Progressive Calendar 07.25.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2007 16:22:23 -0700 (PDT)
               P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    07.25.07

1. NWN4P New Hope    7.26 4:30pm
2. Eagan peace vigil 7.26 4:30pm
3. Northtown vigil   7.26 5pm
4. East Africa       7.26 5pm
5. Solidarity dinner 7.26 6pm
6. Cop/crisis        7.26 6:30pm
7. Dept of peace     7.26 7pm
8. Farm bill/food    7.26 7pm
9. Sexual assault    7.26-27

10. SocialForum/KFAI 7.27 11am
11. Palestine vigil  7.27 4:30pm

12. US social forum  7.28 10am
13. NWN4P Minnetonka 7.28 11am
14. Paper boats      7.28 11am
15. Adult stories    7.28 7pm
16. Cam fundraiser   7.28 7pm
17. Venezuela/CTV    7.28 9pm

18. Dave Lindorff - Conyers calls cops to arrest Cindy Sheehan
19. Cindy Sheehan - Challenging Pelosi / move beyond politics as usual
20. Cindy Sheehan - It's up to us
21. Ray McGovern  - The sad decline of John Conyers
22. Paul Harris   - Welcome to Richistan, USA

--------1 of 22--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P New Hope 7.26 4:30pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of
Winnetka and 42nd.  You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near
McDonalds; we will be on all four corners.  Bring your own or use our

--------2 of 22--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 7.26 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------3 of 22--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 7.26 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------4 of 22--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: East Africa 7.26 5pm

Thursday, 7/26, 5 to 8 pm, free conference Conflict in East Africa and the
Human Rights Situation, with speakers Keith Ellison, and various speakers
addressing human rights problems in Ethiopia and Somalia, Great Hall,
Coffman Union, 300 Washington Ave SE, East Bank of the U of M, Mpls. or 651-917-0430.

--------5 of 22--------

From: janet johnson <janetltbo [at]>
Subject: Solidarity dinner 7.26 6pm

Solidarity dinner to benefit farm workers
Join us for Dinner and a chance to hear in person about sucesses and
initiatives involving agricultural workers both locally and nationally.
A good opportunity to learn and join in solidarity with our friends an

A Workers' Solidarity Dinner to support the Coalition of Immokalee Workers
will be held Thursday at Bethany Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

The event starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 26, at the church, 2511 E.
Franklin, Minneapolis. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

The dinner is a fundraiser for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a
farmworker organization that is struggling to end sweatshop working
conditions in the fields of Florida. Participants in the dinner will also
learn about struggles for better working conditions in Minnesota. Speakers
also include representatives form Centro Campesino, Interfaith Coalition
and UFCW Meatpackers Union.

For more information, contact Brian Payne, brianpayneyvp [at],

--------6 of 22--------

From: Renee Jenson <faarjenson [at]>
Subject: Cop/crisis 7.26 6:30pm

The Barbara Schneider Foundation is the Group I work with on Crisis
Intervention Team training for law enforcement in Ramsey County and St.
Paul.  Many of you know the Executive Director of this organization, Mark
Anderson, who worked with Paul Wellstone on health issues.

We'd love to see you this Thursday evening at the beautiful new library in
Minneapolis. Bring Friends.

Minnesota authors at fundraiser
Pioneer Press

Minnesota authors will mingle with guests at Pages of Possibilities, a
fundraiser for the Barbara Schneider Foundation from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Thursday at the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.

Visiting authors, who write in a variety of genres, include David
Housewright, Jim Klobuchar, Richard Solly, Dorothy McIntyre, Jodie Davis,
Patricia Francisco, Michelle D. Sherman and DeAnne M. Sherman and Christy
W. Sauro Jr. They will be joined by documentary filmmaker Mike Hazard.
Master of ceremonies will be WCCO weekend news host Roshini Rajkumar.

The evening will include hors d'oeuvres, wine, desserts and a silent
auction featuring an opportunity for the winner's name to be used in one
of Housewright's mysteries.

The Barbara Schneider Foundation was formed in response to the 2000 death
of Barbara Schneider, who was shot by police during a confrontation
following a mental health crisis call. Proceeds from the fundraiser will
support the organization's training and collaboration-building work around
Minnesota, stressing appropriate and effective mental health crisis
responses, improved officer safety, police/community partnerships and
educational programs that help those with mental illness to be treated in
a dignified manner while preserving the safety of all involved.

Pages of Possibilities is open to the public for $55 per person. Book
clubs attending with six or more members will pay $35 each. Ticket
information is at

--------7 of 22--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: Dept of peace 7.26 7pm

NW Neighbors for Peace greatly appreciates your help in informing the
community of the following event:

On Thursday July 26th, 7 PM, Mary Jane LaVigne, leader and founder of
DO PEACE MINNESOTA, the Minnesota Campaign for the establishment of a
Department of Peace, will speak about this ongoing effort.   Her
presentation, "Being the Department of Peace", will be heard at the
Parish Community of St. Joseph, 8701 36th Avenue N. (at Boone) in New
Hope.  What does Resolution 3760 propose? How will a Cabinet level
department impact international and domestic violence?  How can we get
involved locally?  Free and open to the public. Sponsored by NW
Neighbors for Peace.  For more information, Eileen Moran, 763-545-2296
or nwn4p [at] or visit the website

--------8 of 22--------

From: MN Oxfam Action Corps < [at]>
Subject: Farm bill/food 7.26 7pm

Come to the Common Roots Cafe on Thursday, July 26, at 7pm to learn about
the US Farm Bill, discuss the impact of this legislation on food,
nutrition, the environment and global poverty, invite your friends and
write to your legislator calling for a better Farm Bill for us all. The
cafe is at 2558 Lyndale Ave. S. in Minneapolis.

