|Progressive Calendar 03.15.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2008 03:31:57 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.15.08 1. Women's rights 3.15 8am 2. Queer youth fest 3.15 9am 3. Workplace justice 3.15 10am 4. NWN4P Mtka 3.15 11am 5. Antiwar demo 3.15 1pm 6. Northtown vigil 3.15 2pm 7. Green career 3.15 2pm 8. Twain/war prayer 3.15 7:30pm StCloud MN 9. Stillwater vigil 3.16 1pm 10. McKinney/film 3.16 1:30pm 11. AI 3.16 3pm 12. How media lies 3.16 3pm 13. Joe Bodell - Ciresi leaves Senate race; what next? 14. Mickey Z - Antiwar and pro-troops? No way. 15. PC Roberts - Watching the dollar die 16. Don Santina - Vichy Dems: Pelosi & the politics of collaboration 17. Peter Erlinder - The torture of Sami Al Arian 18. Anonymous - Ha ha --------1 of 18-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Womens rights 3.15 8am The 13th Annual International Women's Day Celebration: "Women Leading for Global Justice" Saturday, March 15, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. University of Minnesota, Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis. Plenary panel on indigenous rights, workshops, performances, film, visual arts and display and information tables from over 60 co-sponsoring organizations. Keynote Speaker: Robin Morgan. FFI: Call 612-341-3302 (extension 107) or email <mhunt [at] mnadvocates.org>. --------2 of 18-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Queer youth fest 3.15 9am Minnesota School OUTreach Coalition presents The 3rd Annual Q-Quest Youth Fest! A Conference Exploring and Celebrating the Voices of Queer Youth & Allies Saturday, March 15th 2008 9:00 am - 9:00 pm Webster Community School 425 Fifth Street NE Minneapolis, MN 55413 Go to http://sss.mpls.k12.mn.us/QQuestYouthFest2008.html to register online now! Also: Adult volunteers needed! Contact Jessi Tebben at Out4Good [at] mpls.k12.mn.us) Explore Identity:/ Explore personal identity and voice within the context of a diverse queer community. Plan for the Future:/ Consider options for education, career and family. Make Connections:/ Think, create, and celebrate with youth from Who should come? Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersexed youth and straight allies ages 18 and under. (Youth aged 19-21 are also invited to join the event and share their experiences, but the conference focuses on high school students.) We warmly welcome GSA advisors or other school staff and parent volunteers to attend as chaperones. Cost: The entire event is free, including workshops, lunch, dinner, and entertainment. Conference sponsor: The Minnesota School OUTreach Coalition, a coalition of Minnesota students, educators, families, community members and organizations working within the broad context of schools to address the issues of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning people. Registration: Every participant (including school staff) must fill out a registration form online. Subject: Northtown vigil 3.15 2pm What should I bring? Bring a positive attitude and the willingness to network with other youth! Please do not bring any valuables, weapons, drugs, or alcohol. --------3 of 18-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Workplace justice 3.15 10am March 15: Workplace Justice. Support/Networking Meeting. 10 AM-Noon. Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice St., St. Paul. 952/996-9291. --------4 of 18-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P Mtka 3.15 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. --------5 of 18-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Antiwar demo 3.15 1pm Mass Antiwar Demonstration: "U.S. Out of Iraq Now! Saturday, March 15, 1:00 p.m. Gather at Hennepin and Lagoon Avenues (Uptown), Minneapolis. 1:30 p.m. March north down Hennepin Avenue for 1.5 miles to Loring Park at Oak Grove Street and Hennepin Ave. There will be a closing rally near Loring Park. Join a mass antiwar demonstration to mark the 5th anniversary of the war with a call of: "Not One More Death! Not One More Dollar! Not One More Day! U.S. Out of Iraq Now! End the War and Occupation! No War on Iran! Fund education, housing, health care and other human needs! Bring the troops home now!" Initiated by: the Year-5 Committee to End the War. FFI or Interested in being a peace marshal?: Call Marie Braun, 612-522-1861. --------6 of 18-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 3.15 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av.), every Saturday 2:00 -- 3:00 PM. --------7 of 18-------- From: Do it Green! <Do_it_Green [at] mail.vresp.com> Subject: Green career 3.15 2pm Saturday, March 15th: Green Careers with Barbara Parks of Green Career Tracks Time: 2-4 PM Location: Washburn Public Library (5244 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls). --------8 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Twain/war prayer 3.15 7:30pm StCloud MN Saturday, 3/15,7:30 pm, a readers' theater musical adaptation of Mark Twain's "War Prayer," recognizing the 5th anniversary of America's invasion of Iraq, University Lutheran Church, 390 S 4th Ave, St Cloud. susan.rego [at] embarqmail.com --------9 of 18-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 3.16 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 you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------10 of 18------- From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at] hammclinic.org> Subject: McKinney/film 3.16 1:30pm The Green Party of St. Paul will host "American Blackout" featuring Cynthia McKinney. American Blackout will be shown Sunday 3/16/08 at 1:30pm at the Rondo