Progressive Calendar 10.19.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 08:04:54 -0700 (PDT)
w             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    10.19.07

1. Adoption          10.19 12noon
2. Palestine         10.19 4:30pm
3. Iraq moratorium   10.19 5pm
4. Bi-relig/Israel   10.19 7pm
5. MarcelKhalife/Oud 10.19 8pm
6. Moyers/Blackwater 10.19 9pm

7. New eco-shop      10.20 11am
8. NWN4P Minnetonka  10.20 11am
9. Women/war/lit     10.20 1pm
10. Juvenile justice 10.20 3pm
11. Kathy Kelly/CTV  10.20 9pm

12. Colombia         10.21 12:30pm
13. Stillwater vigil 10.21 1pm
14. Garden party     10.21 2pm
15. Amnesty Intl     10.21 3pm
16. WAMM founder/f   10.21 3pm
17. Art of begging   10.21 10:30pm

18. Saree Mardisi - Academic freedom is at risk in America
19. Garret Keizer - Specific suggestion: general strike
20. Tom Maertens  - A party Of eunuchs
21. ed            - Consigned to the dustbin of history

--------1 of x--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Adoption 10.19 12noon

University of St. Thomas, Feminist Friday presents two speakers on 'The
Feminist Politics of Adoption Today'

Sun Yung Shin, co-editor /of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial
Adoption/ (South End Press, 2006) and Jae Ran Kim, M.S.W., a contributor
to the book, will speak at the next Feminist Friday program next week.

Shin and Kim will discuss the domestic and international politics of
adoption. They also will explore how reproductive politics in America
have defined the discussion.

The program will be held from noon-1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, 2007 in the
Luann Dummer Center for Women at the University of St. Thomas in
St.Paul, 103 O'Shaughnessy Educational Center. Bring a lunch. Snacks and
drinks provided. This event is free and open to the public.

--------2 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Palestine 10.19 4:30pm

Friday, 10/19, 4:30 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end the occupation of Palestine,
Snelling & Summit Aves, St Paul.  Karen, 651-283-3495.

--------3 of x--------

From: braun044 <braun044 [at]>
Subject: Iraq moratorium 10.19 5pm

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19.  The Iraq Moratorium Committee and the General Strike
for Peace have called for making the 3rd Friday of every month a national
day of activity against the war. The idea is simple: On every third
Friday, in communities across the country, people will break from their
daily routine to take concrete steps to participate in activities where
they live, work, and study to call for an end to the war in Iraq.

Both the Moratorium and General Strike campaigns urge people to take
action on those days, including vigils, protests, forums, wearing black
armbands, calling representatives and/or the media, and more.

We encourage you to be creative in your personal actions and to also
join a rally in Minneapolis:

Friday, October 19, 5:00 pm
Rally at Peavey Plaza
11th and Nicollet
Speakers:  Veterans speaking out against the war
FFI: and

--------4 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Bi-relig/Israel 10.19 7pm

Friday, 10/19, 7 to 9 pm, Friends for a Nonviolent World hosts former
mayor Ahmad Hijazi of the bi-religious community in Israel called Neve
Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland
Ave, Mpls.  matt [at] or 651-917-0383.  Donations accepted.

--------5 of x--------

From: Mizna  <mizna-announce [at]>
Subject: Marcel Khalife/Oud 10.19 8pm

Mizna and the Cedar Cultural Center present: Marcel Khalifé
October 19 - 8:00 pm
Cedar Cultural Center
416 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 338-2674

Lebanon's composer/musician Marcel Khalifé is a master and innovator of
the oud (fretless lute) and a pioneer of contemporary Arab song. Renowned
throughout the Middle East for over three decades, he has sustained a
following akin to pop artists. In 2005, he was named UNESCO Artist for
Peace. Performing on oud and vocals, he will be accompanied by the Al
Mayadine Ensemble in a program featuring works from his new recording
Taqasim, as well as selections from his older repertoire.

In his association with great contemporary Arab poets, particularly
Palestinian poet par excellence, Mahmoud Darwish, he seeks to renew the
character of the Arabic song, to break its stereotypes, and to advance the
culture of the society that surrounds it. On his journey, Marcel Khalifé
invents and creates original music, a novel world of sounds, freed of all
established rules. This language elevates him to the level of an
ambassador of his own culture and to the vanguard of Near Eastern music

Tickets ON SALE noon Fri Aug 17 from Cedar ticketline 612-338-2674 ext 2
or Ticketweb
$50 reserved premium seating
$30 general admission
Details on our website coming soon!

--------6 of x--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at]>
Subject: Moyers/Blackwater 10.19 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | Examining Blackwater
Blackwater's top gun Erik Prince has been spinning the security firm's
story this week in a PR offensive. Bill Moyers asks why the press is
buying it and interviews journalist and author Jeremy Scahill, who helps
separate the spin from the reality.

