|Progressive Calendar 11.02.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2009 07:12:07 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 11.02.09 1. Kolstad/Rybak/redio 11.02 12:30pm 2. Society/capitalism 11.02 1:15pm 3. Peace walk 11.02 6pm RiverFalls WI 4. Local economy 11.02 6:30pm 5. UHCAN-MN mtg 11.02 7pm 6. Hmong women writers 11.02 7pm7 7. Full moon walk 11.02 7pm 8. Papa John Kolstad - Statement re: media bias 9. ed - We support Kolstad for mayor. Sign on. 11.02 10. Fred Markus - Paid campaign workers 11. Fred Markus - The drill after the polls close 12. Fraser & Latimer - The case for instant-runoff 13. Michelle Gross - Let this perfect storm sweep out city's pol "leaders" 14. ed - New Broom rates Mpls city council & mayor 15. Glenn Greenwald - Obama's secrecy shields presidential lawbreaking --------1 of 15-------- Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2009 19:30:12 -0600 From: Sue <kolstadformayor [at] gmail.com> Subject: Kolstad/Rybak/redio 11.02 12:30pm Anybody but Rybak Mayoral candidates Papa John Kolstad, Al Flowers, Bill McGaughey and Bob Carney are all telling potential voters, "Vote me your number one, vote any of these others #2 and #3. Vote for any one but Rybak!" Instant Run-off voting or Ranked Choice Voting has made this kind of cooperation possible. All that candidates feel that any of us would be better than 4 more years of Rybak. The only forum that Rybak has agreed to this election is on Minnesota Public Radio, 91.1 FM, Monday, Nov 2, 2009. The program starts at 12:00 noon with Chris Coleman and Eva Ng in the St Paul Mayor race. At 12:30 to 1:00 it is Papa John Kolstad challenging RT Rybak for Mayor of Mpls. I think Gary Eichten is the host. There is no opening statement and a one minute closing statement. The rest wil be responding to questions. I do not know if they will allow follow up answers or comments to the other candidate. We'll see. John Kolstad --------2 of 15-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Society/capitalism 11.02 1:15pm November 2: Minneapolis Branch American Association of University Women Meeting. 9:30 AM: Are We Creating a Culture of Disrespect? 10:45 AM: Lobbying- What's It Good for Anyway? 11:45 AM: Announcements. 1:15 PM: Social Responsibility of a Capitalistic Society. Gale Mansion remodeling is beginning. Meeting will be held at the First Christian Church. --------3 of 15-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 11.02 6pm RiverFalls WI River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from "Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact: d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls, Wisconsin 54022 --------4 of 15-------- From: Leslie Reindl <alteravista [at] usfamily.net> Subject: Local economy 11.02 6:30pm "Designing for a Changing Future: ECONOMIC STABILITY THROUGH LOCAL INTERDEPENDENCE." Monday, November 2 6:30 to 8:30 pm Macalester College, Room 216 Campus Center (corner of Snelling and Grand Aves.), St. Paul Free. Sign up at www.excotc.org or show up at the door. Environmental concerns, economic breakdown, and worries about peak oil and other resource supplies-all are coming together at once. People are seeking new ways to organize themselves. and their communities. One response is the new emphasis on building a local economy, to increase sustainability and "community independence." What might such independence actually mean? This class will analyze the concept of "community independence" and construct a framework within which the needs of a community might be addressed through creative thinking, investment, and cooperative work. It will offer specific ideas for evaluation in terms of their do-ability and contribution to community independence. Given by Wilhelm Reindl, independent energy entrepreneur, former researcher at UofM and Bureau of Mines, now using experience of growing up on a small farm in Bavaria, Germany, to experiment with changes in farming on his small farm in Wisconsin. --------5 of 15-------- From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: UHCAN-MN mtg 11.02 7pm next UHCAN-MN organizing mtg monday Nov 2, 7PM Walker Church, 3104 16th ave s,on corner, Mpls, (1 block from Lake str. and Bloomington Ave). mtg in Gallery lower level. Items: -Reportbacks: update on federal reform, Trinity Church health screenings, Unity Bldg mtg, Bioneers Conference, etc -Nov 20-21 Retreat fri 7pm to sat 11pm ( fun, food, & creative teach- ins) -forming a direct action working group -Bring your ideas. we usually have hot tea, snacks Joel Albers Clinical Pharmacist, Health Economics Researcher Universal Health Care Action Network - MN Community/University Collaborative Research www.uhcan-mn.org email: joel [at] uhcan-mn.org phone: 612-384-0973 --------6 of 15-------- From: Richard Broderick <richb [at] lakecast.com> From: "Kimberly Nightingale" <editor [at] saintpaulalmanac.com> Subject: Hmong women writers 11.02 7pm READING JAM WITH HMONG AMERICAN WRITERS! November 2nd, 2009--If you're