|Progressive Calendar 07.09.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2008 02:53:39 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.09.08 1. RNC here/KFAI 7.09 11am 2. Iran/rally/fast 7.09 12noon 3. RNC/permits 7.09 1pm 4. GLBT host home 7.09 5pm 5. Amnesty Intl 7.09 7:30pm 6. Child prisoners 7.10 9:20am 7. WWII vets/film 7.10 12noon 8. Free speech 7.10 12noon 9. New Hope demo 7.10 4:30pm 10. Eagan vigil 7.10 4:30pm 11. Ntown vigil 7.10 5pm 12. Food forum 7.10 5pm 13. AWC newbies 7.10 7pm 14. Ffunch 7.11 11:30am ?? RSVP 15. Chellis Glendenning - The Un-tied States of America: secede now 16. John Chuckman - Origins of a global bully: myths of Independence Day 17. Jeff Milchen - When money is speech, speech is no longer free 18. Phillip Doe - FISA and the decline of America 19. Robert Jensen - Patriarchy makes men crazy --------1 of 19-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: RNC here/KFAI 7.09 11am Wednesday, July 9 11:00 AM: THE REPUBLICANS ARE COMING! Part I - Who's Ready, Who's Not? KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis /106.7 St. Paul / Streamed [at] KFAI.org A CivicMedia/Minnesota production The Republican National Convention (RNC) has been on our local agenda for a couple of years and dozens of groups and agencies have been preparing to accommodate or confront the 10,000-15,000 conventioneers, media hounds, protesters, lawyers and police personnel will descend on St. Paul's Xcel Center September 1st for four days of the chaotic crowning of the party's Presidential nominee, confronted by protests and potential clashes of all kinds and a series of counter-convention activities at various locations through the Twin Cities. Who's preparing for what and why? TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN bring into the KFAI studios representatives of the wide diversity of organizations of varying agendas for the coming visitors and query them on their strategies and planned tactics for participating in what many consider will be a circus they'd rather not be around for. We talk with convention organizers, arts, peace and protest leaders, law enforcement and just plain folks over several show to clarify for listeners what we can expect to see on the news each night. GUESTS: SEGMENT I: Walker Art Center's UnConvention Projects ALLISON HERRERA - Community Programs Coordinator and Liaison, Walker Art Center OTHERS INVOLVED IN THE UNCONVENTION - TBA SEGMENT II: ACLU-Minnesota/National Lawyers Guild (NLG) BRUCE NESTOR Immigration Rights Attorney, President, NLG CHUCK SAMUELSON Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union-Minnesota GENA BERGLUND Attorney, Member, NLG --------2 of 19-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Iran/rally/fast 7.09 12noon Rally & Fast: Join Minnesota Leaders Who Oppose U.S. Military Action Against Iran Wednesday, July 9, Noon Minnesota State Capitol, South Steps, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul. Join Minnesota bishops, mayors, clergy, council members, congressmen, state senators and representatives, business and cultural leaders who are opposing war on Iran. Political and religious leaders will be fasting and speaking out to kick off a campaign to build public opposition to U.S. military action against Iran. Mayor R. T. Rybak, Congressman Keith Ellison, St. Paul City Council President Karen Lantry, Lutheran Bishop Craig Johnson, Methodist Bishop Sally Dyck, Presbyterian Synod Executive Phil Johnson, and many others have already signed on to a statement opposing war on Iran. With over 4,000 deaths of U.S. soldiers in the Iraq war and over 600,000 deaths of Iraqi civilians, Minnesota leaders are fasting to show the depth of their commitment to prevent the human suffering another war would cause. Bush and Israeli officials continue to discuss military options for Iran. Minnesotans from all walks of life are shocked and dismayed at the possibility of U.S. involvement in another war. State Representative Alice Hausman states that, "The tragedy of our current situation is that we fail to admit the cost of the war in human lives and the economic devastation to our country." From the statement that Minnesota leaders have signed: "Our fast represents the depth of our commitment to prevent the deaths, destruction, hunger and misery of another war" The rally and one-day fast are planned to demonstrate how widespread the opposition is to military action against Iran. An ominous pattern of provocative words and acts from the White House points to a new war: a "preventative" strike on Iran. While we could not prevent the war on Iraq, we must prevent a war on Iran! Sponsored by: WAMM and the Twin Cities Peace Campaign. FFI: Call 612-827-5364. --------3 of 19-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: RNC/permits 7.09 1pm Pack the Courtroom: Support Demands for Permits to March on the RNC and Stop the War Wednesday, July 9, 2:00 p.m. Federal Courthouse, 4th Street and 4th Avenue, Minneapolis. The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War will be in Federal Court to seek an injunction that forces the City of St. Paul to issue adequate permits, regarding march route and time, for an anti-war march during the Republican National Convention (RNC) September 1st. Join others at the Courthouse in support of the Coalition's demands for permits to March on the RNC. Please arrive between 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. Organized by: the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War. FFI: <marchonrnc.org>. --------4 of 19-------- From: hosthome [at] avenuesforyouth.org Subject: GLBT host home 7.09 5pm [Please SAVE THIS NOTICE if you want these dates -ed] On any given night in Minnesota, there are 204-215 GLBT youth who are homeless. (Wilder Research 2006) One of the ways that the Twin Cities' community is addressing this problem is through the GLBT Host Home Program of Avenues for Homeless Youth, which offers an empowering approach to providing homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth with safe homes. As volunteers of the program, adults open their homes and their hearts to young people who are looking for a healthy and nurturing connection. If you are interested in hearing more about