Progressive Calendar 08.01.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2010 14:53:42 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   08.01.10

1. Party/Cavlan    8.01 6pm
2. Fast vs torture 8.01 6pm

3. Torture vigil   8.02 6am
4. Organic         8.02 6pm
5. Peace walk      8.02 6pm RiverFalls WI
6. uhcan-mn        8.02 7:15pm

7. Alexander Cockburn - Do disclosures of atrocities change anything?
8. PC Roberts         - Chelsea's wedding/ Let them eat cake

--------1 of 8--------

From: dorijj [at]
Subject: Party/Cavlan 8.01 6pm

Dear Friends: This is your invitation to the party/fundraiser for Michael
Cavlan's Campaign for the US House of Representatives for the Minnesota
5th CD. It will be tomorrow evening, August 1, from 6 - 9 PM, at Walker
Community Church in the lower Level, 3101 31sat st. S. It is One block off
Lake St. and one block off Bloomington Avenue.

There will be music (Papa John Kolstad and several others to entertain
you) and snacks as well as wonderful people to visit with.

--Dori Ullman, Manager, The Committee to Elect Michael Cavlan to the US
House of Represebtatuves

--------2 of 8--------

From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at]>
Subject: Fast vs torture 8.01 6pm

This fast and speaking/writing activism can be done anywhere you live and
other small groups are standing vigil at US Courthouses in their own
cities around the U.S.

Please consider participating in a 24 hour Fast Against Torture in memory
of all those illegally and unethically tortured around the world,
including, most importantly, those tortured and waterboarded by the
Bush-Cheney Administration.

Sunday August 1, 2010 is the eight-year anniversary of the writing of the
"torture memos" by Office of Legal Counsel lawyers, John Yoo and Jay
Bybee. After Bush, Cheney and other White House principals approved of
"dark side" methods, they got their lawyers to "legalize" various forms of
torture through the series of OLC memorandums that culminated with the
"torture memos" written on August 1, 2002. Recently Congressman Conyers
released what Bybee, who is now a 9th Circuit Judge, told the House
Judiciary Committee in his recent non-public interview. While Bybee did
not admit any wrongdoing, he did blame Yoo for being too close to the
White House when Yoo apparently formulated the memos that attempted to
"legalize" torture. Not surprisingly, thousands of Yoo's e-mails during
this time have suspiciously disappeared.

Coincidentally, the statute of limitations (SOL) specifies eight years as
the time period for bringing a prosecution under the Federal Torture
statute. So legislation is desperately needed at this point to extend the
SOL as it soon could run, for instance, on certain acts of waterboarding
begun as a result of Yoo-Bybee's (August 1, 2002) "torture memos." Obama's
insane slogan about "looking only forward" to ignore past crimes has begun
to wear thin. Legal authorities as diverse as FOX News Judge Andrew
Napolitano are appalled at the lack of accountability and New York
Congressman Jerrold Nadler argues that "failing to prosecute former Bush
administration officials complicit in the use of torture would create a
dangerous precedent and place America on a path to 'tyranny.'"

Just one day after announcing the Fast Against Torture on Facebook, nearly
300 people from all over the world have committed to participating. Those
with good health who can do so, have pledged their intention to fast
(except for water) from 6 pm on August 1 to 6 pm on August 2, 2010. Many
are also pledging to contact President Obama, Attorney General Holder,
their US Senators (most importantly those who sit on the Judiciary
Committee), their Congressperson, other elected officials and/or their
local newspaper.

Speaking of writing letters to the editor, a good one was published today
by the Minneapolis Star Tribune entitled "Liberia gets justice. What about
America?" It turns out that since the Federal Torture Statute was passed
in 1994 following the ratification of the Convention Against Torture, only
one person has ever been charged under that statute. His name was Chuckie
Taylor, and he was the son of Charles Taylor, the former President of
Liberia. The torture Chuckie committed was as head of his father's
"Anti-Terrorist Unit." The irony of convicting a Liberian for torturing in
the name of anti-terrorism is nothing but seeing the speck in another's
eyes but not the log in our own.

For those who live in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, you are invited
to also come join our all-day vigil anytime during the day (Monday) of
August 2 in front of the US Courthouse, 300 4th St. S, Minneapolis,
Minnesota. "Tackling Torture at the Top" (a committee of Women Against
Military Madness) began this daily noon hour vigil in October 2009 but it
will go all day on Monday, August 2nd. So come stay for a few minutes, an
hour or the entire day as we fast, hold signs and hand out leaflets. Look
for us in the orange "Close Gitmo" jumpsuits.

