|Progressive Calendar 03.19.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 13:54:59 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.19.10 1. Vs corrupt judges 3.19 3pm 2. Palestine vigil 3.19 4:15pm 3. Vigil/Guijarro 3.19 3:50pm 4. Peace walk 3.20 9am Cambridge MN 5. Sustainable yards 3.20 10am 6. Vs Iraq war 3.20 1pm 7. CUAPB 3.20 1:30pm 8. Northtown vigil 3.20 2pm 9. MissRiver birding 3.20 2pm 10. Romero remembered 3.20 5pm 11. Workers organize 3.20 7pm 12. Gaza march/MN 3.20 9pm 13. Billy Wharton - Kucinich's healthcare sell-out 14. Gary Brumback - America's circus: an expensive show 15. Gary Brumback - The monster in our midst 16. John Walsh - Two cheers for Netanyahu: exposure of Obama complete 17. Marc Weisbrot - Intl campaign around Venezuela's elections has begun 18. Anthony Lawson - A little known fact about the 9/11 planes 19. ed - A self-denying entity (haiku) --------1 of x-------- From: Louise Bouta <wellmindmn [at] q.com> Subject: Vs corrupt judges 3.19 3pm STOP CORRUPT JUDGES RALLY St. Paul, MinnesotaState Capitol Steps 3:00PM - 6:30PM Friday, March 19, 2010 It has been an entire year since Rep. Dan Severson called an ad hoc hearing to hear evidence of corruption in the Minnesota Judicial Branch. Citizens, including attorneys testified and brought evidence. Impeachment papers against judges were presented and asked to be brought as Bills of Impeachment by legislators. Rep. Severson introduced HF 1632 to correct the problems. The only Representatives to sign unto HF 1632 are Bruce Anderson, Tom Emmer, Steve Drazkowski and Marty Seifert. There is NO companion bill introduced in the Senate. Currently, the Minnesota Legislature is violating the state constitution. There are statutes that state, "Court Rules Eliminate Statutes" and "Court Opinions Eliminate Statutes". The judges have written a Court Rule, that says the judges do not need to obey the court rules. We have NO LEGISLATED LAW in the state of Minnesota, we only have the WHIMS of the judges. The judges ALSO wrote a rule that says it is okay for them to take "gifts". We call that taking bribes. AFTER YEARS of telling the legislator that we hired THEM to write out laws, and not the judges...that's what our constitution says...we still are being ignored. WHY? Why do the people we elect refuse to obey the constitution? We have a government that WE created. The government MUST obey the constitution. Our constitution does NOT give unbridled power to the judges...but our legislature DID give this power to the judges. THE EVIDENCE given to the Legislators include: Judges changing transcripts. Secret meetings between judges and prosecutors. Judges taking bribes. Judges committing felonies. Judges hiding evidence of their crimes from the Grand Jury. WHEN WILL THIS STOP? HOW WILL THIS STOP? Only when the PEOPLE join together and DEMAND ACTION. The Legislature MUST repeal the statutes that give unbridled power to the judges. The Legislature MUST do their DUTY under Article Six Section Nine of the Minnesota constitution and DISCIPLINE the judges. YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT. SHOW UP. Be at the Rally. -Nancy Lazaryan --------2 of x-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 3.19 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 available. --------3 of x-------- From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Vigil/Victor Guijarro 3.19 3:50pm Vigil for Victor Guijarro - Mar. 19 www.victorylibertad.com Important Procession and Vigil for the liberation of Victor Guijarro and his mother, who are imprisoned in an Ohio jail because of unjust immigration laws. This event is also in solidarity with a March for America happening this weekend in Washington D.C. If you can't go to Washington DC: Come join with us, on this March of Faith for our liberty. FRIDAY, MARCH 19th, 2010 (3:50pm) Westside of Saint Paul (Cesar Chavez & George Street) Meeting place: La Placita, next to El Burrito on Concord Ave in St. Paul We will leave in a procession at 4:00 toward the office of Senator Al Franken to ask that he support our demands. Nuestras Demandas: 1. Use the power you have to release Victor Guijarro and re-unite his family. 2. The immigration system is oppressive - we want a new immigration system based on the values of dignity, family and rights. 3. Stop the pratice of racial profiling, and put an end to cooperation between local law enforcement and immigration agents. www.victorylibertad.com La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles Llevando el Evangelio a la Arena Publica --------4 of x-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 3.20 9am Cambridge MN every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------5 of x-------- From: Cam Gordon <CamGordon333 [at] msn.com> Subject: Sustainable yards 3.20 10am Sustainable Yards Workshops. The Longfellow Community Council is hosting a series of workshops on sustainable practices for your yards and gardens. Workshops will be on Saturday, March 20th from 10am - 3pm at Sanford Middle School. Workshop topics will include Rain Gardens, Landscaping with Native Plant Species, Composting, Fruit Trees and Shrubs, Vegetable Gardening and Organic Lawn Care. At the event, you can also learn what's behind the City's stormwater fees and the "Do's and Don'ts" of boulevard planting. Longfellow residents are eligible to save energy, water and time with an array of door prizes - such as rain barrels, compost bins, native plants, fruit trees, green cleaning products, low-flow