|Progressive Calendar 02.21.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 04:51:38 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 02.21.08 1. Sustain ag 2.21 12noon 2. Jim Wallis 2.21 12noon 3. Global treadmill 2.21 12:30pm 4. Aeon/CCHT 2.21 4:30pm 5. Anti-war demo 2.21 4:30pm Rochester MN 6. Women/politics 2.21 5:30pm 7. Eagan peace vigil 2.21 4:30pm 8. Northtown vigil 2.21 5pm 9. Peace dance 2.21 5:30pm 10. Homeless 2.21 6:30pm 11. GP candidates 2.21 6:30pm 12. AWC newbie 2.21 7pm 13. Peace Island 2.21 7pm 14. Tin Drum/film 2.21 7pm 15. Health class 2.21 7pm 16. AI-Wayzata 2.21 7:15pm 17. Howell/Olson 2.22 11am 18. Palestine vigil 2.22 4:15pm 19. Palestine/film 2.22 7:30pm 20. NOW/freelance/TV 2.22 8:30pm 21. Moyers/earmarks 2.22 9pm 22. Mike Ferner - How sick of it are you? Dissent of the governed 23. PC Roberts - Lies and spies: Bush's life of constitutional crime 24. Steve Eckardt - Cuba sans Fidel: No news is big news 25. Arthur Silber - No one is safe: The ruling class unleashed 26. ed - The great debate (poem) --------1 of 26------- From: "bulldogsmn [at] juno.com" <bulldogsmn [at] juno.com> Subject: Sustain ag 2.21 12noon -- I invite people to join my Yahoo group that are interested in Environmental Issues. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MNenvironmentalist/ -Laura Cina -- Food and the Fate of the World: Re-Thinking the Ecology and Community of Agri-Culture part of the Conversations on Sustainability series Professor Anne R. Kapuscinski, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology and Director of Institute for Social Economic and Ecological Sustainability and Dana Jackson, Program Associate for The Land Stewardship Project and co-author of The Farm as Natural Habitat: Reconnecting Food Systems with Ecosystems as well as Professor Bud Markhart, a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Minor faculty as well as Director for the Student Organic Farm speak about where our food comes from, the state of current agriculture and why we need to care. February 21st, 12:00 - 1:30 Mississippi Room, Coffman Union Why: Economic incentives and a "junk-food culture" are just a few of themotivators for factory farming and the sacrifice of healthy ecosystems. Over half of the state of Minnesota is dedicated to farmland, with many non-diversified monoculture crops of soybeans or corn. How does this type of farming affect our soil and rivers, rural communities, and human health? What might be more sustainable alternative approaches to food and agriculture? Please RSVP to sustainu [at] umn.edu by February 19th to receive your free local organic lunch! **if you do not RSVP by Feb. 19th, you can still attend but will not receive a free lunch. --------2 of 26-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Jim Wallis 2.21 12noon Thursday, 2/21, noon to 1 pm, Christian activist Jim Wallis speaks on "Reclaiming Government as a Source for Good," Weyerhaeuser Chapel, Macalester College, Grand & Snelling, St. Paul. http://ewestminster.org/forum.asp --------3 of 26-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Global treadmill 2.21 12:30pm February 21: Center on Women & Public Policy "Race & Gender Along the Global Assembly Line." Featuring Bama Athreya, Executive Director of the International Labor Rights Forum. 12:30-4:00 p.m., Wilkins Room (215) Humphrey Center All are welcome. Come for all or part- no RSVP necessary. Light refreshments served. --------4 of 26-------- From: Jenny Johnson <JJohnson [at] aeonhomes.org> Subject: Aeon/CCHT 2.21 4:30pm Learn how Aeon is responding to the affordable housing shortage in the Twin Cities. Please join us for a 1-hour Building Dreams presentation. St. Paul Sessions: February 21 at 4:30 pm We are also happy to present Building Dreams at your organization, place of worship, or business. Space is limited, please register online at: http://www.aeonhomes.org/bd or call Jenny Johnson at 612-341-3148 x237 --------5 of 26-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Anti-war demo 2.21 4:30pm Rochester MN Thursday, 2/21, 4:30 pm, demonstration against the war, 2nd St SW and Broadway, Rochester, followed by 6:45 meeting of SE MN Peacemakers at the Rochester Public Library, room A. FFI: http://www.semnap.org/ --------6 of 26-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Women/politics 2.21 5:30pm Thursday, February 21: American Association of University Women St. Paul Branch. Evening Program: Hillary, Nancy & Condi: Women in Politics in the U.S. with Julie Dolan, Associate Professor, Political Science Department, Macalester College. 5:30 PM. --------7 of 26-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 2.21 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------8 of 26-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 2.21 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------9 of 26-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Peace dance 2.21 5:30pm Thursday, 2/21, 5:30 pm silent auction, 7 pm dinner, 8 to 10 pm dancing, annual carnival and silent auction to benefit the Nonviolent Peaceforce, Cedars Hall-St Maron's Church, 602 University Ave NE, Mpls. $45 to Nonviolent Peaceforce/Carnival, 425 Oak Grove St, Mpls. 55403 or 612-871-0005. --------10 of 26-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Homeless 2.21 6:30pm February 21: League of Women Voters Minneapolis & others. Public Forum on Homeless Initiative. 