|Progressive Calendar 08.01.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2008 03:04:10 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 08.01.08 1. Ffunch 8.01 CANCELLED 2. Iran/Klobuchar 8.01 12noon 3. Poverty conf 8.01 3:30pm 4. Palestine vigil 8.01 4:15pm 5. Vote for Pedro 8.01 5:30pm 6. Alt/violance 8.01 6pm 7. Water/film 8.01 7:30pm 8. Moyers/Abramoff 8.01 9pm 9. Peace walk 8.02 9am Cambridge MN 10. Homeless vets 8.02 10am 11. NWN4P Mtka 8.02 11am 12. RNC/war 8.02 1pm 13. Ntown vigil 8.02 2pm 14. Bowman/Gage 8.02 5:30pm 15. James Petras - NY Times: making nuclear extermination respectable 16. John Ross - Fourth fleet steams south/return of the gunboat 17. Glenn Greenwald - Let's give "Blue Dogs" the boot 18. FairVote MN - FairVote MN to intervene in lawsuit against IRV --------1 of 18-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Ffunch 8.01 CANCELLED --------2 of 18-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Iran/Klobuchar 8.01 12noon Worldwide Emergency Action: "Build Bridges, Not Bombs!! Don't Bomb Iran!!" Protest Friday, August 1, Noon Senator Amy Klobuchar's Office (outside, in front), 1200 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis. Yet another U.S. war? The U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is hated by the people there. These wars have no support at home and are ruining the domestic economy. Evidence was seen in the collapse of the I-35 Bridge, located just a block and a half from Senator Klobuchar's office. On the anniversary of the bridge collapse and with several pieces of AIPAC-inspired legislation in Congress, join thousands of protestors in hundreds of cities throughout the world this weekend to prevent another war. WE CAN'T AFFORD TO WAIT!! Sponsored by: The WAMM Middle East Committee and Stop War on Iran Campaign. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364. --------3 of 18-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Poverty newsconf 8.01 3:30pm Please attend this important start of a grass-roots campaign to set the record straight on a number of issues afflicting low-income & minority communities. NEWS CONFERENCE KICK-OFF for the Minnesota Poverty Tour, the fact-gathering phase of Operation March for Our Lives Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign & allies Friday, August 1, 2008 @ 3:30PM Vision of Peace Statue / St. Paul City Hall - 1st Floor / 15 East Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN Background for the Minnesota Poverty Tour: In this age of economic crisis, the increasing division between the soaring incomes and lifestyles of the haves and the painful plight of the have-nots underlines the need to establish the right of ALL people to certain basic economic human rights: health, housing, education, economic livelihood, racial/cultural/religious/ethnic group respect, etc. As Minnesota's powers-that-be prepare to put the Twin Cities' "best foot forward", aiming to promote Minnesota to the country and world as a "great place to do business", grass-roots anti-poverty human rights activists are gathering a much needed dose of reality: The Minnesota Poverty Tour, followed by the Truth Commission Hearings at the end of August and the March for our Lives on September 2. --------4 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood Subject: Palestine vigil 8.01 4:15pm Friday, 8/1, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St Paul. --------5 of 18-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Vote for Pedro/p 8.01 5:30pm This election season, make sure your voice is heard! A VOTE FOR PEDRO is a vote for progress, for social change and for a glimpse at Chicano History in our country. VOTE FOR PEDRO Loosely inspired by the hit movie Napoleon Dynamite. Written by Dominic Orlando, Directed by Alberto Jusitiniano, Assistant Director Silvia Pontaza, Stage Manager Kristi Ditmarson, Set & Props by Maria Lopez, Costumes by Carolann Winther, Sound by James Kirwin With the talents of Liv Roque and Kieran Adcock Vote for Pedro manzi August 1-9, 2008 At Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave S, Mpls, 55408 OPENING NIGHT!!! Fri, Aug 1 @ 5:30pm Mon, Aug 4 @ 10pm Thu, Aug 7 @ 7pm Fri, Aug 8 @ 4pm Sat, Aug 9 @ 8:30pm --------6 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Alt/violance 8.01 6pm 8/1 (6 pm) to 8/3 (5 pm), basic level Alternatives to Violence Workshop, Hennepin County Men's Workhouse, 1145 Shenandoah Lane, Plymouth. avperika [at] gmail.com or http://www.fnvw.blogspot.com --------7 of 18-------- From: Sean Gosiewski <iasa [at] mtn.org> Subject: Water/film 8.01 7:30pm Flow: for the Love of Water a Film August 1, 7:30 pm, August 2, 4:00 pm, August 2, 7:30 pm, August 3, 2:00 pm Walker Art Center Politics, pollution, and human rights wash into this provocative wake-up call exploring the planet's coming shortage of drinking water and corporate plans to privatize the delivery of clean water. Inspiring heroes emerge - from African plumbers reconnecting a shantytown's pipes in the dark of night to a California scientist who exposes dangerous toxin levels. 2007, video, 83 minutes. --------8 of 18-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: Moyers/Abramoff 8.01 9pm Bill Moyers Journal | Abramoff Lobbying Scandal http://www.truthout.org/article/abramoff-lobbying-scandal Bill Moyers Journal: On Friday, Bill Moyers Journal revisits the Abramoff scandal and "examines the web of relationships, secret deals and political manipulation that expose the use and abuse of power in American politics. In this update of a report that aired in 2006, Moyers and his colleagues untangle e-mails, reports, interviews and facts on the record to reveal an astonishing pattern of criminal and political chicanery." --------9 of 18-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 8.02 9am Cambridge MN every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------10 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Homeless vets 8.02 10am Saturday, 8/2, 10 to 11:30 am, Homeless Vets for Peace meet at Peacehouse, 510 E Franklin, Mpls. Bob Heberle 612-789-9020. --------11 of 18-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P Mtka 8.02 11am NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7 and 101. Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available. -------12 of 18-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: RNC/war 8.02 1pm Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War Community Meeting Saturday, August 2, 1:00 p.m. May Day Books, 301 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis. Come and help plan for possibly the largest demonstration the Twin Cities has ever seen. No matter what your ability or availability, any amount of time that you can give is valuable and will help to build this protest and to show the world that we say NO to war! Come to the community meeting and find out more about what we can do to make the September 1 demonstration and march a success. Sponsored by: Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War. FFI: Call 612-379-3584. --------13 of 18-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 8.02 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------14 of 18-------- From: Catherine Statz <statz001 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Bowman/Gage 8.02 5:30pm We Are Change Minnesota Presents: Dr. Bob Bowman & Richard Gage AIE Speaking Engagement . Dr. Bob Bowman: Lt Col, USAF, ret. (101 Combat Missions as Fighter Pilot in Vietnam) is bringing his 2008 Patriot Tour to town! Dr. Bowman challenges us to "Take Back America" for the people. He explains why we need a government that: (1) Follows the Constitution (2) Honors the Truth, and (3) Serves the People. Think what a difference that would make! No more imperial presidency. No nuclear attack on Iran. No more undeclared wars of aggression. No more spying on the American people. No more jailing of dissidents. No more corporations importing and exploiting millions of illegal immigrants to drive down wages. No more exporting of jobs. No more NAFTA. No more North American Union. No more government lies, false-flag attacks, and cover-ups. No more corporate welfare. No more health plans written by insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers. No more energy policies written by Exxon and Enron. No more trillions in debt. Most importantly, no more using our sons and daughters to kill Arabs for the oil companies. Let's "Take Back America!!" Richard Gage AIE: Founder of Architects and engineers for 9/11 truth is a non-partisan association of Architects, Engineers, and affiliates, who are dedicated to exposing the falsehoods and to revealing truths about the "collapses" of the WTC high-rises on 9/11/01. We call upon Congress for a truly independent investigation with subpoena power. We believe that there may be sufficient evidence to conclude that the World Trade Center buildings #1 (North Tower), #2 (South Tower), and #7 (the 47 story high-rise across Vessey St.) were destroyed not by jet impact and fires but by controlled demolition with explosives. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth are encouraged to take an active role by reporting the results of their research on 9/11 by means of lectures, articles, and methods of disseminating the truth about the 9/11 WTC building "collapses". Macalester College Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105 Saturday August 2nd 2008, Doors open at 5:30pm TICKETS: $15.00 at the door. RSVP @ www.MnChange.org <http://www.mnchange.org/> Contact Brian Peterson for questions @ (612) 655-2219 --------15 of 18-------- The New York Times: Making Nuclear Extermination Respectable by James Petras July 30th, 2008 Dissident Voice On July 18, 2008 the New York Times published an article by Israeli-Jewish historian, Professor Benny Morris, advocating an Israeli nuclear-genocidal attack on Iran with the likelihood of killing 70 million Iranians - 12 times the number of Jewish victims in the Nazi holocaust: Iran's leaders would do well to rethink their gamble and suspend their nuclear program. Barring this, the best they could hope for is that Israel's conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities. To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland. Morris is a frequent lecturer and consultant to the Israeli political and military establishment and has unique access to Israeli strategic military planners. Morris' advocacy and public support of the massive, brutal expulsion of all Palestinians is on public record. Yet his genocidal views have not precluded his receiving numerous academic awards. His writings and views are published in Israel's leading newspapers and journals. Morris' views are not the idle ranting of a marginal psychopath, as witnessed by the recent publication of his latest op-ed article in the New York Times. What does the publication by the New York Times of an article, which calls for the nuclear incineration of 70 million Iranians and the contamination of the better part of a billion people in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, tell us about US politics and culture? For it is the NYT, which informs the "educated classes" in the US, its Sunday supplements, literary and editorial pages and which serves as the "moral conscience" of important sectors of the cultural, economic and political elite. The New York Times provides a certain respectability to mass murder, which Morris' views otherwise would not possess if say, they were published in the neo-conservative weeklies or monthlies. The fact that the NYT considers the prospect of an Israeli mass extermination of millions of Iranians part of the policy debate in the Middle East reveals the degree to which Zionofascism has infected the "higher" cultural and journalist circles of the United States. Truth to say, this is the logical outgrowth of the Times' public endorsement of Israel's economic blockade to starve 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza; the Times' cover-up of Israeli-Zionist-AIPAC influence in launching the US invasion of Iraq leading to over one million murdered Iraqi citizens. The Times sets the tone for the entire New York cultural scene, which privileges Israeli interests, to the point of assimilating into the US political discourse not only its routine violations of international law, but its threats, indeed promises, to scorch vast areas of the earth in pursuit of its regional supremacy. The willingness of the NYT to publish an Israeli genocide-ethnocide advocate tells us about the strength of the ties between a purportedly "liberal establishment" pro-Israel publication and the totalitarian Israeli right: It is as if to say that for the liberal pro-Israel establishment, the non-Jewish Nazis are off limits, but the views and policies of Judeo-fascists need careful consideration and possible implementation. Morris' New York Times "nuclear-extermination" article did not provoke any opposition from the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO) because, in its daily information bulletin, Daily Alert, it has frequently published articles by Israeli and US Zionists advocating an Israeli