|Progressive Calendar 09.05.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2007 05:05:38 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 09.05.07 1. Help SE MN flood 9.05-06 7:30am 2. CBAs/KFAI 9.05 11am 3. UofM strike 9.05 12noon 4. StPgovt/impeach 9.05 3pm 5. C4CR 9.05 6:30pm 6. Army nurse/Iraq 9.05 7pm 7. Phil Steger/Iraq 9.05 7pm 8. Womens rights 9.06 5:30pm 9. Steger/Iraq 9.06 7pm 10. Rsvl school bd 9.06 7pm 11. CongressCall-in 9.06 12. Pipaashaa 9.06 8pm 13. Ffunch lunch 9.07 11:30am 14. Help animals 9.07 3:30pm 15. Middle East 9.07 7pm 16. Iraq4Sale/film 9.07 9:30pm 17. Gary Younge - In the US, class war means the rich attacking the poor 18. Chris Floyd - Bush's year of triumph / post-mortem America 19. EB Patton - Martian oil find eclipses Social Security --------1 of 19-------- From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at] riseup.net> From: "stpaulunions.org" <llwright [at] stpaulunions.org> Subject: Help SE MN flood 9.05-06 7:30am Help Minnesota Unions Fill the Truck for Victims of the SE MN Flooding! Lakes & Plains Regional Council of Carpenters 710 Olive St., St Paul MN 55130 Wednesday, September 5 & Thursday, September 6 7:30am-5:00pm Drop off items at the Southeast loading dock. Items needed: Bottled water*Gatorade/Iced Tea*Long Heavy Duty Gloves*Heavy Duty trash bags*Clorox bleach*Hornet/Bee repellent*Heavy Face Masks*Bath Towels/Wash Clothes*Diapers (all sizes)*Wheel barrels*Shovels*Tools*First Aid items*5 Gallon Buckets*Mops*Flashlights with batteries*Fans*Rubber Boots (mens sizes 10-12)*Mens and womens socks (still in packages)*Disposable cameras ***Please supply a box with the donated items*** --------2 of 19-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: CBAs/KFAI 9.05 11am JUST WHAT ARE COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENTS (CBAs)? Are they doing what local mandates cannot do for redeveloping communities to ensure jobs, job protections, green spaces, racial equity and adequate housing? What are the options for struggling communities? Can developers really be trusted to live up to their promises? What is missing from CBAs that cities and other governments should be requiring? LISTEN WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 @ 11:00 AM: TRUTH TO TELL talks about COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENTS Andy Driscoll and co-host Craig Cox will talk with advocates and movers of community benefits agreements [CBAs]. GUESTS: * Russ Adams, Executive Director of the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability * Ralph Wyman, Longfellow Community Council resident leader * Larry Hiscock, Harrison Neighborhood Association Executive Director * Eugene Dix, African American Action Committee (AAAC) of Brooklyn Park * Vic Rosenthal, Jewish Community Action, Executive Director In this day and age of an increasingly irrelevant mainstream media lost in its own cacophony of hysteria and self-absorption, "Truth to Tell" is a shining example of hope. Perhaps all is not lost. Thank you. -William Moyers NOW ONLINE AT KFAI.ORG <http://www.kfai.org/node/682> Rock-Tenn Corporation and Its Energy Supply: -------3 of 19-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: UofM strike 9.05 12noon Rally to Get the University to Settle Wed, 9/5 @ noon @ Morrill Hall (100 Church Street SE) AFSCME Clerical, Technical, & Healthcare workers at the U of M will strike on 9/5. They need our support to make the U of M an institution that treats it's workers with respect. Supporters can also sign the online petition at uworkers.org. Donations to the U Workers Support Fund can be send to AFSCME Unions, 1313 5th St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414. Sponsored by the Labor & Community Strike Support Committee, Uworkers.org, 612.234.8774 -- From: Stefanie Levi <stefalala [at] yahoo.com> Our AFSCME sisters and brothers on all U of M campuses will be walking the picket lines beginning Wednesday, 5 September, the second day of classes for UM students!! 72% of the members who voted across 4 AFSCME Locals in solidarity, demanded a strike if management did not meet the Locals' modest contract proposals. As usual, administration continues to abuse the workers, and refused to budge. Please stand in solidarity with AFSCME Locals on WEDNESDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER at NOON in front of MORRILL HALL - that's the admin. building on the Minneapolis Campus, next to Northrup Auditorium. To offer other support and keep informed about what's really going on with this, please visit the following website to find other Locals' website's, too: www.afscme3800.org Workers and students at the U are hurt by the selfishness, greed and arrogance of the privileged class that pulls the purse strings in this state and at the university. This is the second strike against u of m admin. in 4 years. As you all know, a strike vote is not easy to get, so between not budging on health care and wages over the past 10 years, admin has finally pissed off enough workers to get a bigger strike, this time!! Power to the People! Love Laughter Solidarity and Revolution! Stefanie levi --------4 of 19-------- From: Impeach Action <lists [at] impeachforpeace.org> Subject: StPgovt/impeach 9.05 3pm St. Paul City Council, Wed. Sept. 5 We're attending the Saint Paul City Council Meeting Wed, Sept 5th. ImpeachForPeace.org is asking you to show up at the Saint Paul City Council (City Council Chambers on the 3rd floor of City Hall, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd) at 3pm. We suggest you wear impeachment shirts, buttons, etc. Signs are also allowed. Some people might wish to demonstrate outside the building, while others will likely want to attend the meeting itself wearing impeachment t-shirts or holding signs. Contact the Council Members and tell them to introduce a resolution calling on the U.S. House to impeach Bush/Cheney: WARD 1: Deborah Montgomery 651-266-8610 ward1 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us WARD 2: Dave Thune 651-266-8620 ward2 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us WARD 3: Pat Harris 651-266-8630 ward3 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us WARD 4: Jay Benanav 651-266-8640 ward4 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us WARD 5: Lee Helgen 651-266-8650 ward5 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us