Progressive Calendar 01.17.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 07:51:51 -0800 (PST)
               P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    01.17.08

1. Energy/climate    1.17 1pm
2. Stop TraderJoe's  1.17 3:30
3. Eagan peace vigil 1.17 4:30pm
4. Northtown vigil   1.17 5pm
5. Roe v Wade/35     1.17 6pm
6. WAMM intro        1.17 6pm
7. Media impact      1.17 6:45pm
8. Women's rights    1.17 7pm
9. Palestine         1.17 7pm
10. HIV/AIDS/global  1.17 7pm
11. AI Wayzata       1.17 7:15pm

12. WAMM intro       1.18 1:30pm
13. Fem blogging     1.18 2pm
14. Forest gardening 1.18 7pm
15. Jesus/Gitmo/play 1.18 7pm
16. Moyers/class-war 1.18 9pm
17. Iran/film        1.18

18. Ralph Nader     - What you won't hear from the front-runners
19. Robert Weissman - Big business is even more unpopular than you thought
20. Carol Christen  - Lest we overlook the obvious
21. Sharon Smith    - A slippery slope? Ron Paul and the Left
22. ed              - Bumpersticker

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

From: Laurie Hilty <lhilty [at]>
Subject: Energy/climate 1.17 1pm


Five events on January 17 and 18 will focus on the role and ability of
local government to cope with the ramifications of global climate change,
energy scarcity, and rising costs coming as increasing demand for
resources comes up against declining global petroleum production.

Presentations will be made at each event by Daniel Lerch, Program Director
at the Post Carbon Institute and author of "Post Carbon Cities," and John
Kaufmann from the Oregon Department of Energy, staff to the Portland Peak
Oil Task Force. Mr. Lerch will provide a peak oil primer followed by a
presentation recently made at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil
Conference. Mr. Kaufman will discuss major concerns about the
uncertainties and volatility associated with both climate change and
energy supply and price.

The overall emphasis of the presentations will be on the role of local
units of government and to address such questions as: What are the
implications for the economy? How will people get to work (and other
places)? How will food availability, prices, quality and choices by
affected? How will demand for public services be affected? And, how will
our ability to provide services be affected?

Anyone interested in energy issues is encouraged to attend any of these
events - Admission is free and no registration is required.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

1:00 - 4:00 Joint hearing of the House Energy Finance & Policy Division,
chaired by State Rep. Bill HIlty, and the Local Government & Metropolitan
Affairs Committee, chaired by State Rep. Debra Hilstrom, in the Basement
Hearing Room of the State Office Building, 100 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Blvd., just soutwest of the Capitol, in St. Paul, MN

7:00 PM in Duluth Program hosted by State Rep. Bill Hilty, held in
conjunction with the Lake Superior Energy Association and sponsored by the
University of MN-Duluth's Sociology/Anthropology Department at UMD
Bohannon 90 lecture hall.

Friday, January 18, 2008

9:00 - noon Workshop geared to those in local government sponsored by the
MPCA. Thompson County Park, Dakota Lodge,1200 Stassen Lane, West St. Paul,
MN Dakota Lodge is just west of Highway 52, about 3 miles south of I-94
and downtown St. Paul:
Contact Philipp Muessig at philipp.muessig@ or 651-215-0204.

3:00 -5:00 in Rochester Program for the general public hosted by Norm
Erickson.  Heintz Center Commons, University Center Rochester, 855 30th
Avenue SE. Contact Norm Erickson at norme2 [at] For directions
google Heintz center or call 507-280-3154.

7:00 PM in South Minneapolis Program for the general public hosted by
State Rep. Frank Hornstein and State Rep. Bill Hilty. Multi-purpose Room
at Pershing Recreation Center, 3523 W 48th St., corner of Chowen Av So and
48th St W Call 612-370-4928 or see directions at: Contact: Laurie Hilty at 320.233.6626 or
lhilty [at]

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

From: d-hill [at]
Subject: Stop TraderJoe's 1.17 3:30  [ed head]

[Just one more unwarranted intrusion of a chain into a neighborhood.
Government seldom meets a corporation it doesn't love. -ed]

Regarding construction of a Trader Joe's at the corner of Randolph and
Lexington. There is an opportunity to comment on the site plan for the

The city council has deemed that the site is appropriate to be zoned for
Traditional Neighborhood development, and view the Trader Joe's project as
meeting the Traditional Neighborhood district design standards as described
in Sec. 66.343. of the St. Paul Zoning Code, Traditional neighborhood
district design standards. See:

The Zoning Committee of the st. Paul Planning Commission will be reviewing
the site plan for this project on:
Thursday, January 17, 2008 3:30 P.M.
City Council Chambers
3rd Floor City Hall

If you cannot attend you can comment on the project by sending an email to:
Patricia James, PED Staff
patricia.james [at]

You can find the  1-17-08 Zoning Committee agenda at:

Members of Zoning Committee
Allan Torstenson and Patricia James, PED Staff
Brian Alton
Carole Faricy
Dennis Rosemark
George Johnson
Gladys Morton, Chair
Kathi Donnelly-Cohen
Richard Kramer
Stephen Gordon

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

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 1.17 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.

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

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 1.17 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]

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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Roe v Wade/35 1.17 6pm

January 17: Minnesota Choice Coalition. 35th Anniversary Celebration of
Roe v. Wade. 6 PM. International Market Square. Keynote Speaker: former
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders. Emcee: Jessica Valenti, author of
Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters.
Tickets: $35.

