Progressive Calendar 08.01.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2008 03:04:10 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   08.01.08

1. Ffunch          8.01 CANCELLED
2. Iran/Klobuchar  8.01 12noon
3. Poverty conf    8.01 3:30pm
4. Palestine vigil 8.01 4:15pm
5. Vote for Pedro  8.01 5:30pm
6. Alt/violance    8.01 6pm
7. Water/film      8.01 7:30pm
8. Moyers/Abramoff 8.01 9pm

9. Peace walk      8.02 9am Cambridge MN
10. Homeless vets  8.02 10am
11. NWN4P Mtka     8.02 11am
12. RNC/war        8.02 1pm
13. Ntown vigil    8.02 2pm
14. Bowman/Gage    8.02 5:30pm

15. James Petras    - NY Times: making nuclear extermination respectable
16. John Ross       - Fourth fleet steams south/return of the gunboat
17. Glenn Greenwald - Let's give "Blue Dogs" the boot
18. FairVote MN     - FairVote MN to intervene in lawsuit against IRV

--------1 of 18--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Ffunch 8.01 CANCELLED

--------2 of 18--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Iran/Klobuchar 8.01 12noon

Worldwide Emergency Action: "Build Bridges, Not Bombs!! Don't Bomb Iran!!"
Friday, August 1, Noon Senator Amy Klobuchar's Office (outside, in front),
1200 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis.

Yet another U.S. war? The U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is hated
by the people there. These wars have no support at home and are ruining
the domestic economy. Evidence was seen in the collapse of the I-35
Bridge, located just a block and a half from Senator Klobuchar's office.
On the anniversary of the bridge collapse and with several pieces of
AIPAC-inspired legislation in Congress, join thousands of protestors in
hundreds of cities throughout the world this weekend to prevent another
war. WE CAN'T AFFORD TO WAIT!! Sponsored by: The WAMM Middle East
Committee and Stop War on Iran Campaign. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364.

--------3 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Poverty newsconf 8.01 3:30pm

Please attend this important start of a grass-roots campaign to set the
record straight on a number of issues afflicting low-income & minority

NEWS CONFERENCE KICK-OFF for the Minnesota Poverty Tour, the
fact-gathering phase of Operation March for Our Lives
Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign & allies
Friday, August 1, 2008 @ 3:30PM
Vision of Peace Statue / St. Paul City Hall - 1st Floor / 15 East Kellogg
Boulevard, St. Paul, MN

Background for the Minnesota Poverty Tour: In this age of economic crisis,
the increasing division between the soaring incomes and lifestyles of the
haves and the painful plight of the have-nots underlines the need to
establish the right of ALL people to certain basic economic human rights:
health, housing, education, economic livelihood,
racial/cultural/religious/ethnic group respect, etc.

As Minnesota's powers-that-be prepare to put the Twin Cities' "best foot
forward", aiming to promote Minnesota to the country and world as a "great
place to do business", grass-roots anti-poverty human rights activists are
gathering a much needed dose of reality: The Minnesota Poverty Tour,
followed by the Truth Commission Hearings at the end of August and the
March for our Lives on September 2.

--------4 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood
Subject: Palestine vigil 8.01 4:15pm

Friday, 8/1, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St

--------5 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Vote for Pedro/p 8.01 5:30pm

This election season, make sure your voice is heard!
A VOTE FOR PEDRO is a vote for progress, for social change and for a
glimpse at Chicano History in our country.

Loosely inspired by the hit movie Napoleon Dynamite.
Written by Dominic Orlando, Directed by Alberto Jusitiniano, Assistant
Director Silvia Pontaza, Stage Manager Kristi Ditmarson, Set & Props by
Maria Lopez, Costumes by Carolann Winther, Sound by James Kirwin
With the talents of Liv Roque and Kieran Adcock

Vote for Pedro
manzi August 1-9, 2008
At Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave S, Mpls, 55408

OPENING NIGHT!!!   Fri, Aug 1 @ 5:30pm
Mon, Aug 4 @ 10pm
Thu, Aug 7 @ 7pm
Fri, Aug 8 @ 4pm
Sat, Aug 9 @ 8:30pm

--------6 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Alt/violance 8.01 6pm

8/1 (6 pm) to 8/3 (5 pm), basic level Alternatives to Violence Workshop,
Hennepin County Men's Workhouse, 1145 Shenandoah Lane, Plymouth.
avperika [at] or

--------7 of 18--------

From: Sean Gosiewski <iasa [at]>
Subject: Water/film 8.01 7:30pm

Flow: for the Love of Water a Film
August 1, 7:30 pm, August 2, 4:00 pm, August 2, 7:30 pm, August 3, 2:00 pm
Walker Art Center

Politics, pollution, and human rights wash into this provocative wake-up
call exploring the planet's coming shortage of drinking water and
corporate plans to privatize the delivery of clean water. Inspiring heroes
emerge - from African plumbers reconnecting a shantytown's pipes in the
dark of night to a California scientist who exposes dangerous toxin
levels. 2007, video, 83 minutes.

--------8 of 18--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at]>
Subject: Moyers/Abramoff 8.01 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | Abramoff Lobbying Scandal

Bill Moyers Journal: On Friday, Bill Moyers Journal revisits the Abramoff
scandal and "examines the web of relationships, secret deals and political
manipulation that expose the use and abuse of power in American politics.
In this update of a report that aired in 2006, Moyers and his colleagues
untangle e-mails, reports, interviews and facts on the record to reveal an
astonishing pattern of criminal and political chicanery."

