Progressive Calendar 05.29.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 05:50:21 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.29.08

1. Culture/peace 5.30 5pm
2. Alt/violence  5.30 6pm
3. Azteca        5.30
4. RNC           5.30-6.01
5. Moyers/war    5.30 9pm

6. Energy/env/wk 5.31 9am
7. Peace walk    5.31 9am
8. NWN4P Mtka    5.31 11am
9. Ntown vigil   5.31 2pm
10. Why Nader    5.31 2pm
11. Picnic/Dahl  5.31 4pm
12. Mike Farrell 5.31 5pm
13. GP book club 5.31 7pm
14. GLBT/CTV     5.31 9pm

15. Ralph Nader       - What's really driving the high price of oil?
16. Michael Dickinson - Fry 'em!/Raytheon's pain ray
17. Ron Kovic         - Military recruiters must be confronted
18. Stephen Lendman   - Plan Colombia heads for Mexico / SPP/NAU
19. anon              - Why did the chicken cross the road?
20. ed                - Whizzer of Oz  (haiku)

--------1 of 20--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Culture/peace 5.30 5pm

5/30 (5 pm) to 6/1 (2 pm), nonviolence training for Creating a Culture of
Peace using social change techniques of Gandhi, King, Tich Nhat Hahn and
others, $210 (includes all expenses), ARC Retreat Center, 75 minutes north
of St Paul.  http://www.mnfor.org/content/about_us or Joan at
joan [at] pleromacoaching.com or 651-641-0946.


--------2 of 20--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Alt/violence 5.30 6pm

5/30 (6 pm) to 6/1 (6 pm), Alternatives to Violence Project basic level
workshop, Twin Cities Friends Meetinghouse, 1725 Grand Ave, St Paul.  $75
to 150 sliding scale.  http://www.fnvw.org or avperika [at] gmail.com or
651-644-5851.


--------3 of 20--------

From: Human Rights Center Development Desk <hrcfund [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Azteca 5.30

May 30, 2008 - 4th Annual Ceremonia Chalchiutlicue: Community
Celebration,Traditional Azteca Danza Ceremony & Environmental Justice
Summit.  Time: All day (see website).  Cost: Free and open to the public.

Danza Mexica Cuauht moc of Minnesota and the Chalchiutlicue Environmental
Project cordially invite you to participate in any part of our three day
event including a conference, community celebration, and festival honoring
the waters of the world. The weekend celebration includes: environmental
justice summit, traditional Azteca Chalchiutlicue dance ceremony,
Information Tables, Artisan Vendors, Community Feast, and more. Everything
is free and open to the public.

See http://www.chalchiutlicue.org for further information
Location: Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center, 179 East Robie Street, Saint
Paul, MN 55107


--------4 of 20--------

From: rnc08 [at] riseup.net
Subject: RNC 5.30-6.01

May 30th - June 1st: Unconventional Midwest Convergence

On May 30th - June 1st, 2008, folks from all over the Midwest will be
heading to Minneapolis, Minnesota to flesh out solid proposals in regards
to how we'll work together against the RNC/DNC come September and August.
This 3 day event will include essential party crashing workshops,
networking, and intensive strategizing. If you have a specific workshop
you'd like to see or facilitate, get a hold of us at the email address at
the bottom of this release.

TO GET INTO THE STRATEGIZING SESSION YOU MUST BE VOUCHED FOR.
If your planning on making it to the strategizing session, please send an
RSVP (to the e-mail at the bottom of this release) specifying your
willingness to be apart of it. At this point we'll send you a form to
complete and send back to us.

THE REST OF THE WEEKEND IS OPEN TO EVERYONE.
Because of this, we ask that folks to keep security culture in mind to
create the safest space possible for all parties involved.
http://www.why-war.com/guides/2003/09/security.html

PLANNING EARLY.
We are asking people to send their proposals and ideas for the
strategizing session ahead of time so we can go into this organized. You
can send your input to the email address at the bottom of this release.

CHILDCARE.
We will be providing childcare for most (if not the entire) convergence.
Please give the organizers a hand and RSVP ahead of time to the e-mail at
the bottom of this release. We need to stock up on toys and supplies!

Please RSVP to the following email address well ahead of time so we know
what we can expect for food, housing, numbers, ect.
midwestmaelstrom [at] riseup.net

For more updated information and schedule, head over to the following page:
http://uamidwest.wordpress.com/

In rage, -Unconventional Midwest


--------5 of 20--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org>
Subject: Moyers/war 5.30 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | Casualty of war
http://www.truthout.org/article/bill-moyers-journal-casualty-war-1
Bill Moyers interviews former talk show host Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro
in this rebroadcast about the true cost of war and the documentary, "Body
of War," depicting the moving story of one veteran dealing with the
aftermath of war. With extensive excerpts from the film, the filmmakers
talk about Iraq war veteran Tomas Young, who was shot and paralyzed less
than a week into his tour of duty. Three years in the making, "Body of
War" tells the poignant tale of the young man's journey from joining the
service after 9/11 to fight in Afghanistan, to living with devastating
wounds after being deployed to Iraq instead.


--------6 of 20--------

From: Julie Risser <julie.risser [at] visi.com>
Subject: Energy/env/wkshps 5.31 9am

Care about reducing waste, cutting energy consumption, and creating
healthy landscapes? Come to the Edina Energy and Environment Workshops
Series on Saturday, May 31st. The free workshops will be held 9 a.m. to
noon at Edina High School, 6754 Valley View Road. Participants should
enter through Door #7. Free energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs
will be given to the first 40 people who come to the workshops and sign up
for the Minnesota Energy Challenge.

