|Progressive Calendar 07.28.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 05:23:42 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.28.09 1. NWN4P vigil 7.28 4:45pm 2. Single payer/Marty 7.28 5:30pm 3. RNC court watch 7.28 6pm 4. Single payer potluck 7.28 6:30pm 5. Salon/Abbey book 7.28 6:30pm 6. Blogging A-Z 7.28 7pm 7. Garbage/koff!/burner 7.29 11am 8. Media organizing 7.29 12noon 9. MAC public meeting 7.29 7pm 10. TrainHoodVolunteers 7.29 7pm 11. Mark Drolette - Fed up? Fed out! [analysis/humor] 12. William Polk - Obama report card: the list of negatives keeps growing --------1 of 12-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P vigil 7.28 4:45pm NWN4P vigil every Tuesday. Corner of Winnetka and 42nd Avenues in New Hope. 4:45 to 5:45 PM. All welcome; bring your own or use our signs. --------2 of 12-------- From: LORI BUSCH <irolbusch0 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Single payer/Marty 7.28 5:30pm DFL Senate District 45 hosts a Meet and Greet at Thistles Restaurant at 4168 West Broadway in Robbinsdale on Tuesday, July 28 starting at 5:30. It will be some socializing with other DFLrs and then Joel Clemmer and Senator John Marty, chief author of the MN Single payer plan - The Minnesota Health Plan will be there to discuss what is currently happening at the national and state level on health care legislation. All are welcome. --------3 of 12-------- From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com> Subject: RNC court watch 7.28 6pm RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing court information, documentation and etc. RNC Court Watchers Meetings are every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our meetings. Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this intimidation, harassment and abuse! Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent people. Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55405 Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M participate and help organize RNC court solidarity. For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at] gmail.com THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED! --------4 of 12-------- From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: Single payer potluck 7.28 6:30pm Next mtg to finalize actions: Tues, July 28, at joels house, 6:30PM cookout, 7:30PM sharp, mtg to finalize actions. (3500 35th ave s, longfellow,Mpls, 55406, take Lake to 35th ave, or Hiawatha to 35th Street etc). Bring stuff for the grill. --------5 of 12-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Salon/Abbey book 7.28 6:30pm Our first discussion of our first book of The Little Book of the Odd Month Club is this Tuesday, July 28. The book is Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. Even if you haven't read the book , come and listen to the discussion of one of the best books i have ever read. Thanks, patty Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------6 of 12-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Blogging A-Z 7.28 7pm A Discussion with Joe Bodell: "Blogger Extraordinaire" Tuesday, July 28, 7:00 p.m. Minnetonka Civic Center, Shady Oak Room, 14600 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka. Joe Bodell, moderator of the Minnesota Progressive Project Blog (www.mnprogressiveproject.com) and a long time progressive blogger, will discuss "Blogging from A to Z." The agenda will include: 1. What blogging is all about. Who, What, What, Why and Where. 2. Social and media significance of Blogging today. 3. How to effectively and efficiently participate as a consumer and as a contributor. 4. How we can use blogging to advance progressive causes. 5. How does blogging fit into the larger arena of social networking. 6. Joe's other thoughts. Endorsed by: the WAMM Media Committee. --------7 of 12-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Henn garbage burner 7.29 11am TruthToTell - 7/29: HERC - HENNEPIN COUNTY'S GARBAGE BURNER: Burn More, Pollute More? KFAI - 90.3FM-Minneapolis/106.7FM Saint Paul and STREAMING at <http://www.KFAI.org> Even as the new Twins Stadium takes final shape, pumping away almost next door are the stacks of the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center, affectionately or dismissively called the Hennepin Garbage Burner, which describes this facility in less euphemistic terms. This facility's MPCA permit expired in 2003. That permit allowed Covanta - the private operating firm hired by Hennepin County - to send 2.2 million pounds of pollutants per year into the city's air. According to all documents, among the deadly compounds contaminating our breathing apparatus are 2,200 pounds of lead - the same lead we've been stripping off home and school walls for its effect on brain development in children, among other ills. Another? Mercury - already acknowledged as a fish killer and cancer creator in humans: 360 pounds per year. One source suggests that operators "admit" to have pushed over 1 million pounds of mercury in one year. Now comes Covanta (and the Hennepin County Board) applying to the city for a conditional use permit (CUP) to increase that output by 21% - or 212 tons of garbage PER DAY more than the 1,000 tons currently permitted. Each of the interested parties to this volatile issue are convinced of their position - Covanta's being that their