6:30 PM. Temple Israel, Minneapolis. --------11 of 26-------- From: Eric Gilbertson <aleric [at] tcq.net> Subject: GP candidates 2.21 6:30pm Open to anyone interested in supporting Green Party endorsed candidates for the 2009 Minneapolis municipal elections. Thursday, February 21st 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. (and potentially later, but we'll have to move somewhere else) Northeast Public Library 2200 Central Ave A committee of the 5th CD GPMN Please come and help us figure out ways to gather people, ideas, and energy for the 2009 campaign. --------12 of 26-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: AWC newbie 2.21 7pm Anti-War Committee: New members meeting Thursday 2/21 @ 7pm @ Conference Rm. 102A, 1313 5th St SE, Room 102A, Minneapolis* Planning to protest at the Republican Convention in 2008? Interested in organizing against the war? Want to help build a movement to stop it? The Anti-War Committee is the place for you! New people are always welcome, but this meeting will cater to first-timers who want to learn about our organizing & to help plan upcoming actions. For more information contact the Anti-War Committee (antiwarcommittee.org, 612.389.3899). --------13 of 26-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] UMN.EDU> Subject: Peace Island 2.21 7pm This September, when the Republican National Convention takes place in St. Paul, Minnesotans will have a rare opportunity to help shape history. The eyes of the world will then be focused on the Twin Cities and thousands of media people will be here in search of news stories, many of which will serve as counterpoints to the carefully orchestrated proceedings inside the XCel Center. If you would like to be a part of the action or even if you would simply like to know what will be going on, be sure to come to the February Third Thursday Global Issues Forum, the details for which are provided below. THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church,511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale & Hennepin) Park in church lot. Thursday, February 21, 7-9pm "PEACE ISLAND": HOPE IN ATIME OF CRISIS Since late 2006, under the auspices of the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (MAP), a committee of eight dedicated activists has been preparing a major conference to be held at the same time as the Republican National Convention in St. Paul in September. This conference, to be held at Concordia College in St. Paul, will establish a true "Peace Island" between the dynamics of the Convention itself and the myriad demonstrations and events to which the Convention will give rise. The Peace Island initiative will feature local and nationally known presenters to promote and celebrate peace, justice, non-violent activism, harmony, care of the earth, and a vision for a better world. If you or a group to which you belong would like to become associated with or learn more about this exciting project, you ought to attend this Third Thursday Forum. A related event, a Peace Rally and March to the RNC, will also be discussed. Presenters: DICK BERNARD, MARIE BRAUN and DENNIS DILLON. Following a career with the Minnesota Education Association, BERNARD became a virtually full-time peace and justice activist. A past Board member of CGS MN, he has also served the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (MAP) in numerous capacities and was as its President for the past three years, a period in which MAP witnessed truly remarkable growth. BRAUN has been associated with Women Against Military Madness for 25 years, is a co-founder of WAMM's Iraq Committee and is active with several other groups working on Iraq. She was named "Activist of the Year" by the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action in 2003 and, along with her husband John, was a co-recipient of a 2006 peace and justice award from the Hawkinson Foundation. DILLON is active in various justice, peace and sustainability issues at the Basilica of Saint Mary and elsewhere in the Twin Cities. He represents the Basilica in MAP; serves on MAP's Executive Committee, the Steering Team of the Network of Spiritual Progressives and the Board of the MN Chapter of CGS; and chairs the Peace Island steering committee. The Third Thursday Global Issues Forums are sponsored by the Minnesota Chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions and endorsed by a number of other peace and justice organizations. --------14 of 26-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Tin Drum/film 2.21 7pm Thursday, 2/21, 7 pm, German film "The Tin Drum" about a young boy growing up in Danzig during the rise of Nazism who decides to stop growing and communicates only by banging on his tin drum, Landmark Center's Weyerhaeuser Auditorium, 75 W 5th St, St Paul. http://traces.org/programs.html --------15 of 26-------- From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: Health class 2.21 7pm We have 16 folks signed-up for the Exco health care activism class. The next class will meet 7PM this Thursday Feb 21 and the following Thurs Feb 28 at MayDay Books 301 Cedar ave, Mpls. Their number is 612-333-4719. My number is 612-384-0973, or email. Please let me know if there is any specific topic you want us to discuss including: successful direct actions by seniors for Rx drugs, AIDS activists, persons with disabilities and bus accessability; the upcoming election and health car;, legislation; health care and resisting the RNC, starting our own health fund, mental health, long term care, drug issues, your personal stories are powerful too. Hope to see you there, even if you missed the first class. Joel Albers Pharm.D., Ph.D. Clinical Pharmacist, Health Economics Researcher Universal Health Care Action Network - MN Community/University Collaborative Research www.uhcan-mn.org email: joel [at] uhcan-mn.org phone: 612-384-0973 --------16 of 26-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: AI-Wayzata 2.21 7:15pm AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, February 21st, at 7:15 p.m. St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com. --------17 of 26-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Howell/Olson 2.22 11am The HISTORY THEATER is dong a production called PEACE-CRIMES, that explores the story of the MINNESOTA 8: eight anti-war, draft-resisters who were tried, convicted and spent years in prison for opposing the Vietnam War. Hear one of the MN 8, DON OLSON, on KFAI Radio today/Fri.Feb. 15, 11am for Friday's HOUR OF POWER - people' power that is! - TODAY/FRI,FEB.15:CATALYST, 11am hosted by Lydia Howell & NORTHERN SUN NEWS,11:30am Don Olson's longtime show. KFAI 90.3fm Mpls 106.7 fm St Paul ALL shows archived for 2 weeks after broadcast online at http://www.kfai.org --------18 of 26-------- From: Karen Redleaf <vegan14ever [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 2.22 4:15pm Friday 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St Paul. Cancelled if temp below 