|Progressive Calendar 10.07.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2007 03:28:40 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 10.07.07 1. Stillwater vigil 10.07 1pm 2. 9/11 speaker 10.07 3/7pm 3. TN toxic terror 10.07 3pm 4. Peace/justice 10.07 4pm 5. Counter-recruit 10.07 4pm 6. KFAI/Indian 10.07 7pm 7. Political Islam 10.07 10:30pm 8. Violence/religion 10.08 6:30pm 9. Spirit progs 10.08 6:30pm 10. World minus us 10.08 7pm 11. MN labor vs war 10.08 7pm 12. Ali Abunimah 10.08 7pm 13. JewishVoicePeace - Let Desmond Tutu speak at a Minnesota university 14. Michael Cavlan - Stand with Tutu 15. Guy Western - St Thomas wrong to exclude Tutu 16. Andy Driscoll - St Thomas taking giant steps backward 17. Charley Underwood - Who would Jesus torture? 18. Ralph Nader - US lawyers must confront the rogue Bush regime 19. Charles Sullivan - Of hampster wheels and mwen --------1 of 19-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 10.07 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------2 of 19-------- From: 'Catherine Statz' <statz001 [at] umn.edu> Subject: 9/11 speaker 10.07 3/7pm Nine-Eleven Hero Rodriguez to Speak in the Twin Cities William Rodriguez, a true hero of 9-11 whose experiences on that fateful day punch holes in the official government story, will speak October 7 in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. He will give two presentations. The first one, in the Spanish language, will be held at the Paul & Sheila Wellstone Auditorium in Neighborhood House at 179 E. Robie, on the West side of Saint Paul, beginning at 3:00 PM. Then at 7:00 PM, he will give a presentation in English at the First Unitarian Church Sanctuary, 3400 Dupont Ave. S. in Minneapolis. Donations of a minimum of $5.00 will be asked of attendees. However no one will be turned away for financial reasons. Both appearances are sponsored by Minnesota 911 Truth*. Rodriguez was working as a maintenance worker in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, as he had for the past 19 years. He singlehandedly rescued 15 people from the North Tower of the WTC and aided in the evacuation of hundreds of others just before the building collapsed and is believed to be the last person to exit the tower alive, surviving the collapse after diving under a fire truck. After receiving medical treatment for his injuries, Rodriguez spent the rest of the day aiding as a volunteer in the rescue efforts and at dawn the following morning was back at Ground Zero continuing his heroic efforts. He was subsequently honored by President George W. Bush for his heroism. Rodriguez claims that he heard and felt explosions in the base of the World Trade Center before and after the planes hit the building that he believes could not have been caused by the collision, causing him to question the government's official story of how the structures came down. He testified before the 9/11 Commission, however, his testimony was taken behind closed doors and none of his testimony was mentioned in the final Commission Report. That is one of the reasons MN 9/11 Truth is demanding a new investigation. He has been touring the country telling that story and how it has impacted his life. He has also been working to help others affected by 9/11 to put their lives back together. Minnesota 911 Truth is a grass roots organization dedicated to having a totally new, objective investigation of 9/11 by an independent committee not appointed by the current administration. --------3 of 19-------- From: David Strand <mncivil [at] yahoo.com> Subject: TN toxic terror 10.07 3pm Toxic Terror In A Tennessee Town Please join Sheila Holt-Orsted and U. S. Congressman Keith Ellison. Sheila Holt-Orsted is an environmental justice advocate. Mrs. Holt-Orsted has been on a crusade for justice. Since she uncovered one of Tennessee's dirty little secrets, her family has been living a toxic nightmare. The family well water was contaminated with Trichloroethylene (TCE), the 15th most toxic chemical known to man and is a cancer causing solvent. Federal, State, and local Authorities lied to the family about the safety of their water. The Holt's were the wrong completion for protection. Their white neighbors were told not to drink the water and provided with safe drinking water. The Holt family has been riddled with cancer. In 2003 Sheila was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. Her father died January 9, 2007 of prostate and bone cancer. Today, the family is fighting back. They are choosing to be victors and not victims. They are fighting for justice. They are the nations poster family for environmental racism. The Holts represent families across the United States that say NO, not in my backyard. Come hear her personal testimony of Environmental Racism, it's a story you'll never forget! U.S Congressman Keith Ellison, founder of the Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota (EJAM), will join Ms. Holt-Orsted to discuss pending legislation on environmental justice and other related policy issues. When: Sunday, October 7, 3:00- 5:30 p.m. Where: Kwanzaa Church , 2100 Emerson Avenue North , Minneapolis , MN For more information please call: 612-436-5402 or e-mail karenejam [at] yahoo. com This is a free event! --------4 of 19-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Peace/justice 10.07 4pm Vincent L. Hawkinson 2007 Peace and Justice Awards: Lowell and Carol Erdahl of the Twin Cities Sunday, October 7, 4:00 p.m. University Lutheran Church of Hope, 601 13th Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis. Lowell Erdahl, bishop emeritus of the