--------9 of 18--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 8.02 9am Cambridge MN

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

--------10 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Homeless vets 8.02 10am

Saturday, 8/2, 10 to 11:30 am, Homeless Vets for Peace meet at Peacehouse,
510 E Franklin, Mpls. Bob Heberle 612-789-9020.

--------11 of 18--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 8.02 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We
will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.

-------12 of 18--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: RNC/war 8.02 1pm

Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War Community Meeting

Saturday, August 2, 1:00 p.m. May Day Books, 301 Cedar Avenue,
Minneapolis. Come and help plan for possibly the largest demonstration the
Twin Cities has ever seen. No matter what your ability or availability,
any amount of time that you can give is valuable and will help to build
this protest and to show the world that we say NO to war! Come to the
community meeting and find out more about what we can do to make the
September 1 demonstration and march a success. Sponsored by: Coalition to
March on the RNC and Stop the War. FFI: Call 612-379-3584.

--------13 of 18--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.02 2pm

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

--------14 of 18--------

From: Catherine Statz <statz001 [at]>
Subject: Bowman/Gage 8.02 5:30pm

We Are Change Minnesota Presents:
Dr. Bob Bowman & Richard Gage AIE Speaking Engagement .

Dr. Bob Bowman:  Lt Col, USAF, ret. (101 Combat Missions as Fighter Pilot in
Vietnam) is bringing his 2008 Patriot Tour to town!
Dr. Bowman challenges us to "Take Back America" for the people. He explains
why we need a government that:
(1) Follows the Constitution
(2) Honors the Truth, and
(3) Serves the People.

Think what a difference that would make! No more imperial presidency. No
nuclear attack on Iran. No more undeclared wars of aggression. No more
spying on the American people. No more jailing of dissidents. No more
corporations importing and exploiting millions of illegal immigrants to
drive down wages. No more exporting of jobs. No more NAFTA. No more North
American Union. No more government lies, false-flag attacks, and
cover-ups. No more corporate welfare. No more health plans written by
insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers. No more energy
policies written by Exxon and Enron. No more trillions in debt. Most
importantly, no more using our sons and daughters to kill Arabs for the
oil companies. Let's "Take Back America!!"

Richard Gage AIE:  Founder of Architects and engineers for 9/11 truth is a
non-partisan association of Architects, Engineers, and affiliates, who are
dedicated to exposing the falsehoods and to revealing truths about the
"collapses" of the WTC high-rises on 9/11/01. We call upon Congress for a
truly independent investigation with subpoena power. We believe that there
may be sufficient evidence to conclude that the World Trade Center
buildings #1 (North Tower), #2 (South Tower), and #7 (the 47 story
high-rise across Vessey St.) were destroyed not by jet impact and fires
but by controlled demolition with explosives.

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth are encouraged to take an active
role by reporting the results of their research on 9/11 by means of
lectures, articles, and methods of disseminating the truth about the 9/11
WTC building "collapses".

Macalester College Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel, 1600 Grand Avenue, St.
Paul, MN 55105
Saturday August 2nd 2008, Doors open at 5:30pm
TICKETS: $15.00 at the door.
RSVP @ <>
Contact Brian Peterson for questions @ (612) 655-2219

--------15 of 18--------

The New York Times: Making Nuclear Extermination Respectable
by James Petras
July 30th, 2008
Dissident Voice

On July 18, 2008 the New York Times published an article by Israeli-Jewish
historian, Professor Benny Morris, advocating an Israeli nuclear-genocidal
attack on Iran with the likelihood of killing 70 million Iranians - 12
times the number of Jewish victims in the Nazi holocaust:

Iran's leaders would do well to rethink their gamble and suspend their
nuclear program. Barring this, the best they could hope for is that
Israel's conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities.
To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and
international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a
nuclear wasteland.

Morris is a frequent lecturer and consultant to the Israeli political and
military establishment and has unique access to Israeli strategic military
planners. Morris' advocacy and public support of the massive, brutal
expulsion of all Palestinians is on public record. Yet his genocidal views
have not precluded his receiving numerous academic awards. His writings
and views are published in Israel's leading newspapers and journals.
Morris' views are not the idle ranting of a marginal psychopath, as
witnessed by the recent publication of his latest op-ed article in the New
York Times.

What does the publication by the New York Times of an article, which calls
for the nuclear incineration of 70 million Iranians and the contamination
of the better part of a billion people in the Middle East, Asia and
Europe, tell us about US politics and culture? For it is the NYT, which
informs the "educated classes" in the US, its Sunday supplements, literary
and editorial pages and which serves as the "moral conscience" of
important sectors of the cultural, economic and political elite.

The New York Times provides a certain respectability to mass murder, which
Morris' views otherwise would not possess if say, they were published in
the neo-conservative weeklies or monthlies. The fact that the NYT
considers the prospect of an Israeli mass extermination of millions of
Iranians part of the policy debate in the Middle East reveals the degree
to which Zionofascism has infected the "higher" cultural and journalist
circles of the United States. Truth to say, this is the logical outgrowth
of the Times' public endorsement of Israel's economic blockade to starve
1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza; the Times' cover-up of
Israeli-Zionist-AIPAC influence in launching the US invasion of Iraq
leading to over one million murdered Iraqi citizens.

The Times sets the tone for the entire New York cultural scene, which
privileges Israeli interests, to the point of assimilating into the US
political discourse not only its routine violations of international law,
but its threats, indeed promises, to scorch vast areas of the earth in
pursuit of its regional supremacy. The willingness of the NYT to publish
an Israeli genocide-ethnocide advocate tells us about the strength of the
ties between a purportedly "liberal establishment" pro-Israel publication
and the totalitarian Israeli right: It is as if to say that for the
liberal pro-Israel establishment, the non-Jewish Nazis are off limits, but
the views and policies of Judeo-fascists need careful consideration and
possible implementation.

