - Friday, February 2nd 7:00 PM on at thhe California Street
Gallery, 2205 California ST (22nd and California) in NE MPLS. Everything
is being offered SO cheap that this fine art cultural fire sale flee
market is a BYOB affair, HEY pick up some cheese too, eh and make it
local, will ya?

--------4 of 20--------

From: "ikes [at]" <reply [at]>
Subject: Wetlands summit 2.03 8am

Second Annual Wetlands Summit
Normandale Community College
Bloomington, Minnesota
February 3, 2007
8:00 AM to 5:30 PM

THEME: Cultivating a Minnesota Land Ethic

This second annual Wetlands Summit, as was its predecessor, is an
outgrowth of the Rally for Ducks, Wetlands and Clean Water held on two
occasions on the State Capitol grounds in April of 2005 and 2006. The
Rally called for holding a Wetlands Summit to review current programs and
problems, identify corrective measures needed, and to help establish a
common ground between the wetland conservation and agricultural

In keeping with this directive, the Summit Organizational Committee
advances this revised Mission Statement:

Minnesota's second Wetlands Summit recognizes the importance of a
sustainable land ethic in achieving a sound balance between agricultural
programs and the vitality of wetlands, clean water and suitable habitat
for fish and wildlife. It also recognizes the probability that profound
climate change may irreversibly alter the lands and waters that sustain us
all. The 2007 Summit will review accomplishments of the past year,
identify common ground for the agricultural and conservation communities,
review the scope of the 2007 Farm Bill and provide recommendations,
present an overview on climate change and its potential impacts, and
encourage individuals and organizations to work collectively to achieve
changes desired.

The morning session will provide a summary of accomplishments since the
2006 Summit, ponder whether a conservation based land ethic is achievable,
review key issues in the 2007 Farm Bill and provide for open discussion.
The luncheon speaker will address climate change and its potential effect
on agriculture, fish and wildlife habitat and water quality/quantity. The
afternoon session will be devoted to an interactive Farm Bill Forum, and
culminate in recommendations for collective and individual action,
recognizing that a united front by agricultural and conservation interests
is an absolute requirement for success.

The Summit is a cooperative effort sponsored by the Izaak Walton League of
America, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon
Minnesota, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Minnesota Waterfowl
Association, Ducks Unlimited, Minnesota, Outdoor Heritage Alliance, Fish
and Wildlife Legislative Alliance, Minnesota Center for Environmental
Advocacy, Sierra Club, Land Stewardship Project, Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

There will be a registration fee of $25.00 per person, with a reduced fee
of $l5.00 for certified students. The fee will include a continental
breakfast, morning and afternoon refreshments and a noon lunch in the
College cafeteria. Free parking is available. Request a registration form
by emailing to receive your registration form or go to Summit Announcement
& Registration.pdf
n.pdf> to download the announcement and form. Pre registration is strongly
advised. The deadline for pre registering is January 26, 2007.

The following organizations are participating in this campaign: Audubon
Minnesota Izaak Walton League of America--Minnesota Division

--------5 of 20--------

From: Florence Steichen <steichenfm [at]>
Subject: Mideast peace now 2.03 9:30am

Presents Dr. Khaldoun Samman
"Healing Injured Identities and
the Negation of Colonialist Discourse"

Professor Samman will explore the highly racialized construct of
"progress" which suggests that the "West" and Israel are at the center of
world history, and thus are the sole narrators of modernity, democracy and
pluralism.  According to Samman, this discourse is at the root of the
negative environment we are living in today.  He will offer a few voices
of hope for the future.  Dr. Khaldoun Samman was born in Zarqa, Jordan and
came to the U.S. at a young age.  He is an assistant professor of
sociology at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.

9:30 a.m. Refreshments
10:00 a.m. Presentation and Discussion

7001 York Ave. S., Edina, MN
For information call Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642

--------6 of 20--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P demos 2.03 11am

There are now two NWN4P weekly demonstrations as follows:

NWN4P-Plymouth demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, along
Vinewood, just north of 42nd Ave.  and one block east of 494 in
Plymouth. Drive toward the Rainbow and Target Greatland on Vinewood,
turn right by Bakers Square and right again into the parking lot near
the sidewalk.  Bring your own sign or use ours.

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the entrance
fountain. Bring your own signs or use ours.

--------7 of 20--------

From: wamm <wamm [at]>
Subject: US v Bush 2.03 11:30am

"United States V. George W. Bush, et al.:" Elizabeth de la Vega Talk
Saturday, February 3, 11:30 a.m. 2615 Park Avenue South, Minneapolis.

A presentation to a Grand Jury of a Theoretical Case against the
Defendants George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Donald M.
Rumsfeld and Colin Powell based on a one-count indictment: Conspiracy to
Defraud the United States by misrepresenting the case for the War in Iraq.
Book signing, reception and lunch follow. $10.00 or more suggested
donation. Sponsored by: WAMM Book Club. RSVP: 612-827-5364.

--------8 of 20--------

From: Debbie <ddo [at]>
Subject: Living Green conf 2.03 12noon Duluth MN

Living Green Conference Grows Bigger and Better Every Year
Theme of Fifteenth Conference Combating Global Warming

Fifteen years ago the Lake Superior Greens held an event at the Peace
Church in Duluth to give the community an opportunity to learn more about
sustainable living and environmental issues. It was a way for activists to
network and also simply have a good time. There were ten workshops,
children's activities, and an environmental play put on by the kids. "We
had about fifty people attend," remembers Jan Conley, a longtime Green and
the board president of the Environmental Association for Great Lakes
Education (EAGLE).