--------7 of x--------

From: Jim Taylor <jim [at]>
Subject: New eco-shop 10.20 11am

Sunny Day Earth Solutions - Minnesota's First "One-Stop Eco-Shop"
Celebrates Grand Opening - Saturday October 20

Minneapolis, MN. Sunny Day Earth Solutions, the Twin Cities first and only
full-service green store, celebrates its grand opening on Saturday,
October 20th, 2007. Sunny Day offers a full range of environmentally
friendly consumer products and renewable energy construction services to
support comprehensive green living.

Opening day festivities, running from noon to 6 pm, include renewable
energy and alternative home workshops by regional experts, featuring three
by legendary green construction guru, Mark E. Morgan. Morgan will actually
construct a 3' by 10' straw-bale wall during the course of one workshop.
The event also features a costume competition, with prizes for Most Eco
Friendly Costume, and a kids' birdhouse building workshop.

Sunny Day offers a unique and diverse range of consumer goods, from a line
of cleaning supplies created by actor Ed Begley, Jr. to eco-friendly
handbags created from recycled billboards. Sunny Day also offers expertise
in the planning and installation of a range of renewable energy upgrades
for the home or business. Whether you're looking for everyday products or
lighting solutions; or you want to convert your car to run on used
vegetable oil or install solar water heaters on your roof, the Cities will
finally have a place to get the inside dirt on greening up your life.

Sunny Day Earth Solutions is founded by Ramy Selim, a Minnesota-based
construction contractor and certified solar site assessor with extensive
experience in the renewable energy field. Combining cutting edge
technology with old-fashioned elbow grease, Ramy Selim is at the forefront
of a growing "Do It Yourself" movement towards more sustainable living.

A green streak seems to run in the Selim family. Ramy's brother, Ali
Selim, directed the critically acclaimed Minnesota produced film Sweet
Land. Ali, an investor in Sunny Day, produced Sweet Land as a carbon
neutral project. As an environmentally friendly product, DVD's of Sweet
Land will be available for sale at Sunny Day.

Sunny Day Earth Solutions is located at 1000 26th Ave. SE -- at the
corner of Como and 26th in Minneapolis. It is on the #3 bus line, for
those wishing to take public transit to the store. Store hours are
Tuesday - Friday 10 - 6:30; Saturday 11 - 6; Sunday noon - 4.

Sunny Day Earth Solutions -- 1000 26th Ave. SE Minneapolis, MN 55414
612-455-1355 -- info [at] <>

<> Sunny Day Earth Solutions Contact: Jim
Taylor Cell: 651.334.0738 Email: jim [at]

--------8 of x--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Minnetonka 10.20 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We
will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.

--------9 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Women/war/lit 10.20 1pm

Saturdays, 10/20 to 12/1, 1 to 2:30 pm, women's discussion group on
literature on war written by women "Women and War, Women in War," Hennepin
Ave United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Ave, Mpls. Books can be
purchased at Amazon Books.  $90 to $110 (sliding scale), with $35 deposit
to Toni McNaron, 3512 Holmes Ave, Mpls or questions at 612-824-8481.

--------10 of x--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Juvenile "justice" 10.20 3pm

Teach In on the Juvenile "Justice" System
SAT, 10/20 from 3-5 pm @ Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis
Did you know that parents are prohibited from assisting their children
when they go to court?  Did you know that children get "indeterminate"
sentences and can be locked up for years on simple offenses?  Did you
know that kids have far fewer rights in the court system than adults?
Come to this teach in and learn how the juvenile "justice" system really
operates and what you can do about it.  Organized by Communities United
Against Police Brutality.

--------11 of x--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Kathy Kelly/CTV 10.20 9pm

Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am.  Households with basic cable can watch!

10/20 9pm and 10/23 8am  "Kathy Kelly"  Talk given at St. Joan of
Arc Church on Sept. 11, 2007.

--------12 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Colombia 10.21 12:30pm

Sunday, 10/21, 12:30 to 2 pm, the Peace with Justice Committee of the ELCA
Mpls and St Paul Area Synods host Colombia Lutheran World Relief worker
Mary Duvall talking about "Colombia - Sal y Luz Peace Churches Project,"
Central Lutheran Church, 3rd Ave & 12th St, next to the Convention Center,
Mpls.  $7 lunch available; validated parking available.
dhilden [at] or 612-825-1581.

--------13 of x--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 10.21 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

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

--------14 of x--------

From: "Susan Hensel Design,LLC" <Susan_Hensel_Design_LLC [at]>
Subject: Garden party 10.21 2pm

rain or shine
Sunday, October 21, 2-5pm

See the transformation the Dead Zone yard to an oasis of Peace.
Even Baby, the kindest of dog's, did not want to stay in the "Dead

I believe in allowing artists to do what they do best with minimal
interference. Meet the artist and host Russ Henry, the brains and the
muscle behind this transformation.  The yard you did not know I had was a
"Dead Zone" until Russ was allowed to work his art unimpeded and transform
it into a place of peace, a small sanctuary. Find out more about Russ at
Giving Tree Gardens

Susan Hensel Gallery
Susan Hensel Design,LLC
3441 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
612 722-2324

--------15 of x--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 10.21 3pm


Join us for our regular meeting on Sunday, October 21st, from 3:00 to 5:00

Our presenter this month will be Jay Shahidi. Along with being a long-time
Group 37 member, Jay is very well informed about what is going on in Iran,
his native land, and about the threatened war by US and Israel. He will
also focus on the recent speech of Iranian President Ahmadinejad at the
United Nations and about previous peace feelers sent out by Iranian
government to the Bush administration. Jay's presentation will begin at
3:00 p.m.