interested in hearing fresh new voices by emerging Hmong American writers and new works-in-progress by more established Hmong American writers, check out the Lowertown Reading Jam at the Black Dog this Monday November 2, 7-8:30 p.m! The featured readers include Gaoiaong Vang, Mai Yang Xiong, Linda Hawj, Mai Neng Moua, and May Lee-Yang. Reading by Hmong Women and Girls Monday, November 2 from 7-8:30 PM Black Dog Cafe, 308 Prince Street (kitty corner from St. Paul Farmer's Market) Why: Good literature The Saint Paul Almanac is presenting a series of ten Reading Jams, each curated and produced by well-known Saint Paul writers and spoken word artists, at Black Dog Café on the first Monday of each month, which began in October 2009. In addition, a variety of independent coffee shops and public venues throughout the city are holding readings by contributors to the Saint Paul Almanac in the weeks following the launch. More information about the Reading Jams and related events here. We intentionally expand language/communication experiences with a visual artist rendering each reading visually, and an interpreter signing each event. Come check it out and support the literary arts in Saint Paul! The Saint Paul Almanac is sponsored by KFAI: Radio Without Boundaries, the City of Saint Paul, the Saint Paul STAR Program, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, the Lowertown Future Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation, Twin Cities Daily Planet, the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, and Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. --------7 of 15-------- From: Sue Ann <seasnun [at] gmail.com> Subject: Full moon walk 11.02 7pm November 2 Full Moon Walk at Sacred Coldwater Spring Monday, November 2, 2009 at 7 PM The Hunter's or Blood Moon is the traditional time for harvesting and stockpiling meat for winter (not just because there's a general election Nov. 3). With leaves off the trees the views along the Mississippi gorge will open. Traditional group howl! Directions: Coldwater is south of Minnehaha Park, in Minneapolis. From Hwy 55/Hiawatha, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at 54th Street, take an immediate right, & drive South on the frontage road for ˝-mile past the parking meters, through the cul-de-sac & the gates. Follow the curvy road left & then right down to the pond, next to the great willow tree. --------8 of 15-------- Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2009 15:14:00 -0600 From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at] millcitymusic.com> Subject: Statement from Papa John Kolstad re: media bias I agree with those who identify the Strib editorial bias. They repeatedly wrote that none of the challengers for mayor were known. Al Flowers and Bill McGuahey have had presence on cable TV for years. Both are known in this city for their outspoken criticism of city policy and police misconduct. "Papa John Kolstad" as a musician, performer and political activist has had 40 years of visibility and notoriety. This includes TV, cable, radio, recordings, newspaper reports and articles, magazines, internet and blogs as well as presentations before the legislature. I am featured or mentioned in a number of published books including one about Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion and the West Bank Boogie which has an entire section about me. I am variously described as "famous", "legendary", "mainstream" "institution" and one of the twin cities' great performers and musicians. I have fans that include state wide public and elected officials and even members of the state Supreme Court. I have extensive experience on boards, committees, councils and task forces. I have a reputation as an advocate for small independent business and for working for a real solution to the health care mess. In this capacity I have been a featured speaker throughout the state, been a guest on many TV and radio shows, testified before the state legislature, and had op ed articles published in the Star Tribune. I was on 2 panels on health care organized by Congressman Keith Ellison. One of the panels also featured Representative John Conyers. What may be most astonishing is that Strib editor Lorie Sturdyvant featured me and another citizen in an editorial piece for our years of hard work on public issues for which we received no pay and no discernable reward. She honored us for our selfless civic commitment. I also ran for Attorney General in 2006 and received 41,000 votes. It is beyond credulity that the Star Tribune refers to "Papa John Kolstad" as "unknown". Steve Brandt always refers to me as "Republican endorsed" while this is true, it is misleading without the additional information that I head a coalition of insurgent candidates. The Minneapolis Republicans and Minneapolis Independence parties endorsed me with full knowledge that they were supporting a coalition candidate and knowledge of my issues. In addition, I have support from Greens and disaffected