Library in St. Paul. The Rondo Library is at 461 Dale Street (Dale & University Ave.) American Blackout is about the electoral fraud of the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections. Will your vote count in 2008? If you have any questions please call Amber at 651 249-7286 --------11 of 18-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: AI 3.16 3pm AIUSA & Group 37 News GROUP 37 MARCH MEETING REMINDER: SUNDAY, MARCH 16 - 3 TO 5 P.M. Join us for our regular meeting on Sunday, March 16th, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Our presenter this month will be Group 37 member Gary King, who will present slides and stories about his recent month in South Africa, with "very, very inspiring news on their democracy today after undergoing the crucible of Apartheid." Gary spent some time there with the Farisani family -- Our group was active on behalf of Dean Tsehnu Farisani in the 1980s, when he spent several months in prison under the Apartheid government, during which he was severely tortured. 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: http://www.twincitiesamnesty.org/meetings.html --------12 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: How media lies 3.16 3pm Sunday, 3/16, 3 pm, IMPACT presents short film and discussion "Constructing Public Opinion: How Politicians and the Media Misrepresent the Public," Mayday Bookstore, 301 Cedar Ave S, Mpls. vegan14ever [at] riseup.net --------13 of 18-------- Campaign Notebook: Ciresi leaves Senate race; what next? By Joe Bodell, Minnesota Monitor March 11, 2008 Following attorney Mike Ciresi's departure on Monday from the U.S. Senate race, what happens now? Ciresi's withdrawal leaves Al Franken going head-to-head with Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, who has gotten activists excited with his "most important decade" stump speech. But Nelson-Pallmeyer has run into a buzzsaw of heavy Franken support at conventions around the state. Though he has raised less money than Ciresi did, and trails badly on that count, Nelson-Pallmeyer managed to claim second place in the delegate chase even before Ciresi withdrew. Still, the numbers game is working against Nelson-Pallmeyer at this point in the campaign. Franken has won big in the western suburbs, in Minneapolis, in St. Paul, in rural parts of the state, pretty much everywhere. An informal poll of several well-connected activists revealed few who think the endorsement balloting at the state convention will go past the first ballot. One said there would be plenty of delegates who simply will not want to hand the endorsement to Franken on the first ballot. Another said that Franken and Nelson-Pallmeyer are both trying to grab Ciresi's committed delegates, and Franken definitely does not have it sewn up yet. However, all said the endorsement would go to Franken with relative ease. Expect little to change for Team Franken. Staffer Andy Barr said last night via e-mail that "our campaign is still about all the same things it's always been about - working hard to build a progressive coalition that will not only win the DFL endorsement and beat (Republican) Norm Coleman, but truly and fundamentally change our government and our country". Still a long road to June and November. [JNP said months ago that he would "honor the endorsement", that is, support whoever gets the DFL endorsement and urge all followers and good Dems to do likewise. JNP provided "hope" for a lot of weary Dems; their eyes would light up with "hope"; the DFL was for the time being a party of hope and progress; one that could be and was being "reformed from within". Hope hope glorious hope. With such hope thou shalt NOT join a progressive third party, which is an invention of the devil. No, one lives in one's hope, safely in the confines of the hope-happy DFL. Until, of course, the clearly predictable loss of JNP to the most pliable clueless corporate candidate - Al Franken. And the predictable JNP request to have all his backers move to the right and support Franken. All of this had to be known by the DFL and by JNP months ago; JNP's role was to offer "hope" for months, until too late, and all that is left is the prize booby, Al Franken. The DFL leaders know that most Dems will hold their noses and surrender their votes and consciences, because "What else can we do???" So the strategy pays off. It paid off re Kucinich in 2004, and and will pay off in 2008 with JNP. Of course, it means the citizens never get what they want, as they would if we lived in a democracy. But people got a few months of cheap "hope". Quick: forget that underhanded trick; be ready for the next election's cardboard candidate of Hope. -ed] --------14 of 18-------- Antiwar and Pro-Troops? No way. by Mickey Z. / March 14th, 2008 Dissident Voice For some, the phrase "support our troops" is merely a euphemism for: support the policies that put the troops there in the first place. For others - including many activists - the mantra is a safe way to avoid taking an unqualified, uncompromising stand against this war (and all war). Many who identify themselves as "anti-war" still vigorously defend the troops - no questions asked. The excuse making typically falls into two broad categories. The first being: "Our troops are just following orders". A simple Web search will find many reasons why this concept has no legal basis. For example, Principle IV of Nuremberg Tribunal (1950) states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him". Besides this, it can be easily posited that "only following orders" also has no moral footing. Of course, the facile example would be