Progressive Calendar 11.14.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 15:24:10 -0800 (PST)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    11.14.08

1. Palestine vigil   11.14 4:15pm
2. Ehrenreich        11.14 6pm
3. Moyers/MidEast    11.14 9pm
4. Catholic sword/f  11.14 9:15pm

5. Peace walk        11.15 9am Cambridge MN
6. RNC8/rummage sale 11.15 10am
7. Green gifts fair  11.15 10am
8. NWN4P Mtka        11.15 11am
9. Mpls GP plan      11.15 12noon
10. Prop 8 protests  11.15 12:30pm Mpls StP Duluth Fargo
11. NWN4P GoldenVall 11.15 1:30pm
12. Northtown vigil  11.15 2pm
13. RCTA 25th anniv  11.15 5:30pm
14. Smash empire/CTV 11.15 9pm
15. Bioneers/Klein   11.15-16

16. Mpls hosp tour   11.16 11am
17. Stillwater vigil 11.16 1pm
18. Women/war/peace  11.16 2pm
19. Fetzer/JFK       11.16 2pm
20. Amnesty Intl     11.16 3pm
21. Peace activists  11.16 4pm
22. Prog pol hip-hop 11.16 8pm

23. Charley Underwood - RNC: my letter to the Heffelfinger commission
24. Ralph Nader       - Obama & the rogue regime of systemic criminality
25. Lance Selfa       - A "center-right nation"?
26. Joel Hirschhorn   - A new political party is needed
27. Glenn Greenwald   - The Dems of 2002 and 2007 haven't gone anywhere

--------1 of 27--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 11.14 4:15pm

Friday, 11/14, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St

--------2 of 27--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Ehrenreich 11.14 6pm

November 14: Jobs NOW 25th Birthday featuring Barbara Ehrenreich. Cocktail
Reception, the Minnesota 150 Exhibit, funny stories, a great dinner, 150
years of worker milestones, a live auction, a silent auction, and more. 6
- 9:30 PM at the Minnesota History Center. Tickets: $50 per person. More
information: 651-290-0240.

--------3 of 27--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at]>
Subject: Moyers/MidEast 11.14 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | Middle East Policy

On Bill Moyers Journal Friday: "What will President-elect Obama's promises
of change mean for the Middle East? Journal guest host Deborah Amos sits
down with Elizabeth Rubin, the Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the
Council on Foreign Relations, and Slate magazine columnist Fred Kaplan."

--------4 of 27--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Catholic sword/f 11.14 9:15pm

11/14 to 11/18, 9:15 pm, former priest James Carroll's documentary
"Constantine's Sword," tracing the Catholic Church's transformation of
cross into sword during emperor Constantine, the Crusades, through
anti-Semitism under Pius XII during the Holocaust, Oak St Cinema, 309 Oak
St SE, Mpls.

--------5 of 27--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 11.15 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street

--------6 of 27--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: RNC8/rummage sale 11.15 10am

Clean Out Your Closets for the RNC 8 DEFENSE FUND!
Then, come shop for justice!!!!

The RNC 8 are young activists who organized a support infrastructure for
people to come to St.Paul to protest the Republican National Convention:
food, housing, first aid, legal support. In house raids BEFORE the
convention even started, these young people were arrested and charged with
felony level "inciting to riot in the furtherance of terrorism"--and face
7+ years in prison. These are the first cases charged under the Minnesota
state PATRIOT Act and must be resisted!

SAT. NOV. 15
10am to 6pm
Walker Community Church 3104-16th Avenue South Minneapolis

BOOKS! Music & Movies! Clothes! Household goods! Posters/ART! CHILDREN'S
STUFF--from toys to clothes!
DROP OFF ITEMS THE DAY OF THE SALE Sat. Nov. 15: 8:30am to 11am
We have a (LIMITED) ability to PICK UP your stuff the day before the sale.

--------7 of 27--------

From: Do It Green! Minnesota <Do_It_Green_Minnesota [at]>
Subject: Green gifts fair 11.15 10am

Kick-off this holiday season by going green at the 3rd Annual Green
Gifts Fair brought to you by Do It Green! Minnesota.

3rd Annual Green Gifts Fair
Saturday, November 15th 10am-5pm
Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis
Lake Street & 10th Avenue

* SHOP 65+ local retailers and artists for green, recycled, and organic

 * LEARN about green holiday decorating, wrapping, and food and party
ideas, and homemade gifts.
 * EAT a local lunch at many of the restaurants at the market and sample
local holiday foods with local chef demos.
 * CELEBRATE the new 2009 Do It Green! Magazine's kick-off, attend the
eco fashion show, or listen to local musicians.
 * REDUCE bring your own cloth shopping bags and reusable coffee mug for
$1 organic coffee at Mapps Coffee & Tea in the market.

This event is brought to you by Do It Green! Minnesota, the Midtown
Global Market, the City of Minneapolis, City Pages, KFAI and Metro

Click below for the event schedule and to view a list of vendors and

3rd Annual Green Gifts Fair, Nov 15

--------8 of 27--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 11.15 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the
fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.

--------9 of 27--------

From: Dan Dittmann <dan [at]>
Subject: Mpls GP plan 11.15 12noon

On Saturday November 15, the Fifth Congressional District Green Party will
hold a 2009 Planning meeting to discuss strategy for the City elections.
This meeting will be at 12 p.m. Individuals who are interested should meet
at my house at noon. We will walk over to Midtown Market for lunch. My
address is 3117 Elliot Ave South. Bus routes which run through the area
include 5 and 21.