DFLers some of whom have personally and formally signed a letter of support for me. Mr. Brandt implies that I am a Republican. This is an attempt to frame me in a negative light. The truth is that I was a Democrat for over 30 years, was involved in the party. I was director in my senate district, alternate to the state central committee. I was also the state coordinator for a Democratic presidential candidate and Floor manager at a Democratic national convention. My principles have not changed over the years, the party has. Mr. Brandt may not know the Minneapolis Republican party is now led by a new, moderate group. This group supports small business, lower - fairer property taxes and fairer treatment of residents of the city. On these issues the entire coalition is in agreement. The distorted, biased, insufficient coverage by the Strib is rendering the paper irrelevant. The tragedy is, that the community papers and on line news services have done an even worse job. Why is the news media in Minneapolis afraid of any challenge to the DFL machine? Most media and news coverage has been distorted by reporters' attitudes that if a candidate did not have a significant amount of money early they were not viable and thus the media marginalized the candidates; never mentioning the issues of the challengers. Not one of these reporters who have made this assumption has interviewed me and asked me how I could be viable without vast sums of money. If they had, I would have told them our coalition has candidates and supporters in every ward and most precincts. Residents are very upset with the arrogant out of touch mayor and city council. They are looking for change and are looking for alternatives. This makes me, and the others viable; especially when you throw in my 2 major party endorsements. Ironically, some of these same reporters condemn the big money in elections; then reward it by only covering those who sell out to powerful, well-financed interests. If elections are about how much money a candidate raises - we can just do away with voting and simply put the candidate who raises the most money in office. Then the money can go into the city treasury to help pay for city services. I cannot predict the results on Nov 3, but I expect there will be some surprises. The mayor avoiding any public forums with challengers may just come back to bite him. --------9 of 15-------- From: ed Subject: We support Kolstad for mayor. Sign on. 9/29 (fwd) LAST CHANCE I, David Shove, appeal to you to sign on to this public letter of support for Papa John Kolstad. Please respond to shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu. Be the first in your neighborhood. I will send out updates. Please suggest other signers. They need not live in Mpls. -David Shove We the undersigned support Papa John Kolstad for mayor of Minneapolis. RT Rybak has failed to properly manage the city. Rybak has failed to supervise the police department. Rybak has worked actively with the city council to concentrate power downtown, and to shut out the voices of the residents. Rybak has actively pushed to increase Property Taxes by forcing up property valuations and increasing the tax rate. The Property Tax is the most regressive tax there is. This callous policy is harming low and fixed income people and small business. Rybak and the City Council often speak of their support for small business, but their actions directly harm small business. Papa John Kolstad will actively promote public involvement, will make the city more attractive, friendly and affordable for its residents, promote small businesses, and promote public safety through a better supervised police force. Papa John Kolstad will immediately ask for a complete audit of the City's spending over the past few years. Essential Services, like Police and Fire, must be funded. Non-essential services and expenditures need to be reviewed on a case by case basis, with the intention of cutting low priority programs. Papa John Kolstad will not force people on low or fixed incomes to pay for programs of questionable value. He will examine the Property Tax and work to remove any inequities. Papa John Kolstad believes that providing assistance to small business, as opposed to heavy taxes plus fee upon fee, will unleash this economic force, create new jobs and increase revenue to the City. Rybak is clearly using the Mayors Office as a stepping stone to run for governor. Papa John Kolstad is committed to the city of Minneapolis and will serve the full four years. In a recent email to supporters, Rybak said, "For the better part of two years I traveled the state to let people know what I knew: he (Obama) would be a president who would inspire us to take on the big challenges of our time". Papa John Kolstad says, "No wonder the City is in such bad straits, the Mayor has not been here for the better part of 2 years. We need a Mayor who will travel around the City and find out what the Minneapolis citizens know and what the critical needs