Progressive Calendar 10.09.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2009 06:07:19 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   10.09.09

1. Straw bale construction 10.09-11 9am
2. Arts/tools/organizing   10.09 1pm
3. Palestine vigil         10.09 4:15pm
4. Microgrants/Selvaggio   10.09 7:30pm

5. Peace walk              10.10 9am Cambridge MN
6. Solar PV course         10.10 9am
7. StP parks/history       10.10 10am
8. Rwanda/Erlinder         10.10 10am
9. Mounds Park walk        10.10 10am/1pm
10. Palestine freedom walk 10.10 1pm
11. Northtown vigil        10.10 2pm
12. Bicking/food/film      10.10 6pm

13. Robert Parry    - Democrats ponder health-care suicide
14. Kevin Zeese     - Here we go again/Dems turning off their voting base
15. Missy Beattie   - Opinion amplified/outside looking in
16. Allen Roland    - Leads world spiritual revolution: Chavez not Obama
17. Glenn Greenwald - Historian's account of Dems & Bush-era war crimes
18. Sahil Kapur     - Democrats with guts
19. ed              - Dem lems  (haiku)
20. ed              - Last man  (haiku)

--------1 of 20--------

From: Kathy Ahlers <kathyahlers [at]>
Subject: Straw bale construction 10.09-11 9am

Straw Bale Construction demo
Oct. 9-11, 2009
9 am-5:00 pm all three days (Friday through Sunday)
2601-26th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN

Bearpaw Construction is the contractor.
Bearpaw Design and Construction
Mark E. Morgan
memorgan [at]

A notice is on the bulletin board at Hampden Park Co-op [Raymond Av StP].
People can drop by at any time during the posted hours.

--------2 of 20--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Arts/tools/organizing 10.09 1pm

Using the Arts as Tools of Social Analysis and Action in Popular
Education Organizing
Friday, October 9, 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. First Unitarian Society of
Minneapolis, 900 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis.

This mini-conference is a gathering for activists, community members,
educators and anyone who wishes to expand the use of the arts in improving
their work against oppression and violence and for democracy,
sustainability, justice, and peace. Popular education uses various
hands-on techniques and methods to encourage attendees to examine their
lives critically and take action for social change and liberation. The
mini conference will feature workshops with local artists and activists
including: Sha Cage and e.g. bailey, Ricardo Levins Morales, Alejandra
Tobar-alatriz, and (invited) Amalia Deloney.

Scheduled Concurrent Workshops: (each will be repeated)
 Spoken Word: "Speak Out" - Using the spoken word as a tool of liberation,
voice and choice for the people;
 Visual Arts: "Pictures can move a thousand feet" - Using images and
framing messages for impact;
 Theater: "ACT UP" - Using the tools of the Theater of Oppressed to engage
and organize your community;
 Video, Audio, and the Digital Arts: "Post it" - Using digital media to
promote your cause.

100% of the registration fee goes directly to support artists and pay
space rental and food. Registration: $25.00; Students and Low Income:
$10.00 (limited number of scholarships).

Sponsored by: Popular Education News and Headwaters Foundation fro
Justice. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI and to register: Visit .

--------3 of 20--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 10.09 4:15pm

the weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul.  the Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30.  there are usually extra signs

--------4 of 20--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Microgrants/Selvaggio 10.09 7:30pm

David Unowsky wrote:

Local icon Joe Selvaggio discusses his new book
Microgrants: It's Working
7:30pm, Friday October 9 at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.
Foreword by Joe Selvaggio / Edited by Jim Klobuchar

During the late-20th century, a handful of social entrepreneurs in
disparate parts of the world - Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh, Pancho and
Maria Otero in Bolivia, John and Bob Hatch in Wisconsin, and Joe Selvaggio
in Minnesota - developed and put into effect the idea that relatively
small amounts of cash, loaned or granted to poor people with ability and
drive, could have a profound effect on their lives, their families, and
their communities.

This book examines the effect such "microgrants" have had on 77 recipients
in the Twin Cities area. The stories, compiled by interns from Yale
University, relate the grantees' struggles and plans to improve their
lives, how they used their grants, and what happened as a result.

Jim Klobuchar, author and columnist, was the editor and wrote the preface.
Former Minneapolis police chief Tony Bouza wrote the introduction and
organized the content and structure of the book. Joe Selvaggio, executive
director of Microgrants, wrote the foreword.

Though such stories forcibly bring home the profound impact such grants
can have, the question is often asked: Is the payback worth the expense?
Part two of MicroGrants offers commentary and analysis of the program
from several perspectives. It includes essays by: John Mauriel, PhD ("How
Did It All Turn Out? A Statistical Analysis"); Mitch Pearlstein, PhD
("Culture, Compassion, and Conservatism"); Tom Fiutak, EdD ("MicroGrants,
Poverty and the Liberal Voice of Conscience"); Betsy Buckley ("Women
Entrepreneurs"); and Laura Waterman Wittstock, President & CEO, Wittstock
& Assoc. ("Women of Color and the Tragedy of Trickle-Down").