shower heads and MORE! The event is FREE, but please go to www.longfellow.org to RSVP. --------6 of x-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Vs Iraq war 3.20 1pm Rally and March: "Bring the Troops Home Now!" Saturday, March 20, 1:00 p.m. Gather at Third and Cedar Avenue on the West Bank in Minneapolis. March to a closing rally at Bedlam Theatre, 1501 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis. Come and join with other Minnesotans as we exercise our rights of free speech, celebrate the spring, and lead the nation as we speak out against the continued occupation of Iraq. "Funds for education, housing, health care and human needs, not wars and occupations." Join a local demonstration on the national day of protest to mark the seventh anniversary of the war on Iraq. "Out of Afghanistan and Iraq. No escalation - hands off Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, and Somalia. Aid for Haiti, not occupation!" Come join other WAMM members, marching behind the WAMM banner in your WAMM gear (visors, t-shirts, arm bands, buttons) as we show the world that WAMM is not, and never has been, afraid to say that these wars are wrong! Unable to walk behind a banner anymore? Join us at the closing rally at 2:15 p.m. Bedlam Theater, 1501 South 6th Street, Minneapolis. Show the student protestors what the greatest generation looks like. Sponsored by: Iraq Peace Action Coalition (IPAC). WAMM is a member of IPAC. FFI: Call 612-522-1861 or 612-827-5364. Note: There will be a peacekeeper/volunteer meeting, Saturday, March 20, 12:15 p.m. at Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis. People are needed to help on Saturday with peacekeeping, helping with the march, distributing and collecting signs, helping with the collection, and more. There will be a brief orientation at the 12:15 meeting. The rally starts at 1:00 p.m. right outside Mayday Books. --------7 of x-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB 3.20 1:30pm Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South http://www.CUAPB.org Communities United Against Police Brutality 3100 16th Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55407 Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867) --------8 of x-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 3.20 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------9 of x-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Miss River birding 3.20 2pm The Mighty Mississippi - Lectures, Discussions & More On Saturday, March 20, 2 p.m., visit the Central Library meeting room to take a virtual birding adventure with Birdchick Sharon Stiteler. Stiteler, who writes the popular Birdchick blog, will focus on bird life along the Mississippi. --------10 of x-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Romero remembered 3.20 5pm Romero Remembered March 20, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. St. Paul's Lutheran Church, at 28th Street and 15th Avenue, Minneapolis. Please join others for a celebration of the life of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. March 24, 2010 is the 30th anniversary of the murder of Romero as he spoke at Mass in San Salvador, calling for the Salvadoran military to stop killing civilians. The celebration will start with a service, including music by the author of the Missa Campesino. Dinner and a program will follow, including a live link-up with Father Miguel Ventura in Communidad Segundo Montes, El Salvador. Sponsored by: Minnesota Salvadorans United, the St. Paul-Ciudad Romero Sister City project and St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Endorsed by: WAMM. --------11 of x-------- From: jtmiller jtmiller <jtmiller [at] minn.net> Subject: Workers organize 3.20 7pm Saturday March 20, 7:00 pm Working Democracy Discussion Forum "A New Workers Movement: How can workers overcome their vocational, religious and cultural differences, and organize to change society?" at MayDay Bookstore Friday March 26, 7:00 pm Working Democracy Book Club Concluding "Value, Price & Profit," by Karl Marx at MayDay Bookstore http://www.meetup.org/working-democracy-meetup-group --------12 of x-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Gaza march/MN 3.20 9pm Merry Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow! Households with basic cable may watch. Sat, 3/20, 9pm and Tues, 3/23, 8am "Gaza Freedom March: Minnesota Contingent" As 2009 ended, 1400 people from more than 40 countries and across multiple identity lines gathered in Cairo, Egypt, with the intent to march in Gaza, Palestine. The activists and journalists went to help bring an end to the Siege of Gaza and draw attention to the occupation of Palestine. Among participants were 7 people from Minnesota. 