From 9 to 10 a.m., the following sessions will be held:
 Organic Recycling In The Home And Garden
 Bicycle-Commuting To Work, Around Town & To School
 Understanding Your Energy Bills
 Water-Smart Landscaping

From 10 to 11, these sessions will be offered:
 Dispelling the Myths Of Compact Fluorescent Lighting
 Solar Power For Your Home
 Organizing A Community-Wide Sustainability Initiative
 Outdoor Classroom

During the final hour of the morning, the concurrent sessions will be:
 Tapping Into The Potential Of Wind
 Ten Ways To Save Energy
 Organic Recycling In The Schools
 Rain Gardens and Waterless Landscaping

This event is sponsored by the nine-member Edina Energy & Environment
Commission which was established in 2007 to help the City stay on the
forefront of issues of sustainability. For more information on the Edina
Energy Challenge or the Commission, visit www.CityofEdina.com. For more
information on the Edina Energy & Environment Workshops, contact
Commissioner Paul Thompson, 952-920-1547 or Julie Risser at 952-927-7538.


--------7 of 20--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Peace walk 5.31 9am

Every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street


--------8 of 20--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 5.31 11am

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


--------9 of 20--------

From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.31 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday
2-3pm


--------10 of 20--------

From: PRO826 [at] aol.com
Subject: Why vote Nader 5.31 2pm

Fed up with the war and corrupt government?
Tired of empty rhetoric from corporate-sponsored politicians?
Want to see a genuine voice for change this election?

Get active with the Minnesota
NADER CAMPAIGN

Saturday, May  31
2:00pm
Walker  Community Methodist Church
3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis

Come hear why Nader is challenging the corporate parties again, why local
activists are supporting his campaign, and how you can help build this
movement to reclaim our democracy. The two big business parties and the
corporate media are trying to shut out any real debate in the 2008
elections. They hope to avoid engaging genuine antiwar voices, any
discussion of single-payer universal health-care, of living wage jobs, of
a crackdown on corporate crime, mass investment in clean energy, and a
host of other issues that the two parties' corporate backers find
uncomfortable.

Until we build a powerful political alternative that speaks for the
millions rather than the millionaires, our votes will be taken for granted
and the grip of big money over our democracy will become ever tighter.
That is why local activists believe Nader's antiwar, anti-corporate
challenge in 2008 is so important. Come join us for a discussion on how to
make the biggest impact in 2008, and how we can use the election to lay
the foundations for a sustained political alternative in the years to
come.

Event organized by Minnesotans for Nader To get active locally, contact us
at: _danene [at] votenader.org_ (mailto:danene [at] votenader.org)
_http://www.votenader.org/action/minnesota/_ (http://www.votenader.org/)


--------11 of 20--------

From: Andrew Hine <amhine2 [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Picnic/Dahl Hs 5.31 4pm

Enjoy more sesquicentennial fun for the entire family!

Saint Paul's historic Dahl House, 151 years old, is the site of a
Preservation Picnic this Saturday afternoon.  Come and see how this
formerly threatened home has been lovingly restored to become one of the
Brewery Neighborhood's most-favored buildings.  Look at photos and plans,
chat with the neighbors, and take a tour of the house and surrounding
area.  Imagine Erie Street 10 years from now.  Imagine Ancker Hospital 50
years ago.

Enjoy beer, brats, & burgers, and your side dish or dessert.

Sat 31 May
4 to 7 pm
508 Jefferson Av
just off W 7th across from the historic car wash


--------12 of 20--------

From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Mike Farrell 5.31 5pm

MAGERS AND QUINN PRESS RELEASE : For Immediate Distribution : Mike Farrell,
B.J. on Mash, celebrates the paperback edition of Call Me Mike: A Journey
from Actor to Activist (Akashic Books) 5pm Saturday, May 31 at Magers and
Quinn Booksellers.

From its opening pages, Mike Farrell's new memoir reveals the distinctive
voice of a man for whom life is an ongoing odyssey of self-discovery,
personal commitment, and uncompromising social engagement.

With deep insight and disarming candor, Farrell describes his early years
as a timid but restless teenager in West Hollywood, delivering groceries
to the homes of Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Jimmy Stewart, and countless
other celebrities, while dreaming of having his own career as an actor. In
stark but riveting language, he relates his formative years as a Marine
recruit, confused, conflicted, and eager to prove himself as a man.
Farrell humorously portrays his professional development from a young soap
opera player on Days of Our Lives to the amiable star of two popular
television series, *M*A*S*H* and Providence,f to the respected producer
of successful motion pictures like Dominick and Eugene and Patch
Adams.

At the heart of his story, Farrell narrates his public struggle to be a
responsible citizen of the world. From his first-hand accounts of the
ravages of war and oppression in Cambodia, El Salvador, Somalia, Bosnia,
Rwanda, and the Gaza Strip, to his tireless advocacy against capital
punishment, to his deep commitment to environmental causes, Farrell
portrays each of these experiences with passion, outrage, and stubborn
optimism.

Mike Farrell is best known for his eight years on *M*A*S*H* and five
seasons on Providence. He is also a writer, director, and producer. He
serves as cochair emeritus of Human Rights Watch in Southern California,
and cofounded Artists United to Win Without War. As president of Death
Penalty Focus, he speaks, writes, and coordinates efforts to stop
executions. He lives in Los Angeles.