For further information, contact: David Unowsky 612/822-4611
davidu [at]
612-822-4611 <>

--------5 of 20--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 10.10 9am Cambridge MN

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

--------6 of 20--------

From: Laura Cina <laurac [at]>
Subject: Solar PV course 10.10 9am

Solar Energy: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Photovoltaics
Saturday, October 10, 2009, 9:00am - 3:45pm
$90.00 for MRES members/ $100.00 for non members
Century College 3300 Century Avenue N. White Bear Lake,MN,55110

In joint cooperation, Century College and the Minnesota Renewable Energy
Society have developed, a new one-day introductory course for homeowners
and people interested in learning the basics of how to design a solar
photovoltaic (PV) system for residential applications. The essentials of
creating electricity from sunlight are covered. You will learn to evaluate
the solar site resource, when solar PV is the right solution, the
economics and incentives for solar PV, and system design principles.
System components, system sizing, PV panels, inverters, grid connected vs.
non-grid connected systems and electrical connections, will be all
explored. *You will receive .72 CEUs for attending.*

For more info:

--------7 of 20--------

From: Historic Saint Paul <ccarey [at]>
Subject: StP parks/history 10.10 10am

Parks for the People
We all love the parks of Minneapolis and St. Paul, but how much do you
know about their origins and development? Watch TPT's new history
documentary this week! Then visit one of Saint Paul's developing parks at
the foot of the bluffs, in the heart of the Mississippi National River and
Recreation Area (MNRRA) - a National Park in our own front yard!

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary Open House
Saturday, October 10, 2009
10AM - 1PM
Enter at the corner of Commercial Street and East Fourth Street, Saint
Paul Minnesota

Learn about the fascinating history - and exciting future - of this
beautiful Saint Paul park.  Interpreters will be stationed across the
sanctuary to share information on the land's geology, American Indian
history, rail and brewing history, bird life and future plans for an
interpretive center. For more information and directions visit or call 651.290.0002.

--------8 of 20--------

From: Doris Marquit <marqu001 [at]>
Subject: Rwanda/Erlinder 10.10 10am

WILPF  "Coffee With" Discussion
Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 am-noon
"UN War Crimes Tribunals"
Prof. Peter Erlinder, Lead Defense Counsel
Van Cleve Community Center
901 15th Ave. SE, Minneapolis

Presented by Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, MN Metro
Branch Ffi:  <> or 612-922-7993

Doris G. Marquit Membership, WILPF-MN Metro Steering Committee 3512 W.
22nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55416-3635 612-922-7993 marqu001 [at]

From: Joan Malerich <joanmdm [at]>

This is one extremely important event.  Peter Erlinder, lead defense
council for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and who
is a professor at William Mitchell Law School in St. Paul, has worked
almost beyond human capacity to learn and to tell the truth and reality of
what happened in Rwanda.  It is NOT what the mainstream media and most of
the "progressive" media have claimed.

Under current president Paul Kagame, the terrorist who is really
responsible for the violence in Rwanda, the truth and reality has been
white-washed.  More important, Kagame is behind the raids in the Congo -
raids by the imperialists wanting to profit off the natural resource
wealth of the Congo and raids that have decimated, killed, maimed,
destroyed the Congolesse.  Kagame is just one more US puppet. (see quote

Peter's latest article (September 3)  is very important and you can access
it at the following:
The Rwanda War Crimes Coverup: UN Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte has confirmed
the coverup by Prof. Peter Erlinder Related to the Congo, Peter writes in
the article:

"The tragic consequence of the failure to prosecute Kagame at the ICTR,
from 1994 to date, is that Kagame has been free to invade the Congo in
1996 and 1998, and to occupy part of the eastern Congo many-times larger
than Rwanda, to this day.[24] No less than four UN Security
Counsel-commissioned Panel of Experts Report(s) on the Illegal
Exploitation of the DR Congo (2001, 2002, 2003 and December 2008) have
detailed the massive rape of the Congo's resources that has brought vast
riches to Kagame and his inner circle.[25]

Peter Erlinder presents the Truth, and knowing the truth is the only venue
to peace.

--------9 of 20--------

From: Andrew Hine <amhine2 [at]>
Subject: Mounds Park walk 10.10 10am/1pm

Sneak peek: A Bird's Eye View of History, Mounds Park Walk and Talk,
Saturday, October 10, 10 am-noon or 1-3 pm.

Join National Park Service historian Dr. John Anfinson and towboat pilot
Hokan Miller for a walk and talk along the bluffs overlooking the river
and downtown St. Paul. The area surrounding Mounds Park is as rich in
history as it is beautiful. From this vantage point, much of the river's
history can be visualized - powerful geologic forces, Native American
burial mounds, tales of early explorers, the historic harbor and today's
busy working river. from

--------10 of 20--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Palestine freedom walk 10.10 1pm

Palestinian Freedom Walk
Saturday, October 10 1-4pm
MN State Capitol, St. Paul

Across the United States, AAPER is organizing its First Annual Palestine
Freedom Walks for October 10, 2009 The Palestine Freedom Walks will be
silent marches, similar to those that took place during the Civil Rights
Movement, on behalf of an equitable U.S. policy toward Palestine that
advances freedom for the Palestinian people.

The Palestine Freedom Walks have two major goals:  First, to raise
awareness about the situation in Palestine among Americans who will take
part in, sponsor and observe the walks, including your family members,
friends, neighbors and community members.  And second, to raise funds for
a powerful AAPER online advertising campaign calling for freedom for the
Palestinian people.

Like the Freedom Walks during the Civil Rights Movement as well as AIDS
Walks and Breast Cancer Walks before them, the Palestine Freedom Walks can
have a major impact across the United States.