and/or US nuclear attack on Iran. In other words, Morris' totalitarian views are part of the cultural matrix deeply embedded in the Zionist organizational networks and its extensive "reach" in US cultural and political circles. What the Times did in publishing Morris' lunacy has taken genocidal discourse out of the limited circulation of Zionist influentials and into the mainstream of millions of American readers. Apart from a handful of writers (Gentile and Jewish) publishing in marginal web sites, there was no political or moral condemnation from the entire literary, political and journalistic world of this affront to our humanity. No attempt was made to link Morris' totalitarian genocidal policies to Israel's public official threats and preparations for nuclear war. There is no anti-nuclear campaign led by our most influential public intellectuals to repudiate the state (Israel) and its public intellectuals who prepare a nuclear war with the potential to exterminate more than ten times the number of Jews slaughtered by the Nazis. A nuclear incineration of the nation of Iran is the Israeli counterpart of Hitler's gas chambers and ovens writ large. Extermination is the last stage of Zionism: Informed by the doctrine of rule the Middle East or ruin the air and land of the world. That is the explicit message of Benny Morris (and his official Israeli sponsors), who like Hitler, issues ultimatums to the Iranians, "surrender or be destroyed" and who threatens the US, join us in bombing Iran or face a world ecological and economic catastrophe. That Morris is utterly, starkly and clinically insane is beyond question. That the New York Times in publishing his genocidal ravings provides new signs of how power and wealth has contributed to the degeneration of Jewish intellectual and cultural life in the US. To comprehend the dimensions of this decay we need only compare the brilliant tragic-romantic German-Jewish writer, Walter Benjamin, desperately fleeing the advance of totalitarian Nazi terror to the Israeli-Jewish writer Benny Morris' criminal advocacy of Zionist nuclear terror published in the New York Times. The question of Zionist power in America is not merely a question of a "lobby" influencing Congressional and White House decisions concerning foreign aid to Israel. What is at stake today are the related questions of the advocacy of a nuclear war in which 70 million Iranians face extermination and the complicity of the US mass media in providing a platform, nay a certain political respectability for mass murder and global contamination. Unlike the Nazi past, we cannot claim, as the good Germans did, that "we did not know" or "we weren't notified", because it was written by an eminent Israeli academic and was published in the New York Times. James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras' forthcoming book, Zionism and US Militarism, is due from Clarity Press, Atlanta, in August 2008. He can be reached at: jpetras [at] binghamton.edu. Read other articles by James, or visit James's website. This article was posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 at 8:04 am and is filed under Fascism, Genocide, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Media, Middle East, Military/Militarism, Nuclear Proliferation, Terrorism, The Lobby, Zionism. --------16 of 18-------- Fourth Fleet Steams South Return of the Gunboat By JOHN ROSS CounterPunch July 29, 2008 Mexico City. The resurrection and imminent dispatch of the United States Fourth Fleet to patrol the coasts of Latin America invokes the bad old days of Monroe Doctrine impositions and gunboat diplomacy for many citizens of those southern latitudes. This April, the U.S. Navy announced the reactivation of the fleet that historically operated in the south Atlantic during World War II, dueling with Nazi U-boats. Activating the Fourth Fleet "demonstrates U.S. commitment to our global partners," Admiral Gary Roughead explained, adding a threatening fillip: "The Fourth Fleet will send a strong signal to all Navies operating in the region." Roughead maintains that the fleet's focus will be on drug interdiction and "conducting training exercises" and its activation is "non-hostile." Frank Mora, a professor at the U.S. War College in Leavenworth Kansas told the Miami Herald, he thought the Fleet could be used in "environmental emergencies" and to control "youth gangs." The reactivated flotilla will sail in the strategic area overseen by the U.S. Southern Command or SOUTHCOM based in Quarry Heights, Panama and is to be homeported at Mayport in Jacksonville Florida. The fleet is expected to group together 11 war ships homeported at Mayport, including an aircraft carrier (reportedly the soon-to-be commissioned "U.S.S. George H.W. Bush") and a nuclear submarine. To allay Latin leaders' fears, Undersecretary of State for Hemispheric Affairs Tom Shannon was deployed to South America during July. The Undersecretary's visit to Brazil proved abrasive. He was met by raucous demonstrators in Brazilia and closely questioned on the floor of the Brazilian Senate about the Fourth Fleet's revival - one lawmaker recalled how in 1964, U.S. ambassador Lincoln Gordon had threatened to land marines stationed right off the Brazilian coast if leftist president Joao Goulart did not resign. Ex-Brazilian president Jose Sarnay warned of U.S. Fourth Fleet designs on the enormous Tupi deep-water oil field that may hold as many as five to eight billion barrels and could turn Brazil into one of the top five petroleum producers on the planet. The U.S. Navy currently operates out of six Latin bases - Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Quarry Heights, Panama; Aruba, Curacao; Comalapa, El Salvador; Comayuga, Honduras; and Manta, Ecuador - the last-named about to be shut down by Ecuador. Incensed by Washington's participation in the March 1st bombing of a FARC guerrilla camp in the Ecuadoran jungle - Manta is believed to have provided logistical support for Colombian helicopters - President Raphael Correa has resolved not to renew the U.S. lease on that facility when it expires in 2009. An educated guess has the base being relocated to La Guajira, Colombia close to the Venezuelan border which will not make Hugo Chavez happy. Those attentive to Latin American history do not view the U.S. Fourth Fleet's intentions as "non-hostile." U.S. Naval blockades of Cuba in 1963 during the Soviet-American missile crisis and of revolutionary Mexico in 1914, stir bitter memories. The U.S. Navy turned the Caribbean into an "American lake" from 1914 through the late 1920s, parking its fleet in Santo Domingo and repeatedly invading Nicaragua. U.S. Navy flotillas land troops on sovereign soil, their long guns take out distant targets, and bombing raids and reconnaissance flights are launched from aircraft carriers. Just the presence of the Fourth Fleet in Latin American waters smacks of strategic intimidation. >From Brazilia, Undersecretary Shannon flew south to Buenos Aires to deliver the good news that the Fourth Fleet would not enter Argentina's territorial waters or inland rivers "without being invited." Shannon's timing was impeccable. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's six month-old regime, which has been roiled by months of mobilizations led by big soybean farmers, was on maximum alert - the "soyeros" have blocked the nation's highways since last January after Fernandez tacked a 15 per cent tax on exports in order to finance programs for the poor. Bi-lateral relations between Washington and Buenos Aires have been in the tank since the U.S. charged supposed bagmen for Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez with financing Fernandez's campaign. The so-called scandal of the "Maletas" ($800,000 USD was alleged to have been smuggled into Argentina in a suitcase or "maleta") is a scenario that Queen Cristina (as she is taunted by political opponents) labels "garbage." Writing in the Mexican daily La Jornada, left Latin American analyst Raul Zebichi concludes that Shannon's voyage to Buenos Aires to sell the Fourth Fleet to Fernandez during the soyero crisis amounted to "deliberate destabilization." The sailing of the Fourth Fleet is "naked aggression by Washington to regain its hegemony" on a continent where U.S. influence has been impressively diminished by the serial victories of the Latin American electoral left. Undersecretary Shannon then moved on to Bolivia where that majority indigenous Andean nation's president Evo Morales is viewed by Washington as one of the ringleaders of the anti-American wave sweeping the southern continent. Bolivia is not a target for the U.S. Fourth Fleet, having lost its access to the ocean in the Guano War of the late 19th century. Nonetheless, Morales denounced U.S. ambassador Phillip Goldberg's support of the right-wing "autonomy" movement that is promoting the secession of five Bolivian provinces, reading Shannon e-mails sent by U.S. AID officials to Bolivian citizens threatening aid cut-offs if they continued to support his government. Only in Colombia, the first stop of Shannon's checkered journey, did he find some satisfaction. Touching down soon after the immaculately scripted "rescue" of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 hostages held by the weakened FARC guerrilla army, Tom Shannon laid on the blarney. The Fourth Fleet's intentions were honorable and "non-hostile." The war ships will safeguard commercial shipping lanes and provide additional drug interdiction. It didn't take much effort to sell President Alvaro Uribe, George Bush's top flunky in Latin America, on the idea. Uribe even offered Barranquilla as a homeport away from home for U.S. war ships. Fourth Fleet deployment to Colombia will provide much needed backup for Washington's anti-drug, War on Terror Plan Colombia, a $6,000,000,000 boondoggle that has succeeded in expanding the nation's cocaine acreage by 27 per cent in 2007. If Uribe was supportive of the Fourth Fleet's reactivation, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez was decidedly not, declaring the move to be "an act of war" and fretting about Yanqui sabotage of offshore oilfields. In the Caribbean, Fidel Castro, an 82 year-old columnist for a Cuban communist youth paper, sneered that the Fourth Fleet is "the flotilla of intervention". Castro has had first hand experience with U.S. Naval blockades. One immediate response of Latin America's leftist leaders to Washington's unilateral revival of the fleet has been the formation of UNASUR, a 12-nation mutual security pact that pointedly excludes the U.S. Spearheaded by Brazil, the continent's economic powerhouse, UNASUR seems designed to boost Brazilian armament industry sales as much as to stave off U.S. stabs to reestablish its hegemony over Latin America. Mexico, which is banking on deep-water oilfields in the Gulf (an area under Fourth Fleet purview) to revive its sinking reserves, does not seem alarmed about the war ships on the eastern horizon - despite the rather touchy dispute over whether Mexico or the U.S. has title to those deep-water tracts. The U.S. Navy trains Mexico's Navy and supplies it with state-of-the-art weaponry. Under the Merida Initiative, sometimes tagged Plan Mexico, the Mexican Navy is slated to receive Orion tracking planes and souped-up interdiction craft, part of the $1,400.000,000 USD war chest to rearm Mexico's security apparatus - despite its reputation as one of the worst human rights abusers in the Americas. Equipment received via the Merida Initiative, actually a hefty subsidy to U.S. defense contractors, will forge what Uruguayan political writer Carlos Fazio dubs "the third link" by which the Mexican security apparatus is annexed to Washington. Indeed, just the need for spare parts will tie the Mexican military to the Pentagon for the life of the planes, helicopters, swift boats, and transport carriers Plan Mexico will buy. Actually, the Merida Initiative, born in the Yucatan city of that name in a surge of enthusiasm during Bush's first encounter with Mexico's Felipe Calderon in 2007, almost didn't make it to the wire. When the U.S. Senate, urged on by Vermont's Patrick Leahy, voted to impose human rights oversight on the package, Mexico almost backed out, accusing Washington of interfering in its domestic affairs. The Senate bill would have mandated civilian trials for Mexican military personnel accused of human rights violation and would have strengthened the hand of non-government human rights organizations to watchdog how Merida Initiative equipment was used. The measure would also have pressed for an investigation into the 2006 murder of independent U.S. journalist Brad Will by Oaxaca security forces - indeed, the human rights components of Plan Mexico were largely due to the persistence of Brad's friends who were sometimes escorted from congressional hearings for vehemently pushing their case. The bill's human rights provisions were rejected by all three sides of Mexico's political spectrum. Legislators compared the call for compliance with the odious "certification" process by which the U.S. Congress "certified" Mexico's cooperation in Washington's Drug