this community-based program, please come to one of the following informational meetings: Wednesday, July 9, 5-7pm @ Midtown YWCA 2121 East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55407 www.ywca-minneapolis.org or Tuesday, July 15, 5-7pm @ Face to Face 1165 Arcade Street Saint Paul, MN www.face2face.org or Friday, July 25, 3-5pm @ Midtown YWCA 2121 East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55407 www.ywca-minneapolis.org or Saturday, August 2, 9-11am @ Midtown YWCA 2121 East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55407 www.ywca-minneapolis.org or Tuesday, August 5, 6-8pm @ YouthLink 41 North 12th Street Minneapolis, MN 55403 www.youthlinkmn.com or Monday, August 11, 10am-noon @ Wilder Center (room 2410) 451 Lexington Parkway North Saint Paul, MN 55104 www.wilderresearch.org or Tuesday, August 19, 5:45-7:45pm @ Common Roots Cafe 2558 Lyndale Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55405 www.commonrootscafe.com Come learn about the history of the GLBT Host Home Program and about the application and screening process for potential hosts. You will also have an opportunity to hear from hosts who shared their homes with youth. See you there! Questions? E-mail Raquel (Rocki) SimĂµes at hosthome [at] avenuesforyouth.org --------5 of 19-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 7.09 7:30pm AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, July 9th, at 7:30 p.m. Mad Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul. --------6 of 19-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Child prisoners 7.10 9:20am Press conferences on Child Prisoners of United States Thursday, July 10 9:20am Gathering and 9:30 a.m. Press conference outside Star Tribune, 425 Portland Ave, Minneapolis 10:30 a.m. outside TV Station WCCO Nicollet & 11th, Minneapolis 12:00 noon. outside TV Station KSTP, 3415 University.Ave.W. Minneapolis. Children representing Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) and Grandmothers for Peace are concerned about the lack of media coverage regarding the fact that there have been imprisonments, over time, by the U.S. of 2,500 children under the age of 18 in prisons at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and other facilities. WAMM and Grandmothers will be holding brief press conferences outside major media locations. Children will be present at the press conference. Those joining may want to bring children. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has set standards to protect children. That the United States and Somalia (which had no legitimate government and whose current government is in dispute) are the only UN members who have not ratified the CRC does not lessen the obligation of the U.S. to ALL children EVERYWHERE. We are holding these press conferences in an effort to bring to the attention of Minnesotans this unfortunate and cruel situation." --------7 of 19-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: WWII vets/film 7.10 12noon Thursday, 7/10, noon, TRACES presents 4 documentaries about WWII veterans including ski troops, Europe and the Pacific, 2nd floor Galleria, Landmark Center, 75 W 5th St, St Paul. buseumtour [at] yahoo.com or http://www.TRACES.org or 651-292-8700. --------8 of 19-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: Free speech 7.10 12noon DON'T LET THE MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL SHOOT DOWN OUR RIGHTS! Rubber Bullets Can Kill! You may have heard about the City Council stripping away protections for people exercising their rights, protections that activists fought for and won in 2000. You may be mad about this. But you can fight to restore these protections! Thursday, July 10th 12-1:30 p.m. Peavey Plaza, Downtown Mpls Come downtown on Thursday and help spread the word about the City Council's contempt for free speech! Meet at the base of the fountain at Peavey Plaza at 11:45 a.m. to hand out flyers and talk to people about the problem and what they can do about it. Organizing session from 11:45-noon and flyering from noon-1:30 (or however long you can stay). If you can help print flyers, great! Email <mailto:recycleme2 [at] gmail.com>recycleme2 [at] gmail.com for a PDF version of the email below. More information on fighting for these protections is in the email below. DON'T LET THE MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL SHOOT DOWN OUR RIGHTS! Rubber Bullets Can Kill! In 2000, after a number of excessive force incidents by Minneapolis police against protesters, the community successfully pushed for a resolution that bans police from using rubber bullets, prevents cops from concealing their identities, blocks police from infiltrating groups and building dossiers on activists, and provides other important protections. Over the last month, however, the Minneapolis City Council has been working on new resolutions. They claim they want to make it easier to exercise free speech but, in reality, they passed one resolution requiring us to get permits to demonstratesomething we've never had to do before. Then they passed another resolution that has some loosely-worded protections for activists but that throws out the 2000 resolution and all of its truly important protections. A proposal by councilmember Cam Gordon would bring many of the important protections from the 2000 resolution into the new resolution. This proposal was shunted off to the Public Safety and Regulatory Services committee, which was supposed to hear it on June 25th but they postponed it to their July 16th meeting at request of the police department. If you want to be safe when protesting the RNC, members of this committee, the rest of the city council and the mayor need to hear from us NOW! They need to know we are not going to let them take away the hard-won protections of the 2000 resolution and we are not going to sit idly by while they empower cops to use rubber bullets on protesters. We need to demand they pass Cam Gordon's proposed changes to Resolution 2008R-248: Resolution Adopting Police Policies Regarding Public Assemblies. CONTACT THESE COUNCIL MEMBERS: *Paul Ostrow 612-673-2201 <mailto:paul.ostrow [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>paul.ostrow [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us *Cam Gordon 612-673-2202 <mailto:cam.gordon [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>cam.gordon [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us *Diane Hofstede 612-673-2203 <mailto:diane.hofstede [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>diane.hofstede [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us *Barb Johnson 612-673-2204 <mailto:barbara.johnson [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>barbara.johnson [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us *Don Samuels 612-673-2205 <mailto:don.samuels [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>don.samuels [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us Robert Lilligren 612-673-2206 <mailto:robert.lilligren [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>robert.lilligren [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us Lisa Goodman 612-673-2207 <mailto:lisa.goodman [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>lisa.goodman [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us Elizabeth Glidden 612-673-2208 <mailto:elizabeth.glidden [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>elizabeth.glidden [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us *Gary Schiff 612-673-2209 <mailto:gary.schiff [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>gary.schiff [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us Ralph Remington 612-673-2210 <mailto:ralph.remington [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>ralph.remington [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us Scott Benson 612-673-2211 <mailto:scott.benson [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>scott.benson [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us Sandra Colvin Roy 612-673-2212 <mailto:sandra.colvin.roy [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>sandra.colvin.roy [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us Betsy Hodges 612-673-2213 <mailto:betsy.hodges [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>betsy.hodges [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us *Member of Public Safety & Regulatory Services Committee CONTACT THE MAYOR: R.T. Rybak 612-673-2100 <mailto:R.T.Rybak [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us>R.T.Rybak [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us --------9 of 19-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: New Hope demo 7.10 4:30pm NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of Winnetka and 42nd. You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners. Bring your own or use our signs. --------10 of 19-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 7.10 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------11 of 19-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 7.10 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------12 of 19-------- From: foodforum <foodforum [at] eastsidefood.coop> Subject: Food forum 7.10 5pm EFC produce staffer Martin Brown designed "Legacies and Impacts" as an senior academic project while a student at Antioch College of Yellow Springs, Ohio. "Legacies and Impacts" is about the history, social, economic, and environmental impacts of Minnesota's food-distributing consumer cooperatives. The show will hang at EFC for the month of July, 2008. Artist Talk and Reception at Eastside Food Co-op Thursday, July 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. *Martin received a grant to print a number of copies of the complete project. EFC has a copy of this document available for perusing in the store. Please ask any shift leader to view the store copy. --------13 of 19-------- From: anh <jade.dragon [at] gmail.com> Subject: AWC newbies 7.10 7pm New Members Meeting: Join the Anti-War Committee! THURS, 7/10 @ 7pm @ 1313 5th St. SE, Mpls (Dinkytown), room 112C* Interested in organizing against the war? Want to build for major demonstrations at the RNC this September? Come help organize events to stop the war. New people are welcome every week, but this meeting is designed to be especially for new people. Questions? info [at] antiwarcommittee.org or 612.379.3899. --------14 of 19-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Ffunch 7.11 11:30am ?? RSVP In summer some of our regulars are out of town or encumbered with relatives, so please RSVP to shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu Meet the FFUNCH BUNCH! 11:30am-1pm First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for Greens/progressives. Informal political talk and hanging out. Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul. Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines --------15 of 19-------- The Time to Make It Happen is Now The Un-tied States of America By CHELLIS GLENDINNING CounterPunch July 8, 2008 I've long been attracted to secession as a strategy for breaking up the purposeful gigantism of empire and returning power to communities. Here in Ro Arriba County - where our government officials are community activists, poets, and farmers honed by the 1960s-70s La Raza movement - I proposed seceding from the U.S. and opening trade relations with Cuba. The year was 1998. Although secession is not a new idea in New Mexico - the territory, after all, became a state only in 1912, and the state is interlaced with semi-sovereign Native nations - the proposal went over like a leadchile pod. The choice between "into" and "out of' has become the archetypal conundrum for those attempting to address the violence, inequities, and injustices that are inherent to corporate capitalism. In this instance, la gente chose to lunge in the direction of "into". Not so Vermont. Vermont was never a colony; it was an independent republic from the get-go. No major battle between European invaders and Native peoples ever took place there, and no slaves were imported to it. Entering the Union only in 1791, Vermont kept its decentralized means of decision-making via the grass-roots Town Meeting, and 24 years later it joined other New England states to sign the "Hartford Convention": in essence, declaring the sovereign right to secede. Today the Second Vermont Republic is the direct descendant of this history. Secession is a