For more info:  651 245 0680, mohkhuli [at]

--------11 of 20--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 10.10 2pm

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

--------12 of 20--------

From: James Barrett <jmichaelbarrett [at]>
Subject: Bicking/food/film 10.10 6pm

Dave Bicking for City Council
Movie and Dessert for Dave Bicking

"The Yes Men'' movie satire will play at Mayday Bookstore at 301 Cedar
Ave. So. in Minnneapolis on Saturday, Oct. 10.

With poker-faced impersonation as their weapon and World Trade
Organization officials as their target, the story follows Andy Bichlbaum
and Mike Bonanno pulling off one prank after another to raise political
consciousness. When their stunts succeed, the flim flam men in the film
raise their satirical ante and push the art of public spectacle to
hilarious new heights.

Before the screening, hostess Lydia Howell will serve her renowned snacks
and dessert, starting at 6 p.m.

The program is to support the candidacy of Dave Bicking who is running for
the City Council Ward 9 seat for South Minneapolis. A small businessman
and political activist, Bicking lives in the Corcoran neighborhood where
he operates an auto repair shop. He serves on the board of the Minneapolis
Civilian Review Authority and is endorsed by the Green Party.

Paul Busch (651) 646-4656 pobusch [at]

--------13 of 20--------

Democrats Ponder Health-Care Suicide
Robert Parry

If Democrats enact something like the health-care bill emerging from the
Senate Finance Committee, they may call it a legislative victory and it
may keep the campaign donations flowing from the insurance industry, but
the Democrats would surely infuriate millions of American voters.

Indeed, it seems like some Democrats, such as Sens. Max Baucus and Kent
Conrad, have lost themselves so much in the inside-Washington reeds of
legislating a convoluted compromise acceptable to the insurers, that they
are inviting an angry backlash from average Americans. [Like me! -ed]

The danger for Democrats is that this industry-friendly legislation would
impose new burdens on citizens, including government fines for failing to
sign up for a health-insurance plan, without guarantees that the coverage
won't be almost as crappy and expensive as it is now. The bill rejects a
public option that would put competitive pressure on private insurers.

Plus, key elements of the bill, like the so-called shopping "exchanges,"
aren't to take effect until 2013, meaning that Americans will have watched
this messy process unfold for months and then be told that the current
system, which has cruelly pushed millions of sick people into bankruptcy,
will get four more years to bankrupt more Americans.

By contrast, Medicare, the single-payer health system for senior citizens,
was signed into law on July 30, 1965, and took effect on July 1, 1966,
less than a year later.

The Senate Finance Committee bill also is so complicated that few citizens
can possibly understand it or how it might affect them. Instead of
straightening out the health-insurance maze, the bill makes it trickier to

While dumping the relatively straightforward public option, which
President Barack Obama favors and which is in the four other
committee-approved health-care bills in Congress, the Finance Committee
bill offers "non-profit, member-run" co-ops for individuals and "small
group markets".

The co-op notion is a populist-sounding alternative favored by the
insurance industry because a co-op's organizational difficulties and
relatively small size would make it easy to compete against, much as small
food co-ops can be overwhelmed by the pricing advantages that favor large
grocery store chains.

The other glaring problem for co-ops is that most Americans, especially
small-business people, are extremely busy already. They don't want to take
part in running an insurance company; they simply want to get health
insurance at a reasonable price.

Nor do most Americans want to puzzle their way through Baucus's
hodge-podge of private insurers, government subsidies, emergency waivers,
penalties for non-compliance, etc., etc. If Americans lose a job or fall
on hard times, they don't want to go hat in hand to some government
bureaucrat and have to lay out their financial problems to get some
special favor.

                         What Americans Want

What Americans want is affordable health coverage provided in as simple a
package as possible.

That was the finding of a New York Times/CBS News poll which discovered
widespread confusion about the health proposals taking shape in Congress,
but more than 2-1 support for a public option to compete with private
insurers -- 65 percent for a public option, 26 percent against and 9
percent no opinion. [NYT, Sept. 25, 2009]

After all, one of the attractions of the public option is its relative
simplicity and cost-effectiveness. It could piggyback on the existing
Medicare bureaucracy and thus get started quickly and cheaply. According
to congressional budget analysts, it is the only plan that offers
significant cost savings.

Cost savings would not only help reduce the federal deficit but they would
mean that more Americans would get the health care they need without going
broke. In other words, it would save lives, reduce housing foreclosures,
and protect families now being ripped apart by brutal financial pressures.

Yet, despite this common sense - and broad voter support for the public
option - the Senate Finance Committee rejected the idea. Chairman Baucus
conceded that the concept was appealing, but he joined other conservative
Democrats in voting no, claiming a public option couldn't clear the
60-vote hurdle to stop a Republican filibuster.

So, instead of trying to rally the votes - or using the "reconciliation
process" that allows a simple majority to enact legislation having budget
implications - Baucus kept on cobbling together a nearly incomprehensible
construct of tax credits, income formulas, fees and other mumbo-jumbo.

This modified Baucus bill is in line to win final committee approval this
week. According to Washington's "conventional wisdom," it will then become
the vehicle for action by the full Senate, where Democratic leaders have
been ambivalent about a public option.