In our second hour, we will share actions on human rights cases around the
world and get updates on the work of our sub-groups.

All are welcome at the meeting, and refreshments will be provided.

Location: Center for Victims of Torture, 717 E. River Rd. SE, Minneapolis
(corner of E. River Rd. and Oak St.). Park on street or in the small lot
behind the center (the Center is a house set back on a large lawn).

A map and directions are available on-line:

---------16 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: WAMM founder/film 10.21 3pm

Sunday, 10/21, 3 pm, documentary film premiere about one of WAMM's
founders "Marianne Hamilton: A Voice for Peace," MN Historical Society, 3M
Screening Room, 345 Kellogg Blvd W, St Paul. $8 for series from noon to 5
(film is 10 min).  Also at 3 pm will be the documentary "Their Own
Drummer" about local stalwarts Elmer Zoff and Phyllis Cohen in the Deluxe

--------17 of x--------

From: Ahmed Tharwat <tharwat77 [at]>
Subject: Art of begging/tv 10.21 10:30pm

Guest of this week
Joe Selvaggio, the Modern Robin Hood
The Art of begging

Ahmed Tharwat/ Host
<> BelAhdan
TV show  airs on Public TV
Sundays at 10:30pm

--------18 of x--------

Campuses Have Become Poisoned by an Atmosphere of Surveillance and
Academic Freedom is at Risk in America
October 18, 2007

"Academic colleagues, get used to it," warned the pro-Israel activist
Martin Kramer in March 2004. "Yes, you are being watched. Those obscure
articles in campus newspapers are now available on the Internet, and they
will be harvested. Your syllabi, which you've also posted, will be
scrutinized. Your Web sites will be visited late at night."

Kramer's warning inaugurated an attack on intellectual freedom in the U.S.
that has grown more aggressive in recent months.

This attack, intended to shield Israel from criticism, not only threatens
academic privileges on college campuses, it jeopardizes our capacity to
evaluate our foreign policy. With a potentially catastrophic clash with
Iran on the horizon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict spiraling out of
control, Americans urgently need to be able to think clearly about our
commitments and intentions in the Middle East. And yet we are being
prevented from doing so by a longstanding campaign of intimidation that
has terminated careers, stymied debate and shut down dialogue.

Over the past few years, Israel's U.S. defenders have stepped up their
campaign by establishing a network of institutions (such as Campus Watch,
Stand With Us, the David Project, the Israel on Campus Coalition, and the
disingenuously named Scholars for Peace in the Middle East) dedicated to
the task of monitoring our campuses and bringing pressure to bear on those
critical of Israeli policies. By orchestrating letter-writing and
petitioning campaigns, falsely raising fears of anti-Semitism, mobilizing
often grossly distorted media coverage and recruiting local and national
politicians to their cause, they have severely disrupted academic
processes, the free function of which once made American universities the
envy of the world.

Outside interference by Israel's supporters has plunged one U.S. campus
after another into crisis. They have introduced crudely political -
rather than strictly academic or scholarly - criteria into hiring,
promotion and other decisions at a number of universities, including
Columbia, Yale, Wayne State, Barnard and DePaul, which recently denied
tenure to the Jewish American scholar Norman Finkelstein following an
especially ugly campaign spearheaded by Alan Dershowitz, one of Israel's
most ardent American defenders.

Our campuses are being poisoned by an atmosphere of surveillance and
harassment. However, the disruption of academic freedom has grave
implications beyond campus walls.

When professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer drafted an essay
critical of the effect of Israel's lobbying organizations on U.S. foreign
policy, they had to publish it in the London Review of Books because their
original American publisher declined to take it on. With the original
article expanded into a book that has now been released, their invitation
to speak at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs was retracted because of
outside pressure. "This one is so hot," they were told. So although
Michael Oren, an officer in the Israeli army, was recently allowed to
lecture the council about U.S. policy in the Middle East, two
distinguished American academics were denied the same privilege.

When President Carter published "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid" last
year, he was attacked for having dared to use the word "apartheid" to
describe Israel's manifestly discriminatory policies in the West Bank.

As that case made especially clear, the point of most of these attacks is
to personally discredit anyone who would criticize Israel - and to taint
them with the smear of "controversy" - rather than to engage them in a
genuine debate. None of Carter's critics provided a convincing refutation
of his main argument based on facts and evidence. Presumably that's
because, for all the venom directed against the former president, he was
right. For example, Israel maintains two different road networks, and even
two entirely different legal systems, in the West Bank, one for Jewish
settlers and the other for indigenous Palestinians. Those basic facts were
studiously ignored by those who denounced Carter and angrily accused him
of a "blood libel" against the Jewish people.