Nazi Germany. But surely every suicide bomber is merely following orders as are those detonating IEDs in Iraq. The Left praised Vietnam era draftees who fled to Canada. Yet, today's volunteer warriors are given a free pass because they didn't give the orders in an illegal war and occupation. This is not only illegal and immoral; it also lacks any radical credibility. Somehow, individuals and groups can stand tall against war and military intervention but refuse to shine a light on those who choose (and get paid) to fight. Nowhere else in the realm of activism does such a paradox exist. Consider the animal rights activists struggling to end the morally indefensible and scientifically fraudulent enterprise of animal experimentation. Can they expose the corporations and academic institutions but somehow "support" the actual scientists performing the lab experiments? Surely, they are "just doing their job" and "following orders". How about those fighting to end unfair labor practices? Is it acceptable to call out the CEOs of Nike & The Gap but hang yellow ribbons for those who handle day-to-day operations of a sweatshop in, say, Vietnam? These men and women are just as "stuck in a bad situation" as any grunt in Iraq or Afghanistan. The second excuse usually sounds like this: "It's a poverty draft. These poor souls have to enlist because they any economic options". America is certainly an unjust economic society and this would be a compelling argument - if it were true. A 2006 New York Times op-ed highlighted a study by Tim Kane and Mackenzie Eaglen that "analyzed demographic data on every single enlistee, not just a sample, and found that in terms of education, last year's recruits were just as qualified as those of any recent year, and maybe the best ever. Over all, wartime recruits since 1999 are in many respects comparable to the youth population on the whole, except that they are on average a bit wealthier, much more likely to have graduated from high school and more rural than their civilian peers". They also found that youths "from wealthy American ZIP codes are volunteering in ever higher numbers" while "enlistees from the poorest fifth of American neighborhoods fell nearly a full percentage point over the last two years, to 13.7 percent. In 1999, that number was exactly 18 percent". So, are some of the soldiers in Iraq there primarily for economic reasons? Sure. Did others sign up for a chance to shoot some "ragheads"? Probably. After factoring out these two relatively small groups and rejecting the illegal, immoral, and reactionary "only following orders" defense, I ask this of anti-war activists: Exactly how are the men and women who willingly signed up to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan immune from any and all scrutiny and/or blame? After all, what do you think "our troops" are doing? "We know that 99.9% of our forces conduct themselves in an exemplary manner," says Donald Rumsfeld. "We also know that in conflicts things that shouldn't happen do happen". If only 1/10 of 1% of US soldiers make "things happen that shouldn't happen," what are the rest doing to make us stand and sing "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Yankee Stadium? How do we define exemplary manner? By Rumsfeld's reckoning (and the standard company line of most every politician, pundit, and peon) "exemplary" includes (among other things) the use of Daisy Cutters, cluster bombs, napalm, depleted uranium, white phosphorus, and the launching cruise missiles into crowded cities. "Things that shouldn't happen do happen," Rumsfeld explains. But what about all the stuff that this society accepts "should" happen? Why would anyone besides a sadist feel compelled to support that unconditionally? There are two powerful myths/ironies propping up the "support the troops" premise. The first involves what they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. I can't tell you how many e-mails I've received over the years that read something like this: "While you sit at home in your luxurious apartment, making money off your writing (insert laugh track here), those brave men and women are putting their asses on the line to fight for your freedom to write your anti-American garbage". I say: Bullshit. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are not fighting for my freedom. They are fighting to keep the world safe for petroleum. If anything, since 9/11, our freedom has been slowly eroded and the presence of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan makes it harder for anyone to speak up in dissent. If I were in an airport, and I spoke aloud what I've written in this article, I'd likely be detained or arrested. Irony #2: While most American citizens are manipulated, harassed, coerced, and guilted into hanging yellow ribbons - even if they're anti-war - from Shays Rebellion in 1787 to Coxey's Army to the Bonus Army to the Gulf War Syndrome to a quarter-million homeless vets today, generation after generation of US military personnel has suffered a lack of support from their own government (and the corporations that own it). "Our troops" are just as controlled and exploited as the US citizens that worship them. And one more thing: Let's stop with the "our troops" charade. You and I may foot the bill, but "we" have no say in what they do. If those truly were "my" men and women, I'd bring them right home and put them to work doing something useful - like turning the Long Island Expressway into the world's longest organic farm. Don't support the troops - inform them. Mickey Z. is the author of the forthcoming novel, CPR for Dummies (Raw Dog Screaming Press). He can be found on the Web at MickeyZ.net. Read other articles by Mickey, or visit Mickey's website. This article was posted on Friday, March 14th, 2008 at 4:49 am and is filed under Anti-War, Military/Militarism. Send to a friend. --------15 of 18-------- Watching the Dollar Die By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS CounterPunch March 14, 2008 I've been watching the dollar die all my life. I sometimes think I will outlast it. When I was a young man, gold was $35 an ounce. Today one ounce gold bullion coins, such as the Canadian Maple Leaf, cost more than $1,000. Our coinage was silver. Our dimes, quarters, and half dollars had purchasing power. Even the nickel could purchase a candy bar, ice cream cone or soft drink, and a penny could purchase bubble gum or hard candy. If a kid could collect 5 discarded soft drink bottles from a construction site, the 2 cents deposit on the returnable bottles was enough for the Saturday afternoon movie. Gasoline was 32 cents a gallon. A dollar's worth was enough for a Saturday night date. Our silver coinage was 90 per cent silver. People sometimes melted coins in order to make silver spoons, known as coin silver, which can still be found in antique shops. Except for the reduced silver (40 per cent) Kennedy half dollar which continued until 1970, 1964 was the last year of America's silver coinage. The copper penny departed in 1982. As Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, I opposed the demise of America's last commodity money, but I couldn't prevent the copper penny's death. During World War II (1941-1945), nickel was diverted from coinage to war, and the US mint issued a wartime silver (35 per cent) nickel. It is not easy to find items to purchase with today's US coins, but the silver coins of the same face value still have purchasing power. The 10 cent piece of my youth contains $1.42 worth of silver at today's silver price. The quarter is worth $3.55, and the half dollar contains $7.10 of silver. The silver dollar is worth 15.2 times its face value. These are just the silver values of coins that might be worth far more depending on condition and rarity. The silver in the wartime nickel is worth $1.10, which is 22 times the coin's face value. Even the copper penny is worth 2.5 cents. When I was a young man enjoying travels in Europe, the German mark or Swiss franc traded four to one US dollar. The euro, which is today's equivalent to the mark, costs $1.55. People who haven't accumulated much age have little idea of the corrosive power of "acceptable" inflation. Unlike gold and silver, fiat money has no intrinsic value. When money is created faster than goods and services it drives up prices, thus driving down the value of the money. If freely traded currencies are excessively printed or if inflation, budget deficits, and trade deficits drive currencies off their fixed exchange rates, prices of imports rise as the foreign exchange value of the currency falls. Today the US, heavily dependent on imports, is subject to double-barrel inflation from both domestic money creation and decline in the dollar's foreign exchange value. The US inflation rate is about twice as high as the government's inflation measures report. In order to hold down Social Security payments, the government changed the way it measures inflation. In the old measure, inflation measured the nominal cost of a defined standard of living. If the price of steak rose, up went the inflation rate. Today if the price of steak rises, the government assumes that people switch to hamburger. Inflation doesn't go up. Instead, the standard of living it measures goes down. This is just one of the many ways that the government pulls the wool over our eyes. With the dollar value of the euro rising through the roof, today a vacation in Europe is far more costly than in the past. Thanks to China, so far Americans have been sheltered from the greatest effects of the dollar's declining value. Our greatest trade deficit is with China. The prices of the goods from China have not risen, because China keeps its currency pegged to the dollar. As the dollar goes down, China's currency goes with it, thus holding down price rises. The resignation of Admiral William Fallon as US military commander in the Middle East probably signals a Bush Regime attack on Iran. Fallon said that there would be no US attack on Iran on his watch. As there was no reason for Fallon to resign, it is not farfetched to conclude that Bush has removed an obstacle to war with Iran. The US is already over stretched both militarily and economically. An attack on Iran is likely to be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com --------16 of 18-------- Vichy Democrats: Pelosi and the Politics of Collaboration By DON SANTINA CounterPunch March 14, 2008 As the Bush Administration's economic stimulus plan sailed through Congress last month, a few Democratic senators timidly raised objections to the legislation that Nancy Pelosi's House had approved, particularly in relation to certain provisions deleted by the House. These provisions, which would have provided critical assistance to people most hard hit by the continuing recession included an extension of unemployment insurance, expansion of food stamps, and rebates to the working poor whose incomes fall below the radar of income tax requirements. They lost. "There's no reason for any more delay on this," House Speaker Pelosi said as the Senate approved the plan. In a not-surprising move earlier in the legislative process, Pelosi had surrendered those provisions during a joint session with