Saint Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and his wife, bookstore owner Carol Erdahl are being recognized for their lifelong involvement in peace and social justice causes. Lowell and Carol are long-time WAMM members. Selected annually by the Foundation, the honorary awards and Hawkinson scholarships are aimed at furthering the commitment to peace and justice of the late Reverend Vincent L. Hawkinson, who served as pastor of Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis for 30 years. The presentation is open to the public. A reception follows. --------5 of 19-------- From: YAWR <against.war [at] gmail.com> Subject: Counter-recruit 10.07 4pm SUN.Oct.7: Community Mtg to Counter Military Recruitment Help Counter Military Recruitment in High Schools! Sunday, October 7th 4:00pm Mayday Books 301 Cedar Ave. *** also... attend upcoming school board meetings! details below. BACKGROUND: For several years, Youth Against War & Racism and other local groups have urged and end to military recruitment in schools, and campaigned for restrictions within the law as a first step. This fall YAWR and others are trying to organize a more sustained pressure campaign on area school boards to restrict the frequency of military visits and to restrict them to school career centers. Linked with YAWR's planned mobilizations, pressure from community organizations and parents will be critical. A meeting of local antiwar leaders from Women Against Military Madness, Veterans for Peace, Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace, Fellowship of Reconciliation, and others gathered on Sept. 15 to discuss plans. We agreed to draft a letter for community groups to sign onto (see below), to mobilize for October and November school board meetings in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and to call a community meeting on October 7. Please join us and spread the word! --------6 of 19-------- From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org> Subject: KFAI/Indian 10.07 7pm KFAI¹s Indian Uprising for Oct. 7th, 2007 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CDT #234 William Moses Kunstler (1919-1995) was an American jurist, self-described "radical lawyer" and civil rights activist. He represented Russell Means in the Wounded Knee AIM Leadership Trial , and also Dennis Banks and Leonard Peltier. When he died in 1995, The New York Times called him "the most hated and most loved lawyer in America." He was a director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from 1964 to 1972, when he became a member of the ACLU National Council. In 1969 he co-founded the Center for Constitutional Rights. Kunstler also worked with the National Lawyers Guild. To many, Kunstler's image was that of a flamboyant radical. He defended many controversial clients, including Salvador Agron, Lenny Bruce, H. Rap Brown, Jack Ruby, Abbie Hoffman, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Jerry Rubin, Martin Luther King, Lemuel Smith, Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, Ibrahim A. Elgabrowny, Gregory Johnson, Wayne Williams, Larry Davis and Gary McGivern. He gained national renown for defending the "Chicago Seven" (originally "Chicago Eight") against charges of conspiring to incite riots in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. During the trial, he and the other defense attorney, Leonard Weinglass, were cited for contemp (the convictions were later overturned). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kunstler A new documentary feature, a work-in-progress, Disturbing the Universe, about William Kunstler, is being co-produced by his daughters Emily and Sarah who explore their father¹s life, from middle-class family man, to movement lawyer, to ³the most hated lawyer in America.² For more information visit the film's website http://www.disturbingtheuniverse.com EMILY KUNSTLER, a filmmaker, and SARAH KUNSTLER have a production company, Off Center Media. It produces documentaries exposing injustices in the criminal justice system. Emily graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Film and Video. She worked as a video producer for Democracy Now! Sarah graduated from Yale University with a BA in photography and from Columbia Law School with a JD. She is currently a criminal defense attorney. Their mother, Margaret Ratner, is the president of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice "Our father believed that every generation has its time to struggle, and that every person has a moment in life when they are challenged to act and must choose whether to stand up and disturb the universe, or to quietly blend into the crowd and lead an unexceptional life. Why did he choose the life he did? Was he a hero? Was he a menace? And where do we, his daughters, fit into that choice? This is our first look beyond the legend, at the life he led before we were born, as well a chance to take another look at the man we knew." WILLIAM 'BILL' MEANS (Oglala Lakota) a Vietnam combat and Wounded Knee (1973) veteran, is the Executive Director of the Opportunities Industrialization Center State Council of Minnesota. Bill is a founder of the International Indian Treaty Council and currently President of the Board. During his 9 years as Executive Director, he was responsible for the establishment of a system for documenting human rights violations against Indians. He is Co-founder of the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations and an expert on U.S. & Indian Treaty relations. Russell Means is his brother. ~ ~ ~ ~ Note: KFAI's Fall Pledge Drive runs through October 12th. Doners of $50 or more receive a copy of The Emerging