|Progressive Calendar 09.15.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 02:58:22 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 09.15.08 1. RNC/court support 9.15 1:15pm 2. Peace walk 9.15 6pm RiverFalls WI 3. Made in China/f 9.15 6:30pm 4. Harvest moon walk 9.15 7pm 5. E-tools class 9.15 7pm 6. Mizna/languages 9.15 7. RNC/press/CTV 9.16 5pm 8. 3CD Greens 9.16 7pm 9. Oxfam action 9.16 7pm police raids: 10. Underwood 11. Underwood 12. Cavlan 13. Wilkinson 14. Thune 15. Goldstein 16. Steller (MN Independent) 17. Gitis 18. Hilber 19. Martin 20. Howell/Grove 21. Schoen 22. Underwood 23. Pratt/Steller (MN Independent) 24. Joshua Frank - The lessons of 2004: liberalism and its bounds --------1 of 24-------- From: rnc08 [at] riseup.net Subject: RNC/court support 9.15 1:15pm Come support the RNC arrestees! The days of direct action are over, but the legal support work has just begun. Starting this Monday, people are going up before the court and the state to face their criminal charges for expressing their dissent during the RNC. We need a strong showing of community solidarity in the court rooms to support our friends and provide a deterrent to judge's behavior. Having lots of people present at the upcoming hearings is an effective way of challenging the political oppression of the RNC protesters. Come out and show your solidarity! Food and drink are not allowed in the court room and all supporters will have to pass through a metal detector (no guns, knives, or scissors are allowed past security). While in court, supporters must remain silent and will not be allowed to carry signs through the security station; the strength of our collective presence will send the message we need to send. [If you're interested, please SAVE this message - ed] RAMSEY COUNTY COURT/LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER 425 Grove St. St. Paul (right next to the jail) Monday, Sept. 15, 1:15pm, Felony Omnibus Hearing Tuesday, Sept. 16, 1pm, Arraignment Tuesday, Sept. 16, 1:20pm, Felony First Appearance Wednesday, Sept. 17, 8:30am, Arraignment Wednesday, Sept. 17, 1:15pm, Felony Omnibus Hearing Thursday, Sept. 18, 1:15pm, Felony Omnibus Hearing Friday Sept. 19, 1:15pm, Felony Omnibus Hearing Definitions of Court Hearings Felony First Appearance: Appointment of Public Defender, bail hearing/setting, possible entering of a plea. Felony Omnibus Hearing: Determination of probable cause and arraignment of defendant. If not guilty plea is entered, judge assignment is made, pre-trial date is scheduled, first trial date is given, and prosecutor will be assigned. Arraignment: Appointment of counsel and arraignment of defendant. If not guilty plea is entered, date is set for pre-trial, first trial date is given, and prosecutor will be assigned. See you there, Court Support Working Group Please check out http://coldsnaplegal.wordpress.com/ http://rnc08arrestees.wordpress.com/ --------2 of 24-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 9.15 6pm RiverFalls WI River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from "Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact: d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls, Wisconsin 54022 --------3 of 24-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Made in China/f 9.15 6:30pm Free WAMM Third Monday Movie and Discussion: "Mardi Gras: made in China" Monday, September 15, 6:30 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, Hospitality Hall, 4537 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis. Glass bead necklaces distributed during Mardi Gras in New Orleans are made in Chinese factories. This documentary film features one factory, contrasting the lives of young women workers, living in cramped quarters, working long hours for little pay with scenes of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Followed by discussion. Sponsored by: the WAMM Third Monday Movies Committee. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364. --------4 of 24-------- From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Harvest Moon Walk 9.15 7pm Shine On Harvest Full Moon Walk Around the Coldwater Area Monday, September 15, 2008 Gather at 7 PM, south end of Minnehaha Park This is the walk-&-sing harvest moon walk. We'll provide the song sheets: Shine On Harvest Moon, Blue Moon, Moon River, Moonlight Bay, and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. Not just harvest time, September's full moon is three days after the Autumnal Equinox, a time of balance between summer and winter. Traditional group howl! Directions: From Hwy 55/Hiawatha in south Minneapolis, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at 54th Street and circle around to your left into the pay parking lot. Or park for free on the west side of Hwy 55. Sunset 7:03 PM-Moonrise 6:51 PM Info: www.FriendsofColdwater.org --------5 of 24-------- From: Tim Erickson <tim [at] e-democracy.org> Subject: E-tools class 9.15 7pm SPED Outreach Workshop - Fall 2008 ALL workshops listed are FREE on Mondays at 7:00 PM. Unless otherwise noted, all are in the Electronic Classroom at Rondo Community Outreach Library (University & Dale, in St. Paul). Sept 15th - E-Tools for Participation Participants will learn to use the Internet to become more informed and more involved with their community. Tools covered may include discussion forums, community-built reference sites, citizen journalism, blogs, social networking and government websites. --------6 of 24-------- From: Mizna <mizna-announce [at] mizna.org> Subject: Mizna/languages 9.15 Mizna's Arab and Persian language classes are starting this week. This is the last chance to register for classes. Go here to find out more: http://www.mizna.org/classes/index.html Mizna is a forum for Arab American art. Visit our website at http://www.mizna.org --------7 of 24-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: RNC/press/CTV 9.16 5pm St. Paul Neighborhood Network viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow! All households with basic cable may watch. Tues, 9/16, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 9/17, 10am RNC Welcoming Committee Press Conference 9-4-08 In the wake of the RNC Welcoming Committee being targeted by the Ramsey County Sheriff's office and the national security apparatus, six non-arrested members of the RNC Welcoming Committee held a press conference. Although recorded by national and international corporate media, these will probably be the only televised showings of the full press conference. --------8 of 24-------- From: alforgreens [at] comcast.net Subject: 3CD Greens 9.16 7pm 3rd CD Green Party Local Meeting 9.16 7 PM Subject: 3rd Congressional District Green Party Local Meeting All 3rd Congressional District Green Party members and anyone interested in learning about the Green Party values are invited to a meeting at the Ridgedale Library Rm 172 Agenda: Endorsement - Richard Klatte Soil and Water District 3. Plan campaign support for Green Party candidates. Allan Hancock, Chair 3rd Congressional District, Green Party Minnesota --------9 of 24-------- From: Oxfam Action Corps - MN <minnesota [at] oxfamactioncorps.org> Subject: Oxfam action 9.16 7pm On the 3rd Monday of each month, we gather to plan our nonpartisan grassroots activities. We've successfully organized events, lobbied policymakers, and have used sheer creativity to stand up for meaningful change. We meet at the unique Common Roots Café (2558 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis), 7pm. Anyone can become an Oxfam Action Corps volunteer. Remember, our entire team is volunteer organized and driven - the only qualification is a passion to end suffering. New members join regularly. Stop by this Monday even if you can only spare a few minutes. We'd love to meet you. You can contact us at minnesota [at] oxfamactioncorps.org. --------10 of 24-------- Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 10:27:02 +1200 (NZST) From: Charley Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment A bit over 50 people showed up last night at a fundraiser for Chris Coleman. That is, about 50 people showed up to schmooze