and problems are. Then work to solve them". To bring about this important change to our City, we the undersigned know that we must take an active and public role to bring about the change this City needs. Supporters: [so far] Danene Provencher Mike Whelan Lydia Howell Dave Garland Dori Ullman Fred Markus Michael Cavlan RN, candidate ward 8 Alan Hancock Richard Broderick Amber Garlan Suzanne Linton Gary Carlson Tom Cleland Paul Busch Robert Halfhill David Unowsky Alan Carlson Jan McGee James Mayer Andy Hamerlinck Jane Kirby Dean Zimmerman L Hogan Mary Devitt Carol Mellom Bob & Judy Bjorke Anthony Hunnicutt JOhnny Hazard Eric Gilbertson David Shove 30..room for YOU [Contact John at 612-722-6649, kolstadformayor [at] gmail.com Website: papajohnkolstad.com Volunteer at kolstadformayor [at] gmail.com Send checks to Papa John Kolstad for Mayor 2830 E 22nd St Mpls 55406] --------10 of 15-------- Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2009 05:40:58 -0800 (PST) From: Fred Markus <fredric.markus [at] gmail.com> Subject: Paid campaign workers I posted this on Mpls Issues this morning because it gets my goat when Tim Bonham's tongue gets too sharp: You can't make bricks without straw. That's a truism that hails from biblical times. Similarly, candidates for local office have to confront the intricacies of election laws, develop target marketing strategies, ride herd on the volunteers that do step forward, and consider where they fit in the larger political edifices that are being built or maintained. Having a campaign manager is equivalent to having a construction foreman and even in the most egalitarian surroundings such as the Green Party purports to maintain, the notion of "primus inter pares" (first among equals) goes down much more smoothly if hard cash is laid out for experienced operatives. It is predictably ironic that the most able volunteers are frequently also the busiest people around. In the digital world that is coming to dominate the tasks of information management, competition for services means having to learn what the market will bear. In individual circumstances, the demands of job and family bring a harsh realization that there are only so many hours in the day. What is tops in my mind is the need for reliable and sustained effort and there just aren't that many bales of straw lying around free for the taking. Grassroots activism is a tough gig made more challenging by strings that so often come with serious money. Jeering at the Green Party because they operate on rock soup and pine needle tea avoids coming to grips with the sturdy bricks they do manage to produce and I trust an informed electorate will understand this. Fred Markus Phillips West --------11 of 15-------- Date: Mon, 02 Nov 2009 02:59:09 -0000 From: Fred Markus <Fredric.markus [at] gmail.com> Subject: The drill after the polls close. Getting election results One of the biggest changes from previous elections is the time it will take before final election results are known. Because Minneapolis is using Ranked Choice Voting, the election night vote tallies will look different from previous years, and final results in each race may not be available for several weeks. On election night, results will be posted on the Minnesota Secretary of State's Web page, showing how many first, second, and third choice rankings each candidate received. The first choice rankings are the unverified first round results from election night. Because of the way Ranked Choice Voting works, it is not possible to simply add up numbers in the columns to get final results. If no candidate receives the required number of first-choice votes to be elected after the first round of counting, a process of eliminating candidates and considering subsequent choices begins. Since there is no federally- or state-certified voting equipment capable of counting a Ranked Choice Voting election, the election will be hand-counted to determine the winners. Minneapolis election judges will begin working on the hand-count Nov. 4, and winners in individual races will be known as the count proceeds in the coming weeks. The hand-counting is tentatively expected to be complete by Dec. 21. You can find updates on the hand-counting process and the election results as they are compiled by visiting the City's elections Web page. In the hand-count process, City Council Ward offices will be counted first. A random drawing was conducted in October to determine the order in which the Wards are being counted. The order is as follows: Ward 13, Ward 12, Ward 2, Ward 11, Ward 6, Ward 7, Ward 5, Ward 10, Ward 4, Ward 3, Ward 1, Ward 8, Ward 9. As City Council Wards are counted, periodically Park District office results will become available (because districts are in multiple Wards). City-wide office results will available last, including results for Mayor, Park and Recreation Board at-large, and Board of Estimate and Taxation. Please note that the ballot question (in which voters vote yes or no) does not use Ranked Choice