Police State, a book of speeches by William Kunstler on the erosion of our civil rights. Read more. Other premiums to be announced. To donate visit http://www.kfai.org/pledge. * * * * Indian Uprising a one-hour Public & Cultural Affairs program is for and by Native Indigenous People broadcast each Sunday at 7:00 p.m. CDT on KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Producer and host is volunteer Chris Spotted Eagle. KFAI Fresh Air Radio is located at 1808 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454, 612-341-3144. For internet listening, go to www.kfai.org and for live listening, click Play under ON AIR NOW or for later listening via the archives, click PROGRAMS & SCHEDULE > Indian Uprising > STREAM. Programs are archived for two weeks. --------7 of 19-------- From: Ahmed Tharwat <tharwat77 [at] msn.com> Subject: Political Islam 10.07 10:30pm Guest of this week Fouzi Slisli is assistant professor in the department of human relations and multicultural education at St Cloud State University, Minnesota. He can be contacted at fslisli [at] stcloudstate.edu The political Islam, who, and what. <http://belahdan.com/Guests/guest.htm> Previous Guests Ahmed Tharwat/ Host <http://www.belahdan.com/> BelAhdan TV show airs on Public TV Sundays at 10:30pm --------8 of 19-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Violence/religion 10.08 6:30pm Monday, 10/8, 6:30 to 9 pm, free program introducing the interfaith dialogue series "Peace and Violence in Our Religious Traditions" with Rabbi Amy Ellberg and Iftar (breaking the fast of Ramadan dinner) as part of A Sacred Season of Peace-Making, Masjid (mosque) An-Nur, 1729 Lyndale Ave N, Mpls. www.interfaithings.org or 651-789-3840. The entire series includes: 10/8 - Ifter and intro to the series at a mosque --------9 of 19-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Spirit progs 10.08 6:30pm Monday, 10/8, 6:30 pm snacks and conversation,, 7 pm chapter meeting, monthly meeting for MN Network for Spiritual Progressives (MN Sen John Marty speaks), Plymouth Church, 1900 Nicollett Ave, Mpls. brucelissem [at] aol.com --------10 of 19-------- From: Kari Erpenbach <kari [at] UMN.EDU> Subject: World minus us 10.08 7pm Alan Weisman, award-winning journalist and best-selling author, will discuss his new book The World Without Us at the University of Minnesota Bookstore 300 Washington Ave. S.E. Mpls on October 8 at 7:00 p.m. Award-winning journalist and best- selling author Alan Weisman will discuss his new book The World Without Us on Monday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the University of Minnesota Bookstore in Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Ave. S.E. Minneapolis. Weisman offers a unique look at environmental destruction and global warming in his new book The World Without Us as he examines how nature would respond without the pressures of humans. As an award- winning journalist, Weisman draws on the expertise of paleontologists, structural engineers, biologists, art conservators, diamond and coal miners, oil drillers, marine biologists, astrophysicists, and religious leaders to examine the impact on the earth without man. Without human intervention, Weisman reveals our planet's tremendous capacity for self-healing as our cities, roads and bridges are reclaimed by nature. [Is Fridley reclaimable?] The World Without Us looks at the impact of man's sizeable footprint on the earth and calculates the thousands of years it will take to rid our soil of lead, what will happen to our chemical storage caverns, our buried nuclear waste, and the enormous plastic waste deposits that are now the most common surface feature of the world's oceans. Weisman will sign copies of his book following the discussion. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, or to order a signed copy visit www.bookstore.umn.edu/genref/authors.html. --------11 of 19-------- From: Teddy <tyimenu2005 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: MN labor vs war 10.08 7pm BUILD LABOR'S OPPOSITION TO WAR! MN Labor Against War Meetings 2nd Monday of Each Month 7pm Merriam Park Library in St.Paul - Basement At the Corner of Marshall and Fairview Contacts: Teddy Shibabaw 612-807-3196 - tyimenu2005 [at] yahoo.com Corey Mattson - 612-298-0920 - correymattson [at] maydaybookstore.org --------12 of 19-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Ali Abunimah 10.08 7pm "Where Next for Palestine/Israel: Peace, Apartheid or Democratic Inclusion?" Ali Abunimah 7 PM Monday, October 8, 2007 Anderson Hall 210 / West Bank University of Minnesota Map of Anderson Hall: http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/AndH/index.html Nearest parking ramps: 21st Ave Ramp <http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/19Ramp/> 19th Ave Ramp <http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/19Ramp/> Lot 86 Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian-American, is the cofounder and editor of the Electronic Intifada website since 2001 and, more recently, of Electronic Iraq and Electronic Lebanon. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Chicago, he has written for the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. He is author of ONE COUNTRY: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (Metropolitan Books; November 2006) --------13 of 19-------- Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2007 13:51:07 -0400 (EDT) From: Jewish Voice for Peace <mitchell [at] jewishvoiceforpeace.org> Subject: Let Desmond Tutu Speak at A Minnesota University A peace and justice group at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota has been forced by the university president to cancel an appearance by Archbishop Desmond Tutu - Archbishop Desmond Tutu The cancellation was accompanied by the removal of the chair of the Justice and Peace Studies program, Prof. Cris Toffolo from her position as chair. She has tenure, but no longer heads the department. The university president, Father Dennis Dease, decided against Tutu's appearance after consulting one representative from the local Jewish Community Relations Council and several rabbis affiliated with the university. This, apparently, amounted to a Jewish "consensus" in Father Dease's mind. Go to http://www.muzzlewatch.com/?p=257 to read our Muzzlewatch report on this incident. Go to http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/jvfp/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=14061 to write to Father Dease and urge that he reverse this tragic course. Tell him you want to see Prof. Toffolo reinstated as chair of the Justice and Peace Studies program and that the words and views of Bishop Tutu are important ones for the students at St. Thomas University to hear. Thanks! Cecilie Surasky and Mitchell Plitnick Jewish Voice for Peace --------14 of 19-------- Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2007 23:56:33 -0500 (GMT-05:00) From: Michael Cavlan greenpartymike <ollamhfaery [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Stand with Tutu Press Release For Immediate Release The Michael Cavlan campaign for US Senate in Minnesota unreservedly condemns St Thomas Catholic University for it's exclusion of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Bishop Desmond Tutu. Although it is understood that private schools may choose to exclude certain people from discussing some matters in their school, the practice of such is antithetical to the freedoms enjoyed by Americans. This exclusion is thought control and it displays a disdain for the principle the free flow of thoughts and information, which is supposed to be the goal of Universities. Not to mention of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights of the United States and the intentions of this country's founders as well as the expectations of its citizens. There are usually several sides to a subject and quite possibly the aspects brought to us by Rev. Tutu's presentation could lead to finding a solution to some of the injustices suffered by many in the world. Cavlan himself finds this exclusion especially egregious, given his history of facing bigotry in northern Ireland for being Catholic. The northern Ireland Peace Process depended heavily on the experience and support of the South African government of Nelson Mandela to push for peace and justice in that beleaguered part of the world. It is in that context that Cavlan, a Catholic who lived in northern Ireland during his formative years states that "St Thomas should be ashamed of themselves." Candidate Cavlan stands with Bishop Desmond Tutu and condemns the brutality and racism of the Israeli government. It is important for everyone to be able to choose for themselves among the many aspects of those injustices and their causes and The University of St. Thomas is to be censured for their decision to cancel the appearance of Rev. Desmond Tutu, who is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, who correctly pointed out the immoral policies of the Israeli government. Desmond Tutu has faced bigotry and knows it when he sees it. The Cavlan campaign calls on all the US Senate candidates, including Al Franken and Norm Coleman to likewise condemn the University of St Thomas. Contact Dori Ullman (612)414-9528 --------15 of 19-------- Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2007 04:54:03 +1300 (NZDT) From: Guy Western <wtscs [at] mindspring.com> Subject: Wrong to exclude Tutu http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_7100172 President Rev. Dennis Dease is defending his decision to disinvite Archbishop Desmond Tutu who was supposed to be a guest of a spring, youth peace conference at U of St. Thomas. IMHO a decision to exclude a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and campaigner against apartheid is not defensible. Think of the unsavory types who HAVE been allowed to address U.S. college campuses in the name of free speech and exploration of differing viewpoints that makes our college campuses tolerant of otherwise distasteful viewpoints. Archbishop Tutu's fatal offense, according to Pres. Dease, was his criticism of Israel's treatment of its Palestinian citizens. I'm a little alarmed at the knee-jerk reaction to brand anyone who criticizes the policies of Israel as "anti-semitic". I'm very disappointed that St. Paul would fall victim to this kind of politically correct censorship to the point that one of our campuses would prevent a figure of the stature and integrity of a highly respected world figure like Archbishop Tutu from honoring our town with his presence. This is just wrong! Guy Western West Side, St. Paul Info about Guy Western: http://forums.e-democracy.org/contacts/guywestern --------16 of 19-------- Date: Sat, 06 Oct 2007 14:45:26 -0500 From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: St Thomas taking giant steps backward This would be the same Dennis Dease that cracked down on an unmarried couple of professors living together from sleeping in the same room on a field trip with some students. I agree, however, that this is not St. Paul talking, but St. Thomas - a private scholastic habituÃ© of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis where academic freedom has been taking giant steps backward for