There will be lively discussion, excellent company, and great food and
drinks! All natural and fair-trade, as always, at Common Roots Cafe.
All are welcome. Please join us!

Brought to you by Oxfam Action Corps - Minnesota  and Common Roots Cafe.
For more details, visit our blog at

Matthew Palombo Oxfam Action Corps Lead Volunteer 612 669 4275
Adam Olson Oxfam Action Corps Lead Volunteer 612 605 1249

--------9 of 22--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Sexual assault 7.26-27

July 26 and 27: MN Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA)'s Sexual
Violence Justice Institute. Legal Advocacy Training in the metro area.
This training will track a sexual assault case reported to law
enforcement, and will feature a law enforcement officer, prosecutor,
SANE, advocate and other presentations on the legal side of advocacy.
Contact Megan at MNCASA for more info 651/209-9993 x 204.

--------10 of 22--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Social forum/KFAI 7.27 11am

FRIDAYS, 11am July 13, 20, 27: CATALYST;politics & culture on KFAI RADIO
part of the Hour of Power every Friday 11am CATALYST,with Lydia Howell
11:30am Northern Sun News, with Don Olson

A series of conversations with two activist-scholars Professors AUGUST
NIMTZ and ROSE BREWER. Both teach at the U of MN, in the African-American
Studies and Political Science Departments. Prof. Brewer just returned from
the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta last month and reports on this critical
gathering. Prof. Nimtz analyzes where the U.S. labor movement is and
should organize. Both of these inspirational forces of intellect wiegh in
on the recent Supreme Court decision that attempts to reverse the famous
1954 BROWN decision that desegregated public schools. (SEE AFTER THIS
NOTICE; Wed.July 25, Rose Brewer event). CATALYST is produced and hosted
by LYDIA HOWELL, a Minneapolis independent journalist, who won the 2007
Premack Award for Public Interest Journalism. You can read her
commentaries at

KFAI RADIO 90.3fm MPLS 106.7 fm ST. PAUL all shows archived for 2 weeks
at wwww/

--------11 of 22--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 7.27 4:30pm

Friday, 7/27, 4:30 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end the occupation of Palestine,
Snelling & Summit Aves, St Paul.  Karen, 651-283-3495.

--------12 of 22--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: US social forum 7.28 10am

Saturday, 7/28, 10 to 11:30, Teresa Ortiz keynotes a report back from last
month's US Social Forum in Atlanta, Resource Center of the Americas, 3019
Minnehaha Ave, Mpls.

--------13 of 22--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Minnetonka 7.28 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.

--------14 of 22--------

From: paulino brener <email [at]>
Subject: Paper boats 7.28 11am

paper boats
with paulino brener
Paulino travels around the world on paper boats and brings back many
folktales and languages from distant countries. Make your own paper boat
and join Paulino in this entertaining, multicultural and multilingual
storytelling feast! (Recommended for children 6+)

July 28th, 2007
Tickets: $7 ($5 for children)
Dreamland Arts 677 Hamline Ave. N. St. Paul MN 55104 |
Reservations: 651-645-5506
Contact info:  Paulino Brener mail [at] 612.246.4623

--------15 of 22--------

From: Larry Johnson <elent7 [at]>
Subject: Adult stories 7.28 7pm

July 28, 7-9 p.m. Storytelling for Adults at Dunn Bros by Loring Park in
Mpls, 329 West 15th
Storytellers, Larry Johnson, Elaine Wynne, and Jerry Wellik
CALL 612-747-3904 for more info

--------16 of 22-------

From: Cam Gordon <camgordon333 [at]>
Subject: Cam fundraiser 7.28 7pm

Dear Friends and Neighbors, You are invited to a special campaign
fundraiser for The Second Ward Update, the newsletter I produce (not at
taxpayer expense) once or twice each year. Good communication is vital to
representative democracy.  I am committed to producing regular newsletters
and distributing them to every household in the ward not at City expense.
To do that I could use your help.

If you want to support grassroots, participatory democracy, please join us
for Music! Pizza! Democracy! and Inspired FUN!!!July 28th7-9 pmSeward
Cafe2129 East Franklin Ave$20 Suggested Donation (no one turned away) Your
support is greatly appreciated.

In peace and cooperation, Cam Gordon 612 296-0579 Neighbors for Cam
Gordon, Arthur LaRue Treasurer, 630 Cedar Apt. 1106, Minneapolis, MN 55454

--------17 of 22--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Venezuela/CTV 7.28 9pm

Dear Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am.  Households with basic cable can watch!

