|Progressive Calendar 09.12.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 02:59:56 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 09.12.08 police raids 1. Pratt/Steller - StPaul taps two to review RNC cops - but not misconduct 2. Charles Hallman - Outside the convention 3. Molly Priesmeyer - We are numb to war: (Ian and Monica Bicking) 4. Amy Goodman - The party police 5. Andy Driscoll - Will one police officer come forward? 6. Grace Kelly - No blue code of silence ever! 7. Anya Achtenberg - RNC story other 8. Joel Albers - 18,000 MNCare enrollees to be cut (Strib) 9. Mickey Z. - September 11, 2008 10. Paul Cantor - The other 9/11: the coup in Chile 11. Peter Kornbluh - New transcripts of Kissinger's role in Chilean coup 12. ed - Kissinger poem --------1 of 12-------- StPaul taps two to review RNC cops - but not misconduct By Anna Pratt and Chris Steller , Minnesota Independent September 11, 2008 St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced late Tuesday afternoon that the city will undergo an outside review of the public safety effort tied to the Republican National Convention - but its limited scope may not satisfy calls from various quarters for independent review of police misconduct. Leading the charge is former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger, who now works for Minneapolis law firm Best & Flanagan, and Andy Luger, previously an assistant U.S. attorney who is employed at Greene Espel in Minneapolis. They'll be putting a team together to perform the assessment and define its parameters, according to a statement from the mayor's office. The timeline for the study and other details are yet to be nailed down, according to mayoral spokesman Bob Hume. He told Minnesota Independent that the city had always planned to "take a hard look at the events of the week," but didn't before know "what form it would take". "Today we basically said we would bring in a fresh set of eyes to work through the process of determining what went well and what lessons are to be learned," said Hume. Regarding the questions that members of the public have raised about security measures during the RNC, "We want to be able to answer those as best we can. Our feeling is these two [attorneys] will help us navigate that and will give an honest look at how things went," he said. But Heffelfinger is saying the team will not look into allegations of police misconduct, raising the question of whether St. Paul's move will satisfy the various organizations and officials demanding independent reviews. An international human rights group, a national civil liberties organization and a smattering of local officials have issued calls - ranging in tone from livid to tepid - for investigations: Amnesty International wants "city and county authorities to ensure that all allegations of ill-treatment and other abuses are impartially investigated, with a review of police tactics and weapons in the policing of demonstrations" - adding that it should be prompt and public. The American Civil Liberties Union wants "an investigation into possible violations of the First and Fourth Amendments, including the arrest of reporters trying to gather the news; the mass arrest of hundreds of peaceful protestors; the surveillance and subsequent raids on several activist groups and private homes; and the confiscation by law enforcement agents of constitutionally-protected private property". Locally, St. Paul City Council Member Dave Thune has said he wants "a public airing of what went right and what went wrong". To that end, he's scheduled a "community conversation" on Sept. 24, 5:30 p.m., City Council chambers, to hear from interest groups - but no open mic for public testimony. He's also is soliciting citizen comment for St. Paul's official police "after-assessment". Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak wants to investigate police actions personally - "just the mayor taking a look at how the police responded to the protests," his spokesman told MPR. The mayor is eschewing any formal review. Minneapolis City Council Members Cam Gordon and Gary Schiff want "an independent, blue ribbon panel to conduct a thorough investigation into the events, decisions and policies surrounding security issues and the RNC, hold hearings and make recommendations for future policy changes". Schiff told Minnesota Independent on Monday that he envisions a joint Minneapolis-St. Paul commission approved by both city councils, with funding from both cities. In contrast to Heffelfinger's statement that civilian review and police internal affairs panels could handle charges of police misconduct, Schiff said the cases arising from hundreds of RNC arrests would overwhelm those local boards, and that is why an independent blue-ribbon panel is needed. Another parochial concern that may elude Heffelfinger are Minneapolis' guidelines of recent vintage against which Minneapolis council members intended to measure police actions during the RNC, the "police policies regarding public assemblies" that the council passed in July 25. Gordon aide Robin Garwood and Schiff agreed city police appear to have violated at least one of the 29 policies regarding treatment of the press. Might RNC policing be an issue in Minneapolis elections next year? Schiff shrugs, but Dave Bicking, who unsuccessfully challenged Schiff for the Ward 9 city council seat three years ago, says it could. Police accountability was one of the main issues on which Bicking ran in 2005 - a lit piece of his cautioned that "Expensive lawsuits should not be the only means for accountability" - and it could be again, especially now that Bicking's daughter Monica is one of the marquee arrestees facing the stiffest penalties from the pre-RNC sweeps. Article Tags: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Government, Heffelfinger, investigation, police --------2 of 12-------- Outside the convention: truth testimony, violence, rudeness and inconvenience By Charles Hallman, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder September 11, 2008 People from all across the country met on the Republican National Convention's opening night - and not just inside Xcel Energy Center. The 2008 National Truth Commission heard testimony at a September 1 hearing held at Christ Lutheran Church in St. Paul, located a few blocks away from the convention site. Many testified, accusing the U.S. government of human rights violations in health care and housing. "People are suffering and people are in pain," declared Ajamu Baraka of the U.S. Human Rights Network. "We have a system and a government that does not recognize the fundamental humanity of people who are poor and working class". "The [federal] government can spend millions on a war but can't take care of its people," said Carol Sawall-Smith of Chicago. Too many corporations violate human rights because they refuse to contribute more in health premiums for their employees, said Ethel Long-Scott of the Women's Economic Agenda Project of Oakland, California. Charging both Republican and Democratic officials for not doing more and saying that the two political parties "have bloody hands," Long-Scott added, "We deserve to live better". "I