MAGERS AND QUINN BOOKSELLERS
3038 HENNEPIN AVENUE SOUTH
MINNEAPOLIS MN 55408
612-822-4611
www.magersandquinn.com


--------13 of 20--------

From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at] hammclinic.org>
Subject: GP book club 5.31 7pm

I love the book we chose!  "Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can
Go With the Flow" by Jim Hightower with Susan DeMarco is so positive and
solution oriented.  On page 13 it quotes Calvin Coolidge "The chief ideal
of the American people is idealism".  Who would have guessed Calvin
Coolidge said that?

"Business can be designed around goals more worthwhile that merely
funneling the mass of commercial wealth to a royal elite of CEO's and
uber-rich financial speculators.  Among the structural possibilities are
family enterprises, co-ops, partnerships, sole proprietorships, local
markets, supply associations, bartering, buying clubs and... (use your
imagination)."

"Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow", by Jim
Hightower with Susan DeMarco, page 13.

The book goes on to talk about how Peace Coffee was started right here in
Minnesota!  Organic Valley was started by small farmers in Wisconsin.
Sometimes I can get so depressed about the ways things are going, and then
I read how people took power into their own hands.  It shows that change
will come from us locally, not from above.

Enjoy!  See everyone May 31st, 7:00, at the same location, the community
room between 161 and 163 Erie Street, St. Paul.


--------14 of 20--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: GLBT/CTV 5.31 9pm

Lovely Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

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

Sat, 5/31, 9pm and Tues, 6/3, 8am "Talking About a Sexual Revolution"
Interview of local GLBT youth, media and instant runoff voting activist
Brandon Lacy Campos. Hosted by Eric Angell.


--------15 of 20--------

In Search of a Sane Government
What's Really Driving the High Price of Oil?
By RALPH NADER
CXounterPunch
May 28, 2008

What factors are causing the zooming price of crude oil, gasoline and
heating products? What is going to be done about it?

Don't rely on the White House - with Bush and Cheney marinated in oil - or
the Congress - which has hearings that grill oil executives who know that
nothing is going to happen on Capitol Hill either.

Last week the price of crude oil reached about $130 a barrel after spiking
to $140 briefly. The immediate cause? Guesses by oil man T. Boone Pickens
and Goldman Sachs that the price could go to $150 and $200 a barrel
respectivly in the near future. They were referring to what can be called
the hoopla pricing party on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (NYMEX)

Meanwhile, consumers, workers and small businesses are suffering with the
price of gasoline at $4 a gallon and diesel at $4.50 a gallon. Suffering
but not protesting, except for a few demonstrations by independent
truckers.

A consumer and small business revolt could be politically powerful. But
what would they revolt to achieve? Their government is paralyzed and is
unable to indicate any action if oil goes up to $200 or $400 a barrel.
Washington, D.C. is leaving people defenseless and drawing no marker for
when it will take action.

Oil was at $50 a barrel in January 2007, then $75 a barrel in August 2007.
Now at $130 or so a barrel, it is clear that oil pricing is speculative
activity, having very little to do with physical supply and demand. An
essential product - petroleum - is set by speculators operating on rumor,
greed, and fear of wild predictions.

Over the time since early 2007, U.S. demand for petroleum has fallen by 1
percent and world demand has risen by 1.3 percent. Supplies of crude are
so plentiful, according to the Wall Street Journal, "traders of physical
crude oil say their market is suffering from too much supply, not too
little".

Iran, for instance, is storing 25 million barrels of heavy, sour crude oil
because, in the words of Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran's oil governor,
"there are simply no buyers because the market has more than enough oil".

Mike Wittner, head of oil research at Societe Generale in London agrees.
"There's various signals out there saying for right now, the markets are
well supplied with crude".

Historically, oil has been afflicted with the control of monopolists. From
the late nineteenth century days of John D. Rockefeller, and his Standard
Oil monopoly, to the emergence of the "Seven Sisters" oligopoly, made up
of Standard Oil, Shell, BP, Texaco, Mobil, Gulf and Socal, to the rise of
OPEC representing the major producing countries, the "free market" price
of oil has been a mirage. Despite the breakup of the Standard Oil company
by the government's trustbusters about 100 years ago, selling cartels and
buying oligopolies kept reasserting themselves.

In an ironic twist, the major price determinant has moved from OPEC
(having only 40% of the world production) and the oil companies to the
speculators in the commodities markets. What goes on in the essentially
unregulated New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) - without Commodity
Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) enforced margin requirements, and,
unlike your personal purchases, untaxed - is now the place that leads to
your skyrocketing gasoline bills. OPEC and the Big Oil companies reap the
benefits and say that it's not their doing, but that of the speculators.
Gives new meaning to "passing the buck".

Deborah Fineman, president of Mitchell Supreme Fuel Co. in Orange, New
Jersey, summed up the scene: "Energy markets have been dictated for too
long by hedge funds and speculators, who artificially manipulate the
numbers for their own benefit. The current market isn't based on the sound
principles of supply and demand but it is being rigged by companies and
speculators who are jacking up prices for their own greed".

Harry C. Johnson, former banker who worked for many years inside Big Oil
and ran his own small oil company in Oklahoma, blames the CFTC, the
Department of Energy, the Administration, and Congress, as "asleep at the
switch on an issue that is probably costing U.S. consumers $1 billion per
day".

He cites some industry experts, who profit greatly from the high price of
crude, and have stated openly that the worldwide economic price of crude,
absent speculators, would be around $50 to $60 per barrel.