The agenda has not been set in stone but will tentatively include a
discussion on wards to target as well as a discussion on issues. If there
are any questions, please call (952) 454-2377 or write to
dan [at]

--------10 of 27--------

From: Kevin C <kevinchavis [at]>
Subject: Prop 8 protests 11.15 12:30pm Mpls StP Duluth Fargo

OutFront Minnesota wants to share information about this weekend's protests
against the passage of Prop 8 in California on November 4th, which
extinguished equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Demonstrations are
being planned around the country as part of a strong grassroots response to
last week's vote.

Here is the information we have:

All protests are scheduled for Saturday, November 15th, 12:30 pm
 Minneapolis Hennepin County Government Center 350 S. 5th St, Minneapolis
 St. Paul Minnesota State Capitol 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd
 Duluth/Superior MN Power Plaza at Lake Ave. and Superior Street
 Fargo/Moorhead Fargo (west) side of the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Main

For more information go to JointheImpact ( )

OutFront Minnesota supports peaceful, legal protests. They are an
important component of civil rights movements. They have the capacity to
keep the equality message alive and active. Media may show up to cover the
protests - if you're interviewed, keep it positive (All we want is
equality under the law!). If you engage with counter-protesters, we
encourage you to keep it peaceful.

And remember - the defeat in California won't defeat our movement!
OUTFRONT MINNESOTA 310 38th Street East #204 Minneapolis, MN 55409 Twin Cities: (612) 822-0127 Statewide: (800) 800-0350 310
E 38th Street, #204 | Minneapolis, MN 55409-1337 US

--------11 of 27--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P GoldenValley 11.15 1:30pm

Saturday, 1:30-2:30 PM Golden Valley - NW Neighbors for Peace will hold
large banners on the pedestrian bridge over Highway 55, just west of
Winnetka, in Golden Valley every Saturday. There is plenty of parking in
the lot at the NW corner of the intersection; all are welcome. FYI Carole

--------12 of 27--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 11.15 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

--------13 of 27--------

From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at]>
Subject: RCTA 25th anniv 11.15 5:30pm

You are invited to the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Resource Center
of the Americas Come Celebrate 25 years of Progressive Action and
Education- a time to reflect on past achievements and aspire to renewed
hopes and dreams!

Meet Resource Center of the Americas Staff and Board Members, rekindle old
friendships, meet new people, listen to live Latin American music and
poetry, hear about past accomplishments and future plans, and savor
delicious Mexican beverages, appetizers and dinner.

Latin American arts and crafts will be sold.
Saturday,November 15, 2008
5:30 - 9:00 pm
St. Paul's ELCA Fellowship Hall
2742 15th Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55407

$25.00 per person for reservations
To reserve your spot email your RSVP to pseudoscribe [at] or mail
your check or money order to

Resource Center of the Americas
3019 Minnehaha Avenue, Suite 20
Minneapolis, MN 55406

--------14 of 27--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Smash empire/CTV 11.15 9pm   [alt title: Up empire's butt]

Lovely Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!  Households with basic cable may

** Sat, 11/15, 9pm and Tues, 11/18, 8am **
Phyllis Bennis.  Pt 2, audience questions and response after "Challenging
Empire" talk in St. Paul in April. (repeat)

--------15 of 27--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Bioneers/Klein 11.15-16

11/15 and 11/16, Northland Bioneers Conference with Naomi Klein (author
"Shock Doctrine"), global warming expert David Orr, bio-mimicry expert
Janine Benyus and more, Willey Hall, 225 - 19th Ave S, West Bank U of M,

--------16 of 27--------

From: Joel Albers <joel [at]>
Subject: Mpls hospital tour 11.16 11am

As discussed at monday nite's mtg, UHCAN-MN is sponsoring a fabulous
Walking Historic Tour of the Minneapolis Hospital District, Then and Now,
to highlight what can be learned from the past, what hospitals were like
and their conditions of care, who owned them?, why are there no more
public hospitals, comparisons of lengths of stay, costs, and many were
started by women. The focus will be on Asbury, St Barnabas, Swedish, and
Mpls General in historically developing terms to the present. Hope you can
attend. We would love to have folks there to comment on their experiences,
perhaps as patient or practitioner, with these hospitals.

It's sunday, Nov 16th,11AM, meet at Dunn Bros coffee shop, 811 11th ave
s., (a few blocks from the Metrodome, overlooking Elliot Park,if bad
weather, we'll do a slide show). The brochure for distribution to promote
the event is attached. It is in cooperation with HCMC History Museum, and
Elliot Park Neighborhood, inc.

Joel Albers Pharm.D., Ph.D. Clinical Pharmacist, Health Economics
Researcher Universal Health Care Action Network - MN Community/University
Collaborative Research email: joel [at] phone:
612-384-0973 address: 3500 35th ave S Mpls, MN, 55406

--------17 of 27--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 11.16 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

--------18 of 27--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Women/war/peace 11.16 2pm

Women, War and Peace: "Hearing Women's Stories of War and Creating
Initiatives for Peace"
Sunday, November 16, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. University of St. Thomas,
McNeely 100, 2115 Summit Avenue, St. Paul.

A panel of women living in the Twin Cities who have experienced war in
their countries will share their stories. The panel includes Harper
McConnell from HealAfrica who worked in the Congo for two years, Rabbi Amy
Eilberg who was the first woman ordained in Conservative Judaism and Muna
Matar who is a professor at Bethlehem University in Palestine. Following
the panel presentation, audience members will participate in small group
conversations about their response, thoughts and possible action for peace
both personally and or community based. Tickets: $10.00 (Students: $5.00).
Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Visit <> or call

--------19 of 27--------

From: DoriJJ [at]
Subject: Fetzer/JFK 11.16 2pm

On November 16, 2008, Dr.  James Fetzer will present "JFK Remembered" a
lecture on the results of his research into the assasination of President
John F.  Kennedy.  It will begin at 2:00 PM at the Bidget Host Inn &
Suites, 6010 Main Street, North Branch, MN 55056.