That Israel's American supporters so often resort to angry outbursts
rather than principled arguments - and seem to find emotional blackmail
more effective than genuine debate - is ultimately a sign of their
weakness rather than their strength. For all the damage it can do in the
short term, in the long run such a position is untenable, too dependent on
emotion and clich rather than hard facts. The phenomenal success of
Carter's book suggests that more and more Americans are learning to ignore
the scare tactics that are the only tools available to Israel's

But we need to be able to have an open debate about our Middle East policy
now - before we needlessly shed more blood and further erode our
reputation among people who used to regard us as the champions of freedom,
and now worry that we have come to stand for its very opposite.

Saree Makdisi is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCLA
and a frequent commentator on the Middle East.

Saree Makdisi, a professor of English at UCLA, is the author of Romantic
Imperialism: Universal Empire and the Culture of Modernity (Cambridge
University Press, 1998) and William Blake and the Impossible History of
the 1790s (University of Chicago Press, 2003). His new book, "Palestine
Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation," is forthcoming from Norton. Makdisi
can be reached at: makdisi [at]

--------19 of x--------

Specific suggestion: General strike
Garret Keizer
October 2007

Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust.
-Isaiah 26:19


Of all the various depredations of the Bush regime, none has been so
thorough as its plundering of hope. Iraq will recover sooner. What was
supposed to have been the crux of our foreign policy - a shock-and-awe
tutorial on the utter futility of any opposition to the whims of American
power - has achieved its greatest and perhaps its only lasting success in
the American soul. You will want to cite the exceptions, the lunch-hour
protests against the war, the dinner-party ejaculations of dissent, though
you might also want to ask what substantive difference they bear to
grousing about the weather or even to raging against the dying of the
light - that is, to any ritualized complaint against forces universally
acknowledged as unalterable. Bush is no longer the name of a president so
much as the abbreviation of a proverb, something between Murphy's Law and
tomorrow's fatal inducement to drink and be merry today.

If someone were to suggest, for example, that we begin a general strike on
Election Day, November 6, 2007, for the sole purpose of removing this
regime from power, how readily and with what well-practiced assurance
would you find yourself producing the words "It won't do any good"?
Plausible and even courageous in the mouth of a patient who knows he's
going to die, the sentiment fits equally well in the heart of a citizen-ry
that believes it is already dead.


Any strike, whether it happens in a factory, a nation, or a marriage,
amounts to a reaffirmation of consent. The strikers remind their overlords
- and, equally important, themselves - that the seemingly perpetual
machinery of daily life has an off switch as well as an on.  Camus said
that the one serious question of philosophy is whether or not to commit
suicide; the one serious question of political philosophy is whether or
not to get out of bed. Silly as it may have seemed at the time, John and
Yoko's famous stunt was based on a profound observation.  Instant karma is
not so instant - we ratify it day by day.

The stream of commuters heading into the city, the caravan of
tractor-trailers pulling out of the rest stop into the dawn's early light,
speak a deep-throated Yes to the sum total of what's going on in our
collective life. The poet Richard Wilbur writes of the "ripped mouse' that
"cries Concordance" in the talons of the owl; we too cry our daily assent
in the grip of the prevailing order" except in those notable instances
when, like a donkey or a Buddha, we refuse to budge.

The question we need to ask ourselves at this moment is what further
provocations we require to justify digging in our heels. To put the
question more pointedly: Are we willing to wait until the next
presidential election, or for some interim congressional conversion
experience, knowing that if we do wait, hundreds of our sons and daughters
will be needlessly destroyed? Another poet, César Vallejo, framed the
question like this:

     A man shivers with cold, coughs, spits up blood.
     Will it ever be fitting to allude to my inner soul? . . .
     A cripple sleeps with one foot on his shoulder.
     Shall I later on talk about Picasso, of all people?

A young man goes to Walter Reed without a face. Shall I make an
appointment with my barber? A female prisoner is sodomized at Abu Ghraib.
Shall I send a check to the Clinton campaign?


You will recall that a major theme of the Bush Administration's response
to September 11 was that life should go on as usual. We should keep saying
that broad consensual Yes as loudly as we dared. We could best express our
patriotism by hitting the malls, by booking a flight to Disney World. At
the time, the advice seemed prudent enough: avoid hysteria; defy the
intimidations of murderers and fanatics.

In hindsight it's hard not to see the roots of our predicament in the
readiness with which we took that advice to heart. We did exactly as we
were told, with a net result that is less an implicit defiance of
terrorism than a tacit amen to the "war on terror," including the war in
Iraq. Granted, many of us have come to find both those wars unacceptable.
But do we find them intolerable? Can you sleep? Yes, doctor, I can sleep.
Can you work? Yes, doctor, I can work. Do you get out to the movies, enjoy
a good restaurant? Actually, I have a reservation for tonight. Then I'd
say you were doing okay, wouldn't you?  I'd say you were tolerating the
treatment fairly well.