Some observers feel the best chance for the public option to survive may
be with a trigger mechanism that would permit it in some parts of the
country sometime in the future if private industry doesn't offer enough

The trigger idea has been floated by Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, the only
Republican on the Finance Committee who has indicated even a faint desire
to vote for comprehensive health-care reform. However, the trigger would
push even this limited public option to some point after 2013, when the
insurance "exchanges" are finally scheduled to open.

Yet, if a trigger proposal is needed to win over some votes and beat a
filibuster, another approach could be a "reverse trigger," one that would
put the public option in place immediately but set up a trigger that would
stop the public option from signing up new clients if private insurers cut
rates by 25 percent and scored a 90 percent approval rating from

Even then, the "reverse-trigger" public option would stay in place,
serving the Americans who had already signed up and ready to resume taking
clients if private insurers slide back into their old ways of excessive
executive compensation, bloated bureaucracies and huge profits.

By moving up the timetable of reform to "as soon as possible" and putting
immediate pressure on the insurance industry for real savings - in other
words, letting voters see real benefits in 2010, not making them wait
until 2013 - the Democrats could show they're on the side of the people
and rack up electoral gains in 2010 and 2012.

However, if the Democrats insist on trading the common good for the favors
of special interests, all the industry campaign donations in the world may
not be enough to save them. [And then they should not be saved but
destroyed. Ended. Busted. Buried. Dance on the grave. Pound a stake
thru its heart. -ed]

Cross-posted from
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the
Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise
of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at more...)

--------14 of 20--------

Here We Go Again - Democrats Turning off Their Voting Base
by Kevin Zeese
October 7th, 2009
Dissident Voice

Monday, October 5, 2009 may have been the beginning of the end of a
Democratic majority in the House and Senate. Peace advocates demonstrated
at the White House resulting in 61 arrests. The peace movement has grown
tired of Obama's failure to end the Iraq war, his escalation of the
Afghanistan war, his expansion of the war into Pakistan and his growing
military budget. They have turned their criticism onto him and the
Democratic Congress but the Democrats are not listening.

Does President Obama remember how the Democrats regained the majority in
the House and Senate? Does he remember how he bested Hillary Clinton in
the primaries? Here's a reminder.

Republicans dominated politics for the first eight years of the 21st
Century. When President Bush attacked Iraq and pulled the U.S. into a war
quagmire resulting in mass deaths of civilians and soldiers as well as
bleeding of the U.S. treasury, the peace movement reacted. They
highlighted the failures of the war, the lies that got America in to Iraq
and the death, destruction and economic catastrophe the war was bringing.
Peace activists demonstrated in Congress, sat-in the offices of elected
officials and protested whenever Bush administration officials testified
in Congress.

The public began to hear the full story - the weapons of mass destruction
were a lie, there was no link between Saddam and Osama, the casualties of
war were increasing, the cost of war was escalating, the largest mercenary
force in history was violating laws. Opinion rapidly turned against the
war. The result, in 2006, the voters threw out the Republicans and gave
the Democrats solid control of both Houses of Congress.

In 2008, the front runner, then-Senator Hillary Clinton, was running a
campaign for the presidency that seemed unstoppable. The media and
politicians treated her election as an inevitable fait accompli. But,
Clinton had voted for the Iraq invasion and this did not sit well with the
American public, especially with anti-war Democrats - the base of the
Democratic Party. The media anointed then-Senator Barack Obama as the
"peace" candidate because of a speech he gave opposing the war before
being elected to the U.S. senate. Aware of the mood of the voters he began
his speeches with the promise: "I will end the war in Iraq". Anti-war
Democrats were enough to carry him through the primary and into the

In both cases, voters opposed to war were critical to determining the

But now, the Obama administration is ignoring those voters. The day after
the protests at the White House it was reported in Talking Points Memo
that the administration said: "White House officials say Obama is not
focusing on antiwar protesters - neither the more than 60 who were
arrested yesterday at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue nor the handful outside the
White House gates today - or on a MoveOn email petition circulating asking
him for a clear military exit strategy".

The peace movement is noting that the president is ignoring their calls to
end the war. Even worse for the president, this time we are starting as
the majority. Polls show that more than 70% of Democrats oppose the
Afghanistan war and sending more troops to the region as do a majority of

Obama is forgetting how he and the Democrats came to power. Who does Obama
think provides much of the person-power for their elections? Or, the small
grass roots donations? What do Obama and the Democrats think will happen
if the peace movement stays home in 2010?

And, to make matters worse, he is repeating the mistake made in the health
care debate. The president has been unable to excite grass roots support
for reform because he and Congressional leaders took the most popular
option, a single payer national health program, off the table. They would
not consider the approach most Americans preferred. Instead, the Democrats
have pushed a scheme that will enrich the health insurance industry -
corporations that Americans hate and see as corrupt - by forcing Americans
to buy their overpriced insurance.

So, what is his administration doing when it comes to Afghanistan? Making
the same mistake. They are considering all options except the one
Americans want. They have taken off the option list getting out of
Afghanistan. Secretary Gates said this week "We are not leaving
Afghanistan. This discussion is about next steps forward". And, the
president's press secretary Robert Gibbs said: "I don't think we have the
option to leave. That's quite clear".