He has more than 100 slides and the infamous Zapruder Film.
Admission is  $10.

Contact Wade Olson 651-674-1866 or Dori Ullman 612-414-9528

--------20 of 27--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 11.16 3pm


Join us for our regular meeting on Sunday, November 16th, from 3:00 to
5:00 p.m.

The program for our first hour has not yet been finalized. We will devote
some time to planning our Human Rights Day Write-a-thon, scheduled for
December 7th, and in our second hour, we will share actions on human
rights cases around the world and get updates on the work of our

All are welcome, and refreshments will be provided.

Location: Center for Victims of Torture, 717 E. River Rd. SE, Minneapolis
(corner of E. River Rd. and Oak St.). Park on street or in the small lot
behind the center (the Center is a house set back on a large lawn).

A map and directions are available on-line:

--------21 of 27--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Peace activists 11.16 4pm

Sunday, 11/16, 4 pm, Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice honors
Rhoda Gilman, Betsy Raasch-Gilman and Arvid "Bud" Dixen for lives of
peace activism, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 E 31st St, Mpls.

--------22 of 27--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Prog pol hip-hop 11.16 8pm


Sun, Nov. 16th
music starts at 8pm
The Black Dog Cafe and Wine Bar
308 Prince St, Saint Paul
Cost: Donation at the Door


After their big show at the Minnesota State Capital during the now
infamous No Peace for the War Makers rally during the RNC, and their very
successful release of their new EP Rise of the Wretched, Junkyard Empire
is quickly building a buzz both here in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. And
as a result, Broadcast Live, a likeminded band from Albany, New York,
along with their touring counterpart Taina Asili contacted them about
doing a show in the Twin Cities.

The Black Dog Cafe and Wine Bar is proud to be the host for this highly
political and groovin' night of music. We are putting on this concert in
solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters around the world and right
here in the United States who are fighting economic and otherwise tyranny
and oppression every day, by speaking truth to power, said Junkyard Empire
trombonist Christopher Robin Cox.

To listen to music, read biographies and look at pictures of all three of
these bands, search:
Broadcast Live
Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde
Junkyard Empire (
For more information please contact Christopher at
junkyardempire [at] or the Black Dog (
at 651-228-9274.

--------23 of 27--------

Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 19:18:02 +1300 (NZDT)
From: Charley Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: RNC: my letter to the Heffelfinger commission

(Since I had to work last Thursday night when testimony was being taken
regarding the RNC, my only choice was to send my comments to them via
email.  Note: Comments are being accepted only through today, 11/14,08, by
emailing lucie.passus (at) stpaul (dot) gov The following is my letter.)

One of the saddest fatalities of the Republican National Convention was
the previously good community policing by the St. Paul Police Department.

No department is perfect, of course, but the basic relationship between
the Twin Cities peace community and the St. Paul Police Department was
unusual for the ongoing tone of mutual respect.  Even when peace people
were performing acts of non-violent civil disobedience and were therefore
arrested, the bilateral understanding was that each side was doing its job
as professionally as possible.  Peace people understood that the police
had the job of arresting them for any illegal acts, however non-violent.
Police often agreed with the political goals of the protesters if not the
tactics, and the police almost always understood that even civil
disobedience was devoid of any danger to civic order or to their own
personal security.

Against this backdrop, a meeting was held nearly a year before the
convention, specifically to calm any concerns about the upcoming

On October 23, 2007, the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers and the
University of St Thomas Justice and Peace Department invited the St Paul
police to discuss the upcoming Republican National Convention. It was
absolutely amazing to look back on the promises made and compare them to
what actually happened. Let's review. Assistant St Paul Police Chief Matt
Bostrom promised that St Paul would absolutely NOT be a repeat of Seattle
1999. He said that we would not be following the brutal and repressive
"Miami model" from the 2003 FTAA protests, but that there would be a warm
and welcoming "St Paul model" for all to see. He said that what got him
out of bed in the morning was his abiding concern for civil liberties.

Bostrom promised that there absolutely nobody would be arrested unless
they committed a specific crime, that there would not been any general
sweeps. (Fact: There were actually three mass arrests for "being in the
wrong place at the wrong time," on Shepard Road September 1, after the
Rage-Against-the-Machine concert in Minneapolis on September 3, and on the
Marion Street bridge on September 4.)

Bostrom promised the police officers would be readily identifiable and
wearing regular police uniforms, not tactical gear. (Fact: Nearly all
"security" personnel were clad in black "ninja turtle" suits, with no unit
or personal identification visible, and even covered up so much that it
was usually impossible to determine gender.) Bostrom promised there might
be some changes in traffic patterns, but there would be absolutely no
restrictions in foot traffic. (Fact: Nearly every bridge near St Paul was
closed at one point or another, and major parts of the downtown area were
blockaded on each day of the convention.)

Bostrom promised that all "security" would be under the supervision of the
St Paul Police Department and that any other jurisdictions cooperating
with the event would be "partnered" with St Paul officers and under the
direct control of the St Paul Police Department. (No contradicting "facts"
here, but I have yet to meet a single person who concluded that St Paul
Police controlled security of the convention. Most would speculate that
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher was in immediate control, but that the
general direction was determined by some anonymous federal agency.)

Matt Bostrom declared there would be absolutely no restrictions on free
speech and that, in fact, the entire city of St Paul would be a "free
speech zone." (Fact: You couldn't even get to the "public expression" zone
most evenings of the convention, because the streets were blocked by
menacing lines of black-clad individuals in riot gear.) Bostrom said that
there would be permits granted in advance, but that officers on the scene
would also be able to grant permits "on the fly." (Fact: The Thursday
march permit was actually revoked "on the fly" and nearly 400 people were
later arrested as they attempted to march to the Xcel Center.)