As the conference continued to grow, EAGLE stepped in to co-organize. In
recent years the event has attracted nationally known keynote speakers
such as Love Canal activist Lois Gibbs, UC Berkley researcher Dr. Tyrone
Hayes, and Air America radio personality Al Franken. Last year's
conference was attended by 700 people.

On February 3rd, 2007 the 15th annual Living Green Conference will focus
on combating Global Warming.  Arctic explorer Lonnie Dupre, who recently
made the first ever summer excursion to the North Pole, is this year's
keynote speaker.  With his partner Eric Anderson, Dupre undertook this
dangerous expedition to call the world's attention to the damaging effects
of Global Warming. On the trip they took samples and measurements for
scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the University of

"The changes here are more severe than we could have possibly ever
imagined," Lonnie reported from the North Pole on July 1, 2006. "The
thinning Arctic ice sheet and potential extinction of the polar bear are
not isolated events; global warming knows no political or physical
boundaries. Droughts, sea level rise, and increased frequency and severity
of storms are just a few of the many consequences of inaction."

Lonnie is the also the author of Greenland Expedition - Where Ice is Born,
which he wrote after circumnavigating the entire country (6,500 miles) by
kayak and dogsled.  He has traveled through Siberia and Arctic Canada. He
was awarded the Soviet Sportsman Medal for Arctic exploration in 1989,
after completing a 1,200-mile dog sled and ski trip with a joint Russian
and American team, promoting cooperation between the two superpowers as
the Cold War was coming to an end.

"The Conference isn't all dire predictions and frightening facts. It's
about solutions. It's about taking action," said Living Green Coordinator
Carrie Slater Duffy. One workshop, entitled Global Warming - What You Can
Do outlines the simple steps individuals can take to lessen their carbon
footprint. Another workshop will be presented by the Solar Oven Society,
an organization that sells quality solar cookware in the US and with the
proceeds sends more solar ovens to developing nations. This eliminates the
need to cut down trees for fuel, and reduces greenhouse gases.

There will also be Energy Star® compact fluorescent light bulbs for sale
for one dollar each, after an instant rebate from Minnesota Power.
According to, if every American household replaced
just three incandescent light bulbs with the new compact fluorescent, it
would be the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off the road, saving
300 pounds of carbon dioxide and $60 a year.

So mark your calendars for Saturday, February 3rd! The 15th annual Living
Green Conference will take place at the First United Methodist "Coppertop"
Church from noon to 5:00pm. Advanced tickets will be sold for $8 at the
Green Mercantile and Positively Third Street Bakery in Duluth, Red Mug
Espresso in Superior, and Black Cat Coffee House in Ashland. Tickets are
$10 at the door.

For more information contact EAGLE at 218-726-1828, email
carrie [at], or go to

--------9 of 20--------

From: ed
Subject: Green Party StP 2.03 12noon

All people interested in finding out more about the Green Party of St. Paul
are invited to:

Our monthly meeting
First Saturday of every month
Mississippi Market, 2nd floor
Corner of Selby/Dale in St. Paul
noon until 2 pm

--------10 of 20--------

From: Lennie <major18 [at]>
Subject: Northtown vigil 2.03 1pm

Mounds View peace vigil EVERY SATURDAY from 1-2pm at the at the southeast
corner of the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE in Blaine,
which is the northwest most corner of the Northtown Mall area. This is a
MUCH better location.

We'll have extra signs.  Communities situated near the Northtown Mall
include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden
Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids.

For further information, email major18 [at] or call Lennie at

--------11 of 20--------

From: Jess Sundin <jess [at]>
Subject: Vs RNC in 2008 2.03 2pm

Protesting the RNC in 2008?

Meeting THIS Saturday 2/3 @ 2pm
Sabathani Community Center
310 East 38th Street, Minneapolis
Office of Welfare Rights Committee (room #207)

The Republican National Convention is coming to the Twin Cities in
September 2008. The eyes of the world will be on St. Paul, as the
Republicans meet to nominate their next candidate for President. But the
real news will be breaking on the streets outside the Xcel Center, as
progressive people from around the country gather to protest. We will
demand that U.S. troops get out of Iraq. We will call for money for human
needs, not for war. We will protest the Republican Agenda, and in its
place, demand peace, justice and equality.

This meeting is for all individuals or organizations who want to be
involved in organizing our response to the RNC in 2008. Bring your plans,
your ideas, your questions and your enthusiasm. Please share this invite
with others. Contact jess [at] if you have questions or
can't make this meeting but want to stay informed about future meetings or

--------12 of 20--------

From: "newtbuster [at]" <newtbuster [at]>
From: Jay Steele <jhsteele58 [at]>
Subject: US v Bush 2.03 2:30pm

Speaker Event and Book Signing!
Elizabeth de la Vega
Former Federal Prosecutor and Author

You've seen her on Democracy Now and the Colbert Report!
Now join her for an afternoon event in Burnsville!
Saturday, February 3, 2:30 pm
Open Circle Church: 2400 Highland Drive, Burnsville

Elizabeth de la Vega, long-time St. Paul resident and federal prosecutor
in Minneapolis, does what she knows best in the face of gross criminal
activity: she convenes a grand jury.