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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: WAMM intro 1.17 6pm

January 17: Women Against Military Madness New Member Meet Up. 6:00-7:30
PM at Fire Roast Mountain Café, Minneapolis. RSVP.

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

From: Joel Albers <joel [at]>
Subject: Media impact 1.17 6:45pm

The House Party Media Impact Training this Thursday, Jan 17, will be at
the home of Joel Albers (see directions below) at 6:45 PM sharp. Please
attend. This message can be forwarded widely. Refreshments provided.

6:45-7:10 Arrival & Introductions
7:10-7:35 Watch the Media Training Video
7:35-7:50 Webcast Set-up/ Video Discussion/ Submit Questions
7:50-8:15 Listen to Live Webcast with a National Media Expert
8:15-8:55 Participate in Practice Skills Sessions
8:55-9:00 Wrap-up and Meet Attendees

The goal of the Media Impact Training is to help progressive activists
develop a solid grounding in the skills necessary to gain media coverage
for their political events.  Skills to be covered include assessing your
resources; coming up with a plan for your event; localizing and
personalizing a broader political effort; pitching your event; and
following up to expand coverage.

This training is sponsored by Universal Health Care Action Network - MN
and Center for Progressive Leadership Action Network. The media training
video is general, yet the practical focus will be on health care reform
and skills can be applied to any progressive issue. The program is the
chance for progressives to meet new people and develop new connections, so
we encourage you to take the time to get to know your fellow participants.

The training will not be about broader topics, such as how to develop a
media strategy or how to create a compelling message (however, additional
information on media strategy, as well as additional resources, are
available online at

When the training is over, please visit our website,,
where you will have access to additional resources that we hope will prove
useful as you take the skills you learn at our training and apply them in
your own community.

Directions to 1520 10th Av. S., Minneapolis.
My house is in the Elliot Park neighborhood, tucked within the shadow of
downtown Minneapolis, north of I-94 and one block south of Elliot Park.
It is across the street from Augustana Nursing Home and Residence.

Parking:  There is a 2 hour parking limit on 10th Av. Between 11 am and
11pm, but it is seldom enforced in the evening.  You can park down the
block on 17th St. - no time restrictions on south side of 17th.

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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Women's rights 1.17 7pm

January 17: Women's Human Rights Program at Minnesota Advocates for Human
Rights. Women's Human Rights Film Series. Features "Crimes of Honor." 7
PM. Merriam Park Branch Library, St. Paul. Free & open to the public.

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine 1.17 7pm

Thursday, 1/17, 7 pm, St Thomas Justice and Peace Department, Theology
Department, Center for Woman, Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace, Middle
East Peace Now, WAMM's Middle East Committee, Coalition for Palestinian
Rights and Pax Christi all sponsor the Anna Baltzer presentation "Witness
in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories," U of
St Thomas, John Roach Center, Room 126, 2115 Summit Ave, St Paul. or 651-962-5733.

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

From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at]>
Subject: HIV/AIDS/global 1.17 7pm


Free and open to the public.
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church,
511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale &
Hennepin) Park in church lot.
Thursday, January 17, 7:00-9:00 pm.

This talk will examine the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS at the global,
national and local levels. It will note current trends in the spread and
treatment of the disease and consider what more can be done by the US and
globally to prevent its spread and treat existing victims. The medical,
economic, and socio-political dimensions of the problem will all be

Presenter: KEITH HENRY, M.D.  A practitioner at the Hennepin County
Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota,
Dr. Henry received his MD from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1978
and trained in internal medicine in St. Louis from 1978-81. He held a
fellowship on infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota (1984-87)
and established the state's first HIV clinic in 1985 and has since
focused exclusively on HIV care and clinical research. He has published
more than 100 papers and abstracts on his specialization and has a wealth
of relevant domestic and overseas experience.

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

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: AI Wayzata 1.17 7:15pm

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, January 17th, at 7:15 p.m.
St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near
the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information,
contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at]

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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: WAMM intro 1.18 1:30pm

January 18: Women Against Military Madness New Member Meet Up. 1:30- 3 PM
at Wayzata Library, Wayzata. RSVP.

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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Fem blogging 1.18 2pm

Friday, January 18: Midwest Health Center for Women & the Center on Women
& Public Policy present "Feminist Blogging" with Jessica Valenti, Editor
of & author of Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's
Guide to Why Feminism Matters. 2 -3:30 PM at the Humphrey Institute of
Public Affairs, UofM. More info.

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

From: Paula Westmoreland <paula [at]>
Subject: Forest gardening 1.18 7pm

The Permaculture Collaborative, PRI Cold Climate, and What's Up in
Sustainable Agriculture (WUSA) Present Gardening Like the Forest: Home-Scale
Ecological Food Production with Dave Jacke

Healthy forest ecosystems are self-maintaining, self-fertilizing, and
self-renewing.  Wouldn't you like to grow a food-producing ecosystem like
that in your back yard?  Well, you can! Edible forest gardening is the
design of gardens that mimic the structure and function of natural
forests, but grow food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizers,
"farmaceuticals," and fun.  What vision lies behind this idea? How well
does it work?  Let's explore the concept, with inspiring and practical
ideas, images, and examples, as well as discussing the multiple uses of
some key forest garden plants.

Friday January 18th 7-9pm
U of Mn St. Paul Campus Theatre - Student Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
Free to the public, donations are welcome.
Bring a friend!