Morris' New York Times "nuclear-extermination" article did not provoke any
opposition from the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish
Organizations (PMAJO) because, in its daily information bulletin, Daily
Alert, it has frequently published articles by Israeli and US Zionists
advocating an Israeli and/or US nuclear attack on Iran. In other words,
Morris' totalitarian views are part of the cultural matrix deeply embedded
in the Zionist organizational networks and its extensive "reach" in US
cultural and political circles. What the Times did in publishing Morris'
lunacy has taken genocidal discourse out of the limited circulation of
Zionist influentials and into the mainstream of millions of American

Apart from a handful of writers (Gentile and Jewish) publishing in
marginal web sites, there was no political or moral condemnation from the
entire literary, political and journalistic world of this affront to our
humanity. No attempt was made to link Morris' totalitarian genocidal
policies to Israel's public official threats and preparations for nuclear
war. There is no anti-nuclear campaign led by our most influential public
intellectuals to repudiate the state (Israel) and its public intellectuals
who prepare a nuclear war with the potential to exterminate more than ten
times the number of Jews slaughtered by the Nazis.

A nuclear incineration of the nation of Iran is the Israeli counterpart of
Hitler's gas chambers and ovens writ large. Extermination is the last
stage of Zionism: Informed by the doctrine of rule the Middle East or ruin
the air and land of the world. That is the explicit message of Benny
Morris (and his official Israeli sponsors), who like Hitler, issues
ultimatums to the Iranians, "surrender or be destroyed" and who threatens
the US, join us in bombing Iran or face a world ecological and economic

That Morris is utterly, starkly and clinically insane is beyond question.
That the New York Times in publishing his genocidal ravings provides new
signs of how power and wealth has contributed to the degeneration of
Jewish intellectual and cultural life in the US. To comprehend the
dimensions of this decay we need only compare the brilliant
tragic-romantic German-Jewish writer, Walter Benjamin, desperately fleeing
the advance of totalitarian Nazi terror to the Israeli-Jewish writer Benny
Morris' criminal advocacy of Zionist nuclear terror published in the New
York Times.

The question of Zionist power in America is not merely a question of a
"lobby" influencing Congressional and White House decisions concerning
foreign aid to Israel. What is at stake today are the related questions of
the advocacy of a nuclear war in which 70 million Iranians face
extermination and the complicity of the US mass media in providing a
platform, nay a certain political respectability for mass murder and
global contamination. Unlike the Nazi past, we cannot claim, as the good
Germans did, that "we did not know" or "we weren't notified", because it
was written by an eminent Israeli academic and was published in the New
York Times.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University,
New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser
to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of
Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras' forthcoming book, Zionism and
US Militarism, is due from Clarity Press, Atlanta, in August 2008. He can
be reached at: jpetras [at] Read other articles by James, or
visit James's website.

This article was posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 at 8:04 am and is
filed under Fascism, Genocide, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Media, Middle East,
Military/Militarism, Nuclear Proliferation, Terrorism, The Lobby, Zionism.

--------16 of 18--------

Fourth Fleet Steams South
Return of the Gunboat
July 29, 2008

Mexico City.

The resurrection and imminent dispatch of the United States Fourth Fleet
to patrol the coasts of Latin America invokes the bad old days of Monroe
Doctrine impositions and gunboat diplomacy for many citizens of those
southern latitudes.

This April, the U.S. Navy announced the reactivation of the fleet that
historically operated in the south Atlantic during World War II, dueling
with Nazi U-boats.  Activating the Fourth Fleet "demonstrates U.S.
commitment to our global partners," Admiral Gary Roughead explained,
adding a threatening fillip: "The Fourth Fleet will send a strong signal
to all Navies operating in the region."

Roughead maintains that the fleet's focus will be on drug interdiction and
"conducting training exercises" and its activation is "non-hostile."
Frank Mora, a professor at the U.S. War College in Leavenworth Kansas told
the Miami Herald, he thought the Fleet could be used in "environmental
emergencies" and to control "youth gangs."

The reactivated flotilla will sail in the strategic area overseen by the
U.S. Southern Command or SOUTHCOM based in Quarry Heights, Panama and is
to be homeported at Mayport in Jacksonville Florida.  The fleet is
expected to group together 11 war ships homeported at Mayport, including
an aircraft carrier (reportedly the soon-to-be commissioned "U.S.S. George
H.W. Bush") and a nuclear submarine.  To allay Latin leaders' fears,
Undersecretary of State for Hemispheric Affairs Tom Shannon was deployed
to South America during July.

The Undersecretary's visit to Brazil proved abrasive.  He was met by
raucous demonstrators in Brazilia and closely questioned on the floor of
the Brazilian Senate about the Fourth Fleet's revival - one lawmaker
recalled how in 1964, U.S. ambassador Lincoln Gordon had threatened to
land marines stationed right off the Brazilian coast if leftist president
Joao Goulart did not resign.  Ex-Brazilian president Jose Sarnay warned of
U.S. Fourth Fleet designs on the enormous Tupi deep-water oil field that
may hold as many as five to eight billion barrels and could turn Brazil
into one of the top five petroleum producers on the planet.

The U.S. Navy currently operates out of six Latin bases - Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba; Quarry Heights, Panama; Aruba, Curacao; Comalapa, El Salvador;
Comayuga, Honduras; and Manta, Ecuador - the last-named about to be shut
down by Ecuador. Incensed by Washington's participation in the March 1st
bombing of a FARC guerrilla camp in the Ecuadoran jungle - Manta is
believed to have provided logistical support for Colombian helicopters -
President Raphael Correa has resolved not to renew the U.S. lease on that
facility when it expires in 2009.  An educated guess has the base being
relocated to La Guajira, Colombia close to the Venezuelan border which
will not make Hugo Chavez happy.