This is a Free event, but your financial support is always appreciated!
Copies of her book will be available for purchase.

mnpACT! is a non-partisan, non-profit Registered Political Committee
working for a more progressive government.
mnpACT | 728 Chicago Drive | Burnsville | MN | 55306

--------13 of 20--------

To: mpls [at]
Subject: SNO ball 2.03 7pm

The annual SNO Ball is fast approaching.

It is a fundraiser for the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization in support
of the park that is being established on the Mighty Mississippi.
Sheridan currently has NO green space.

It sold out last year and is sure to be a find, grand time, as usual.

The Ritz Theater
Saturday Februaury 3rd
7:00 pm to Midnight

Amazing line-up of entertainers: Deejay Danny Seiglman
Ballet of the Dolls
Felonius Bosch
Le Cirque Rouge De Gus
Plus the Famous Photo
Booth, Silent Auction and Door Prizes!!!

Buy tickets: @ $20 in advance @ Two12 Pottery
$30 at the door
All proceeds benefit the Sheridan Memorial Park and The Ritz Theater
If you have any questions, please contact Seaen MacKay 612-363-5591

--------14 of 20--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Nix nukes 2.04 3pm

Sunday, 2/4, 3 to 5 pm, Citizens for Global Solutions Lisa Ledwidge, Wisc
Physicians for Social Responsibility Alfred Meyer and WILPF Leslie Reindl
lead a "Nuclear Non-Proliferation Strategy Session, back room of Dunn Bros
Coffee, Oak St on south side of Loring Park, Mpls.  RSVP to
HICEL001 [at]

--------15 of 20--------

From: Mike Hazard <mediamic [at]>
Subject: Green bus/TV 2.04 6pm

³We all do better when we all do better,² the late Paul Wellstone used to

The poetry of Paul¹s speech powers a new documentary, THE MAGIC GREEN SCHOOL
BUS. It¹s a video portrait made by kids at Lake Country School in
Minneapolis with their teacher Malinda Holte and the artist Media Mike

It airs on Sunday February 4 at 6pm on TPT-17, The Minnesota Channel of
public television. Check local listings. You may also watch the show on
line; zoom to

The historian Howard Zinn enthuses, "It is delightful. And a brilliant
idea to tell his story through the magic bus, the bus driver, the utterly
charming children! It is a good example of how to take a subject that at
first glance seems rather dull, and invest it with vitality, humor,
inspiration, without sacrificing serious ideas."

It¹s a trip for people of every age.

--------16 of 20--------

From: braun044 <braun044 [at]>
Subject: Vs Iraq war 2.04+

Dear Peacemakers,
We hope you will join us in the following Call to Action.

A Local Campaign of Sustained Nonviolent Action to End the Iraq War
Beginning the week of February 4, 2007

The Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq is organizing a local
campaign of sustained nonviolent action to end the war on Iraq in
solidarity with Occupation Project, an action initiated by Voices for
Creative Nonviolence (www.

The campaign will begin the week of February 4, 2007, and will run for
eight weeks.  The campaign will challenge our United States
Congresspersons and Senators to publicly declare that they will vote
against any further funding for the war in and occupation of Iraq.

We have talked to peace activists around the state and we are suggesting
the following plan of action:

Every Tuesday, beginning February 6, constituents will enter the offices
of their Congresspersons and Senators at 9:00 am and begin a vigil that
will last until 5:00 pm or whenever the offices close.  We do not plan to
be disruptive, but rather to be a presence for one full day each week to
remind our elected officials that the people of Minnesota want an end to
the war on Iraq and that we want them to vote to stop funding the war and
to bring the troops home now.

We have team leaders for each office, who will ensure that there is a
continual presence for the entire day.

We are recommending that the team leaders and those who accompany them set
up a visual in the office (visuals can be very powerful), which could
include such things as a wreath, a peace flag, a poster indicating the
number of dead and injured American soldiers and Iraqis, a poster listing
the multiple costs of the war, pictures, flowers . . .  . We anticipate
that people will be coming in at different times of the day and they are
encouraged to bring in poems or other things that they might want to read
and leave.  People might want to dress in black and/or wear black

We are encouraging groups not to be disruptive to the work of the office,
however, they might choose to quietly read the names of American and Iraqi
dead and ring a bell every few minutes. . . or some other meaningful

We will continue to evaluate our action and possibly change our strategy
as the weeks progress.

The following individuals have been asked to be team leaders:

Senator Coleman's office -- Sarah Standefer, scsrn [at]  612-379-
Senator Amy Klobuchar's office -- Marie and John Braun and Barbara
Palmer, braun044 [at], 612- 522-1861; Joe and Elaine Mayer
(Rochester), eljomayer [at] 507-289-4154
Congressman Jim Ramstad's office -- Roxanne Abbas,
rabbis [at] 763-476-7643
Congresswoman Betty McCollum's office -- Betty McKenzie,
macconis [at] 651-644-1337
Congressman John Kline's office --Sue and Greg Skog,
family4peace [at], 651-454-3850
Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann -- Sr. Merle Nolde in St. Cloud area;
other team leaders to be announced.
Congressman Tim Walz -- Joe and Elaine Mayer, eljomayer [at],
Congressman Colin Peterson -- Jim Hubley (Marshall),
jhubley [at], 507-532-6846 and Lucy Tokheim (Willmar),
lucytokheim [at], 320-769-2142
Congressman James Oberstar --Michelle Obed Naar,
obedsinduluth [at], 218-728-0629
Congressman Keith Ellison -- Congressman Ellison has said he will
vote against funding.