several years. Hell, even the tight-ended Terrence Murphy was less restrictive on his profs even when he disagreed passionately with their views. The archdiocese as a whole has regressed in its tolerance for dissent within the church as well as within the political arena. Guy's disgust over the dangerous road many are taking as more critics emerge in light of the state of Israel's repressive behavior is well-placed. Thank heaven (so to speak) Metropolitan State University has taken up the gauntlet and helped Tutu change venues. We will discuss this and the larger issue in a coming program on Truth to Tell. As the Star Tribune said this morning - the answer to odious speech is more speech - and odious to whom needs identifying. Andy Driscoll Crocus Hill --------17 of 19-------- Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2007 20:09:01 +1300 (NZDT) From: Charley Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Who would Jesus torture? Barring Nobel Peace Prize winner Tutu certainly does make a shambles of any claims of academic freedom and intellectual diversity, particularly when contrasted with such previous speakers as Ann Coulter. For me, the more painful contrast is with St Thomas Law prof Robert Delahunty. Working with John Yoo in the Office of Legal Counsel, Delahunty was author of the infamous "torture memo" of February 2002. That memo was the one that did legal gymnastics to withhold Geneva protections from prisoners in places like Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, the Bagram base in Afghanistan and an unknown number of secret U.S. prisons around the world. It also nearly defined torture out of existence, claiming that the pain would have to be equivalent to major organ failure that would result in death or it would not qualify as torture. So here is an institution of higher learning where an internationally respected man of peace may not question the conditions of occupation in Palestine. So here is an institution claiming to be based on the teachings of Jesus, yet they find any criticism of Israeli apartheid more "hurtful" than the torture condoned by their own law professor. President Dease, who would Jesus torture? President Dease, what are you so afraid that this old archbishop from South Africa would say? http://www.citypages.com/databank/25/1235/article12354.asp Charley Underwood Longfellow (SD 62 A), Minneapolis -- [[If you don't like what St Thomas is doing, vote with your feet - don't attend it, and don't give it or will it money. There have to be many many much much more worthy recipients. -ed]] --------18 of 19-------- Who Will Confront the Unprecedented and Unconstitutional Concentration of Executive Power? Where are the Lawyers of America? By RALPH NADER CounterPunch October 6 / 7, 2007 The rogue regime of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney - so widely condemned for its unconstitutional, criminal Iraq war, its spying on Americans illegally, its repeated illegal torture practices, its arrests and imprisonment of thousands in this country without charges and its pathological secrecy and corporate corruption - still has not felt the heat of the 800,000 practicing lawyers and their many bar organizations. Lawyer jokes aside, the first defense outside of government against the rejection of due process, probable cause and habeas corpus should come from the officers of the courts - the attorneys of America. With few exceptions, they have flunked, asleep at the switch or loaded with excuses. The exceptions are a number of law professors such as David Cole (Georgetown University) and Jonathan Turley (George Washington University) and the magnificent one-year presidency of Michael Greco at the conservative American Bar Association. Mr. Greco, appalled at the outlaw nature of the Bush White House, now wallowing in the pits of the public opinion polls, organized former counsel to the CIA, the National Security Agency and the FBI, among others, to produce detailed reports and resolutions assailing the Bush government for repeatedly violating the constitution in numerous ways. (http://www.abanet.org/) Reports were sent to Mr. Bush personally. He did not even bother to acknowledge receipt. The ABA has over 400,000 members and is the largest bar association in the world. Not even a courtesy reply from George Bush, the American Caesar. Unfortunately, the courage of Greco and his colleagues has not been contagious with hundreds of thousands of lawyers throughout America or the 50 state bar associations who might have taken some action or position to stand after the ABA stood tall in 2005-2006. Mind you, the climate for lawyers defending the rule of law is quite enabling. Seventy percent of the American people want out of Iraq and nearly as many would like to see this Presidency end. A poll of soldiers in Iraq back in January 2006 registered 72% of them wanting the U.S. out of Iraq within six to twelve months. In addition, scores of former Generals and high military officers, retired intelligence officials and diplomats have openly criticized the intransigence, incompetence and harm to the U.S. national security. These leaders include the national security advisers to Bush's father, Brent Snowcroft, the anti-terrorism advisor to George W. Bush, Richard Clark, and many others who served in high government office. With all this in mind, I have been asking lawyers why they do not become directly active in challenging what they themselves believe is a reckless above-the-law Presidency and its enormous concentration of unlawful power. Here are some examples of their replies. --a real estate attorney with a sterling