and to raise money for the once-Democratic mayor of St Paul. Another 50 plus people showed up on the sidewalk to protest Mayor Coleman's enabling of Sheriff Fletcher. A number of highlights: Councilman Thune showed up as invited guest, supporter and friend of Chris Coleman. He had a hard time making it into the actual party, since he got stuck on the sidewalk accepting the thanks of the citizens of St Paul. The mayor himself stopped to speak. One outstanding statement he made was that the Heffelfingerr/Luger commission would be investigating police brutality as part of their enquiry. This is a direct contradiction to statements made by former U.S. Attorney Heffelfinger, who claims that investigating police misconduct is absolutely NOT part of his mandate. I wonder who is telling the truth. And I wonder whether it even makes any difference, since Coleman has already said that he believes that the police did an admirable job. A warning to those who criticize the mayor: he doesn't have much patience with our criticisms. He wants us to understand what a hard, hard situation he was in. But he doesn't really want to hear our stories. I have previously had absolutely NOTHING against Chris Coleman. But if he thinks this sort of policing is acceptable in St Paul, then he has become part of the problem. St Paul deserves better. But certainly St Paul has had a string of bad luck with their majors. This makes three in a row who have been elected as Democrats, only to change their colors once elected. What is this...something in the water at City Hall? Charley Underwood Longfellow (SD 62 A), Minneapolis Info about Charley Underwood: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/charleyunderwood --------11 of 24-------- Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 14:06:02 +1200 (NZST) From: Charley Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment I got a private correspondence about my angry comments concerning Chris Coleman. Naturally, I will not quote that email without permission, but I seem to be still growing angrier about Mayor Coleman's apparent complicity with Sheriff Fletcher's violence, so I will copy my reply. (By the way, the Pioneer Press article about last night's protest can be found at http://www.twincities.com/ci_10451337?IADID=Search-www.twincities.com-www.twincities.com) So here is my reply to the reprimand concerning the mayor: Sometimes my outrage at injustice leads me to over-react. That certainly may be the case here, but I have to tell you that my rage is still growing deeper with each passing day since St Paul suffered a military coup last week. And Chris Coleman's spinelessness is a good part of the source of my rage. As you may know, I didn't even march or demonstrate in any way last week. I worked as a street medic, making myself available to give first aid to anyone who needed it. I saw some horrible things that have forever changed my fundamental understanding of Minnesota nice and of St Paul politics. I saw or saw clips or talked to a number of young girls get pepper-sprayed...one for offering a flower to a storm trooper, another who was repeatedly sprayed and pushed to the ground with a police bike while telling the officer "I love you," a 21-year-old friend of my son's who was sprayed as she was following police orders to leave (she hadn't been marching, but merely got caught up in the crowd). I have witnessed quite literally thousands of storm troopers rampaging through the streets of St Paul. I have read the same accounts you have of reporters being targeted. I have spoken to a number of people (including another 21-year-old woman from my church that I have known for maybe 6 years) who were stopped at gunpoint, handcuffed face-down, without ever being charged with anything, without even a search or any questions to her or her passengers. Perhaps two hundred people had weapons drawn on them weekend before last, including preschool aged children. Easily several hundred have been tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, struck with less lethal weapons or with nightsticks. I have one report of a woman's fetus being aborted after the goons kicked her in the stomach last week. I would ask you what sort of political accomplishments might counterbalance Mayor Coleman's praise of such police brutality. Sheriff Fletcher is a violent, ambitious and dangerous man, yet Coleman continues to praise the police work done last week. We are all human. We all make mistakes. We all have feet of clay. But it is hard for me to understand what possible excuse we can now make for Chris Coleman's continuing support for martial law in Minnesota. I will forgive him immediately after he apologizes for any previous support of this outrage and works for the rest of his term to investigate and isolate Bob Fletcher before any more harm is done to our democracy. --------12 of 24-------- Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2008 20:32:34 -0500 (GMT-05:00) From: Michael Cavlan greenpartymike <ollamhfaery [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Report On Democrats Collaboration With RNC Abuses I had this published in Op Ed news. They headlined it. I am now able to publish it elsewhere, 48 hours after submitting it to Op Ed News. I am spreading it everywhere I can. You are all given free license to pass on, anywhere you see fit. It is now in the public domain. EXCLUSIVE: Democrats Pre-Authorized Use of Force at RNC by Michael Cavlan Explosive News: Democrats' Collaboration at Republican National Convention Exposed. Secret meetings authorized excessive use of force. We know the stories of police abuse, mass arrests, targeting journalists, street medics, use of rubber bullets, plastic bullets, wooden baton rounds, mace, tear gas, tasering and other differently lethal methods of crowd control in St Paul and Minneapolis this week. What is not known is how the local Democratic Party and other so called progressive elected officials collaborated with authorities in the past weeks and months before the RNC Convention in St Paul, giving them legal authority for their excesses and abuses of power. This is your Independent Journalista's on-the-ground account of what happened and how local elected officials collaborated with the authorities and again abandoned their Oath to Protect and Defend the Constitution from All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic. This is the news that you will not hear from the corporate media, Air America, the Nation magazine or other so called progressive, alternative media outlets. This is true, muckraking journalism that honestly speaks truth to power, no matter how uncomfortable it makes some folks. Now, before we get to the facts surrounding how our elected officials betrayed us and the Bill of Rights, a truth must be stated. No matter what the local City Councils of St Paul and Minneapolis did, the authorities would have done what they did. This story is not about that. It is instead about how the local government knowingly collaborated with them, with no input from citizens and finally passed a Resolution granting them legal authority to use rubber and plastic bullets, wooden baton rounds, tasers and chemical weapons that were deployed against peaceful protesters, journalists and street medics treating the victims of their brutality in a secret meeting with no public allowed. In the months before the Republicans came to town, there had been a flurry of activity. Local activists were keeping a close eye on their local elected officials. Initially, there had been a so called Free Speech Committee set up, supposedly to look at how authorities could allow free speech during the RNC and keep order. However, local activists immediately developed some serious concerns. We found out that the Free Speech Committee did not allow any members of the public to add our input. Only City Council members on the committee and lawyers were allowed to speak. There was no free speech allowed at the misnamed Free Speech Committee. Nonetheless, activists followed the Committee's actions closely and were present during each meeting. The City Council of Minneapolis