7/28 9pm and 7/31 8am "Jorge Martin of Hands Off Venezuela" (Part 2) plus:
"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" (Part 1).  Martin answers questions
on politics in Venezuela plus part 1 of a dramatic documentary film shot
during the 2002 coup in Venezuela.

--------18 of 22--------

Conyers Calls Cops to Arrest Cindy Sheehan and Other Impeachment
Overcoming John Conyers
July 24, 2007

Rep. John Conyers, venerable member of Congress, finally chair of the
House Judiciary Committee, is a man who worked with Rosa Parks in Alabama
and who hired her on his staff after he won election to Congress in
Detroit. Years in Washington DC change a man. Yesterday Conyers had 48
impeachment activists, including Gold Star Families for Peace founder
Cindy Sheehan, Iraq Veteran Against the War activist Lennox Yearwood and
Intelligence Veterans for Sanity founder Ray McGovern, arrested for
conducting a sit-in in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building.
The three, together with several hundred other impeachment activists who
packed the fourth floor hallway outside Rep. Conyers' office, had come to
press Conyers to take action on impeachment, and specifically to start
action on H.Res. 333, the bill submitted nearly three months ago by Rep.
Dennis Kucinich calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

After nearly an hour of talking with Conyers, a clearly angry Sheehan
emerged together with Yearwood and McGovern, and announced to the waiting
throng in the hall that Conyers had told them "impeachment isn't going to
happen because we don't have the votes." Sheehan said Conyers had insisted
that the best thing was for Democrats to focus on "winning big in 2008."
To volleys of boos and hisses, the three went back inside Conyers' office
suite, where they were joined by some thirty other supporters, and all
were subsequently arrested, at Conyers' request, by Capitol police, who
cuffed them and walked them off for booking. Several of those who sat in
refused to walk and were carried or dragged out of the Rayburn Office
Building, as the activists in the hall chanted "Shame on Conyers! Shame
onConyers!" and "Arrest Bush, Not the People!"

It was a disgraceful scene wholly unworthy of a dean of the Congressional
Black Caucus. Before returning to sit in the Judiciary chairman's office
and await arrest, Sheehan publicly announced her intention to run in 2008
as an independent candidate for Congress against House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi, and she called on Americans everywhere to run not just against
Republicans in 2008, but against Democrats too. Yearwood, who is a
chaplain in the Air Force, said that Conyers had been a mentor to him, but
he declared that he now felt betrayed and that Americans needed to take
back their government. As he was led down the hall to his arraignment, the
handcuffed Yearwood sang "We Shall Overcome!"

This reporter subsequently called Conyers' press office for an explanation
of Conyers' true position on impeachment. Only a few days earlier the
congressman, at a San Diego meeting on health care reform, had told
members of Progressive Democrats of America that it was time to "take
these two guys (Bush and Cheney) out" and had promised that if just "a few
more" members of the House signed on to the Kucinich bill (it already has
14 co-sponsors), he would move it forward for consideration in his
Judiciary Committee. Asked how that statement squared with what he had
told the group of activists in his office, the spokesman said Conyers'
"must have been misunderstood" in San Diego. He said that in view of
Conyers' statement to Sheehan and the others today, the Kucinich bill was
"not going to go anywhere."

As impeachment activist David Swanson of has said,
there "seem to be two John Conyers." There's the one who, in 2005 and
early 2006, while Republicans controlled the House, was systematically
making the case for impeaching the president and vice president. This
Conyers had even submitted a bill, with 39 co-sponsors, which called for
creation of a select committee to investigate possible impeachable crimes
by the administration. And then there's the Conyers who submits to the
wishes of the new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and is keeping impeachment
off the table. Occasionally the former Conyers breaks out, saying things
such as that the president needs to be "taken out" or, as he put it at an
anti-war rally last spring, that "we can fire him!" But then the other
Conyers comes to the fore, and stands in the way of impeachment action.

Yesterday, however, was worse than just doing nothing. The arrest of
impeachment activists and their forcible eviction from his office was a
betrayal of people who were doing the very thing that had allowed Conyers
to make his way into Congress in the first place: sitting in to insist on
action on their demands for justice. It was, after all, sit-ins that
helped lead to the Voting Rights Act which allowed African American
candidates like Conyers to finally win seats in the US Congress.

It's ironic that Rep. Conyers, speaking in 2005 on "Democracy Now!"
following Rosa Parks' death at the age of 92, said her passing "is
probably the end of an era." Certainly, with his request to have Capitol
Police officers enter his office (the very office where Parks once had
worked as a staff member!) to cuff and arrest peaceful protesters who were
trying to defend the Constitution, he has made that point far more clearly
than he could have expressed it in mere words.

But as in the case of Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights movement, arrests
and fines will not stop the national grassroots drive to impeach this
president and vice president. With polls showing that a majority of the
country now favors impeachment, and with Conyers, Pelosi, and the
Democratic Congress sinking deeper and deeper into disfavor even as the
president continues to add to his list of Constitutional crimes,
something's gotta give. After all, the Founders, in writing impeachment
into the Constitution, did not say the test was whether Congress had the
votes to impeach. They wrote that if the president abused his power, or
committed other high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery or treason, Congress
"shall" impeach.

Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the
Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns
titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press.
Lindorff's newest book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by
Barbara Olshansky. He can be reached at: dlindorff [at]

--------19 of 22--------

Why I'm Challenging Pelosi
We Must Move Beyond Politics as Usual
July 24, 2007

The feedback I have been receiving since I announced that I would
challenge U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, for her House seat -
unless she gives impeachment the go-ahead - has been running about 3-to-1

Some people have offered to quit their jobs to move to California's Eighth
Congressional District to help my possible campaign. People are lining up
to donate and help, and I am again very grateful and touched beyond belief
by the generosity and energy of my fellow Americans.

I truly understand the not-so-supportive people, though, because I have
been in their shoes. Here in the United States, most of us put our faith
in a two-party system that has failed peace and justice repeatedly. The
Republicans do not have a monopoly on the culture of corruption (although
BushCo has elevated it to policy status), and the way we do politics in
this country needs a serious shakeup, when all we the people are getting
is a shakedown.

I was frightened out of ever voting for a third party, or an independent
candidate, but voting out of fear is one of the things that bestowed us
with the Bush crime mob and may give us the Republican, if not in party
affiliation, Hillary Clinton.

I was a lifelong Democrat only because the choices were limited. The
Democrats are the party of slavery and were the party that started every
war in the 20th century, except the other Bush debacle. The Federal
Reserve, permanent federal income taxes, not one but two World Wars,
Japanese concentration camps, and not one but two atom bombs dropped on
the innocent citizens of Japan - all brought to us via the Democrats.

Don't tell me the Democrats are our "saviors" because I am not buying it
- especially after they bought more caskets and more devastating pain
when they financed and co-facilitated more of President Bush's abysmal
occupation. The Democrats also are allowing a meltdown of our republic by
allowing the evils of the executive branch to continue unrestrained by
their silent complicity.

Good change has happened during Democratic regimes, but as in the civil
rights and union movements, the positive changes occurred because of the
people, not the politicians. I will run as an independent because I find
the corruption in both parties unhealthy, and I believe we need to have
more allegiance to humans than to a political party.

I have nothing personally against Pelosi and have found our previous
interactions very pleasant. However, being "against" the occupation of
Iraq means ending it by ending the funding, preventing future illegal wars
of aggression and holding BushCo accountable. Words have to be backed up
by action, and if they aren't, they are as empty as Vice President Dick
Cheney's conscience.

If Pelosi does her constitutional and moral duty by Monday, then I believe
some balance will be restored to the universe, and my organization, People
for Humanity, can carry on with its humanitarian projects. If she doesn't,
we will carry on anyway, with a political campaign to boot.

I hope this challenges other people who desire healthy political change
and not temporary Band-Aids to replace other Democrats and Republicans who
do not conform to the beatitudes of peace, sustainability and the rule of
law for everybody, not just poor or marginalized people.

Being a born and raised Californian and being a Bay Area resident for the
past 14 years have given me great insight into the people and concerns of
San Francisco.

I am concerned with many of the same things: same-sex partnership laws,
the environment, health care, affordable post-secondary education, better
schools, counter-military recruitment, poverty, AIDS research and cures,
decriminalization of marijuana, and especially stopping war and ensuring
real peace.

I think I agree with Pelosi on many of these issues, but the difference
is, I don't live in a mansion on the hill. Many of these issues have
affected me and my family personally, and I am committed to fighting for
the people, not the corporate interests.

I wouldn't put myself through this if I weren't dead serious and committed
to making America a better country than we have now, and holding people to
a much higher standard than politics as usual. I am rested, restored to
health and ready to rumble. I realize that if ever there was a time for
politics as unusual, it is now.

Cindy Sheehan is a peace activist whose son, Casey, was killed in Iraq.

--------20 of 22--------

It's Up to Us
Journey for Humanity and Accountability Day 14
by Cindy Sheehan
July 25, 2007

I am lying in my hotel bed at the end of a very busy, productive, yet sad

About 300 people gathered today and marched the 3 miles from the entrance
of Arlington Cemetery to Congressman John Conyers' office to demand
impeachment and accountability from one of the leading figures in American
politics for the last four decades.

We were so thrilled with the turn-out and the energy of the group. There
was great media coverage and about one dozen freepers on the opposite
corner with signs like: "Traitors go to Hell" and "Cindy Sheehan go to
Hell." Nice. I have learned that hell can be on earth and if there is
anything worse than burying a child, I don't want to know about it.

At the end of the march, Reverend Lennox Yearwood, President of the Hip
Hop Caucus, Ray McGovern (retired CIA analyst) and I met with Congressman
John Conyers to implore him to institute impeachment proceedings against
the pretenders to the White House who are destroying our democracy, making
a mockery out of our rule of law and who are responsible for the deaths of
hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

This was my third meeting with Congressman Conyers about impeachment. I
hold a special place in my heart for him and I revere him for his decades
long service to this nation but for the life of me, I cannot understand
why he will not go forward with impeachment now.

A year ago he introduced HR635 to impeach George Bush while he was Ranking
Member of the House Judiciary Committee and not even chairman. He wrote
the book on impeachment called: The Constitution in Crisis and he readily
admits that BushCo have committed impeachable offenses.