For any questions, please email HYPERLINK
"mailto:info [at]"info [at]

Dave Jacke, primary author of the award winning two-volume book Edible
Forest Gardens, has been a student of ecology and design since the 1970s,
and has run his own design firm "Dynamics Ecological Design" since 1984.
Dave is an engaging and passionate teacher of ecological design and
Permaculture and a meticulous designer.  He has consulted on, designed,
built, and planted landscapes, homes, farms, and communities in the many
parts of the United States, as well as overseas, but mainly in the
Northeast.  A cofounder of Land Trust at Gap Mountain in Jaffrey, NH, he
homesteaded there for a number of years.  He holds a B.A. in Environmental
Studies from Simon's Rock College and a M.A. in Landscape Design from the
Conway School of Landscape Design.

A detailed resume is available as a pdf download in the bio at the bottom
of the page at

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

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: Jesus/Gitmo/play 1.18 7pm

Local Theater artist, Matthew Vaky, will perform his one man play, "Jesus
at Guantanamo" at 7 PM, Friday January 18th at the Robbinsdale United
Church of Christ, 4200 Lake Road (directly behind the Robbin Center Mall).

Vaky is a former member of the Guthrie Acting Company and has written,
directed, and acted with many local companies including Mixed Blood,
Illusion, Children's Theater, SteppingStone Theatre, the Fringe Festival,
and the Bryant Lake Bowl.  He teaches at the Guthrie and is on the staff
at El Colegio Charter School in Minneapolis.  The play is not suitable for
children because of mature themes and strong language.

This performance is free and open to the public; all are welcome. It is
being co-sponsored by The National and Global Ministry of RUCC and NW
Neighbors for Peace. The performance will be followed by a discussion
between the playwright and the audience.  Free will donations will be
accepted. For more information contact or Carole at

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

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at]>
Subject: Moyers/class-war 1.18 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | Talk of Change

Bill Moyers Journal "interviews New York Times investigative reporter and
Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston, who says America's system has
been rigged to benefit the super-rich. Also on the program, Bill Moyers
talks with Harvey J. Kaye, the Ben & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Social
Change and Development and the founding director of the Center for History
and Social Change at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay."

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Iran/film 1.18

1/18 to 1/24, film "Persepolis," a coming-of-age story about 9-year-old
girl dealing with rise of fundamentalism in Iran, then prejudice when she
flees to Austria, Uptown Theater, Hennepin and Lagoon, Mpls.

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

[All those planning to support Edwards or Obama or Hillary etc - how do
they rate on the list below? Is coming up with zero or minus 50
nevertheless OK - if the RP guy is minus 70? Have we all abandoned
progress and a better future? Do we just hope that the world will wait to
crash until after we're dead - and the devil take our descendents? It
often seems so. Where is the spririt of resistence? Of human possibility
and dignity? Abandoned to corporations and billionaires and two-bit
tyrants? If we don't stand up for ourselves no one else will. -ed]

What You Won't Hear from the Front-Runners
The Candidate Taboos
January 15, 2008

Here is a short list of what you won't hear much of from the front-runners
in this presidential primary season. Call them the candidate taboos.

* You won't hear a call for a national crackdown on the corporate crime,
fraud, and abuse that have robbed trillions of dollars from workers,
investors, pension holders, taxpayers and consumers. Among the reforms
that won't be suggested are providing resources to prosecute executive
crooks and laws to democratize corporate governance so shareholders have
real power. Candidates will not shout for a payback of ill-gotten gains,
to rein in executive pay, or to demand corporate sunshine laws.

* You won't hear a demand that workers receive a living wage instead of a
minimum wage. There will be no backing for a repeal of the anti-union
Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which has blocked more than 40 million workers
from forming or joining trade unions to improve wages and benefits above
Wal-Mart or McDonald's levels.

* You won't hear for a call for a withdrawal from the WTO and NAFTA.
Renegotiated trade agreements should stick to trade while labor,
environmental, and consumer rights are advanced by separate treaties
without being subordinated to the dictates of international commerce.

* You won't hear a call for our income tax system to be substantially
revamped so that workers can keep more of their wages while we tax the
things we like least, such as pollution, stock speculation, addictive
industries, and energy guzzling technologies. Nor will you hear that
corporations should be required to pay their fair share; corporate tax
contributions as a percent of the overall federal revenue stream have been
declining for 50 years.

* You won't hear a call for a single payer health system. Almost sixty
years after President Truman first proposed it, we still need health
insurance for everyone, a program with quality and cost controls and an
emphasis on prevention. Full Medicare for everyone will save thousands of
lives a year while maintaining patient choice of doctors and hospitals
within a competitive private health care delivery system.

* There is no reason to believe that the candidates will stand up to the
commercial interests profiting from our current energy situation. We need
a major environmental health agenda that challenges these entrenched
interests with major new initiatives in solar energy, doubling motor
vehicle fuel efficiency, and other quantified sustainable and clean energy
technologies. Nor will there be adequate recognition that current fossil
fuels are producing not just global warming, but also cancer, respiratory
diseases, and geopolitical entanglements. Finally, there will be no calls
for ending environmental racism that leads to more contaminated water,
air, and toxic dumps in poorer neighborhoods.

* The candidates will not demand a reduction in the military budget that
devours half the federal government's operating expenditures at a time
when there is no Soviet Union or other major state enemy in the world.
Studies by the General Accounting Office and internal Pentagon assessments
support the judgment of many retired admirals and generals that a wasteful
defense weakens our country and distorts priorities at home.