Bostrom promised that St Paul police would not let federal agents "go
after people." (This might be technically true, if all those preventative
arrests were at the initiative of Bob Fletcher and not merely Fletcher
acting on behalf of some federal agency.)

Bostrom promised that protesters would be able to confront the Republicans
within "sight and sound" in accordance with previous court rulings. (Fact:
Thursday's march was specifically prohibited from going crossing
Interstate 94 or going anywhere near the Xcel Center.)

Bostrom promised that there would be no massive holding pens or arrest
quotas of 3,000 people. (Fact: False on the holding pens, but technically
correct on the quota number, since only about 800 were actually arrested.
It should be mentioned, however, that many more were tased and especially
pepper-sprayed than any previous similar event.)

Bostrom said that there were "no plans" to infiltrate any groups. (Fact:
Recent court records relating to search warrants indicated that
infiltration had actually started at least the month before, probably
under the supervision of the Ramsey County Sheriff's office.)

Bostrom indicated that no private security would be hired. (Both Pioneer
Press and Star Tribune reported that a million dollars was approved by the
St Paul City Council for private security.)

I have saved the most interesting promise for last. Professor Gerald
Schlabach of the St Thomas Justice and Peace Department asked Chief Matt
Bostrom a very serious question toward the end of the evening. Schlabach
wondered how Bostrom would react if St Paul lost control of the convention
security to a different agency and if all of the promises were broken.
Gerald Schlabach asked Chief Bostrom if Bostrom would resign.

Matt Bostrom thought quietly for a good long moment. He didn't answer in a
way that seemed impulsive or off-the-cuff. Bostrom seemed to really
consider the question quite seriously before answering. Then Bostrom
answered quite simply that he would resign. (Fact: Bostrom is still
employed as Assistant Chief of the St Paul Police Department. Like the
other promises, this one was broken.)

The video of that evening's presentation is not in my possession, but I
have been able to determine where it is and I believe I could obtain a
copy for any investigators who have even the slightest interest in
reviewing the false promises that officials in St. Paul made prior to the

It is not my intention to criticize only Chief Matt Bostrom.  The problem
is much greater than one person, of course.  His was the public face of
the many official lies and broken promises surrounding the RNC.

Those of us who witnessed many of the events in St. Paul during that time
saw numerous cases of arbitrary arrests, arbitrary pepper-spray, massive
intimidation of non-violent protest through the use of anonymous and
riot-clad officers with lethal batons and less-lethal weapons deployed
during legal and permitted protests.

Those of us on the streets during those days (I myself was volunteering as
a street medic during most of the convention) have spoken to many
bystanders who were pepper-sprayed or arrested, sometimes while
specifically obeying police orders.  Those of us with computers and
internet access have seen the videos of wanton police violence against the

Here's the problem.  The St. Paul Police Department and the Ramsey County
Sheriff's Office have chosen to protect themselves from any accountability
to the public.  They have chosen to do this by donning anonymous riot
uniforms, disguising not only personal identity, but masking the actual
units of the officers as well.  It thus became impossible to link any
excessive violence with any particular individual, police department or
other agency.  They have also done this by refusing to release the
thousands of hours of videotape to citizen groups or even lawyers
defending their clients.  They have refused to apologize or even
investigate any police misconduct, preferring to close ranks behind the
myth that everything was just fine.

It is also quite amazing that absolutely no information has been released
regarding most of the actual violations of law.  I have tried for many
hours, for example, to discover if any charges were pending against the
individual who broke the Macy's window on September 1 and the individuals
who broke the squad car windows on September 1.  I have called the St.
Paul City Attorney's Office, the St. Paul Police, the Ramsey County
Sheriff's Office, and the Ramsey County Prosecutor's Office.  There has
been a complete stonewalling, in spite of the fact that these two
incidents where the ones used to justify the massive police violence that
we witnessed during those days.

The general belief in the community is that these incidents will not be
charged because they were done by provocateurs.  I have no idea if the
majority of the property destruction was committed by those on the police
payroll, or if there is some other explanation for the lack of arrests for
actual breakage.  I only know that there were hundreds and hundreds of
officers in the area of each incident, that these crimes are not even
being mentioned at this point.

And I know that only the more speculative and political crime of
"conspiracy" is being mentioned through official outlets.  In this world,
graywater becomes "weaponized" urine and old tires or roofing nails become

Perhaps it is a foregone conclusion that police officers will protect
their own regardless of the law, much like Mafia omerta or other gang
loyalty. There will be a heavy price to pay, however, if this is the
eventual conclusion.  Police will be seen exclusively as the protectors of
the powerful, rather than the protectors of the people.  Police will be
seen as dangerous.  Police will be seen as the enemy, merely because they
have chosen to treat peaceful citizens as the enemy.

If we are to return to a model of community policing, if we are to have
the police be protectors of the people and enforcers of the law, rather
than lawless enforcers of terroristic official power, then we must right a
few wrongs committed during the convention.  I have several suggestions.

First, drop all charges against those rounded up in the mass arrests on
Shepard Road, on the Marion Street bridge and in Minneapolis after the
Rage concert; charge only those who committed actual acts of violence
against people or damage against property.  Drop all charges that have to
do with being "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Second, drop all the conspiracy charges.  These are thought crimes, open
to whim, influence and paranoia.  Charge only those who committed actual

Third, conduct real, open hearings into citizen complaints of police
violence.  Let there be sworn testimony and the possibility of criminal
charges where actual assaults have occurred.

Fourth, dismiss all police and sheriff's officers who have made false
statements in their reports.  Have their statements be evaluated for
criminal prosecution.

Fifth, examine the legality of anonymous policing.  Those black ninja
outfits have no place in a democracy, and my understanding is that there
are already state laws that prohibit such practices.