president's budget crew. It was not surprising because in her fourteen month reign as Speaker of the House, Pelosi has collaborated incisively and repeatedly with the policies of the Bush Administration. The term "collaboration" is popularly considered to be a construct of WWII, but the phenomenon is certainly older than Judas and threads through recorded history to its penultimate high point in Vichy France after the German conquest in 1940. In Vichy France, the collaborators appeared in basically two forms: active and passive collaboration with the German masters. Simply stated, the active collaborators identified Jews and resisters for the Nazis to take to the concentration camps, and the passive collaborators watched it happen and made excuses about why they could do nothing about it. Through the power of her office, Speaker Pelosi's collaboration with the White House Agenda has been both active and passive. For the sake of identification, the White House Agenda can be defined as: aggression overseas, suppression of dissent at home, and the transfer of wealth upward to the richest segment of society. The Speaker of the House is one of the most powerful positions in Washington. The Speaker, selected from the majority party, controls the inner workings of the House, determining who goes on what committee, what legislation gets considered, and what hearings are to be scheduled in support of legislation. Conversely, the Speaker also decides who doesn't go on what committee, what legislation never gets considered, and what hearings will never be called. Let's look at the practice of active collaboration through the categories of the White House Agenda. For starters, there's Speaker Pelosi's continued funding of undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the illegal occupation of Haiti, support of the Colombian government's reign of terror, Israel's scorched earth policy in Lebanon, and aggressive posturing toward countries like Iran, Cuba and Venezuela. In lockstep with imperial White House policy, Pelosi called the democratically-elected president of Venezuela a "thug" for stating that our questionably-elected president was promoting a "democracy of bombs". In terms of legislation, perhaps the most egregious transfers of wealth upward under Speaker Pelosi's stewardship were the Energy Bill, the Farm Bill and the Peru Free Trade Agreement. The Energy Bill was not substantially different from the legislation Dick Cheney created on secret several years ago. The oil, coal and power companies all got what their lobbyists bought. The Farm Bill was a lay-down-and-roll-over capitulation to the corporate greed of giant unregulated agribusiness, even in this day of massive meat recalls from feedlot cattle production and other destructive agricultural practices such as the use of pesticides and squandering of water resources. To add insult to injury, after virtually excluding support for organic farming from the big buck bill, Speaker Pelosi directed House cafeterias to serve organic meals. Like health care, it's obvious that Pelosi believes that what's good for Congress is not for good the rest of us. Speaker Pelosi actively trumpeted the Bush Administration's Peru Free Trade Agreement, yet another offspring of NAFTA. NAFTA, championed by President Clinton and supported by Pelosi in 1993, has become the poster child of the multinational corporations' eternal quest for cheap non-union labor. In 2002, the Economic Policy Institute estimated that NAFTA had eliminated 879,000 American jobs. It also devastated Mexico by disrupting the work force and dumping subsidized American corn on its markets. The trade agreement passed the House with yes votes from all of the Republicans plus Pelosi and 108 other Vichy Democrats. In terms of passive collaboration with the White House Agenda, we encounter the fact that since Speaker Pelosi's House held hearings on the steroid farce in baseball, Pelosi's House Can Hold Hearings On Anything. That being the case, not calling for hearings on issues vital to the American public is an act of passive collaboration. Where are the hearings on Katrina? Where are the hearings on the new American policy of torture? Who was responsible for Abu Graib and the secret prisons around the world? What about warrantless wiretapping and the removal of habeas corpus from the judicial system? No bid contracts to Halliburton, the vice president's company? Who rigged the 2000 and 2004 Florida and Ohio elections? What about the fact that 35.5 million Americans went hungry in 2006? Why isn't there an investigation into the predatory lending schemes and bundling that created the mortgage crisis? Bush's signing statements and the Constitution? Why are the oil companies reaping vast profits while working people pour their pay checks into the gas pumps? And, of course, the 500 pound gorilla: where are the impeachment hearings for grievous lies and heinous falsifications that led to the preemptive war on Iraq? Hundreds of thousands dead, thousands injured and wounded, millions displaced. No hearings. The carnage continues. "Impeachment is not on the table," Speaker Pelosi stated fourteen months ago and - bunker like - has continued to suffocate all efforts to bring the White House's treasonable activities to the table. Our prison system - which is now the largest in the world - is filled with non-violent drug offenders and petty criminals. When sentencing these people to the living death of prison, our courts are known for laying on bromides like "you have to be responsible for your actions. A civil society demands that we must have