Imagine, our government is letting your price for gasoline and home
heating oil be determined by a gambling casino on Wall Street called
NYMEX. The people need regulatory protection from speculators and an
excess profits tax on Big Oil.

In addition, a sane government would see the present price crises as an
opportunity to expand our passenger and freight railroad capacity and
technology.

A sane government would drop all subsidies and tax loopholes for Big Oil's
huge profits and other fossil fuels and promote a national mission to
solarize our economy to achieve major savings from energy conservation
technology, retrofitting buildings, and upgrading efficiency standards for
motor vehicles, home appliances, industrial engines and electric
generating plants.

Those are the permanent ways to achieve energy independence, reduce our
trade deficit, create good jobs that can't be exported and protect the
environmental health of people and nature.

Those are the reforms and advances that a muscular consumer, worker and
small business revolt can focus on in the coming weeks.

What say you, America?

Ralph Nader is running for president as an independent.


--------16 of 20--------

Raytheon's Pain Ray
Fry 'Em!
By MICHAEL DICKINSON
CounterPunch
May 28, 2008

Coming soon, from the folks who brought you the microwave - Raytheon!
After more than ten years in the making and at a cost of over 40 million
dollars, "Silent Guardian", or Active Denial System, (ADS, in it's formal
mood), is almost ready for public release!

Yes, Raytheon - manufacturer of the 100 bunker buster bombs kindly flown
by America to Israel at the height of their bombardment of Lebanon, and
supplier of electronic equipment for the apartheid wall built on
Palestinian land; - Raytheon - with its 73,000 employees worldwide and
annual revenues of 20 billion dollars has gone and done it again!

For, Raytheon - the world's largest producer of guided missiles, and fifth
largest defense contractor in the world, provider of aircraft radar
systems, weapons sights and targeting systems, communication and
battle-management systems, and satellite components - has come up with a
system which could scatter a crowd in a trice without a drop of blood
being spilled.

Yes, folks, originally designed to protect military personnel against
small-arms fire without the use of lethal force, Silent Guardian, ADS, the
Pain Ray, call it what you will, (Raytheon would prefer you not to use the
latter however), will finally soon be here!

Transmitted at the speed of light over a 700 yard distance, the Pain Ray
is a millimeter-wave beam that penetrates 1/64th of an inch beneath the
skin, causing the water molecules there to bubble, producing an intense
burning sensation, said to feel like being burnt by molten lava or a hot
iron.  Its delivery system attached to a Humvee and aimed right, the Pain
Ray makes people run away - fast.

Tests conducted at Kirtland Air Force Base south of Albuquerque, New
Mexico, employ realistic combat scenarios to determine its potential
effectiveness in a deployed environment, the first to expose an entire
test subject to the ray.

The Defense Department want to use it for protecting Defense resources,
peacekeeping, humanitarian missions and other situations in which the use
of lethal force is undesirable, but already there have been inquiries from
other institutes and wealthy individuals about using it to protect private
property.

Testing, conducted on human volunteers and animals by the Air Force
Research Laboratory's Human Effectiveness Directorate continues, and
although it has not been proved that exposure to the ray can cause cancer,
it has been ascertained that the corneas of Rhesus monkeys can be damaged.

Deployment of the system is slated to begin in Iraq in 2010, but there are
rumors that it has already been tested there.

Raytheon congratulates itself on having developed a non-lethal weapon
which has been described as "Holy Grail of crowd control," but their
Silent Guardian also has its critics.  One, author Richard Hunter asks:

"But what happens if the people faced with such a weapon can't just run
away? What happens if they're trapped in a crowd, and the crowd can't
move? How much pain must that crowd endure? How long can any member of the
crowd be exposed to that weapon before his or her skin - or their eyes -
simply cook off?

What happens if the devices are used deliberately in a manner designed to
cause maximum harm - say, by training the device on prisoners trapped in
prison cells until they literally go mad with pain?

What happens if the system operator turns up the power? A little bit works
well, why not try a lot?

What happens if the scientists didn't test the devices thoroughly, and
they turn out to render anyone touched by them blind, or impotent, or
sterile?"

And the National Lawyers Guild of the US has accused Raytheon of being
"implicated in the commission of war crime".

One critical group, the Derry Anti-War Coalition, occupied the Raytheon
weapons factory in Ireland in 2006 to protest at the production of guided
missile components there.

Said a spokesman:

"We are calling for arms components manufacturers to be shut down all over
Ireland - North and South. It is disgraceful that so many companies in
Ireland are profiteering from the maiming and murder of peaceful and
innocent civilians in the Middle East. We are calling for and supporting
non-violent occupation of all weapons manufacturers that supply arms to
the Israeli Military."

The protestors were arrested and charged with damaging Raytheon property.
They await conviction.  The cheeky blighters have got up a petition to
sign to support them!  http://www.petitiononline.com/dawc/petition.html

As if you would!

They wouldn.t have been able to get into the building if a Silent Guardian
had been in action.  A tiny squirt of the Pain Ray would have quickly sent
them yelping away.

Roll on the ADS! Coming soon!  To a street near you!