--------3 of 8--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Torture memos vigil 8.02 6am

Vigil: Eight-Year Anniversary of the Torture Memos

Monday, August 2, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Federal Courthouse Plaza, 300 4th
Street South, Minneapolis. The infamous Torture Memos were dated August 1,

It is very soon that the eight-year anniversary will be noted. WAMM's
Tackling Torture at the Top (T3) Committee will note that awful day by
Fasting Against Torture for 24 hours. T3 will also be present for a
12-hour vigil in front of the Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis. Join in
calling for repentance for the torture that has been done in our name; and
in calling for accountability for that action. All are welcome to join in
the vigil for whatever time you are able. Sponsored by: T3. FFI: Call
WAMM, 612-827-5364.

--------4 of 8--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Organic 8.02 6pm

August 2: Women's Environmental Institute Organic Farm School. "What IS
Organic?" with Meg Moynihan, Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Drop-in
class is $20, drop in field day is $10. 6 PM at Midtown Global Market,

--------5 of 8--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 8.02 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] Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022

--------6 of 8--------

From: Joel Albers <joel [at]>
Subject: uhcan-mn 8.02 7:15pm

UHCAN-MN mtg Monday, august 2, 7:15pm,
Walker Church, 3104 16 th ave s (1 block south of lake str and bloomington
ave) in Mpls, 55406.

  items include:

- aftermath of nurses strike, continued debate, article in southside pride
- our position on the federal legislation, messaging
- single-payer, MN, & governor's race
- tabling Longfellow Cornfeed aug 5, 5:30pm - 8:30pm
- tabling state fair
-other tabling ops ? art fairs, corn feeds, ice cream socials, outdoor
movies ?
-uhcan-mn on Eric, Karen's cable tv program, aug 13 ?
  other items ?

joel 612-636-3838 or 612-384-0973

--------7 of 8--------

Do Disclosures of Atrocities Change Anything?
July 30 - August 1, 2010

The hope of the brave soldier who sent 92,000 secret U.S.  documents to
Wikileaks was that their disclosure would prompt public revulsion and
increasing political pressure on Obama to seek with all speed a diplomatic
conclusion to this war.  The documents he sent Wikileaks included
overwhelming documentary evidence - accepted by all as genuine, of:

* the methodical use of a death squad made up of US Special Forces, known
as Task Force 373,

* willful, casual slaughter of civilians by Coalition personnel, with
ensuing cover-ups,

*the utter failure of "counter-insurgency" and "nation building",

*the venality and corruption of the Coalition's Afghan allies,

*the complicity of Pakistan's Intelligence Services with the Taliban,

Wikileaks" founder, Julian Assange, skillfully arranged simultaneous
publication of the secret material in the New York Times, the Guardian and
Der Spiegel.

The story broke on the eve of a war-funding vote in the U.S. Congress.
Thirty-six hours after the stories hit the news stands, the U.S. House of
Representatives last Tuesday evening voted Aye to a bill already passed by
the Senate that funds a $33 billion, 30,000-troop escalation in
Afghanistan. The vote was 308 to 114. To be sure, more US Reps voted
against escalation than a year ago when the Noes totted up to only 35.
That's a crumb of comfort, but the cruel truth is that in 24 hours the
White House and Pentagon, with the help of licensed members of the
Commentariat and papers like the Washington Post, had finessed the salvoes
from Wikileaks.

"WikiLeaks disclosures unlikely to change course of Afghanistan war" was
the Washington Post's Tuesday morning headline. Beneath this headline the
news story said the leaks had been discussed for only 90 seconds at a
meeting of senior commanders in the Pentagon.  The story cited "senior
officials" in the White House even brazenly claiming that that it was
precisely his reading of these same raw secret intelligence reports a year
ago that prompted Obama "to pour more troops and money into a war effort
that had not received sufficient attention or resources from the Bush
administration". (As in: "Get that death squad operating more efficiently"
- an order consummated by Obama's appointment of General McChrystal as his
Afghan commander, transferred from his previous job as top U.S. Death
Squad general in charge of the Pentagon's world-wide operations in this

There's some truth in the claim that long before Wikileaks released the
92,000 files the overall rottenness and futility of the Afghan war had
been graphically reported in the press. Earlier this year, for example,
reporting by Jerome Starkey of The Times of London blew apart the U.S.
military's cover-up story after Special Forces troops killed two pregnant
Afghan women and a girl in a February, 2010, raid, in which two Afghan
government officials were also killed.

It's oversell to describe the Wikileaks package as a latterday Pentagon
Papers. But it's undersell to dismiss them as "old stories", as
disingenuous detractors have been doing. The Wikileaks files are a
damning, vivid series of snapshots of a disastrous and criminal
enterprise. In these same files there is a compelling series of secret
documents about the death squad operated by the US military known as Task
Force 373. an undisclosed "black" unit of special forces, which has been
hunting down targets for death or detention without trial. From Wikileaks
we learn that more than 2,000 senior figures from the Taliban and al-Qaida
are held on a "kill or capture" list, known as Jpel, the joint prioritized
effects list.