It's about partisan politics, pure and simple. The Congressman claims that
there is absolutely no way that impeachment can go forward and when I was
nearing the end of my hope I cried out: "So, if the people's house won't
help us then we the people have no recourse against the executive branch."
To which he replied: "Yes you do, vote the enablers out in '08."
Firstly, Congressman Conyers told us to put Democrats back in Congress to
end the war and impeach BushCo. We did that and instead of ending the war,
they gave George Bush more money to wage it and to conduct his deadly and
tragic surge. Secondly, '08 will be too late to hold George and Dick
accountable. Thirdly, thousands of more people will die in these last
months of the worst Presidency in American history and lastly: after Dick
proclaimed that he was not part of the executive branch and that his
office does not have to comply with requests to turn over documents to the
National Archives: 435 Congress Reps should have signed onto H Res 333 to
impeach Cheney. Only fourteen have co-signed Congressman Kucinich's bill,
so that makes 421 elected Congressional officials enablers of the crimes
of the Bush Regime.

At the end of this day, Speaker Pelosi has not supported impeachment and
has not upheld her oath of office to "protect and defend" the
Constitution. Like Congressman Conyers said almost a year ago, our
Constitution is in Crisis and we can't wait for more meetings and more
stalling from Reps who think the problem will go away in '08. The Middle
East is rapidly falling apart under this regime and our country is sliding
rapidly into a state of one-branch tyranny while our "heroes" the
Democrats fiddle.

It was with very heavy hearts that Rev. Yearwood, Ray, and I reported back
to the media that the Congressman had said that with over one million
signatures on petitions and with one phone call coming into his office
every 30 seconds supporting impeachment and with 300 activists in the hall
to support him, he was still not going to move forward with the most
urgent duty of his career. The Rev and I were particularly disheartened
and broken because we do love the Congressman so much, but we love our
country and the people of Iraq and the Middle East more. The Rev and Ray
spent many years serving their country in the military and the CIA and I
had a son who gave his life to do what the Congress is supposed to do:
protect our freedoms, not hand them over to the mob that runs our country.

It is also with a heavy heart that I announce my candidacy against Nancy
Pelosi in California's 8th. If anybody would dare think that I am not
serious, I would hope that they would look back at the last three years of
my life and everything that I have sacrificed to restore our nation to one
that obeys the rule of law and can be looked up to with respect once again
in the international community and not as the hated laughingstock on the

I am committed to challenging a two party system that has kept us in a
state of constant warfare for the last 60 years and has become more and
more beholden to special interests and has forgotten the faces of the
people whom it represents.

I am committed to using our strength as a country to wage peace and to
elevate the status of every citizen in our country by converting the
enduring war economy to a prosperous one with lasting peace.

Someone needs to step up to the plate to do this and I challenge other
Americans to do the same. Challenge the status quo, because the status quo
is no good. We need to become plugged into our government once again as
active participants not just passive voters.

It is up to us.

--------21 of 22--------

He's No Martin Luther King
The Sad Decline of John Conyers
July 25, 2007

What do Rep. John Conyers (D, Michigan), chair of the House Committee on
the Judiciary, and President George W. Bush have in common? They both
think they can dis Cindy Sheehan and count on gossip columnists like the
Washington Post's Dana Milbank to trivialize an historic moment.

I'll give this to President Bush. He makes no pretence when he disses. He
would not meet with Sheehan to define for her the "noble cause" for which
her son Casey died or tell her why he had said it was "worth it."

Conyers, on the other hand, was dripping with pretence as he met with
Sheehan, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, and me yesterday in his office in the
Rayburn building. I have seldom been so disappointed with someone I had
previously held in high esteem. And before leaving, I told him so.
Throwing salt in our wounds, he had us, and some fifty others in his
anteroom arrested and taken out of action as the Capitol Police
"processed" us for the next six hours.

As we began our discussion with Conyers, it was as though he thought we
were "born yesterday," as Harry Truman would put it. With feigned
enthusiasm he began, Let's hold a Town Hall meeting in Detroit so we can
talk about impeachment. Get out my schedule; let's see, we need to hear
from everyone about this.

Been there, done that, I reminded the congressman. On May 29, 2007 Col.
Ann Wright and I were among those who flew to Detroit for a highly
advertised Town Hall meeting on impeachment, because we were assured that
John Conyers would be there.

That Town Hall/panel discussion was arranged by the Michigan chapter of
the National Lawyers Guild less than two weeks after the Detroit City
Council passed a resolution, cosponsored by Conyers' wife Monica
Conyers-calling for the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick
Cheney. We had hoped that Monica's clear vision and courage might be

Husband a No-Show

I had to remind the congressman that he did not show up for the Town Hall,
preferring to put in a cameo appearance and quickly leave a half-hour
before it began.