Team leaders will be asking others to help in this role.  If you are
available to do so, please contact the Twin Cities Peace Campaign- Focus
on Iraq at braun044 [at] or 612-522-1861 or contact one of the other
team leaders.

We will obviously not go into the office of Senators and Congressperson
who commit to vote against further funding for the war on Iraq, and will
leave the offices of any Senator or Congressman who gives us a statement
indicating that he or she will vote against such funding.

Peace in the struggle, Marie Braun Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on
Iraq 612-522-1861

--------17 of 20--------

(This is in response to articles of Fran Shor and R.M. Mendenhall, both in
the last Progressive Calendar. - Robert Halfhill}

From: "rhalfhill [at]"
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 20:57:36 GMT

Worldwide, there were an estimated fifteen million people in the streets
protesting the Iraq war in 2003.  Then suddenly there were no more mass

Why?  Because everybody took time off to campaign for Kerry.  The illusion
held by most people was that if we could just get Kerry and the other
Democrats elected, they would end the war.  Part of this illusion also was
the belief that the election of Democrats, who were thought to be against
the war, was a more direct and effective way of stopping the war than
"just protesting in the streets."

Yet Kerry was on record as saying that he would have been for invading
Iraq EVEN IF he had known there were no weapons of mass destruction hidden
there and that he would send more troops "if the generals asked for them."
Polls taken at the time revealed that most of Kerry's supporters believed
that he was against the Iraq war.  The illusion that the Democrats were
the lesser evil, that the only viable option was the Democrats and the
Republicans, and that reasonable, pragmatic people would not "elect Bush"
"by wasting their vote" on some ideal third party resulting in people JUST
ASSUMING that Kerry and the Democrats were against the Iraq war without
checking the facts which were otherwise.

It should be a no brainer that you cannot fight against the Iraq war by
supporting a candidate who said he would have been for invading even if he
had known there were no weapons of mass destruction hidden there and that
he would send even more troops "if the generals asked for them."

The ruling class in this country has very cleverly arranged for winner
take all elections so that political activity tends to be bipolar,
gravitating towards two large parties, and even more cleverly arranged for
one party to be slightly to the left and marginally less evil than the
other party on most issues.  The electorate being confronted by these two
political colossi and the difficulty of any third party holding together
long enough to reap any electoral reward by winning a significant number
of gubernatorial, Congressional and Presidential elections overwhelms most
of the electorate with the illusion that they can only choose between the
lesser of two evils.

Historian Mark Lause, in his history of third parties in this country, has
documented that every third party since 1869 has died out once it started
supporting Democrats as the lesser evil.

But to only go back to the 1940's, the Wagner Labor Relations Act had been
passed by Congress after the depression, the rise of the CIO, etc had
convinced the ruling class that they had better permit some concessions or
reforms or they would loose everything in a revolution.

But in the later 1940's, after the mass movements of the thirties had died
down, Congress passed the Taft Hartley Act which has been primarily
responsible for the steady decline of the labor movement up to the
present.  The majority of Democrats voted for Taft Hartley, so it would
have passed even if all the Republicans had been magically removed from

And in 1992 and 1996, I suppose we can all consider ourselves fortunate
that Bush, Sr. or Dole didn't defeat Clinton.  Why if Bush or Dole had
won, they would have ended welfare as we know it!  Prior to Clinton,
ending welfare had been considered one of the most reactionary proposals
of the right wing.  And the first Gulf War, although started by Bush, Sr.,
was continued by Clinton as was the trade embargo on Iraq which led,
according to U.N. estimates, to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children.

Further shut downs of antiwar activity will happen as long as the majority
of anti war activists cling to the illusion that the solution to the
problem is supporting Democrats as the lesser evil.  And as the experience
of 2003-7 demonstrates, once you have shut down a mass movement, you
cannot just bring it back, immediately, on command, as if you were turning
on a faucet or flipping a switch. - Robert Halfhill (SITE NOW BANNED ON AOL)
*Write AOL to complain, here:  aolaccessibility [at], or call 1-

[I gave up on lesser-evilism in 1994 when Clinton went for NAFTA. I have
not supported or voted for the Dem pres candidate since then, and expect
never to do so in the future. The DP is chronically addicted to
corporate cash, and that means servile war-mongering DP candidates (eg
Hillary) until the system crashes. Time for progressives to move on. -ed]

--------18 of 20--------

No more excuses: Out of Iraq, out with Bush
by Jim Fuller

Many Americans who voted for Democrats in November 2006 are mad as hell -
and not just mad at the twisted little king and his fantasy-besotted

Just to be clear: I'm one of the really angry ones.

The White House crowd acts entirely in character by insisting on imperial
powers and on escalating the lost war in Iraq. The power mad and
greed-crazed imperialists do what is in their nature to do in expanding
their attacks on the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms Americans once
took for granted.