do not want to depend on others," admitted 50-year-old Annette Toney from Cleveland, Ohio, explaining that her meager earnings can't pay for the health care she needs. Ann Patterson, a Minneapolis nurse, said her husband recently lost his job. "We've used our credit cards, savings, and our children's savings," said the mother of five, including two with ongoing health concerns. "We are not able to make it. It is stressful". Rev. Gregory Lockett of Tampa, Florida, disclosed that oftentimes he has been "dishonest" to get needed medications for his heart disease "because if I told [officials] the truth, they would tell me to go someplace else". Bruce Dawson of Philadelphia emotionally related the story of his brother who was diagnosed with a tumor the size of a small ball, which eventually grew to basketball-like proportions. "It took him over a year to get health care because he didn't have any insurance," said Dawson, who added that his sibling recently died from cancer. "We need a healthcare reform with values that is going to treat everyone with a life of dignity that we all deserve," said Heather McLaughlin, a community worker with the Women's Economic Agenda Project. Donte Davis said that he and his two children live in a crowded, one-bedroom apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. "They don't understand any of this," said Davis of his children's reaction to their present living conditions. Pleaded Willie "J.R." Fleming of Chicago, "I am human. I deserve human rights. If you won't do it for me, [then] do it for my  children". Surmised Minnesota Tenants Union's Peter Brown, a Truth Commission member, "Based on the testimony that we heard, it is a clear challenge of politicians of all parties to step up". "I am excited that the Truth Commission met," said Green Party vice-presidential candidate Rose Clement. Peaceful march An estimated 2,000 marched from St. Paul's Mears Park to the State Capitol lawn September 2 in the "March for Our Lives," sponsored by the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign. It was probably one of the most peaceful events compared to several others marred by clashes between police and marchers. "There seems to be an overemphasis on a military presence, and it was shocking," said Baraka Police, protesters clash on final day Police regiments were dressed from head to toe in riot gear, looking less like peace officers and more like commandos as they blocked off bridges to stop demonstrators from going into downtown St. Paul September 4. "We are just wondering if what we are watching is a police state," said a 30-year-old man from St. Paul as he and others stood near the John Ireland Boulevard bridge over Interstate 94. "I decided to come out here to see what is going on," said St. Paul City Council Member Melvin Carter III, who also was a Democratic National Convention delegate. Asked if this clash between police and protesters occurred in Denver, he said, "I didn't see any of this type of stuff, but that doesn't necessary mean that there wasn't [similar situations]. We were inside the convention center the whole time". The protesters later moved through to the Marion Street bridge where they and police clashed - nearly 100 persons were arrested according to police reports. A 27-year-old Minneapolis mother of two, who works across the street from the convention site, was an unwilling spectator. "I've been [here] since 3:30 trying to get across the street. I was supposed to have been at work at five pm," said the woman, who did not want her name published. "From Sunday to Thursday, it has been crazy," she continued. Even though employees were given limited access badges, police officers wouldn't let her get to work without being stopped. "Somebody from the CNN Grill [where she works] would have to come get me". Because of the convention, "I had to walk from Rice Street and University all the way back over here to get to work every day. It [took] me at least 30 minutes. Then, when I [get] off at one in the morning, the police are so rude they won't even let you through the gates. They make you go all the way around, walk over the sky bridge and then to the corner". Once at work, the patrons, most of whom were convention folk, bothered her as well. "It feels like you [were] in the KKK meeting with all the White people. They [were] rude as hell to you," the woman said, recalling an incident involving a Black male coworker. "This White lady who was part of the Republican Party picked up her food and was going to throw it in the trash. There was a thing of chili on the table, and she told [the coworker], 'You can eat that if you want to [because] nobody touched it'. My co-worker was so mad - 'I am not a dog and this ain't slavery days. I don't need your scraps,' he told her". The stranded worker said she was glad the convention and everything else surrounding it was about over. "I got food to buy and bills to pay. They are messing with my money". Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman [at] spokesman-recorder.com, or read his blog: www.ww wchallman.blogspot.com. Article Tags: Community Culture, RNC 2008 --------3 of 12-------- We are numb to war.: brother of young woman arrested in preemptive raids speaks out Ian and Monica Bicking By Molly Priesmeyer, Minnesota Independent September 11, 2008 Police would like to to paint 23-year-old Monica Bicking, whose home was raided on Saturday, August 30, as part of a preemptive strike against RNC protesters, as a "terrorist". But her brother, Ian Bicking, has come out to speak in support of his sister, whom he says was arrested in an attempt to preemptively suppress the protests at the Republican National Convention. "That war is still with us," he writes on his blog, "and is still the most significant motivation for the RNC protests. I don't have any third path to offer, but I just want to make it clear: none of us know what is best to do, none of us have figured out the way to effect change. People complain protest doesn't work. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, but frankly most things don't work. Doing nothing definitely doesn't work, and frankly that's what most of us are doing. It's hard to take criticisms seriously when they are made from a stance of inaction". In Monica Bicking's South Minneapolis home, where are least 13 people were staying for the RNC, the police seized, among typical household items and laptop computers, curtain rods, foam mattresses, "propaganda literature," 37 caltrops (nail-like devices used to puncture tires), and a few throwing knives. A total of three homes in Minneapolis were raided (and a fourth surrounded in St. Paul) the morning after the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, supported by the Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, raided the RNC Welcoming Committee's convergence space in St. Paul. The raids resulted in five arrests and more than 100 people handcuffed and detained. Last week, Ramsey County formally charged eight members of the RNC Welcoming Committte, Bicking, her boyfriend Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector, with conspiracy to riot in futherance of terrorism. The word "terrorism," at