WARD 6: Dan Bostrom 651-266-8660 ward6 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us WARD 7: Kathy Lantry 651-266-8670 ward7 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us Is Bush/Cheney Impeachment a City Council's Job? - City Council members take an oath of office promising to "protect and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. They don't take an oath to fix potholes. If the Constitution is in danger then their primary duty is to defend it. - Cities and towns routinely send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all across America. Is Impeachment a Local Issue? - If a federal action has a significant negative impact on this city, then it is appropriate for this city to defend itself. - Citizens from this city may be sent, or have been sent, to Iraq to fight in an illegal and unjustified war. - Tax funds from this city that could have been spent locally have been spent in Iraq for war. Tax money from this city has been wasted in no-bid contracts with companies like Halliburton with deep ties to the Bush administration. Yet this city can barely afford the emergency services, libraries, and schools that we need. - The State National Guard should be available to protect this city from floods or other disasters. But instead, President Bush has sent them to Iraq For details, contact Jodin Morey of Impeach for Peace: 612-328-1451 or use our contact page: http://impeachforpeace.org/comments.htm --------5 of 19-------- From: John Karvel <johnkarvel [at] c4cr.org> Subject: C4CR 9.05 6:30pm Citizens For Corporate Redesign General Meeting Wednesday, September 5th, 6:30 PM 1716 Atwater Path E., Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077 Click for Map VISITORS ARE WELCOME. Come learn about our new bill and how to support it. http://www.c4cr.org --------6 of 19-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Army nurse/Iraq 9.05 7pm Reaching Past the Wire with Deanna Germain Wednesday, September 5, 7 p.m. St. Anthony Park Branch Library, 2245 Como Ave., Saint Paul This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 651-222-3242 or friends [at] thefriends.org August 6, 2007, SAINT PAUL, MN - Retired army Lieutenant Colonel Deanna Germain talks about her new book Reaching Past the Wire at the St. Anthony Park Branch Library, 2245 Como Avenue, Saint Paul, on Wednesday, September 5 at 7 p.m. In February 2003, Germain received orders to report for active duty in Iraq; in Reaching Past the Wire she gives a clear-eyed account, full of startling detail, about life as a nursing supervisor behind the fortified gates of Abu Ghraib. Her duties were to treat Iraqi prisoners, U.S. soldiers, and Marines in need of medical attention; despite unbearable heat, frequent mortar attacks, medical supply shortages, substandard facilities, and sleepless nights quartered in a tiny prison cell, Germain served the medical needs of each of her patients with remarkable humanity. Don't miss the opportunity to hear this amazing tale of duty and compassion amidst the turmoil of war. Deanna Germain, Lieutenant Colonel, USAR (Ret.), is a nurse practitioner at a pain clinic near Minneapolis. This program is free and open to the public. For more information, please call The Friends at 651/222-3242 or go online at www.thefriends.org. --------7 of 19-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Phil Steger/Iraq 9.05 7pm Wednesday, 9/5, 7 to 9 pm, Phil Steger speaks on "Leaving Iraq Now: Why It's the Best Chance for Peace and Why September Is Our Best Chance to Make It Happen," Twin Cities Friends Meeting, 1725 Grand Ave, St Paul. http://www.peaceintheprecincts.org --------8 of 19-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Womens rights 9.06 5:30pm Also September 6: Women's Human Rights Program at Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights Fall House Party, a fundraiser to benefit the Women's Human Rights Program. 5:30-7:30 PM. Home of Marlene Kayser in St. Paul. More info: 612/341-3302, ext. 107. --------9 of 19-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Steger/Iraq 9.06 7pm Thursday, 9/6, 7 pm, Phil Steger speaks on "Leaving Iraq Now: Why It's the Best Chance for Peace and Why September Is Our Best Chance to Make It Happen," United Methodist Church (call 651-917-0383 for which one), Rochester. http://www.peaceintheprecincts.org --------10 of 19-------- From: Dick Lambert <rlambert [at] rclambert.com> Subject: Rsvl school board 9.06 7pm Twelve people filed for three available Roseville School Board seats, necessitating a primary. Some candidates have publicly announced that if elected they will not serve. To help voters educate themselves, the Roseville Citizens League will sponsor a candidate's forum in the Rose Room at the John Rose Oval next to City Hall from 7:00 to 8:30 PM on Thursday September 6, 2007. We will also be sending a questionnaire to all candidates and posting their replies at www.rosevillecl.org. If you would like to ask a question, e-mail it to question [at] rosevillecl.org by 8/22/07. We will submit the 15 most frequently asked questions to the candidates. Questioners will not be identified. Questions will be edited for clarity and to avoid repetition and must be directed to all candidates and address issues and not personalities. Dick Lambert Roseville --------11 of 19-------- From: farheen [at] farheenhakeem.org Subject: Pipaashaa 9.06 8pm Pipaashaa: extreme thirst A new evening-length work by the award-winning Ananya Dance Theatre The award-winning Ananya Dance Theatre and its Artistic Director Ananya Chatterjea (City Pages' Best Choreographer 2007) have teamed with the Women's Environmental Institute and other partners to explore the impact of environmental damage and loss on women and children from around the globe in "Pipaashaa." We hope that you and other colleagues in the environmental justice field will join us during the run of this new work at the Southern Theater September 6-9, 2007. "Pipaashaa" was created in response to the steady drying up of the world's resources, specifically through environmental damage, which heightens the vulnerable position in which much of the world's women and children are forced to live. It tells the stories of women and children who are forced to live in the most difficult of circumstances--somehow pulling together an existence