civil liberties background says "I am just too busy." --numerous retired lawyers of considerable accomplishment simply say they are retired. --mid-career business attorneys say they have too many clients who might object (too much wheeling and dealing to uphold the rule of law in Washington, D.C.). --public interest lawyers say it is not within their declared mission-eg. environmental, consumer, poverty or law reform work. --"Too controversial," and "I'm not up to it," announced a prominent trial lawyer. --"I wouldn't know where to start and I just need my leisure time," replied a highly specialized estate and trusts attorney. And so it goes. Too preoccupied, too many deals in the works, too controversial, too retired The Democratic leadership in the Congress has given Bush/Cheney a giant nod by taking a pass on holding them accountable through impeachment, through conditions in budget bills, through making them answer subpoenas by playing hardball on Bush's nominees, such as his new choice for Attorney General. It is up to the lawyers to rally for the Republic. This is deep patriotism, for without upholding our constitution, and the laws of the land, what will become of our country? What will our children and their grandchildren inherit - a bankrupt government that contracts out more and more of its core functions to staggeringly expensive giant corporations seeking limitless profits, while they finance and corrupt politicians to turn their back on the peoples' needs? Lawyers are supposed to know how to apply law to raw power. They know how to use the courts, lobby (there are hundreds or thousands of attorneys in each of most Congressional Districts). They can cut through the arcane camouflage of legalese. They know when the laws are being violated and what the remedies are for the violators. They know how to draft legislation. They have contacts and money and are not supposed to be frightened of conflict. The super-lawyers invariably get their calls returned. Where are the lawyers of America? Two major terrorist strikes, with a messianic, compulsively-obsessed President, can do to America what 9 months of nightly bombing by the Nazis could not do to England - move us much closer to a police state. Where are the stand-up lawyers of America? Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions --------19 of 19------ Of Hampster Wheels and Men by Charles Sullivan / October 5th, 2007 It is evident that the US or Israel is going to launch an unprovoked attack on Iran in the near future, just as it did against Iraq and countless other defenseless nations within recent memory. As a result, untold numbers of innocent people will die and huge sums of money will change hands. Both the U.S. and Israel will consolidate their power in the Middle East and injustice and death will follow in their wake. Bush's co-conspirators in Congress are standing down, leaving little doubt as to whom they serve. As always, the mainstream media is preparing the way by serving as an organ of the Military-industrial complex by beating the drums of war and perpetuating lies. Outside of a small number of citizens, few people seem capable of plumbing the depths of our conundrum. Under the umbrella of capitalism, business is the business of America, and death, inequity, and misery are its chief byproducts. Thus the rich are getting richer and the wealth generated by the producers is being concentrated into fewer hands than ever before. War and class warfare are among the offshoots of capitalism. They are opposite sides of the same coin, like Democrat and Republican. Significant change will not occur until the people rise up in revolt and take matters into their own hands - a state of affairs that is virtually unimaginable. Nothing less than a fundamental paradigm shift from capitalism to a just an equitable socio-economic system is required. It is not difficult to know what kind of response the present threat demands of us - yet only a handful of thoughtful and courageous people will act appropriately against them. I am quite certain that indifference, apathy, belligerent nationalism, and dumb-foundedness are not appropriate responses to the cancer that is festering in the Pentagon, the halls of Congress, and America's corporate board rooms and political think tanks. I am willing to bet that the average American never contemplates the inequities that capitalism foists upon the world, or the unwarranted faith we have in the concept of private ownership, unregulated markets, and trickle down economics. This is a system that was created to serve the wealthy and to oppress the majority, and it is fundamentally predatory in nature. Championed by the likes of Milton Friedman, capitalism and private ownership is the holy grail of the American economic system, and they are considered beyond reproach even by those who barely survive under their ponderous weight. The nemesis of capital and privilege is an organized and mobilized citizenry. Throughout America's short history, alternative political and economic systems such as communism and socialism, long associated with organized labor and radical unionism, have occasionally gained a foothold in the barren political landscape and, predictably, were thoroughly demonized by the mainstream media and its corporate funders. Alternatives to capitalism have been tried but they have always been undermined by the US, which allows their critics to assert that these social experiments have been tried and failed. But left alone to evolve without outside interference, other socio-economic systems that serve people and the public interest might well flourish