We expected it. We elected Democrats to stand up and say no to Bush on all
of those things and much more. We elected them to fight for the
restoration of this poor, deeply wounded country and to do whatever can be
done for tortured Iraq.

Instead, the main result of our votes is a larger number of people in
Congress dodging and weaving and giving the world shameful examples of
political stupidity and all-around, pants-wetting cowardice. We should
send each of the dodgers, beginning with Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton,
white feathers.

Come to think of it, I will do that, and I hope others will, too.

There are two main reasons for the aggressive lack of aggressiveness in
pursuing those goals that obviously are best for this country, the Middle
East and the world.

One is that the Democratic leadership (Leadership! Hah!) and its army of
vastly overpaid consultants love the thought of running against George
Bush and Dick Cheney in 2008, which they will do even though those names
won't be on the ballots.

The other, more significant, reason has to do with the corpocracy and the
degree to which its servants are entrenched and in control of what
nominally is our government.

Beltway insiders of both major parties are addicted to the money of
corporations and very rich individuals. They've been raised to that
addiction, have never known another way of operating and can't conceive of
the possibility that there is a way to win an election and/or stay in
office other than whoring on behalf of the lords of the dollar.

They are encouraged in their addiction by all those otherwise useless
consultants, and the lobbyists and dim-witted party functionaries.

Never mind that a number of people, primarily Democrats, were elected in
November without big injections of rich-guy cash. In some cases, the
winners overcame the fact that the big money went to their opponents.
And, of course, many corporations and rich guys saw where the public was
going and began covering their behinds by feeding cash to Democrats in
September or October. That's on record.

Some freshmen members of Congress still dare to ask that their fellow
Democrats block the escalation of the war by refusing to fund it, but they
are under intense pressure from their supposed leadership and long-sitting
colleagues to shut up.

Only a handful of veteran legislators are speaking plainly about the war.
They include Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, who doesn't have use for any
other rich guy's money, and, of all people, crusty old Robert Byrd.

The "Hush now" message of the consultants and lobbyists is understandable,
if lacking in even the most primitive morality. They lose their power,
influence and income if a substantial number in Congress decides to act
according to what is right, rather than what - supposedly - is expedient.

It isn't too hard to figure out why the Democratic leadership is ducking
its duty, either.

Most of them have been in office far too long; they no longer have any
real connection to the electorate, the citizens of this country.
Inside-the-Beltway "knowledge" and "wisdom" are entirely different from
anything you'll encounter in talking with your friends and neighbors -
even the right-wingers. What they "know" about our thoughts and feelings
has been run through a dozen filters to produce the message the various
manipulators want them to hear.

And, as happens to a great majority of people after too many years of
sitting in the same position, most are simply too mentally rheumatic to be
able to accept unaccustomed views of the world, no matter how truthful and

So impeachment is "off the table" because, in the Beltway view, it is
politically dangerous.

There will be no real attempt to prevent the escalation of the war because
that, too, might anger some voters and - though this is never said in
public - because corporate campaign contributers still are enjoying the
benefits of the slaughter.

The fact that people are being maimed by the tens of thousands, lives are
being forever destroyed by the hundreds of thousands and individuals who
have done no wrong to anyone are being killed by the thousands simply
doesn't count in the eyes of our decision-makers. If you close your eyes
and stick your fingers in your ears, you can almost believe it isn't

Don't it make ya proud? Yessir. Greatest country in the world.

I'm sick of the arguments of supposed liberals who now approve the
politicians' stance in dodging impeachment and, far worse, failing in
their duty to stop the escalation, to stop the war. Mostly, such people
say, those actions are mysteriously "impossible" from a political
standpoint or they say that impeachment or blocking funding for escalation
would be "merely revenge."

Revenge is not a factor. We need, simply, to stop the butchery, which
never has been for any purpose other than profit and political gain.

Those are real, living and breathing women, men and children suffering the
horrors of the damned in Iraq.

They are kids like yours and your neighbor's who get shot in the streets,
women as real as your coworkers who are raped and clubbed if they venture
out to get water for their families, men like your insurance agent and old
high school buddy who have their eyes pulled from their heads and their
genitals crushed with pliers.

Against those atrocities, the arguments against impeachment and cutting
off funding for the war have no substance. None.

Even if party politics mattered while people suffer so - and I maintain
they do not - please note that only about 30 percent of the American
public approves of George W. Bush and his government.

Why are politicians afraid of that minority and uncaring about the
opinions of those of us who want the war ended now? Because the
consultants and party hacks sell them the fear.

It is argued that while the public doesn't like Bush or the war, it wants
to "support our troops."

Certainly that's true - but how bloody hard is it to explain the facts to
the public, to make citizens who already are 85 percent of the way to the
same conclusion understand that the only real thing to be done in support
of the troops is to get them the hell out of Iraq?

Democrats gave over all serious attempts to present their viewpoints to
the public about five decades ago; they simply folded and left the table.
They left public relations and the selling of perceptions entirely to the
Republicans. But surely there must be some PR experts willing to help
Democrats present truth to America, if the Democrats can find the will to
pursue that goal.