20F. --------19 of 26-------- From: Mizna <mizna-announce [at] mizna.org> Subject: Palestine/film 2.22 7:30pm Ertijal Friday, February 22, 7:30 pm Film Ertijal, followed by a discussion with the Joubran Brothers (the subjects of the film!) Oak Street Cinema 309 Oak Street SE Minneapolis, Minnesota $10 copresented with the Minnesota Guitar Society Witness the tensions & wonderful humor between a family of Palestinian Oud makers & musicians, whose livelihood is also their passion. The brothers have strikingly different personalities, yet their music requires listening & responding closely to one another as they improvise intricate & beautiful songs in performances around the globe. See several mesmerizing performances, gain insight into the experiences & challenges for Palestinians living in Israel & Palestine, & experience first-hand the family's everyday struggles & triumphs. Join us for a discussion with the subjects of the film, the Joubran Brothers, following the film! Mizna is a forum for Arab American art. Visit our website: http://www.mizna.org --------20 of 26-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: NOW/freelance/TV 2.22 8:30pm NOW Programing Note | Freelancers Unionize for Benefits http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/021808H.shtml Temporary workers and independent contractors make up nearly a third of the US workforce, and represent a growing asset to companies who rely on freelance flexibility. But corporations are using the designation "freelancer" to avoid paying health care and other benefits, even though many of these workers put in the same hours as their covered counterparts. This week, NOW looks at the effect of this tactic on the lives and personal economy of freelance workers. --------21 of 26-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: Moyers/earmarks 2.22 9pm Bill Moyers Journal | Earmarks http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022008U.shtml "Bill Moyers Journal and the PBS series 'Expose: America's Investigative Reports' offer a hard and fresh look at how earmarks really work. The broadcast profiles Seattle Times reporters on the trail of how members of Congress have awarded federal dollars for questionable purposes to companies in local Congressional districts - often to companies whose executives, employees or PACs have made campaign contributions to the legislators. The segment also focuses on how earmarks for some products were added to the defense appropriations bill even in cases in which the military didn't want them in the first place." --------22 of 26-------- Dissent of the Governed How Sick of It Are You? By MIKE FERNER CounterPunch February 20, 2008 We have screamed at the heavens and cried bitter tears. We've marched and picketed and gone to jail. And we are sick. Sick of the corruption - sick of the liars - sick of this war! On March 19, the day the U.S. invaded Iraq five years ago, we'll be sick of it yet again. But on that revolting day we can do something nonviolently revolutionary. We can withdraw our consent from this sick system - by calling in sick. People are signing up to do just that at the "Sick Of It Day" website. With passion and eloquence they're saying why they are "sick of it." Listen: "Because over a million innocents have died. Because the Democrats, who promised to end the war, have been in control of the budget now for almost a year and a half, and they have continued to fund the war. Because I'm disgusted with Bush, Cheney and the Democrats." David Lindorff, Ambler PA "The lies, the deaths, the brutality, the sheer hubris and arrogance, and the obscene profits from it all." Ron Jacobs, Asheville NC "Because Lavena Johnson is dead and she should not be and her parents are broken-hearted. Because Ken Ballard is dead and he should not be and his parents are broken-hearted. Because James Curtis Coons is dead and he should not be and his parents are broken-hearted. Because there are "officially" 3,960 young men and women who are dead and they should not be and their parents, wives, husbands, children, grandparents, siblings, friends, lovers, and communities are broken-hearted. Because the wounded will live with their own broken hearts, hopes and dreams. And so will their families. Because the collective heart of Iraq...that is beyond words." Peggy Daly-Masternak, Toledo OH "Like hamsters we run the wheel, never getting ahead. While our leaders kill, bomb & torture for fun and big profits. These soldiers are our sons & daughters and our government turns them into monsters - War is not glory it's horror - This is not life! It's death described as life." Michael McKinney, Bay Village OH "My daughter is an Iraq Vet and on Inactive Ready Reserve...and risks another Iraq deployment. Our congresswoman is on the OUT OF IRAQ Caucus, but continues to fund this occupation every other time it is presented to her. My x son-in-law is a disabled, Purple Heart Iraq Veteran. We have to stop drinking the kool-aid, wake up America!" Dinah Mason, Santa Barbara CA "I am sick of hearing people lose hope and say there's nothing that can be done - we can start change now. Being sick of it is only the first step. We must - believe again that we really do have the power to make an impact, and put our conscience into action." Susan Burky, Reading PA "I am sick of seeing another generation of young men and women get betrayed and destroyed by their country. I am sick of feeling again each blow a mother gave me when I told her that her only son was killed in Vietnam - I am sick of having the visions of little knee high kids maimed by bombs in another never should have happened war - I am sick that we never learned the lessons of Vietnam and are repeating them again in Iraq." Paul Appell, Altona IL "I am sick of all the killing. I am sick of the lies. I am sick of the apathy - I am sick of feeling ashamed of my country." Peggy Love, Rock Island WA "I am sick of seeing America in denial about how much we have been lied to." Adam Kokesh, Washington DC "I'm sick of seeing The American People fall for scum bag propaganda and disempowering their own ears, eyes, brains, and hearts." Susan Galleymore, Alameda CA Sick enough? Then sign up here: www.sickofitday.org. And when you call in sick on March 19, before going back to bed or out to protest, check out this link to the document that started a revolution against another King George. Note where it says "Governments are instituted among Men (sic), deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed -" We no longer consent. We are sick of it. Mike Ferner is a member of Veterans For Peace, the sponsor of "Sick Of It Day." --------23 of 26-------- Bush's Life of Constitutional Crime Lies and Spies By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS CounterPunch February 20, 2008 President George W. Bush and his director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, are telling the American people that an unaccountable executive branch is necessary for their protection. Without the Protect America Act, Bush and McConnell claim, the executive branch will not be able to spy on terrorists, and we will all be blown up. Terrorists can only be stopped, Bush says, if Bush has the right to spy on everyone without any oversight by courts. The fight over the Protect America Act has everything to do with our safety, only not in the way that Bush and McConnell assert. Bush says the Democrats have put "our country more in danger of an attack" by letting the Protect America Act lapse. This claim is nonsense. The 30 year old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives the executive branch all the power it needs to spy on terrorists. The choice between FISA and the Protect America Act has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism, at least not from foreign terrorists. Bush and his brownshirts object to FISA, because the law requires Bush to obtain warrants from a FISA court. Warrants mean that Bush is accountable. Bush and his brownshirts argue that accountability is an infringement on the power of the president. To escape accountability, the Brownshirt Party came up with the Protect America Act. This act eliminates Bush's accountability to judges and gives the telecom companies immunity from the felonies they committed by acquiescing in Bush's illegal spying. Bush began violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in October 2001 when he spied on Americans without obtaining warrants from the FISA court. Bush pressured telecom companies to break the law in order to enable his illegal spying. In court documents, Joseph P. Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest Communications International, states that his firm was approached more than six months before the September 11, 2001, attacks and asked to participate in a spying operation that Qwest believed to be illegal. When Qwest refused, the Bush administration withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Nacchio himself was subsequently indicted for insider trading, sending the message to all telecom companies to cooperate with the Bush regime or else. Bush has not been held accountable for the felonies he committed and for leading telecom companies into a life of crime. As the lawmakers who gave us FISA understood, spying on people without warrants lets a political party collect dirt on its adversaries with which to blackmail them. As Bush illegally spied a long time before word of it got out, blackmail might be the reason the Democrats have ignored their congressional election mandate and have not put a stop to Bush's illegal wars and unconstitutional police state measures. Perhaps the Democrats have finally caught on that they cannot function as a political party as long as they continue to permit Bush to spy on them. For one reason or another, they have let the Orwellian-named Protect America Act expire. With the Protect America Act, Bush and his brownshirts are trying to establish the independence of the executive branch from statutory law and the Constitution. The FISA law means that the president is accountable to federal judges for warrants. Bush and the brownshirt Republicans are striving to make the president independent of all accountability. The brownshirts insist that the leader knows best and can tolerate no interference from the law, the judiciary, the Congress, or the Constitution, and certainly not from the American people who, the brownshirts tell us, won't be safe unless Bush is very powerful. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison saw it differently. The American people cannot be safe unless the president is accountable and under many restraints. Pray that the Democrats have caught on that they cannot give the executive branch unaccountable powers to spy and still have grounds on which to refuse the executive branch unaccountable powers elsewhere. Republicans have used the "war on terror" to create an unaccountable executive. To prevent the presidency from becoming a dictatorial office, it is crucial that Congress cease acquiescing in Bush's grab for powers. As the Founding Fathers warned us, the terrorists we have to fear are the ones in power in Washington. The al Qaeda terrorists, with whom Bush has been frightening us, have no power to destroy our liberties. Compared to the loss of liberty, a terrorist attack is nothing. Meanwhile, Bush, the beneficiary of two stolen elections, has urged Zimbabwe to hold a fair election. America gets away with its hypocrisy because no one in our government has enough shame to blush. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com --------24 of 26-------- No News is Big News Cuba Sans Fidel By STEVE ECKARDT CounterPunch February 20, 2008 It's big news in the U.S. that Fidel Castro has declined to accept election when Cuba's Parliament meets this Sunday to select the country's Ministers - it's the headline story in every form of media, along with more than the usual background and opinion pieces. But it's the media brouhaha itself that's the real big news, for the actual top story is that there's almost no news here at all. Look: despite half a century of U.S. portraying Fidel as the Western Hemisphere's Stalin and the Cuban people as both suffering and ready to explosively grasp freedom the moment his totalitarian grip slips there are no demonstrations, let alone riots, in Cuba today. Nor are there any prospects of them. Nor was there any form of unrest or disruptions of daily life when Fidel first handed over his posts to a team of seven leaders after falling ill at the end of July 2006. Indeed Cuba just completed an immense and thorough-going Parliamentary election process where some 96% of the electorate (voting age begins at 16) cast secret ballots - and 92% of them chose the united slate put together by union, women's, youth, small farmers' and other popular organizations (the Communist Party cannot field candidates). This puts the percentage opposing what Washington calls the 'Castro regime' read the Cuban Revolution at 10% under the most liberal possible interpretation. With the vast majority of Cubans solidly backing their revolution and government, the effect of Fidel's reassignment to regular columnist for Juventud Rebelde (the newspaper 'Rebel Youth') goes little beyond ache at the tragedy of human aging, especially of the world's greatest leading political figure -one so popular that he's almost universally and uniquely referred to by his first name. Without Fidel, is the Cuban Revolution about to collapse? What are the chances that Cuba's about to go down either the Soviet, Yugoslav, or Chinese roads? The old phrase "slim to none" is a too generous an answer. What about U.S. policy toward Cuba? Without Fidel and, for that matter, without Bush what are the chances that will change? Call that one slimmer and none-er. Look no further than the statements by the Democratic candidates (even granting the far- from-certain assumption that one of them will be the next U.S. president) responding to yesterday's news, statements solidly fixed in the past half-century of Washington's obdurate hostility to the Cuban Revolution: Declared [American Empire candidate #1] Hillary Clinton: "As you know, Fidel Castro announced that he is stepping down as Cuba's leader after 58 years of one-man rule. The new leadership in Cuba will face a stark choice continue with the failed policies of the past that have stifled democratic freedoms and stunted economic growth or take a historic step to bring Cuba into the community of democratic nations." Declared [American Empire candidate #2] Barack Obama: "Today should mark the end of a dark era in Cuba's history. Fidel Castro's stepping down is an essential first step, but it is sadly insufficient in bringing freedom to Cuba." (For their complete statements, along with those from other leading U.S. politicians, go to http://www.lawg.org/) Of course no surprise here after all, if there's been one eternal bipartisan constant across the past fifty years, ten U.S. presidents, and 23 Congresses, it's the unwavering agreement on crushing Cuba's socialist revolution, on the demand that (as the 1996 Helms-Burton Act puts it) Cuba "return property taken on or after January 1, 1959." (Want to guess which country's corporations owned most of Cuba's valuable land and infrastructure then?) This is a central and inescapable fact that all those favoring restoration of travel rights to Cuba and normalization of relations need to grasp. Washington is no more about to recognize Cuba's government and allow its citizens to travel there with Fidel out any more than it did after Cuba met all of Washington's previous demands: that the island end its special relationship with the Soviet Union, that it remove troops from Africa, that it halt support for rebel movements in Central America, that it sign on to international anti- terrorist and nuclear proliferation treaties, that it deploy forces to halt drug trafficking in its waters, or that etc, etc, etc. When it comes to U.S. demands on Cuba, one thing is certain: the goal posts always move. It's not enough that Fidel is no longer part of Cuba's government, he needs to be dead. Until and even after then, Raul Castro needs to go as well. And when that inevitably happens, it'll be "well, the Castro brothers might be gone, but their regime lives on." And so on and so on into eternity until Cuba returns "property taken on or after January 1, 1959." Cuba's free and universal healthcare? Its free education through college and beyond? Rent-free home ownership? Guaranteed foreclosure-free farm land? Twenty-eight thousand ((28,000) volunteer doctors providing free medical care in 67 countries? All that has to go. Property relations must be restored to their pre-January 1, 1959 condition. Unfortunately for Washington, as the most recent events and the past 50 years have clearly demonstrated, the chances of that happening goes all the way to slimmererer and none-erer. And it's that 'no news' that's the big news. [If only we half-dead had the Cuban spirit here...] Steve Eckardt produces CubaSolidarity.com for the National Network on Cuba. He can be reached at: seckardt [at] aol.com --------25 of 26-------- No One Is Safe: The Ruling Class Unleashed posted by Arthur Silber at 12:12 PM February 13, 2008 My title announces that, "No one is safe." That's true - but it has been true for many decades. A certain kind of political partisan will insist that our current disasters all (or largely) date from the installation of the Bush regime following the election of 2000. Such a view is profoundly mistaken, and frequently proceeds from less than honest motives. To the extent one believes that the current crisis arose in significant part in less than a decade, one confesses an astonishing ignorance of history, together with a complete inability to understand political and cultural developments over time. The view that the Bush regime is the source of (most) evil is superficial and trivial; often, with regard to those who are politically knowledgeable and politically active, it is morally suspect, and frequently morally deplorable. The United States has thus far been spared foreign conquest or natural calamity on a massive scale. In the absence of such factors, our government has followed its own inexorable and logical path. The direction is and has always been toward the accumulation of more state power, more control over increasing aspects of all Americans' lives, and the destruction of Americans' ability to be left alone. Protection of the inalienable right to be left alone was once the