Sixth, immediately secure all video evidence during the convention so that
none may be erased or destroyed.  Release such evidence to all lawyers
representing defendants, to all journalists of any description, and to the
general public at large (perhaps through internet access).

Seventh, give some explanation as to why such illegal intimidation and
massive use of chemical weapons was allowed to occur.  This wasn't the
plan.  What happened?

Last, apologize.  Minnesotans are a kind and forgiving people.  Mistakes
will happen.  But most of us hate lies and we love our freedom.  We have
heard a lot of lies and lost a lot of freedom.  A sincere apology by at
least two mayors, one police chief and a sheriff would go a long way.

Sincerely, Charles Underwood

Charley Underwood Longfellow (SD 62 A), Minneapolis Info about Charley

--------24 of 27--------

A Phenomenon of Systemic Criminality
Obama and the Rogue Regime
November 13, 2008

Barack Obama is receiving lots of advice from many people these days about
the collapse of Wall Street, the sinking economy and the quagmire wars he
will inherit from the Bush regime. However, there is one important matter
that he alone can address with his legal training and the sworn oath he
will take on January 20 to uphold the Constitution. That phenomenon is the
systemic, chronic lawlessness and criminality of the Bush/Cheney regime
which he must unravel and stop.

To handle this immense responsibility as President, he needs to bring
together a volunteer task force of very knowledgeable persons plus wise,
retired civil servants to inventory the outlaw workings of this rogue

Much is already known and documented officially and by academic studies
and media reporting. In the category of "high crimes and misdemeanors",
are (1) the criminal war-occupation of Iraq, (2) systemic torture as a
White House policy, (3) arrests of thousands of Americans without charges
or habeas corpus rights, (4) spying on large numbers of Americans without
judicial warrants and (5) hundreds of signing statements by George W. Bush
declaring that, he of the unitary presidency, will decide whether to obey
the enacted bills or not.

To its everlasting credit, the conservative American Bar Association sent
to President Bush three reports in 2005-2006 concluding that he has been
engaged in continuing serious violations of the Constitution. This is no
one-time Watergate obstruction of justice episode ala Nixon that led to
his resignation just before his impeachment in the House of

Nearly two years ago Senator Obama, contrary to what he knows and
believes, vigorously came out against the House commencing impeachment
proceedings. It would be too divisive, he said. As one of one hundred
Senators who might have had to try the President and Vice President in the
Senate were the House to impeach. He should have kept impartial and
remained silent on the subject.

As President, he cannot remain silent and do nothing, otherwise he will
inherit the war crimes of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and become soon
thereafter a war criminal himself. Inaction cannot be an option.

Violating the Constitution and federal laws is now routine. What is
routine after awhile becomes institutionalized lawlessness by official

Domestic Policy abuses are also rampant. Just what are the limits of the
statutory authority of the U.S. Treasury Department or the government
within a government funded by bank assessments known as the Federal

Don't read the $750 billion bailout law for any answers! The Speaker of
the House, Nancy Pelosi and the Majority Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid
just sent a letter to Bush asking whether the White House believes the
bailout law could be interpreted to save not just the reckless banks, but
also the grossly mismanaged Big Three auto companies in Michigan.

Didn't Congress know what they were or were not authorizing? Or did the
stampede started by the demanding Bush result in blanket, or panicked
ambiguity by a cowardly Congress?

This week, the Washington Post front paged an article that the Treasury
Department unilaterally gave the banks a tax break that was estimated to
be worth a staggering $140 billion. Just like that! Fiat! The Post
reported that impartial legal experts flatly declared such a decision to
be without statutory authority which means the Bush regime usurped the
constitutional authority of Congress in matters of taxation and basically
took out a 22 year old law enacted by Congress. Not to be outdone, on the
same day, the lead article in the New York Times reported a four-year-old
Bush doctrine allowing Special Forces and other armed force to pursue
terrorists in any country in the world. The Times specified incursions at
will into Syria, Iran, Somalia, Pakistan and other countries.

Such violations of national sovereignty without formal declarations of war
or through formal interventions by the United Nations are violations of
international law. The Bush government answers this assertion by its
open-ended, totally self-defined, right of "self-defense" under the UN
Charter. The same self-determining argument can be made by covert
terrorists or covert actions by adversarial governments. This is an
example of make-up-your-own international law to suit your own covert

As a country that has the most to lose from the shredding of international
law and order, the United States under Bush is giving many IOUs to
revenge-minded suicidal adversaries. They can simply to their mass
audiences say, if the U.S. can do anything it wants, why shouldn't they?

It has been widely reported that the Justice Department under Mr. Ashcroft
and Mr. Gonzalez epitomized contempt for compliance with the laws
regarding civil liberties, due process and politically interfering with
U.S. Attorneys.

Less publicized was its refusal to enforce the laws routinely transgressed
by the corporate patrons of the White House - such as environmental
crimes, consumer fraud, and anti-trust violations.

Obama has tools to restore law and order by the government itself. The
Bully Pulpit. Ordering departmental directives. Issuing Executive Orders.
Requesting legislation. Highlighting the integrity of the subdued and
buffeted federal civil service which, with its oath of office, deserves
far more effective whistleblowing protection laws.

The ACLU has just released: "Actions For Restoring America: How to Begin
Repairing the Damage to Freedom in America After Bush." Mr. Obama would do
well to use this important report as blueprint for restoring faith in the
U.S. Government's commitment to the Constitution (see A second report titled: "Protecting
Public Health and the Environment by the Stroke of a Presidential Pen" by
the Center for Progressive Reform suggests several Executive Orders that
Mr. Obama could sign to advance important health, safety and the
environment goals (see

Barack Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. Let's
have it operate out of the Obama White House. And the time to start laying
the groundwork is now!

Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions.