Apparently, that incident was of such little consequence to the
congressman that he had completely forgotten about it and was about to try
to resort to the same subterfuge. And that was less than two months ago.
Small wonder, then, that he has apparently forgotten the oath he took,
much longer ago, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United
States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Selective Alzheimer's? I don't know. What was clear was that he had
forgotten a whole lot. I pointed to James Madison's role in crafting a
Constitution that mentions impeachment no fewer than six times. And for
those, like John Conyers, who may have forgotten, Madison had this to say
at the constitutional convention, "A President is impeachable if he
attempts to subvert the Constitution.) I mentioned my career as a CIA
analyst, said there is abundant proof, much of it documentary, that Bush
and Cheney had deliberately deceived Congress into approving a war of
aggression, and asked what could be more subversive of the Constitution.

The congressman's reply: Madison did not say Conyers has to impeach every
one. Why, if I had to impeach everyone for high crimes and misdemeanors,
that's all my committee would have time to do.

I remember from Rhetoric 101 the name of that device: reductio ad

How about just Bush and Cheney? we suggested.

Conyers protested that he would need 218 votes in the House and complained
that the votes are not there. His priorities showed through in his loud
lament that if he fell short of the 218 votes, the Republicans and FOX
News would have a field day.

Frightened by FOX

There was no getting through to Conyers, who seemed astonished at the
direct questions we were posing. While reflecting on this later, a dictum
of my father, also a prominent lawyer began to ring in my ears; to wit:
"When you reach the age of 'statutory senility,' you do everyone a favor
if you retire." He followed his own advice when he retired as Chancellor
of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, long
before senility - statutory, or otherwise - set in for him.

Septuagenarian Conyers and, for that matter, 80 year-old Senator John
Warner (R-Virginia) who also seems to have forgotten his sworn duty to
uphold the Constitution would do well to ponder my father's dictum. (As
for the "distinguished" senior senator from Commonwealth of Virginia, you
may recall that, as head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he caved
in to White House pressure to let the Pentagon investigate itself
regarding the abuses at Abu Graib and elsewhere - letting lower ranking
soldiers take the hit for doing what then-defense secretary Donald
Rumsfeld had made clear he wanted done. At that low point, surely groaning
could be heard from James Madison's resting place in Montpelier at the
disdain in which successor Virginians - however "distinguished" - hold his
beloved Constitution. Sorry, but I am a Virginian. And I feel this keenly.
O Tempora, O Mores!)

Attempted Trading on King

Toward the end of our meeting with Conyers, he showed uncommon chutzpah in
referring to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That was too much for me. You're
no Martin Luther King, I found myself wanting to say. Instead, I quoted a
portion of Dr. King's famous address at Riverside Church almost 40 years

"We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited
vision, but we must speak.... there is such a thing as being too late....
Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with lost
opportunity.... Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are
written the pathetic words: 'Too late.'"

I used that quote in a letter I left with Conyers' aides, in which I tried
to express why my colleagues in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for
Sanity feel it is URGENT to find some way to apply the Constitution to
restrain a run-away Executive.

The text of that letter follows:

July 23, 2007

A Note to Congressman John Conyers:
On Impeachment and the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Dear John,

We each have our favored crime for which President Bush and Vice President
Cheney should be impeached. Many of us have several.

But the real challenge is to look AHEAD. What are Bush/Cheney likely to do
in the coming months if the impeachment process does NOT begin?

One often hears, Oh, they will do what they want anyway, impeachment
process or not. Not true. If we the people and our representatives in
Congress choose the course given us by our Founders and impeachment
proceedings begin, important swaths of our body politic AND military will
be less likely to follow illegal orders from the White House. These
important constituencies will become sensitized to the peril into which
this administration has brought us and to the extra-constitutional orders
they may be asked to carry out.

NEW ELEMENT: Even the Scaif-owned newspapers have begun to question Bush's

What could be more important at this juncture?

We Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been applying
all of our analytical techniques to assess the Bush/Cheney administration.
We have helped to establish the long record of abuses and usurpations of
the past. What about the future?

Iraq is going to hell in a hand basket. A Tet-type incident becomes more
and more likely. The Green Zone is being hit by mortar fire more
frequently than before. It may be just a matter of time before the
Resistance gets lucky and lobs a shell onto our spanking new $600-million
embassy, killing a bunch of Americans in the process.

What then? Will Cheney tell the president the US military has found
Iranian markings on the shell fragments and we need to retaliate...and,
actually, while we're at it, let's implement Plan A and hit all Iranian
nuclear-related facilities. With Congress voting resolution after
resolution against Iran, how would the president react to such a
suggestion from Cheney?

Many of us intelligence analysts have found utility in relying, in part,
on short studies applying psychoanalysis to develop profiles of foreign
leaders. (This marriage of psychoanalysis and intelligence work actually
goes back to the early 1940s, when the OSS commissioned such studies on
Hitler.) We called them "at-a-distance personality assessments."

Three years ago Justin Frank, M.D., a psychiatrist here in Washington,
wrote a book "Bush on the Couch" in which he provided keen insights into
the president's mode of thinking-or not thinking.

Eager to use every tool at our disposal, VIPS recently asked Dr. Frank to
update his observations, with a view to forecasting, to the extent
possible, how Bush is likely to react to the building pressures of the
coming weeks and months. We will issue, perhaps as early as this week, Dr.
Frank's latest analysis, fortified by our own input. But we already have
his preliminary analysis; there is no other word for it: Scary.