4 Minnesotans speak about their experiences from their journey. Interview by Karen Redleaf. --------13 of x-------- Kucinich's Healthcare Sell-out by Billy Wharton March 18th, 2010 Dissident Voice The Obama administration cracked a tough nut today in their relentless drive to sponsor a corporate restructuring of the American healthcare system. Dennis Kucinich, who had been one of the few voices of opposition to the faulty healthcare "reform," announced today that he intends to vote "Yes" on the healthcare bill currently under consideration in the US House of Representatives. The announcement came after a high-pressure visit from President Barack Obama to the Cleveland district Kucinich represents. For many in the movement for single-payer healthcare, the move is the final in a series of betrayals by Democratic Party politicians. First among these was Representative John Conyers from Michigan, the sponsor of House Resolution 676, a bill that would create a publicly funded National Health Program by eliminating private health insurers. Conyers caved-in quickly, voting yes on the proposal and providing little resistance outside of an interesting quip about having to read a 2,000-page bill in two days. Kucinich appeared as a dissident of a different type. Kucinich railed against the House bill, claiming that it ".would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care". This critique was backed up by a "No" vote in November 2009. In House deliberations, however, Kucinich had already moved off his single-payer position, first searching for a "robust" public option and then attempting to create a clause that would allow states to pursue single-payer programs. Today Kucinich went a step further, cowering to the will of a White House bankrolled by big pharma and the private health insurance lobby. Kucinich called it "a detour" and claimed that all of his previous criticisms of the bill still stood. The healthcare bill had become, he proposed, a contest between the presidency and its far-right critics. More correctly, Kucinich caved to pressure from pro-Obama groups, such as Moveon.org [never give them any money -ed] who recently collected more than $1 million to pressure House Democrats who had voted no on the original bill. The extent of the pressure campaign was brought home when Obama appeared in Kucinich's voting district this week and summoned him to a meeting on Airforce One. There, the terms of Kucinich's sell-out were determined. The one powerful voice that has been remarkably absent from the whole spectacular public discussion of healthcare reform is that of the private health insurance lobby. Why so quiet? Because they wrote significant portions of the bill currently under consideration in the House. Because they have purchased the support of Democratic and Republican representatives by spending an average of $609,000 a day on lobbying during the first six months of 2009. And, because Obama's healthcare proposal will open up new opportunities to harvest taxpayer money by providing clunker healthcare plans to the uninsured. Kucinich knows this yet he will still provide his name to this damaging scheme. Most of all, Kucinich's betrayal points to the burning need for political activity, both electoral and social movement based, independent of the Democrats and Republicans. [Amen! -ed] The political system is already so saturated with corporate money that Democrats and Republicans are structurally incapable of acting in the interests of working people in America. Now is the time for a green and red rebellion at the ballot box and on the streets. Only then can we can be done with the wavering Kucinichs of the world and get down to the task of creating a society that values human needs over corporate profits. We need a single-payer healthcare system now and only an uncompromising movement made up of everyday people will get us there. [Never trust Kucinich for anything ever again. -ed] Billy Wharton is the editor of The Socialist magazine and the Socialist WebZine. He can be reached at: billyspnyc [at] yahoo.com. --------14 of x-------- America's Circus: An Expensive Show by Gary Brumback March 17th, 2010 Dissicent Voice How many clowns can get out of that car? All the lifers and peddlers. All the oval office puppets. All the touts. All the burrowers. All the hurdle makers. The car has revolving doors! What's the car pulling? A bench with robed clowns on it. Is the beast driving the car? No, the corporate ringmaster is. What's going on here? P.T. Barnum would know. Mark Twain would know. Will Rogers would know. Late night comedians would surely know. It's the biggest circus in America. And Americans are being taken for a ride! Let's go inside the huge tent and take a peek. Lifers and Peddlers We have the best Congress money can buy. - Will Rogers Politicians are more likely to retire from or die in office than to be ousted from it by the voters. Politics was never meant to be a professional calling and career in America. Her founders loathed the very idea of political parties. Politicians were considered citizens first and foremost and they voluntarily left office instead of running for reelection. What changed the status quo were the advent of the spoils system and the peddling of big business for votes. So what we have today is a huge spoils system for the lifers and peddlers. Do you know that it costs taxpayers over $12 million annually for members of Congress to run their fiefdoms (including large staffs, some with family members on the payroll)? Voluntarily quitting has become a rarity. Who would quit such a cradle-to-grave job other than those caught up in scandals that won't go away, who are just worn out, or who somehow don't have or don"t please their corporate sponsors? Oval Office Puppets Two-term limits keep U.S. presidents from being life-long residents of the White House. But that's plenty enough time and more to damage America and her democracy. Whether in office one or two terms, they are corporate puppets and might as well be on its payroll, except it's cheaper for corporations to have presidents stay on the tax payer's roll. The Corporate strings are taut and short. The puppets wage war urged on by the defense (war?) industry. They dole out corporate welfare. They deregulate public