accountability!" And yet there is no accountability in Washington. No one is held responsible for crimes against humanity. And no one will be held responsible as long as the Vichy Democrats remain in power. [And yet many will line up to vote lesser evil. They will beg "What else can we do? So we wind up approving of war and torture and imperialism and so on, you know, but what other choice do the powers that be let us have?? So we HAVE to collaborate, we HAVE to dull our consciences and call down misery on other people (please to god it not be on us too)." Is this a profile in courage? If our all ancestors had thought and acted this way, we'd all be slaves. -ed] Don Santina is a cultural historian who received a Superior Scribing award for his Counterpunch article "Reparations for the Blues". He also details Nancy Pelosi's privatization projects in "Ethnic Cleansing in San Francisco" which appeared in the September 29-30, 2007 issue of Counterpunch. He can be reached at lindey89 [at] aol.com --------17 of 18-------- The Torture of Sami Al Arian by Peter Erlinder Published on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 by JURIST The storm of criticism that followed George Bush's weekend veto of Congressional limits on the CIA's use of torture might lead to the conclusion that, reprehensible as "torture" might be in remote, secret CIA locations, it could never happen here in the US. But the Bush administration's abuse of power in its treatment of Dr. Sami al Arian and other acquitted Palestinian "terrorism-defendants" has already demonstrated that "torture" for this administration is commonplace - even here. In December 2005, a Tampa jury acquitted Dr. Al Arian of "terrorism" charges. Two years later he is still in prison, and in the 6th day of a hunger-strike because the Bush administration refuses to honor a May 2006 promise to release and deport him. Unless he receives proper medical care within days, he risks irreversible renal failure and death - all under the watchful eyes of the Bush "Justice" Department. Apparently, "legal black holes" like Guantanamo can be created without having to set-up a special overseas prison, if domestic law can be sufficiently manipulated. And the Bush administration is very, very good at manipulation, both legal and otherwise. A Propagandized Arrest and Pre-Trial Torture In a February 2003 Moscow press conference, then Attorney-General John Ashcroft breathlessly announced the FBI capture of "the major North American financier for terrorism in the middle-east", in Tampa, Florida, of all places. Ashcroft pointed proudly to obviously, pre-arranged media coverage of a shackled Dr. Sami Al Arian being taken from his home by a SWAT team, with his children cowering in the background. The images were a lot like those of US troops and cowering Iraqi women. But this was not Iraq, or Afghanistan. And Dr. Al Arian was never even suspected of any violence. He was a well-known and well-respected academic and Palestinian activist, and that, the jury concluded more that 2 years later, had been his only "crime." For more than a year before trial, Dr. Al Arian was in Super-Max isolation on 24/7 lockdown. He was denied family visits and was chained whenever he was out of his cell, even to talk to his lawyers. Super-Max prisoners are usually only convicts too violent to live in the general prison population, criminals among criminals. But the Bush administration put Dr. Al Arian in the Super-Max, hundreds of miles from his family, even before the final charges against him had been decided, and without even accusing him of being violent. It was torture. On top of Guantanamo-like conditions, Dr. Al Arian was denied warm clothing, writing materials and was subject to taunting guards, convinced by Bush administration propaganda that he was a second Osama bin Laden. Things got so bad that the Justice Department Inspector General is investigating abuse by guards. A UN body formally objected to his conditions of confinement before trial. By the beginning of trial in July 2005, the original 200 charges against Dr. Al Arian and his 3 co-defendants were reduced to eliminate any mention of the accusations leveled by Ashcroft. But the remaining 94 "terrorism-related" counts could result in the death penalty or life in prison, including the 17 counts facing Dr. Al Arian, if he had been convicted. But he wasn't convicted, and neither were any of his co-defendants. Trial By Jury: Still a "Bulwark" Against Government Abuse After hearing 6 months of evidence, including 80 witnesses; hundreds of hours of FISA wiretaps culled from 425,000 conversations recorded over 10 years; testimony of Israeli intelligence agents; heart-wrenching testimony of Israeli suicide bombing victims; graphic video of suffering bombing victims; and more than $50 million in taxpayer money being thrown at the case, the jury refused to find any of the defendants guilty of anything! Dr. Al Arian's lawyers, Linda Moreno and Bill Moffett, did not call one witness or put on one piece of evidence. The defense was the First Amendment right to free speech and the lack of any connection between Dr. Al Arian's lawful support for the Palestinian struggle in the U.S. and the tragic violence connected to Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine. On December 2005 TIME Magazine called Dr. Al Arian's acquittal "the biggest defeat for the Bush Administration to date" , and so it was. It was also a victory for the United States Constitution. The Tampa jury upheld the best traditions of our Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, that is supposed to be a "bulwark" against