--------25 of 27--------

A "Center-Right Nation"?
by Lance Selfa
November 13th, 2008
Dissident Voice

No matter how much social change takes place in the US, there always seems
to be a well-paid cohort of Washington blowhards ready to declare that
things really haven't changed much.

That's because, they say, the US is a "center-right" country whose
population isn't interested in those left-wing European (or even Canadian)
ideas like national health care. Consider the following:

* Jon Meacham, Newsweek editor: "It's just this side of possible that
Obama will be able to govern what I believe is largely a center-right

* NBC elder statesmen Tom Brokaw: "And this country, even with the
election of Barack Obama last night, remains a very centered country, or
maybe even center-right in a lot of places".

* And, not to be outdone, Republican strategist Karl Rove: "Barack Obama
understands this is a center-right country, and he smartly and wisely ran
a campaign that emphasized that". (Question for Rove: If you believe this,
why were you advising John McCain to attack Obama as a terrorist and

Of course, many of these were the same people who assured us after the
2004 election that the Republicans were on their way to building a
permanent majority in Washington. But let's put aside their failures as
prognosticators and ask if their premise that the U.S. is a "center-right"
society is even true.

There are several ways to look at the question.

First, there is the partisan split in the electorate. Given that most
mainstream commentators equate support for the Democrats with support for
the "center-left," it's worth noting that the Democrats represented 39
percent of the electorate on November 5, compared to 32 percent
identifying themselves as Republicans. The Associated Press called this
result "the biggest partisan shift in a generation".

Beyond 2008, it's also worth noting that the Democrats have won the
popular vote over the Republicans in four of the last five presidential

In his review of the 2008 turnout, Curtis Gans of the Center for the Study
of the American Electorate pointed out: "Democratic turnout increased by
2.6 percentage points from 28.7 percent of eligible [voting age Americans]
to 31.3 percent. It was the seventh straight increase in the Democratic
share of the eligible vote since the party's share dropped to 22.7 percent
of eligibles in 1980".

If anything, this is evidence of a nation moving away from the

Second, there are the policy preferences of Americans, as expressed in
opinion polls. Here again, there isn't much support for the idea that the
U.S. is comfortably "center-right". As a March 2007 Pew Research Center
for the People and the Press report on social attitudes over the last
twenty years explained:

Increased public support for the social safety net, signs of growing
public concern about income inequality, and a diminished appetite for
assertive national security policies have improved the political landscape
for the Democrats as the 2008 presidential campaign gets under way.

At the same time, many of the key trends that nurtured the Republican
resurgence in the mid-1990s have moderated, according to Pew's
longitudinal measures of the public's basic political, social and economic
values. The proportion of Americans who support traditional social values
has edged downward since 1994, while the proportion of Americans
expressing strong personal religious commitment also has declined

A Democracy Corps poll conducted after the 2008 election found that voters
most consistently chose the more progressive of the two choices when they
were given a "liberal" and a "conservative" description of a problem and
solution on issues like trade, health care and Social Security.

When asked to list in order of priority a list of policies, voters put
ones like "repealing the Bush tax cuts" for the rich, providing affordable
health care and ending the war in Iraq at the top of their lists.

Third, there is the evidence from the 2008 election campaign. Despite the
fact that the two parties of American business can be ideologically
flexible, the contest between McCain and Obama took on some ideological

Obama was fond of saying that his election would be the "final verdict" on
a failed conservative philosophy. In his convention acceptance speech, he
mocked the Republicans' "ownership society" idea as a cover for telling
working people that "you're on your own". On the other side, McCain tried
to rally his base by warning against Obama's "redistributionist" ideas -
even calling Obama's proposals "socialist".

Even though McCain's attacks on Obama were based on grotesque
exaggerations and fabrications, they still didn't do him any good. When
the votes were tallied - even in supposed "red" states like Indiana and
North Carolina - it appeared that the public chose the "socialist" Obama
over the tax-cutting, anti-redistributionist McCain.

The exit polls showed that 51 percent of the voters said they wanted
government "to do more" rather than less, and 76 of that group voted for
Obama. In contrast, 43 percent said it thought that government was doing
"too much," and 71 percent of them voted for McCain.

While these facts shouldn't lead us to conclude that the US is
unambiguously left-leaning, we can say for sure that they contradict the
claim that the US population leans to the "center right".

For those who continue to insist that the U.S. is a "center-right" nation,
at least one of these two things must be true: either they didn't observe
the same election that the rest of us did; or they did observe it, and
have decided to ignore it.

Of these two choices, the latter is the most likely explanation. The
entire elite punditocracy that has grown up over the last two to three
decades was schooled in an era of conservative dominance that has come to
a close. But old habits die hard.

By the same token, many of these pundits are mouthpieces for an American
ruling class that has done quite well for itself in the last political
era. It has no desire to see the kind of social change and redress of
inequality that millions of Americans want to see. But because advocating
openly for the rich is somewhat frowned upon, they appeal to the
democratic notion that social change isn't possible or desirable because
the majority of Americans is predisposed against it.

Many of these voices for do-nothingism come from within the Democratic
Party itself - and they are vying to define what's "possible" under an
Obama administration.

Those of us who want to see fundamental social change are going to have to
organize to demand it. And we would do well to ignore those who tell us
"no we can't" because the U.S. is a center-right nation.

Lance Selfa writes for the Socialist Worker where this article first

This article was posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2008 at 12:03pm and is
filed under "Third" Party, Activism, Democracy, Democrats, Right Wing

--------26 of 27--------

A New Political Party Is Needed
by Joel S. Hirschhorn
November 13th, 2008
Dissident Voice

Set aside any Obama euphoria you feel. The other important news is that
third-party presidential candidates had a miserable showing this year,
totaling just over one percent of the grand total with 1.5 million votes
nationwide, compared to some 123 million votes for Barack Obama and John

It couldn't be clearer that Americans are not willing to voice their
political discontent by voting for third-party presidential candidates.
The two-party duopoly and plutocracy is completely dominant. The US lacks
the political competition that exists in other western democracies.
Without real political competition there is insufficient political choice.