purpose of our government. It has not been for more than a century. In June 2004, I wrote an essay entitled, "The Waiting Game." (For the record, I note that an excerpt in that article from a still earlier post, written in the summer of 2003, contains certain formulations that I find very troubling now. Although the major points of that earlier excerpt remain valid in my view, I would not write certain passages in at all the same terms today.) "The Waiting Game" detailed the proliferation of regulations and controls that circumscribe our lives now. I used South Dakota as an example: "Because South Dakota is one of seven states with no state income tax, you might think South Dakota's regulatory structure would be somewhat smaller and less intrusive than that of many other states. You would be wrong. Here is a list of the government programs in South Dakota - and I set it forth in full so you can appreciate the scope and depth of what this one state government controls..." I still find that list astonishing. When I researched that essay, I considered using a list from another state - but the lists of government programs in most states are much, much longer than South Dakota's. They were so long that it was impossible to reproduce them in the manner I did. After setting out that list, I wrote: I suggest you read the list very carefully, and note the unavoidable conclusion: you can't do anything - you can't work, and you can't do anything for "fun" - without interacting with the government, directly or indirectly. You must ask "permission" from the government before doing anything at all. ... [Y]ou can't do one damned thing without getting permission from the government. If you go ahead and do it anyway, you're breaking the law. In this manner, the endless proliferation of government regulations and laws makes criminals of us all. I very much doubt that you can go for a year, and perhaps not even a month or a day, without breaking some law, somewhere. Laws cover everything, without exception. Read that list of government programs again. Everything. Of course, we did not arrive at this point overnight. Here is where the frog being boiled to death in water that is slowly warmed comes in: all these regulations accumulated over a period of many years and many decades. And with each new regulation, people think: "Well, that's not so bad. I can live with that." They fail to step back at any point to take in the overall picture - and to realize what they have lost. And what they have lost is liberty - and the right to be left alone. The fact that every aspect of our lives is regulated, directed and controlled has a further result, one of the most dangerous of all: If someone in government decides to go after you, he has an endless array of weapons from which to choose. Even if you emerge from the battle with your life largely intact, anyone in government who wishes to do so can turn your life into hell for years on end, even for decades. It may all begin with some pathetic bureaucrat in a cramped, stifling cubicle. Perhaps someone cut him off in traffic that morning; perhaps he had a fight at home the night before. Perhaps he's just a rotten human being. He happens to come across your name on some document, and he thinks: "I know: I'll go after him. That could be fun." And your life is destroyed. A still further result is of immense significance. Even with the destruction of liberty in the United States, the great majority of us may manage to live out our lives without being pursued by the government. But many of us will severely limit our choices; we will seek to avoid trouble, we will keep our heads lowered. We won't do anything to draw attention to ourselves. We know that it is unlikely that the government will target us - but we know that it can and that, if it does, we may have no chance at all. We don't have to be tasered ourselves: we see the government tasering a few people, every now and then, and we know that if we aren't careful, it could happen to us. I can't recall where I read it, but several weeks ago, I saw a mention of the fact that the East German Stasi actually spied on "only" about one in ten people. But it was impossible to know who that one person was. If it wasn't you today, it might be you next week, or next month, or next year. When an authoritarian government accumulates sufficient power, it need only deploy it occasionally and strategically: fear does the rest. This is where we are now: no one is safe. If most Americans aren't yet aware of it, they will be in the years to come. And this brings us to the latest FISA developments. Before discussing those developments, I want to repeat the most fundamental point about FISA in general. Not surprisingly, this is the point that almost no one mentions. In "Blinded by the Story," I wrote: I must immediately interject that to discuss these issues with regard to FISA is ludicrous in a much deeper sense. As Jonathan Turley explains here, FISA itself is a secret court whose very purpose is to circumvent the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. The FISA court is no protection against illegitimate government intrusion at all. But as Turley notes, that we are fighting over whether to grant the executive branch and FISA still more untrammeled authority to disregard constitutional rights is a measure of how far we have already marched toward tyranny. And look at this chart to see just how compliant the FISA court is. If you genuinely want to "reform" FISA, here's a suggestion: abolish it altogether. Go back to the Fourth Amendment and the procedures it requires. Period. Oh, I know: that's far too radical for most of you. It's not "practical." With enough people like you, we'd still be part of the British Commonwealth. The basic facts of the latest Senate actions are bad enough: After more than a year of wrangling, the Senate handed the White House a major victory on Tuesday by voting to broaden the government's spy powers and to give legal protection to phone companies that cooperated in President Bush's program of eavesdropping without warrants. One by one, the Senate rejected amendments that would have imposed greater civil liberties checks on the