Those attentive to Latin American history do not view the U.S. Fourth
Fleet's intentions as  "non-hostile."  U.S. Naval blockades of Cuba in
1963 during the Soviet-American missile crisis and of revolutionary Mexico
in 1914, stir bitter memories.  The U.S. Navy turned the Caribbean into an
"American lake" from 1914 through the late 1920s, parking its fleet in
Santo Domingo and repeatedly invading Nicaragua.

U.S. Navy flotillas land troops on sovereign soil, their long guns take
out distant targets, and bombing raids and reconnaissance flights are
launched from aircraft carriers.  Just the presence of the Fourth Fleet in
Latin American waters smacks of strategic intimidation.

>From Brazilia, Undersecretary Shannon flew south to Buenos Aires to
deliver the good news that the Fourth Fleet would not enter Argentina's
territorial waters or inland rivers "without being invited."  Shannon's
timing was impeccable.  President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's six
month-old regime, which has been roiled by months of mobilizations led by
big soybean farmers, was on maximum alert - the "soyeros" have blocked the
nation's highways since last January after Fernandez tacked a 15 per cent
tax on exports in order to finance programs for the poor.

Bi-lateral relations between Washington and Buenos Aires have been in the
tank since the U.S. charged supposed bagmen for Venezuelan president Hugo
Chavez with financing Fernandez's campaign. The so-called scandal of the
"Maletas" ($800,000 USD was alleged to have been smuggled into Argentina
in a suitcase or "maleta") is a scenario that Queen Cristina (as she is
taunted by political opponents) labels "garbage."

Writing in the Mexican daily La Jornada, left Latin American analyst Raul
Zebichi concludes that Shannon's voyage to Buenos Aires to sell the Fourth
Fleet to Fernandez during the soyero crisis amounted to "deliberate
destabilization."  The sailing of the Fourth Fleet is "naked aggression by
Washington to regain its hegemony" on a continent where U.S. influence has
been impressively diminished by the serial victories of the Latin American
electoral left.

Undersecretary Shannon then moved on to Bolivia where that majority
indigenous Andean nation's president Evo Morales is viewed by Washington
as one of the ringleaders of the anti-American wave sweeping the southern

Bolivia is not a target for the U.S. Fourth Fleet, having lost its access
to the ocean in the Guano War of the late 19th century.  Nonetheless,
Morales denounced U.S. ambassador Phillip Goldberg's support of the
right-wing "autonomy" movement that is promoting the secession of five
Bolivian provinces, reading Shannon e-mails sent by U.S. AID officials to
Bolivian citizens threatening aid cut-offs if they continued to support
his government.

Only in Colombia, the first stop of Shannon's checkered journey, did he
find some satisfaction.  Touching down soon after the immaculately
scripted "rescue" of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 hostages held by the
weakened FARC guerrilla army, Tom Shannon laid on the blarney.  The Fourth
Fleet's intentions were honorable and "non-hostile." The war ships will
safeguard commercial shipping lanes and provide additional drug

It didn't take much effort to sell President Alvaro Uribe, George Bush's
top flunky in Latin America, on the idea.  Uribe even offered Barranquilla
as a homeport away from home for U.S. war ships.  Fourth Fleet deployment
to Colombia will provide much needed backup for Washington's anti-drug,
War on Terror Plan Colombia, a $6,000,000,000 boondoggle that has
succeeded in expanding the nation's cocaine acreage by 27 per cent in

If Uribe was supportive of the Fourth Fleet's reactivation, Venezuela's
Hugo Chavez was decidedly not, declaring the move to be "an act of war"
and fretting about Yanqui sabotage of offshore oilfields.  In the
Caribbean, Fidel Castro, an 82 year-old columnist for a Cuban communist
youth paper, sneered that the Fourth Fleet is "the flotilla of
intervention".  Castro has had first hand experience with U.S. Naval

One immediate response of Latin America's leftist leaders to Washington's
unilateral revival of the fleet has been the formation of UNASUR, a
12-nation mutual security pact that pointedly excludes the U.S.
Spearheaded by Brazil, the continent's economic powerhouse, UNASUR seems
designed to boost Brazilian armament industry sales as much as to stave
off U.S. stabs to reestablish its hegemony over Latin America.

Mexico, which is banking on deep-water oilfields in the Gulf (an area
under Fourth Fleet purview) to revive its sinking reserves, does not seem
alarmed about the war ships on the eastern horizon - despite the rather
touchy dispute over whether Mexico or the U.S. has title to those
deep-water tracts.  The U.S. Navy trains Mexico's Navy and supplies it
with state-of-the-art weaponry.  Under the Merida Initiative, sometimes
tagged Plan Mexico, the Mexican Navy is slated to receive Orion tracking
planes and souped-up interdiction craft, part of the $1,400.000,000 USD
war chest to rearm Mexico's security apparatus - despite its reputation as
one of the worst human rights abusers in the Americas.

Equipment received via the Merida Initiative, actually a hefty subsidy to
U.S. defense contractors, will forge what Uruguayan political writer
Carlos Fazio dubs "the third link" by which the Mexican security apparatus
is annexed to Washington.  Indeed, just the need for spare parts will tie
the Mexican military to the Pentagon for the life of the planes,
helicopters, swift boats, and transport carriers Plan Mexico will buy.