At a time when the Republicans are energizing their base by challenging
President Obama, the Democrats are turning off their base whether on
health care, bailing out Wall Street or now on the Afghanistan war. Do the
Democrats really have the hubris to think they can turn their base off and
stay in office? If they do, they are likely to learn a very painful lesson
in 2010 and 2012. [Amd I will do everying I can to make them pay. -ed]

Kevin Zeese is the executive director of the Campaign for Fresh Air &
Clean Politics whose projects include VotersForPeace.US,
ProsperityAgenda.US, and TrueVote.US. He is also
a member of the board of Velvet Revolution. Read other articles by Kevin,
or visit Kevin's website.

--------15 of 20--------

Opinion Amplified
Outside Looking In
October 6, 2009

Early on, Barack Obama issued the challenge to the American public to make
him do it. If we believe in something, anything, we must convince him of
our righteousness.

On Monday, about 500 of us gathered at the White House during Obama's Rose
Garden meeting with doctors who are supportive of his health care plan.
Through the hedges, we could see movement and I'm certain he and his
invitees could hear us as we bullhorned, "Healthcare not warfare".

We protestors from many organizations, including World Can't Wait, Code
Pink, Veterans for Peace, Peace Action, and Witness Against Torture,
arrived before the garden party began and as we walked the sidewalk and
stated our demands to "make him do it," police officers told us we could
not remain on the sidewalk. "Move to the street," we were directed.

When I stayed where I was, an officer said, "You'll have to leave the
sidewalk". I asked him if my nephew died in Iraq for this - a loss of my
freedom to stand on a public sidewalk. He was pleasant but adamant and
said, "Get on the sidewalk".

I had already turned to move towards the street but reeled around and
said, "You just told me I could remain on the sidewalk".

He smiled and said, "So, you caught that". I did indeed. I smiled back and
he said, "I wish you could stay on the sidewalk". With this
acknowledgement, I moved a few feet to the street.

My friends Debra Sweet and Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait have worked
tirelessly to end war, to halt the humanitarian disaster we have wreaked
on those we invade and occupy. "Stop the torture, stop the war," they
repeated. Elaine, with a black hood over her head and wearing an orange
jumpsuit and chains represented a detainee in America's war of terror.
Debra gave an impassioned speech.

Cindy Sheehan arrived to make clear her statement that it doesn't matter
who is president if the same immoral acts of war and devastation continue.
If George Bush is a war criminal, so is Barack Obama. She also read the
International People's Declaration of Peace.

Code Pinkers Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright were there, having just
returned that morning from Afghanistan where they met with Afghan women
who related the suffering that is a result of war.

Two other notable political activists I recognized are the indefatigable
Kevin Zeese and David Swanson.

Meanwhile, Gen Stanley McChrystal says 40,000 additional troops are
required for success in Afghanistan. And another $130 billion for
Afghanistan and Iraq is pushing through a Congress that does not listen to
the will of the people. Obama, weighing his options, is strategizing and
equivocating. Eight US troops were killed last weekend. Eight more
families are changed forever. As we contemplate the rising death toll
while Barack Obama consults with those who say "more" and shake their
heads in recognition that this war has been mismanaged, those of us in the
peace movement will continue to stress that our country's foreign policy
of imperialism is immoral and diminishes each of us as humans. We must
demand an end to the barbarism of war that not only ravages our own
military and our consciences but countless victims in the countries we

Obama's challenge to us to make him do it should inspire us to do just
that. Unfortunately, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had this to say
about the protest:

I think the president has long believed that whether your opinion is on
one side of the issue or the other, that this is the...the greatness of
our country is that you get to amplify that opinion.

Well, we amplified. And at least 60 protestors were arrested. Seems if we
are going to "make" Obama "do it," we must continue to amplify. And we
must amplify louder than the corporations - that personhood receiving the
ear and approval of our so-called leadership.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public
Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush
Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families
for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her
nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,'05, she
has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:
Missybeat [at]

--------16 of s--------

Leader Of Upcoming World Spiritual Revolution is Chavez / Not Obama
Allen L Roland

Brazil winning the 2016 Olympics and ousting Obama ( Chicago ) in the
first round is a shot across the bow to America. There is a moral and
spiritual revolution, of the people versus the global elite, occurring in
South America and its leader is Venezuela's Hugo Chavez: Allen L Roland

When President Obama and his wife, Michelle as well as Oprah Winfrey and
their entourage swept into Copenhagen to try and dazzle the International
Olympic Committee while representing Chicago ~ they were met with stony
indifference and humiliatingly bounced in the first round. The committee
then selectedRio de Janeiro, Brazil to host the 2116 Summer Olympics.

This was not a subtle rebuke to President Obama, instead it was a shot
across the bow of America that times are rapidly changing and that the
people of the world are effectively uniting against the global elite and
America be forewarned.

Recently 10,000 activists marched in Pittsburgh with great courage to
protest this world disorder, at the G-20 world economic meeting in late
September ~ a disorder in which the top 2 percent own 47 percent of the
world's wealth, while the bottom 60 percent live on less than two U.S.
dollars per day in poverty, misery and despair.

Two in ten American workers are out of a job, and soon it will be 3 out of
10. There are six people trying to get every available job. That means
five of them are never going to get a job ~ and it's going to get worse.
REAL Unemployment is now at 20% and will most likely goto 30%.

Consumer bankruptcies soared 41 percent in September from a year before
and climbed from August, as high unemployment and the housing market crash
took their toll, the American Bankruptcy Institute said on Friday.
Against this dire world economic backdrop ~ Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez addressed the UN General Assembly in New York on September 20th and
eloquently spoke of a moral and spiritual revolution of the people in
South America and "that those who attempt to close the door of this
peaceful revolution are opening the door to a violent revolution."