misuse of governmental power. For a while it seemed that the Constitution was actually working the way it was supposed to, but the Bush administration made sure that this illusion did not last for long. Within days, the administration said they were going to re-try Dr. Al Arian on the lesser charges on which the jury "hung" 10-2 for acquittal. Re-trial is not illegal, but highly unusual when the evidence was so clearly rejected by the jury. But at the same time the Bush administration was telling the world they would try Dr. Al Arian again, they secretly approached Al Arian's lawyers with "an offer he couldn't refuse" in early 2006 to avoid government being embarrassed by another acquittal. Setting the Trap: "An Offer He Couldn't Refuse" The Bush-administration promised to: (a) drop all charges; (b) release Dr. Al Arian in 30 days; and (c) assist in deporting him to country of his choice, immediately upon his release. Compared to the death penalty or life in prison that he had been facing weeks earlier, it was a difficult offer to turn down but he did precisely that, because there were a couple of "catches" he and his lawyers refused to accept. First, he would have to plead guilty to a crime, and he had not committed any crimes. Second, the standard Tampa plea-agreement had a "grand jury co-operation" clause, and Dr. Al Arian would not agree to either. The Bush administration panicked and sweetened their offer. If Dr. Al Arian would only admit having helped his brother-in-law with immigration matters, and not telling a reporter about a colleague's political associations, both of which were true, and neither of which were crimes, the Bush-administration would agree call the legal, non- violent acts evidence of a "conspiracy," and recommend his release by the end of May 2006. But Dr. Al Arian and his lawyers still said "no-deal" because he absolutely refused to "co-operate" with a Bush Justice Department that had set him up and prosecuted him for political reasons. So the Bush- administration "blinked" again, because they needed to avoid another embarrassing defeat. This time, they removed the "grand jury co-operation" requirement because, as they admitted in court, it was only way to get his name on the dotted line. They also admitted, in court on April 14, that the terms of their agreement with Al Arian had been approved in Washington, D.C. and specifically applied to Alexandria, Virginia, the federal district where most of the Pentagon's employees live and a favorite place for grand-jury "terrorism" investigations. The "Trap" Begins to Close But when Dr. Al Arian appeared in court on May 1, 2006, expecting the agreement to become final, and to be released before the month was out, the game changed. Judge James Moody agreed to immediate deportation (which means neither the judge or the Bush-administration considered him dangerous) and all other charges were dropped. Instead of time-served release and deportation, the judge sentenced him to the constitutional maximum sentence, another year in prison, and read a prepared statement publicly declaring him guilty of "killing women and children in Israel." In essence, the judge convicted Dr. Al Arian of the same violent offenses that the jury had rejected. Several of the jurors went public after the sentencing hearing expressing outrage that the judge had ignored their verdict. So much for the Sixth Amendment. Instead of beginning a new life in May 2006, as the Bush Administration led him to believe would happen, Dr. Al Arian would be in prison until April 2007. But there was no reason to think that the Bush administration was actually manipulating the legal system - yet. The Bush Administration's Post-Acquittal "Torture-Strategy" On May 10, 2006 the "trap" snapped shut when the Assistant U.S. Attorney in Alexandria sought a secret order calling Dr. Al Arian before the very Alexandria grand jury that the Tampa prosecutor said had been covered by the "no grand jury cooperation" agreement. Neither Dr. Al Arian nor his lawyers knew about the secret order until October 2006, when AUSA Gordon Kromberg informed them Dr. Al Arian would be brought before the grand jury - during Ramadan. When Dr. Al Arian appeared before the grand jury and relied on the "no- grand jury cooperation" promise, Judge Lee held him in contempt of court, and he was in contempt detention until December 2007, when the grand jury expires, which effectively extended original May 2006 release until April 7, 2008, two years after the Bush administration promised he would be released and deported. Last Week: Another Turn of the Screw On March 3, 2008 AUSA Kromberg turned the torture screw up another notch, when Dr. Al Arian was brought back to court and informed that he would be called before yet another grand jury on March 19, 2008, this time only 3 weeks before his latest release and deportation date. If he insists on the Bush administration respecting its "no-grand jury cooperation" promise again, he is likely to be held in contempt again, which will effectively cancel the April release date and extend his time in prison again - indefinitely. And, he has to insist on it because terms of the plea agreement "contract" are still on appeal, a Catch-22, if there ever was one. But, there is a more sinister manipulation in the works. AUSA Kromberg has charged other acquitted Palestinian defendants with perjury, when they did testify before his grand jury. Other acquitted Palestinian defendants have been charged with "obstruction of justice," when they declined. Dr. Al Arian's lawyer, George Washington Univesity law professor Jon Turley has said