emissions are well below the maximums allowed, disputed by some officials and several citizen advocates. On Friday (June 23), Covanta surprised the City Council's Zoning Committee (and everyone else) when, at the 11th hour, the company asked for a postponement of a public hearing on their appeal of the city's Planning Commission denying the CUP. The hearing promised to be a lively one and many citizen activists and advocates had taken time off to appear in opposition to granting the appeal. Instead, Covanta will take its case to a state administrative agency - the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) - to get a ruling on whether a state environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) is required of them to bump up their emissions. Some observers are concerned that state approval of the project (if that is what it's called) will provide data to strengthen the appeal. This could take weeks even months - perhaps a year - to resolve. TTT had scheduled a discussion of the issues in the heat of this controversy, thinking that Covanta would appeal an adverse ruling by the Zoning Committee to the full Council on the July 31st. The issue isn't going away and Covanta and the county will comeback after state rulings to revive their appeal. So, TTT will present a conversation on the substantive and procedural issues confronting all sides in this conflict. TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL (with a possible co-host who's covered this issue from its inception) will query environmental advocates and citizens and, with luck, a Covanta and/or Hennepin County official to present their positions. GUESTS: JUSTIN EIBENHOLZL - Environmental Program Coordinator for SECIA (Southeast Como Improvement Assn.) JOHN SIGMOND - Business Manager for Covanta Hennepin Energy Resource, Co, LLP (or a representative of Covanta or Hennepin County) DARRELL GERBER - Clean Water Action INVITED: State Reps. Frank Hornstein or Karen Clark; A representative of Minneapolis Neighbors for Clean Air OTHERS TBD (a City Councilmember?) AND YOU! CALL 612-341-0980 CAN'T GET US OVER THE AIR? STREAM TTT LIVE and LATER [The people profiting from the burner have long yachts, but they need them to be even longer. For that, they need to burn more. So our air gets fouler and some of us sicken and die early - who are citizens to stand in the way of the longer length of the long yachters? We need to get it through our low-class heads that they are few and infinitely precious; we are many and worth less than three puddles of spit. -ed] --------8 of 12-------- From: joan [at] metrostability.org Subject: Media organizing 7.29 12noon Do-It-Yourself Media Organizer Roundtable Noon - 1:30 pm Wednesday, July 29 Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, Minneapolis Has the mainstream media passed by your issue and organizing campaign? There is a solution: do it yourself! Do-it-yourself media can be a central part of your organizing campaign. Come discuss how you can integrate homegrown media strategies into your campaign with other organizers from our region. Our presenters will discuss what tools and resources are available to organizers for getting their messages and stories told to a broader audience. Come join us to discuss alternatives to mainstream media and how you can elevate your campaign with media strategies that you can do yourself. Presenters: Mary Turck, editor of the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Mary will bring her perspective on citizen journalism. Bill Toth, communications intern at Headwaters Foundation for Justice. Bill will discuss his work leading workshops for Headwaters Foundation grantees on Web 2.0. Organizer Roundtables are free but registration is required. Register at https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/322/personalopt1.asp?formid=event&c=2115984 Light snacks will be provided. Please bring your lunch! Joan Vanhala Coalition Organizer Alliance for Metropolitan Stability joan [at] metrostability.org --------9 of 12-------- From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at] q.com> Subject: MAC public meeting 7.29 7pm Metropolitan Airports Commission Meeting The MAC will be holding a meeting for the cities and public on; Wednesday July 29th at 7 p.m. at the Schwan Center in Blaine The Schwan Center is located at 1700 105th Ave NE; Blaine, MN 55449 - in the heart of Blaine's National Sports Center. You can access the Schwan Center on 105th Avenue NE either from the west coming from Central Avenue NE or from the east on 105th Avenue NE coming off Radisson Road NE. This is an important meeting especially if you were unable to attend the last MAC Public meeting in June at the Blaine City Hall. ALSO; Because the MAC has again scheduled their meeting on the same date as our meeting We will not have the CCNM meeting on July 29 and will reschedule our meeting for an August date to be determined. -Ron Holch --------10 of 12-------- From: Charles - Mpls <chasmn [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Train hood volunteers 7.29 7pm 7-16-09 Forward from Jessica Hayssen Below is information on a FREE volunteer training for neighborhood residents. I attended the training a few years ago and found it indispensable for grassroots organizing. If you have questions about the training, feel free to call Jay