over for profit systems that promote private enterprise, which explains why so much energy and treasure is spent to undermine them. Does anyone really believe that capitalism would be so prevalent today if it had been so systematically undermined by other governments as its counterparts? The playing field has never been level. Yet, despite such intense oppression, alternatives continue to spring up like undesirable weeds in capitalism's well groomed garden. Left untended, the garden quickly reverts to its natural state, which, clearly, is not capitalism or public funded privatized wealth accumulation. Early on, working class Americans have been programmed to rail against any system that poses a threat to capitalism and its attendant Plutocratic rule. There was the era of McCarthyism in the 1950's, and long before that the constant specter of the red menace that has always been associated with organized labor and other social justice movements. Any ideology that is opposed to capitalism has always been presented to the people as a threat to democracy itself, which is an absurd notion. Through propaganda and other distortions of truth, the interests of the ruling clique are widely perceived to also be the people's interest. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Democracy is the greatest threat to capitalism and Plutocracy; and, as history attests, it is vigorously repressed by those in power, often by acts of state sponsored terrorism and militarism. Unregulated corporate power and the unbridled exploitation of land and people are as far from true free markets and democracy as anything can be. Through the judicious use of lies and propaganda the corporate media, aided by the educational system, has successfully steered the collective American psyche away from the very ideologies that might potentially be our greatest benefactors. The underlying causes of societal injustice, including the inequitable distribution of wealth and power, are thus kept safely out of the public conscience, beyond the pale of moral and intellectual discourse. Unregulated corporate power and free markets are hailed in the mainstream media as humankind's greatest achievements. They are marketed to the very people it exploits as liberating, democratic institutions. The founding fathers recognized that an aroused and organized citizenry was the primary threat to the ruling elite. Organized labor, in particular, has always been perceived as a threat to the established orthodoxy. A democratic workplace would inevitably lead to a democratic society, and thus deny the strength of the ruling Plutocracy. It is remarkable that for more than 230 years the Plutocracy has not only successfully kept the majority of the people supporting economic and social policy that is detrimental to the people, they have also kept them from thinking about alternatives that could provide relief from the social and economic injustice wrought by capitalism.among them, universal health care and socialized higher education. The government is always waging a cold war against the working class people, whatever their country of origin. As a result, we have evolved into a nation of imperialists addicted to war and other forms of violence, which accrues tremendous wealth and power to the rich, while simultaneously undermining the people's collective welfare, and the wellbeing of the planet. Attached to their ipods, cell phones, their computers, television sets, and right wing media, the American people are detached from reality. So long as they are free to consume and waste, and sufficient entertainment is provided, the people will not rise up in revolt. Because of this separation from reality, Americans do not empathize with people outside of their own immediate families, beyond a small sphere of friends and acquaintances. We have no sense of community, and little visceral connection to the wild earth that sustains all life. We are reductionists who do not appreciate the organic whole. Thus we cannot connect the dots and think in rational terms of cause and effect. We have commodified the earth and her people in order to exploit them for profit. Too many Americans exist with a false sense of entitlement and privilege that is not nearly as prevalent in other parts of the world, where the effects of capitalism are better understood. Confident in our right to consume, while ignoring the misery our consumption and waste is causing others, we do not perceive the connection between capitalism, war, socio-economic class, cheap labor, and planetary destruction. Dr. Martin Luther King said: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere". The Wobblies understood: "An injury to one is an injury to all". But we do not easily think beyond the self and rarely see ourselves as a part of a vibrant global community - a part of nature. We even erect psychological barriers that prevent us from questioning the established orthodoxy, as we witnessed in the aftermath of 9-11. We do as we are told, rather than doing what is right and just. Americans fear the government and tremble before authority. It is this spiritual isolation and emptiness that allows us to comprise so little of the earth's population, and to consume so much of her precious biological and ecological wealth - the planetary life support systems that sustain all life. The American worker, despite all evidence to the contrary, and notwithstanding the lessons of history, continues to subscribe to the ideology of the capitalist model and its empty promises dressed in the seductive garments of the "American Dream". That dream is now, more than ever, as