Enough with quibbling about the minimum wage. Change it, but put it where
it belongs on the priority list. The first item on that list must be "OUT

posted by James @ 8:40 AM
Jim Fuller is a retired journalist who was the business reporter for the
Star Tribune fir 30 years. His blog is at

--------19 of 20--------

Empire v. Democracy: Why Nemesis Is at Our Door
By Chalmers Johnson

Tuesday 30 January 2007

History tells us that one of the most unstable political combinations is a
country - like the United States today - that tries to be a domestic
democracy and a foreign imperialist. Why this is so can be a very abstract
subject. Perhaps the best way to offer my thoughts on this is to say a few
words about my new book, Nemesis, and explain why I gave it the subtitle,
"The Last Days of the American Republic." Nemesis is the third book to
have grown out of my research over the past eight years. I never set out
to write a trilogy on our increasingly endangered democracy, but as I kept
stumbling on ever more evidence of the legacy of the imperialist pressures
we put on many other countries as well as the nature and size of our
military empire, one book led to another.

Professionally, I am a specialist in the history and politics of East
Asia. In 2000, I published Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of
American Empire, because my research on China, Japan, and the two Koreas
persuaded me that our policies there would have serious future
consequences. The book was noticed at the time, but only after 9/11 did
the CIA term I adapted for the title - "blowback" - become a household
word and my volume a bestseller.

I had set out to explain how exactly our government came to be so hated
around the world. As a CIA term of tradecraft, "blowback" does not just
mean retaliation for things our government has done to, and in, foreign
countries. It refers specifically to retaliation for illegal operations
carried out abroad that were kept totally secret from the American public.
These operations have included the clandestine overthrow of governments
various administrations did not like, the training of foreign militaries
in the techniques of state terrorism, the rigging of elections in foreign
countries, interference with the economic viability of countries that
seemed to threaten the interests of influential American corporations, as
well as the torture or assassination of selected foreigners. The fact that
these actions were, at least originally, secret meant that when
retaliation does come - as it did so spectacularly on September 11, 2001 -
the American public is incapable of putting the events in context. Not
surprisingly, then, Americans tend to support speedy acts of revenge
intended to punish the actual, or alleged, perpetrators. These moments of
lashing out, of course, only prepare the ground for yet another cycle of

                          A World of Bases

As a continuation of my own analytical odyssey, I then began doing
research on the network of 737 American military bases we maintained
around the world (according to the Pentagon's own 2005 official
inventory). Not including the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, we now
station over half a million U.S. troops, spies, contractors, dependents,
and others on military bases located in more than 130 countries, many of
them presided over by dictatorial regimes that have given their citizens
no say in the decision to let us in.

As but one striking example of imperial basing policy: For the past
sixty-one years, the U.S. military has garrisoned the small Japanese
island of Okinawa with 37 bases. Smaller than Kauai in the Hawaiian
Islands, Okinawa is home to 1.3 million people who live cheek-by-jowl with
17,000 Marines of the 3rd Marine Division and the largest U.S.
installation in East Asia - Kadena Air Force Base. There have been many
Okinawan protests against the rapes, crimes, accidents, and pollution
caused by this sort of concentration of American troops and weaponry, but
so far the U. S. military - in collusion with the Japanese government -
has ignored them. My research into our base world resulted in The Sorrows
of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, written
during the run-up to the Iraq invasion.

As our occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq turned into major fiascoes,
discrediting our military leadership, ruining our public finances, and
bringing death and destruction to hundreds of thousands of civilians in
those countries, I continued to ponder the issue of empire.  In these
years, it became ever clearer that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their
supporters were claiming, and actively assuming, powers specifically
denied to a president by our Constitution. It became no less clear that
Congress had almost completely abdicated its responsibilities to balance
the power of the executive branch. Despite the Democratic sweep in the
2006 election, it remains to be seen whether these tendencies can, in the
long run, be controlled, let alone reversed.

Until the 2004 presidential election, ordinary citizens of the United
States could at least claim that our foreign policy, including our illegal
invasion of Iraq, was the work of George Bush's administration and that we
had not put him in office. After all, in 2000, Bush lost the popular vote
and was appointed president thanks to the intervention of the Supreme
Court in a 5-4 decision. But in November 2004, regardless of claims about
voter fraud, Bush actually won the popular vote by over 3.5 million
ballots, making his regime and his wars ours.

Whether Americans intended it or not, we are now seen around the world as
approving the torture of captives at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, at Bagram
Air Base in Kabul, at Guantnamo Bay, Cuba, and at a global network of
secret CIA prisons, as well as having endorsed Bush's claim that, as
commander-in-chief in "wartime," he is beyond all constraints of the
Constitution or international law. We are now saddled with a rigged
economy based on record-setting trade and fiscal deficits, the most
secretive and intrusive government in our country's memory, and the
pursuit of "preventive" war as a basis for foreign policy. Don't forget as
well the potential epidemic of nuclear proliferation as other nations
attempt to adjust to and defend themselves against Bush's preventive wars,
while our own already staggering nuclear arsenal expands toward
first-strike primacy and we expend unimaginable billions on futuristic
ideas for warfare in outer space.

                         The Choice Ahead

By the time I came to write Nemesis, I no longer doubted that maintaining
our empire abroad required resources and commitments that would inevitably
undercut, or simply skirt, what was left of our domestic democracy and
that might, in the end, produce a military dictatorship or - far more
likely - its civilian equivalent. The combination of huge standing armies,
almost continuous wars, an ever growing economic dependence on the
military-industrial complex and the making of weaponry, and ruinous
military expenses as well as a vast, bloated "defense" budget, not to
speak of the creation of a whole second Defense Department (known as the
Department of Homeland Security) has been destroying our republican
structure of governing in favor of an imperial presidency. By republican
structure, of course, I mean the separation of powers and the elaborate
checks and balances that the founders of our country wrote into the
Constitution as the main bulwarks against dictatorship and tyranny, which
they greatly feared.