by scavenging through dirt piles collecting recyclable materials, for instance, in dense urban areas. More generally, "Pipaashaa" explores ideas of loss and struggle, the desire to live, and the relationship of these ideas to femininity. For more information, please visit www.ananyadancetheatre.org. Pipaashaa: extreme thirst September 6-9, 2007, all at 8 pm except 7 pm on Sunday, September 9 The Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis Post-show discussions on Friday & Saturday, September 7th & 8th All shows feature an interactive lobby display based upon themes in "Pipaashaa" Tickets: $16 + $2 Southern Theater building fee Call 612.340.1725 or visit the Southern Theater box office --------12 of 19-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Congress Call-in 9.06 Welcome Back Congress National Call-In Day Thursday, September 6, 2007 Capitol Hill Switchboard: 202-224-3121 Dear Peace Stalwarts, Join the nationwide effort Thursday, September 6th, to flood the offices of our members of Congress with calls demanding an end to the U.S. war in Iraq. Let's make it clear: there cannot be "business as usual" in Washington until effective action to bring all the troops home is taken! Call your Representative and both Senators on Thursday, September 6th. Tell them: "I want you to act now to end the war and occupation of Iraq. The Congress has the Constitutional right and a moral responsibility to use the power of the purse to withdraw all U.S. soldiers and contractors from Iraq on a responsible and binding schedule." Four and a half years of this war is too long - it has to end now! Not sure who represents you in Congress? Look Here.<http://capwiz.com/fconl/directory/congdir.tt?action=myreps_form Background: In September, Congress will focus on the war in Iraq. They will vote on the President's request for continued funding of the war. At this writing, the request stands at $142 billion, but President Bush will probably ask for an additional $50 billion, for a total of more than $190 billion dollars! Congress is not required to give President Bush any of this money, or even to bring the request to a vote. Congress can also put restrictions, firm withdrawal timelines and other conditions on any funding in order to force an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Ask your family and friends to join in. Together we can end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. Kevin Zeese Executive Director Democracy Rising DemocracyRising.US P.O. Box 18485 Washington, DC 20036 USA --------13 of 19-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Ffunch lunch 9.07 11:30am Meet the FFUNCH BUNCH! 11:30am-1pm First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for Greens/progressives. Informal political talk and hanging out. Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul. Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines --------14 of 19-------- From: Gilbert Schwartz <gil [at] exploreveg.org> Subject: Help animals 9.07 3:30pm Help Animals: Fall New Volunteer Meetings Become part of Compassionate Action for Animals! Learn how to help animals while socializing with other vegetarians, vegans, and animal-friendly folks. Attend one of our new volunteer meetings on Friday, September 7, or Tuesday, September 11, from 3:30 to 4:30. At the meetings, we'll discuss who we are and what we do, as well as your ideas for vegetarian and animal advocacy. We organize a huge variety of events and campaigns, and there is almost definitely something that you will be interested in. Everyone is welcome, whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or just interested in helping animals. Both students and community members are encouraged to attend. Mark your calendar and help us improve and save the lives of thousands of animals this fall by becoming part of CAA! Friday, Sept. 7, or Tuesday, Sept. 11 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Coffman Union, Room 324 at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis <http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/CMU/index.html> If you can't make it to either meeting, feel free to fill out a volunteer form <http://www.exploreveg.org/help/volunteer.html> to stay informed about the many ways you can help animals. For more info, www.ExploreVeg.org --------15 of 19-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Middle East 9.07 7pm "The Roots of Chaos in the Middle East" Dr. Shirin Ebadi Friday, September 7, 7:00 p.m. Hamline University, Sundin Music Hall, 1531 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul. Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Human Rights Activist, Dr. Shirin Ebadi shares her experience and perspective on "The Roots of Chaos in the Middle East." Dr. Ebadi has made significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women's and children's rights. Free and open to the public. FFI: Visit <www.hamline.edu>. --------16 of 19-------- From: Ted Dooley <614grand [at] winternet.com> Subject: Iraq4Sale/film 9.07 9:30pm FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 RIVERVIEW THEATER @ 9:30 p.m. www.riverviewtheater.com Robert Greenwald's film Iraq for Sale --------17 of 19-------- Published on Monday, September 3, 2007 by The Guardian/UK In The US, Class War Still Means Just One Thing: The Rich Attacking The Poor by Gary Younge In July the Florida Republican state representative Bob Allen was caught offering to pay a black undercover cop $20 so that he could perform oral sex on him in a park. Allen's defence? Blow jobs and cash are to black males what kryptonite is to Superman - the only known means of depleting their superhuman strength. "There was a pretty stocky black guy," he explained to the arresting officer. "And there was nothing but other black guys around in the park". Fearing he "was about to be a statistic", he claimed he would have said anything just to get away. Allen had indeed become a statistic - yet another desperate conservative politician mangling logic to explain his hypocrisy. Last week it was the turn of the Idaho senator Larry Craig, who in June was caught propositioning an undercover officer in the toilets of Minneapolis airport. Two months later he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct without consulting his lawyer. Then Craig, who finally resigned over the weekend, claimed