There are logs showing that Task Force 373 simply killed their targets
without attempting to capture. The logs reveal that TF 373 has also killed
civilian men, women and children and even Afghan police officers who have
strayed into its path.

One could watch Assange being interviewed on US news programs where he
would raise the fact that the US military has been - is still - running a
death squad along the model of the Phoenix Program. His interviewers
simply changed the subject. Liberal gate-keepers complained that the
Wikileaks documents were raw files, unmediated by responsible imperial
journalists such as themselves. This echoed the usual ritual whines from
the Pentagon about the untimely disclosures of "sources and methods". (I
recommend to CounterPunchers Doug Valentine's pieces on this site - try
the one from August 11, 2003 - on the fundamental objective of big
assassination programslike Phoenix in instilling general social terror in
the target population.)

The bitter truth is that wars are not often ended by disclosures of their
horrors and futility in the press, with consequent public uproar.

Disclosures from the mid-1950s that the French were torturing Algerians
amid the war of independence were numerous.  Henri Alleg's famous 1958
account of his torture, La Question, sold 60,000 copies in a single day.
Torture duly became more pervasive, and the war more savage, under the
supervision of a nominally Socialist French government.

After Ron Ridenhour and then Seymour Hersh broke the My Lai massacre in
1968 in Vietnam with over 500 men, women and babies methodically, beaten,
sexually abused, tortured and then murdered by American GIs, - a tactless
disclosure of "methods" - there was public revulsion, then an escalation
in slaughter. The war ran for another seven years.

It is true, as Noam Chomsky pointed out to me last week, when I asked him
for positive examples, that popular protest in the wake of press
disclosures "impelled Congress to call off the direct US role in the
grotesque bombing of rural Cambodia.  Similarly in the late 70s, under
popular pressure Congress barred Carter, later Reagan, from direct
participation in virtual genocide in the Guatemalan highlands, so the
Pentagon had to evade legislation in devious ways and Reagan had to call
in terrorist states, primarily Israel, to carry out the massacres".

Even though New York Times editors edited out the word "indiscriminate"
from Thomas Friedman's news report of Israel's bombing of Beirut in 1982,
tv news footage from Lebanon prompted President Reagan to order Israeli
prime minister Begin to stop, and he did.  (On one account, which I tend
to believe, the late Michael Deaver, was watching live footage of the
bombing in his White House office and went into Reagan, saying "This is
disgusting and you should stop it.")

It happened again when Peres's forces bombed the UN compound in Qana in
1996, causing much international outrage, and Clinton ordered it ended.
There was a repeat once more in 2006, with another bombing of Qana that
aroused a lot of international protest.  But as Chomsky concludes in his
note to me, "I think one will find very few such examples, and almost none
in the case of really major war crimes".

So one can conclude pessimistically that exposure of war crimes, torture
and so forth, often leads to intensification of the atrocities, with
government and influential newspapers and commentators supervising a kind
of hardening process. "Yes, this - murder, torture, wholesale slaughter of
civilians - is indeed what it takes." Even though this pattern is
long-standing, it often comes as a great surprise. A friend of mine was at
a dinner with the CBS news producers, shortly before they broke the Abu
Ghraib tortures. Almost everyone at the table thought that Bush might well
be impeached.

The important constituency here is [filthy bankrupt - ed] liberals, who
duly rise to the challenge of unpleasant disclosures of imperial crimes.
In the wake of scandals such as those revealed at Abu Ghraib, or in the
Wikileaks files, they are particularly eager to proclaim that they "can
take it" - i.e., endure convincing accounts of monstrous tortures,
targeted assassinations by US forces, obliteration of wedding parties or
entire villages, and emerge with ringing affirmations of the fundamental
overall morality of the imperial enterprise. This was very common in the
Vietnam war and repeated in subsequent imperial ventures such the
sanctions and ensuing attack on Iraq, and now the war in Afghanistan. Of
course in the case of Israel it's an entire way of life for a handsome
slice of America's liberals.

What does end wars? One side is annihilated, the money runs out, the
troops mutiny, the government falls, or fears it will. With the U.S. war
in Afghanistan none of these conditions has yet been met. The U.S. began
the destruction of Afghanistan in 1979, when President Jimmy Carter and
his National Security Advisor Zbigniev Brzezinksi started financing the
mullahs and warlords in the largest and most expensive operation in the
CIA's history until that time.  Here we are, more than three decades
later, half buried under a mountain of horrifying news stories about a
destroyed land of desolate savagery and what did one hear on many news
commentaries earlier this week? Indignant bleats often by liberals, about
Wikileaks' "irresponsibility" in releasing the documents; twitchy
questions such as that asked by The Nation's Chris Hayes on the Rachel
Maddow Show:  "I wonder ultimately to whom WikiLeaks ends up being

The answer to that last question was given definitively in 1851 by Robert
Lowe, editorial writer for the London Times.  He had been instructed by
his editor to refute the claim of a government minister that if the press
hoped to share the influence of statesmen, it "must also share in the
responsibilities of statesmen".