least by definition, is fairly innocuous: "The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims". Under that definition, any government could be a terrorist. But after 9/11, the media and Bush administration gave it a much more frightful and sinister meaning, one that led to the creation of the Federal Patriot Act. It's under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act that Bicking and others could receive as much as seven years in jail simply for having "evidence" in their homes. The terrorism enhancement charge allows for a 50 percent increase in the maximum penalty for conspiracy to riot. Ian Bicking says Monica and others in the RNC Welcoming Committee had no plans of their own to protest during those four days, but to offer a safe place for those who wished to protest their own issues, whatever they might be. "The preemptive arrest was surprising to everyone," he writes. "It is normal in the course of civil disobedience that some people expect to be arrested. Civil disobedience is confrontational. You have to go into it knowing that there will be certain consequences. Those are the consequences of the confrontation [his emphasis]. They are not the consequences of the possibility of future confrontation. As organizers I know Monica and Eryn weren't planning on being arrested". Article Tags: RNC 2008, --------4 of 12-------- The Party Police by Amy Goodman Published on Thursday, September 11, 2008 by TruthDig.com The Democratic and Republican national conventions have passed, but controversy surrounds how they were funded and how they were run. Mass arrests of peaceful protesters, excessive police violence, wholesale disregard for the Bill of Rights and the targeting and arrest of journalists marred what should have been celebrations of democracy. The "host committees," the legal entities that organize and pay for the conventions, act as large party slush funds, outside of campaign-finance restrictions. Scores of major corporations (and a couple of unions), barred from giving unlimited funds to political parties, could give whatever they wanted to the host committees of Denver and St. Paul, Minn. According to a recent article in National Underwriter magazine, "Both the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee refused to comment on their insurance purchasing decisions, or even reveal who was providing coverage for their respective conventions." Bruce Nestor, president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, who organized scores of legal observers around the Twin Cities to protect citizens' legal rights, told me: "St. Paul actually negotiated a special insurance provision with the Republican host committee so that the first $10 million in liability for lawsuits arising from the convention will be covered by the host committee. The city is very proud of this negotiation. It's the first time it's been negotiated between a city and the host committee. But it basically means we [the city] can commit wrongdoing, and we won't have to pay for it." According to the Minnesota Independent, more than 40 journalists were arrested or detained during the Republican National Convention. Like what happened to "Democracy Now!" producer Nicole Salazar, videotaping protests in downtown St. Paul. She was violently forced to the ground, her nose bloodied, was held down with a man's knee or boot on her back, with another person pulling on her leg. Fellow producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous was thrown against a wall and kicked in the chest and back. The police might normally intervene and arrest the perpetrators. Except here, it was the police who were the assailants. And they arrested their victims. Arriving on the scene, I tried to have my colleagues freed, as we were all accredited journalists, and the police arrested me. And we were not the only ones. As the mayors and police of St. Paul and Minneapolis patted each other on the back for a job well done, the nonprofit group FreePress, the head of the local chapter of the Newspaper Guild and other media advocates and reporters delivered more than 50,000 signatures to the mayor's office demanding that the charges against the journalists be dropped. We were met by St. Paul Deputy Mayor Ann Mulholland. Free Speech TV CEO Denis Moynihan asked about the Republican host committee indemnification of the city, "Isn't that just giving a $10 million ticket to the police to violate civil rights?" Mulholland countered, "We are very proud of that ... the $10 million was critical for our city. We would not have been able to host the convention otherwise." The two major-party conventions have become protracted, expensive advertising spectacles for the presidential candidates. It makes sense that Democrats and Republicans would want to control the message. But democracy is not an advertisement, nor is it under the sole dominion of the two parties. People were engaged in Denver and St. Paul in a vast array of civic dialogue, public gatherings, marches, protests, concerts, art openings-in fact, there was more democracy happening outside the convention halls than inside them. The convention center names tell the story: It was the Pepsi Center in Denver, the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Xcel, which pushes nuclear power, gave $1 million to each convention. Both top candidates support nuclear power as a viable option. In Denver, but particularly in St. Paul, dissent was crushed with a massive array of paramilitarized police, operating under the U.S. Secret Service, granted jurisdiction over the "National Special Security Events" that the conventions have been dubbed. Corporations pay millions to the host committees, earning exclusive access to lawmakers and candidates. The host committees, in turn, unleash police on the public, all but guaranteeing injuries, unlawful arrests and expensive civil litigation for years to come. More than just a campaign-finance loophole that must be closed, this is a national disgrace. Throughout the convention week, one of the 25 remaining typeset copies of the Declaration of Independence was on display at St. Paul City Hall-not far from where crowds were pepper-sprayed, clubbed, tear-gassed and attacked by police with concussion grenades. As the clouds clear, it is instructive to remember the words of one of the Declaration's signers, Benjamin Franklin: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." 