millions of Americans are coming to realize, more myth than reality. Capitalism has forced a nation-sized plantation upon the working class people of this country, and a world-sized gulag upon people everywhere. Workers keep only a tiny percent of the wealth they create for their employers, just enough to keep them playing the game - a game only a select few will ever win. Someone else always reaps the benefits of our labor. American workers are like hamsters imprisoned in a cage, spinning our hamster wheels with furious speed, working harder, producing more, more, more - ever more; until our hearts explode or our bodies wear out under mountains of debt. Hardly a handful of people realize what an elaborate hoax has been erected around us, what a sham this moribund system of waste and exploitation really is. So we go from one plantation to another, drifting like tumbleweeds from one job to another but always imprisoned by the same exploitive, dehumanizing capitalist system. At some level, I believe that the majority of the people intuit that something is terribly wrong. Thus they subscribe to the idea of reform and resort to electoral politics - a system that is wholly owned and operated by special interest money and corporate lobbyists. Their faith in the vote is misplaced and their energy is misdirected, which thus helps to maintain the established order, and prevents us from doing anything meaningful and direct. It assures consistency through the centuries: Imperial wars and occupations, a widening gap between the rich and poor; falling wages, union busting, and unfathomable environmental destruction on a global scale. [Vote Dem again and see life get worse again. -ed] There are no political solutions available to us. There are no knights in shining armor coming to the rescue. In a system awash in money the vote has no meaning. It is a mistake to think that the tools provided by capitalism can do anything other than perpetuate the system that is already in place, as history clearly demonstrates. Whether George Bush, Ron Paul, or Hillary Clinton occupies the White House, the result will be the same. Politicians are the property of special interest money. Few of them serve the people. We must stop believing that reform of this corrupt system is even possible. Misplaced faith in corrupt politicians keeps us from fomenting the seeds of revolution, which are our only salvation and our destiny if we are to survive as a people. If only we could conjure up the fighting spirit that these times require. People can only affect change by accepting personal responsibility and through direct action. We, ourselves, must become the agents for radical, revolutionary transformation. Rather than putting our trust in George Bush and Hillary Clinton or the sycophants in Congress, we must believe in ourselves and directly assert the power we have. We the people, when organized and mobilized, are the most powerful revolutionary force on earth. All we need is solidarity, but solidarity can be as elusive as a wisp of smoke, especially when so much capital is expended to keep us isolated and disorganized, and propagandized. Both voting and sporadic protests, while they may temporarily make us feel useful, do not have much long term effect. Let us not simply say no to war with our vote, but with our bodies and our treasure. If we wish to see social justice enacted, we must not merely vote for it, we must, ourselves, become the agents of justice. We must oppose injustice not only on philosophical and ethical grounds, but in the theater of action, with our bodies. Democracy and justice are too important to entrust to politicians who serve money, rather than people and the public welfare. We must do more than give lip service to the mere symbols of justice while doing nothing to actually obtain justice, or even worse - undermining it by voting more Plutocrats into office. Each of us must act to bring justice to bear. It is wrong to quietly tolerate what is being done to our country. Our collective tolerance for injustice and mediocrity makes us complicit in them. We do not hold the criminals and the real terrorists accountable and we continue to support the system that ushered them into power by participating in it and pretending that it is legitimate. Action applied directly at the point of injustice is the only force that can bring about permanent and just change. But action, unlike rhetoric, requires courage and conviction. It means putting the fear of god into the hearts of the government, as ordinary people do in Europe and Latin America, putting our bodies on the line for what we believe in. When the state is an enemy of the people, all just men and women must become enemies of the state. Change begins and ends with the individual. What we think and what we do matters only if we act on our beliefs and are even willing to die for them, if necessary. Peace can only follow justice; it never precedes it. By putting faith in those who serve the almighty dollar, rather than directly upholding the principles of democracy ourselves, we diminish our own power - we cede it to the corrupt and diabolical whose primary purpose is to rape and exploit us. Let us leave the safe haven of our hamster wheels and occupy the streets until justice reigns for everyone. There is no other way. Charles Sullivan is a nature photographer, free-lance writer, and activist residing in the Ridge and Valley Providence of geopolitical West Virginia. This article was posted on Friday, October 5th, 2007 at 4:59 am and is filed under Israel/Palestine and Capitalism. 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