We are on the brink of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our
empire. Once a nation starts down that path, the dynamics that apply to
all empires come into play - isolation, overstretch, the uniting of local
and global forces opposed to imperialism, and in the end bankruptcy.

History is instructive on this dilemma. If we choose to keep our empire,
as the Roman republic did, we will certainly lose our democracy and grimly
await the eventual blowback that imperialism generates. There is an
alternative, however. We could, like the British Empire after World War
II, keep our democracy by giving up our empire. The British did not do a
particularly brilliant job of liquidating their empire and there were
several clear cases where British imperialists defied their nation's
commitment to democracy in order to hang on to foreign privileges. The war
against the Kikuyu in Kenya in the 1950s and the Anglo-French-Israeli
invasion of Egypt in 1956 are particularly savage examples of that. But
the overall thrust of postwar British history is clear: the people of the
British Isles chose democracy over imperialism.

In her book The Origins of Totalitarianism, the political philosopher
Hannah Arendt offered the following summary of British imperialism and its

"On the whole it was a failure because of the dichotomy between the
nation-state's legal principles and the methods needed to oppress other
people permanently. This failure was neither necessary nor due to
ignorance or incompetence. British imperialists knew very well that
'administrative massacres' could keep India in bondage, but they also knew
that public opinion at home would not stand for such measures. Imperialism
could have been a success if the nation-state had been willing to pay the
price, to commit suicide and transform itself into a tyranny. It is one of
the glories of Europe, and especially of Great Britain, that she preferred
to liquidate the empire."

I agree with this judgment. When one looks at Prime Minister Tony Blair's
unnecessary and futile support of Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq,
one can only conclude that it was an atavistic response, that it
represented a British longing to relive the glories - and cruelties - of a
past that should have been ancient history.

As a form of government, imperialism does not seek or require the consent
of the governed. It is a pure form of tyranny. The American attempt to
combine domestic democracy with such tyrannical control over foreigners is
hopelessly contradictory and hypocritical. A country can be democratic or
it can be imperialistic, but it cannot be both.

                     The Road to Imperial Bankruptcy

The American political system failed to prevent this combination from
developing - and may now be incapable of correcting it. The evidence
strongly suggests that the legislative and judicial branches of our
government have become so servile in the presence of the imperial
Presidency that they have largely lost the ability to respond in a
principled and independent manner. Even in the present moment of
congressional stirring, there seems to be a deep sense of helplessness.
Various members of Congress have already attempted to explain how the one
clear power they retain - to cut off funds for a disastrous program - is
not one they are currently prepared to use.

So the question becomes, if not Congress, could the people themselves
restore Constitutional government? A grass-roots movement to abolish
secret government, to bring the CIA and other illegal spying operations
and private armies out of the closet of imperial power and into the light,
to break the hold of the military-industrial complex, and to establish
genuine public financing of elections may be at least theoretically
conceivable. But given the conglomerate control of our mass media and the
difficulties of mobilizing our large and diverse population, such an
opting for popular democracy, as we remember it from our past, seems

It is possible that, at some future moment, the U.S. military could
actually take over the government and declare a dictatorship (though its
commanders would undoubtedly find a gentler, more user-friendly name for
it). That is, after all, how the Roman republic ended - by being turned
over to a populist general, Julius Caesar, who had just been declared
dictator for life. After his assassination and a short interregnum, it was
his grandnephew Octavian who succeeded him and became the first Roman
emperor, Augustus Caesar. The American military is unlikely to go that
route. But one cannot ignore the fact that professional military officers
seem to have played a considerable role in getting rid of their civilian
overlord, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The new directors of the
CIA, its main internal branches, the National Security Agency, and many
other key organs of the "defense establishment" are now military (or
ex-military) officers, strongly suggesting that the military does not need
to take over the government in order to control it. Meanwhile, the
all-volunteer army has emerged as an ever more separate institution in our
society, its profile less and less like that of the general populace.

Nonetheless, military coups, however decorous, are not part of the
American tradition, nor that of the officer corps, which might well worry
about how the citizenry would react to a move toward open military
dictatorship. Moreover, prosecutions of low-level military torturers from
Abu Ghraib prison and killers of civilians in Iraq have demonstrated to
enlisted troops that obedience to illegal orders can result in dire
punishment in a situation where those of higher rank go free. No one knows
whether ordinary soldiers, even from what is no longer in any normal sense
a citizen army, would obey clearly illegal orders to oust an elected
government or whether the officer corps would ever have sufficient
confidence to issue such orders. In addition, the present system already
offers the military high command so much - in funds, prestige, and future
employment via the famed "revolving door" of the military-industrial
complex - that a perilous transition to anything like direct military rule
would make little sense under reasonably normal conditions.

