Progressive Calendar 07.09.08
From: David Shove (
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]>
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]
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.

SEGMENT I: Walker Art Center's UnConvention Projects
 ALLISON HERRERA - Community Programs Coordinator and Liaison, Walker Art

SEGMENT II: ACLU-Minnesota/National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
 BRUCE NESTOR ­ Immigration Rights Attorney, President, NLG
 CHUCK SAMUELSON ­ Executive Director, American Civil Liberties
 GENA BERGLUND ­ Attorney, Member, NLG

--------2 of 19--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
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]" <wamm [at]>
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: <>.

--------4 of 19--------

From: hosthome [at]
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
Tuesday, July 15, 5-7pm @ Face to Face 1165 Arcade Street Saint Paul, MN
Friday, July 25, 3-5pm @ Midtown YWCA 2121 East Lake Street Minneapolis,
MN 55407
Saturday, August 2, 9-11am @ Midtown YWCA 2121 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Tuesday, August 5, 6-8pm @ YouthLink 41 North 12th Street Minneapolis, MN
Monday, August 11, 10am-noon @ Wilder Center (room 2410) 451 Lexington
Parkway North Saint Paul, MN 55104
Tuesday, August 19, 5:45-7:45pm @ Common Roots Cafe 2558 Lyndale Avenue
South Minneapolis, MN 55405

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) Simões at
hosthome [at]

--------5 of 19--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
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]" <wamm [at]>
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]>
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] or or 651-292-8700.

--------8 of 19--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: Free speech 7.10 12noon

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. 
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 
for free speech! Meet at the base of the fountain at Peavey Plaza at 11:45 a.m. 
hand out flyers and talk to people about the problem and what they can do about 
Organizing session from 11:45-noon and flyering from noon-1:30 (or however long 
can stay). If you can help print flyers, great! Email
<mailto:recycleme2 [at]>recycleme2 [at] for a PDF version 
of the email

More information on fighting for these protections is in the email below.

Rubber Bullets Can Kill!

In 2000, after a number of excessive force incidents by Minneapolis police 
protesters, the community successfully pushed for a resolution that bans police 
using rubber bullets, prevents cops from concealing their identities, blocks 
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 
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 
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 

If you want to be safe when protesting the RNC, members of this committee, the 
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 
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 
2008R-248: Resolution Adopting Police Policies Regarding Public Assemblies.

*Paul Ostrow 612-673-2201
<mailto:paul.ostrow [at]>paul.ostrow [at]
*Cam Gordon 612-673-2202
<mailto:cam.gordon [at]>cam.gordon [at]
*Diane Hofstede 612-673-2203
<mailto:diane.hofstede [at]>diane.hofstede [at]
*Barb Johnson 612-673-2204
<mailto:barbara.johnson [at]>barbara.johnson [at]
*Don Samuels 612-673-2205
<mailto:don.samuels [at]>don.samuels [at]
Robert Lilligren 612-673-2206
<mailto:robert.lilligren [at]>robert.lilligren [at]
Lisa Goodman 612-673-2207
<mailto:lisa.goodman [at]>lisa.goodman [at]
Elizabeth Glidden 612-673-2208
<mailto:elizabeth.glidden [at]>elizabeth.glidden [at]
*Gary Schiff 612-673-2209
<mailto:gary.schiff [at]>gary.schiff [at]
Ralph Remington 612-673-2210
<mailto:ralph.remington [at]>ralph.remington [at]
Scott Benson 612-673-2211
<mailto:scott.benson [at]>scott.benson [at]
Sandra Colvin Roy 612-673-2212
<mailto:sandra.colvin.roy [at]>sandra.colvin.roy [at]
Betsy Hodges 612-673-2213
<mailto:betsy.hodges [at]>betsy.hodges [at] *Member
of Public Safety & Regulatory Services Committee

CONTACT THE MAYOR: R.T. Rybak 612-673-2100
<mailto:R.T.Rybak [at]>R.T.Rybak [at]

--------9 of 19--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
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]>
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]
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]

--------12 of 19--------

From: foodforum <foodforum [at]>
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]>
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] or 612.379.3899.

--------14 of 19--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
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]

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
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 A Personal History of Technology.  She lives in Chimay, New

--------16 of 19--------

Origins of a Global Bully
The Myths of Independence Day
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

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

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

--------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

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.

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, a nonprofit that
advocates for a constitutional amendment to overturn Buckley v. Valeo. His
e-mail is info [at]

Copyright  2008, The Baltimore Sun

--------18 of 19--------

Oh, For a One-Eyed Man!
FISA and the Decline of America
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.

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

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]

--------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

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

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

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

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] 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. Send to a


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