topic regularly discussed around wood stoves and vats of boiling maple sap, while a 2007 statewide survey found that 74% of Vermont citizens believes the U.S. government has lost all moral authority, 93% of whom want secession considered by the state legislature. It can be no surprise, then, that the book Secession: How Vermont and All the Other States Can Save Themselves From the Empire (Feral House) was written by a Vermonter. Ode magazine calls economist Thomas Naylor a "Tom Paine for the 21st Century," and indeed he is the chair of the Second Vermont Republic. I agree with Kirkpatrick Sale who writes in the Foreword that, among other books on the topic, "none (is) as powerful and useful as this one". Speaking of Tom Paine, the Feral House edition is near pamphlet-size, making it fanny-pack-able to demonstrations, political meetings, and farmers. markets. The book is also Paine-like for its hit-the-nail-on-the-head analysis. Naylor details the utter bankruptcy of U.S. politics, economics, agriculture, consumerism, and environmental policy, then points to viable examples of secession in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland; in the 100-plus nations that seceded from empires after World War II; and in .. well - colonial America. If anyone doubts the efficacy of such an approach, the author reminds us, eight of the ten wealthiest nations in the world are not industrial superpowers, but miniscule countries like Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein - all of which harbor less poverty, violence, crime, and alienation than exist in the United States; three of which have populations even smaller than Vermont's. According to the Middlebury Institute, some 30 contemporary separatist movements are now active in the U.S., including in Puerto Rico, the Lakota Nation, the South, Texas, Hawai'i, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Maine. As far as I can tell, the main blockage to popular embrace of such a strategy is the trumped-up patrio-corporate brainwashing that has long colored such a politic as whimsical, irrelevant, or impossible. Naylor debunks the dysfunction of such thinking and goes on to lay out real legal, economic, and political steps toward accomplishment of the goal. The folks in Vermont are serious. Here in Ro Arriba, we have been living up-close-and-personal with the results of the county's thrust toward assimilation "into" American society. Despite the initial promise of leadership by former radicals, we are now up to our cowboy hats in oil wells, gas stations, big boxes, banks, microwave towers, and satellite-dish "culture" - to the demise of the traditional, sustainable, and relatively non-hierarchical family-farm culture that was vibrant within memory. With the U.S. empire in disarray, some would posit near collapse, it may be, as Vermonters publisher Ian Baldwin and professor Frank Bryan proposein the Washington Post, "The time to make it happen is now". When you venture into Thomas Naylor's Secession, get ready: your politics could get turned inside out by the sheer sanity of it all. Chellis Glendinning is the author of six books, including Off the Map: An Expedition Deep into Empire and the Global Economy and the forthcoming Luddite.com: A Personal History of Technology. She lives in Chimay, New Mexico. --------16 of 19-------- Origins of a Global Bully The Myths of Independence Day By JOHN CHUCKMAN CounterPunch July 8, 2008 If you relish myths and enjoy superstition, then the flatulent speeches of America's Independence Day, July 4, were just the thing for you. No religion on earth has more to offer along these lines than America celebrating itself. Some, believing the speeches but curious, ask how did a nation founded on supposedly the highest principles by high-minded men manage to become an ugly imperial power pushing aside international law and the interests of others? The answer is simple: the principles and high-mindedness are the same stuff as the loaves and the fishes. The incomparable Doctor Johnson had it right when he called patriotism the last refuge of scoundrels and scoffed at what he called the "drivers of negroes" yelping about liberty. Few Americans even understand that Johnson's first reference was to their sacred Founding Fathers (aka Patriots). I have seen a well known American columnist who attributed the pronouncement to Ben Franklin, a man who was otherwise admirable but nevertheless dabbled a few times in slave trading himself. Johnson especially had in mind history's supreme hypocrite, Jefferson, with his second reference. Again, few Americans know that Jefferson kept his better than two hundred slaves to his dying day. I know a well educated American who sincerely believed Jefferson had freed his slaves. Such is the power of the myths of the American Civic Religion. Jefferson was incapable of supporting himself, living the life of a prince and being a ridiculous spendthrift who died bankrupt and still owing money to others, the man of honor being a trifle less than honorable in paying back the money he often borrowed. When a new silk frock or set of shoes with silver buckles was to be had, Jefferson never hesitated to buy them rather than pay his debts. The date we now celebrate, July 4, is based on the Continental Congress's approval of the Declaration of Independence, but in fact the date is incorrect, the document was approved on July 2. Jefferson wrote the first draft of the declaration, but it was edited by the redoubtable Benjamin Franklin, and later was heavily amended by the Continental Congress. Jefferson suffered great humiliation of his pride and anger at the editing and changes. Despite the document's stirring opening words, if you actually read the whole thing, you will be highly disappointed. The bulk of it has a whining tone in piling on complaint after complaint against the Crown. Some would say the whining set a standard for the next quarter millennium of American society. In Jefferson's draft it went on and on about Britain's slave trade. The 'slave trade' business was particularly hypocritical, trying to sound elevated while in fact reflecting something else altogether. At the time there was a surplus of human flesh in Virginia, and prices were soft. The