constraints on corporate power. They promote the exploitative, undemocratic form of capitalism on behalf of corporations, and especially the big firms on Wall Street. They make judicial appointments that please corporations. They open the revolving door and let it keep spinning with corpocrats coming and going. They use the bully pulpit on behalf of corporate interests. They issue "signing statements" to end run new corporate-hostile laws and regulations (not that there are many to end run). They set in motion the policies that paved the way to Economic Katrina, the Second Greatest Depression, etc., etc. Kept Courts Justices and judges can be "bought," as in "justice for sale," particularly in those state courts where judges are elected. They can be kept beholden to elected officials who appoint them. Presidents savor the chance to fill one or more vacant seats. They can be kept "hostage" by their allegiance to an elite profession with its biases and culture. It's an idealistic myth to think that justices and judges "put on the robe of impartiality". Their robes are just rolls of cloth! Additionally, besides their own predilections, their deliberations are bombarded by arguments and counterarguments from well-paid corporate lawyers. Just how kept is the U.S. Supreme Corporate Court? Its infamous January 21, 1010 ruling says it all; five corporate justices ruled that corporations are persons with Constitutional rights. The Touts I've been tout fishing On the banks of the political sewer. And with just one cast Look at what I caught. Thousands of touts! Big Pharma is the biggest tout in the stream of money flowing up to Capital Hills, the Nation's and all its states too no doubt. If you can find me an industry that doesn't have a pool of touts I'll show you the proverbial ocean-front property in Arizona. But let's not overlook the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It spends plenty of money touting. You can't mistake it for any U.S. Chamber of Democracy. The Revolving Doors Now you see them here. Now you see them there. Who are they and where are they coming and going? They don't stay put like the careerists do. They are the self-serving shufflers shuffling back and forth through the perfectly named "revolving door". There are actually three kinds of them. One is for corporate officials and lobbyists who go through to appointments in key government posts to ensure corporate interests aren't denied by the American people. There's the government-to-industry door through which public officials, having gotten experience and valuable contacts from the inside by keeping public interests at bay, go to industry and parlay their experience and contacts into furthering corporate interests in exchanges, usually private, with the government. And finally, there's the government-to-lobbyist door through which former legislators, their staffs, and executive-branch officials pass on the way to lucrative positions in lobbying firms to lobby their former colleagues. The Burrowers Now you see them, now you don't. When oval office puppets are about to leave office they burrow their sycophant appointees into the federal bureaucracy as civil servants who never lose their jobs. Hurdle Makers Voting hurdles are a favorite ploy of conservatives and powerful corporate self interests who fear a populace vote. These hurdles deter the voter, deny voting, or derail honest voting. Voter disillusionment is the only self-imposed hurdle but it is reinforced by the hurdle makers making eligible voters feel it's futile to vote. The Beast The cons are fond of saying "starve the beast". They are referring, of course, to big government. They want to cut public budgets, public services, and the number of public servants to the bone. I have been inside and outside the beast; suffocating inside, a hierarchical maze to navigate inside or outside. So I understand their gripe although it is too extreme. It is about as extreme as my gripe with the typical big corporation being too bloated and bureaucratically inefficient (recently I had to endure a robot corporate router and a succession of three live persons before I got to one who had the best chance of helping me). If the typical corporation didn't get corporate welfare and other government power gifts it would probably fail. Let's Shut Down the Show! The show has been going on for decades. We can't shut it down unless we all shut it down. What will that take? The answer is another story, but I'll tell you here that it will take organizing, priming, and unleashing democracy pow!er (deliberately spelled that way) to "knock out" the corpocracy, the marriage made in Hell between "our" government and large corporations. ***** The first 50 people who email the author and promise to tell him what they think of it will get a free, advance copy of The Corpocracy: Knocking It Out With Democracy Pow!er. Gary Brumback is a retired organizational psychologist, book reviewer, and book author. He can be reached at: democracypower [at] bellsouth.net. --------15 of x-------- The Monster in Our Midst by Gary Brumback March 19th, 2010 Dissident Voice In my previous article, I wrote about the very expensive American circus. Today I want to tell you about the monster in our midst. Are you aware that wherever you go, whatever you do the monster is there and probably is doing you no good? No, I'm not paranoid. The monster is very real, very large, very powerful, very abusive in using its power, and is why we have that very expensive circus. What