that he framed himself. "I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously," he explained. "In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty". If he's telling the truth now he's a perjurer; if he was telling the truth then, he's a gay man who legislates against gay people. There are moments when things really are the way they seem and facts really do speak for themselves. Bad as the facts may appear, attempting to rationalise them only makes matters worse. Trying to convince people otherwise only insults their intelligence. So it would have seemed last Tuesday when the US census bureau revealed its latest findings on income, poverty and health. The report showed that since George Bush came to power the poverty rate had risen by 9%, the number of people without health insurance had risen by 12%, and real median household income had remained stagnant. On the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina we learned the racial disparity in income and the gap between rich and poor show no sign of abating. Bush declared himself "pleased" with the results, even if the uninsured presented "a challenge". He pointed out that over the past year poverty had declined (albeit by a fraction, and from the previous high he had presided over) and median household income had increased (albeit by a fraction and primarily because more people were working longer hours). Maybe he thought Americans would not realise that five years into a "recovery" their wages were stagnant, their homes were being repossessed at a rate not seen since the Depression, and their pension funds were on a roller coaster. Having beckoned ordinary Americans with the lure of cheap credit and stock market gains, the invisible hand of the market has now grabbed them by the scruff of the neck and is shaking them mercilessly. Iraq has, quite rightly, dominated the national conversation and will dominate Bush's legacy. But that doesn't mean it will necessarily be the chief concern for voters choosing their next president. In this week that officially kicks off the presidential primary season, sexual scandal is not the only issue to remind us of the Clinton era. In 1991 Clinton's chief strategist pinned a note on the wall of his campaign headquarters to remind the team of its core message: "the economy, stupid". A similar focus may once again be necessary, although translating that maxim into votes is not straightforward. Paradoxically, the states with the highest levels of poverty and lowest incomes are staunchly Republican. Poor people tend not to vote, and candidates tend neither to appeal nor refer to them. However, economically they are a glaring and shameful fact of American life; socially and culturally they dominate the centre of almost every moral panic - but politically they do not exist. None the less, in recent years the conditions associated with poverty have spread far beyond the poor. Almost two-thirds of those who lost their health insurance last year earn $75,000 or more. Homeowners are also not so easy to write off, not least because those hardest hit happen to be in politically sensitive areas. Of the 10 states that have suffered the most from foreclosures, six - Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Ohio and Michigan - are swing states. Among the viable Democratic contenders, John Edwards has embraced the economic agenda most forcefully. In his stump speech he calls for reversing Bush's tax cuts for those earning more than $200,000 a year, cutting poverty by a third in 10 years and eliminating it altogether in 30. Having announced his candidacy from New Orleans he has walked many a picket line in recent months and tells crowds: "The organised labour movement is the greatest anti-poverty movement in American history". With the brooding resentment at growing insecurity now reaching a critical point, Obama and Hillary are also shifting their focus. Sadly it is unlikely this resentment will gain much in the way of political expression beyond populist rhetoric. The notions of personal reinvention and economic meritocracy that lie at the heart of the American dream are far more powerful and enduring than the kind of class consciousness necessary to redress the imbalance between rich and poor. Inequality of wealth in the US has long been justified on the grounds that there is equality of opportunity. The trouble is that while inequalities have grown dramatically over the past 20 years, equality of opportunity has been all but eroded. According to the Economic Policy Institute, in 1989 American CEOs earned 71 times more than the average worker - today, by most calculations, it is up to around 270 times. Meanwhile, social mobility has slowed to a level below that in most of Europe, including Britain. Most Americans identify themselves as "middle class" - but in the middle of what is not clear. Anything that would identify working people as a group with a collective set of interests that are different from and at times antagonistic to the interests of corporations has pretty much been erased from public discourse. People will refer to "blue collar workers", "working families", "the poor", the "working poor". But the working class simply does not exist. None the less, class does play a role. It is most often used by the right to cast liberals as cultural "elites". The price of Edwards's haircut, John Kerry's windsurfing, Al Gore's earth tones - all are exploited as illustrations of the effete mannerisms of those who claim to speak for the common man and woman. Class is not elevated to politics but reduced to performance: that is how the fact that Bush has made so little of his elite upbringing has become an asset. The conservative columnist Cal Thomas said of Edwards: "His populist jargon is nothing but class warfare". If only. Long ago the wealthy declared war on the poor in this country. The poor have yet to fight back. In October 2000, Bush quipped to a group of wealthy diners: "What an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite; I call you my base". If only the have-nots had such a determined and confident advocate. g.younge [at] guardian.co.uk 2007 The Guardian --------18 of 19-------- Bush's Year of Triumph Post-Mortem America By CHRIS FLOYD CounterPunch September 3, 2007 Put your hand on my head, baby; Do I have a temperature? I see people who ought to