A key problem is that for many years, third parties have not offered
presidential candidates that capture the attention and commitment of even
a modest fraction of Americans, unlike Ross Perot (8.4 percent in 1996 and
18.9 percent in 1992), and John Anderson (6.6 percent in 1980).

This year, among the four most significant third-party presidential
candidates, Ralph Nader without a national party did the best with 685,426
votes or 0.54 percent of the grand total (a little better than in 2004
with 0.4 percent but much worse than in 2000 running as a Green Party
candidate with 2.7 percent). He was followed by Bob Barr the Libertarian
Party candidate with 503,981 votes or 0.4 percent of the total (typical of
all Libertarian candidates in recent elections, including Ron Paul in
1988), followed by Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party with just
181,266 votes or 0.1 percent, and then Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party
with only 148,546 votes or 0.1 percent.

Showing the problem of ballot access, engineered by the two major parties,
is that there were only 15 states where all four were on the ballot. In
all but one, Nader received more votes than the other three third-party
candidates. In four states only one of the four candidates was on the
ballot; in one state none of them were ( Oklahoma ).

Nader's best state was California with 81,434 votes, as it was for
McKinney's with 28,624 votes. Baldwin was not on the ballot there. Alan
Keyes received 30,787 votes in California - Barr's best state was Texas
with 56,398 votes. None of the other three were on the ballot there. In
his home state of Georgia where he had been a Representative Barr received
28,420 votes (and none of the other three were on the ballot). Baldwin's
best state was Michigan with 14, 973 votes. Nader was not on the ballot

In round numbers, Barack Obama raised $639 million or about $10 per vote,
and John McCain raised $360 million or $6 per vote, compared to Ralph
Nader with $4 million and $6 per vote, Bob Barr with about $1 million or
$2 per vote, and Cynthia McKinney with only about $118,000 or less than $1
per vote. Money matters, but the ability of the two-party duopoly to keep
third-party presidential candidates out of nationally televised debates
matters more for media attention, money and votes.

It must also be noted that there were countless congressional races with
third-party and independent candidates, but none were able to win office,
with only a very few reaching the 20 percent level. That third-party
candidates can win local government offices means little because political
party affiliation at that level is overshadowed by personal

I say that current third-party activists should admit defeat, shut down
their unsuccessful parties, and move on. Unlike so much of American
history, current third-parties no longer play a significant role in
American politics or even in affecting public policies. They have shown
their inability to matter.

We need a new, vibrant political party that could bring many millions of
American dissidents, progressives and conservatives, and especially
chronic non-voters, together behind a relatively simple party platform
focused on structural, government system reforms (not merely political
change). Examples include: replacing the Electoral College with the
popular vote for president, restoring the balance between Congress and the
presidency, eliminating the corrupting influence of special interest money
from politics, preventing the president to use signing statements to
nullify laws passed by Congress.

What would unite people is a shared priority for revitalizing American
democracy. It should position itself as a populist alternative and
opponent to the two-party plutocracy. It should define itself as against
the corporate and other special interests on the left and right that use
money to corrupt our political system. Possible names: Patriotic Party,
United Party or National Party. With Thomas Jefferson as its spiritual
founder it should seek the political revolution he said was needed

Here is what helps. Despite considerable enthusiasm for Barack Obama,
there is widespread unhappiness with both the Democratic and Republican
Parties. One indication is that so voters register as independents. Plus
there has always been a chorus of negative views about the two-party
system. In one pragmatic sense this is the ideal time to create a new
party. Why? Because of the incredible loss of stature of the Republican
Party. Why not envision a new party that could replace the Republican
Party on the national stage and provide a sharp alternative to the
Democratic Party? In other words, we don't need a new third party as much
as we need a new major party.

Joel S. Hirschhorn has a new book, Delusional Democracy: Fixing the
Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, which supports
constitutional conventions and other peaceful ways to restore American
democracy. To join the pro-convention effort or discuss issues write the
author: articlev [at] Read other articles by Joel, or visit Joel's

This article was posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2008 at 12:02pm and is
filed under "Third" Party, Activism, Democracy, Democrats, Right Wing

--------27 of 27--------

The Democrats of 2002 and 2007 Haven't Gone Anywhere
by Glenn Greenwald
Published on Thursday, November 13, 2008 by

Though it hasn't happened yet, it is appearing increasingly likely that
Senate Democrats - led by Barack Obama (who seems to be playing a much
more active role in all of this than his spokesperson yesterday suggested)
- are going to choose Joe Lieberman to serve as their Chairman of the
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the next Congress.
If that happens, there will be one important silver lining:  it will
remind many people, who have understandably forgotten due to the euphoria
last week, exactly what most Beltway Democrats are, what their priorities
and beliefs are, and to whose opinions and concerns they do and do not pay

It is worth remembering that the Democrats who are going to exert dominant
political control are the same ones who have provoked so much scorn -
rightfully so - over the last several years, and particularly since 2006.
This is the same Democratic Party leadership which funded the Iraq War
without conditions (and voted to authorize it in the first place);
massively expanded the President's warrantless eavesdropping powers;
immunized lawbreaking telecoms; enacted the Patriot Act and then renewed
it with virtually no changes; didn't even bother to mount a filibuster to
stop the Military Commissions Act; refrained from pursuing any meaningful
investigations of Bush lawbreaking; confirmed every last extremist Bush
nominee, from Michael McConnell to Michael Mukasey; acquiesced to even the
worst and most lawless Bush policies when they were briefed on them; and
on and on and on.  None of that has changed.  That is still who they are.