It is one thing to endure abuses and to carry on in spite of them. It is
quite another thing to carry on to the point of abetting the abuse. We
need to move the discussion of our nation's health to the emergency room.
We need to tell the doctors of the body politic that the treatment isn't
working - and that until it changes radically for the better, neither are


No one person, least of all a freelance writer, has the prerogative to
call or set the date for a general strike. What do you guys do for a
strike, sit on your overdue library books? Still, what day more fitting
for a strike than the first Tuesday of November, the Feast of the Hanging
Chads? What other day on the national calendar cries so loudly for

The only date that comes close is September 11. You have to do a bit of
soul-searching to see it, but one result of the Bush presidency has been a
loss of connection to those who perished that day. Unless they were
members of our families, unless we were involved in their rescue, do we
think of them? It's too easy to say that time eases the grief - there's
more to it than that, more even than the natural tendency to shy away from
brooding on disasters that might happen again. We avoid thinking of the
September 11 victims because to think of them we have to think also of
what we have allowed to happen in their names. Or, if we object openly to
what has happened, we have to parry the insinuation that we're unmoved by
their loss.

It is time for us to make a public profession of faith that the people who
went to work that morning, who caught the cabs and rode the elevators and
later jumped to their deaths, were not on the whole people who would
sanction extraordinary rendition, preemptive war, and the suspension of
habeas corpus; that in their heels and suits they were at least as decent
as any sneaker-shod person standing vigil outside a post office with a
stop the war sign. That the government workers who died in the Pentagon
were not by some strange congenital fluke more obtuse than the
high-ranking officers who thought the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea from
the get-go. That the passengers who rushed the hijackers on Flight 93 were
not repeating the mantra "It won't do any good" while scratching their
heads and their asses in a happy-hour funk.

An Election Day general strike would set our remembrance of those people
free from the sarcophagi of rhetoric and rationalization. It would be the
political equivalent of raising them from the dead. It would be a clear if
sadly delayed message of solidarity to those voters in Ohio and Florida
who were pretty much told they could drop dead.


But how would it work? A curious question to ask given that not working is
most of what it would entail. Not working until the president and the
shadow president resigned or were impeached. Never mind what happens next.
Rather, let our mandarins ask how this came to happen in the first place.
Let them ask in shock and awe.

People who could not, for whatever reason, cease work could at least
curtail consumption. In fact, that might prove the more effective action
of the two. They could vacate the shopping malls. They could cancel their
flights. With the aid of their Higher Power, they could turn off their
cell phones. They could unplug their TVs.

The most successful general strike imaginable would require extraordinary
measures simply to announce its success. It would require sound trucks
going up and down the streets, Rupert Murdoch reduced to croaking through
a bullhorn. Bonfires blazing on the hills. Bells tolling till they
cracked. (Don't we have one of those on display somewhere?)

Ironically, the segment of the population most unable to participate would
be the troops stationed in the Middle East. Striking in their
circumstances would amount to suicide. That distinction alone ought to
suffice as a reason to strike, as a reminder of the unconscionable
underside of our "normal" existence. We get on with our lives, they get on
with their deaths.

As for how the strike would be publicized and organized, these would
depend on the willingness to strike itself. The greater the willingness,
the fewer the logistical requirements. How many Americans does it take to
change a lightbulb? How many Web postings, how many emblazoned bedsheets
hung from the upper-story windows? Think of it this way: How many hours
does it take to learn the results of last night's American Idol, even when
you don't want to know?

In 1943 the Danes managed to save 7,200 of their 7,800 Jewish neighbors
from the Gestapo. They had no blogs, no television, no text messaging -
and very little time to prepare. They passed their apartment keys to the
hunted on the streets. They formed convoys to the coast. An ambulance
driver set out with a phone book, stopping at any address with a
Jewish-sounding name. No GPS for directions. No excuse not to try.

But what if it failed? What if the general strike proved to be anything
but general? I thought Bush was supposed to be the one afraid of science.
Hypothesis, experiment, analysis, conclusion - are they his hobgoblins or
ours? What do we have to fear, except additional evidence that George W.
Bush is exactly what he appears to be: the president few of us like and
most of us deserve. But science dares to test the obvious. So let us dare.


We could hardly be accused of innovation. General strikes have a long and
venerable history. They're as retro as the Bill of Rights. There was one
in Great Britain in 1926, in France in 1968, in Ukraine in 2004, in Guinea
just this year. Finns do it, Nepalis do it, even people without email do
it . . .