2008 Amy Goodman Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 700 stations in North America. --------5 of 12-------- Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 13:47:54 -0500 From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: [StPaul-AN] Will One Police Officer come forward? ...to talk about the excesses of his superiors and colleagues last week and other times? Please contact me. Names need not be used, voices masked.651-293-9039 / Cell: 651-492-2221 email: andy [at] driscollgroup.com Thank you. --------6 of 12-------- Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 15:54:02 +1200 (NZST) From: "Grace Kelly (nicknamed Kelly)" <saintcurmudgeon [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment In a previous comment, a commenter was taking issue with "City Council Member publicly criticizing the police forces of his own city, state and county on the eve of the RNC." That sounds dangerously like the blue code of silence, where cops can break the law freely. As we have found out that there is no "911" to call if the police break the law. Our only only hope to hold back lawbreaking police is when 1) citizen journalists report what they see 2) normal citizens pay attention and check out what is happening and 3) our elected officials speak up. Silence supports those who do wrong, always has, always will! If we want to live in a Democracy, we can never stand silent when wrongs happen. Open discussion is the only way to find out what is really happening. No blue code of silence ever! --------7 of 12-------- Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 00:01:44 -0500 From: Anya Achtenberg <aachtenberg [at] earthlink.net> Story, and the Republican National Convention and Minnesota Nice and East Africans in the Twin Cities ... Let's go back 11 days. It is September 1, 2008, and the Republican National Convention has come to St. Paul, Minnesota and clogged the streets and been preceded by confiscations of video equipment and raids on the houses of suspected anarchists with no more suspicious materials than exist in anyone else's house, plus perhaps a bag of shit. Not exactly WMDs. The week will go on with the use of pepper spray and tear gas and concussion grenades and beatings and arrests of journalists, including Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and 2 of her producers (charges not yet dropped) and rubber bullets and 800 arrests. Minnesota Nice long gone. And very little of this will appear in the mainstream national news, although we here in the Twin Cities saw it as we see our grocery stores and our gas stations and our neighbors and our magnificent trees. There is a massive anti-war march (many different numbers given of those in attendance, but these marchers are minus many people who have been carefully intimidated for weeks with threats of violence against demonstrators from our caring Homeland Security and local forces). There are many descriptions of this elsewhere, so I will just say this: We gather at the State Capitol, and after a rally we march through the streets of St. Paul towards the Excel Energy Center where the Republican festivities are in process, although without Bush and Cheney, who are staying in out of the rain. As we approach the center we are funneled, or herded like cattle, through enormous riot gates. Very clever, but somehow not the free expression I had envisioned. Before we get to those gates, as we are marching the streets of St. Paul, there are lines and lines of riot police to either side of us. No identification. No faces - their faces are covered with helmet and shields, and they are entirely dressed in black riot gear, flak jackets, with an array of weaponry hanging from their costumes. I must be more threatening than I thought. All that salsa dancing is paying off. But this is what I see and what captures me. In front of most of the lines of riot police up and down the streets (and they must be at least 7 feet tall and rather intimidating), there is a line of young East Africans, I am thinking mostly Somali. Young people. Beautiful young people. Some of them, even children. In front of these lines of massive, armed and well protected riot squads. Between them and the marchers. Between them and me. Young people standing still with such focus in their faces that I know I am protected and honored and in the presence of something holy. And I cannot stop looking, and I think, this, this is The Photo of this march, of this movement in some ways. In the 1960s, the photo of the young white woman stuffing a flower down the barrel of a National Guardsman's (or policeman's?) gun, or of the 4 students lying dead in Ohio after a protest, did not show us the Black students killed at Jackson State in a protest, did not show us so many others. So I understand that one image, one aspect of an event, is not supposed to eclipse all others. But here are immigrants for whom everything is at stake: their new home, and the home they have left, still under bombardment and in suffering. Everything is at stake: the way they are and remain Somali or Ethiopian or Eritrean, and the way they are becoming American; the very ground under their feet is at stake, their jobs, their homes, their families, their cultures, at stake, each day at stake, each word, each statement, their very names, at stake. And though this is THE picture of this march for me, I see it no where, in neither the establishment media nor the left media, the media of protest. This photo is No Where I have yet seen, although I must look at the local Somali and African newspapers and I think, I hope, it will be there. (More information about the very large Somali community in Minnesota below this posting.) Always a story, an image, a point of view unheard. Now, maybe I missed the appearance of these photos, having been a bit submerged with deadlines. But so far as I can see, or hear from others, no such photo. And back to September 1st, I am marching under banners that demand an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. I am marching with dear C who is part Ojibwe, and she sees the many signs, "End the Israeli Occupation", as we march side by side with S and J who come from New Orleans, who had to search for parents, for grandparents, through the effects of Katrina and the genocidal negligence of this current government, and I feel the ache of stories converging, not told, being told. On my back, C leans to write another sign on the other side of the one we had put up in the air, a sign that recognizes the first occupation of what would become the United States. "America out of Turtle Island", it says - and we swing that sign around and around as we walk, and this dizziness is the dizziness of the truth, the hidden truth, and the connectedness of truths in this text of the world we live in, and this is story to me. This is story. Please Vote! Vote for those who truly value all our stories, yours and mine and those who stood between this writer and the very heavily armed, faceless, riot police in St. Paul, Minnesota, next to the stories at the Republican National Convention, where they laughed at our communities and at those who work in them for positive change. (this is written in a hurry, so much to do) Peace, Anya Achtenberg PS: For those who know how central, how urgent, are stories: >From 9/11/08's DEMOCRACY NOW! "On 7th Anniversary of 9/11, Voices from StoryCorps Recordings of Friends, Kin of Victims Killed in the Attacks:For the past three years, the oral history project StoryCorps has recorded nearly 800 interviews from relatives and friends of people killed seven years ago today, on September 11, 2001. These recordings will eventually be preserved as part of the National September 11 Memorial Museum's permanent collection. We hear some of these voices and speak to StoryCorps founder Dave Isay, as well as Norene Schneider, whose brother, Tommy Sullivan, was killed at the World Trade Center." Listen/Watch/Read at