In a quick note to us this morning [July 23], Dr. Frank noted we are
"dealing with a potentially cornered man [who] could lash out, and it is
possible that the best way would be to bomb Iran.... Whatever the root
causes of Bush's pathology, we have a dangerous man running
things...grandiose and unchecked."

Some snippets from the Memorandum that Dr. Frank is drafting for issuance
under VIPS auspices:

George W. Bush is without conscience...and destructive, willfully so. He
has always liked to break things...most shocking is the way he is breaking
our armed forces.

He doesn't care about others, is indifferent to their suffering...He is
almost constitutionally missing the ability to sympathize or
empathize...More indifferent to reality than out of touch with it, he
makes up whatever story he wants.

Ultimately, he is psychologically unstable...His goal is to destroy things
[and he can do that] without experiencing anxiety or a sense of
responsibility. An equally important goal is to protect himself from
shame, from being wrong, from being found small and weak.

So what do we do?

At a similarly critical juncture, Dr. King was typically direct: "We must
speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but
we must speak.... there is such a thing as being too late.... Life often
leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with lost opportunity....
Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic
words: 'Too late.'"

There is today another Edmund Pettus Bridge to cross, John. And it has
fallen to you to lead us across.

With respect,


Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990 and Robert Gates' branch
chief in the early 1970s. McGovern now serves on the Steering Group of
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). He is a contributor
to Imperial Crusades, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.
He can be reached at: rrmcgovern [at]

This article appeared originally at

--------22 of 22--------

Welcome to Richistan, USA
by Paul Harris
July 24, 2007
Guardian UK

On the surface, Mark Cain works for a time-share company. Members pay a
one-off sum to join and an annual fee. They then get to book holiday time
in various destinations around the globe.

But Solstice clients are not ordinary people. They are America's
super-rich and a brief glance at its operations reveal the vast and still
widening gulf between them and the rest of America.

Solstice has only about 80 members. Platinum membership costs them
$875,000 to join and then a $42,000 annual fee. In return they get access
to 10 homes from London to California and a private yacht in the
Caribbean, all fully staffed with cooks, cleaners and 'lifestyle managers'
ready to satisfy any whim from helicopter-skiing to audiences with local
celebrities. As the firm's marketing manager, Cain knows what Solstice's
clientele want. 'We are trying to feed and manage this insatiable appetite
for luxury,' Cain said with pride.

America's super-rich have returned to the days of the Roaring Twenties. As
the rest of the country struggles to get by, a huge bubble of
multi-millionaires lives almost in a parallel world. The rich now live in
their own world of private education, private health care and gated
mansions. They have their own schools and their own banks. They even
travel apart - creating a booming industry of private jets and yachts.
Their world now has a name, thanks to a new book by Wall Street Journal
reporter Robert Frank which has dubbed it 'Richistan'. There every dream
can come true. But for the American Dream itself - which promises everyone
can join the elite - the emergence of Richistan is a mixed blessing. 'We
in America are heading towards 'developing nation' levels of inequality.
We would become like Brazil. What does that say about us? What does that
say about America?' Frank said. In 1985 there were just 13 US
billionaires. Now there are more than 1,000. In 2005 the US saw 227,000
new millionaires being created. One survey showed that the wealth of all
US millionaires was $30 trillion, more than the GDPs of China, Japan,
Brazil, Russia and the EU combined.

The rich have now created their own economy for their needs, at a time
when the average worker's wage rises will merely match inflation and where
36 million people live below the poverty line. In Richistan sums of money
are rendered almost meaningless because of their size. It also has other
names. There is the 'Platinum Triangle' used to describe the slice of
Beverly Hills where many houses go for above $10m. Then there is the Jewel
Coast, used to describe the strip of Madison Avenue in Manhattan where
boutique jewellery stories have sprung up to cater for the new riches'
needs. Or it exists in the MetCircle society, a Manhattan club open only
to those whose net worth is at least $100m.

The reason behind the sudden wealth boom is, according to some experts,
the convergence of a new technology - the internet and other computing
advances - with fluid and speculative markets. It was the same in the late
19th century when the original Gilded Age of conspicuous wealth and deep
poverty was spawned by railways and the industrial age. At the same time
government has helped by doling out corporate tax breaks. In the Fifties
the proportion of federal income from company taxes was 33 per cent, by
2003 it was just 7.4 percent. Some 82 of America's largest companies paid
no tax at all in at least one of the first three years of the
administration of President George W Bush.

But who are the new rich? Some of the names are familiar, Microsoft tycoon
Bill Gates and savvy stock investor Warren Buffett. But most are unknown,
often springing from the secretive world of financial hedge funds. Men
like James Simons, who took home compensation of $1.7bn last year. Last
year the 25 top earning hedge fund bankers in the US earned an average of
$570m each. The average US household income is $50,000.

It is such men - and they are usually men - who feed the outlandish luxury
goods economy of Richistan. It is they who are responsible for the rebirth
of the butler industry, which was all but dead in the Seventies and is now
facing a shortage of trained staff. So keen is the demand that many can
expect to earn a six-figure salary when they graduate from booming butler

Then there is the runaway feeder-industry of luxury consumer items. The
new ultra rich turn up their noses at Rolexes; the sought-after brand is
Franck Muller, which sells a high-end timepiece for $736,000. Or try a
Mont Blanc pen, encrusted in jewels, for $700,000. Louis Vuitton's most
exclusive handbag sells for $42,000. Only 24 were ever made and none ever
touched a shelf as all were pre-sold to Richistani clients.