Clark at 612 625-2513. In-Depth Training For Neighborhood Volunteers The Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing is offering in-depth training for neighborhood volunteers. The training gives participants the opportunity to get individual direct hands-on help for specific neighborhood projects. Do you need to get more people involved in your organization? Raise funds for a project? Clean up a problem property or close down a drug house? Organize a well-run and energized neighborhood meeting? Do outreach to immigrants in your community? You can get help for your project at this training. This in-depth training is designed to help volunteers learn organizing fundamentals and apply them effectively to their community groups. The training combines comprehensive coverage of organizing basics, trainings individually tailored to the individual needs of each volunteer and group, long-term follow-through, and group support from fellow neighborhood volunteers. The training will take place once a week on Wednesdays for two hours for five weeks. The first topic will be RECRUITING VOLUNTEERS. Other topics will be chosen by the participants and can include such areas as: *Leadership development *Issues identification *Grassroots and foundation fundraising *Organizing under-represented groups *Running effective meetings *Research *Media and communication These trainings will be given primarily through questions, problems-solving, and direct experience. The first meeting will be on: Wednesday, July 29, 7:00 P.M. North Community YMCA 1711 W. Broadway, Minneapolis Bus Info 612-373-3333 or http://www.metrotransit.org/tripPlanner/Default.aspx Directions: Take I-94 westbound. 1.7 miles past the Lowry tunnel, exit at Broadway. Turn left onto Washington, then turn left again onto Broadway. Go west 1.0 miles. The YMCA is at the southwest corner of the intersection of Broadway and Knox. If you are interested in participating, or have questions, call Jay Clark at 625-2513. TRAINING IS FREE. Minnesota Center For Neighborhood Organizing 330 Humphrey Center, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, Mn., 55455 Phone: 612-625-2513 Fax: 612-626-0273 E-Mail Jay Clark clark037 [at] umn.edu CURA Home page: http://www.cura.umn.edu/index.html --------11 of 12-------- Fed up? Fed out! [analysis/humor] by Mark Drolette July 25th, 2009 Dissident Voice Today, I'm going to explain the Federal Reserve System. Hey, where ya goin'? First: It's not really federal. Nor are there reserves. (Not many, anyway.) It is a system, however. (Well, a scam, actually, but those behind the 1913 Federal Reserve Act that birthed the Fed bypassed that identifier, for some reason.) And, prey (that's you), who backed the act? Oh, just everyday folks with names like Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Rothschild who, a century ago, joined forces to saddle the U.S. with a central bank that, naturally, they'd control, in turn giving them control over the country's money supply. Alas! If only our nation's framers had been smart enough to anticipate a ploy like this and thus guard against it in the Constitution. Um, turns out they were. Fresh off the colonies' disastrous experiences with non-stop printing presses churning out worthless currency both before and during the revolution, the founding fathers made sure to constitutionally preclude both Congress and the states from issuing "bills of credit". In other words, paper money. Silver and/or gold-backed coinage was to be the name of the game. Creating the Fed, which comprises twelve private banks spread regionally throughout the U.S., was an end run around that, with the sleight-of-hand working this way: Congress authorizes interest-bearing IOUs (bonds and notes) to be sold to the Fed, which in turn gives Congress oodles of paper money created from thin air and backed by nothing, an amazing alchemical process authorized by, well, Congress. Though a dozen banks are involved in the con, er, system, the head bank is and always has been the Fed's New York branch. (Isn't it a remarkable coincidence it was mainly the obscenely wealthy Big Apple banking interests that pushed the Fed's creation in the first place?) It's obvious what's in it for the bankers, but how about Congress? Well, our "representatives" get money whenever they want for whatever they want. This comes in handy for buying votes back home, uh, I mean, for serving their constituents, like agribusiness, Big Pharma, weapons manufacturers, etc. Oh, and also those in the banking industry who, if they screw up the economy by being greedy little pigheads, can be duly punished by being given trillions more faux dough scot-free by, who else?, Congress. Let's hope this never happens. Interest off bonds isn't the only perk for the Fed (or bankers in general). But don't even get me started on fractional-reserve banking. Otherwise I'd have to tell you how a few folks with a soft spot for things like usury will get a charter, start a bank, take deposits and then start loaning "money" at a nine-to-one ratio based on the total of those deposits (now redefined as "reserves," ninety percent of which are dubbed "excess" and thus, abracadabra, available for lending). That's right: they're now loaning dollars that don't exist. A few strokes on the ol' keyboard and, voila, instant money! It gets better. Once those