know better Standing around like furniture. There's a wall between you And what you want - you got to leap it. Tonight you got the power to take it; Tomorrow you won't have the power to keep it. -- Bob Dylan I. Tomorrow is here. The game is over. The crisis has passed - and the patient is dead. Whatever dream you had about what America is, it isn't that anymore. It's gone. And not just in some abstract sense, some metaphorical or mythological sense, but down in the nitty-gritty, in the concrete realities of institutional structures and legal frameworks, of policy and process, even down to the physical nature of the landscape and the way that people live. The Republic you wanted - and at one time might have had the power to take back - is finished. You no longer have the power to keep it; it's not there. It was kidnapped in December 2000, raped by the primed and ready exploiters of 9/11, whored by the war pimps of the 2003 aggression, gut-knifed by the corrupters of the 2004 vote, and raped again by its "rescuers" after the 2006 election. Beaten, abused, diseased and abandoned, it finally died. We are living in its grave. The annus horribilis of 2007 has turned out to be a year of triumph for the Bush Faction - the hit men who delivered the coup de grace to the long-moribund Republic. Bush was written off as a lame duck after the Democrat's November 2006 election "triumph" (in fact, the narrowest of victories eked out despite an orgy of cheating and fixing by the losers), and the subsequent salvo of Establishment consensus from the Iraq Study Group, advocating a de-escalation of the war in Iraq. Then came a series of scandals, investigations, high-profile resignations, even the criminal conviction of a top White House official. But despite all this - and abysmal poll ratings as well - over the past eight months Bush and his coupsters have seen every single element of their violent tyranny confirmed, countenanced and extended. The war which we were told the Democrats and ISG consensus would end or wind down has of course been escalated to its greatest level yet - more troops, more airstrikes, more mercenaries, more Iraqi captives swelling the mammoth prison camps of the occupying power, more instability destroying the very fabric of Iraqi society. The patently illegal surveillance programs of the authoritarian regime have now been codified into law by the Democratic Congress, which has also let stand the evisceration of habeas corpus in the Military Commissions Act, and a raft of other liberty-stripping laws, rules, regulations and executive orders. Bush's self-proclaimed arbitrary power to seize American citizens (and others) without charge and hold them indefinitely - even kill them - has likewise been unchallenged by the legislators. Bush has brazenly defied Congressional subpoenas - and even arbitrarily stripped the Justice Department of the power to enforce them - to no other reaction than a stern promise from Democratic leaders to "look further into this matter." His spokesmen - and his "signing statements" - now openly proclaim his utter disdain for representative government, and assert at every turn his sovereign right to "interpret" - or ignore - legislation as he wishes. He retains the right to "interpret" just which interrogation techniques are classified as torture and which are not, while his concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay and his secret CIA prisons - where those "strenuous" techniques are practiced - remain open. His increasingly brazen drive to war with Iran has already been endorsed unanimously by the Senate and overwhelmingly by the House, both of which have embraced the specious casus belli concocted by the Bush Regime. And to come full circle, Democratic leaders like Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin are now praising the "military success" of the Iraq escalation - despite the evident failure of its stated goals by every single measure, including troop deaths, civilian deaths, security, infrastructure, political cohesion and regional stability. This emerging "bipartisan consensus" on the military situation in Iraq (or rather, this utter fantasy concealing a rapidly deteriorating reality) makes it certain that the September "progress report" will be greeted as a justification for continuing the "surge" in one form or another. It is, by any measure, a remarkable achievement, one of the greatest political feats ever. Despite Bush's standing as one of the most despised presidents in American history, despite a Congress in control of the opposition party, despite a solid majority opposed to his policies and his war, despite an Administration riddled with scandal and crime, despite the glaring rot in the nation's infrastructure and the callous abandonment of one of the nation's major cities to natural disaster and crony greed - despite all of this, and much more that would have brought down or mortally wounded any government in a democratic country, the Bush Administration is now in a far stronger position than it was a year ago. How can this be? The answer is simple: the United States is no longer a democratic country, or even a degraded semblance of one. It is well-nigh impossible to imagine a force in American public life today rising up to thwart the Administration's will on any element of its militarist and corporatist agenda, including the arbitrary launch of an attack on Iran. What's more, even if some institution had the will - and made the effort - to balk Bush, it wouldn't matter. As the New York Times noted a couple of weeks ago: ... Bush administration officials have already signaled that, in their view, the president retains his constitutional authority to do whatever it takes to protect the country, regardless of any action Congress takes. At a tense meeting last week with lawyers from a range of private groups active in the wiretapping issue, senior Justice Department officials refused to commit the administration to adhering to the limits laid out in the new legislation and left open the possibility that the president could once again use what they have said in other instances is his constitutional authority to act outside the regulations set by Congress. At the meeting, Bruce Fein, a Justice Department lawyer in the Reagan administration, along with other critics of the legislation, pressed Justice