Michael Dickinson, whose artwork graces the covers of Dime's Worth of
Difference, Serpents in the Garden and Grand Theft Pentagon, lives in
Istanbul. He can be contacted via his website http://yabanji.tripod.com/
or at: michaelyabanji [at] gmail.com


[Some say that tools are neutral, it's all in how they are used, so new
tools/weapons are neutral, OK, and no big deal. But new weapons, no matter
how devastating or inhumane, are always used by ruling classes. Knowing
this, the development of the pain ray is evil. Will it be used at the RNC
here in September? If not, sooner or later it will be, to squelch the
first amendment right of assembly. With this and other accumulated
overwhelming technology, the ruling class could do _anything_ it wanted to
us; perhaps their Nazi thousand year Reich will soon be in reach. And as
the psychopaths and sociopaths they are, they would be thrilled to bring
it on. Only carrots for them, only sticks for us. Endless heaven for them,
endless hell for us. Why are we laying around letting them do it?  -ed]


--------17 of 20--------

Stopping the War Machine: Military Recruiters Must Be Confronted
by Ron Kovic
Published on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 by TruthDig.com
Common Dreams

As a former United States Marine Corps sergeant who was shot and paralyzed
from my mid-chest down during my second tour of duty in Vietnam on Jan.
20, 1968, I am sending my complete support and admiration to all those now
involved in the courageous struggle to stop military recruitment in
Berkeley and across the country.

Not since the Vietnam War protests of the late 1960s has there been a
cause more just than the one you are now engaged in. Who knows better the
deep immorality and deception of military recruiters than those of us who,
decades ago, entered those same recruiting offices with our fathers,
believing in our hearts that we were being told the truth - only to
discover later we had been deceived and terribly betrayed? Many of us paid
for that deceit with our lives, years of suffering and bodies and minds
that were never the same again. If only someone had warned us, if only
someone had had the courage to speak out against the madness that we were
being led into, if only someone could have protected us from the
recruiters whose only wish was to make their quota, send us to boot camp
and hide from us the dark secret of the nightmare which awaited us all.

Over the past five years, I have watched in horror the mirror image of
another Vietnam unfolding in Iraq. So many similarities, so many things
said that remind me of that war 30 years ago which left me paralyzed and
confined to a wheelchair for life. Refusing to learn from the lessons of
Vietnam, our government continues to pursue a policy of deception,
distortion, manipulation and denial, doing everything it can to hide from
the American people their true intentions and agenda in Iraq. As we pass
the fifth anniversary of the start of this tragic and senseless war, I
cannot help but think of the young men and women who have been wounded,
nearly 30,000, flooding Walter Reed, Bethesda, Brooke Army Medical Center
and veterans hospitals all across our country. Paraplegics, amputees, burn
victims, the blinded, shocked and stunned, brain-damaged and
psychologically stressed, a whole new generation of severely maimed men
and women who were not even born when I came home wounded to the Bronx
Veterans Hospital in New York in 1968.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which afflicted so many of us after
Vietnam, is just now beginning to appear among soldiers recently returned
from the current war. For some the agony and suffering, the sleepless
nights, anxiety attacks and awful bouts of insomnia, alienation, anger and
rage will last for decades - if not their whole lives. They will be
trapped in a permanent nightmare of that war, of killing another man, a
child, watching a friend die - fighting against an enemy that can never be
seen, while at any moment someone, a child, a woman, an old man - anyone -
might kill them.

These traumas return home with us and we carry them, sometimes hidden, for
agonizing decades. They deeply impact our daily lives, and the lives
closest to us. To kill another human being, to take another life out of
this world with one pull of a trigger, is something that never leaves you.
It is as if a part of you dies with that person. If you choose to keep on
living, there may be a healing, and even hope and happiness again, but
that scar and memory and sorrow will be with you forever. Why did the
recruiters never mention these things? This was never in the slick
pamphlets they gave us.

Some of these veterans are showing up at homeless shelters around our
country, while others have begun to courageously speak out against the
senselessness and insanity of this war and to demand answers from the
leaders who sent them there. During the 2004 Democratic National
Convention, returning soldiers formed a group called Iraq Veterans Against
the War, just as we had marched in Miami in August of 1972 as Vietnam
Veterans Against the War. Still others have refused deployment to Iraq,
gone to Canada and begun resisting this immoral and illegal war. Like many
other Americans, I have seen them on television or at the local veterans
hospitals, but for the most part, they remain hidden like the flag-draped
caskets of our dead returned to Dover Air Force Base in the dark of night,
as this administration continues to pursue a policy of censorship, tightly
controlling the images coming out of that war and rarely allowing the
human cost of its policy to be seen.

Many of us promised ourselves long ago that we would never allow what
happened to us in Vietnam to happen again. We had an obligation, a
responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, as human beings, to raise our
voices in protest. We could never forget the hospitals, the intensive-care
wards, the wounded all around us fighting for their lives, those long and
painful years after we came home, those lonely nights. There were lives to
save on both sides, young men and women who would be disfigured and
maimed, mothers and fathers who would lose their sons and daughters, wives
and other loved ones who would suffer for decades to come if we did not do
everything we could to stop the momentum of this madness.

Mario Savio once said, "There's a time when the operation of the machine
becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part,
you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon
the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and
you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who
run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free the machine will
be prevented from working at all".

It is time to stop the war machine. It is time for bold and daring action
on the part of us all. Precious lives are at stake, both American and
Iraqi, and military recruiters must be confronted at every turn, in every
high school, every campus, every recruiting office, on every street
corner, in every town and city across America. In no uncertain terms we
must make it clear to them that by their actions they represent a threat
to our community, to our children and all that we cherish. We must explain
to them that condemning our young men and women to their death, setting
them up to be horribly maimed, and psychologically damaged in a senseless
and immoral war, is wrong and unpatriotic and will not be tolerated by
Berkeley - or, for that matter, any town or city in the United States.