government's surveillance powers. Finally, the Senate voted 68 to 29 to approve legislation that the White House had been pushing for months. Mr. Bush hailed the vote and urged the House to move quickly in following the Senate's lead. In typically shortsighted and superficial fashion, the progressive blogosphere focused most of its energies on the question of retroactive immunity. (Has one progressive blogger ever called for FISA's abolition? Not to my knowledge. I'd be delighted to be surprised on that point.) This was a pitifully thin thread to hold up one's hopes. From "It's Called the Ruling Class Because It Rules": Chris Dodd is attempting to stop, or at least slow down, this monstrous attack on truth, justice and (insert laugh track) the American way. Good for him. That the protection of fundamental principles of fairness - to say nothing of some of the foundations of the original conception of American government - should depend on such parliamentary strategems reflects only how frayed the imitation of a democratic republic that serves as the U.S. government has become. It is now so delicate that the entire edifice could be collapsed overnight. One more significant terrorist attack will certainly do it. And, dear reader, let me ask you this. Do you honestly believe - honestly, take a few moments to consider the matter in the privacy of your own mind, and we promise not to ask you to give the game away publicly - that even if Dodd manages to stop this bill, the telecoms will ever suffer a penalty of any significance for what they have done? The telecoms and their full partner, the federal government, will avail themselves of endless evidentiary challenges and obstacles, they will delay any outcome through years of appeals, and they will dilute, postpone and otherwise render any judgment close to meaningless via numerous other routes. And what about the criminals who designed and ordered the surveillance in the first place? What about impeachment of at least one of the numerous criminals in this administration? If you're serious at all about "accountability," justice and similar notions - all of which today have been ground into dust by the rampaging leviathan state - impeachment proceedings would begin tomorrow. Oh, but that's "off the table." Of course. Thus does the ruling class protect itself. Dodd fought to some extent (and more than anyone else), but not nearly hard enough. At every step, his actions were hemmed in by deals and "understandings" with those who controlled the legislative agenda - and he agreed to all of it. I may have missed it, but I don't recall seeing an actual filibuster - you know, the kind where someone gets up and says, "I'm going to stand here and read every goddamned phone book from every goddamned city and state in the goddamned country before I'll let you pass this bill!" And while he reads every goddamned phone book, perhaps public outrage grows as more Americans begin to understand what exactly is at stake: the last tattered shreds of liberty and privacy. They have been very rare in American history, but there have been such heroes. Once, there was Thomas B. Reed, who had become Speaker of the House in 1889. Reed was unalterably opposed to the decision to embark on Empire in the 1890s, and he stood in lonely opposition to the Spanish-American War fever and propaganda, and to the unspeakable occupation of the Philippines. He fought as long as he could (the first excerpt is from Barbara Tuchman): Reed's whole life was in Congress, in politics, in the exercise of representative government, with the qualification that for him it had to be exercised toward an end that he believed in. His party and his country were now bent on a course for which he felt deep distrust and disgust. To mention expansion to him, said a journalist, was like "touching a match" and brought forth "sulphurous language." The tide had turned against him; he could not turn it back and would not go with it. Like his country, he had come to a time of choice. ... To retain office as Speaker would be to carry through a policy in the Philippines abominable to him. It would be to continue as spokesman of the party of Lincoln, which had been his home for so long and which had now chosen, in another way than Lincoln meant, to "meanly lose the last best hope of earth." To his longtime friend and secretary, Asher Hinds, he said, "I have tried, perhaps not always successfully, to make the acts of my public life accord with my conscience and I cannot now do this thing." For him the purpose and savor of life in the political arena had departed. He had discovered mankind's tragedy: that it can draw the blueprints of goodness but it cannot live up to them. In 1899, he let it be announced that he would retire from the House. He gave no public explanation, except to say in a letter to his constituents, "Office as a ribbon to stick in your coat is worth no-one's consideration." When reporters cornered him one day and insisted that the public wanted to hear from him, he said: "The public! I have no interest in the public." America no longer wanted what Thomas B. Reed had to offer. Consider what we lost over a hundred years ago - and grieve for your country. Once, two decades after Reed left Congress, Robert La Follette was vilified for his unwavering courage in opposing the U.S. entrance into World War I, and for his profound opposition to the entire Wilson war program. He came very close to being expelled from the Senate as a traitor. But he never backed down: ON March 25, 1921, at the age of sixty-five, Robert M. La Follette Sr. took the greatest risk of his long political career. Four years after he chose to lead the Congressional opposition to World War I, La Follette was still condemned in Washington and in his native state of Wisconsin as a traitor or - at best - an old man whose political instincts had finally failed him. But La Follette was not ready to surrender the U.S. Senate seat he had held since leaving Wisconsin's governorship in 1906. He wanted to return to Washington to do battle once more against what he perceived to be the twin evils of the still young century: corporate monopoly at home and imperialism abroad. The