Department officials repeatedly for an assurance that the administration considered itself bound by the restrictions imposed by Congress. The Justice Department, led by Ken Wainstein, the assistant attorney general for national security, refused to do so, according to three participants in the meeting. That stance angered Mr. Fein and others. It sent the message, Mr. Fein said in an interview, that the new legislation, though it is already broadly worded, "is just advisory. The president can still do whatever he wants to do. They have not changed their position that the president's Article II powers trump any ability by Congress to regulate the collection of foreign intelligence." Thus the Administration's own spokesmen are now saying openly, in plain English, what they once only insinuated beneath layers of legal jargon: that the president of the United States does not have to obey the law of the land. He does not have to obey acts passed by Congress. He is free to act arbitrarily, to do anything whatsoever that he claims is necessary to "defend national security," in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. There is literally nothing anyone can do - not Congress, not the courts - to stop him. That is Bush's claim - and it has been accepted. The American Establishment has surrendered to an authoritarian takeover of the American state. If this was not the case, then Bush and Cheney would have been impeached long ago (or at least months ago) for their treason against the Constitution, their coup d'etat against the Republic. At the very least, they would have been mocked, scorned, censured and shunned for their vludicrous and dangerous pretensions to royal power. All manner of institutional, legal and political fetters would have been put upon them, as happened in the last days of Richard Nixon's presidency. Instead, Bush's power has only grown with each new outrageous claim of unchallengeable presidential authority. It is too little understood how vital - and how fatal - Congress' acquiescence in all of this has been. By continuing to treat the Bush Administration as a legitimate government, to carry on with business as usual instead of initiating impeachments or refusing to cooperate with a gang of usurpers, Congress instead confirms the New Order day after day. Some Democrats may grumble, whine or bluster - but they DO nothing, and their very participation in the sinister farce ensures its continuance. Again, look at the facts, the reality: Bush wants Congressional approval of his illegal surveillance; he gets it. Bush wants to launch spy satellites against the American people; he does it. Bush wants concentration camps and secret prisons with torture; he's got them. Bush wants to escalate a ruinous, murderous, unpopular war; he does it. He wants to declare people "enemy combatants" and imprison them indefinitely; he does it. Bush's spokesmen openly claim that the laws passed by the people's representatives are "just advisory" and "the president can still do whatever he wants to do," and there is no outcry, no action, no defense of the Republic against this overthrow of the Constitution. Who could look at this reality and declare that the United States is still a republic, in any genuine form? Who could see this and deny that the nation is now an authoritarian state under an "elected" dictator? Those who insist on seeing the current situation as "politics as usual" (even if an extreme version of it) will point to peripheral elements that still retain some of the flavor of the old order: such as the Justice Department scandal, with its forced resignations and Congressional probes, or the occasional criminal trial of Bush Regime minions like Scooter Libby. Some will say such things are proof that we don't really live under tyranny, that deep down, the "system works." But all of this is indeed "politics as usual" - the kind of politics that occurs under every system of rule. Even the Caesars were subject to such pressures, forced to remove (and sometimes execute) officials who had become too controversial due to scandal, crime, corruption or factional opposition, or even unpopularity with "the rabble." Sometimes the Caesars themselves were removed for such causes - but the tyrannical system went on. Likewise, the kings and queens of England in their autocratic heyday were forced to give up ministers - even court favorites - due to similar pressures. And so too the Russian czars, the Chinese emperors, the Persian monarchs, the Muslim Caliphs, the Egyptian pharaohs, etc. Even Hitler was sometimes thwarted or hampered in his polices by factional strife or public displeasure. "Politics" does not disappear in undemocratic regimes. It is a function of human relations, and carries on irregardless of the political system imposed on a society. Yet the belief persists that if there are not tanks in the streets or leather-jacketed commissars breaking down doors, then Americans are still living in a free country. I wrote about this situation almost six years ago - six years ago: It won't come with jackboots and book burnings, with mass rallies and fevered harangues. It won't come with "black helicopters" or tanks on the street. It won't come like a storm - but like a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: everything is the same, but everything has changed. Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality has taken its place. As in Rome, all the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns - plenty of bread and circuses for the folks. But the "consent of the governed" will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small group of nobles who rule largely for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons. To be sure, there will be factional conflicts among this elite, and a degree of free debate will be permitted, within limits; but no one outside the privileged circle will be allowed to govern or influence state policy. Dissidents will be marginalized - usually by "the people" themselves. Deprived of historical knowledge by an impoverished educational system designed to produce complacent consumers, not thoughtful citizens, and left ignorant of current events by a media devoted solely to profit, many will internalize the force-fed values of the ruling elite, and act accordingly. There will be little need for overt methods of control. The rulers will often act in secret; for reasons of "national security," the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name. Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, the murder of "enemies" selected by the leader, undeclared war, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new "security structures" targeted at the populace. In time, all this will come to seem "normal," as the chill of autumn feels normal when summer is gone." This was written less than two months after 9/11. I was no prophet, no shaman; I had no inside knowledge or special expertise. I was just an ordinary American citizen reading news reports, articles, essays and books easily available to the general public. But even then it was crystal clear what was happening, and where it would lead if left unchecked. As we now know, it was not only left unchecked, it was exacerbated and accelerated and countenanced at every turn, by virtually every element and institution in American public life. II. "How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it." - Thoreau Now from all this, what follows? The time has passed for ordinary political opposition, "within the system." The system itself has been perverted and converted into something else; it is now impossible to "work within the system" in the old understanding of that term, because that old system is gone. To work within the current system is to collaborate with evil, to give it legitimacy. Thoreau's answer should be taken up by every person in public life, beginning with the Senators and Representatives in Congress, and radiating outward to all other elected officials in the 50 states, and to civil servants and other government employees, law enforcement agencies, judges, universities, contractors, banks, and on and on, throughout the vast, intricate web that binds the lives of so many people directly to the federal government. There should be non-compliance, non-recognition of this illegitimate authority, disassociation from taking part in its workings. But we must also recognize that the kind of civil disobedience that Thoreau preached - and practiced - is immensely more difficult today, because the power of the state is so much greater, far more pervasive, more invasive and much more implacable, more inhuman. No one would have dared put Thoreau in "indefinite detention" without charges, or torture him, or delegate some underling in intelligence apparatus (which didn't exist then) to kill him as a "suspected terrorist." Of course there were many egregious suspensions of Constitutional liberties and draconian measures during the Civil War; but these occasioned fierce fights in Congress, investigations, lawsuits, and outraged protests on the streets - the worst, by far, in American history, dwarfing the urban riots and war protests of the Sixties. But only the most ignorant fool - or devious liar - could compare these short-lived, ad hoc, inconsistently applied, frequently reversed and much-disputed depredations, carried out in the midst of a massive insurrection by fully-fledged armies on American soil, with today's thorough-going, systematic creation of an authoritarian state, on the basis of a zealous ideology of an unrestricted "unitary executive," operating in a nebulous, self-declared "state of war" that we are told will last for generations. Neither Thoreau - nor any Northern opponent of the Civil War - confronted anything like this. (In fact, neither did the insurrectionists of the South, who were treated as lawful prisoners-of-war when captured - or often simply allowed to return to their homes on parole, in exchange for a simple statement that they would fight no more. No Southerner was ever subjected to indefinite detention, none were tortured, none were liquidated by secret agents.) The technology available to the government today amplifies the scope of repression immeasurably, both in the pinpoint, surreptitious targeting of individuals and in larger-scale operations. In a land crawling with armed - and armored - SWAT teams, with operatives from innumerable federal agencies packing heat and happy to use it, a land where more than 2 million people languish in prison (many of them captives of an endless "war on drugs" that has done nothing to curb substance abuse but has greatly augmented the power of the state and the criminal gangs whose laundered money enriches Establishment elites), a land where almost every transaction is wired up to some national grid, where national ID cards are now being imposed - a land where you literally cannot exist without placing your liberty, your privacy, your very life at the mercy of a government apparatus besotted with violence, coercion and intrusion, there is no place left for the kind of action that Thoreau advocated. His way - and that of Gandhi and King, who took so much from him - envisions a state opponent which one could hope to shame into honorable action by the superior moral force of principled civil disobedience. But the very hallmark of the present regime is its shamelessness, its utter lack of any sense of honor or principle, its bestial addiction to raw power. It is pointless - and counterproductive - to simply throw yourself under the wheels of such a monstrous machine in futile spasms of rage and despair. The machine doesn't care. It will gladly chew up your life and move on. For the action of the ordinary individual to have an effect, it must be amplified by a larger social movement. And it is difficult to imagine such a movement arising in America today, in a society atomized by the engines of profiteering, its communities gutted or abandoned by elites seeking greener pastures - and cheaper labor - elsewhere, its citizens isolated from one another, locked in their own bubbles of electronic diversion, and their own struggles to keep their jobs (unprotected by unions, subject to the arbitrary whim of local bosses, or faceless corporate masters, or predatory hedge funds, etc.), hang on to their health insurance (if they've got it), and stay out of the hell created by the bipartisan Bankruptcy Bill for the benefit of the credit card companies. And despite the deep unpopularity of the regime, there is still a widespread reluctance to recognize its true nature, and what it will require to restore our constitutional republic. And truth to tell, there are