War each year through the mid-1990s, a source of much distrust. But Mexican politicos were not alone in their contempt for the new Plan Mexico - Bush White House drug czar John Waters accused Leahy and his Democratic cohorts of "sabotaging" the agreement, and Homeland Security chieftain Michael Chertoff warned that the human rights provisions were "unacceptable." The Senate bill was sent back to Congress for rectification but reemerged with an almost identical text - even the call for resolving Brad's murder was left intact. Yet in the magic realist mindset that passes for politics here, President Calderon, his Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino, and Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa chose not to acknowledge the unreconstructed language and signed off on the grant. Espinosa made much of the affirmation that no U.S. soldier will set foot on Mexican soil as the result of the Merida Initiative - a phenomenon never contemplated by the agreement in the first place. George Bush signed the Merida Initiative into law June 30 and in mid-July Chertoff flew into Mexico City for discussions on implementation and to "evaluate eventual risks to mutual security." Oddly, the day the Homeland Security boss went home, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration leaked an intriguing story to the daily El Universal: Mexican drug war troops had discovered a car bomb factory in Culiacan, Sinaloa, where a bloody battle between cartels has taken over 500 lives since the first of the year. The DEA suspected that the Sinaloa cartels' hit men were being sent through Chavez's Venezuela (where else?) to Iran (where else?) for advanced terrorist training. Preposterous? Under current security arrangements, the Iran gambit could become a pretext for the U.S. military occupation of Mexico, which on the face of it is of course highly unlikely. But Plan Mexico folds into the ASPAN - the North American Agreement on Security and Prosperity, a sort of security and energy NAFTA. Much as NAFTA was aimed at integrating the economies of its three member nations, ASPAN proposes to integrate security and energy structures - a goal greatly advanced by Plan Mexico. In addition to ASPAN, Mexico has been designated the U.S.'s southern security perimeter by NORCOM, the United States Northern Command, which is responsible for keeping terrorists out of North America. The suggestion that Iran-trained terrorists are car-bombing a few hundred miles south of the border could have the stealth bombers on the runways at NORCOM headquarters in a hollowed-out mountain in Colorado in a jiffy. Foreign minister Espinosa's affirmation that Plan Mexico will not land U.S. troops on Mexican shores flies in the face of the facts. Since 2006, the Yanks have offered at least 60 training courses to Mexican army and navy troops inside Mexico - 700 Mexicans are trained in the United States at the Center for Strategic Forces in Fort Bragg North Carolina under the provisions of the IMET program. U.S. Naval trainers offer courses at Veracruz on the Gulf Coast and Manzanillo on the Pacific. But the physical presence of U.S. military personnel on the ground here is mooted by the Pentagon's reliance on civilian mercenaries. SY Coleman, which advertises itself as "a warrior in the global war on terror" on its web page, has been recruiting pilots "with experience in international military conflicts" to fly reconnaissance over Mexico's Caribbean off-shore platforms, an inviting terrorist target. Blackwater WorldWide just opened its western training facilities in a huge warehouse several hundred yards from the U.S. - Mexican border on the Otay Mesa in San Diego, and in July provided security for John McCain on a Mexico City campaign stopover according to knowledgeable sources, that notorious mercenary army's first known sighting inside Mexico. Blackwater has recently been awarded big boodle Department of Defense drug war contracts and appears to be bulking up to challenge DynCorps which holds the franchise on privatizing Washington's War on Drugs in Latin America. With the Yanquis' Fourth Fleet working Latin America's Atlantic coast, the United States Coast Guard patrols its Pacific flank. During the last week in July, the Coast Guard and the Mexican Navy found themselves under submarine attack - a 36-foot submergible with five tons of Colombian cocaine aboard was spotted by the Americanos' radar 100 miles off Oaxaca and towed to port where the crew was jailed. In addition to cocaine, Pacific shipping lanes are also important to liquid natural gas tankers, another inviting terrorist target, operating under contracts with Spanish energy titan REPSOL between Peru and LNG terminals in Manzanillo in southern Mexico and the Sempra Corporation's Ensenada facility hard by the U.S. border. In fact, the Ensenada terminal, which provides San Diego with energy, was to have been located in that U.S. port city but fears the plant could be taken out by terrorists moved it to Mexico. Deploying the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which is homeported in San Diego, to Latin America's west coast, is surely being weighed by Navy brass. What does presumptive President Barack Obama think about all this updated gunboat diplomacy? The only clue voters have as to Obama's Latin policies was a speech he delivered months ago to win the hearts and minds of the gusano-laced Cuban American National Foundation in Miami in which platitudes were a dime a dozen - no end to the Cuban embargo, Hugo Chavez was "dangerous", Colombia's Uribe a "democratic hero." Given this repertoire it doesn't sound like much is going to change when Obama takes the helm of state. All the pieces are in place - Plan Mexico, Plan Colombia, ASPAN, SOUTHCOM, NORCOM, and NAFTA - to keep the Consensus of Washington thriving during an Obama presidency. "What's good for Latin America is good for the United States of America" the presumptive president told the gusanos in Miami, failing to annunciate the other half of the equation: what's good for the United States is usually very bad for Latin America. John Ross is in the heat of the first draft of "El Monstruo - Tales of Dread & Redemption In The Most Monstrous Megalopolis On Planet Earth". Write johnross [at] igc.org --------17 of 18-------- Let's Give "Blue Dogs" the Boot Pushing conservative Democrats out of Congress could help the party stand up to the GOP. by Glenn Greenwald Published on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 by Salon.com Common Dreams In American politics, exceedingly few positions generate