Voting and will not be hand-counted. --------12 of 15-------- Subject: Fraser and Latimer: The case for instant-runoff The following appeared yesterday in the STRIB: Don Fraser and George Latimer: The case for instant-runoff voting is clear Name any common flaw in the current system, and IRV offers a solution. By DON FRASER and GEORGE LATIMER What if we held an election and nobody came? Before you laugh and turn the page, be mindful that we're getting perilously close to that scenario these days; earlier this month, less than 8 percent of New York City's voters turned out for primary elections. And, if you're inclined to brush off that statistic with a "not in Minnesota" sense of superiority, sorry; last month, only 7 percent of voters turned out for St. Paul's primary. Like our endless recount in the Coleman-Franken race, single-digit turnout is an indicator that our voting system needs a tuneup. Fortunately, St. Paul voters can do just that on Nov. 3 by adopting a proposal for instant-runoff voting -- also called ranked-choice voting -- in mayoral and City Council elections. Minneapolis voters adopted instant-runoff voting in 2006 by a nearly 2-1 ratio and will use it for the first time Nov. 3. Looking at how the city has prepared for this event, we are confident the rollout in Minnesota's biggest municipality will be smooth and well-received. While new in Minneapolis, IRV has been successfully used in cities across America and in democracies around the world, including Ireland and Australia. IRV allows voters to rank candidates on the ballot in order of their preference. In municipal elections, IRV eliminates the expense of a separate primary election -- and its single-digit turnout -- but works just like a traditional two-step election in that it allows a field of candidates to be narrowed to a majority winner. Studies indicate that IRV leads to significantly higher levels of voter participation and is well-understood and preferred by voters. IRV also promotes better elections and better governance. All candidates have a real opportunity to shape the debate and to win votes. IRV also motivates candidates to keep their campaigns on a higher road in terms of tone and substance in order to appeal to voters as a second choice. Negative campaigning doesn't produce the same rewards under IRV as it does under traditional elections. Anecdotal evidence on this point is plentiful, including our observation of this year's Minneapolis Park Board and some of the City Council races, contests that have been very contentious in the past. In state elections, IRV better addresses the realities of Minnesota politics. The current system, designed for an era in which there were almost always only two parties on the ballot, is no longer working as well as it once did. Instead, plurality elections -- including the past decade of gubernatorial elections -- have become the new Minnesota normal. In other words, in recent elections, more voters have voted against our winners than for them. And, at the same time, viable third-party candidates are being marginalized. Some voters hold back supporting these candidates because they fear throwing their vote away -- and in doing so helping elect their least favorite candidate. This sort of strategizing means that too many of our citizens are voting for their second choice and that legitimate voices are being shut out of elective office. Low turnout, negative campaigning, minority winners, defensive voting, premature narrowing of candidate options -- voters are right to wonder if there isn't a better way to express their preferences and make their vote count. IRV is that better way. As retired politicians, our campaigning days are well behind us. Whether IRV is adopted in St. Paul and elsewhere is not a part of our personal political calculus. It is, however, vitally important to us as citizens and as members of our communities. We look forward to using IRV in our cities and to the day when we will use it in state partisan elections and return to the hallmark of a strong democracy -- majority rule -- without the need for a costly Georgia-style runoff election. We are proud to stand with hundreds of current and former elected officials, with political parties across the ideological spectrum and with nonpartisan organizations, including the Minnesota League of Woman Voters, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Take Action Minnesota and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, in urging St. Paul voters to approve IRV. --------13 of 15-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Let this Perfect Storm Sweep Out City's Political "Leaders" Each day's paper brings news of another episode in the shameful history of the Minneapolis police department: the assorted depravities of the Metro Gang Strike Task Force, a $500 grand settlement for an innocent victim of a brutal cop (who has yet to be disciplined), death of a community member from multiple Taser shocks, the Derryl Jenkins incident, and