is this monster? It's the corpocracy, a marriage made in Hell between "our" government and large corporations. This monster is ruling and ruining America and Americans. There are so many telltale signs that the monster exists that it would take one billboard after another to post them. The monster's domination, often harmful, is over every aspect of our lives. Here are some of the signs to illustrate what I'm talking about. A Few Telltale Signs of The Monster's Domination (1) Over Our Personal and Cultural Lives . Dominates and manipulates the mass media; . Commercializes and privatizes our education; . Commercializes our religion; . Ceaselessly promotes materialism and consumption; . Uproots our homes for commercial development; . Callously forecloses on our homes; and, . Allows bridges to collapse; gushing poop from broken sewers; etc. (2) Over Our Economic Lives . Gouges us with outrageous interest fees; . Creates haves and have-nots; . Gives us substandard wages if we have a job; . Downsizes us; . Outsources our work; . Emasculates our unions; . Creates monopolies and Big Box stores; . Causes the collapse of our small business firms; . Creates the unsafe/unhealthy products we buy; . Privatizes and degrades our public utilities; . Starves and privatizes our social services; . Devours and bankrupts honorable companies; and, . Favors Wall Street over our Main Street every time; (3) Over Our "Self-Governing" Lives . Buys politicians we don't want or deserve; . Gets Supreme Court rulings against us; . Hand picks judges who judge against us; . Lobbies intensely for its own special interests, not ours; . Always trumps our interests with corporate interests; . Hi-jacks OUR Constitution; . Controls laws and regulations and escapes accountability; and, . Scams state and local governments for subsidies; (4) Over Our National Security . Promotes and profits from endless wars; . Privatizes the military; and, . Weakens our true security by breeding dissent. (5) Over Our Environment . Treats natural resources as commodities and waste dumps; and, . Thumbs its nose at Mother/Father Nature. All told, the signs should tell us that we, the people, have very little say over matters that should be ours and ours alone to decide and to control: matters of our health, education, and welfare, our own form of government; our own elected officials; war or peace; environmental protection or plundering; our own liberties, our own life equations. Say what? Our own life equations? Yes. You + Your Situations = Whether/How Much Health, Happiness, and Prosperity You Have or Don't Have That may just be the most fundamental and important non-mathematical equation you will ever read. Answer this question: If you had your druthers whom or what would you want to have more control or influence over your equation throughout your life? Would it be you or would it be situations in your life like the monster? It's a rhetorical question, obviously, but I think it gets the point across. You would prefer to be empowered enough so that you can shape your own destiny by enhancing yourself and mastering or at least coping with your situations sufficiently and in doing so enable you to be sufficiently healthy, happy, and prosperous - the three essential elements of one's quality of life. How many Americans do you think enjoy that luxury to the maximum? Only those in the corpocracy? "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is more than "just" a declaration of the sanctity and importance of our life equations. It's an affirmation of humanity in a civilized society. It's also why the American Revolution was fought. We do not live in a democracy. We live in a corpocracy. Why don't we put an end to it? It's much easier said than done. First, the monster is huge, wealthy, and powerful. Second, believe it or not, most American's don't really see the monster for one or more reasons. Third, the people who do see it are too few and too disorganized. In the next article in this series I will explain why the monster's telltale signs aren't really telling most Americans that the monster is in their midst. Gary Brumback is a retired organizational psychologist, book reviewer, and book author. He can be reached at: democracypower [at] bellsouth.net. --------16 of x-------- Two Cheers for Netanyahu Exposure of Obama Complete by John Walsh March 19th, 2010 Dissident Voice Joe Biden got torpedoed in Israel last week, no question about it. Not as bad as the lethal attack on the USS Liberty, but pretty nasty nonetheless. Biden, however, soldiered on, conferring with his boss for some 90 minutes and leaving the food cold at the Netanyahu homestead. Bibi's humiliation of Biden and Obama brought out the whole of the punditry, some of it going so far as to criticize the Zionist state. Even Tom Friedman waxed indignant, counseling that the hapless Veep should have packed up and gone home. But, like Biden, Friedman is certain to get over it just as surely as he recanted recently when he had the poor judgment to utter a kind word about China. Uri Avnery captured the Biden fiasco best, observing that a weakling with spit on his face calls it rain. And Pat Buchanan observed that Biden remained in "full pander mode" even as Israel kicked its American poodle. But by midweek the falsehoods had begun to take hold and the punditry was starting to rewrite the story, with Maureen Dowd spinning the incident as a smackdown of Bibi by Barack who had finally "lost his temper". This insight rivaled her accompanying