overwhelming agreement across the ideological spectrum. Even propositions that ought to be uncontroversial - such as whether there is scientific evidence for evolution or whether Saddam Hussein personally planned the 9/11 attacks - produce sizable portions of the citizenry lined up on each side. One notable exception to this rule is the issue of whether the current U.S. Congress is doing a poor job. That question produces a remarkable consensus that is close to unanimous. Earlier this month, Rasmussen Reports announced the humiliating finding that "the percentage of voters who give Congress good or excellent ratings has fallen to single digits [9 percent] for the first time in Rasmussen Reports tracking history". That extremely negative view of Congress cuts across partisan and ideological lines, as only small percentages of Democrats (13 percent), Republicans (8 percent) and independents (3 percent) believe that Congress is doing an "excellent" or even a "good" job. Perhaps most remarkable, some polls - such as one from Fox News last month - reveal that the Democratic-led Congress is actually more unpopular among Democrats than among Republicans, with 23 percent of Republicans approving of Congress compared with only 18 percent of Democrats. One would be hard-pressed to find a time in modern American history, if such a time exists at all, when a Congress was more unpopular among the party that controls it than among voters from the opposition party. That a Democratic Congress is so deeply unpopular even among Democrats may be historically unusual, but it is hardly surprising or difficult to understand. On key issue after key issue, it is the Bush White House and Republican caucus that have received virtually everything they wanted from Congress, while the base of the Democratic Party has received virtually nothing other than disappointment and an overt repudiation of its agenda. Since the American people gave them control of Congress, the Democrats in Congress have given the country the following: Unlimited and unconditional funding for the Iraq war. Vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers and retroactive amnesty for their telecom donors - measures the administration tried, but failed, to obtain from the GOP Congress. The ability to ignore congressional subpoenas with utter impunity. A resolution formally decreeing parts of the Iranian government to be a "terrorist organization". A failure to outlaw waterboarding, to apply the torture ban to the CIA, to restore the habeas corpus rights abolished by the Military Commissions Act of 2006, to impose the requirement of congressional approval before President Bush can attack Iran. Confirmation of highly controversial Bush nominees, including Michael Mukasey as attorney general even after he embraced the most radical Bush theories of executive power and repeatedly refused to say that waterboarding was torture. Other than (arguably) the resignation of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general and a very modest increase in the minimum wage (enacted in the first month after Democrats took control of Congress), one is hard-pressed to identify a single event or issue since November 2006 that would have been meaningfully different had the GOP retained control of Congress. The Congress of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi has been every bit as passive, impotent and complicit as the Congress of Bill Frist and Denny Hastert was. Worse, in contrast to the Frist/Hastert-led Congress, which at least had the excuse that it enabled a wartime president from its own party while he enjoyed high approval ratings, the Reid/Pelosi Congress has capitulated to every presidential whim despite an "opposition party" president who is now one of the most unpopular in modern American history. It's difficult to imagine how even Reid and Pelosi themselves could contest the claim that the Democratic-led Congress, from the perspective of Democratic voters, has been a profound failure. With those depressing facts assembled, the only question worth asking among those who are so dissatisfied with congressional Democrats is this: What can be done to change this conduct? As proved by the 2006 midterm elections - which the Democrats dominated in a historically lopsided manner - mindlessly electing more Democrats to Congress will not improve anything. Such uncritical support for the party is actually likely to have the opposite effect. It's axiomatic that rewarding politicians - which is what will happen if congressional Democrats end up with more seats and greater control after 2008 than they had after 2006 - only ensures that they will continue the same behavior. If, after spending two years accommodating one extremist policy after the next favored by the right, congressional Democrats become further entrenched in their power by winning even more seats, what would one expect them to do other than conclude that this approach works and therefore continue to pursue it? [Elementary. But most Dems are likely to mindlessly pull the Dem lever anyway. We're beyond reason and into blind faith and oxlike immovability. -ed] If simply voting for more Democrats will achieve nothing in the way of meaningful change, what, if anything, will? At minimum, two steps are required to begin to influence Democratic leaders to change course: 1) Impose a real political price that they must pay when they capitulate to - or actively embrace - the right's agenda and ignore the political values of their base, and 2) decrease the power and influence of the conservative "Blue Dog" contingent within the Democratic caucus, who have proved excessively willing to accommodate the excesses of the Bush administration, by selecting their members for defeat and removing them from office. And that means running progressive challengers against them in primaries, or targeting them with critical ads, even if doing so, in isolated cases, risks the loss of a Democratic seat in Congress. Those goals are the basis of the recent campaign that I helped launch - along with progressive bloggers such as Jane Hamsher and the Blue America PAC - to target selected Democratic members of Congress who have been responsible for some of the worst acts of complicity and capitulation. The campaign we launched, which raised over $350,000 in a very short time largely from dissatisfied progressives, has run multimedia ads criticizing the likes of Blue Dog Rep. Chris Carney and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, despite the fact that neither has a primary challenger and despite the fact