is almost 100% Democratic. In fact the only real opposition in Minneapolis is the Green Party which currently has one Green on the City Council, Cam Gordon, who was a small light in a very dark room. But, we were to discover, even that light was to be extinguished. The so called Free Speech Committee would change the time and locations of its meetings, in an obvious attempt of losing the local activists who were closely following their intents and actions. During this time, Councilman Gordon kept the local activist community appraised of when and where these meetings were being held, including last minute changes. There was much talk of using the Washington Model of crowd control versus other Models. The Washington Model was touted as being a little less restrictive. There was also discussion on protest groups being required to register themselves and even their members, to be "allowed" to protest. At these times, Cam Gordon spoke eloquently on behalf of the community and in opposition to these repressive measures. When he spoke, he drew cheers from the activists present. We also waved our protest signs in agreement each time. We would also boo when the head of the Committee, Paul Ostrow, would make an especially egregious remark. That was the extent of public participation and free speech at the so called Free Speech Committee meetings. This went on for months at a time. Then suddenly we found out that the Free Speech Committee had their last meeting, July 16th. The meeting itself was unannounced, unlike the other meetings which at least had a pretense of openness and public inclusion. At the next Minneapolis City Council meeting July 25th, the recommendation of the misnamed Free Speech Committee was announced. The Free Speech Committee Resolution passed unanimously, even by our one small light, Councilman Cam Gordon. The Minneapolis Police were given "legal" authority to shut down any protest or group of 25 people or greater. They were also authorized to use rubber bullets, mace and the other array of non-lethal weapons on innocent, peaceful demonstrators, practicing our First Amendment Rights. Also violated repeatedly was the Fourth Amendment Right protecting us citizens against illegal search and seizure. Police violated the laws of assault and battery and destruction of evidence of their crimes, as evidenced by their targeting journalists. All talk of the Washington Model was removed. As this Resolution was passed by the large Democratic majority Minneapolis City Council july 25th, another protest broke out. Local activists presented each member of the Minneapolis City Council, including Mayor RT Ryback with a Statement of Reprobation, condemning them for this betrayal of our most precious right to Free Speech, Assembly and Peaceful Petition of Our Government. One of the main organizers, Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality, presented the Statement of Reprobation to both Councilman Cam Gordon and the head of the Free Speech Committee, Councilman Paul Ostrow. Another was handed to Mayor RT Ryback. During this presentation, a young man, Jude Ortiz with Coldsnap Legal Collective, read aloud the charges against the Minneapolis City Council. When he did so, he was bundled off the podium by Minneapolis Police and brought to the Hennepin County Jail. He was later released uncharged. All Minneapolis City Councils are taped and shown on local Public Access TV - all except for this one, which has never seen the light of day. Clearly, the "progressive" City Council had something to hide. Since then, Michelle Gross was arrested twice, during peaceful protests that were targeted by police. Many of the examples of excess and police brutality and thuggery were practiced by Minneapolis Police. But, all of these actions and betrayals were mirrored by the 100% Democratic City Council of St Paul. Both Mayor RT Rybak and Mayor Chris Coleman, who laud themselves as "progressive" held a Press Conference, calling the RNC Convention a "success." Ironically, we now have a number of the very City Councilpersons who gave our rights away, without a fight, now engaging in tough talk and rhetoric. This includes my own Councilwoman Elizabeth Glidden and Councilman Gary Schiff. Covering Your A** with tough talk will not make up for your betrayal of the citizens of our country, Council members and Mayors. Not even close. I ask the question again. What do we do about it? I leave the answer up to you. Michael Cavlan --------13 of 24-------- Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 14:51:02 +1200 (NZST) From: Jay Wilkinson <balthazarw [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment Charlie and my other sisters and brothers in outrage. I am torn about how much energy to devote to addressing the wrongs that occurred in St. Paul and environs a few months ago. On one hand we have seen how the powers-that-be close ranks and are ready to adopt drastic tactics to both squash the smallest of radical challenges and intimidate those who might even peripherally be drawn into efforts to afflict the powerful. People I know were directly harmed and I am heartsick by what I observed and so many experienced. On the other hand, police mistreatment is, unfortunately, not unknown in some parts of our communities and it pales in comparison to what happened to the poor people in New Orleans. Our neighborhoods fill with foreclosed homes while taxpayers are forced to rescue the big capital institutions. St. Paul's safety net is under more and more strain. And I will not even speak of the US government actions around the world. So, assess your resources, marshal your energy and think about whether St Paul will gain or lose more if ALL of your passion remains solely stuck on the misdeeds of September 2008. I did hear something about an election coming along sometime soon. --------14 of 24-------- Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2008 11:56:38 -0500 From: dave thune <thune [at] comcast.net> Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment I'm not sure why I respond to this, but I guess I'm tired of lies and liars. jamie dealton wrote: snip> St. Paul Councilman Dave Thune has defended the antiwar groups' demands for ever more permits and access to Xcel. St. Paul Councilman Dave Thune has defended the scam by not recognizing, as St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman has, the criminal elements who now conspire with the lawyers against the government........ snip>Dave Thune cannot plead ignorance. Selectively ignoring malicious intent among the protesters and their attorneys is not in the interest of the city and shouldn't be condoned let alone practiced by those on the city council ... snip> For Thune, a government representative, to side with the provocatuers and the resulting melee victims who now sue the government is an embarrassment. <<<< My post prior to the RNC: snip> Everyone is encouraged to express his or her free speech. You can march, rally, broadcast an anti-war message on a jumbotron, chant, fly banners... If your idea of free speech is to lie down in mock death. You will be able to. If you insist on long term blockading of streets used by residents or businesses you will be humanely arrested. If you throw rocks or anything else harmful you will be arrested <<<< Back to the neighborhood cleanup where I can release steam by hurling garbage into dumpsters instead of insults via e-mail. Dave Thune Ward 2, St. Paul Info about Dave Thune: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/thunedave --------15 of 24-------- Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2008 13:33:32 -0500 From: Tom Goldstein/EFQ <tom_goldstein [at] comcast.net> Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment I don't know who you are, Mr. Delton, and I don't know where Rick Mons has gone, but the idea that folks on this forum are supposed to behave in a civil fashion has somehow been lost on you. Your continuous vitriol accomplishes nothing. SPIF is a forum that represents a lot of eclectic viewpoints, although St. Paul being a heavily Democratic city, it's fair to say that most of the