Chavez said that "this era is giving birth to a heart" and rightfully
said that the global elites are increasingly afraid of the people.

In that context, he spoke of the two Obamas ~ or one Obama that speaks out
of both sides of his mouth. But compared to his predecessor, who spoke
last year and who Mr Chavez rightfully called "the devil" in a previous UN
General Assembly speech ~ Chavezs aid "It doesn't smell of sulphur
anymore. It's gone. It smells of something else. It smells of hope and you
have hope in your heart."

Brazil's President Luiz Ignacio 'Lula' Da Silva echoed the same theme ~
"The issues at the core of our concerns - like climate change - have one
strong common denominator - the need to build a new international order
that is sustainable, multilateral and less asymmetric, free of hegemonies
and ruled by democratic institutions... This new world is a political and
moral imperative. We must be midwives to the future. This is the only way
to make repairs for so much injustice and to prevent new tragedies."

Michael Moore has brilliantly revealed how our Republic has become a
plutocracy in his recent film Capitalism: A Love Story. But now Hugo
Chavez gives us the solution ~ the people rising up to claim an economy at
the service of humanity ~ not beholden to Wall Street and the global

When our leaders fail ~ we, the people, must lead and the future of our
Republic now demands it. The people are already marching in South America
and will soon be joined by their brothers and sisters in North America.

Allen L Roland

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who
also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and

--------17 of 20--------

A Historian's Account of Democrats and Bush-Era War Crimes
by Glenn Greenwald
Thursday October 8 2009
Dissident Voice

The American Propsect's Adam Serwer notes that, yesterday, Sen. Joe
Lieberman successfully inserted into the Homeland Security appropriations
bill an amendment - supported by the Obama White House - to provide an
exemption from the Freedom of Information Act's mandates by authorizing
the Defense Secretary to suppress long-concealed photographs of detainee
abuse.  Two courts had ruled - unanimously - that the American people have
the right to see these photographs under FOIA, a 40-year-old law
championed by the Democrats in the LBJ era and long considered a crowning
jewel in their legislative achievements.  But this Lieberman amendment,
which is now likely to pass, undermines all of that and - as EBay founder
Pierre Omidyar put it today - its central purpose is to "legalize
suppression" of evidence of American war crimes.

What made those detainee photographs so important from the start is that
they depict brutal abuse well outside of the Abu Ghraib facility and thus
reveal to Americans - and the world - that America's torture was not, as
they've been constantly told, limited to rogue sadists at Abu Ghraib and
the waterboarding of three bad guys.  Instead, our torture regime was
systematic, pervasive, brutal, fatal, and - becuase it was the by-product
of conscious policies set at the highest levels of government - common
across America's "War on Terror" detention regime.  These photographs
would have documented those vital facts; combated the false denials from
torture apologists; fueled the momentum for accountability; and revealed,
in graphic and unavoidable terms, what was truly done by America's
government.  But a Democratic-led Congress, at the urging of a Democratic
President, are now taking extraordinary steps - including an act of
Congress which has no purpose other than to suppress evidence of America's
war crimes - to ensure that this evidence never sees the light of day.

If a historian were to write about the events of the first nine months of
2009 when it came to transparency issues as they relate to the war crimes
of the Bush years, the following is would be written.  Just remember this
was all done with an overwhelming Democratic majority in both houses of
Congress and a Democratic President elected on a promise to usher in "an
unprecedented level of openness in Government" and "a new era of openness
in our country."  There's no blaming Republicans for any of this:

In February, the Obama DOJ went to court to block victims of rendition and
torture from having a day in court, adopting in full the Bush argument
that whatever was done to the victims is a "state secret" and national
security would be harmed if the case proceeded.  The following week, the
Obama DOJ invoked the same "secrecy" argument to insist that victims of
illegal warrantless eavesdropping must be barred from a day in court, and
when the Obama administration lost that argument, they engaged in a
serious of extraordinary manuevers to avoid complying with the court's
order that the case proceed, to the point where the GOP-appointed federal
judge threatened the Government with sanctions for noncompliance.  Two
weeks later, "the Obama administration, siding with former President
George W. Bush, [tried] to kill a lawsuit that seeks to recover what could
be millions of missing White House e-mails."

[Time to end the honeymoon for Obama. No more benefit of the doubt. No
more thinking he can't mean all these evil anti-democratic policies. He
does, and we have to stop him and his lackeys (especially the Dems) or pay
a huge price. It seems we elect presidents to persecute us and destroy
democracy and the coutry in the interest of evil ruling class interests.
We do that very well. We could have nice lives, but we prefer to elect
knaves who try to do us in. -ed]

In April, the Obama DOJ, in order to demand dismissal of a lawsuit brought
against Bush officials for illegal spying on Americans, not only invoked
the Bush/Cheney "state secrets" theory, but also invented a brand new
"sovereign immunity" claim to insist Bush officials are immune from
consequences for illegal domestic spying.  The same month - in the case
brought by torture victims - an appeals court ruled against the Obama DOJ
on its "secrecy" claims, yet the administration vowed to keep appealing to
prevent any judicial review of the interrogation program.  In responses to
these abuses, a handful of Democratic legislators re-introduced Bush-era
legislation to restrict the President from asserting "state secrets"
claims to dismiss lawsuits, but it stalled in Congress all year.  At the
end of April and then again in August, the administration did respond to a
FOIA lawsuit seeking the release of torture documents by releasing some of
those documents, emphasizing that they had no choice in light of clear
legal requirements.