loans are repaid and come back to the bank as deposits in other accounts, then that money is used as the basis to issue more nine-to-one loans. And so on. Can you say "pyramid scheme," boys and girls? This is why what bankers fear most are bank runs, when lots of customers at one time are audacious enough to actually demand their account balances in cash, money that is nowhere to be found because the vast majority of it exists only in electronic ledgers. This is the very moment the magic of making money from nothing disappears - shazam! - and the locks and chains on bank doors materialize - sa-lam! - overnight. Of course, those who created the Fed devised an ingenious way to guard against runs. It's called the "lender of last resort". Know who that is? It's you! This brainstorm was one of the main reasons for establishing the Fed in the first place. The rich and powerful bankers, tired of pesky competition from other banks and the distasteful specter of having to pay for good avarice gone bad, decided it would be much better to institutionalize an ironclad way to protect their profits. It took a few years and some political chicanery, but with a complicit president and a duped Congress (oh why does this sound so familiar?), they finally hit the jackpot by legislatively securing the mechanism by which they could place the taxpayer squarely on the hook, I'm sorry, more strongly underpin the economy. Aren't you thrilled to know you're the one lending fabulously wealthy individuals even more money to tank the economy and put you out of a job? Just asking. But how, exactly, during these times when things are a little tight and you're considering the pragmatism of fattening up Fido, do you lend any money at all, let alone trillions? Why, through the insidious tax called inflation, of course. See, once the government, hand-in-hand with the Fed, goes nuts and sells bonds by the trainloads thereby resulting in untold un-backed dollars being pumped into the economy, inflation kicks in and the less those dollars are worth. If this is not apparent now, perhaps it will come to mind the next time you hook the oxen up to your cash-laden trailer to go buy a loaf of bread. So, if the dollar has nothing to support it (and it doesn't), just what keeps this fiat money afloat? Two things: a) our unshakeable, bedrock confidence in it (uh-huh) and b) because we have to. "Legal tender" laws ensure, under threat of imprisonment, that we'll use dollars whether we like it or not. When the government does something like this (puts money into circulation without backing), it's called "monetary policy". If we do it, it's called "counterfeiting". OK, that's enough misery for now. Who needs more gloom and doom anyway, especially these dire days? There is one possible silver lining, however, to the disaster that is our current economy: If enough pain manifests, perhaps a clamor will arise to throw the Fed and its worthless, debt-based system out on its money-changing ear, thereby precipitating a return to real money, backed by gold and silver, as codified by this country's founders. A long shot, true, but stranger things have happened. For instance, who ever thought the Bush administration would actually leave the White House? (Now if we could just get Dick Cheney to go back to his home planet.) Mark Drolette is a writer who lives in Costa Rica. He can be reached at: markdrolette [at] gmail.com. --------12 of 12-------- The List of Negatives Keeps Growing Report Card on Obama From a New Frontiersman By WILLIAM POLK CounterPunch July 24-26, 2009 Probably like most of you, I am engaged in a daily attempt to make up my mind about President Obama. I was an early supporter. And as a former Washington "player," I am aware how difficult is his position. I began to worry when he failed to grasp what I have seen to be the early window of opportunity for a new administration - the first three months - when the government is relatively fluid. As the months have flown by, I have seen that there are many positive things, mainly in his eloquent addresses on world problems, notably his speech at the University of Cairo on world pluralism, but also quite a few negative things. With sadness and alarm I find that my list of the negatives keeps on growing. Among them are the following: (1) The commitment to the war in "Af-Pak" which (I believe) will cost America upwards of $6 trillion but perhaps only a few hundred casualties since we are relying increasingly on drone bombing. Just the money costs could derail almost everything Obama's supporters hoped and thought his administration would do. That amount of money is roughly half the total yearly income (the GNP) of America. Of course, it will cost Afghanistan far more. Less dramatic perhaps but more crucial will be the further breakdown of Afghan society, leaving behind when we ultimately get out, an even more demoralized, fractured society and will probably lead to a coup d'etat in Pakistan, further enhancing the danger of war between the South Asian countries. The nominal leaders of Afghanistan (Hamid Karzai) and Pakistan (Asif Ali Zardari), whom we practically appointed and with whom we have chosen to work, are hated by their people and are human monuments to the potential of government corruption. (Drugs, traffic in American arms even to insurgents, shakedowns of citizens, sale