political perspectives tend toward the progressive/liberal side of the political spectrum. That said, I've never yet assumed that any one person speaks for all of us who identify as progressives or liberals, and you certainly don't speak for the conservatives in St. Paul, or, from what I can tell, anybody other than yourself. I guess you found your way to this forum because you enjoy ripping anybody who doesn't agree that the RNC was a smashing success and that you're un-American if you have any different perspective from what the mayor or others may be saying about the events of September 1-4? If so, you're welcome to depart now, because I think we'd all like a return to some semblance of civility. I'm not going to defend Dave Thune's alleged use of profanity in an email to the owner of Costello's Bar, but that's between Dave and Mr. Costello. That the latter would choose to circulate the email (which I've yet to see, by the way) and attempt to make political hay with it is the obvious axe-to-grind motive that you conveniently choose to ignore. Dave Thune is the only council member that I saw on the ground responding to reports of police overreaction, questionable tactics, and arrests of journalists, and to date he's the only council member who has spoken publicly about being upset with the police state that was constructed around Xcel and his concerns that citizens' rights were being violated. Taking the risk to speak out publicly when bad behavior is occurring is what most of us would call courage; that you would rip Dave for wanting to see basic civil liberties protected and the city's own policies and regulations observed shows your own disdain for the rule of law you claim to want upheld. Arguing that laws can be disregarded because of the circumstances or the state of fear that law enforcement has created within a community is the very kind of mindset that led to the return of torture as a U.S. policy abroad and the scandal at Abu-Ghirab. Maybe if we'd just let the cops beat the crap out of those black-scarfed punks we'd all have been better off? I'm sure you don't feel that way, so don't start ascribing to Thune all sorts of things that he never endorsed. As for your attacks on the National Lawyers Guild, well, no surprise there, I guess, since that puts you in the esteemed company of other great Americans like Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover, who did so much to promote civil liberties during their lifetimes. Like all organizations, the NLG isn't perfect, but if working to end segregation and supporting protestors against the Vietnam War is wrong, then go ahead and keep ripping them. The NLG's role in the activities involving the RNC was to place legal observers on the ground to document police activities in the event of arrests, violations of civil liberties, or other actions that might lead to legal action. Given that trials are decided by the evidence that is presented there, having legal observers on the ground helps ensure that should someone be arrested and charged, it will be more than just his or her word against the police should the matter go to trial. Because, in case you don't read history, police actually have fabricated evidence in the past or been untruthful in the courtroom. Shocking, I know, but it does happen. There were folks wearing bright yellow caps who were acting as peacemakers during the various demonstrations and protests, but the NLG observers (in bright green caps) were not there for that purpose, anymore than journalists doing their job were there for that purpose. The fact that both legal observers and members of the media were swept up in various blanket arrests shows the lack of interest that law enforcement had in targeting only those who were causing problems. I'm sure you believe that you're such an upstanding citizen that you'll never be subjected to an illegal search and seizure, or that your civil liberties will ever be threatened by the very government that you claim to support without reservation, but I suspect that you'd be the first to scream for justice the moment that same government doesn't treat you the way you believe is fair. And at that moment, you'll be the same guy hoping that there's a civil liberties organization like the NLG or the ACLU to find an attorney to represent you. In case you missed it, the world is no longer flat. Peace. Tom Goldstein Hamline-Midway Attorney, NLG observer during RNC --------16 of 24-------- RNC protesters show and tell of injuries from cops By Chris Steller, Minnesota Independent September 13, 2008 With city officials in St. Paul and Minneapolis alternately fanning and smothering the sparks of independent RNC policing investigations, this Minnesota Independent video offers a preview in black and blue of what sure-to-come civil lawsuits will bring to light about police misconduct during the Republican National Convention. In the video, six protesters . Mick Kelly, Deborah Hollingsworth, Richard Hernandez, Wendy Binion, Jason Brian Johnson and Elliot Hughes . show their bruises, cuts and bandaged limbs and tell the stories of how they received their injuries at the hands of law enforcement. The protesters appeared at a press conference held by the Coldsnap Legal Collective outside the St. Paul City Hall/Ramsey County Courthouse building after last week.s convention. Article Tags: Police Abuse, protest, Republican National Convention, RNC 2008 --------17 of 24-------- Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2008 14:14:15 -0700 (PDT) From: sheldon gitis <sgitis [at] YAHOO.COM> Subject: [SPIF] Police State Propaganda - so what else is new? The so-called "major," "bona fide," "professional" media have long been little more than mouthpieces for Government propaganda. Every public agency, from Metro Transit to the Public Schools to the Police, spends $millions$ on Departments of "Public Affairs," "Community Relations" etc. With rare exception, the "major" media report what these agencies generate without questioning the accuracy or motivation of the "public information." The glaring discrepancy between the MPR, KSTP, PiPress reports of rioting masses of "violent anarchists" and the true stories of masses of journalists, medics, non-violent protesters and force, is just one example of how the Government-media business system works. The so-called "reporters" who regurgitate the police-state propaganda often end up passing through the revolving door into the greener pastures of Government employment. Steve Dornfeld, Director of Public Affairs for the Metropolitan Council, is a former PiPress editor. Gail Plewacki was a TV news show reporter before landing a job as Director of Communications for the City of Minneapolis and later Dakota County. And R.T. Rybak, the chief figurehead for the City of Minneapolis, is a former Strib reporter and PR executive who wants to "send the right signals." R.T. is "white-hot on-fire" to pave St. Paul. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yQZ6gWsIdU Sheldon Gitis South St. Anthony Park Info about Sheldon Gitis: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/sheldongitis --------18 of 24-------- Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 11:48:02 +1200 (NZST) From: Tom Hilber <banjotomh [at] aol.com> Subject: Re: [SPIF] Police State Propaganda - so what else is new? Get your head out of the sand JD and go blogging with your partisans! St Paul, which, has regular day per capita police official for every 550 citizens, during the convention with the projected increase of 50,000 guests, went up to one per 95 citizens amounting 4x's the amount of police presence. The average arrest per day in St. Paul, =800 arrested / 4 days= 200 per day) so it took 4 more officers to do what on a normal day took 1.2 to do. Therefore in simple math the US President, the MN Governor, the St. Paul Mayor did order 4x the amount officers to facilitate the convention crowd - and in railroad lingo that's called featherbedding. It also was provocative and showing of the presidential (secret Service) and national paranoia that crept into the US body politic of St. Paul elected officials and their appointees. This over the top authoritarian response, (four time the power) to the body politic of our democracy and oafishly practicing it on the still innocent young people, not intimidated yet by it, and willingly participating and getting arrested during the RNC defiantly points to provocative factoring and add Gestapo tactics of preemptive Knottingham thinking more suited to war (or mental genocide of the US body politic) then a (SS) Special National Event. The war on the young goes on and the unidentified black shirts in front of the Children's Museum (pictured in the Star Tribune) and the security fence around our Ordway (culture center) Theatre says it all for St. Paul's week of the surreal that needs a reality Check! "Smart Play" indeed! The young are imprinted, the old lament, and the power brokers want you/us to stick our heads back in the sand. Institutional memory serves me right on this one; the whitewash has been put on the public fence and now watching the nut and shell game, along with insiders (the foxes) investigating the RNC Special Event (chicken coop) reminds me of the adage there is no fool like an old fool. Therefore there is nothing left to do here but appoint an independent special prosecutor, call a grand jury, and hand down some sample indictments on all these so-called partisans and bi-partisan participants in this de facto martial law that descended upon us from above and all those that were willing to let it happen without reproach. Get your head out of the sand, go blogging with your partisans! We people continue to blindly elect judges, mayors, governors and presidents without knowledge of our construction and due process. Arise partisans your block club is a target for the sheriff or don't join one cause you're paranoid, or three, like so many put your head in the sand and cover your proverbial in the air cause the smell of tear gas is overwhelming me here! Tom Hilber East Side, St. Paul Info about Tom Hilber: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/banjotomh --------19 of 24-------- Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 17:03:53 +1200 (NZST) From: Ren Martin <renmrtn [at] gmail.com> Subject: Re: [SPIF] after assessment Jamie Delton wrote: "Yet when the RNC WC, their under-studies or other criminal groups demanded closer access to Xcel you complied. When they demanded city policy be defined for them you complied. When they demanded the rental space closed by the county be re-opened you re-opened it. All this you did without challenging the intentions of the RNC WC. Well it was the RNC WC's space, or that of RNC WC allies, that you re-opened." Jamie Delton also wrote: "Constitutional rights, human rights, and the rule of law were upheld not broken by law enforcement. If they had been broken I would have been among the first to say so." Mr Delton, You may wish to stop ranting about Mr. Thune long enough to check the facts and, as you promise, say so. Your position that the Sheriff had any authority to deny citizens, regardless of their professed beliefs, lawful access to their property is beyond comprehension. The Smith Ave raid was an intimidation tactic, a show of force and a fishing trip for evidence that could be used to build a conspiracy case - which they did not find at that location. They did not have the any authority to seal the building, and even if they did the idea that one city council person could just order it opened is ludicrous; you may wish to indict the City of St Paul as a whole for that one. Take a break from goose stepping long enough to read that Constitution before you claim to defend it. Ren Martin West Side, St Paul Info about Ren Martin: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/7LiXS6NUkE9nmM1EoKmOj3 --------20 of 24-------- Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 08:54:34 -0500 From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: RNC:Lawyer Witnesses Cop Car Window Smashed http://www.mnblue.com/node/2204 NLG Lawyer:I Saw the Cop Car Get Smashed Submitted by Charley Underwood on September 13, 2008 - 8:24pm. Along with the Macy's window, the photos of the smashed police car are the iconic pictures that are most used to justify massive police violence last week during the Republican National Convention. A few days ago, I was surprised to learn that a friend of mine had actually witnessed that event as it happened. His account sheds a completely different light on the meaning of the week. Phil Grove is someone I have known for perhaps 10 years, and I trust his observations completely. He is a lawyer who worked for many years in the Attorney General's office and has worked in a legal capacity with immigration groups and with others. His blog was originally posted at http://philgrove.blogspot.com At the time of the incident in question, Phil was volunteering as a legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild. "I Saw the Cop Car Get Smashed" by Phil Grove I saw, from across the street, the smashing of the cop car at the RNC demonstrations in Saint Paul. There were some surprising things about it that people should be aware of. It was early in the afternoon on Monday, September 1, before most of the police misconduct I have heard about started to occur. The legal demonstration that took place within "The Cage" was still happening. It seems to me that the cops got a lot more aggressive after the the legal demonstration was done. The cluster I was following was totally nonviolent and nonthreatening, but they were not on the approved parade route. They were a small group, and seemed to be looking for other clusters to join up with. The cops had been extremely intimidating, for example filling the streets with police cruisers with sirens blaring at maximum volume and rushing our little cluster from behind, but had not yet harmed anyone that I saw. When the cluster I was following was faced with a line of determined cops, they looked for another route, trying to avoid being completely surrounded. Finally, another cluster of demonstrators was seen ahead, and our group ran to join them. We caught up with them at the intersection where the cop car was sitting, in the street just outside the intersection. The line of cops who had been following us all along was right behind us, of course. Soon after our group got to the intersection, people started striking the cop car. I saw no cop in or around the cop car, but they were definitely near the intersection and had to be watching this. I recall several blows with some pause in between. In other words, it didn't happen with a few instantaneous blows, but seemed more stretched out than that. I believe I sawhttp://www.mnblue.com/node/2204 the people who struck the cop car take off through a parking lot. I saw nobody pursuing them. I was scared, expecting vigorous retaliation from the cops. But nothing happened. No tear gas, no rubber bullets, no stun grenades, no hitting, no yelling at people through loudspeakers. I don't even remember sirens. In retrospect, the whole thing was most puzzling. The cops had seemed to have no trouble following and monitoring our little group. When they didn't want us to take a particular route, they seemed to crystallize in a line in front of us. They seemed quite in command of the situation, willing to let us march around peacefully in the streets, but keeping a close eye on us. The group we joined up with just before the cop car was smashed was a larger group. They were openly in the street, not moving about secretively, and putting out a lot of vigorous energy. They had to be getting more police attention than our group. I am certain the police were monitoring them closely and knew where they were and where they were headed at all times. And if they were concerned about vandalism, the police knew this was a group to watch. The group was not coming across as a group of delegates out for a stroll. Why, then, was a cop car left unattended in the street, right in their path? Why did the cops watch as the cop car was getting smashed up, and take no obvious, vigorous action? True, there was a group of people in the intersection between