that Carney is quite vulnerable in his reelection effort this year. The Blue America campaign also ran ads against Blue Dog Rep. John Barrow in Georgia, who did have a progressive primary challenger, state Sen. Regina Thomas. It was always clear that Barrow was highly likely to defeat Thomas in the primary. It was also clear that if Thomas beat the odds and won the primary, her chances of beating the Republican in the general election was far less than the chances of the more conservative and incumbent Barrow, who himself had to fight hard to win reelection in 2006. Knowing that a Barrow defeat in the primary might make a Republican win more likely in November, Blue America nonetheless ran ads against him. We believed that even if Barrow prevailed in his primary (as he ultimately did), the ad campaign against him would undermine his reputation in his district and could thus force Barrow, the Blue Dog caucus and the Democratic leadership to devote far more resources to defending his seat for November. That is what it means to attach a price to trampling on the political values of Democratic supporters. Barrow and the two other two solidly pro-war Democrats targeted - Carney and Hoyer - were not merely supporters, but vocal and active leaders, of the effort to have Congress give to George W. Bush the sweeping new warrantless eavesdropping powers and telecom immunity Bush demanded. Why would any progressive want to see that behavior rewarded by having those three safely reelected? Given the certainty of Democratic control under all circumstances, what possible benefit comes from their seamless return to power? Many progressives and other Democratic supporters are reflexively opposed to any conduct that might result in the defeat of even a single, relatively inconsequential Democratic member of Congress or the transfer of even a single district to GOP control. No matter how dissatisfied such individuals might be with the Democratic Congress, they are unwilling to do anything different to change what they claim to find so unsatisfactory. Even though uncritically cheering on any and every candidate with a "D" after his or her name has resulted in virtually nothing positive - and much that is negative - many progressives continue, rather bafflingly and stubbornly, to insist that if they just keep doing the same thing (cheering for the election of more and more Democrats), then somehow, someday, something different might occur. But, as the cliche teaches, repeatedly engaging in the same conduct and expecting different results is the very definition of foolishness. [America is a Ship of Fools -ed] As foolish as it is, this intense aversion to jeopardizing any Democratic incumbents might be considered rational if doing so carried the risk of restoring Republican control of Congress. But there is no such risk, and there will be none for the foreseeable future. No matter what happens, the Democrats, by all accounts, are going to control both houses of Congress after the 2008 election. Their margin in the House, which is currently 31 seats, will, by even the most conservative estimates, increase to at least 50 seats. No advertising campaign or activist group could possibly swing control of Congress to the Republicans this year, and - given the Brezhnev-era-like reelection rates for incumbents in America - it is extremely unlikely that the House will be controlled by anyone other than Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi for years to come. [Those three? How profoundly depressing. -ed] The critical question, then, is not who will control Congress. The Democrats will. That is a given. The vital question is what they will do with that control - specifically, will they continue to maintain and increase their own power by accommodating the right, or will they be more responsive, accountable and attentive to the political values of their base? [Ha ha, what do we think? Of course the former. -ed] As long as they know that progressives will blindly support their candidates no matter what they do, then it will only be rational for congressional Democrats to ignore progressives and move as far to the right as they can. With the blind, unconditional support of Democrats securely in their back pocket, Democratic leaders will quite rationally conclude that the optimal way to increase their own power, to transform more Republican districts into Blue Dog Democratic seats, and thereby make themselves more secure in their leadership positions, is to move their caucus to the right. Because the principal concern of Democratic leaders is to maintain and increase their own power, they will always do what they perceive is most effective in achieving that goal, which right now means moving their caucus to the right to protect their Blue Dogs and elect new ones. That is precisely what has happened over the past two years. It is why a functional right-wing majority has dominated the House notwithstanding the change of party control - and the change in direction - that American voters thought they were mandating in 2006. As progressive activist Matt Stoller put it, "Blue Dogs are the swing voting block in the House, they are self-described conservatives, and they are perfectly willing to use their status on every action considered by the House". The more the Democratic leadership accommodates the Blue Dog caucus - the more their power relies upon expanding their numbers through the increase of Blue Dog seats - the less relevant will be the question of which party controls Congress. The linchpin for that destructive strategy is uncritical progressive support for congressional Democrats. That is what ensures that Democratic leaders will continue to pursue a rightward-moving strategy as the key to consolidating their own power. Right now, when it comes time to decide whether to capitulate to the demands of the right, Beltway Democrats think: "If we capitulate, that is one less issue the GOP can use to harm our Blue Dogs". And they have no countervailing consideration to weigh against that, because they perceive - accurately - that there is no cost to capitulating, only benefits from doing so, because progressives will blindly support their candidates no matter what they do. That is the strategic calculus that must change if the behavior of Democrats in Congress is to change. Democratic leaders must learn that they cannot increase their majority in Congress by trampling on the political values of their own base. It's crucial that they understand that they will not gain seats, but will lose seats, the more they accommodate the