The days of deceiving, manipulating and victimizing our young people are
over. We have had enough, and I strongly encourage all of you to use every
means of creative, nonviolent civil disobedience to stop military
recruitment all across our country. I stand with you in this important and
courageous fight, and I am confident your actions in the days ahead will
inspire countless others across our country to do everything they can to
end this deeply immoral and illegal war.

(Note: This statement represents portions of several essays and writings I
have done over the past five years.-R.K.)

Paralyzed from the chest down by Vietnam War wounds, and confined to a
wheelchair for almost 40 years, Ron Kovic stands as a symbol of the
brutality of war. He also exemplifies a man's ability to transform such
tragedy into a lifelong pursuit of peace - for himself and his country.
Copyright  2008 Truthdig, L.L.C.


--------18 of 20--------

Plan Colombia Heads for Mexico
By Stephen Lendman
May 29, 2008
ZNet

It's called "Plan Mexico," or more formally the "Merida Initiative," and
here's the scheme. It's to do for Mexicans what Plan Colombia has done to
that nation since 1999, and, in fact, much earlier. Since then, billions
have gone for the following:

- to establish a US military foothold in the country;

- mostly to fund US weapons, chemical and other corporate profiteers;
it's a long-standing practice; in fact, a 1997 Pentagon document affirms
that America's military will "protect US interests and investments;" in
Colombia, it's to control its valuable resources; most importantly oil and
natural gas but also coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, silver, emeralds,
copper and more; it's also to crush worker resistance, eliminate unions,
target human rights and peasant opposition groups, and make the country a
"free market" paradise inhospitable to people;

- it funds a brutish military as well; already, over 10,000 of its
soldiers have been trained at the Western Hemisphere Institute for
Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) - aka the School of the Americas (SOA) at
Fort Benning, Georgia; its graduates are infamous as human rights abusers,
drugs traffickers, and death squad practitioners; they were well schooled
in their "arts" by the nation most skilled in them;

- it lets Colombia arm and support paramilitary death squads; they're
known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC); for more than a
decade, they've terrorized Colombians and are responsible for most
killings and massacres in support of powerful western and local business
interests;

- it funds drug eradication efforts, but only in FARC-EP and ELN areas;
government-controlled ones are exempt; trafficking is big business;
laundering drugs money reaps huge profits for major US and regional banks;
the CIA has also been linked to the trade for decades, especially since
the 1980s; after Afghanistan's invasion and occupation, opium harvests set
records - mostly from areas controlled by US-allied "warlords;" the
Taliban's drug eradication program was one reason it was targeted;
Colombia's drug eradication is horrific; it causes ecological devastation;
crop and forest destruction; lives and livelihoods lost; large areas
chemically contaminated; bottom line of the program - record amounts of
Colombian cocaine reach US and world markets; trafficking is more
profitable than ever; so is big business thanks to paramilitary terror;

- it's to topple the FARC-EP and ELN resistance groups; Latin American
expert James Petras calls the former the "longest standing (since 1964),
largest peasant-based guerrilla (resistance) movement in the world;" it's
also to weaken Hugo Chavez, other regional populist leaders and groups,
and destabilize their countries; and

- it supports the "Uribe doctrine;" it's in lockstep with Washington; its
policies are hard right, corporate-friendly and militarized for
enforcement.

Plan Colombia turned the country into a dependable, profitable
narco-state. Business is better than ever. Violence is out of control and
human rights abuses are appalling.

It gets worse. Two-thirds of Columbians are impoverished. Over 2.5 million
peasant and urban slum dwellers have been displaced. Thousands of trade
unionists have been murdered (more than anywhere else in the world), and
many more thousands of peasants, rural teachers, and peasant and
indigenous leaders have as well. Paramilitary land seizures are
commonplace. Colombian latifundistas profit hugely. Wealth concentration
is extreme and growing. Corruption infests the government. Many thousands
in desperation are leaving. Colombia's "democracy" is a sham. So is
Mexico's. Plan Mexico will make it worse. That's the whole idea, and it's
part of the secretive Security and Prosperity Partnership [SPP] - aka the
North American Union [NAU].

It's planned behind closed doors - to militarize and annex the continent.
Corporate giants are in charge, mostly US ones. The idea is for an
unregulated open field for profit. The Bush administration, Canada and
Mexico support it. Things are moving toward implementation. Three nations
will become one. National sovereignty eliminated. Worker rights as well.
Opposition is building, but moves are planned to quash it. That's the
militarization part.

Business intends to win this one. People are to be exploited, not helped.
That's why it's kept secret. The idea is to agree on plans, inform
legislatures minimally about them, get SPP passed, then implement it with
as few of its disturbing details known in hopes once they are they'll be
too late to reverse.

SPP is ugly, ominous and hugely people destructive. Hundreds of millions
in three countries will be affected. Others in the region as well. Plan
Mexico is a contribution to the scheme. Below is what we know about it.

              Plan Mexico - Exploitation Writ Large

The plan was first announced in October 2007 as a "regional security
cooperation initiative." It's to provide $1.4 billion in aid (over three
years) for Mexico and Central America on the pretext of fighting drugs
trafficking and organized crime linked to it. FY 2008 calls for $550
million for starters with about 10% of it for Central America.