of public offices, outright stealing, kidnap for ransom...the list is long and as an old hand, it certainly reminds me of South Vietnam.) We now have a window of opportunity to get out of this looming disaster, but it seems that the President is determined to "stay the course." Fundamental to my worry is that I do not hear anyone around the President or he himself saying things that indicate that they know anything about Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir or India, much less "Pashtunistan", aka The Northwest Frontier. Ignorance is rarely a very rewarding guide. (Parenthetically, I have recently read the British "how to do it" manual on "Tribal fighting on the Northwest Frontier" by General Sir Andrew Skeen. Skeen spent his life fighting the Pathans. He warned British soldiers back in the 1920s that the Pathans were "the finest individual fighters in the east, really formidable enemies, to despise whom means sure trouble." My copy is the only one I could find on the internet. It survived in a British officers' mess library. I doubt that Messrs Petraeus, McChrystal et al have ever heard of it. It makes more sense than Petraeus's Counterinsurgency Field Manual.) (2) the choice of personnel is (to me) baffling: In the military he has chosen to keep on Bush's Secretary of Defense (who signed if not wrote the latest version of the neoconservative-inspired US National Defense Doctrine calling for, among other things, the "right" of first striking almost anyone we choose if we don't like them), General David Petraeus, whom I regard as a con man for breathing life into the Vietnam counterinsurgency program (which has never worked anywhere in the world in the last two centuries when tried by the British, the Russians, the French, the Germans or us), and General Stanley McChrystal, who makes statements that sound terrifyingly like the SS. His main claim to fame appears to have come out of running the prison system in Afghanistan where, apparently, some of the worst cases of torture happened. These men, allegedly, have told Obama that he could win the war in Afghanistan "on the cheap." So when his then principal military adviser gave a more sober assessment - nearly half a million men - Obama fired him and listened to Petraeus' siren song. Again, as an old hand, I cannot help remembering Vietnam, where we went from 1,700 to half a million soldiers and still lost. The Pentagon budget is not only enormous but contains a number of potential scandals. Our overseas bases now cost us over $100 billion yearly. Since the DOD sops up over half of the disposable resources of the government, Obama must get control of it. His task will be difficult because the DOD and what President Eisenhower called the "military industrial complex" have cleverly portioned out the work and procurement on the program to virtually every congressional district. Congress will opt for the program even if it bankrupts America. Congress will be Obama's enemy if he tries any reforms. Even to try, he will need able advisers and staff. He should certainly know better than to appoint the foxes to guard the henhouse. In the State Department's activities, the most attractive person is Senator George Mitchell, but he does not seem to have any significant power. I hope I am wrong, but he reminds me of my dear friend Governor Chester Bowles after JFK fired him and used him only for window dressing. The others have their own agendas. To be generous, one has to say that Hillary has not yet shown enough to judge, but some of her statements would be hard to worsen. I assume that she has begun to run for the presidency in 2012. She reminds me of the wise saying that when a president assembles his cabinet, he has all his enemies in one room. Dick Holbrooke has a bully's approach to diplomacy in one of the touchiest spots in the world. His browbeating, hectoring, shouting "Balkan" tactics are ill-suited to Central Asia. In the White House, I think it would be hard to find a worse choice than the new Special Assistant to the President, Dennis Ross. Three examples of his skill: a) in the early negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, when he was supposedly the honest broker, he took a more disruptive position than even the Israelis, apparently shocking even them; b) in the build-up to the Iranian elections he sponsored and organized a program to "electronically invade" Iran with destabilizing messages trying, more subtly to be sure than the 1953 CIA-MI6 coup, to "regime change" it. Whatever else could be said about the "Iran-Syria OperationsGroup", it played right into the hands of Ahmadinejad and the rightwing of the ulama and the military, giving them a proof text for American interferencein the elections and thus may have backfired, since no issue in Iranian politics is as sensitive as the fear of foreign espionage; (c) just before his appointment to be the chief honcho on all the Middle East, Ross published a book whose message was essentially 'let's try a bit of di-plomacy for a short time. Of course it won't work, but it will justify our attacking.' That is, his approach to peace-seeking is consistent and negative. Since he is now Obama's point man, we are in for deeper trouble. The Vice President, as you know, just reversed the final position of the Bush administration, where Bush told the Israelis