In places such as Manhattan and Los Angeles, restaurants and bars outdo
themselves in excess. New York's Algonquin Hotel has a $10,000 'martini on
a rock' (it comes with a diamond at the bottom of the glass). City
eateries sell burgers for more than $50. One offers a $1,000 omelette. In
Los Angeles there is a craze for Bling mineral water - at $90 a bottle.

Then there are the boats. The private yacht industry in America has been
caught in an arms race of size and luxuriousness. So far, there has been a
clear winner: Oracle-founder Larry Ellison's 450ft water palace, the
Rising Sun. More than 80 rooms on five storeys and a landing craft that
carries a Jeep, a basketball court doubling as a helipad and a
fully-equipped cinema.

Now an Oregon-based company is taking things further: private submarines.
An estimated 100 or so private subs are now drifting around the world's
oceans. Then there are the rockets - several notable billionaires are now
leading the way in private exploration of space. One of them is Robert
Bigelow who has ploughed $500m into trying to build an inflatable space
hotel. A miniature prototype model was successfully launched and tested
last month. In a scene that perhaps James Bond would find familiar, armed
guards now patrol the fences of Bigelow Aerospace's headquarters wearing
badges decorated with an alien as their corporate logo.

But this is not just a world of riches gone mad that the rest of America
can ignore. The growth of such a large super-rich class, coupled with a
deepening poverty in many communities, is starting to tear at the fabric
of society. Even some of the most wealthy - like Gates and Buffett - have
spoken openly of the needs to address the massive 'inequality gap' that
they have come to exemplify. In effect, some of the very richest Americans
are calling for themselves to be taxed. In a speech last month Buffett -
the third richest man in the world - pointed out that his tax rate was
17.7 per cent of his income while his secretary was taxed at 30 per cent.
'Many of the new super-rich are looking long term at the world and they
see a collapsing US education system and health-care system and the
disappearance of the middle class and they realise: this is bad for
everybody,' said Frank.

Defenders of low tax for the very rich point to the theory of trickledown
economics - the spending power of the rich benefiting the poor. But while
the super-rich have boomed, the earning power of the average and poor
citizen has not nearly matched the performance of the elite. In 2005 the
top one per cent of earners in the US gained 14 per cent in income in real
terms, while the rest of the country gained less than one per cent. The
situation is especially bad for the severely poor - those living at half
the poverty level - whose numbers are at a 32-year high. The rich are
getting richer but are not bringing everyone else with them. 'If you look
at the impact of the last 20 years it seems pretty clear that trickledown
just does not work,' said Paul Buchheit, economics professor at Chicago's
Harold Washington College.

There are some signs of a change in attitude. Recent huge Wall Street
flotations such as the listing of private equity giants like Blackstone
have created a push in Congress for taxes on the instant billionaires they
have created. Scandals of excess such as Enron and WorldCom and the trial
of Conrad Black have been high-profile. But few politicians, needing
campaign cash from new millionaires, will get far preaching higher tax.
Calls for more equality tend to have come from men like Buffett and Gates
whose fortunes are so enormous that a little extra tax would make no
difference. Bush has pushed to phase out taxes like the estate tax, which
benefit only the rich. 'I don't see it changing. No matter what
administration is in power,' said Buchheit.

But many think it must change. To a large degree, the debate over the
booming lives of the super-rich is an argument about the American soul. It
is a country that has always worshipped wealth, where the creation of a
fortune was seen as virtuous and a source of pride.

But now that huge wealth has started to squeeze the 'middle class' out of
existence, leaving the haves and have-nots in very separate worlds. It is
possible that political will may develop to address the problem or that
the problem will correct itself. The notorious end of the Gilded Age came
in the panic of 1893 that sank America into depression.

Frank believes the signs of a coming storm are there. 'The trick is to
spot when prosperity turns to excess,' he said. 'When a large amount of
people make a lot money very quickly it's a sign you are near the top of
the market.'

In a world of mega-yachts, private submarines and space hotels, that peak
might be close at hand. And it's a long way down.

Billionaire's row

 There are 7.5 million households in America worth up to $10m. A further
two million are worth $10m-$100m and thousands are worth more than $100m.

 There is now a two-year waiting list for 200ft yachts. If put end to end,
the boats on that list, which cost $50m each, would be 15 miles long.

 Sebonack Golf Club in the Hamptons, Long Island, charges $650,000 for
membership. That doesn't include the $12,000 annual dues, or tips for

 Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have a private Boeing 767.

 John D. Rockefeller was America's first billionaire. Adjusted for
inflation, he had $14bn - less than the net worth of each of Sam Walton's
five children today. There were 13 US billionaires in 1985. Now there are
more than 1,000. There are as many millionaires in North Carolina as in

 'Affluent' is Richistani for 'not really rich'. According to Frank, you
need about $10m to be considered entry-level rich.


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