characterization of Israeli colonies in East Jerusalem as "a domestic zoning issue". And by Wednesday, op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere were blaming the whole incident on Barry for bringing up the "settlement" issue in the first place. Finally toward week's end on Thursday the Washington Post revealed that Barry and Bibi had reached a secret understanding that the settlement construction could continue so long as they remained out of public view. Sic semper Obama. Netanyahu, however, deserves the undying gratitude of every real progressive in the U.S. This past year has been like a dance of the seven veils for Obama. They had been all teased away, save for one. The veil of peace, the veil of civil liberties, the veil of environmentalism, single-payer, nuclear disarmament (ripped away by a big new budget for nukes), opposition to the banksters - stripped away one by one. The only remaining vestment was opposition to Israel's colonies. And Bibi tore that one off between breakfast and (delayed) dinner, leaving Obama standing as naked as Ishtar or Salome. [Naked and morally revolting. -ed] So thanks, Bibi, for finishing the job. Now that it's done we can expect all those who aggressively championed candidate Obama to broadcast effusive apologies for so doing. Let us never forget that Obama was not just the candidate of the Democrats but the hands down choice of the most "progressive" wing of the Party, its dream candidate. By revealing Obama for what he is, the limitations of the Dems are laid bare. Obama is all we can expect from them, and it is not much. [Equally naked and morally revolting. -ed] By now Obama's backers surely recognize that they should not have urged him on us, just because he was so "cool" in schooling and appearance, or because all their friends liked him. Surely by now they realize that they were not voting for prom king but for the Emperor of the U.S. With Obama's exposure completed by Bibi, we can expect an apology from the leaders of PDA like Norman Solomon, from the message controllers at The Nation, from other gate keepers in the "progressive" movement, from Tom Hayden, Medea Benjamin, Phyllis Bennis and other leaders of UFPJ and the official peace movement, even perhaps from MoveOn.org. Surely they will be in print soon, promising no more pigs in a poke that turn out to be rats when let out of the bag. At the least they will apologize profusely for imposing Obama on us. I can hardly wait to hear from them. John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com. --------17 of x-------- International Campaign Around Venezuela's Elections Has Begun An Ugly and Dangerous Game By MARC WEISBROT CounterPunch March 19 - 21, 2010 Venezuela has an election for its National Assembly in September, and the campaign has begun in earnest. I am referring to the international campaign. This is carried out largely through the international media; although some will spill over into the Venezuelan media. It involves many public officials, especially in the U.S. The goal will be to generate as much bad press as possible about Venezuela, to discredit the government, and to de-legitimize the September elections - in case the opposition should choose to boycott, as they did in the last legislative elections, or refuse to recognize the results if they lose. There's no need for conspiracy, since the principal actors all know what to do. Occasionally some will be off message due to lack of co-ordination. A fascinating example of this occurred last week when Sen. John McCain tried to get Gen. Doug Fraser of the U.S. Southern Command to back his accusations that Venezuela supports terrorist activities. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 11, General Fraser contradicted McCain: "We have continued to watch very closely ... We have not seen any connections specifically that I can verify that there has been a direct government-to-terrorist connection". Oops! Apparently Fraser didn't get the memo that the Obama team, not just McCain, is in full campaign mode against Venezuela. The next day, he issued a statement recanting his testimony: "Assistant Secretary Valenzuela [the State Department.s top Latin America official] and I spoke this morning on the topic of linkages between the government of Venezuela and the FARC. There is zero daylight between our two positions, and we are in complete agreement. There is indeed clear and documented historical and ongoing evidence of the linkages between the Government of Venezuela and the FARC . ... we are in direct alignment with our partners at the State Department and the Intelligence Community". Well it's good to know that the United States still has civilian control over the military, at least in the Western Hemisphere. On the other hand, it would be even better if the truth counted for anything in these Congressional hearings or in Washington foreign policy circles generally. The general's awkward and seemingly forced reversal went unnoticed by the media. The "documented and historical and ongoing evidence" mentioned by Gen. Fraser refers to material alleged to come from laptops and hard drives allegedly found by the Colombian military in a cross-border raid into Ecuador in 2008. Never mind that this is the same military that has been found to have killed hundreds of innocent teenagers and dressed them up in guerrilla clothing. These laptops and hard drives will continue to be tapped for previously undisclosed "evidence," which will then be deployed in the campaign against the Venezuelan government. We will be asked to assume that the "captured documents" are authentic, and most of the media will do so. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's attacks on Venezuela during her trip to South America were one of the opening salvos of this campaign. Most of what will follow is predictable. There will be hate-filled editorials in the major newspapers, led by the neo-con editorial board of the Washington Post (a.k.a. Fox on 15th Street). Chavez will be accused of repressing the media, even though most of the Venezuelan media - as measured by audience - is still controlled by the opposition. In fact, the media in Venezuela is still far more in opposition to the government than is our own media in the United States, or for that matter in most of the world. But the international press will be trying to convey the image that Venezuela is Burma or North Korea. In Washington D.C., if I try to broadcast on an FM radio frequency without a legal broadcast license, I will be shut down. When this happens in Venezuela, it is reported as censorship. No one here will bother to look at the legalities or the details, least of all the pundits and editorial writers, or even many of the reporters. The Venezuelan economy was in recession in 2009, but will likely begin to grow again this year. The business press will ignore the economic growth and hype the inflation, as they have done for the past six years, when the country's record economic growth cut the country's poverty rate by half and extreme poverty by 70 percent (which was also ignored). Resolutions will be introduced into the U.S. Congress condemning Venezuela for whatever. The U.S. government will continue to pour millions of dollars into Venezuela through USAID, and will refuse to disclose the recipients. This is the non-covert part of their funding for the campaign inside Venezuela. The only part of this story that is not predictable is what the ultimate result of the international campaign will be. In Venezuela's last legislative elections of 2005, the opposition boycotted the national elections, with at least tacit support from the Bush Administration. In an attempt to de-legitimize the government, they gave up winning probably at least 30 percent of the legislature. At the time, most of the media - and also the Organization of American States - rejected the idea that the election was illegitimate simply because the opposition boycotted. But that was under the Bush Administration, which had lost some credibility on Venezuela due to its support for the 2002 coup, and for other reasons. It could be different under an Obama Administration. That is why it is so ominous to see this Administration mounting an unprovoked, transparently obvious campaign to de-legitimize the Venezuelan government prior to a national election. This looks like a signal to the opposition: "We will support you if you decide to return to an insurrectionary strategy," either before or after the election. The U.S. State Department is playing an ugly and dangerous game. [I wish all the evils that Obama Inc wishes upon Venezuela be instead visited upon the Obama government, ten times over. -ed] Mark Weisbrot is an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He is co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: the Phony Crisis. --------18 of x-------- A Little Known Fact About the 9/11 Planes by Anthony Lawson March 19th, 2010 Dissident Voice It is not a theory but a fact - one that is well known within the 9/11 truth movement - that the 9/11 Commission failed to ensure that at least one of the appropriate government agencies: the NTSB, the FBI or the FAA was commissioned to positively identify the aircraft which were allegedly involved in the murders of nearly 3,000 people, on September 11, 2001. One does not need to be a Harvard Law School graduate to know that the first and most important requirement in any murder investigation is to determine the cause of death, which often leads to a requirement to identify, and trace to its origins, a murder weapon, or, in the case of 9/11: weapons. And there can be no doubt that each of the four planes which were allegedly hijacked on the morning of 9/11 was posited as being a murder weapon by the U.S. administration and the 9/11 Commission, yet there is absolutely nothing which firmly connects the four allegedly-hijacked planes to any of the 9/11 crash sites. In fact, it is not fanciful to suggest that if a lawyer, even of a far lower calibre than that of an Alan Dershowitz, were engaged to defend the airport security companies that allegedly allowed 19 box-cutter-carrying Arabs to get on to those planes, he would immediately call for the dismissal of such an action on the grounds that the planes which allegedly hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the one which crashed near Shanksville had never been forensically identified as the planes which, allegedly, had been hijacked that morning. And such a motion could not possibly be denied, as I will explain. The planes in question were alleged to have been: American Airlines flight 11 (Tail Number: N334AA), North Tower; United Airlines flight 175 (N612UA), South Tower; American Airlines flight 77 (N644AA), the Pentagon, and United Airlines flight 93 (N591UA), which supposedly crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. But the truth is that they could well have been different planes that had arrived on the scenes from quite different