* You won't hear a consistent clarion call for electoral reform. Both
parties have shamelessly engaged in gerrymandering, a process that
guarantees reelection of their candidates at the expense of frustrated
voters. Nor will there be serious proposals that millions of law-abiding
ex-felons be allowed to vote.

Other electoral reforms should include reducing barriers to candidates,
same day registration, a voter verified paper record for electronic
voting, run-off voting to insure winners receive a majority vote, binding
none-of-the-above choices and most important, full public financing to
guarantee clean elections.

* You won't hear much about a failed war on drugs that costs nearly $50
billion annually. And the major candidates will not argue that addicts
should be treated rather than imprisoned. Nor should observers hope for
any call to repeal the "three strikes and you're out" laws that have
needlessly filled our jails or to end mandatory sentencing that hamstrings
our judges.

* The candidates will ignore the diverse Israeli peace movement whose
members have developed accords for a two state solution with their
Palestinian and American counterparts. It is time to replace the
Washington puppet show with a real Washington peace show for the security
of the American, Palestinian, and Israeli people.

* You won't hear the candidates stand up to business interests that have
backed changes to our civil justice system that restrict or close the
courtroom to wrongfully injured and cheated individuals, but not to
corporations. Where is the vocal campaign against fraud and injury upon
innocent patients, consumers, and workers? We should make it easier for
consumers to band together and defend themselves against harmful practices
in the marketplace.

Voters should visit the webpages of the major party candidates. See what
they say, and see what they do not say. Then email or send a letter to any
or all the candidates and ask them why they are avoiding these issues.
Breaking the taboos won't start with the candidates. Maybe it can start
with the voters.

Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions

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

Is There Any Politician Reading These Polls?
Big Business is Even More Unpopular Than You Thought
January 15, 2008

The U.S. public holds Big Business in shockingly low regard.

A November 2007 Harris poll found that less than 15 percent of the
population believes each of the following industries to be "generally
honest and trustworthy:" tobacco companies (3 percent); oil companies (3
percent); managed care companies such as HMOs (5 percent); health
insurance companies (7 percent); telephone companies (10 percent); life
insurance companies (10 percent); online retailers (10 percent);
pharmaceutical and drug companies (11 percent); car manufacturers (11
percent); airlines (11 percent); packaged food companies (12 percent);
electric and gas utilities (15 percent). Only 32 percent of adults said
they trusted the best-rated industry about which Harris surveyed,
supermarkets. [1]

These are remarkable numbers. It is very hard to get this degree of
agreement about anything. By way of comparison, 79 percent of adults
believe the earth revolves around the sun; 18 percent say it is the other
way around.[2]

The Harris results are not an aberration. The results have not varied
considerably over the past five years - although overall trust levels
have actually declined from the already very low threshold in 2003.

The Harris results are also in line with an array of polling data showing
deep concern about concentrated corporate power.

An amazing 84 percent told Harris in a poll earlier in 2007 that big
companies have too much power in Washington. By contrast, only 47 percent
said that labor unions have too much power in Washington (as against 42
percent who said labor has too little power), and 18 percent who said
nonprofit organizations have too much power in Washington.[3]

These results have proven durable. At least 80 percent of the public has
ranked big companies as having too much power in Washington since 1994. In
2000, Business Week and Harris asked a broader question: Has business
gained too much power over too many aspects of American life? Seventy-four
percent agreed.[4]

The November 2007 poll also asked about support for measures to control
corporations. These results are eye-opening as well, though perhaps not in
the expected way.

Harris asked which industries "should be more regulated by government -
for example for health, safety or environmental reasons - than they are
now?" Only oil companies (53 percent), pharmaceutical companies (53
percent) and health insurance companies (52 percent) crossed the 50
percent threshold. Even the tobacco industry managed to escape in the
survey with only 41 percent favoring greater regulation. These data trend
significantly negative - against greater regulation - over the last five

Does this show that while people distrust Big Business, they equally
distrust the government to constrain corporate power?


The U.S. skepticism to regulation is only skin deep. When polls present
specific regulatory proposals for consideration, U.S. public support is
typically strong and often overwhelming - even when arguments against
government action are presented.

For example:

* After hearing arguments for and against, 76 percent favor granting the
Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over tobacco, with 22
percent opposed.[5]

* After hearing arguments for and against, 75 percent favor legislation
that would significantly increase energy efficiency, including auto fuel
efficiency standards, and the use of renewable energy.[6]

* Eighty-five percent favor country-of-origin labeling for meat, seafood,
produce and grocery products, and three quarters favor a legislative

* Seventy-one percent say it is important that drugs remain under close
review by the FDA and drug companies after they have been placed on the

* And, from a Harris finding a week after the poll showing skepticism
about industry regulation in general, the polling agency found that those
who think there is too little government regulation in the area of
environmental protection outpaced those who think there is too much by a
more than 2-to-1 margin (53 to 21 percent).[9]

What the Harris findings on attitudes to regulation do show is that the
business campaign against regulation as an abstract concept has been very

It highlights the need for consumer, environmental, labor and other
corporate accountability advocates to defend the concept of regulation,
and to connect the rampant corporate abuses in society with the
deregulation and non-regulatory failures of the last three decades.
There's little doubt that the general public attitude toward regulation
significantly affects the willingness of politicians - none to eager to
offend business patrons in the first place - to take on corporate power.

Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational
Monitor and director of Essential Action.


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

Lest We Overlook The Obvious
by Carol Warner Christen

(Swans - January 14, 2008)   Now that the Constitution is "just a
goddamned piece of paper" as the "president" said, there are unexplored
possibilities of a very serious nature to be considered by the states and
by the People themselves. The main unexamined questions are below because
the Congress has been complicit in illegally removing citizens' rights
hand-over-fist last year.

Stephen Lendman listed them in a nineteen-page paper entitled "Police
State America - A Look Back And Ahead." It was printed by Tom Feeney of
International Clearing House on December 18, 2007. All the rights these
three constitutional renegades - Congress, executive branch, courts --
have dispensed with this year are "... the definition of tyranny." (1)

A list includes: executive branch signing statements; Executive Orders,
none of which are allowed by the Constitution; signing statements to
ignore the law are also not allowed but done; a claim of "unitary
executive authority," which doesn't exist in law, to act on the
president's own authority to do anything he says; two congressional
authorizations to surrender the war functions of Congress to the
executive; Military Order Number 1 removing the wall between the People
and the military; plus, allowing the arrest, capture, or kidnapping of
non-citizens and citizens anywhere in the world negating due process in
courts of law.

Take a deep breath and continue reading the list: evidence secured by the
internationally-illegal use of torture with no right of appeal and
kangaroo military court trials; total lack of civil court authority in any
case; issuance of "National Security Presidential Directives"; over twenty
"Homeland Security Presidential Directives"; "full spectrum dominance"
over and under the Earth's surface, including the entire electromagnetic
spectrum (!) to secure global hegemonic - supreme - control over the
planet; gave itself permission to deploy nuclear weapons; declare martial
law without congressional approval under NSPD-51 for any "national
emergency"; allows the vice president to "assure continuity of government"
giving him more power than the president. There are other HSPD's affecting
the People too numerous for me to mention here.

Congress enacted the USA Patriot Act, granting outrageous powers to the
executive branch and included civil liberty threats of enormous import to
each of us, i.e., the changing of due process in the Fifth and Fourteenth
amendments; First Amendment loss of freedom of association using an
undefined and illegal designation, such as "an undesirable group," and the
loss of the Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and
seizures, which is an attack on the home and the persons therein by
governmental snoops, police, or the military. No one appears to have given
any thought, for example, to the First Amendment, which says "Congress
shall make no law..." What part of "no law" don't they understand and why
don't we really care to stop them?

Furthermore, the loss of privacy, access to personal records, financial
monitoring, access to student records, "delayed notice" warrants to allow
snooping in advance, roving wiretaps, e-mail tracking, Internet and cell
phone use, use of secret evidence, refusal to allow immigrants to have
lawyers, and permitting the CIA now to spy on the People on their home
turf are all part of this conspiracy to remove the People from primacy
over government.

Even worse, demonstrations can be declared "domestic terrorism" if
intended to change officials' minds about war, justice, environments,
civil disobedience (??); and, this one takes the cake: dissent of any kind
can be called domestic terrorism. It seems we have lost any say regarding
the government we pay taxes to support, People. Since the People did not
ratify these legal travesties, who says they are legal? The courts seem to
agree with the executive or remain mute. All the writings and books about
the various problems seem to assume Congress can do anything even when it
is told it cannot. Are we in Wonderland now instead of the United States
of America?

The article goes on and on and on about our loss of civil rights, civil
liberty. I have written by fax (a legal document) to my congressmen in
both branches, over and over, about the loss of habeas corpus. Alas, it
always is to no avail. The Congress has not undone what it has created
without any authority from us. The world is being made over in the image
of autocratic tyrants.

We, the People, do not see, do not hear, and do not much care that even
the latest "law" allows our thinking itself to be considered "violent
radicalization." Is this what those Halliburton detention camps were built
for: those of us who "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"? (Dylan

We are to be implanted with chips - which can and do cause cancers - and
we are being followed by unknown spies. We can't board planes without
passports after February 2008. My main question is this: how much money do
you have to make to be exempt from all this? Apparently, Senator Ron Wyden
of Oregon doesn't qualify as better than the rest of us. He was stopped
twice and had to wait before boarding planes.

Where is the cut-off? Who and how do some get a pass from all this horrid
"ownership" of us and our rights? Who decides? Who gave them the right(s)?
The entire business is an outrage of proportions that is mind-boggling. We
seem to have two obvious classes now, at the least: the especially
privileged and the rest of us. Where do you fit? How do or did you find
out? Is it money? Is it corporate connections on a board? Is it the favors
done, good, bad, or indifferent, to others' well being?

Will the parents of the current president be implanted with a chip? What
about the Clintons? How many members of Congress have been implanted or
volunteered for one so the spies on the public payroll can spy on all
300,000,000 of us? Since chips and cell phones under some conditions can
be turned on by satellite to listen to private conversations, do you think
anyone would be interested in your life with its real details? Will some
of them enrich themselves by a video game about you? Would you care before
or after it's too late? I would feel so much better if the entire
government publicly was implanted and then the capitalist owners and their
boards before We, the People, even allow it to happen to us. Who do they
think they are?