Joe Lieberman didn't merely campaign against Barack Obama and several
other Democrats.  That's the least of his sins.  He was not only among the
most vocal supporters of the Iraq War, but at least as bad, has endorsed
and supported every last radical Bush policy to expand executive power and
surveillance activities while destroying core constitutional liberties and
checks and balances.  He used his Chairmanship for only one purpose: to
block oversight into Bush scandals and corruption.  He has spouted the
most defamatory attacks, not only against Barack Obama, but against war
opponents generally.  More significantly still, Democrats in his own state
- his own constituents - booted him out of the party, no longer wanting to
be represented by him.

That is who Senate Democrats appear well on their way to selecting to
serve as their Chairman of Homeland Security, of all committees.  That's
because nothing that Lieberman has done really bothers them.  Endorsing
the Iraq War and the full panoply of radical Bush policies isn't
disqualifying in the least because so many of them also endorsed that and
support it, or, at the very least, it's not a priority for them.  They
care even less what their "base" thinks, what the so-called "Left" wants.
Few things in this world are less likely than them ever taking even a mild
stand - such as stripping Lieberman of his Chair - in order to defend some
sort of political principle, or to punish ineptitude, or to announce that
there are certain lines to the Right that can't be crossed.  They don't do
that.  They never have.  And it shouldn't surprise anyone that they won't

This reveals much about the Beltway mentality.  Politicians are not only
permitted, but actually encouraged, even required, to scorn the Left.
There's even an adoring term for that ("Sister Soljauh") which is almost
unanimously considered a truly shrewd and honorable thing to do.  By stark
contrast, merely replacing someone in the position of a deeply influential
Chairmanship who has strayed way too far to the Right and turned himself
into a leading advocate for the most wretched policies is considered
horribly divisive.  To do that is a vindictive, partisan purge (on what
planet is it improper for a political party to want to empower people who
agree, rather than disagree, with its ostensible views?).

These are all lessons that have been learned long ago, re-inforced by one
episode after the next.  But it's important to be reminded of them again,
and few things will rub everyone's faces in it as vividly as this
Lieberman episode will.

John Cole today insisted that Obama shouldn't be criticized for things he
hasn't actually done, and that, in particular, anonymous reports about
what he "intends" to do should be viewed with much skepticism.  Others
have urged patience before judging an Obama administraiton that doesn't
even exist yet.  That's all fair enough, and I agree with that entirely,
as far as it goes.  In fact, on several occasions over the past few days,
I've made that point myself, and specifically wrote:

We ought to wait to see what Obama does before forming conclusions about
him and, certainly, before launching all sorts of criticisms at him. He
was just elected four day ago and he's not actually the President yet.

But that doesn't mean we should remain passive and quiet on issues that we
know are going to be vehemently contested (and I don't think John
suggested that).  It isn't as though we don't know what these Democrats
are and what they are inclined to do.  We've seen them in action when in
the minority and when in the majority, and nobody needs to sit around
waiting as though we can't anticipate what's going to happen.

We know there are going to be major wars - not with Republicans, but among
Democrats, and especially the party's leaders - over things like closing
Guantanamo, imposing an absolute ban on torture, restoring habeas corpus,
withdrawing from Iraq, reducing executive secrecy and increasing
transparency, imposing mild limits and oversight on the surveillance
state, returning the Congress to its proper role, and especially
investigating prior crimes of high government officials.  More generally,
there's going to be immense pressure for Obama to prove that he's
"centrist" by making only minor modifications, not major changes, to
prevailing Bush policies - a view that is a principal motivating belief of
the Democratic Party.

Yesterday's vague and poorly-sourced Wall St. Journal article reporting
that "Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush
administration intelligence policies" is not, in my view, evidence of what
Obama will do, but it is definitely compelling evidence that people close
to him - those whom he has chosen to be influential - are pushing him in
that direction.  Notably, the article actually describes minor
modifications to (as opposed to wholesale overhaul of) Bush's torture
policies as the "centrist" and "pragmatic" approach.

It's just a fact that there are all sorts of people close to Obama who
have enabled those Bush policies and who are mobilizing now and attempting
to ensure that nothing meaningful occurs in these areas.  It simply is
noteworthy of comment and cause for concern - though far from conclusive
about what Obama will do - that Obama's transition chief for intelligence
policy, John Brennan, was an ardent supporter of torture and one of the
most emphatic advocates of FISA expansions and telecom immunity.  It would
be foolish in the extreme to ignore that and to just adopt the attitude
that we should all wait quietly with our hands politely folded for the new
President to unveil his decisions before deciding that we should speak up
or do anything.

Politicians respond to constituencies and pressure.  Constituencies which
announce their intention to maintain respectful silence all but ensure
that their political principles will be ignored.

The Democrats haven't exactly covered themselves with glory on these
matters and they don't exactly inspire any confidence.  That is why this
prediction from Howie Klein will almost certainly prove to be true:

This whole thing was a ruse and it wouldn't surprise me if they welcome
Holy Joe back into the fold unanimously and the whole caucus sings "For
He's The Jolly Good Fellow" on "Fox & Friends" . . . .

It's a secret ballot but I bet there aren't half a dozen votes for tossing
him out of his chairmanship.

The Democrats of 2002 and 2007 are the same Democrats of today.  It was
inevitable that, sooner or later, they would force everyone to remember
that.  It looks like they're going to do it sooner, and in some perverse
way, they deserve thanks for that.

It can't be emphasized enough that the election last week was but the
first step to changing things meaningfully.  None of that is likely to
matter much unless as much energy and effort is now devoted to changing
the Democratic Party as was just expended to remove the right-wing from

Copyright 2008 Salon Media Group, Inc. Glenn Greenwald was previously a
constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the
author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?,"
a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released
in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy", examines the Bush legacy.


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