a great many people uninterested in doing so. As long as the diversions keep pouring through the latest gadgetry, the monthly paycheck manages to cover the bills, and their own bodies are not subjected to the tyrant's evil, many people are happy to accept the authoritarian system. (This is not unique to Americans, of course; it is a constant in human history.) But even where there is an interest in discerning the reality of our times, and a yearning for change, again there is no broader movement to leverage an individual's dissent into a form large enough to thwart the tyrannical machine. And there is no American Sakharov on the horizon, someone to arise from the very center of the machine to denounce its workings and call for genuine liberty, genuine democracy, genuine economic and social justice. So whatever we can do, we must do it ourselves. If we have no power or influence, if we cannot take large actions, then we must take small ones. Every word or action raised against the overthrow of the Republic will find an echo somewhere, from one person to another to another to the next - each isolated, individual voice slowly finding its way into a swelling chorus of dissent. It might be too late. It might not work. But failure - and much more horror - is guaranteed if we don't even try. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once wrote - in a context that is growing less dissimilar all the time: - it is impossible that evil should not come into the world; but take care that it does not enter through you. "What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot today? They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret." - Thoreau. Chris Floyd is an American journalist and frequent contributor to CounterPunch. He is the author of the book Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium. He can be reached through his webistie: www.chris-floyd.com. --------19 of 19-------- Martian Oil Find Eclipses Social Security by E.B. Patton / September 3rd, 2007 WASHINGTON (AEP) - NASA announced today the discovery of oil on Mars. Special geologic sensors on one of the two Mars rovers have confirmed the existence of well over 1000 billion barrels of high-quality light sweet crude in easily accessible locations under the Martian surface. As a result of today's discovery, Congressional leaders confirmed today in a hastily-called news conference that they had lined up sufficient support from both sides of the aisle to eliminate all benefits payments to Social Security and Medicare recipients. The FICA and Medicare payroll taxes will remain in place and the funds used instead for immediate Martian oil drilling projects and shipment of the crude to Earth. The bill is expected to sail through Congress, and President Bush has already indicated he will sign it. "This will guarantee security for America and the world for thousands of years," said Bush. "Clearly, the need for this money to go toward an immediate program of Martian oil retrieval far outweighs any other uses it may have," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "This is the most exciting development we could ever have imagined," said Democratic presidential candidate and front runner Hillary Clinton. "This will ensure not only the sovereignty and security of the U.S. for generations to come, but of the world as well". "God is clearly smiling on the United States," said Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. "There's simply no way we can finance oil drilling on Mars, and Social Security too," said expected Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson. "Eliminating those programs in favor of oil recovery is clearly in the best interests of the American people". Several Congressional Democrats, speaking off the record, said however that the proposed legislation did not go far enough and that school lunches, tax breaks for the blind, and disability payments for quadriplegics should all be eliminated as well. Some environmental groups have expressed concern over the effects of burning even more fossil fuel on the Earth's delicate environment. There is not believed to be any truth to a report, unconfirmed at press time, that several leaders of the environmental movement in the U.S. had been arrested and sent to Guantnamo Bay. Ben Heart, founder of the advocacy group Not Mars Too and suspected by the U.S. State Department of being a member of Al-Qaeda said that, "I realize no one is living on Mars yet, but given what we've already done to one planet, is it absolutely essential that we do it to another?" "Who cares?" said Clinton. "We're talking about oil here". A retired military analyst says the discovery of Martian oil could finally give the U.S. the freedom to use appropriate force in Iraq. "We need to bomb the entire goddamn Middle East," says Col. Dick P. Blood (Ret). "We don't need their oil anymore anyway". Other voices in Washington were urging restraint. "Let's just bomb the parts of the Middle East with no oil, and distribute anthrax blankets to the rest of the dirty bastards," said a liberal peace activist. There was, however, one sector of the economy in strong opposition to the soon-to-be-official Martian drilling project. The Nuclear Energy Institute issued a press release saying in part that, "The burning of oil is not only unclean, it is morally wrong". They also say the U.S. should immediately convert all automobiles to run on Uranium. The Martian oil reclamation project is going ahead though, and reportedly Halliburton has already been issued the first no-bid contract for extraction. The company's stock shot up one million points on the rumor. "This is a momentous occasion," said Bush. "Now we not only own the world, but the universe too". NASA now hopes to find oil on Venus within the next few years, and missions to Mercury, Neptune, and Pluto are already being planned. There's also talk of exploring the system around Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to our own Sun at a scant 4 light-years away. "No distance or expense is too great when oil is involved and cash-strapped taxpayers are footing the bill," said Pelosi. E. B. Patton is a reporter for the Cincinnati-based AEP, and can be reached via e-mail at: ebpatton [at] yahoo.com. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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