Actually, the Merida Initiative, born in the Yucatan city of that name in
a surge of enthusiasm during Bush's first encounter with Mexico's Felipe
Calderon in 2007, almost didn't make it to the wire.  When the U.S.
Senate, urged on by Vermont's Patrick Leahy, voted to impose human rights
oversight on the package, Mexico almost backed out, accusing Washington of
interfering in its domestic affairs.

The Senate bill would have mandated civilian trials for Mexican military
personnel accused of human rights violation and would have strengthened
the hand of non-government human rights organizations to watchdog how
Merida Initiative equipment was used. The measure would also have pressed
for an investigation into the 2006 murder of independent U.S. journalist
Brad Will by Oaxaca security forces - indeed, the human rights components
of Plan Mexico were largely due to the persistence of Brad's friends who
were sometimes escorted from congressional hearings for vehemently pushing
their case.

The bill's human rights provisions were rejected by all three sides of
Mexico's political spectrum.  Legislators compared the call for compliance
with the odious "certification" process by which the U.S. Congress
"certified" Mexico's cooperation in Washington's Drug War each year
through the mid-1990s, a source of much distrust.  But Mexican politicos
were not alone in their contempt for the new Plan Mexico - Bush White
House drug czar John Waters accused Leahy and his Democratic cohorts of
"sabotaging" the agreement, and Homeland Security chieftain Michael
Chertoff warned that the human rights provisions were "unacceptable."

The Senate bill was sent back to Congress for rectification but reemerged
with an almost identical text - even the call for resolving Brad's murder
was left intact.  Yet in the magic realist mindset that passes for
politics here, President Calderon, his Interior Secretary Juan Camilo
Mourino, and Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa chose not to acknowledge
the unreconstructed language and signed off on the grant.  Espinosa made
much of the affirmation that no U.S. soldier will set foot on Mexican soil
as the result of the Merida Initiative - a phenomenon never contemplated
by the agreement in the first place.

George Bush signed the Merida Initiative into law June 30 and in mid-July
Chertoff flew into Mexico City for discussions on implementation and to
"evaluate eventual risks to mutual security."

Oddly, the day the Homeland Security boss went home, the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration leaked an intriguing story to the daily El
Universal: Mexican drug war troops had discovered a car bomb factory in
Culiacan, Sinaloa, where a bloody battle between cartels has taken over
500 lives since the first of the year.  The DEA suspected that the Sinaloa
cartels' hit men were being sent through Chavez's Venezuela (where else?)
to Iran (where else?) for advanced terrorist training.

Preposterous? Under current security arrangements, the Iran gambit could
become a pretext for the U.S. military occupation of Mexico, which on the
face of it is of course highly unlikely.  But Plan Mexico folds into the
ASPAN - the North American Agreement on Security and Prosperity, a sort of
security and energy NAFTA.  Much as NAFTA was aimed at integrating the
economies of its three member nations, ASPAN proposes to integrate
security and energy structures - a goal greatly advanced by Plan Mexico.

In addition to ASPAN, Mexico has been designated the U.S.'s southern
security perimeter by NORCOM, the United States Northern Command, which is
responsible for keeping terrorists out of North America.  The suggestion
that Iran-trained terrorists are car-bombing a few hundred miles south of
the border could have the stealth bombers on the runways at NORCOM
headquarters in a hollowed-out mountain in Colorado in a jiffy.

Foreign minister Espinosa's affirmation that Plan Mexico will not land
U.S. troops on Mexican shores flies in the face of the facts.  Since 2006,
the Yanks have offered at least 60 training courses to Mexican army and
navy troops inside Mexico - 700 Mexicans are trained in the United States
at the Center for Strategic Forces in Fort Bragg North Carolina under the
provisions of the IMET program.  U.S. Naval trainers offer courses at
Veracruz on the Gulf Coast and Manzanillo on the Pacific.

But the physical presence of U.S. military personnel on the ground here is
mooted by the Pentagon's reliance on civilian mercenaries.  SY Coleman,
which advertises itself as "a warrior in the global war on terror" on its
web page, has been recruiting pilots "with experience in international
military conflicts" to fly reconnaissance over Mexico's Caribbean
off-shore platforms, an inviting terrorist target.  Blackwater WorldWide
just opened its western training facilities in a huge warehouse several
hundred yards from the U.S. - Mexican border on the Otay Mesa in San
Diego, and in July provided security for John McCain on a Mexico City
campaign stopover according to knowledgeable sources, that notorious
mercenary army's first known sighting inside Mexico.

Blackwater has recently been awarded big boodle Department of Defense drug
war contracts and appears to be bulking up to challenge DynCorps which
holds the franchise on privatizing Washington's War on Drugs in Latin

With the Yanquis' Fourth Fleet working Latin America's Atlantic coast, the
United States Coast Guard patrols its Pacific flank.  During the last week
in July, the Coast Guard and the Mexican Navy found themselves under
submarine attack - a 36-foot submergible with five tons of Colombian
cocaine aboard was spotted by the Americanos' radar 100 miles off Oaxaca
and towed to port where the crew was jailed.

In addition to cocaine, Pacific shipping lanes are also important to
liquid natural gas tankers, another inviting terrorist target, operating
under contracts with Spanish energy titan REPSOL between Peru and LNG
terminals in Manzanillo in southern Mexico and the Sempra Corporation's
Ensenada facility hard by the U.S. border.  In fact, the Ensenada
terminal, which provides San Diego with energy, was to have been located
in that U.S. port city but fears the plant could be taken out by
terrorists moved it to Mexico.

Deploying the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which is homeported in San Diego, to
Latin America's west coast, is surely being weighed by Navy brass.