a number of other lawsuits that will soon result in large payouts. With three separate FBI investigations involving the MPD, it's certain even more outrageous conduct will soon be exposed. But no one should really be surprised. The confluence of lack of discipline, lack of supervision and lack of leadership by city officials has led to the perfect storm threatening to overtake the Minneapolis Police Department, and the city with it. This storm of mismanagement by the mayor, city council and police administration has been brewing for a long time. It's not like City officials didn't know. Community activists sounded the alarm over and over. $14.5 million in payouts for police actions in the last four years is a strong signal. Yet, afraid to lose the precious police federation endorsement, these politicians have cowed to the cops over and over. It's time for real leadership to bring about real change. The same city officials who got us into this mess cannot get us out of it. The entire Minneapolis city council is up for election along with the mayor. Let the people send a strong message that we are sick of having our taxes pay for the cops' lack of discipline and accountability. The community is just bursting with great ideas about how to reduce police brutality and increase police accountability. Just a few that have been proposed: * Requiring cops to purchase their own professional liability insurance (just like doctors, nurses and other professionals). If a cop has too many complaints and suits, he or she will become uninsurable which would help to remove bad cops from the force. * An elected police commission over both the police chief and the civilian review authority * An elected police chief * Requiring all police judgments and settlements to come from the police department budget rather than the general fund or, better yet, out of their retirement fund * A stronger Civilian Review Authority (CRA) with subpoena power and the power to discipline * Stronger policies, especially around the use of Tasers and the use of force in general During the terms of this city council and Mayor Rybak, we have seen the collapse of federal mediation, the dismantling of the CRA and sharp increases in police brutality incidents, including outrageous conduct during the Republican National Convention. Yet, the city's leadership remains silent on policing issues. Let this perfect storm sweep away these deadwood politicians and bring forth a new breed of leader who will face these issues and set into place solutions. Time for a change! Signatories: Michelle Gross, President, Communities United Against Police Brutality Mpls candidates: John Kolstad mayor Al Flowers mayor Allen Aigbogun ward 2 Melissa Hill ward 3 Kenya McKnight ward 5 Michael Tupper ward 6 Michael Katch ward 7 Michael Cavlan ward 8 David Bicking ward 9 Todd J Eberhardy ward 9 Kim Vlaisavljevich ward 10 Charley Underwood ward 12 Dave Wahlstedt park board --------14 of 15-------- ed New Broom rates Mpls city council & mayor grade ward/incumbent F 1/Ostrow open. C- 2/Gordon D- 3/Hofstede F 4/Johnson F 5/Samuels WORST of 13. F 6/Lilligren SECOND WORST F 7/Goodman C- 8/Glidden C- 9/Schiff D+ 10/Remington open. D- 11/Benson open. D- 12/Colvin-Roy D+ 13/Hodges F mayor Rybak [This has been printed here before at greater length; it is here as reminder to sweep them out. Don't give a 1 or 2 or 3 to any incumbent.-ed] --------15 of 15-------- Obama's Latest Use of 'Secrecy' to Shield Presidential Lawbreaking by Glenn Greenwald What was once depicted as a grave act of lawlessness - Bush's NSA program - is now deemed a vital state secret. Published on Sunday, November 1, 2009 by Salon.com Common Dreams The Obama administration has, yet again, asserted the broadest and most radical version of the "state secrets" privilege - which previously caused so much controversy and turmoil among loyal Democrats (when used by Bush/Cheney) - to attempt to block courts from ruling on the legality of the government's domestic surveillance activities. Obama did so again this past Friday - just six weeks after the DOJ announced voluntary new internal guidelines which, it insisted, would prevent abuses of the state secrets privilege. Instead - as predicted - the DOJ continues to embrace the very same "state secrets" theories of the Bush administration - which Democrats generally and Barack Obama specifically once vehemently condemned - and is doing so in order literally to shield the President from judicial review or accountability when he is accused of breaking the law. In the case of Shubert v. Bush, the Electronic Frontier Foundation represents numerous American citizens suing individual Bush officials, alleging that the Bush administration instituted a massive "dragnet" surveillance program whereby "the NSA intercepted (and continues to intercept) millions of phone calls and emails of ordinary Americans, with no connection to Al Qaeda, terrorism, or any foreign government" and that "the program monitors millions of