But we don't have to do it, you will say, because "we have a process."
Have or had, the verb remains tentative. In regard to verbs, Dick Cheney
showed his superlative talent for le mot juste when in the halls of the
U.S. Congress he told Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy to go fuck himself.
He has since told congressional investigators to do the same thing.
There's your process. Dick Cheney could lie every day of his life for all
the years of Methuselah, and for the sake of that one remark history would
still need to remember him as an honest man. In the next world, Diogenes
will kneel down before him. In this world, though, and in spite of the
invitation tendered to me through my senator, I choose to remain on my

"United we stand," isn't that how it goes? But we are not united, not by a
long shot. At this juncture we may be able to unite only in what we will
not stand for. The justification of torture, the violation of our privacy,
the betrayal of our intelligence operatives, the bankrupting of our
commonwealth, the besmirching of our country's name, the feckless response
to natural disaster, the dictatorial inflation of executive power, the
senseless butchery of our youth - if these do not constitute a common
ground for intolerance, what does?

People were indignant at the findings of the 9/11 Commission - it seems
there were compelling reasons to believe an attack was imminent! - yet for
the attack on our Constitution we have evidence even more compelling.
How can we criticize an administration for failing to act in the face of a
probable threat given our own refusal to act in the face of a threat
already fulfilled? As long as we're willing to go on with our business,
Bush and Cheney will feel free to go on with their coup. As long as we're
willing to continue fucking ourselves, why should they have any scruples
about telling us to smile during the act?


Between undertaking the strike and achieving its objective, the latter
requires the greater courage. It requires courage simply to admit that
this is so. For too many of us, Bush has become a secret craving, an
addiction. We loathe Bush the way that Peter Pan loathed Captain Hook;
he's a villain, to be sure, but he's half the fun of living in Never-Never
Land. He has provided us with an inexhaustible supply of editorial copy,
partisan rectitude, and every sort of lame excuse for not engaging the
system he represents. In that sense, asking "What if the strike were to
fail?" is not even honest. On some level we would want it to fail.

Certainly this would be true of those who've declared themselves as
presidential candidates and for whom the Bush legacy represents an
unprecedented windfall of political capital. One need only speak a
coherent sentence - one need only breathe from a differently shaped smirk
- to seem like a savior. Ding-dong, the Witch is dead. Already I can see
the winged monkeys who signed off on the Patriot Act and the Iraq invasion
jumping up and down for joy. Already I can hear the nauseating gush: "Such
a welcome relief after Bush!" Relief, yes. But relief is not hope.

How much better if we could say to our next administration: Don't talk
about Bush. We dealt with Bush. We dealt with Bush and in so doing we
demonstrated our ability to deal with you. You have a mandate more
rigorous than looking good beside Bush. You need a program more ambitious
than "uniting the country." We are united - at least we were, if only for
a while, if only in our disgust. If only I believed all this would happen.

I wrote this appeal during the days leading up to the Fourth of July. I
wrote it because for the past six and a half years I have heard the people
I love best - family members, friends, former students and parishioners -
saying, "I'm sick over what's happening to our country, but I just don't
know what to do." Might I be pardoned if, fearing civil disorder less than
I fear civil despair, I said, "Well, we could do this." It has been done
before and we could do this. And I do believe we could. If anyone has a
better idea, I'm keen to hear it. Only don't tell me what some
presidential hopeful ought to do someday. Tell me what the people who have
nearly lost their hope can do right now.

--------20 of x---------

 [The one good thing about eunuchs is they can't propagate themselves -ed]

A Party Of Eunuchs
by Tom Maertens
(veteran US diplomat--complete bio after his essay)

It's ten months since the Democrats took over Congress, and our worst
fears have been confirmed: the Democratic Party is a paper tiger.

Case in point: It's only October and already the Democrats are preparing
for the big cave on FISA - despite Nancy Pelosi's commitment, supported
by others in the party, to revamp FISA as soon as Congress reconvened.

This is just one more failure to halt the Bush administration's assault
on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Look at the situation.  As a result of one terrorist event, on 9/11, the
Bush administration has

-      Denied an  individual's rights to habeas corpus, trial by
impartial jury, legal counsel, knowledge of evidence

-      Supported use of coerced and hearsay testimony

-      Employed enforced disappearance and secret detention

-      Approved use of torture and other mistreatment

-      Claimed the right to ignore laws in signing statements

-      Conducted warrantless searches and wiretaps

-      Issued a gag order on the 45,000 National Security Letters per
year the FBI has issued recently - a ploy to protect an
anti-Constitutional process that by-passes search warrants

-      Instituted the secret Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment
(TIDE), including no-fly lists assembled in secret

-      Approved involvement by CIA's National Clandestine Service and
DOD's Counterintelligence Field Activity in domestic spying.
Predictably, they immediately set about spying on domestic anti-war
groups, such as Greenpeace, the Quakers, Catholic Workers, and 150 more
groups in their TALON database

Is there any chance that the Democrats will actually protect our civil
liberties?  Why aren't the Dems doing anything to restore Habeas Corpus?
The first article of the Military Commissions Act clearly puts every
American at risk of being incarcerated as Jose Padilla was, three and a
half years in solitary confinement with no legal rights.