In fact, Plan Mexico is part of SPP's grand scheme to militarize the
continent, let corporate predators exploit it, and keep people from three
countries none the wiser. Most aid will go to Mexico's military and police
forces with its major portion earmarked back to US defense contractors for
equipment, training and maintenance. It's how these schemes always work.

This one includes a menu of security allocations, administrative
functions, and special needs like software, forensics equipment, database
compilations, plus plenty more for friendly pockets to keep our Mexican
cohorts on board.

After failing on May 15, House passage will likely follow the Senate's
approval on May 22 - below the radar. It's one of many appropriations
tucked into the latest Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental funding request, and
its purpose is just as outlandish. It will militarize Mexico without
deploying US troops. It will also open the country for plunder, privatize
everything including state-owned oil company PEMEX, give Washington a
greater foothold there, and get around the touchy military issue by
allowing in Blackwater paramilitaries instead to work with Mexican
security forces.

Only privatizing PEMEX is in doubt thanks to immense citizen opposition.
Thousands of "brigadistas" were in the streets, protesting outside the
Senate and Chamber of Deputies, as lawmakers considered ending PEMEX
state-control. They paralyzed debate and brought it to a halt -
temporarily putting off a final resolution of this very contentious issue.
Big Oil wants it. Most Mexicans don't. The battle continues. Mexico's
military may get involved.

The US State Department describes them as follows:

- ...."impunity and corruption (in Mexico's security forces are)
problems, particularly at the state and local levels. The following human
rights problems were reported: unlawful killings; kidnappings; physical
abuse; poor and overcrowded prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and
detention; corruption, inefficiency, and lack of transparency in the
judicial system; (coerced) confessions....permitted as evidence in trials;
criminal intimidation of journalists leading to self-censorship;
corruption at all levels of government; domestic violence against women
(often with impunity); violence, including killings, against women;
trafficking in persons; social and economic discrimination against
indigenous people; and child labor."

Mexico's military fares little better with promises Plan Mexico will
worsen it. President Calderon now deploys troops around the country.
People fear them when they come. They're purportedly against drugs
traffickers, but that's mostly cover. Their real purpose may be sinister -
a possible dress rehearsal for martial law when SPP is implemented.

Mexican soldiers are hard line. Their reputation is unsavory. People
justifiably fear them. They commit flagrant human rights abuses and get
away with them. The major media even report them. The New York Times, CNN,
BBC, USA Today and others cite evidence of rape, torture, killings, other
human rights abuses, corruption, extortion, and ties to drugs traffickers.
Little is done to stop it. Government and military spokespersons often
aren't available for comment. They're part of the problem, not the
solution. Plan Mexico promises more of the same and then some. Billions
from Washington back it.

Social protests in the country already are criminalized. Hundreds are
filling prisons. Many languish there for years. Labor and social activists
are most vulnerable. Injustice and grinding poverty motivate them. Plan
Mexico ups the ante. Things are about to get worse.

Militarizing society is toxic. Police state enforcement follows.
Accountability disappears. The rule of law no longer applies. Plan Mexico
assures it. So does SPP for the continent. In classic doublespeak, the
White House claims it will "advance the productivity and competitiveness
of our nations and help to protect our health, safety and environment."
Its real purpose is to annex a continent, destroy its democratic remnants,
lock in hard line enforcement, and secure it for capital.

                   SPP Backdrop of Plan Mexico

A detailed SPP explanation can be found on the 2007 article link. It's
titled The Militarization and Annexation of North America -
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6359

Plan Mexico is part of SPP. It will militarize and annex the continent. It
was formerly launched at a March 23, 2005 meeting in Waco, Texas attended
by George Bush, Mexico's President Vincente Fox, and Canadian Prime
Minister Paul Martin. They forged a tripartite partnership for greater US,
Canadian and Mexican economic, political, social and security integration.
Secretive working groups were formed to accomplish it - to devise
non-negotiable agreements to be binding on all three nations.

Details are hidden. No public input is permitted. Pro forma legislative
voting is approaching. It will try to avoid a NAFTA-type battle.
Legislatures aren't being fully informed. The worst of SPP is secret. It's
not a treaty, and the idea is to pass it below the radar and avoid a
protracted public debate.

What's known so far is disturbing, and considerable opposition has arisen
but thus far too inadequate to matter. SPP, Plan Mexico, and a final
continent-wide plan amount to a corporate coup d'etat against three
sovereign states and hundreds of millions of people. It's to erase
national borders, merge three nations into one under US control, and
remove all barriers to trade and capital flows. It's also to militarize
the continent, create a fortress-North America security zone, and have in
place police state laws for enforcement. Billions will fund it. All for
corporate gain. Nothing for public welfare.

SPP takes NAFTA and the "war on terrorism" to the next level en route to
extending it further for more corporate plunder. It's based on outlandish
notions - that doing business, protecting national security, and securing
"public welfare" require tough new measures in a very threatening world.

SPP bolsters US control. It enhances corporate power, quashes civil
liberties, erases public welfare, and creates an open field for plunder
free from regulatory restraints. It's being plotted behind closed doors. A
series of summits and secret meetings continue with the latest one in New
Orleans from April 22 to 24.

Three presidents attended and were met by vocal street protests. They
convened a "People's Summit" and also held workshops to:

- inform people how destructive SPP is;

- strengthen networking and organizational ties against it;

- maintain online information about their activities;

- promote their efforts and build added support; and

- affirm their determination to continue resisting a hugely repressive
corporate-sponsored agenda. Opponents call it Nafta on steroids.