Whatever future developments may prove to be, my best guess is that the
U.S. will continue to maintain a facade of Constitutional government and
drift along until financial bankruptcy overtakes it. Of course, bankruptcy
will not mean the literal end of the U.S. any more than it did for Germany
in 1923, China in 1948, or Argentina in 2001-2002. It might, in fact, open
the way for an unexpected restoration of the American system - or for
military rule, revolution, or simply some new development we cannot yet

Certainly, such a bankruptcy would mean a drastic lowering of our standard
of living, a further loss of control over international affairs, a sudden
need to adjust to the rise of other powers, including China and India, and
a further discrediting of the notion that the United States is somehow
exceptional compared to other nations. We will have to learn what it means
to be a far poorer country - and the attitudes and manners that go with
it. As Anatol Lieven, author of America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of
American Nationalism, observes:

"U.S. global power, as presently conceived by the overwhelming majority of
the U.S. establishment, is unsustainable ... The empire can no longer
raise enough taxes or soldiers, it is increasingly indebted, and key
vassal states are no longer reliable ... The result is that the empire can
no longer pay for enough of the professional troops it needs to fulfill
its self-assumed imperial tasks."

In February 2006, the Bush administration submitted to Congress a $439
billion defense appropriation budget for fiscal year 2007. As the country
enters 2007, the administration is about to present a nearly $100 billion
supplementary request to Congress just for the Iraq and Afghan wars. At
the same time, the deficit in the country's current account - the
imbalance in the trading of goods and services as well as the shortfall in
all other cross-border payments from interest income and rents to
dividends and profits on direct investments - underwent its fastest ever
quarterly deterioration. For 2005, the current account deficit was $805
billion, 6.4% of national income. In 2005, the U.S. trade deficit, the
largest component of the current account deficit, soared to an all-time
high of $725.8 billion, the fourth consecutive year that America's trade
debts set records. The trade deficit with China alone rose to $201.6
billion, the highest imbalance ever recorded with any country. Meanwhile,
since mid-2000, the country has lost nearly three million manufacturing

To try to cope with these imbalances, on March 16, 2006, Congress raised
the national debt limit from $8.2 trillion to $8.96 trillion. This was the
fourth time since George W. Bush took office that it had to be raised. The
national debt is the total amount owed by the government and should not be
confused with the federal budget deficit, the annual amount by which
federal spending exceeds revenue. Had Congress not raised the debt limit,
the U.S. government would not have been able to borrow more money and
would have had to default on its massive debts.

Among the creditors that finance these unprecedented sums, the two largest
are the central banks of China (with $853.7 billion in reserves)  and
Japan (with $831.58 billion in reserves), both of which are the managers
of the huge trade surpluses these countries enjoy with the United States.
This helps explain why our debt burden has not yet triggered what standard
economic theory would dictate: a steep decline in the value of the U.S.
dollar followed by a severe contraction of the American economy when we
found we could no longer afford the foreign goods we like so much.  So
far, both the Chinese and Japanese governments continue to be willing to
be paid in dollars in order to sustain American purchases of their

For the sake of their own domestic employment, both countries lend huge
amounts to the American treasury, but there is no guarantee of how long
they will want to, or be able to do so. Marshall Auerback, an
international financial strategist, says we have become a "Blanche Dubois
economy" (so named after the leading character in the Tennessee Williams
play A Streetcar Named Desire) heavily dependent on "the kindness of
strangers." Unfortunately, in our case, as in Blanche's, there are ever
fewer strangers willing to support our illusions.

So my own hope is that - if the American people do not find a way to
choose democracy over empire - at least our imperial venture will end not
with a nuclear bang but a financial whimper. From the present vantage
point, it certainly seems a daunting challenge for any President (or
Congress) from either party even to begin the task of dismantling the
military-industrial complex, ending the pall of "national security"
secrecy and the "black budgets" that make public oversight of what our
government does impossible, and bringing the president's secret army, the
CIA, under democratic control. It's evident that Nemesis - in Greek
mythology the goddess of vengeance, the punisher of hubris and arrogance -
is already a visitor in our country, simply biding her time before she
makes her presence known.

Chalmers Johnson is a retired professor of Asian Studies at the University
of California, San Diego. From 1968 until 1972 he served as a consultant
to the Office of National Estimates of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, the final volume in his
Blowback Trilogy, is just now being published. In 2006 he appeared in the
prize-winning documentary film Why We Fight.

--------20 of 20--------

 Bird With Two Right Wings
 Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 And now our government
 a bird with two right wings
 flies on from zone to zone
 while we go on having our little fun & games
 at each election
 as if it really mattered who the pilot is
 of Air Force One
 (They're interchangeable, stupid!)
 While this bird with two right wings
 flies right on with its corporate flight crew
 And this year its the Great Movie Cowboy in the cockpit
 And next year its the great Bush pilot
 And now its the Chameleon Kid
 and he keeps changing the logo on his captains cap
 and now its a donkey and now an elephant
 and now some kind of donkephant
 And now we recognize two of the crew
 who took out a contract on America
 and one is a certain gringo wretch
 who's busy monkeywrenching
 crucial parts of the engine
 and its life-support systems
 and they got a big fat hose
 to siphon off the fuel to privatized tanks
 And all the while we just sit there
 in the passenger seats
 without parachutes
 listening to all the news that's fit to air
 over the one-way PA system
 about how the contract on America
 is really good for us etcetera
 As all the while the plane lumbers on
 into its postmodern
 manifest destiny

-Lawrence Ferlinghetti


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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