In May, after the British High Court ruled that a torture victim had the
right to obtain evidence in the possession of British intelligence
agencies documeting the CIA's abuse of him, the Obama administration
threatened that it would cut off intelligence-sharing with Britain if the
court revealed those facts, causing the court to conceal them.  Also in
May, Obama announced he had changed his mind and would fight - rather than
comply with - two separate, unanimous court orders compelling the
disclosure of Bush-era torture photos, and weeks later, vowed he would do
anything (including issue an Executive Order or support a new FISA
exemption) to prevent disclosure of those photos even if he lost again,
this time in the Supreme Court.  In June, the administration "objected to
the release of certain Bush-era documents that detail the videotaped
interrogations of CIA detainees at secret prisons, arguing to a federal
judge that doing so would endanger national security."  In August, Obama
Attorney General Eric Holder announced that while some rogue torturers may
be subject to prosecution, any Bush officials who relied on Bush DOJ
torture memos will "be protected from legal jeopardy."  And all year long,
the Obama DOJ fought (unsuccessfully) to keep encaged at Guantanamo a man
whom Bush officials had tortured while knowing he was innocent.

That's the record which a historian, wedded as faithfully as possible to a
narration of indisputable facts, would be compelled to write.  And those
are just disclosure and transparency issues.  None of that has nothing to
do with ongoing assertion of detention powers, habeas corpus denials,
renditions, the Democrats' active efforts just this week to prevent abuses
of the Patriot Act and FISA, etc. (for those with Twitter, just read Marcy
Wheeler's infuriating account from the last two hours of how key Democrats
in the Senate - led by Dianne Feinstein and Pat Leahy - just gutted
virtually every effort to rein in Patriot Act and FISA abuses that were
sponsored by Feingold, Durbin and even Arlen Specter:  ZAZI!!!).  And now
this war on transparency is all culminating with a White House-backed
effort - spearheaded by key ally Joe Lieberman - to sweep aside two
federal court rulings and to write a new exemption for FOIA that has no
purpose but to prevent the world from seeing new and critical evidence of
systematic American war crimes.  If the stated goal of Democrats had been
to use their newfound control of Government to protect and suppress
Bush-era war crimes, how could they have done any better?

UPDATE:  When I interviewed House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise
Slaughter back in June, she vowed to do everything possible to stop the
Lieberman/Graham/Obama photo suppression amendment, arguing that FOIA was
every bit "as sacred to Democrats as Social Security and Medicare."  If
only that were true.  Back in June, Slaughter - with the help of an
intense campaign from blogs and civil libertarians - did succeed in
blocking its enactment, but as Mother Jones' Nick Baumann reports, the
legislative mechanism used by Lieberman this week virtually assures its
passage, even though Slaughter vows still to oppose it.

Two other related notes:  (1) a journalist emails me to remind that I
should add to Obama's anti-transparency crusade the White House's efforts
to water down the "journalist shield law" to the point where it would
easily enable the Government to compel disclosure of the identity of
whistle-blowers in the national security context (i.e., the kind who told
Dana Priest about CIA black sites and Eric Lichtblau about illegal NSA
eavesdropping) - a clear violation of Obama's campaign platform that was
engineered by the White House in secret rather than out in the open; and
(2) I wasn't able to watch the Patriot Act proceedings today, but - in
addition to Wheeler's linked descriptions above - the normally
rhetorically restrained Adam Serwer just wrote of the Senate Democrats'
bill: "Senate passes PATRIOT Act Reauthorization. They should name it
after J. Edgar Hoover."

UPDATE II:  Quite related to all of this:  The Nation's Chris Hayes today
examines how many liberal advocacy groups allow themselves to be
controlled by the White House and subject themselves to collective message
coordinating.  As Hayes notes, Jane Hamsher refers to these controlled
progressive groups as the "veal pen," which she expertly described here.
There are many reasons why the reaction to things such as what I describe
in today's post from progressive groups (as distinct from the very vocal
civil liberties groups) has been so muted and acquiescent - e.g., a
tribal refusal to criticize one's own, a gut belief that someone as good
and just as Barack Obama couldn't possibly really be continuing
Bush/Cheney policies and complicitly helping to suppress their war crimes,
the anger that one provokes from one's own "allies" with such criticism,
etc. - but the organized co-option process which Hayes and Hamsher
document, accompanied by the fear of losing access and funding, is a very
significant factor.

UPDATE III:  Russ Feingold just wrote a scathing condemnation of the
behavior of his Senate Democratic colleagues and, especially, the Obama
administration with regard to what they just did with the Patriot Act and
FISA renewals, including this:

I am also very troubled that administration officials have been taking
positions behind closed doors that they are not taking publicly. . .  [I]f
the administration wanted to further water down the already limited
reforms in the bill that was on the table, they should have said so
openly. Instead, at our only public hearing we were told that the Justice
Department did not have positions on the crucial issues about to be
discussed. Then, over the past week, in classified settings, the
Department has weighed in against even some of the limited reforms that
Sen. Leahy originally proposed.