According to a quote by Henry Kissinger, "Depopulation should be the
highest priority of foreign policy towards the Third World because the
U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from
abroad, especially from less developed countries." He further stated, "To
give food aid to a country just because they (sic) are starving is a
pretty weak reason." (2)

What does private mean? What does public mean? If all our lifetime is to
be subject to public scrutiny, what is the point of joy, love, happiness,
tender moments, privacy, personal secrets, beingness in all its glory?
"Paranoia strikes deep..." as the song says. (3) Even actors and
politicians have private lives.

What happens to our psyches when we no longer have private lives because
of voyeuristic governments or corporations? Is nothing sacred now that we
are "consumers" by corporate definition even on news outlets? Does anyone
know what a citizen is anymore? Or, are we just a mass of people to scare,
starve, and let die to make room for our betters?

Our hospitals and healthcare are below average if any of us are even lucky
enough to find or afford any. New Orleans is still a deliberate mess. I
never realized Americans were so unable to rise to an occasion such as
that disaster. I remember when we were a competent people. Now, who even
knows anyone, really, or cares?

Our own war mongering for oil or resources is disgraceful. Does anyone
remember how to solve problems without a gigantic bureaucracy of political
appointees who always do the "in" thing for the persons who hired them?
How many of them know who really pays their salaries now? Or care? They
are feeding at our money trough. Are you?

Another writer, Susan Rosenthal, wrote in "Globalization, Theirs or Ours?"
the following statement, which not a single member of the Fourth Estate
(the news) has bothered to report to us: "By 2000, U.S. workers took half
the time to produce all the goods and services they produced in 1973. If
the benefits of this rise in productivity had been shared, most Americans
could be enjoying a four-hour work day, or a six-month work year, or they
could be taking every other year off from work with no loss of pay." (4)

We are going the way of the dinosaur as a debtor nation, rather than a
producing nation. Death or voyeurism is the product with a huge army of
ignorant bureaucrats (my apologies to the few who are still trying) and
government leaches. If this is the future of life and work, soon no one
will bother; and, the funds of even the excessively wealthy will dry up as
they come face to face with the rest of us. We'll all be looking for a
place to sleep on the streets as is happening to far too many now.

The answer is to back off this consumer-video-driving corporation gestalt
and look at each other for reality. The animals are being driven into
"urban" areas looking for food. Alaska is melting. The ice for walruses,
polar bears, and seals is almost gone. Our own Oregon rivers are becoming
too warm for salmon eggs to hatch.

Of course, the news covers shopping or propaganda, not many facts anymore,
so we will have to dig for real information. That means reading the
newspaper, watching the national and local news, and then digging for the
truth on the Internet, assuming one has enough time for the redundancies
and information overload.

Who gains by all this if not me and if not the rest of the real People? In
the long and tedious debates by the candidates for president of the United
States, will we spend most of this year hoping they go away? How many
times in the next eleven months will the political repetitions numb our
minds, bodies, and souls? During the holidays, when I turned on the news,
I heard shopping reports on how well certain stores were doing - an
advertisement as a news item - and endless little pieces of debates with
the pundits winning over the candidates for camera time. I simply turned
off the sound day after day because it was not helpful at all. None of the
candidates said they'd undo what has been done to the People. Not a one. I
wonder if they know. I waited for real news; it never came.

Two evening news shows now are on at the same time, which cuts down
watching considerably. I have to wait an extra half hour to catch the
third one. I am removing television news from my life and the extra ninety
minutes will be more useful to me. I may send each of them a thank-you
note for being such an incompetent Fourth Estate. The corporate
conglomerates that "own" the news are to blame. I bet they never realize I
don't ever buy their products.

Capitalism is not sustainable. It has been likened to cancer as goods are
growing too fast, wages shrink, the environment collapses, and we all get
sick, animals die, etc. Why do we not understand that China is polluting
our country because our corporate boards want cheap goods without paying
decent wages to us for those items?

Our babies teethe on lead or worse. Our air is becoming unbreathable since
the jet stream carries all the airborne pollutants back to us. We don't
even profit; we suffer; we work too long for less and less. Our faulty
Fourth Estate only reports good news or deprecatory items. Meanwhile, the
population grows worldwide and the endless circular reasoning continues.

Think back to before there were constitutional republics such as ours, won
by war and enlightened concepts about people and their rights. As I've
said before, the King or Queen led the Princes, Dukes, Barons, Earls,
Knights, and Merchants, in that order. Since we did away with all except
the Merchants, that class has become so self-important that it now holds
the fate of the world in its greedy bourgeoisie hands now. Once again,
after 230 years, the People are relegated to the lowest status - again!
- and are no longer the People to the 101-year-old corporate merchant

The manipulations are so apparent in the current presidential sideshows;
i.e., all the candidates are members of the Council on Foreign Relations
(CFR) except three. They are all being tutored by the Project for the New
American Century people, the Trilateral Group, and/or the Bilderberg Group
run by David Rockefeller since 1954. Henry Kissinger advises Rudi
Giuliani; Zbigniew Brzezinski advises Barack Obama; Hillary Clinton is
advised by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who advocated the
deaths of children as being acceptable to world leaders. There is a long
and published list of these advisors to the candidates. (5) The groups are
essentially putting on a show for us since those who are not advised by
the CFR will not be heard in the debates on ABC. Is that manipulation, or

The world needs real and decent people who actually care about life, about
living, about removing the poisons and the crap from the environment and
discourse. If not, humanity will have no future because capitalism is not
a solution to our problems; it is the creator with the help of those who
care only for their own comfort and clout. The propaganda has been so
thick, so slanted, and so brain-numbing that no one wants to see the evil,
hear the evil, speak the evil. Simplicity and independent farmers,
tradesmen, and small businesses with small local banks might start us on
the road to recovery as it did in the past.