http://www.democracynow.org/2008/9/11/on_7th_anniversary_of_9_11 --------8 of 12-------- Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 18:03:32 -0500 From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: 18,000 MNCare enrollees to be cut, Strib front page story Today's 9/11/08 Strib front page article (Feds to Unplug Medical Subsidy) reveals Bush's plan to cut 18,000 adults from the MNCare program. These are adults whose children are also in MNCare, the "adults with children" category constituting 30,000 of the 117,000 total MNCare recipients, their 12,000 children in this case being spared. You may recall the category of roughly 25,000 "adults without children" whom Pawlenty tried to cut in 2005 in order to balance the state budget, if not for the 75 cent a pack cigarette tax ("health impact fee"), the debate of which shut the government down into July. The current cutting involves 18,000 adults' whose incomes fall between 100% to 200% of the federal poverty level, FPL). You may also recall the debate through the summer of 2007 about the Children's Health Ins. Program (S-CHIP ) in which Congress appropriated $35 billion to expand S-CHIP, yet Bush vetoed this TWICE. The Bush adm policy is to only allow children up to 200% of the FPL into the program, and NOT their parents, while the intention of S-CHIP, begun in 1997, was precisely to expand it to kids' parents, with states like N.J. including parents and their kids up to over 400% of the FPL (MN goes up to 275% in some cases). As the above examples indicate, incremental approaches to achieving universal health care fail time after time. Not only has it been difficult to expand S-CHIP federally or MNCare statewide, indeed, they get cut or threatened year after year. Moreover, attempts to prevent those covered by often very costly private insurance from enrolling in MNCare (termed "crowd out") include: not having insurance for at least 4 months, an asset test, complicated paperwork, to name a few. Finally, MNCare's HC Access Fund surplus continuously gets raided to pay for other programs due to state budget deficits rather than being used to expand the MNCare program. The solution, thus, is a publicly-funded, single-payer universal health care program, also known as the MN Health Plan statewide, and Medicare for All nationally. If we allow the debate to get mired in incrementalism, we lose. If we advance this debate within the progressive framework of single-payer models, with piecemeal programs as the compromise, we can win. --------9 of 12-------- by Mickey Z. September 11, 2008 Dissident Voice Edited version of a talk I gave in NYC on September 11, 2008, with preface, prologue, preamble, and postscript. Preface: In 1853, several pairs of the previously unknown European house sparrow were set free inside Brooklyn's Green-wood Cemetery. By picking the hayseeds out of horse droppings from the carts used for funerals, these tiny birds flourished and are today one of the continent's most ubiquitous creatures. In other words: When all they feed you is horseshit, it's up to you to pick out the hayseeds that enable you to not only survive, but to thrive. Prologue: In the 1999 film Run, Lola, Run, the female protagonist is magically given three chances to cope with a tricky situation. Like having a reset button on a video game or computer, if Lola screws up, she gets to go back and start from the beginning. Many people imply that unless a critic expounds a specific strategy for change, his/her assessment is worthless or, at the very least, too negative. This somewhat understandable reaction misses the essential role critical analysis plays in a society where problems - and their causes - are so cleverly disguised. When discussing the future, the first step is often an identification and demystification of the past and present. In order for us to hit the reset button, we must collectively agree that we got it wrong the first time. Preamble: "How many other countries give you the right to write what you just wrote?" This was one of the many responses I got to a recent article of mine. Let's put aside the unintentional tongue twister and the question's obvious answer: plenty of other countries would give me the right to write what I just wrote. The larger issue, as I see it, is how we each choose to evaluate our freedom. Is freedom just a matter of bigger cages and longer chains? Is it merely a commodity sold to the highest bidder? Must the majority of us sit by and drool while freedom fries on the grill of capitalist greed? Freedom, according to Rosa Luxemburg, is "always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently". To merely have more freedom than, say, a woman living under Taliban repression is not the same as being free. But it is the same as settling for less subjugation instead of demanding more liberty. The "it could always be worse" excuse is no way to judge the quality or quantity of anything. Begin: It was September 14, 2001. The F-16s were no longer circling overhead. But there were people on my block holding candles, waving flags, and singing the National Anthem as an SUV cruised by with the words "Nuke 'em" soaped onto its rear window. These people were all craving normalcy. Even with the severity of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, the ultimate goal at the end of the day was always normalcy. Despite the lingering fear, sorrow, doubt, and anger, we waited breathlessly for the authorities to pronounce: "Don't worry. Things were bad but now, we've gotten everything back to normal". What is normal in our country and on our planet? What type of society have we humans cultivated as we sit arrogantly atop the intellectual food chain? The New York Stock Exchange was shut down by the attacks, but once things returned to normal, Wall Street went back to making decisions that impacted horrendously upon the large majority of the globe while the top one percent of Americans carried on owning wealth equal to the bottom 95 percent. That's normal. The SUV owner I just mentioned might have wiped the soap off his window and driven onto the island of Manhattan where, once again, cars had free reign. The toxic haze caused by the two towers collapsing was now replaced by the normal toxic haze induced by America's automobile culture. Those I heard singing songs of patriotism could return to stepping over homeless people to go buy products made in sweatshops. That's normal. Contemplating normal reminds me of something Charles Bukowski wrote: "As we go on with our lives, we tend to forget that the jails and the hospitals and the madhouses and the graveyards are packed". Normal means each month, 100,000 Americans lose their health insurance - while, each minute, one million of our tax dollars is spent on war. Normal means 15 million animals are slaughtered each day although up to 14 times as many people could be fed by using the same land currently reserved for livestock grazing. Normal means one billion earthlings live on the equivalent of one US dollar a day while my neighborhood is teeming with 99 cents stores. But these establishments aren't offering Third Worlders subsistence for 24 hours. No, they're where folks like me can purchase cheap