What does presumptive President Barack Obama think about all this updated
gunboat diplomacy? The only clue voters have as to Obama's Latin policies
was a speech he delivered months ago to win the hearts and minds of the
gusano-laced Cuban American National Foundation in Miami in which
platitudes were a dime a dozen - no end to the Cuban embargo, Hugo Chavez
was "dangerous", Colombia's Uribe a "democratic hero."  Given this
repertoire it doesn't sound like much is going to change when Obama takes
the helm of state.  All the pieces are in place - Plan Mexico, Plan
Colombia, ASPAN, SOUTHCOM, NORCOM, and NAFTA - to keep the Consensus of
Washington thriving during an Obama presidency.

"What's good for Latin America is good for the United States of America"
the presumptive president told the gusanos in Miami, failing to annunciate
the other half of the equation: what's good for the United States is
usually very bad for Latin America.

John Ross is in the heat of the first draft of "El Monstruo - Tales of
Dread & Redemption In The Most Monstrous Megalopolis On Planet Earth".
Write johnross [at]

--------17 of 18--------

Let's Give "Blue Dogs" the Boot
Pushing conservative Democrats out of Congress could help the party stand
up to the GOP.
by Glenn Greenwald
Published on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 by
Common Dreams

In American politics, exceedingly few positions generate overwhelming
agreement across the ideological spectrum. Even propositions that ought to
be uncontroversial - such as whether there is scientific evidence for
evolution or whether Saddam Hussein personally planned the 9/11 attacks -
produce sizable portions of the citizenry lined up on each side. One
notable exception to this rule is the issue of whether the current U.S.
Congress is doing a poor job. That question produces a remarkable
consensus that is close to unanimous.

Earlier this month, Rasmussen Reports announced the humiliating finding
that "the percentage of voters who give Congress good or excellent ratings
has fallen to single digits [9 percent] for the first time in Rasmussen
Reports tracking history". That extremely negative view of Congress cuts
across partisan and ideological lines, as only small percentages of
Democrats (13 percent), Republicans (8 percent) and independents (3
percent) believe that Congress is doing an "excellent" or even a "good"
job. Perhaps most remarkable, some polls - such as one from Fox News last
month - reveal that the Democratic-led Congress is actually more unpopular
among Democrats than among Republicans, with 23 percent of Republicans
approving of Congress compared with only 18 percent of Democrats. One
would be hard-pressed to find a time in modern American history, if such a
time exists at all, when a Congress was more unpopular among the party
that controls it than among voters from the opposition party.

That a Democratic Congress is so deeply unpopular even among Democrats may
be historically unusual, but it is hardly surprising or difficult to
understand. On key issue after key issue, it is the Bush White House and
Republican caucus that have received virtually everything they wanted from
Congress, while the base of the Democratic Party has received virtually
nothing other than disappointment and an overt repudiation of its agenda.
Since the American people gave them control of Congress, the Democrats in
Congress have given the country the following:

Unlimited and unconditional funding for the Iraq war. Vast new warrantless
eavesdropping powers and retroactive amnesty for their telecom donors -
measures the administration tried, but failed, to obtain from the GOP
Congress. The ability to ignore congressional subpoenas with utter
impunity. A resolution formally decreeing parts of the Iranian government
to be a "terrorist organization". A failure to outlaw waterboarding, to
apply the torture ban to the CIA, to restore the habeas corpus rights
abolished by the Military Commissions Act of 2006, to impose the
requirement of congressional approval before President Bush can attack
Iran. Confirmation of highly controversial Bush nominees, including
Michael Mukasey as attorney general even after he embraced the most
radical Bush theories of executive power and repeatedly refused to say
that waterboarding was torture.

Other than (arguably) the resignation of Alberto Gonzales as attorney
general and a very modest increase in the minimum wage (enacted in the
first month after Democrats took control of Congress), one is hard-pressed
to identify a single event or issue since November 2006 that would have
been meaningfully different had the GOP retained control of Congress. The
Congress of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi has been every bit as passive,
impotent and complicit as the Congress of Bill Frist and Denny Hastert
was. Worse, in contrast to the Frist/Hastert-led Congress, which at least
had the excuse that it enabled a wartime president from its own party
while he enjoyed high approval ratings, the Reid/Pelosi Congress has
capitulated to every presidential whim despite an "opposition party"
president who is now one of the most unpopular in modern American history.
It's difficult to imagine how even Reid and Pelosi themselves could
contest the claim that the Democratic-led Congress, from the perspective
of Democratic voters, has been a profound failure.

With those depressing facts assembled, the only question worth asking
among those who are so dissatisfied with congressional Democrats is this:
What can be done to change this conduct? As proved by the 2006 midterm
elections - which the Democrats dominated in a historically lopsided
manner - mindlessly electing more Democrats to Congress will not improve
anything. Such uncritical support for the party is actually likely to have
the opposite effect. It's axiomatic that rewarding politicians - which is
what will happen if congressional Democrats end up with more seats and
greater control after 2008 than they had after 2006 - only ensures that
they will continue the same behavior. If, after spending two years
accommodating one extremist policy after the next favored by the right,
congressional Democrats become further entrenched in their power by
winning even more seats, what would one expect them to do other than
conclude that this approach works and therefore continue to pursue it?
[Elementary. But most Dems are likely to mindlessly pull the Dem lever
anyway.  We're beyond reason and into blind faith and oxlike immovability.

If simply voting for more Democrats will achieve nothing in the way of
meaningful change, what, if anything, will? At minimum, two steps are
required to begin to influence Democratic leaders to change course: 1)
Impose a real political price that they must pay when they capitulate to -
or actively embrace - the right's agenda and ignore the political values
of their base, and 2) decrease the power and influence of the conservative
"Blue Dog" contingent within the Democratic caucus, who have proved
excessively willing to accommodate the excesses of the Bush
administration, by selecting their members for defeat and removing them
from office. And that means running progressive challengers against them
in primaries, or targeting them with critical ads, even if doing so, in
isolated cases, risks the loss of a Democratic seat in Congress.