We, the People, are now considered useless except to consume the products
of these predators. Our Founders would be justly disappointed in the
results of their efforts by these, their progeny: inhuman corporate


1.  (back)

2.  "Culling the Herd," Sheila Samples, 1/04/2008.  (back)

3.  "For What It's Worth," Song, Buffalo Springfield.  (back)

4.  Patrice Greanville, Editor-in-Chief, Cyrano's Journal Book Review of
Understanding American Capitalism, Its Consequences & Alternatives by Joel
C. Magnuson, Pilot Light, 2007.  (back)

5.  Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! - 01/03/08. "Atrocity-Linked U. S.
Officials Advising Democratic, GOP Presidential Frontrunners": video and

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

A Slippery Slope?
Ron Paul and the Left
January 16, 2008

"What the support for Ron Paul among potentially progressive voters
signifies to me is the failure of today's left to enunciate an
anti-imperialist position better than that put forth by the libertarian
right," Ron Jacobs commented recently on Counterpunch. This astute
observation should give pause to all concerned with the scale of
degeneration now afflicting the U.S. left. Indeed, it is worth remembering
that only eight years ago, the left was on the ascendancy.

Back in 2000, Bill Clinton still occupied the White House and his
neoliberal agenda remained alive in the left's collective consciousness.
In that context, Ralph Nader's presidential campaign easily filled
stadiums across the country, as activists and left-wing celebrities alike
embraced Nader's third party candidacy in a blow against both corporate
parties. Those were also the heady days of the global justice movement,
when optimism prevailed and solidarity grew, christened by the
"Teamster-Turtle" alliance during the Seattle anti-WTO protests in 1999.

Then along came George W. Bush. The attacks of 9-11 catapulted the idiot
president to the role of revered statesman virtually overnight, while his
reckless band of neocon advisers moved from the margins to the center of
imperial policy. That dismal period demoralized the broad left, and the
mood of pessimism that ensued led many to sheepishly return to the folds
of the Democratic Party. "Anybody But Bush" was the clarion call for this
surrender to the logic of lesser evilism, which has kept the corporate
duopoly in power historically.

Nader's 2004 election bid witnessed the mass defection of liberals and
antiwar activists, who flocked to Democrat John Kerry's campaign while
heaping invective on Nader as a "spoiler" who would aid Bush's victory.
Alas, Kerry needed no help in spoiling his own chances for soundly
defeating Bush: his pro-war, neoliberal campaign failed to sufficiently
inspire the Democrats' traditional voting base on Election Day. Once
again, the chosen candidate of the well-organized Christian Right carried
the day.

The 2004 election, therefore, marked the disintegration of the broad left
that had risen so spectacularly in the final years of the twentieth
century. Now, as the 2008 election approaches, the left is fracturing yet
further amid a spurious debate over the merits of voting for Republican
presidential candidate Ron Paul that has surfaced on numerous left and
antiwar websites, including Counterpunch. With breathtaking speed,
self-avowed anti-imperialists and even former Nader supporters have
embraced the logic of single-issue voting to justify support for this
right-wing libertarian - based solely on his opposition to the Iraq war.

To be sure, Paul's vigorous opposition to the war has provided a breath of
fresh air during the otherwise stultifying presidential debates of both
parties. Paul famously ruffled fellow Republicans' feathers when he
remarked last May at a Fox News-sponsored debate, "So, right now, we're
building an embassy in Iraq that's bigger than the Vatican. We're building
14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our
country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting."

But Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel and Bill Richardson have likewise offered
a refreshing departure from the antiwar posturing of this election's crop
of pro-war Democrats. During a September debate sponsored by MSNBC,
Kucinich declared that he would remove troops from Iraq within "three
months after I take office." Kucinich went a step further, arguing for
reparations to the Iraqi people: "The U.S. and Great Britain have a high
moral obligation to enable a peace process by beginning a program of
significant reparations to the people of Iraq for the loss of lives,
physical and emotional injuries, and damage to property."

But welcoming such departures from what currently passes for debate among
the chosen candidates from the two corporate parties does not require
endorsing the candidates who advance them. Rhetorical flourishes not
withstanding, an alternative worldview is in order, and no candidate from
either party is offering one in this election year.

Kucinich has attracted a significant left following since 2004. In
addition to his forthright opposition to the Iraq war, he supports
immigrants' rights, single-payer healthcare, the legalization of gay
marriage and abortion rights. But Kucinich embittered many of his most
ardent supporters by backing Kerry and abandoning any fight for an antiwar
platform at the Democratic Party's 2004 convention. In so doing, he
betrayed himself as unwilling to build a coherent alternative to the party

Ron Paul's right-wing worldview

In contrast to Kucinich, Ron Paul's lone appeal to the left is his vocal
opposition to the Iraq war. Paul is a long-standing Republican who
brandishes his right-wing libertarian worldview, consisting of standard
reactionary fare-much of it coinciding with that of traditional states'
rights segregationists and the Christian right. For years, Paul has dodged
accusations about his past murky association with an assortment of noxious
right-wing newsletters. The January 8 edition of The New Republic contains
an expos by assistant editor James Kirchick that documents the bigotry
contained in newsletters dating back to the 1970s - all "published under a
banner containing Paul's name." Paul unconvincingly denies that he was
aware of the vile content of these newsletters bearing his stamp of
approval - over a period of decades.