"The first duty of the press," Lowe wrote, "is to obtain the earliest and
most correct intelligence of the events of the time, and instantly, by
disclosing them, to make them the common property of the nation. The Press
lives by disclosures. For us, with whom publicity and truth are the air
and light of existence, there can be no greater disgrace than to recoil
from the frank and accurate disclosure of facts as they are. We are bound
to tell the truth as we find it, without fear of consequences - to lend no
convenient shelter to acts of injustice and oppression, but to consign
them at once to the judgment of the world".

Alexander Cockburn can be reached at alexandercockburn [at]

--------8 of 8--------

Chelsea's Wedding
Let Them Eat Cake
July 30 - August 1, 2010

It is not unusual for members of the diminishing upper middle class to
drop $20,000 or $30,000 on a big wedding. But for celebrities this large
sum wouldn't cover the wedding dress or the flowers.

When country music star Keith Urban married actress Nicole Kidman in 2006,
their wedding cost $250,000. This large sum hardly counts as a celebrity
wedding. When mega-millionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump married
model Melania Knauss, the wedding bill was $1,000,000.

The marriages of Madonna and film director Guy Ritchie, Tiger Woods and
Elin Nordegren, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones pushed up the
cost of celebrity marriages to $1.5 million.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes upped the ante to $2,000,000.

Now comes the politicians's daughter as celebrity. According to news
reports, Chelsea Clinton's wedding to investment banker Mark Mezvinsky on
July 31 is costing papa Bill $3,000,000. According to the London Daily
Mail, the total price tag will be about $5,000,000. The additional
$2,000,000 apparently is being laid off on US Taxpayers as Secret Service
costs for protecting former president Clinton and foreign heads of state,
such as the presidents of France and Italy and former British Prime
Minister Tony Blair, who are among the 500 invited guests along with
Barbara Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner, and
Clinton friend and donor Denise Rich, wife of the Clinton-pardoned felon.

Before we attend to the poor political judgment of such an extravagant
affair during times of economic distress, let us wonder aloud where a poor
boy who became governor of Arkansas and president of the United States got
such a fortune that he can blow $3,000,000 on a wedding.

The American people did not take up a collection to reward him for his
service to them. Where did the money come from? Who was he really serving
during his eight years in office?

How did Tony Blair and his wife, Cherrie, end up with an annual income of
ten million pounds (approximately $15 million dollars) as soon as he left
office? Who was Blair really serving?

These are not polite questions, and they are infrequently asked.

While Chelsea's wedding guests eat a $11,000 wedding cake and admire
$250,000 floral displays, Lisa Roberts in Ohio is struggling to raise
contributions for her food pantry in order to feed 3,000 local people,
whose financial independence was destroyed by investment bankers, job
offshoring, and unaffordable wars. The Americans dependent on Lisa
Roberts' food pantry are living out of vans and cars. Those with a house
roof still over their heads are packed in as many as 14 per household
according to the Chillicothe Gazette in Ohio.

The Chilicothe Gazette reports that Lisa Roberts' food pantry has "had to
cut back to half rations per person in order to have something for
everyone who needed it".

Theresa DePugh stepped up to the challenge and had the starving Ohioans
write messages on their food pantry paper plates to President Obama, who
has just obtained another $33 billion to squander on a pointless war in
Afghanistan that serves no purpose whatsoever except the enrichment of the
military/security complex and its shareholders.

The Guardian (UK) reports that according to US government reports, one
million American children go to bed hungry, while the Obama regime
squanders hundreds of billions of dollars killing women and children in
Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The Guardian's reporting relies on a US government report from the US
Department of Agriculture, which concludes that 50 million people in the
US - one in six of the population - were unable to afford to buy
sufficient food to stay healthy in 2008.

US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that he expected
the number of hungry Americans to worsen when the survey for 2010 is

Today in the American Superpower, one of every six Americans is living on
food stamps.

The Great American Superpower, which is wasting trillions of dollars in
pursuit of world hegemony, has 22% of its population unemployed and almost
17% of its population dependent on welfare in order to stay alive.

The world has not witnessed such total failure of government since the
final days of the Roman Empire. A handful of American oligarchs are
becoming mega-billionaires while the rest of the country goes down the

And the American sheeple remain acquiescent.

[Sheeple we are - in spades. Manufactured by 100 years of corporate
propaganda. We sit dumbly watching as corporations/media/capitalist
masters kick us in the teeth and pick our pockets. How much lower can we
sink? -ed]

Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an
Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  His latest book, HOW THE
ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can
be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at]


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