cause of the Revolution is also interesting and never emphasized in American texts. Britain's imposition of the Quebec Act created a firestorm of anti-Catholicism in the colonies. They were afraid of being ruled from a Catholic colony. The speech and writing of American colonists of the time was filled with exactly the kind of ugly language one associates with extremist Ulstermen in recent years. This combined with the sense of safety engendered from Britain's victory in the French and Indian War (the Seven Years War)and the unwillingness to pay taxes to help pay for that victory caused the colonial revolt. Few Americans know it, but it was the practice for many, many decades to burn the Pope in effigy on Guy Fawkes Day along the Eastern Seaboard. Anti-Catholicism was quite virulent for a very long time. The first phase of the revolt in and around Boston was actually something of a popular revolution, responding to Britain's blockading the harbor and quartering troops in Boston. The colonial aristocrats were having none of that, and they appointed Washington commander over the heads of the Boston Militias who volunteered and actually elected their officers. Washington, who had always wanted to be a British regular commander but never received the commission, imposed his will ferociously. He started flogging and hanging. In his letters home, the men who actually started the revolution are described as filth and scum. He was a very arrogant aristocrat. The American Revolution has been described by a European as home-grown aristocrats replacing foreign-born ones. It is an apt description. Washington, Hamilton, Adams, and many other of the Fathers had no faith in democracy. About one percent of early Virginia could vote. The president was not elected by people but by elites in the Electoral College. The Senate, which even today is the power in the legislature, was appointed well into the 20th century. The Supreme Court originally never dared interpret the Bill of Rights as determining what states should do. It sat on paper like an advertising brochure with no force. At one time, Jefferson seriously raised the specter of secession, half a century before the Civil War, over even the possibility of the Bill of Rights being interpreted by a national court and enforced. The Founding Fathers saw popular voting as endangering property ownership. Democracy was viewed by most the same way Washington viewed the "scum" who started the Revolution around Boston. It took about two hundred years of gradual changes for America to become anything that seriously could be called democratic. Even now, what sensible person would call it anything but a rough work still in progress. It is interesting to reflect on the fact that early America was ruled by a portion of the population no larger than what is represented today by the Chinese Communist Party as a portion of that country's population. Yet today we see little sign of patience or understanding in American arrogance about how quickly other states should become democratic. And we see in Abu Ghraib, in Guantanamo, and in the CIA's International Torture Gulag that the principles and attitudes of the Bill of Rights still haven't completely been embraced by America. Contrary to all the posturing amongst the Patriots - who few were a minority at the time - about tyranny, the historical facts indicate that Britain on the whole actually had offered good government to its North American Colonies. Everyone who visited the Colonies from Europe noted the exceptional health of residents. They also noticed what seemed an extraordinary degree of freedom enjoyed by colonists. It was said to be amongst the freest place in the known world, likely owing in good part to its distance from the Mother Country. A favorite way to wealth was smuggling, especially with the Caribbean. John Hancock made his fortune that way. Ben Franklin once wrote a little memo, having noted the health of Americans and their birth rates, predicting the future overtaking of Britain by America, an idea not at all common at the time. Indeed, it was only the relative health and freedom which made the idea of separation at all realistic. Britain was, of course, at the time viewed much the way, with the same awe of power, people view America today. These well-known facts of essentially good government in the Colonies made the Declaration of Independence list of grievances sound exaggerated and melodramatic to outsiders even at the time. The combination of the Quebec Act, anti-Catholicism, dislike of taxes, plus the desire to move West and plunder more Indian lands were the absolute causes of the Revolution. Britain tried to recognize the rights of the aboriginals and had forbidden any movement west by the Colonies. But people in the colonies were land-mad, all hoping to make a fortune staking out claims they would sell to later settlers. The map of Massachusetts, for example, showed the colony stretching like a band across the continent to the Pacific. Britain did not agree. George Washington made a lot of money doing this very thing, more than any other enterprise of his except for marrying Martha Custis, the richest widow in the colonies. The tax issue is interesting. The French and Indian War (the Seven Years War) heavily benefited the Colonists by removing the threat of France in the West. Once the war was over, many colonists took the attitude that Britain could not take the benefits back, and they refused to pay the taxes largely imposed to pay the war's considerable cost. And Americans have hated taxes since. By the way, in the end, without the huge assistance of France, the Colonies would not have won the war. France played an important role in the two decisive victories, Saratoga and Yorktown. At Saratoga they had smuggled in the weapons the Americans used. At Yorktown, the final battle, the French were completely responsible for the victory and for even committing to the battle. Washington had wanted instead to attack New York - which would have been a disaster - but the French generals then assisting recognized a unique opportunity at Yorktown. After the war, the United States never paid the huge French loans back. Some gratitude. Also the United States renounced the