the cop car and the nearest uniformed cop that I saw, but it is most surprising that it would be that easy to prevent the cops from intervening. Why didn't they just surround everybody after this happened and arrest everybody in sight? I believe they could have done this, but they didn't - if I'm not mistaken, there were no mass arrests until later in the day. Nor did I see obvious, vigorous pursuit of the cop car smashers. Could people really get away with something like that, at least for at time, by running through a parking lot? Or perhaps was there a plan to allow a cop car to get smashed, in order to use the incident to discredit the demonstration? Everybody knows that the police use provocateurs at this kind of event. Is that what I witnessed? My impression was that the cops could easily have prevented the incident. Admittedly, my memory of the incident is somewhat foggy. I was scared. I had planned to be a set of eyes and ears at this demonstration, without seriously endangering myself or getting arrested. But being that close to the smashing of a cop car, I had a pretty good idea that I was about to get arrested, probably after first getting my butt kicked. But it didn't happen. I walked away from the intersection, and followed my little cluster, and later another one, around downtown for another hour or two. I got within a few feet of delegates, and loudly pleaded with them not to be complicit in war crimes and torture. They smirked and kept walking. They didn't seem afraid. "Join us!" I yelled. They didn't. Post Script: After writing this account, I found an account by a journalist for the Minnesota Independent who was "embedded with the anarchists," apparently the group that my little group joined. She reports that some of the anarchists were critical of the individuals who broke windows . It leaves the impression that this was not planned by the group. --------21 of 24-------- Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 14:18:06 -0500 From: M.J. Schoen <mjschoen [at] comcast.net> To: David E Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Tolstoy on the RNC Apropos the RNC: "What an immense mass of evil must result...from allowing men to assume the right of anticipating what may happen." -Leo Tolstoy Martin (Marty) J. Schoen, Psy.D. Licensed Psychologist --------22 of 24-------- Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 17:36:02 +1200 (NZST) From: Charley Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Re: [SPIF] Mayors to review RNC security ? When I spoke personally to Mayor Chris Coleman on Friday night, he specifically promised that the Heffelfinger/Luger investigation would be looking into concerns about police violence and over-reaction during the Republican National Convention. He said this in front of about a dozen witnesses on the sidewalk in front of Jeff Blodgett's home, where a fundraiser for Coleman was being held. Coleman's statement, of course, directly contradicts the published statement of U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger in the Star Tribune on Friday, as well as other published accounts. I don't know what the truth actually is. I don't know if the mayor actually has any intention of investigating police violence or misconduct, especially in light of several instances this past week where he has been effusive in praise of a security job well done. (Not the opinion of most citizens who witnessed a police state first-hand.) To me, the citizens have become considerably LESS secure, due to the imposition of martial law during the convention, conducted by thousands of unidentified individuals in riot gear, completely free of any accountability by the mayor's office or anyone else. We need an accounting of why this all happened and how we can avoid it in the future. --------23 of 24-------- Minneapolis mayor announces plans to review RNC law enforcement By Anna Pratt and Chris Steller , Minnesota Independent September 14, 2008 Mayor R.T. Rybak announced this afternoon that Minneapolis would conduct a series of reviews into the Minneapolis Police Department's (MPD) actions in Minneapolis during the Republican National Convention, including a standard "after-action report" that will look into related security measures and the development of new policies for dealing with the media. A City Council member who has urged a blue-ribbon, multijurisdictional review said the mayor's statement was "good" but appeared to fall short of "a public, independent, transparent process". According to a statement from Rybak's office, the police review - which will focus on the Critical Mass ride, the Media Party, the Liberty Parade and the Rage against the Machine concert - will assess police officers' training prior to the RNC and identify areas for improvement. It will be completed by the end of October. Minneapolis officials will also cooperate with St. Paul in its outside review of public safety, which that city's mayor recently announced would be conducted by attorneys Andy Luger and Tom Heffelfinger. In addition to the police evaluation, the Minneapolis City Attorney's Office will examine the protocols used for arresting and citing people at the RNC. It will also consult with the Hennepin County courts about the financial burden the RNC's arrests/citations posed, given that the courts didn't receive national security dollars to process them. Civil Rights staff will make sure that processes for accepting complaints from the public are clearly laid out. A summary of complaints from each of these departments (plus the Office of Risk Management) along with recommendations and other analysis will be presented to city officials by February 2009. Rybak adds that "a six-month review will at least give policy makers a sense of the scope of issues to be addressed". Furthermore, given the "significant evolution in how the media covers stories and even the basic question of how media is defined - we think it valuable to try to develop a model policy for how to work with the media during large crowd events," Rybak said. The Minnesota Independent contacted the two Minneapolis City Council members who issued a call for Minneapolis and St. Paul to jointly form a blue-ribbon panel to investigate police conduct during the RNC. Council member Cam Gordon had had a quick look at it. "It's good we have the [mayor's] statement but it doesn't necessarily meet what I'm hoping to get to - the kind of public, independent, transparent process that I would hope for," he said. "We might benefit from more of an opportunity to have a public hearing and take some public testimony," Gordon added. "It might take Minneapolis and St. Paul working together". He sees as "positive" St. Paul City Council Member Dave Thune's planned "community conversation" hearing. "The thing that gets me is this sort of a 'National Security event,'" Gordon said. "What does that mean?" He said if the Super Bowl and baseball's All-Star Game now fall in that category, "we need policies - to decide if we even want those kinds of events". UPDATE: In an email announcement Friday afternoon, Council Member Gary Schiff wrote that he supports the city's review but hoped the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would also review federal agents' actions. Schiff also recalled that he and Gordon had been the council's lone dissenters last year on the city's contract for the RNC that put Minneapolis police under the control of the feds, adding at the time that "safety should not be used as an excuse to limit a free press or stifle free speech". Article Tags: Minneapolis, police, R.T. Rybak, Rage Against --------24 of 24-------- The Lessons of 2004 Liberalism and Its Bounds By JOSHUA FRANK CounterPunch September 13 / 14, 2008 The amount of insult and betrayal the liberal-to-left spectrum is willing to swallow has few limits, if any. What follows is a survey of one election's worth of pre- and post-election betrayal from the Democratic Party. The time has arrived for all those that abandoned their movements in 2004 to root for John Kerry to now abandon Barack Obama and the Democrats on the national level and join those working