Business-friendly opposition also exists. Prominent is a "Coalition to
Block the North American Union." The Conservative Caucus backs it. It has
a "NAU War Room." It's the "headquarters of THE national campaign to
expose and halt America's absorption into a 'North American Union (NAU)'
with Canada and Mexico." It opposes building "a massive, continental
'NAFTA Superhighway.' "

It has congressional allies, and on January 2007 Rep. Virgil Goode and six
co-sponsors introduced House Concurrent Resolution 40. It expresses "the
sense of Congress that the United States should not engage in (building a
NAFTA) Superhighway System or enter into a North American Union with
Mexico and Canada."

The April summit reaffirmed SPP's intentions - to create a borderless
North America, dissolve national sovereignty, put corporate giants in
control, and assure big US ones get most of it. Militarism is part of it.
It's the reason for fortress-North America under US command. The US
Northern Command (NORTHCOM) was established in October 2002 to do it. It
has air, land and sea responsibility for the continent regardless of Posse
Comitatus limitations that no longer apply or sovereign borders easily
erased.

Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
also have a large role. So does the FBI, CIA, all US spy agencies,
militarized state and local police, National Guard forces, and
paramilitary mercenaries like Blackwater USA. They're headed anywhere on
the continent with license to operate as freely here as in Iraq and New
Orleans post-Katrina. They'll be able to turn hemispheric streets into
versions of Baghdad and make them unfit to live on if things come to that.

SPP maintains a web site. It's "key accomplishments" since August 2007 are
updated on it as of April 22, 2008. Its details can be accessed from the
following link:
http://www.spp.gov/pdf/key_accomplishments_since_august_2007.pdf It lists
principles agreed to; bilateral deals struck; negotiations concluded;
study assessments released; agreements on the "Free Flow of Information;"
law enforcement activities; efforts related to intellectual property,
border and long-haul trucking enforcement; import licensing procedures;
food and product safety issues; energy (with special focus on oil); water
as well; infrastructure development; emergency management; and much more.
It's all laid out in deceptively understated tones to hide its continental
aim - enhanced corporate exploitation with as little public knowledge as
possible.

Militarization will assure it, and consider one development up North. On
February 14, 2008, the US and Canada agreed to allow American troops
inside Canada. Canadians were told nothing or that the agreement was
reached in 2002. Neither was it discussed in Congress or the Canadian
House of Commons. It's for "bilateral integration" of military command
structures in areas of immigration, law enforcement, intelligence, or
whatever else the Pentagon or Washington wishes. Overall, it's part of the
"war on terror" and militarizing the continent to make it "safer" for
business and be prepared for any civilian opposition.

Congress may soon pass SPP, but with no knowledge of its worst provisions
kept secret. It's to assure enough congressional support makes it law.
Nonetheless, federal, state and local opposition is building. It ranges
from private activism to vocal lawmakers. In 2008, a dozen or more states
passed resolutions against SPP. Around 20 others did it in 2007. Congress
began debating it last year with opposition raised on various grounds -
open borders, unchecked immigration, a NAFTA Superhighway System, and the
idea of giving unregulated Mexican trucks free access to US roads and
cities.

There's also talk of replacing three national currencies with an "Amero."
Unfortunately, little is heard about trashing the Constitution or giving
corporate bosses free reign. There's even less talk about a militarized
continent against dissent. SPP is a "new world order." Companies are
plotting to get it. People better hope they don't. Disruptive opposition
might derail them. It's building but needs more resonance to matter. Time
is short and slipping away. These schemers mean business. They want our
future. We can't afford to lose it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at
sjlendman.blogspot.com.

[It's what the ruling class has planned for us. Don't you just love the
rulers & their capitalism imperialism authoritarianism greed inhumanity
and bottomless nastiness? They're as American as apple pie. And we love
'em. And we love it when they spit on us, kick us in the teeth, test the
sharpness of their swords on our arms and legs; our love is mindless
masochism writ large. -ed]


--------19 of 20--------

Why did the chicken cross the road?

BARACK OBAMA:
 The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The
chicken wanted CHANGE!

JOHN MCCAIN:
 My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need
to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other
side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON:
 When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross
the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure - right
from Day One! - that every chicken in this country gets the chance it
deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me .......

DR. PHIL:
 The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must
first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes
after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is
help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT'
problems before adding 'NEW' problems.

OPRAH:
 Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he
wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn
from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to
give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not
live his life like the rest of the chickens.

GEORGE W. BUSH:
 We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to
know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is
either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

COLIN POWELL:
 Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of
the chicken crossing the road...

ANDERSON COOPER- CNN:
 We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been
allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

JOHN KERRY:
 Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it!
It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's
intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

NANCY GRACE:
 That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his
eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN:
 To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

DR SEUSS:
 Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the
chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY:
 To die in the rain. Alone.

JERRY FALWELL:
 Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth?'
That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken is
gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we
boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal
media white washes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side'.
That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple
as that.

GRANDPA:
 In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told
us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BILL GATES:
 I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but
will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book.
Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken. This new platform is
much more stable and will never cra...#@&&(C%........ reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN:
 Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the
chicken ?

BILL CLINTON:
 I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of
chicken?

AL GORE:
 I invented the chicken!

COLONEL SANDERS:
 Did I miss one?

DICK CHENEY:
 Where's my gun?

AL SHARPTON:
 Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.


--------20 of 20---------

 Can you guess what the
 Whizzer of Oz is doing
 behind that curtain?


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