legitimate debts many citizens owed to British factors (merchant/shippers) for no good reason at all except not wanting to pay. It was all a much less glorious beginning than you would ever know from the drum-beating, baton-twirling, sequined costumes, and noise today. And if you really want to understand why America has become the very thing it claimed it was fighting in 1776, then you only need a little solid history. --------17 of 19-------- When Money Is Speech, Speech Is No Longer Free by Jeff Milchen Published on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 by The Baltimore Sun Common Dreams Building atop the rotten foundation it laid three decades ago, the Supreme Court late last month struck down the "millionaire's amendment," a federal law that helped keep congressional elections competitive when a candidate used a personal fortune to fund a campaign. The law could have applied to 28 or more races this year. The court's ruling in Federal Election Commission v. Davis repeatedly references its 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision, which wrote between the lines of the First Amendment passage, "Congress shall make no law . abridging the freedom of speech," to declare that spending money to influence elections is constitutionally protected free speech. Since then, the justices have struck down numerous laws designed to limit the power of money over election outcomes. What's shocking about the Davis opinion, however, is that the law in question - the 2002 "millionaire's amendment" to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act - made no attempt to limit spending or communication. To the contrary, that amendment to the bill, known as McCain-Feingold, merely enabled a candidate competing against a free-spending multimillionaire to raise more money. According to the court's previous rulings, this simply enabled more "speech". The amendment allowed a House candidate whose opponent spent $350,000 or more in personal funds to accept up to three times the current $2,300-per-donor limit (but only until such contributions equaled the self-funding candidate;s). Thresholds for U.S. Senate races varied based on state population. Writing the 5-4 majority opinion, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said, "Different candidates have different strengths. Some are wealthy; others have wealthy supporters who are willing to make large contributions. Some are celebrities". The trouble is, those advantages tend to accrue to the same individuals - not "different candidates". Justice Alito strangely argued that helping all serious candidates be heard would prevent voters from independently evaluating their choices. He added, "The argument that a candidate's speech may be restricted in order to level electoral opportunity has ominous implications". What restriction of speech? The amendment's sole effect was to help prevent the candidate with the loudest amplification from drowning out all other voices. This is not a Republican-Democrat conflict. The 28 candidates spending enough to trigger the amendment this year were split between the dominant parties, though none was an independent or "third party" representative. In Maryland's 1st Congressional District, E.J. Pipkin personally invested more than $1 million in his campaign (he lost the Republican primary in January). Ironically, the presidential candidate who has abandoned public financing for the general election benefited directly from the amendment in 2004. Sen. Barack Obama was able to raise $3 million more than he otherwise could have in Illinois. Democratic primary for Senate because one of his opponents, Blair Hull, spent nearly $30 million of his own money. It's quite possible the amendment already has changed the course of U.S. history. The justices' ruling may affect just a few dozen congressional races this year, but Davis is more troubling when viewed in conjunction with the 2006 Randall v. Sorrell decision, which deemed Vermont's limits on campaign contributions and spending unconstitutional. Each such act by the court diminishes the chance of any citizen winning a seat in Congress without huge sums of money and accelerates the trend toward Congress becoming a rarefied club populated by elites distinctly unrepresentative of our diverse nation. Not only will Davis impede citizens from learning the views of some worthy candidates, but its language ominously suggests the court may overturn long-standing limits on corporate and union campaign spending. Further, it implicitly attacks the most hopeful avenue for democratizing elections without overturning Buckley: public campaign financing. When the court majority declares easing barriers to competitive elections an unconstitutional "burden" on wealthy candidates, it leaves little space for hope. With the existing majority likely to dominate the court for a decade or more, reformers must confront a hard truth: The Supreme Court is a barrier to democratic elections and will be for many years. It's time to aim below the beltway - away from legislative solutions subject to the court's approval and toward building bottom-up support to overrule the court. Ultimately, we need a constitutional amendment to declare that investing cash in candidates is a privilege subject to democratic controls to prevent the buying both of elected offices and political influence - not free speech as intended by our Bill of Rights. Jeff Milchen serves on the board of ReclaimDemocracy.org, a nonprofit that advocates for a constitutional amendment to overturn Buckley v. Valeo. His e-mail is info [at] reclaimdemocracy.org. Copyright 2008, The Baltimore Sun --------18 of 19-------- Oh, For a One-Eyed Man! FISA and the Decline of America By PHILLIP DOE CounterPunch July 8, 2008 Jonathan Swift, the great Irish political writer and satirist, is not alone in observing that great nations rarely fall from outside threats or attack. More often they decline and fall from internal corruption. The Congress is deaf to this warning it appears, for last week they passed legislation that is advertised as reforming FISA. The Denver Post, fast becoming a slavering lap dog of a newspaper, is also deaf to Swift's warning since on its editorial page it wrote approvingly, if