goods - probably assembled in China by pre-teen girls. If you need an earpiece for your coltan-containing cell phone, it's all yours for one dollar and eight cents - after tax. Normal means taking off your shoes at the airport, being shot at by overzealous cops, and getting priced out of the neighborhoods you grew up in - but never having to walk more than two blocks to find your nearest Starbuck's. Wait, did I say "walk"? I meant "drive," of course. Walking: how Third World of me. Whether we realize it or not, thanks to corporate scientists, normal also means that when a human gene is introduced to a sheep's mammary glands to produce a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin, that sheep is no longer a mere sheep - but rather, it's a legally patented commodity known as a "mammalian cell bioreactor". Not a sheep, not a lamb, but a mammalian cell bioreactor. Try it out: Mary had a little mammalian cell bioreactor. Sound normal to you? Normal means two indistinguishable political parties, corporations that never pay taxes, and yellow ribbons as far as the eye can see. On a normal day, more than 100 plant or animal species go extinct. On a normal day, 45,000 human beings die of starvation. Normal means slavery - on so many levels - like this: In the most remote regions of Brazil, slave labor is employed to cut down grand swaths of the precious rain forest to make room to grow eucalyptus which is then burned by male slaves (who exploit the body, mind, and spirit of female slaves forced into prostitution) to make charcoal for the steel mills of Brazil where the poorest of the poor toil for wages that do not sustain them so that steel can be shipped to a General Motors plant in Mexico (GM is the second largest employer south of the border) where the poorest of the poor suffer maquiladora conditions so these automobile parts can then be shipped to a GM plant in the U.S. (roughly 50 percent of what we call "trade" consists of business transactions between branches of the same transnational corporation) where even the poorest of the poor proudly take on imposing debt to possess a car "made in the U.S.A." so they can clog the highways that were paved over countless eco-systems, filling the air with noxious pollution as they make their way to the drive-through window of an anti-union fast food restaurant that purchased the beef of slaughtered cattle that once grazed on land cleared by male slaves who exploited the body, mind, and spirit of female slaves in the most remote regions of Brazil. That is some of what we accept as normal. Normal means land mines, factory farming, and the death penalty It means racial profiling and the shooting of abortion doctors Normal means gay bashing and it means "illegal" is a noun It means pesticide, homicide, suicide, genocide Normal means the WTO, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and KKK GMO, HMO, Guantanamo. It means banned books, the war on drugs, and the PATRIOT Act Normal means: "have it your way" and "just do it" Global warming, water boarding, People magazine It means no cod in Cape Cod and soon: no ice at the North Pole Normal means strip malls; normal means strip mining It means pre-emptive strikes and humanitarian bombing It means shock and awe Normal means if you kill someone while wearing a uniform, you get a parade. Do it in gang colors and you get the electric chair. Normal means we live in a society programmed and conditioned to lust for revenge instead of unite for peace and justice After 9/11, normal also came to mean a perpetual war on terror. You know what? Maybe a war on terror is precisely what we need. No, I'm not declaring public allegiance to the current jihad against a tactic (which is in actuality a war against terrorist attacks not perpetrated by the US or its allies). Instead, I'm thinking of another meaning entirely for our new favorite, post-9/11 word: "terror". Author Don Lutz has written that terror is "what one feels when being kidnapped or raped". He goes on to list other terrifying examples: "Terror is what poor people worldwide feel when approached by uniformed, armed men; what animals feel in research laboratories; what people feel when their families are faced with starvation; what a child feels when an adult starts to hit; what millions of families feel when they hear planes overhead; what fish feel when hooked in the mouth; what people feel under threat of having loved ones tortured or killed; what forest dwellers feel when the loggers come in to clear-cut; what people feel when they are threatened with invasion; and what animals feel at slaughterhouses.. You wanna wage war against terror, why not find a worthy adversary? No shady FBI stings, unconstitutional wire tapping, or panic-inducing color-coded warnings that conveniently pop up at the most politically expedient intervals. The variety of terror I just described is genuine and endemic and it is the real problem. Many Americans automatically defend their country's rampant illegalities because they perceive these actions as falling under the seductive justification of "defending our way of life". The U.S. constitutes roughly 5% of the earth's population but consumes more than 25% of the earth's resources. Maybe "our way of life" makes us the real terrorists. Besides, if our way of life is so sacred, so ideal, so worthy of being defended by any means necessary, why do we need so many homeless shelters, alcohol and drug rehab centers, rape crisis hotlines, battered women's shelters, and suicide hotlines? Why does a sexual assault occur every 2 1/2 minutes? If America is the world's shining light, why are its citizens left with no choice but to organize in a desperate attempt to protect human, environmental, civil, and animal rights? Why can't we drink the water or breathe the air without the risk of becoming ill from corporate-produced toxins? If America is the zenith of human social order, why does our vaunted way of life provoke terror as a tactic and an emotion? I know what some of you are thinking: Surely, Mickey Z., humans aren't as bad as you make them sound. They can't possibly be the most dangerous species of all time. Humans aren't more dangerous than a T. Rex, right? To you, I ask: In all the millions of years dinosaurs roamed this planet, did a single stegosaurus ever feel the need to invent nuclear weapons? Even today's "monsters" are far less harmful than we "intelligent" humans. No great white shark created DDT, napalm, or the internal combustion engine; you can't blame cigarettes, greenhouse gases, hydroelectric dams, or mercury-laced vaccinations on a pit bull; and rest assured no non-human conjured up zoos, animal experimentation, or the circus. With the point of no return fading in the rearview mirror (or at least obscured by a Hummer), the time is long overdue for all of us to recognize the real enemy is that which inspires terror. The real enemy just might be what we see as normal. And what can be more normal than the American Dream? You all know the American Dream myth, the fable of individualized success. If we're tough enough and willing to fight our way past the competition, this is the land of opportunity: anything is possible. If you