that Kromberg is "setting up Al Arian for a perjury/obstruction trap." The other acquitted Palestinian defendants facing the same "Hobson's choice" have been given "terrorism-enhanced" sentences of 5 to 10 years whether they answered grand jury questions or not after American juries already acquitted them of the underlying charges. Imprisoned for a decade after being acquitted certainly could be called "torture", or at least "Kafka-esque." Neither Alberto Gonzalez, nor "General Mukasey" (as he apparently referred to in White House circles) have done anything to rein in this misuse of prosecutorial power, but neither have the Courts nor the Democrat-controlled Senate and House Judiciary Committees even though both Chairmen, Sen. Leahy and Cong. Conyers, were made aware of this blatant manipulation of prosecutorial power, for apparently political purposes, more than a year ago. [And yet so many Dem blind-hopers will swallow anything no matter how absurd just so long as they can maintain their cheap hope and do nothing but smile weakly for a while - until the next betrayal. The powers that be have *nothing* to fear from such blind hopers. As the ship goes down, they close their eyes. -ed] Dr. Al Arian's Last Protest Fast But now, the Bush administration, the Courts and Congressional oversight committees have a chance to intervene. On March 4, 2008, the day after the "perjury/obstruction" trap was sent by Kromberg, Dr. Al Arian began a complete food and water fast to protest, in the only way he can, the perfidy of the Bush administration, and the "torture" caused by its rejection of the constitution and abuse of its power. This is Dr. Al Arian's third hunger-strike during his 5 years of imprisonment. The first was in 2005 and lasted 140 days on liquids only, before he was permitted the lawyers of his choice. In early 2006 he drank only water for 60 days, when the court refused to require the Bush-administration to honor their "no grand jury cooperation" promise, the first time. Now, he is refusing all food and liquids was transferred to the prison hospital on March 5. But he is not getting necessary medical treatment. As of Monday, March 10, Dr. Al Arian has not received any intravenous liquids, and he is in danger of irreversible renal failure - yet another kind of torture, that could be ended with proper medical care. If Dr. Al Arian dies, AUSA Kromberg will have accomplished his stated "mission", so the question is, will anybody else respond, before it is too late? End the Torture of Dr. Al Arian Now! Between now and his April 7, 2008 release/deportation date, Kromberg will have to bring Dr. Al-Arian before the grand jury on a stretcher, kept alive by IV's, assuming he receives proper treatment in the next day or two. Unless, of course, the Congress, the Courts or Mukasey put an end to the torture he has so far been subjected to. While Mukasey or Bush could release Al Arian with the stroke of a pen. Bush's veto of the torture limitation bill is an indication that Dr. Al Arian's own torture will not be ended without the intervention of the Congress, the Courts, or the American people. The torture of Dr. Al Arian is not "water-boarding," nor the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that Bush says is now part of America's regular way of doing business - but it is "torture" nonetheless. The Bush veto on Saturday demonstrates the Bush-Cheney "war on terror" is not really about terrorism at all, but is a politically-motivated assault directed against the constitution and the rule of law. A government that is unwilling to publicly renounce torture committed in its name, and in the name of the American people, is capable of doing anything, to anybody, at any time, and the Al Arian case is a prime example of a lawless regime displaying itself to the world. The Al Arian case is not law, it is politics - and torture. It is time for Congress, the Courts and the American people to put an end to the legal torture of Dr. Al Arian, now. Release him! Peter Erlinder is a professor at William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN and attorney on appeal for Dr. Sami Al Arian in appeals to the US 4th Circuit, the 11th Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States - all of which have declined to intervene in his case. E- mail peter.erlinder [at] wmitchell.edu © 2008 Peter Erlinder Notes  TIME Magazine, December 19, 2005, "When Terrorism Charges Just Won't Stick"  The Al Arian case is the subject of USA v. Al Arian, awarded the prize for best documentary at the Nordic Film Festival in 2007, which is being shown in film festivals and other venues worldwide. --------18 of 18-------- Ha ha anonymous Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting. Well, for example, the other day I went downtown and into a shop. I was only there for about 5 minutes, and when I came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. I said to him, "Come on, man, how about giving a retired person a break"? He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. I called him a "Nazi." He glared at me and wrote another ticket for having worn tires. So I called him a "doughnut eating Gestapo." He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he wrote a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more I abused him the more tickets he wrote. Personally, I didn't care. I came downtown on the bus, and the car that he was putting the tickets on had a bumper sticker that said, "Hillary in '08." I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired. It's important to my health. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.