calls and emails . . . entirely in the United States . . . without a warrant" (page 4). The lawsuit's central allegation is that the officials responsible for this program violated the Fourth Amendment and FISA and can be held accountable under the law for those illegal actions. Rather than respond to the substance of the allegations, the Obama DOJ is instead insisting that courts are barred from considering the claims at all. Why? Because - it asserted in a Motion to Dismiss it filed on Friday - to allow the lawsuit to proceed under any circumstances - no matter the safeguards imposed or specific documents excluded - "would require the disclosure of highly classified NSA sources and methods about the TSP [Terrorist Surveillance Program] and other NSA activities" (page 8). According to the Obama administration, what were once leading examples of Bush's lawlessness and contempt for the Constitution - namely, his illegal, warrantless domestic spying programs - are now vital "state secrets" in America's War on Terror, such that courts are prohibited even from considering whether the Government was engaging in crimes when spying on Americans. That was the principal authoritarian instrument used by Bush/Cheney to shield itself from judicial accountability, and it is now the instrument used by the Obama DOJ to do the same. Initially, consider this: if Obama's argument is true - that national security would be severely damaged from any disclosures about the government's surveillance activities, even when criminal - doesn't that mean that the Bush administration and its right-wing followers were correct all along when they insisted that The New York Times had damaged American national security by revealing the existence of the illegal NSA program? Isn't that the logical conclusion from Obama's claim that no court can adjudicate the legality of the program without making us Unsafe? Beyond that, just consider the broader implications of what is going on here. Even after they announced their new internal guidelines with great fanfare, the Obama administration is explicitly arguing that the President can break the law with impunity - can commit crimes - when it comes to domestic surveillance because our surveillance programs are so secret that national security will be harmed if courts are permitted to adjudicate their legality. As EFF put it last July (emphasis in original), government officials: seek to transform a limited, common law evidentiary into sweeping immunity for their own unlawful conduct. . . . [They] would sweep away these vital constitutional principles with the stroke of a declaration, arrogating to themselves the right to immunize any criminal or unconstitutional conduct in the name of national security. . . . For that reason, as EFF pointedly noted the last time the Obama DOJ sought to compel dismissal based on this claim: "defendants' motion is even more frightening than the conduct alleged in the Amended Complaint." Think about that argument: the Obama DOJ's secrecy and immunity theories are even more threatening than the illegal domestic spying programs they seek to protect. Why? As EFF explains (click image to enlarge) Can anyone deny that's true? If the President can simply use "secrecy" claims to block courts from ruling on whether he broke the law, then what checks or limits exist on the President's power to spy illegally on Americans or commit other crimes in a classified setting? By definition, there are none. That's what made this distortion of the "state secrets" privilege so dangerous when Bush used it, and it's what makes it so dangerous now. Back in April, 2006 - a mere four months after the illegal NSA program was first revealed, and right after Bush had asserted "state secrets" to block any judicial inquiry into the NSA program - here is what I wrote about the Bush administration's use of the "state secrets" privilege as a means of blocking entire lawsuits rather than limiting the use of specific classified documents: [Q]uite unsurprisingly, the Bush administration loves this doctrine, as it is so consistent with its monarchical view of presidential infallibility, and the administration has become the most aggressive and enthusiastic user of this doctrine . . . . As the Chicago Tribune detailed last year, the administration has also used this doctrine repeatedly to obstruct any judicial proceedings designed to investigate its torture and rendition policies, among others . . . . This administration endlessly searches out obscure legal doctrines or new legal theories which have one purpose - to eradicate limits on presidential power and to increase the President's ability to prevent disclosure of all but the most innocuous and meaningless information. That was the prevailing, consensus view at the time among Democrats, progressives and civil libertarians regarding Bush's use of the state secrets privilege: that the privilege was being used to exclude the President from the rule of law by seeking to preclude judicial