The administration loves to posture in public as though they support
various reforms - to lead their wild-eyed supporters to believe they do
- only to work in secret to gut those same reforms.  Feingold adds that
"[a]t the beginning of the year, I had high hopes for the Patriot Act
reauthorization process."   Why?  Just because of small facts like these:

We had just elected a President with a strong civil liberties record in
the Senate.  His Attorney General had supported some reforms during
consideration of the last reauthorization bill in 2005. And Democrats
controlled the Senate by such a large margin that our advantage on the
Judiciary Committee ended up at 12-7 after Sen. Specter switched parties.

Despite all of that, Feingold ended up having to vote against the new
Patriot Act bill that he spent all year leading because it was diluted to
the point where very little was fixed and some things were actually made
worse.  When it comes to transparency and civil liberties, that's what the
Democratic Congress and White House are.  If the record I documented here
isn't enough to see that, then take it from someone who sees them up close
and personal every day.

Copyright 2009 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.

--------18 of 20--------

Democrats With Guts
by Sahil Kapur
Tuesday October 6 2009
The Guardian/UK
Common Dreams

Congressman Alan Grayson's fighting talk gave Republicans a taste of their
own bitter medicine on healthcare reform

Democratic congressman Alan Grayson beat the Republicans at their own game
last week, when he ripped into them for dragging their feet on the
American health care crisis. On the floor of the House of Representatives,
he summarised the Republican health care plan as: "Don't get sick, and if
you do get sick, die quickly." It has caught Republicans like a deer in
the headlights, understandably so because Republicans are not used to
Democrats with guts.

Far from surrendering to immediate Republican outrage and demands for
apology, Grayson stood firmly by his stance, teasing his opponents that
he'll apologise, but "to the dead and their families" for government's
failure to improve the system. In fact, Grayson has since stepped up his
rhetoric in a recent media blitz, calling Republicans "knuckle-dragging
Neanderthals" and "a lie factory" whose only approach to policy is
obstructionism. By failing to produce a counter-proposal in the following
days, Republicans have effectively proven Grayson's point.

This kind of pugnacious spirit is common among Republicans but very rare
among Democrats, which is largely why Democrats so often get trampled in
legislative battles where they have the upper-hand politically,
intellectually, morally, historically and in opinion polls. Grayson's star
power has surged since his remarks. While the GOP has designated him
public enemy number one, Grayson has lit up the Democratic base.

What's unique about Grayson is that he's passionate about championing
liberal causes, and he forcefully calls out the lies of his Republican
opponents and the vapidity of today's conservative movement. With the
significant rightward shift of the Democratic party in the last few
decades, progressives are hardly represented in American government any
longer. Though there are a few notable exceptions, none have quite the
determination Grayson showed this week.

In the last 30 years, Republicans have yanked America further to the right
than was once conceivable. Democrats have been complicit in this. Many
Democrats sat idly by - if not supported - Republicans starting
unnecessary and destructive wars, violating the Constitution and
international law, redistributing wealth upward from the working poor to
the rich, letting tens of millions lose their health care, and actively
ignoring the threat of global climate change.

Democrats have effectively allowed Republicans to morph the word "liberal"
from an adjective into a smear. This continues today, despite the fact
that conservatives have steered America to one of its darkest places yet.
President Obama's self-consciously conciliatory approach plays right into
this meme. The zeal with which Republicans continue to promote their
agenda, despite its immense failures, provides a stark contrast to the
tepid Democratic spirit. [Shirley Temple drinks for the Dems. -ed]

This is why Grayson is not a typical Democrat, and why he's exactly what
Democrats have needed for a long time. The party dominates the House, has
a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and boasts a popular president
- yet continues to get pushed around the bullied by the GOP, which is less
popular than ever and has no serious proposals for solving today's
problems. What gives? A lack of fortitude.

Capping an era of great political cynicism and unprecedented domination of
money in politics, progressives have lost their footing and have tumbled
behind conservatives, facing an increasingly steeper mountain to climb as
Democrats continue to capitulate to the perpetrators of these quandaries.
In an age where campaign contributions from wealthy, narrow interest
groups are so critical to political survival, the incentive for ordinary
Democrats is to play the game, not change it.

With the Democratic party slowly morphing into a watered-down Republican
party, progressives have grown increasingly cynical of politics. Many feel
little incentive to vote or participate in the political process. A
Grayson-like fervor for liberal causes can help recapture this waning
enthusiasm, perhaps eventually motivating Democrats to be real
progressives again.

The internet age provides as much potential for political self-harm as it
does opportunity, but Grayson seems happy to take the heat in his stride.
Democrats need representatives who genuinely believe in liberal values,
who have the courage to fight for their beliefs, and who won't prioritise
political expediency over doing their job the right way. "We need
Democrats with guts," Grayson said of the whole matter. He's right. [Amen.

Guardian News and Media Limited 2009
Sahil Kapur is a political writer and journalist. He writes regularly for
the Huffington Post and has been featured on AlterNet, Campus Progress and
Daily Kos.

--------19 of 20--------

 Like the lemmings they
 resemble, Dems scurry to
 jump from cliff to sea.

 Proto lems learnt it
 from proto proto Dems, the
 age-old missing link.

 Whee! they say as they
 fall so free, flapping their arms
 and their tongues, see me!

 Don't be condemning a
 lemming - it could your own Dem
 rep, haw and hemming!

--------20 of 20--------

 Jack was the last man
 on earth. The phone rang. It was
 a bill collector.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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