outside of the party's stifling structure, as was recently called for by Ron Paul, Ralph Nader and other third party candidates running for president this year. The Howard Dean Machine The 2004 election year began with phony "anti-war" candidate ex-Vermont governor Howard Dean leading in the Democratic Party primary polls. Dean's pragmatic "anti-war" position was indeed conditional. Had the Bush administration produced better intelligence, or had the international community and UN backed the US invasion, Dean would have happily signed on to the Iraq undertaking. However, the conservative and rabidly pro-business Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) panicked in response to Dean's rise to the top of the primary pack, out of fear that his invigorated base could challenge party brass. The DLC's top choices, "war heroes" (the DLC's favorite term) Wesley Clark and John Kerry, lagged pathetically behind in the early primary polls. Both Clark and Kerry had difficulty articulating firm stances on the Iraq war, and Clark's criticisms of the invasion jibed poorly with prior effusive statements supporting not only the war effort, but also several right-wing Republicans throughout the 1980s and 1990s including Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. Kerry, meanwhile, took to baiting Dean's "anti-war" stance, a variant of which he would later adopt himself, and which the Republican Party (accurately) used to characterize him as a "flip-flopper". Even Howard Dean's followers caught on early to Kerry's equivocations when they made flip-flop Hawaiian sandals with John Kerry caricatures plastered on the bottom during the Iowa primary. By summer 2003 Dean had earned undeservedly the "anti-war" label. But Dean wasn't "anti-war"; rather he simply disliked the "unilateral" way in which the Bush Administration carried out the Iraq invasion -- bypassing the United Nations and NATO. Following the assault Dean argued that the occupation had to continue, in spite of journalistic and official reports on the impending difficulties and long-term hostilities to military occupation, permanent establishment of military bases, as well as private US contracting of Iraqi reconstruction. Dean stood by the notion that gun-point democracy was a gracious venture. Still, Dean played his "anti-war" card marvelously, and his public persona admittedly contained more magnetism than the cardboard cut-outs of Kerry, Clark, Gephardt, and Joseph Lieberman, combined. Petrified, the DLC began a concerted campaign to take Dean down. DLC machinations from many corrupt characters within the organization lasted right up to the disastrous Iowa caucus, in which Dean placed a miserable third, and derailed his chances of capturing the nomination and solidified his downfall when the media overplayed his histrionic rallying speech to his youthful supporters. As Dean recounted in his campaign memoir, You Have the Power, DLC co-founding member, star, and former President Bill Clinton placed a wave of influential phone calls to Dean supporters during the months prior to the Iowa caucus, urging them to throw their support behind Wesley Clark instead. Clinton's rationale? A homophobic one. Dean, declared Clinton, had "forfeited his right to run for President" because he had signed a bill in Vermont as governor permitting civil unions. Clinton's anti-gay position would repeat itself during the Kerry 2004 campaign, when Clinton urged, albeit unsuccessfully, Kerry to embrace the proposed federal gay marriage ban. Other DLC elements also worked actively to portray Dean as an unstable radical. The DLC's flagship publication labeled him "misguided," "an aberration," and an "activist" who was "defined principally by weakness abroad and elitist, interest-group liberalism at home." Meanwhile, other DLC bankrollers founded an ad hoc group, with DLC fundraiser David Jones at the helm, to air negative ads in Iowa that attacked Dean from the faux-left, noting his NRA endorsements and support for NAFTA, among other positions that betrayed the "progressive" persona Dean and his campaign manager Joe Trippi whipped out from time to time in front of accommodating crowds. The torrent of attack ads and underhanded DLC background activity from the likes of Clinton and his ilk effectively doomed Dean's candidacy, as did the fact that most of his supporters were unable to realize that political mobilization extends beyond the world of inane political blogs and button clicking. Dennis was not, and never will be, a Menace With Howard Dean neutralized, one anti-war candidacy soldiered on -- that of Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who opposed the war in principle throughout and called for an end to occupation within six months. As Democratic candidate after Democratic candidate dropped out of the race, and as John Kerry ascended and locked up the required delegates for the nomination, Kucinich nonetheless declared that he would stay in the race until the Democratic National Convention (DNC), so as to influence the Democratic Party's platform and to allow principled anti-war voters an outlet and voice. Nevertheless, as the Convention date approached, Kucinich's independence appeared to wane. In a public speech that evoked reflexive pity from so many who observed, Kucinich endorsed his party's pro-war candidate, John Kerry, weeks before the DNC, despite having throughout his campaign declared the Iraq war the central issue of the election season. "Unless we have a firm and unshakeable resolve for John Kerry, we will have no opportunity to take America in a new direction," Kucinich declared. "Unity is essential." Kucinich repeated this mantra later in the fall of 2004 with a video on his website that implored supporters to "close ranks." "Do we have differences of opinion? Yes. But the time is over to continue talking about those [issues]," he remarked. Meanwhile, many Kucinich delegates at the convention felt dejected. Initially, the man for whom they had devoted much time and energy intimated that he would "release" them, paving the way for their robotic votes for Kerry. Later, after hearing impassioned (and tearful) testimonies from his delegates, Kucinich changed his mind, and told them to "vote their conscience." Fair enough. But most ended up voting for Kerry regardless. And what did they receive in return for their candidate and most of their delegates' support for Kerry? Not much. Despite the generally symbolic role of the platform in modern politics (GW Bush in 2000 infamously bragged that he had never read the GOP platform), seventeen Kucinich platform demands were axed in exchange for a borderline nonsensical statement with no hint of an exit strategy or an impending pullout from Iraq. It pledged to remove troops "when appropriate so that the military support needed by a sovereign Iraqi government will no longer be seen as the direct continuation of an American military presence." Absent from the platform was support for Palestinian rights, a repeal of the PATRIOT Act, as well as repudiation of the pre-emptive war doctrine in principle and as executed in Iraq. "I ask you, are millions of anti-war/anti-occupation Americans welcome in the Democratic Party? If such voters are indeed welcome, I urge you to demonstrate this by permitting debate within the party on the war and occupation issue, both in Miami and in Boston," wrote Jessie Jackson, prior to campaigning for a candidate who said nary a word about the exponential proliferation of the racist prison-industrial complex, increasing poverty, or black male unemployment, now over 50% in New York City alone. As much as one can appreciate Congressman Kucinich's past efforts, it is clear that noble attempts to transform the Democratic Party from within are wasted endeavors. The convention itself was a difficult affair for many who attended. As polls indicated, 80-90% of the attending delegates declared themselves anti-war. Those trying to express such a view quickly received the muzzle. Charles Underwood, the only Minnesota Kucinich delegate to vote for Kucinich, told Amy Goodman's radio program Democracy Now!: "I am just very disappointed that there is no ability to express any hope for peace on the floor of this convention. We have had our signs confiscated, we've had our scarves for peace, you know, 'Delegate For Peace,' confiscated. We have had people that tell us to sit down and be quiet." Meanwhile, the anti-war delegates were not lucky enough to hear any speeches at the DNC that matched their point of view, and in fact were presented with two gung-ho militaristic ones instead. Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards told the anti-war delegates: "We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe. And we, John and I, will have one clear unmistakable message for al Qaeda and these terrorists. You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you." Dissent Squashed Having neutralized Dean and later Kucinich, the two major voices of dissent in the party (one superficial, the other genuine), Kerry embraced the pre-emptive war doctrine on live national television during the Presidential debates, all while declaring alternately that the Iraq war was a "mistake," and all while expressing support for continued occupation. Classification as "flip-flopper" worked beautifully for Karl Rove and the GOP. Meanwhile, Kerry allowed a growing number of rogues to assist his crafting of foreign policy. Richard Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary of State to Jimmy Carter and green-stamper of additional arms shipments to Indonesia during the Suharto regime, wrote many rapid-response memos on Kerry's web site. Holbrooke's actions during the Carter administration occurred as Indonesian repression of East Timor reached genocidal levels. Kerry's other foreign policy appointee, Rand Beers, crafted the notorious Plan Colombia, which Kerry took the lead in boosting through the legislature towards the tail-end of the Clinton Administration. Plan Colombia allocates billions of dollars in military aid (monetary and arms) to the country's right-wing government. Originally meant for defoliation of coca crops (which have devastated the peasant economy and legal enterprises such as sugar and coffee), according to investigative reporting, Plan Colombia funds are closely linked to violent repression of trade unionists. Colombia is now the top site for murders of trade unionists in the world. Certainly Kerry's loss did not come as a surprise. He offered few positive alternatives, other than being the "anybody" in "Anybody But Bush". His economic prescriptions were tepid, and his stances on foreign policy issues such as war and Empire reflected those of the neocons. When all the hype about the "youth vote," "e-activism," "buses to Ohio," and "house DVD parties" cleared so tragically and so pathetically on Election Day 2004 -- and with devout Kerry-Edwards supporters battling denial -- the only forces on the left remaining were the Anti-Anybody-But-Bush crew. Indeed the anti-ABBers had been vindicated. The Bleak Dem Future However, many on the liberal-to-left spectrum still aren't learning. Barack Obama has done his best to resurrect the lies of a progressive Democratic Party. Nicholas Kristof, days after the November disaster of 2004, urged that it is "time to get religion" for progressives and Democrats. Chat room and bulletin board rumbling suggests a drive for a Hillary Clinton Presidential DLC run in 2008. The Democratic future was, and is, indeed bleak. Meanwhile, the Democrats continued self-destructive tendencies and betrayal of loyal constituencies, enthusiastically nominating pro-war, anti-choice, Nevada extremist Harry Reid for the party's Senate leader. Reid, a conservative Mormon, received slightly under a 30% rating from NARAL, the largest pro-choice advocacy group in the US. Reid's nomination came after months of cheap Nader-baiting, in which Democrats and liberals characterized Ralph Nader's run as a threat to abortion rights. Comparable wrath directed against the anti-choice Reid nomination did not exist, even though Reid's elevation to one of the most influential Senate positions, and the highest post held by a Democrat in the country, will determine the strength, or rather the weakness of Democratic opposition to federal judicial appointments. The most morally reprehensible action came later after the election with the nomination of Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General. Much of the mainstream press and Democrats described John Ashcroft's replacement as "moderate." But Gonzales wrote the infamous memos essentially authorizing the Bush Administration to flout international human rights law as defined in the Geneva Convention. So what did the liberals do? The ACLU would not "take an official position." Pro-war Democrat Charles Schumer opined: "It's encouraging that the president has chosen someone less polarizing." And Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee chimed in tellingly: "I like him." Some may continue to recommend "reforming the Democratic Party from within." Many Nader bashers and ABBers adopted such a line in 2004, claiming that if Nader would only run as a Democratic candidate for the party's Presidential nomination, he could do oh-so-much to influence its direction. Yet the examples of Dean and Kucinich have shown us what happens when one makes such attempts -- relentless attacks, backstabbing, and silencing. Reformism within the Democratic Party is a hopeless endeavor. A little about the new Democratic hope. Like the majority of his colleagues, Obama has done very little to change the face of American politics. He has voted for war spending, appeased the pro-Israel lobby, and helped build the erroneous case against Iran, saying nothing about Israel's plentiful arsenal of nuclear warheads. In short, Barack Obama is not an ally to those of us who oppose the ambiguous War on Terror. "I want you to know that today I'll be speaking from my heart, and as a true friend of Israel," Obama announced a day after he locked up his party's nomination to a crowd of pro-Israel zealots. "[W]hen I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends, Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow, and forever." Yet here we are again, like 2004, with "progressives" and other lefties ogling a hope-filled candidacy. But it's not just Obama's war support that should raise our hackles. Obama supports the death penalty, opposes single-payer health care, supports looking into nuclear energy, opposes a carbon pollution tax, supports sending more troops to Afghanistan, and will not end the vast array of federal subsidies to corporations, including those to the oil and gas cartel. And as the United States economy slides into a deep recession, Barack Obama is promising more of the same, despite his criticism of John McCain's economic plan. But behind the curtains of Obama's strategy team is the same set of economic troglodyte intellectuals that led us in to our current financial disaster. Obama's advisory team includes Harvard economist Jeffrey Liebman, a former Clinton adviser, who believes we ought to privatize social security. Then we have the renowned David Cutler, another Harvardite, who believes our economy can be boosted through an increase in privatized health care costs. Writing for New England Journal of Medicine in 2006, Cutler explained, "The rising cost ... of health care has been the source of a lot of saber rattling in the media and the public square, without anyone seriously analyzing the benefits gained." And that's just the tip of a very large iceberg. As we again face a momentous election and try to amass opposition to the war in Iraq, let's not forget what happened to the antiwar movement under the miserable and failing banner of "Anybody But Bush," which now reads "Nobody but Obama". It is time for an end to a bankrupt fusion politics, which ensures that we are left out election after election. Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the brand new book Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, published by AK Press in July 2008. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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