Those goals are the basis of the recent campaign that I helped launch -
along with progressive bloggers such as Jane Hamsher and the Blue America
PAC - to target selected Democratic members of Congress who have been
responsible for some of the worst acts of complicity and capitulation. The
campaign we launched, which raised over $350,000 in a very short time
largely from dissatisfied progressives, has run multimedia ads criticizing
the likes of Blue Dog Rep. Chris Carney and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer,
despite the fact that neither has a primary challenger and despite the
fact that Carney is quite vulnerable in his reelection effort this year.

The Blue America campaign also ran ads against Blue Dog Rep. John Barrow
in Georgia, who did have a progressive primary challenger, state Sen.
Regina Thomas. It was always clear that Barrow was highly likely to defeat
Thomas in the primary. It was also clear that if Thomas beat the odds and
won the primary, her chances of beating the Republican in the general
election was far less than the chances of the more conservative and
incumbent Barrow, who himself had to fight hard to win reelection in 2006.
Knowing that a Barrow defeat in the primary might make a Republican win
more likely in November, Blue America nonetheless ran ads against him. We
believed that even if Barrow prevailed in his primary (as he ultimately
did), the ad campaign against him would undermine his reputation in his
district and could thus force Barrow, the Blue Dog caucus and the
Democratic leadership to devote far more resources to defending his seat
for November. That is what it means to attach a price to trampling on the
political values of Democratic supporters.

Barrow and the two other two solidly pro-war Democrats targeted - Carney
and Hoyer - were not merely supporters, but vocal and active leaders, of
the effort to have Congress give to George W. Bush the sweeping new
warrantless eavesdropping powers and telecom immunity Bush demanded. Why
would any progressive want to see that behavior rewarded by having those
three safely reelected? Given the certainty of Democratic control under
all circumstances, what possible benefit comes from their seamless return
to power?

Many progressives and other Democratic supporters are reflexively opposed
to any conduct that might result in the defeat of even a single,
relatively inconsequential Democratic member of Congress or the transfer
of even a single district to GOP control. No matter how dissatisfied such
individuals might be with the Democratic Congress, they are unwilling to
do anything different to change what they claim to find so unsatisfactory.
Even though uncritically cheering on any and every candidate with a "D"
after his or her name has resulted in virtually nothing positive - and
much that is negative - many progressives continue, rather bafflingly and
stubbornly, to insist that if they just keep doing the same thing
(cheering for the election of more and more Democrats), then somehow,
someday, something different might occur. But, as the cliche teaches,
repeatedly engaging in the same conduct and expecting different results is
the very definition of foolishness. [America is a Ship of Fools -ed]

As foolish as it is, this intense aversion to jeopardizing any Democratic
incumbents might be considered rational if doing so carried the risk of
restoring Republican control of Congress. But there is no such risk, and
there will be none for the foreseeable future. No matter what happens, the
Democrats, by all accounts, are going to control both houses of Congress
after the 2008 election. Their margin in the House, which is currently 31
seats, will, by even the most conservative estimates, increase to at least
50 seats. No advertising campaign or activist group could possibly swing
control of Congress to the Republicans this year, and - given the
Brezhnev-era-like reelection rates for incumbents in America - it is
extremely unlikely that the House will be controlled by anyone other than
Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi for years to come. [Those
three? How profoundly depressing. -ed]

The critical question, then, is not who will control Congress. The
Democrats will. That is a given. The vital question is what they will do
with that control - specifically, will they continue to maintain and
increase their own power by accommodating the right, or will they be more
responsive, accountable and attentive to the political values of their
base? [Ha ha, what do we think? Of course the former. -ed]

As long as they know that progressives will blindly support their
candidates no matter what they do, then it will only be rational for
congressional Democrats to ignore progressives and move as far to the
right as they can. With the blind, unconditional support of Democrats
securely in their back pocket, Democratic leaders will quite rationally
conclude that the optimal way to increase their own power, to transform
more Republican districts into Blue Dog Democratic seats, and thereby make
themselves more secure in their leadership positions, is to move their
caucus to the right. Because the principal concern of Democratic leaders
is to maintain and increase their own power, they will always do what they
perceive is most effective in achieving that goal, which right now means
moving their caucus to the right to protect their Blue Dogs and elect new

That is precisely what has happened over the past two years. It is why a
functional right-wing majority has dominated the House notwithstanding the
change of party control - and the change in direction - that American
voters thought they were mandating in 2006. As progressive activist Matt
Stoller put it, "Blue Dogs are the swing voting block in the House, they
are self-described conservatives, and they are perfectly willing to use
their status on every action considered by the House". The more the
Democratic leadership accommodates the Blue Dog caucus - the more their
power relies upon expanding their numbers through the increase of Blue Dog
seats - the less relevant will be the question of which party controls

The linchpin for that destructive strategy is uncritical progressive
support for congressional Democrats. That is what ensures that Democratic
leaders will continue to pursue a rightward-moving strategy as the key to
consolidating their own power. Right now, when it comes time to decide
whether to capitulate to the demands of the right, Beltway Democrats
think: "If we capitulate, that is one less issue the GOP can use to harm
our Blue Dogs". And they have no countervailing consideration to weigh
against that, because they perceive - accurately - that there is no cost
to capitulating, only benefits from doing so, because progressives will
blindly support their candidates no matter what they do. That is the
strategic calculus that must change if the behavior of Democrats in
Congress is to change.