succeed, it's because you worked harder and better and deserved it more. If you fail, the blame is all on you. William Burroughs sez: "Thanks for the American Dream, to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through". Vulgarization. Falsification. Compromise. Conformity. Assimilation. Submission. Ignorance. Hypocrisy. Brutality. The elite. All of which, as Rage Against the Machine reminds us, are American dreams. All of which are American dreams. So, how about cultivating some new American Dreams? Dreams not for sale Dreams not based on celebrity Dreams not based on material consumption Dreams not based on physical beauty Dreams not based on military conquest Dreams that promote unity and collective action while maintaining individuality and independence Dreams that challenge us to think for ourselves and about others Dreams that help us pick out the hayseeds amidst the horseshit Postscript: In his 1941 classic, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, Henry Miller contemplated what it might be like to bring an American Indian back to life and show him the steel mills of Pennsylvania. Miller imagined the Indian thinking: "So it was for this that you deprived us of our birthright?" Miller pondered, "Do you think it would be easy to get him to change places with one of our steady workers? What sort of persuasion would you use? What now could you promise him that would be truly seductive?" I think I know what might win over that resurrected soul. A reset button, just like the one Lola had. For if this is the best humanity could produce with the gifts we've been given; if this is what is accepted as normal by the majority of Homo sapiens on the planet, what we really need is to hit the reset button - before it's too late. But then again, what do I know? I've always been the black mammalian cell bioreactor in my family. Mickey Z. is the author of the recently released Bizarro novel, CPR for Dummies, and can be found on the Web at MickeyZ.net. Read other articles by Mickey. This article was posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2008 at 5:59am and is filed under Capitalism, Culture, Empire. --------10 of 12-------- The Coup in Chile The Other 9/11 By PAUL CANTOR CounterPunch September 11, 2008 Why did Osama bin Laden choose September 11 for his attack on America? On September 11, 1973 a military coup d'tat supported by the administration of President Richard M. Nixon in the United States put an end to the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile. After the coup Nixon supported both diplomatically and economically the military Junta that seized power. The junta, led by Augusto Pinochet, arrested, tortured and murdered thousands of Allende's supporters. It is not farfetched, therefore, to suppose bin Laden chose September 11 in order to make us look like the pot calling the kettle black when we charged him with being an antidemocratic religious fundamentalist. And if that is the case the choice was well made. In the past the U.S. supported the repressive regimes of Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, Suharto in Indonesia and Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. In addition it helped to overthrow the democratically elected governments of Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala. Yet as a textbook example of how the U.S. has violated human rights and the enlightenment ideals embodied in its constitution while undermining democracy and the rule of law in another country nothing surpasses Chile. Chile before the coup was the most democratic country in Latin America and one of the most democratic countries in the world. It had a democratically elected President and a democratically elected two house legislature, an independent judiciary, a free and active press, and prestigious universities. Allende ran for President in 1952, 1958, and 1964 but it wasn't until 1970 when he ran as the candidate of a coalition of parties called the Popular Unity that he finally won. During the time Allende was President the opposition published six daily newspapers in Santiago with a weekday circulation of 541,000 while pro-government forces published only 5 with a circulation of 312,000. Additionally, the opposition controlled the majority of radio stations and most of the newspapers and magazines circulating outside of Santiago. Nevertheless, in the congressional elections that took place six months before the coup the Popular Unity parties that supported Allende picked up six seats in the house and two seats in the Senate. Yet despite Allende's popularity and respect for the democratic process, powerful heads of multinational corporations with disproportionate influence in Washington were hostile to him. They were hostile before he was elected because he threatened to nationalize their investments in Chile and hostile after he was elected because he carried out his threats. Consequently, when Allende ran for President in 1964 President Johnson ordered the CIA to support a propaganda campaign to discredit him. Then, after a similar campaign failed in 1970 President Nixon and his national security advisor Henry Kissinger directed the CIA to promote a coup d'tat. And finally, after the coup took place, Nixon and Kissinger looked the other way as the military Junta led by Pinochet unleashed a wave of violence and repression far worse than anything Chileans imagined could occur. Thousands of Allende's supporters were arrested, tortured and murdered. Thousands more were exiled. The Congress and labor unions were abolished. Political parties were banned. The press was censored. Military officials were appointed as rectors of the universities. Books were burned. The music of popular folk singers was prohibited and Victor Jara, one of the best known of those singers, was arrested, tortured and killed. Hence if Osama bin Laden wanted to make the point that the United States lacks credibility as an arbiter of democracy he could not have chosen a better date to carry out his attack on America than September 11. That may be a hard pill for us to swallow but swallow it we must if we are to learn from the past and work to change our image so others view us as a country whose actions in the international arena reflect our democratic ideals. Paul Cantor is a professor of economics at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut. [Capitalism and the privileged are mortal enemies of democracy. Time we learned that and acted on it. -ed] --------11 of 12-------- 35 Years After Original 9/11: New Transcripts of Kissinger's Role in Chilean Coup by Peter Kornbluh Published on Thursday, September 11, 2008 by The Huffington Post Common Dreams When Henry Kissinger began secretly taping all of his phone conversations in 1969, little did he know that he was giving history the gift that keeps on giving. Now, on the 35th anniversary of the September 11, 1973, CIA-backed military coup in Chile, phone transcripts that Kissinger made of his talks with President Nixon and the CIA chief among other top government officials reveal in the most candid of language the imperial mindset of the Nixon administration as it began plotting to overthrow President Salvador