Progressive Calendar 09.05.07
From: David Shove (
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

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From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at]>
From:  "" <llwright [at]>
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
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]>
Subject: CBAs/KFAI 9.05 11am


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?


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
 * 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

NOW ONLINE AT KFAI.ORG <> Rock-Tenn Corporation
and Its Energy Supply:

-------3 of 19--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
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 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,, 612.234.8774

From: Stefanie Levi <stefalala [at]>

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,

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]>
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. 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]
WARD 2: Dave Thune 651-266-8620 ward2 [at]
WARD 3: Pat Harris 651-266-8630 ward3 [at]
WARD 4: Jay Benanav 651-266-8640 ward4 [at]
WARD 5: Lee Helgen 651-266-8650 ward5 [at]
WARD 6: Dan Bostrom 651-266-8660 ward6 [at]
WARD 7: Kathy Lantry 651-266-8670 ward7 [at]

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

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

For details, contact Jodin Morey of Impeach for Peace:
612-328-1451 or use our contact page:

--------5 of 19--------

From: John Karvel <johnkarvel [at]>
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.

--------6 of 19--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
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]

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

--------7 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
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.

--------8 of 19--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
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]>
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),

--------10 of 19--------

From: Dick Lambert <rlambert [at]>
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 If you would like to ask a question,
e-mail it to question [at] 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]
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

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

Tickets: $16 + $2 Southern Theater building fee
Call 612.340.1725 or visit the Southern Theater box office

--------12 of 19--------

From: PRO826 [at]
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

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.<

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]>
Subject: Ffunch lunch 9.07 11:30am

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]>
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 <>

If you can't make it to either meeting, feel free to fill out a volunteer
form <> to stay informed
about the many ways you can help animals. For more info,

--------15 of 19--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
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

--------16 of 19--------

From: Ted Dooley <614grand [at]>
Subject: Iraq4Sale/film 9.07 9:30pm

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
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]
 2007 The Guardian

--------18 of 19--------

Bush's Year of Triumph
Post-Mortem America
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


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.


"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

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

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

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

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

--------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]


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