Democratic leaders must learn that they cannot increase their majority in
Congress by trampling on the political values of their own base. It's
crucial that they understand that they will not gain seats, but will lose
seats, the more they accommodate the right's agenda. That, in turn, will
happen only if progressives target for defeat selected members of the
Democratic caucus who are responsible for that right-wing-enabling
behavior. That is the only way to eliminate the incentive for the
Democratic leadership to continue to follow the strategy of increasing
their own power by mimicking Republicans. Those who disagree with that -
who object that it is oh-so-terrible to cause the defeat of any Democratic
incumbents, no matter how complicit and irrelevant - have the
responsibility to identify what alternative strategy they think should be
pursued in order to alter the behavior of the Democratic Party in

Defeating scattered, individual Democratic incumbents - even if it means
that a Republican wins - will result in nothing negative. What is the
difference - specifically - if Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel have a 43-seat
margin of control rather than a 56-seat margin? There is no difference.
Far more important than the size of the Democrats' majority is the
question of who is dominating and controlling that majority.

At the moment, the Blue Dog contingent is dominant in the Democratic
caucus and drives much of what the caucus does. The more Blue Dogs there
are in the Democratic caucus, the more dominant they will be. Changing the
face of Congress requires, first and foremost, that the face of the
Democratic caucus change, that its strategic incentive scheme be altered.
Until progressives make Democratic leaders pay a price for their
allegiance to the right's agenda - the only price that politicians
recognize: having their power diminished and jeopardized - then none of
this will change. It will only continue to worsen.

[True, but the voters will "feel good" voting that straight D ticket, even
tho they will regret it in a year or two. Rather than learn anything from
it, they will just do the same thing in the next election, for another
feel good quick fix. Foolish hope springs eternal. So we're probably
trapped for life. -ed]

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
xuse of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic
Legacy", examines the Bush legacy.

--------18 of 18--------

From: FairVote Minnesota <dakotah [at]>
Subject: FairVote Minnesota to Intervene in Lawsuit against IRV

FairVote Minnesota E-News
Contact: Jeanne Massey, jeanne.massey [at], 763-807-2550

FairVote Minnesota to Intervene in Lawsuit against Instant Runoff Voting

Minneapolis, MN (July 31, 2008)  - Today, FairVote Minnesota, the
organizational anchor of the Saint Paul Better Ballot Campaign, announced
that it will seek to intervene as a defendant in an on-going lawsuit
challenging the constitutionality of instant runoff voting (IRV).  In
2006, Minneapolis voters and its City Council authorized the use of IRV in
city elections, with implementation planned for 2009.  The lawsuit that
FairVote Minnesota seeks to join opposes IRV in Minneapolis and was
brought by a small group of activists who support the return of partisan
local elections.

"Joining this lawsuit as a co-defendant is the most logical and efficient
manner for us to resolve the constitutional question," said FairVote
Minnesota Board member and Saint Paul IRV Campaign Coordinator, Ellen
Brown. "We will help dismantle the St. Paul City Council's cover for
blocking this important reform."

Both the plaintiffs and the City of Minneapolis have indicated that they
will support the intervention request.

"Intervention is the right of a third party when it feels it can be of
assistance to the court in arriving at a just decision," said former
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi attorney and FairVote Minnesota board
chair, Tyrone Bujold. "Our plea will be to expedite the case so a decision
can be reached as soon as possible."

On July 2, the St. Paul City Council blocked a certified petition
submitted by more than 7,000 voters.  The petition would have placed a
charter amendment on the ballot this November to authorize use of IRV in
future municipal elections. The block was justified in the eyes of the
Council leadership based on a city attorney opinion that raised questions
of constitutionality. After blocking the initiative, the Council voted
unanimously to put the measure on the ballot once the constitutionality of
IRV is resolved in the Minneapolis case.

The St. Paul Campaign does not believe the Council may legally block
petition initiatives except in cases of "manifest unconstitutionality."
"The Council, with the exception of Ward 6 member Russ Stark, had chosen
to interpret the muddled attorney opinion as providing legal cover for
their action.  In doing so, the St. Paul Campaign believes that the
Council has overstepped its legal authority," said Brown.  The St. Paul
Campaign considered suing the City to force a court interpretation of
"manifest unconstitutionality" but decided this route was not likely to
produce a decision in time to allow for sufficient voter education before
the 2008 election, and might not have resulted in a definitive conclusion
to the matter.

James Dorsey of the Fredrikson & Byron law firm and Keith Halleland of the
Halleland, Lewis, Nilan and Johnson law firm will serve as lead co-counsel
in the matter. Assistance will be provided by Jay Benanav, Alan Weinblatt,
Weinblatt and Gaylord; Steve Kelley, Humphrey Institute Center for
Science, Technology, and Public Policy; David Schultz, Hamline University;
Tyrone Bujold, FairVote MN chair; Aaron Street, Center for Law and
Politics; Gena Berglund, National Lawyers Guild; Cecily Hines, retired
attorney; Andrea Rubenstein, attorney at law; and Teresa Ayling,
Mansfield, Tanick and Cohen P.A.; and Jane Prince, attorney at law.

[Six of the seven StPaul council members voted to block IRV.  They
apparently think thay can give us the finger and be treated as good
buddies and friends. We don't want to be "single issue" voters, they will
say - so thay can flip us the bird repeatedly, and still demand our love.
Well, not mine, and I hope not yours either. It's a good 3.5 years till
their next election (they think we'll forget). They're not on our side so
we should deal with them from strength - don't BEG them for anything -
DEMAND it be given and be prepared to make life uncomfortable for them if
they don't. They are adversaries, not friends. -ed]


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