somewhat haltingly, of the legislation. FISA is the law that allows the government to snoop on us with blanket impunity. Among the so called reforms is immunization for giant telecom corporations from prosecution for criminal behavior for unlawfully spying on us, even before 9/11. The Congress and the Post's editorial writer defended immunization of these corporate wrong doers as a reasonable tradeoff for other changes in FISA. Piffle! FISA reform, or even better, repeal, does not depend on immunizing giant corporations from prosecution for willfully trammeling our rights to privacy under the 4th Amendment. The excuse, that the Bush crowd came to the CEO's of corporations such as Verizen and AT&T and asked, is just that, an excuse. All of these corporations have fleets of lawyers, a few of whom must be marginally familiar with the protections guaranteed us under our Constitution. Moreover, there were some companies, such as Qwest, that said no to the Bush crowd. One might even wonder if that denial didn't factor into the Nacchio prosecution. But what is worst about the legislation's immunization provision is that it almost guarantees that we will never be able to find out who did what for whom, what were the enticements, who was the kingpin in all this lawbreaking? Transparency is the bulwark of our system of government. The Bush administration, endlessly invoking the "terror" rubric, has done much to destroy government transparency. The Congress has been richly complicit and continues to be as this legislation shows. For those planning to vote for incumbents who are running as agents of change in Washington, this vote complicates things since Dianne DeGette was the only member of the Colorado delegation, Republican or Democrat, to vote against this legislation. Perhaps not surprisingly, the previous day she was also the only member of the delegation to vote against another blank check for the continued prosecution of Bush's War, a check that was almost $60 billion more than Bush had originally asked for in supplemental war spending. Barack Obama, in a week of broken promises, has endorsed the FISA bill, to the bitter consternation of liberals and right-to-privacy, Fourth Amendment advocates. Earlier, when he was seeking the nomination, he had promised to protect the public's rights of privacy. Tom Waits, the American poet and troubdour, borrowing from Erasmus, has rasped that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Oh, for a one-eyed man. Phillip Doe lives in Colorado. He can be reached at: ptdoe [at] comcast.net --------19 of 19-------- Universal Patterns Within Cultural Diversity by Robert Jensen July 8th, 2008 Dissenting Voice ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - Some lessons learned while spending time in a different culture come from paying attention to the wide diversity in how we humans arrange ourselves socially. Equally crucial lessons come from seeing patterns in how people behave similarly in similar situations, even in very different cultural contexts. This week in Pakistan, as I have been learning more about a very different culture than my own, I was reminded of one of those patterns: Patriarchy makes men crazy. The setting for this lesson is the International Islamic University in Islamabad, where I am teaching a three-week course on media law and ethics as a visiting fellow of the university's Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue. Institute Director Mumtaz Ahmad brought in me and my Canadian colleague Justin Podur, who is teaching a course on critical thinking, to bring new perspectives to the students at what is a fairly orthodox university, and the dialogue has indeed been rewarding. As is the case in my courses at the University of Texas at Austin, no matter what the specific subject of the course - freedom of expression, democracy, and mass media, in this case - I often raise questions about how our identities - race, gender, class, nation - structure our position in a society and understanding of the world. Given the gender segregation at IIU - I have male and female students in my class, but they are housed on different campuses and much of the regular instruction is in single-sex settings - it's difficult not to circle back frequently to gender. One day while I was talking about race, I pointed out that while white people in a white-supremacy have distinct advantages, there is one downside: It makes white people crazy. The students' expressions suggested they weren't sure how to take that, so I explained: White supremacy leads white people to believe they are superior based on their skin color. That idea is - crazy. Therefore, lots of white people - those who explicitly support white supremacy or unconsciously accept such a notion - are crazy. My students are mostly Pakistani, with a few from other Islamic countries in Asia and Africa; all are brown or black. They tried to be polite but couldn't help laughing at the obvious truth in the statement, as well as the odd fact that a white guy was saying it. I then moved to an obvious comparison: We men know about this problem, I said, because of the same problem in patriarchy. In male-supremacist societies, men have distinct advantages, but we often believe that we are superior based on our sex. That idea is .. This time the women laughed, but the men were silent. They weren't so sure they agreed with the analysis in this case. The next week a power outage at the university helped me drive home my point. When we arrived that morning and found our classroom dark, we looked for a space with natural light that could accommodate the entire class. The most easily accessible place was the carpeted prayer area off the building lobby, and one of the female faculty members helping me with the class led us there. I sat down with the women, and one of the most inquisitive students raised a critical question about one of my assertions from our previous class. We launched into a lively discussion for several minutes, until we were informed that the male students had a problem with the class meeting there. I looked around and, sure enough, the men had yet to join us. They were standing off to the side, refusing to come into the prayer space, which they