locations, because the crash debris recovered from those four crash sites has never been forensically linked to the planes that allegedly took off from Logan International, Boston; Dulles International, Washington and Newark International, New Jersey, and which were, allegedly, hijacked shortly thereafter. Therefore, they cannot possibly be linked, without a reasonable doubt, to breaches of security at those airports. So it would be a remarkable irony, and quite possibly a unique circumstance in the annals of American jurisprudence, if the assumptions used as reasons for launching wars against two sovereign nations, as well as the more generalised "War on Terror" would not stand up as evidence in either a criminal prosecution or a civil damages suit in an American court of law. Air-crash investigations in the United States are normally carried out by the NTSB's air accident investigation division, and there are several documentary television series featuring this government agency's painstaking approach when investigating the causes of air crashes. During many such investigations, serial numbers from recovered parts are cross checked with the airline-in-question's purchase and maintenance records, to try and identify the reason for an accident, when it is suspected that mechanical failure may have been the cause. However, the NTSB has confirmed that - apparently for the first time from its inception, in 1967, since when it has investigated more than 124,000 other aviation accidents - it took no part in investigating any of the air crashes which occurred on September 11, 2001. So the world has been asked to take it on faith and hearsay that the four planes involved were normal scheduled flights which were hijacked by Arab terrorists, some of whom, are, allegedly, still alive. Even more disturbing is the fact that documentation exists, and is available on the Internet, which indicates that the FBI, backed up by a separate letter from the Justice Department, has refused to release any information under the Freedom of Information Act about any debris recovered from the crash sites, including the serial number of the "Black Box" Cockpit Flight Data Recorder allegedly found near the alleged crash site of United Airlines Flight 93. It may be recalled that a transcript taken from this recorder formed the basis for several TV dramas and one Academy-Award winning feature film. By no means finally, but just as disturbing, the core of a jet engine, which can be seen in several 9/11 videos falling out of the northern face of the WTC's South Tower, and which hit a building on its way down, and was photographed and videoed - in the presence of FBI personnel and at least one FBI vehicle - where it came to rest at the junction of Church and Murray streets, was later photographed, prior to its [alleged] burial in a land fill on Staten Island. So much for what murder investigators are usually so concerned about: The chain of custody and preservation of important evidence, pending its identification. The events of 9/11 had consequences far beyond the destruction of life and property in the United States; they were the reasons for the launching of three wars. Yet it is obvious that a leader writer of an influential newspaper, the Washington Post, could not spare the time to look into such a serious matter - one that people with far fewer resources than he or she has access to have managed to do - before launching a scathing attack on a member of the Japanese parliament and the world-wide 9/11 truth movement, in general. Just because the 9/11 Commission did not do its job properly is no excuse for newspaper writers not to do theirs. Unless, of course, newspapers such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times are playing a conscious role in a conspiracy to prevent the truth about these events from surfacing. In which case their editors and owners would almost certainly be guilty of misprision of felony. I would like to stress that the identity of the planes is not the only reason why the 9/11 Commission's findings should be regarded as invalid, and its members found guilty, at the very least, of gross oversights in the collection of the evidence which was used in the writing of its Final Report. Even a cursory look at the visual evidence of the collapsing World Trade Center's Twin Towers and WTC 7 should have instilled grave doubts about the findings of some of the experts from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST. But, for my money, the real smoking guns were, and still are, the four aircraft that were used as weapons on that terrible day, and for them not to have been identified breaks every rule in any book which seeks to teach the art of solving crimes. Anthony Lawson is a retired, international-prize-winning TV commercials director, cameraman and editor, and a professional voiceover artist living in Thailand. His entire catalog of YouTube videos can be viewed online. Read other articles by Anthony. --------19 of x-------- The ruling class says that there is no ruling class. So it must be so. Who better than the ruling class to settle the age-old question whether there is a ruling class? And who are we to question them? Mere employees, proletariat, workees, water-blooded dirt-grubbers... So when a way-better-than-us aristocrat says neither he nor his class exists, we'd damn well better believe him (as he deftly picks our pockets). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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