But one need look no further than Paul's own policy statements to
determine the overarching political character of his campaign. His
opposition to immigration is linked to his opposition to basic welfare
provisions for U.S. born workers. In an article entitled "Immigration and
the Welfare State," Paul argued, "Our current welfare system also
encourages illegal immigration by discouraging American citizens from
taking low-wage jobs." He voices admiration for Senator Robert Taft, the
virulent opponent of 1930s New Deal reforms who went on to co-sponsor the
1947 Taft-Hartley Act, strangling the rights of union workers to this day.

Opponents of U.S. imperialism should also take note that Paul's
anti-immigration policy specifically targets Mexicans crossing the U.S.'s
Southern border and immigrants hailing from so-called "terrorist" [Arab
and Muslim] countries. U.S. imperialism has historically regarded Latin
America as its low-wage backyard, while rising racism against Arabs and
Muslims has accompanied more recent imperialist forays in the Middle East.
"With our virtually unguarded borders, almost any determined individual -
including a potential terrorist - can enter the United States," Paul has
argued. His television ad aired prior to the New Hampshire primary
advocates a draconian clampdown on immigration that rivals that of Tom
Tancredo: "No amnesty. No welfare to illegal aliens. End birthright
citizenship. No more student visas from terrorist nations. Standing up for
the rule of law Ron Paul for President."

Ron Paul is not an open racist, but he opposes every federally mandated
historical advance for African-Americans, from Reconstruction to
affirmative action. In a December 23 appearance on "Meet the Press," Paul
described the U.S. Civil War as "senseless" and criticized Abraham Lincoln
for getting "rid of the original intent of the republic." Paul also stands
in proud opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He was the only member
of Congress to vote against its fortieth anniversary commemoration. He
justified his no vote in an article entitled "The Trouble With Forced
Integration," in which he argued, "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the
federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee
relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country
[T]he only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not
violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial
composition of a business's workforce matched the racial composition of a
bureaucrat or judge's defined body of potential employees. Thus,
bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota."

Paul's opposition to abortion rights is not a "side issue" as some have
suggested, but a centerpiece of his campaign. Twice in the last year, (in
February and again in June) Paul introduced the Sanctity of Life Act,
proclaiming, "human life shall be deemed to exist from conception." In
February of last year, Paul also sponsored the Taxpayers' Freedom of
Conscience Act, banning the use of federal funds for "family planning
activity" whether "foreign or domestic." Paul thus hopes to accomplish
what the abstinence-obsessed Bush has failed to do thus far.

Who's holding back the left?

Yet Paul's anti-imperialist supporters - who arguably should know
better - have responded with vitriol to those unwilling to surrender once
cherished left principles merely to advance Paul's presidential campaign.
In a Counterpunch article dated January 4, for example, Stan Goff lashed
out at the "program-intoxicated, 'I won't endorse this-n-that position'
liberal-left. Ron Paul is backward on abortion, passively racist,
anti-immigrant, and on and on."

This begs the following question: Is Goff suggesting that immigrants who
are horrified at the notion of voting for someone with Paul's
anti-immigrant policies guilty of enabling imperialist conquest? Are
African-Americans who are unwilling to surrender the merits of the 1964
Civil Rights Act standing in the way of ending the war in Iraq? Are women
who shudder at the thought of supporting Ron Paul, an anti-abortion
zealot, holding back progress? I think not. And no amount of huffing and
puffing can hide the fact that Goff himself is abandoning central
left-wing principles.

On the contrary, by advocating single-issue voting, Paul's left-wing
supporters are endangering the survival of anything resembling a coherent
U.S. left. Single-issue voting requires choosing one overriding issue and
ranking its importance above all others in a given election year - pitting
constituencies against each other as if their interests are counter-posed.
Those now stumping for Ron Paul have effectively accepted the notion
prevalent in bourgeois politics that "interest groups" are in competition
with each other.

In reality, the rights of women, African-Americans, immigrants and gays
are not counterposed to, but aligned with, those oppressed by imperialist
war. This was demonstrated vividly with the rise of the Gay Liberation
Front in the late 1960s - which, inspired by the armed struggle of the
North Vietnamese against the forces of U.S. imperialism, chose its name as
a formal identification with the National Liberation Front (NLF), the
Vietnamese resistance.

Single-issue voting was once the bastion of Democratic Party liberals.
Pro-choice organizations supported Bill Clinton in the 1990s because he
favored abortion rights and then sat silently as he dismantled the New
Deal welfare state, impoverishing poor women and children across the
country. This silence also enabled Clinton to bomb Iraq with impunity
while starving its citizens through sanctions and to claim that the U.S.
invasions of Haiti, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia were "humanitarian
missions" - not the result of imperialist ambition.

This faulty logic proved the death knell of liberalism in the U.S. by the
end of the 1990s. The same logic now leaves Ron Paul's left-wing
supporters teetering atop a slippery slope, and perhaps headed into
oblivion. Paul's enthusiastic grassroots support shows the potential to
energize the antiwar electorate. But the left should do more than applaud,
for Paul's libertarian worldview lands his supporters in the same
political cul-de-sac as any other bourgeois politician. Indeed, the left
has a responsibility to itself - to rebuild, however difficult the

Sharon Smith is the author of Women and Socialism and Subterranean Fire: a
History of Working-Class Radicalism in the United States. She can be
reached at: sharon [at]

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

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