thought should not be used for a classroom with men and women. Our host Junaid Ahmad, who puts his considerable organizing skills to good use in the United States and Pakistan, was starting to sort out the issue when the power came back on, and we all headed back to our regular classroom. I put my scheduled lecture on hold to allow for discussion about what had just happened. Could a prayer space be used for other purposes, such as a class? If so, given such that space is used exclusively by men here, is it appropriate to use it for a coeducational classroom? It's hardly surprising that students held a variety of opinions about how to resolve those questions consistent with their interpretation of Islamic principles, and a gendered pattern emerged immediately. The women overwhelmingly asserted that there was nothing wrong with us all being in the prayer space, and the men overwhelmingly rejected that conclusion. I made it clear that as an outsider I wasn't going to weigh in on the theological question, but that I wanted to use our experience to examine how a society could create a system of freedom of expression to explore such issues democratically. The lesson for me came in how the discussion went forward. The women were not shy in expressing themselves, eager to engage in debate with the men, who were considerably more reserved. After a contentious half hour of discussion, we moved forward to my lecture. During the break, the men huddled to discuss the question of the prayer space. When we reconvened, one of them asked if a representative of the men could speak again on issue. He began by saying that he had hesitated to speak in the previous discussion because he felt it was obvious that the women were wrong and he had not wanted to hurt their feelings or impede their willingness to speak up by pointing out their error immediately. I suggested we resolve that question first. I turned to the women and asked, "Will your feelings be hurt or will you be you afraid to speak if he is critical of your arguments?" Their response was a resounding no. I turned back to the man and made the obvious point: We now have clear evidence that that your assumption was wrong. The women are telling you directly that they are not shy about debating, and so you can make your points. When he did - and when the women disagreed - they let him know without hesitation. From what I could tell, his argument did not persuade many, if any, of the women that their judgments had been wrong. What struck me about the exchange was how ill prepared the men were to defend their position in the face of a challenge from the women. It was clear that the men were not used to facing such challenges, and as they scrambled to formulate rebuttals they did little more than restate claims with which they were comfortable and familiar. That strategy (or lack of a strategy) is hardly unique to Pakistani men. To modify my previous statement about the negative effects of privilege on the privileged: Patriarchy makes us men not just crazy but stupid. The more our intellectual activity takes place in male-dominant spaces, and the more intensely male-dominant those spaces are, the less likely we are to develop our ability to think critically about gender and power. Sometimes when faced with an incisive challenge, men become aggressive, even violent; sometimes men retreat with an illusory sense of victory; sometimes men sulk until women give up the debate. Individual men will react differently in different times and places; it's the patterns that are important. Cultural diversity exists alongside universal patterns. The United States and Pakistan are very different societies, but they are both patriarchal. Patriarchy takes different forms in each society, and the harms to women can be quite different, but my observation holds in both. It doesn't mean patriarchy doesn't sometimes also constrain women's thinking, nor does it mean women are always right in debates with men. To identify patterns is not to make ridiculous totalizing claims. There's one more valuable lesson I took away from this episode: I have to be vigilant in challenging my stereotypes about women in Islamic societies. I can be quick to assume that Islamic women always capitulate to the patriarchal ideas and norms that dominate their societies. While I can't know what each woman in the room was thinking, there was a consensus that they would not accept the conclusion of the men without challenge. In front of me were women with their heads covered (the hijab) and some with the full face veil (the niqab). Others had scarves draped around their shoulders, their heads uncovered. One of the two most forceful women in the debate wore the hijab and the other was uncovered; I couldn't predict the content or tone of a woman's response from her dress. No matter how much I know that intellectually, I still catch myself making assumptions about these women based on their choice of head covering. The class discussion reminds me to remember to challenge my own assumptions. These conclusions are hardly original or revolutionary, but they bear regular restatement: It is crucial that we remember the reality of cultural diversity and encourage respect of that diversity, while not shying away from critical engagement. That's especially important for those of us from privileged classes in affluent imperial nations, who often are quick to assume we are superior. It's just as crucial to look for patterns across cultures, to help us understand how systems of power shape us in ways that are remarkably consistent and to help us develop better strategies to resist illegitimate authority and transform our diverse societies. That is important for us all who care about justice. Robert Jensen is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Citizens of Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity. His latest book is Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007). He can be reached at: rjensen [at] uts.cc.utexas.edu. Read other articles by Robert, or visit Robert's website. This article was posted on Tuesday, July 8th, 2008 at 9:44 am and is filed under Activism, Afghanistan, Anti-war, Education, General. 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