Why haven't the Democrats stopped the use of torture?  The Office of
Legal Counsel has defined torture out of existence so that George Bush
can stand in front of the cameras and intone the big lie.  Sophistries
don't change reality.

What happened to the Democrats' determination to reverse direction in
Iraq?  Now they are claiming they don't have the votes, adding deception
to cowardice.  Everyone knows that all money bills originate in the
House.  Pusillanimous is not the same as powerless, although it leads to
the same result.

Why did Nancy Pelosi yank the rug out from under the Murtha (et al) plan
to make Bush pay for his war?  Do the Dems think they will be better off
in the future if they are faced with raising taxes with a Dem in the
White House (as in '93).  Is nobody smart enough to hang the albatross
around Bush's neck for his "borrow-and-spend" policies?  Public opinion
is so negative on Bush's war, that only the faintest of hearts could be
intimidated by Republican demagoguery.

Bush and the Grover Norquists of the world are trying to destroy the
federal government so it can be flushed down the drain, in Norquist's
memorable phrase.  The mechanism they seized upon is to bankrupt the
Treasury thru tax-cuts and spending increases.  The result is $3
trillion in additional debt so far, all of which will have to be paid
back by future generations.  Instead of opposing  this raid on the
public finances, the Democrats seen to have settled on a policy of
playing fiscal chicken with the Republicans.   Do the Dems believe that
the American people can't figure this out it they explain it?  Who is
likely to be left holding the bag on this?

The Neocons are whipping up another war, and the Bush administration is
preparing for another pre-emptive attack, this time against Iran.  What
are the Democrats doing to stop it?  They signed up to the Kyl-Lieberman
resolution which juxtaposes the words Iran and military means in the
same memo.  When Bush latches on to this resolution to attack Iran, the
capitulationists will all whine that they were misled; that's not what
we meant. Pelosi even removed a provision from a recent war-funding bill
that would have required Bush to get permission from Congress before
launching any attack on Iran.

Their leading presidential candidates have all joined the amen chorus.
This is clearly about defending Israel, and all of them seem fully
prepared to compromise U.S. interests in order to placate the American
wing of Likud and the dangerously nutty Christian Zionists with their
delusions of being wafted out of their pajamas.

Steven Bradbury of the Justice Dept told Congress that President has the
authority to order domestic assassinations of terrorist suspects.  Do
the Dems agree the there are no restrictions on the President's
Commander-in-Chief powers?  Do the Democrats object to government death
squads run by Bush and Cheney?  Can they think of other governments that
have engaged in assassinating "suspects" where the results have been
let's say problematic?

For six years, the Republican Congress was a wholly owned subsidiary of
the White House, manned by the most corrupt, fawning toadies the GOP has
ever placed in positions of authority.  If we get attacked again by
terrorists, Bush and the Republicans, aided by militarists like Rudy
Giuliani, will begin agitating loudly to suspend the Constitution and
declare martial law.  Will the Democrats go along with the Republican
puppets in Congress in copying the Reichstag capitulation of 1933, and
vote themselves out of power?

I saw a sign recently that said "Spinelessness is better than evil."
No one doubts that the Republicans would sell the country out in a
heartbeat for campaign contributions, public office, or any other
self-interested reason.  Does that mean we should support the shameful,
pusillanimous Democrats?

Is there any principle that they support?  Is there anything that they
are willing to fight for?  What process is it that turns Democratic
legislators into sniveling, whimpering cowards?

Their strategy, to the extent they have one, could be labeled "toothless
posturing," a series of hollow threats.  This is supposed to reassure
their base that they are doing something on behalf of the voters, and
simultaneously strike fear into the hearts of Republicans.   Except that
Reid and Pelosi immediately collapse into a quivering heap as soon as
some Republican accuses them of being soft on terrorism.

Affiliated with this strategy is the corollary principal of pre-emptive
capitulation which they argue is being pragmatic in order not to
jeopardize their chances in '08.  Jeopardize what?  The Democrats have 70%
of the population behind them on Iraq, and more than 90% of Democrats.
How many votes do they need to take action?  If they had 55 votes in the
Senate, would they grow spines?  Or would it take 65 votes? Is there in
fact any such point?

The sad reality is that this is a party of craven eunuchs.  They are
afraid to take on the most unpopular president in U.S. history over a
disastrous war, over his assault on the Constitution, and his raid on the
Treasury.  No wonder opinion polls show respect for Congress in the teens.

With few exceptions (Russ Feingold, Henry Waxman, John Conyers, Murtha,
a handful of others) the Democrats are like whipped puppies, cringing
and cowering with their tails between legs.  Please, please, don't hurt
me anymore.  They apparently think that if they assume an abjectly
submissive posture, the Republicans won't hit them again.   That's how
they get manipulated into condemning a ad, which (while not
the cleverest copy ever written) is certainly right in pointing out that
Petraeus is a political general lending his credibility to an
administration that has none left on Iraq.  But then, this is a
Democratic party that won't hesitate to eat its young if that will help
avoid the impression it has any principles.