Allende, the world's first democratically elected Socialist. "We will not let Chile go down the drain," Kissinger told CIA director Richard Helms in a phone call following Allende's narrow election on September 4, 1970, according to a recently declassified transcript. "I am with you," Helms responded. The "telcons" - telephone conversations transcripts made by Kissinger's secretary from audio tapes that were later destroyed - captured for posterity all of Kissinger's outgoing and incoming phone calls during his tenure as national security advisor and secretary of state. When Kissinger left office in January 1977, he took more than 30,000 pages of the transcripts, claiming they were "personal papers," and using them, selectively, to write his memoirs. In 1999, my organization, the National Security Archive, initiated legal proceedings to force Kissinger to return these records to their rightful owner - the government. At the request of Archive senior analyst William Burr, telcons on foreign policy crises from the early 1970s, including four previously unknown conversations on Chile, were recently declassified by the Nixon Presidential library. 'The Big Problem Today Is Chile' September 15, 1970, when Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to ""prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him," has been considered, the starting point of the covert operations that eventually helped topple the socialist government, until now. According to the transcripts, however, Nixon and Kissinger set in motion plans to roll back Allende's election three days earlier on September 12. At noon on that day, Kissinger called Helms to schedule an urgent meeting of the "40 Committee" - an elite group that oversaw covert operations. And approximately 35 minutes later, in the middle of briefing Nixon on a major terrorist hijacking/hostage crisis in Amman, Jordan, Kissinger is recorded as telling the President: "The big problem today is Chile." The transcript of their conversation, kept secret for 35 years, reveals just how focused the U.S. president became on overseeing the effort to block Allende. In that call, Nixon demanded to see all instructions being sent to U.S. ambassador Edward Korry in Santiago; indeed, he ordered that the State Department be alerted that "I want to see all cables to Chile." "I want an appraisal of what the options are," Nixon told Kissinger. When Kissinger told him that the State Department's position was to "let Allende come in and see what we can work out," Nixon immediately vetoed the idea: "Like against Castro? Like in Czechoslovakia? The same people said the same thing. Don't let them do that." But Nixon cautioned: "We don't want a big story leaking out that we are trying to overthrow the Govt." Secretary of State William Rogers, who Nixon and Kissinger largely excluded from deliberations over Chile, was similarly sensitive to such a story leaking out. Indeed, the transcript of his conversation with Kissinger two days later underscored just how concerned the State Department was to the possibility that Washington might get caught trying to undermine Chile's electoral democracy. In their September 14th discussion, Rogers accurately predicted that "no matter what we do it will probably end up dismal." He also cautioned Kissinger to cover up any paper trail on U.S. operations "to be sure the paper record doesn't look bad." "My feeling - and I think it coincides with the President's - is that we ought to encourage a different result from the [censored reference]," Rogers conceded to Kissinger, "but should do so discretely so that it doesn't backfire." Their conversation continues: Kissinger: The only question is how one defines 'backfire.' Rogers: Getting caught doing something. After all we've said about elections, if the first time a Communist wins the U.S. tries to prevent the constitutional process from coming into play we will look very bad. Kissinger: the President's view is to do the maximum possible to prevent an Allende takeover, but through Chilean sources and with a low posture." The next day, during a 15 minute meeting at the White House attended by Kissinger, Nixon instructed CIA director Helms that Allende's election was "not acceptable" and ordered the agency to "make the economy scream" and "save Chile," as Helms recorded in his notes. The CIA launched a massive set of covert operations - first to block Allende's inauguration, and, when that failed, to undermine his ability to successfully govern. "Our main concern in Chile is the prospect that [Allende] can consolidate himself and the picture projected to the world will be his success," Nixon told his National Security Council on November 6, 1970, two days after Allende took office. 'That Chilean Guy Might Have Some Problems' So far, the declassification of Kissinger's telcons has not yielded much evidence of phone discussion on Chile as CIA operations to destabilize Allende evolved over the next several years. But at 11am on July 4, 1973, Kissinger's clandestine tape recorder captured another previously unknown conversation with President Nixon. Two weeks after an aborted coup in Santiago, Nixon phoned Kissinger from his summer home in San Clemente, California, to chat about Allende and the prospects that he might be soon overthrown. Nixon: You know, I think that Chilean guy might have some problems. Kissinger: Oh, he has massive problems. He has definitely massive problems. Nixon: If only the Army would get a few people behind them. Kissinger: And that coup last week - we had nothing to do with it but still it came off apparently prematurely. Nixon: That's right and the fact that he just set up a Cabinet without any military in it is, I think, very significant. Kissinger:. It's very significant. Nixon: Very significant because those military guys are very proud down there and they just may - right? Kissinger: Yes, I think he's definitely in difficulties. Only ten weeks later, the military did move to overthrow Allende in a bloody coup on September 11, 1973. On September 15, Nixon called Kissinger again. They commiserated about what Kissinger called "the bleeding [heart] newspapers" and the "filthy hypocrisy" of the press for focusing on the Chilean military's repression and the condemnations of the U.S. role. In this telcon - which was declassified in May 2004 - Nixon noted that "our hand doesn't show on this, though." "We didn't do it," Kissinger replied on the issue of direct involvement in the coup. I mean we helped them. [Deleted] created the conditions as great as possible." As Kissinger told the President: "In the Eisenhower period we would be heroes." You can see all the new Kissinger documents at www.nsarchive.org. Copyright 2008 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc. Peter Kornbluh directs the Chile Documentation Project at the National Security Archive, a public interest research center in Washington D.C. He is the author of "The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability." --------12 of 12-------- When Kissinger wins the Peace Prize the question is how one defines 'peace'. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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