examination of his conduct. Plainly, Obama is now doing the same exact thing - not just to shield domestic surveillance programs from judicial review but also torture and renditions. Is there any conceivable, rational reason to view this differently? None that I can see. Note, too, how this latest episode eviscerates many of the excuses made earlier this year by Obama supporters to justify this conduct. It was frequently claimed that these arguments were likely asserted by holdover Bush DOJ lawyers without the involvement of Obama officials - but under the new DOJ guidelines, the Attorney General must personally approve of any state secrets assertions, and Eric Holder himself confirmed in a Press Release on Friday that he did so here. Alternatively, it was often claimed that Obama was only asserting these Bush-replicating theories because he secretly hoped to lose in court and thus magnanimously gift us with good precedent - but the Obama administration has repeatedly lost in court on these theories and then engaged in extraordinary efforts to destroy those good precedents, including by inducing the full appellate court to vacate the decisions or even threatening to defy the court orders compelling disclosure. No rational person can continue to maintain those excuses. Is there any doubt at this point that, as TalkingPointsMemo put it in a headline: "Obama Mimics Bush on State Secrets"? Or can anyone dispute what EFF's Kevin Bankston told ABC News after the latest filing from the Obama DOJ: The Obama administration has essentially adopted the position of the Bush administration in these cases, even though candidate Obama was incredibly critical of both the warrantless wiretapping program and the Bush administration's abuse of the state secrets privilege. Extreme secrecy wasn't an ancillary aspect of the progressive critique of Bush/Cheney; it was central, as it was secrecy that enabled all the other abuses. More to the point, the secrecy claims being asserted here are not merely about hiding illegal government conduct; worse, they are designed to shield executive officials from accountability for lawbreaking. As the ACLU's Ben Wizner put it about the Obama DOJ's attempt to use the doctrine to bar torture victims from having a day in court: "This case is not about secrecy. It's about immunity from accountability." That's what Obama is supporting: "immunity from accountability." What makes this most recent episode particularly appalling is that the program which Obama is seeking to protect here - the illegal Bush/Cheney NSA surveillance scheme - was once depicted as a grave threat to the Constitution and the ultimate expression of lawlessness. Yet now, Obama insists that the very same program is such an important "state secret" that no court can even adjudicate whether the law was broken. When Democrats voted to immunize lawbreaking telecoms last year, they repeatedly justified that by stressing that Bush officials themselves were not immunized and would therefore remain accountable under the law. Obama himself, when trying to placate angry supporters over his vote for telecom immunity, said this about the bill he supported: I wouldn't have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush's abuse of executive power. It grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have violated the law by cooperating with the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretapping. This potentially weakens the deterrent effect of the law and removes an important tool for the American people to demand accountability for past abuses. Yet here is Obama doing exactly the opposite of those claims and assurances: namely, he's now (a) seeking to immunize not only telecoms, but also Bush officials, from judicial review; (b) demanding that courts be barred from considering the legality of NSA surveillance programs under any circumstances; and (c) attempting to institutionalize the broadest claims of presidential immunity imaginable via radically broad secrecy claims. To do so, he's violating virtually everything he ever said about such matters when he was Senator Obama and Candidate Obama. And he's relying on the very same theories of executive immunity and secrecy that - under a Republican President - sparked so much purported outrage. If nothing else, this latest episode underscores the ongoing need for qCongressional Democrats to proceed with proposed legislation to impose meaningful limits and oversight on the President's ability to use this power, as this President, just like the last one, has left no doubt about his willingness to abuse it for ignoble ends. 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. [More proof that "hope" was entirely misplaced; it was our weakness not our strength; time to move beyond Obama and the corporate Congress to citizen organization and action.] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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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