right's agenda. That, in turn, will happen only if progressives target for defeat selected members of the Democratic caucus who are responsible for that right-wing-enabling behavior. That is the only way to eliminate the incentive for the Democratic leadership to continue to follow the strategy of increasing their own power by mimicking Republicans. Those who disagree with that - who object that it is oh-so-terrible to cause the defeat of any Democratic incumbents, no matter how complicit and irrelevant - have the responsibility to identify what alternative strategy they think should be pursued in order to alter the behavior of the Democratic Party in Congress. Defeating scattered, individual Democratic incumbents - even if it means that a Republican wins - will result in nothing negative. What is the difference - specifically - if Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel have a 43-seat margin of control rather than a 56-seat margin? There is no difference. Far more important than the size of the Democrats' majority is the question of who is dominating and controlling that majority. At the moment, the Blue Dog contingent is dominant in the Democratic caucus and drives much of what the caucus does. The more Blue Dogs there are in the Democratic caucus, the more dominant they will be. Changing the face of Congress requires, first and foremost, that the face of the Democratic caucus change, that its strategic incentive scheme be altered. Until progressives make Democratic leaders pay a price for their allegiance to the right's agenda - the only price that politicians recognize: having their power diminished and jeopardized - then none of this will change. It will only continue to worsen. [True, but the voters will "feel good" voting that straight D ticket, even tho they will regret it in a year or two. Rather than learn anything from it, they will just do the same thing in the next election, for another feel good quick fix. Foolish hope springs eternal. So we're probably trapped for life. -ed] Glenn Greenwald was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's xuse of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy", examines the Bush legacy. --------18 of 18-------- From: FairVote Minnesota <dakotah [at] fairvotemn.org> Subject: FairVote Minnesota to Intervene in Lawsuit against IRV FairVote Minnesota E-News FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jeanne Massey, jeanne.massey [at] fairvotemn.org, 763-807-2550 FairVote Minnesota to Intervene in Lawsuit against Instant Runoff Voting Minneapolis, MN (July 31, 2008) - Today, FairVote Minnesota, the organizational anchor of the Saint Paul Better Ballot Campaign, announced that it will seek to intervene as a defendant in an on-going lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of instant runoff voting (IRV). In 2006, Minneapolis voters and its City Council authorized the use of IRV in city elections, with implementation planned for 2009. The lawsuit that FairVote Minnesota seeks to join opposes IRV in Minneapolis and was brought by a small group of activists who support the return of partisan local elections. "Joining this lawsuit as a co-defendant is the most logical and efficient manner for us to resolve the constitutional question," said FairVote Minnesota Board member and Saint Paul IRV Campaign Coordinator, Ellen Brown. "We will help dismantle the St. Paul City Council's cover for blocking this important reform." Both the plaintiffs and the City of Minneapolis have indicated that they will support the intervention request. "Intervention is the right of a third party when it feels it can be of assistance to the court in arriving at a just decision," said former Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi attorney and FairVote Minnesota board chair, Tyrone Bujold. "Our plea will be to expedite the case so a decision can be reached as soon as possible." On July 2, the St. Paul City Council blocked a certified petition submitted by more than 7,000 voters. The petition would have placed a charter amendment on the ballot this November to authorize use of IRV in future municipal elections. The block was justified in the eyes of the Council leadership based on a city attorney opinion that raised questions of constitutionality. After blocking the initiative, the Council voted unanimously to put the measure on the ballot once the constitutionality of IRV is resolved in the Minneapolis case. The St. Paul Campaign does not believe the Council may legally block petition initiatives except in cases of "manifest unconstitutionality." "The Council, with the exception of Ward 6 member Russ Stark, had chosen to interpret the muddled attorney opinion as providing legal cover for their action. In doing so, the St. Paul Campaign believes that the Council has overstepped its legal authority," said Brown. The St. Paul Campaign considered suing the City to force a court interpretation of "manifest unconstitutionality" but decided this route was not likely to produce a decision in time to allow for sufficient voter education before the 2008 election, and might not have resulted in a definitive conclusion to the matter. James Dorsey of the Fredrikson & Byron law firm and Keith Halleland of the Halleland, Lewis, Nilan and Johnson law firm will serve as lead co-counsel in the matter. Assistance will be provided by Jay Benanav, Alan Weinblatt, Weinblatt and Gaylord; Steve Kelley, Humphrey Institute Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy; David Schultz, Hamline University; Tyrone Bujold, FairVote MN chair; Aaron Street, Center for Law and Politics; Gena Berglund, National Lawyers Guild; Cecily Hines, retired attorney; Andrea Rubenstein, attorney at law; and Teresa Ayling, Mansfield, Tanick and Cohen P.A.; and Jane Prince, attorney at law. [Six of the seven StPaul council members voted to block IRV. They apparently think thay can give us the finger and be treated as good buddies and friends. We don't want to be "single issue" voters, they will say - so thay can flip us the bird repeatedly, and still demand our love. Well, not mine, and I hope not yours either. It's a good 3.5 years till their next election (they think we'll forget). They're not on our side so we should deal with them from strength - don't BEG them for anything - DEMAND it be given and be prepared to make life uncomfortable for them if they don't. They are adversaries, not friends. -ed] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 vote third party for president for congress now and forever
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