Tom Maertens Biography: I spent most of the last 35 years traveling the
globe as a U.S. diplomat, a Peace Corps volunteer, and as a naval
officer. My final government position was as a senior official in the
office of counter terrorism in the U.S. State Department during and
after the attack of September 11, 2001. In that position, I helped
organize the U.S. response to that attack, which came to be known as the
War on Terrorism.  In addition, I served as NSC Director for
Nonproliferation under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, dealing
with weapons of mass destruction. With this experience as background, I
have written a number of articles on terrorism and on the war in Iraq,
which are collected here. Included on this web site are other articles
that I consider interesting or valuable along with some book
recommendations. You may contact me with any comments you have by using
the link at the top of the page.

     * Born in Minnesota and raised in Mankato, Minnesota

     * Naval Officer aboard a guided missile cruiser from 1966 to 1969

     * Peace Corps volunteer to Ethiopia where he taught English as a
second language and worked with the World Health Organization to
eliminate smallpox from 1971 to 1972

     * Foreign Service assignment in Ethiopia as a political reporting
officer during the revolution

     * Subsequently served in Bogota, Columbia, reporting on internal
politics, the insurgent groups and the drug connection

     * Worked on Soviet affairs dealing with arms control negotiations,
economics, science and intelligence on different occasions

     * Served as Deputy Principal Officer in Leningrad, USSR, from 1987
to 1989 where he reported on the independence movements in the Baltics
and the impending breakup of the Soviet Union

     * Staff member of Senate Foreign Relations committee and staff
member and legislation author for Senator Bill Cohen

     * Senior Political Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Panama from 1990 to
       1991; provided advice during December 1990 coup attempt to the
       Panamanian president; Recommended that Washington bring in US
       troops, which led to the collapse of the coup

     * Senior Political-Military Advisor, US Arms Control Delegation,
       from 1991 to 1995 where he directed staff in conducting arms control
       negotiations with Russia and other countries

     * Deputy Director, Arms Transfer and Export Control Policy from
       during which he developed and led international nonproliferation
       seminars to 12 countries in Asia and Europe, also coordinated
       of high-technology goods (satellites, computers)

     * Directed the Environment, Science and Technology section, Moscow from
       1998 to 2000 where he organized and coordinated embassy preparations
       for Y2K. Had oversight responsibility for a $350 million nuclear
security program; was responsible for biological and chemical weapons
issues and visited several Russian bio facilities

     * Director for Nonproliferation on the U.S. National Security Council
       from 2000 to 2001 where he chaired White House review of U.S./Russian
       Nonproliferation Programs, resulting in $2 billion reduction in
       coordinated U.S. efforts to safeguard nuclear weapons and materials,
       and participated in policy formulation on biological weapons

     * U.S. Department of State Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism from
       2001-2002 where he helped develop policy response to attacks of
       September 11, including planning the War on Terrorism

--------21 of x--------

              Consigned to the dustbin of history

I have always been turned on by the phrase "consigned to the dustbin of
history".  When I first heard it I started a search for useless or fusty
or just plain stupid objects and concepts etc that I could consign there.

Barbie dolls? Idiot mittens? Acid rock records? A life-size cardboard
cut-out of Ronald Reagan?

Once I had them, I realized I didn't know where the distbin of history
was. Oh sure you can say, Any old anything will do, because it's just
figurative. But the saying doesn't say "figurative" dustbin; it assumes
the real thing, and if it's real, then it's got to be somewhere. And where
was that where?

So I went on a quest for the Holy Dustbin of History. I looked in all the
places you might suspect - Rome, Paris, London, Omaha, Fridley, Vilas
South Dakota - and it wasn't till the last - Vilas SD - that I hit

It's actually pretty big.  The edges flow down like grain or sand down a
tube, and if you get too close, you're history.

I drove my consignables to Vilas. In goes a Barbie Doll. Foop! Idiot
mittens. Foop!Foop! Acid rock records. Foop!Foop!Foop!Foop!Foop!Foop!
Life-size cut-out of Ronald Reagan. Ffffffffooooooooooppppppppp!
It sort of didn't want the Reagan cutout, it having some standards you
know, but I pushed it in with long pole.

I next tried to consign the dustbin of history to itself. Maybe like
turning a sock inside out an infinite number of times, so it could never
get back. But to do so I would have had to start on the other side of
infinity, and since the cutbacks there aren't any trains that go there.

So I had to go back to things like pronto pups, junk mail, and the "and
by" sponsor eternity on public television. Alas, even though I consigned
them there, it was just individual eg pronto pups that got consigned, and
not the type or Platonic Form Pronto Pup, so all the other individual
pronto pups still exist, eminently consignable but not as yet consigned.

Over the years, tossing stuff in and watching it go foop! has been
amusing. But what of social usefulness?  How could I benefit all
of society? Future generations? The true the good and the beautiful?

I have invited the whole Democratic Congressional delegation to
Thanksgiving Dinner. In Vilas South Dakota. It is a far far better thing
than I have ever done before.


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