that America would not approve an attack on Iran: Joe Biden essentially authorized it, saying what they decided to do was their business, not ours. But those of you who have read my occasional essays could tick off the list of potential disasters for America and the Western world such an attack would bring on. It is patently absurd to suggest that an Israeli attack (made with our weapons and implicit approval) is not our business; indeed, regardless of our weapons and our approval, the long-term consequences for our economy, our position in the world, and our exposure to terrorism would be almost impossible to exaggerate. On the CIA I confess I am not a big admirer. It has taken on 3 tasks: gathering information, evaluating it and performing dirty tricks. It is usually agreed that over 80 per cent, perhaps more like 95 per cent, of the information it accumulates comes from sources that you and I can access if we have the time, energy and interest. Most of the rest comes from technology (intercepts and code breaking which appear to be valuable for counter-terrorism but, at least in my experience, are of near zero value in 'strategy'; on satellite and overflight imagery much the same can be said.) The second task, evaluation or "appreciation" is very difficult at best, but the record, at least during the Bush administration, is pretty poor. It was far better done then and during the Vietnam war in the tiny Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the State Department. The third task often leads to disasters and violates all that America should stand for. There are scores of examples to back up this statement, but one that has now come back to haunt us is the 1953 coup d'etat that destroyed an elected and popular Iranian government that, had it survived, might have avoided the 1979 Iranian revolution and relieved us of our current worries there. We should get out of the business of espionage, kidnap, torture and murder. Period. The current leadership of the CIA does not seem to have addressed these issues, and President Obama has gone out of his way to grant a sort of blanket pardon in advance lest anyone fear that what he did was illegal or, more accurately, knowing that it was illegal, might be called to court. Back to the President: From my experience with life at the "brink," during the Cuban Missile Crisis, I think that the President's initiative on cutting back nuclear weapons is perhaps the best thing he has done so far. True, it is a very modest step, leaving thousands of "devices" in place on both the Russian and American sides, only urging Israel, which has hundreds of bombs, to join the NPT, actually encouraging India to forge ahead with its nuclear program and so probably moving inexorably toward at least doubling the number of nuclear-weapon-armed countries rather than (as I have strenuously advocated) moving from Russo-American cutbacks to nuclear free areas and ultimately toward worldwide abolition of nuclear weapons. But, at least it is a step in the right direction. That's for foreign affairs. There are, of course, for President Obama as for all previous presidents, myriads of issues, but one that I believe will haunt him for his own term and beyond is moral and constitutional: What are we doing - and what will we be seen to be doing - to the vast but unknown number of prisoners - terrorists, freedom fighters, accidents - we are holding indefinitely, without charges, without recourse to the courts or that fundamental right in our heritage from the struggle against tyranny, habeas corpus. What we are doing at Guantanamo, Bagram and an unknown number of other "secret" prisons is, as the courts have rightly, if belatedly and guardedly, held, a violation of our legal system. We don't need the courts to tell us that it certainly a violation of our moral code. Obama began by urging transparency on this sordid issue, but he backed off. His Justice Department is now appealing a US District Court order that the Supreme Court decision on habeas corpus rights for Guantanamo also applied to a set of prisoners at Bagram who apparently arrived there by rendition or who, at least, are non Afghans. Of course, the most sordid issue is the evidence of sodomy, rape and torture captured in the photograph collection that Obama first wanted to release and then changed his mind. Those who profess to know say that what these pictures show is truly horrible. Some have compared them to the vivid record the Nazis kept of their sadism. Even pragmatically, since they are known - indeed known worldwide - it is questionable to say the least that hiding them will protect our reputation. For what little it is worth, my opinion is that making a clean breast of the evil and making an apology - as we have repeatedly urged other countries to do in comparable cases - would be or could be the beginning of the resurrection of America. I am waiting for the Obama we elected to show up. I hope this drama does not follow Samuel Beckett's script. William Polk served as the Middle East expert on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff during the Kennedy administration. He is the author of Violent Politics: a History of Insurgency and Terrorism from the American Revolution to Iraq. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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