reelection campaign that loomed just a year off would be difficult, he was told, perhaps even impossible. Old alliances had been strained by La Follette's lonely refusal to join in the war cries of 1917 and 1918. To rebuild them, the Senator's aides warned, he would have to abandon his continued calls for investigations of war profiteers and his passionate defense of socialist Eugene Victor Debs and others who had been jailed in the postwar Red Scare. The place to backpedal, La Follette was told, would be in a speech before the crowded Wisconsin Assembly chamber in Madison. Moments before the white-haired Senator climbed to the podium on that cold March day, he was warned one last time by his aides to deliver a moderate address, to apply balm to the still-open wounds of the previous years, and, above all, to avoid mention of the war and his opposition to it. La Follette began his speech with the formalities of the day, acknowledging old supporters and recognizing that this was a pivotal moment for him politically. Then, suddenly, La Follette pounded the lectern. "I am going to be a candidate for reelection to the United States Senate," he declared, as the room shook with the thunder of a mighty orator reaching full force. Stretching a clenched fist into the air, La Follette bellowed: "I do not want the vote of a single citizen under any misapprehension of where I stand: I would not change my record on the war for that of any man, living or dead." The crowd sat in stunned silence for a moment before erupting into thunderous applause. Even his critics could not resist the courage of the man; indeed, one of his bitterest foes stood at the back of the hall, with tears running down his cheeks, and told a reporter: "I hate the son of a bitch. But, my God, what guts he's got." This was the La Follette that his friend Emma Goldman referred to lovingly as "the finest, most inconsistent anarchist" of his time. This was the man so fierce in his convictions that he would risk consignment to political oblivion rather than abandon an unpopular position. The antithesis of the elected officials whose compromises characterize our contemporary condition, La Follette genuinely believed that the inheritors of America's revolutionary tradition would, if given the truth, opt not for moderation but for the most radical of solutions. There is not a single individual in our national life today who even begins to approach this kind of courage. Given the performance of our ruling class, and given the nearly complete indifference of the American public to slaughter abroad and the destruction of liberty at home - many Americans may not approve of either, but what do they do about it? Nothing - one would have to conclude that we do not deserve to be saved, even if we could be. As I have noted before, the Bush administration has altered one part of our situation, but it is not an aspect that concerns most people. That aspect is simply this: what had been hidden and kept under wraps before is now made explicit, and even boasted about. Our politicians felt the need to hide our government's crimes in earlier years. Now the evil walks in full daylight - and no one does anything to stop it, not anything that matters. The third paragraph of the NY Times story hints at this: The outcome in the Senate amounted, in effect, to a broader proxy vote in support of Mr. Bush's wiretapping program. The wide-ranging debate before the final vote presaged discussion that will play out this year in the presidential and Congressional elections on other issues testing the president's wartime authority, including secret detentions, torture and Iraq war financing. A few politicians may condemn torture now and then, but no one is seriously talking about repeal of the Military Commissions Act. Since that Act establishes the basic framework of a dictatorship and legitimizes torture as an official method of United States policy, the battle for liberty and the minimal requirements of a civilized society is over, without the battle even being seriously engaged. The American Revolutionaries would be proud. The Democrats may condemn the Iraq invasion and occupation as the worst "blunder" in our history, but they will not condemn it as the war crime it is. And they keep paying for it. They are not murderers themselves, but every member of Congress who votes to pay for this continuing obscenity is an accomplice to murder and genocide. I have expressed the more general point in these terms: The Bush administration has announced to the world, and to all Americans, that this is what the United States now stands for: a vicious determination to dominate the world, criminal, genocidal wars of aggression, torture, and an increasingly brutal and brutalizing authoritarian state at home. That is what we stand for. And who says otherwise? The Democrats could - and the most forceful means of doing so, the only method that is appropriate to this historic moment, the method that is absolutely required if we are to turn away from this catastrophic, murderous course, is impeachment. That is the one method the Democrats will categorically, absolutely not utilize - because the Democrats are a crucial, inextricable part of the identical authoritarian-corporatist system that has led us to these horrors. They have all worked toward this end over many decades, Democrats and Republicans alike, and now the horrors manifest themselves explicitly, without apology, even with the sickening boastfulness of the mass murderer who is proud of what he has done, and who vehemently believes he is right. So the dare goes unanswered. These horrors are what the United States now stands for. This is where we are now. This is what we stand for. Evil walks the land. We all remain inside, heads bowed, minds narrowed, spirits shriveled, afraid to protest, afraid to do much of anything at all. No one is safe. Fear rules us. We will not stop it. posted by Arthur Silber at 12:12 PM --------26 of 26-------- The Great Debate Tweedle-Dee he's for me! Tweedle-Dum makes me numb! Tweedle-Dum yes by gum! Tweedle-Dee nosiree! --------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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