Progressive Calendar 11.04.05
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 03:23:39 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     11.04.05

                         VOTE TUESDAY NOVEMBER 8

1. NWA strike        11.05 10am

2. Get real films    11.06 2:30pm +
3. Peace prize       11.06 4pm
4. KFAI/Indian       11.06 4pm
5. Spaghetti/peace   11.06 6pm
6. MUI               11.06 7pm

7. Get real films    11.07 2:30pm +
8. Cambodian poet    11.07 5pm
9. Patriot acts/play 11.07 7:30pm

10. Britt Robson    - Park and wreck
11. Strib           - To halt land rush on urban parks, vote Nov. 8
12. Jenny Heiser    - How to register to vote on election day
13. Joshua Frank    - Senate Dems stage political disappearing act
14. Jonathan Tasini - Why are Democrats working for Wal-Mart?
15. Joe Carpenter   - We don't need them
16. ed              - Speak truth to the powerless (poem)

--------1 of 16--------

Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 19:10:29 -0600
From: Solidarity Committee <nwasolidaritymsp [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: NWA strike 11.05 10am

This is a reminder that the Solidarity Committee will meet this Saturday
at the AMFA office at 10am.  It is going to be an important meeting to
attend, as we will discuss plans for a large event in support of the
mechanics and other striking Northwest workers on the weekend of November
19th.  Ray Rogers, a strategist who assists unions in disputes with
employers, and has already worked with AMFA on a pressure campaign against
the NWA board, will be centrally involved in the event.  This will be a
critical opportunity to build momentum around the strike, especially as
the dispute between NWA and the other unions on the property will be
reaching a fever pitch at that point.

TIME: Saturday morning at 10am.

PLACE: 8101 34th Avenue South in Bloomington.  Exit I-494 at 34th Avenue,
and proceed south.  Turn left at Appletree.  Cross the light-rail tracks
and proceed one block.  Turn right into the parking lot, and follow signs
to the lower-level conference room.  Transit riders exit the 55-line Light
Rail at Bloomington Central, and walk West to 34th Avenue.  The building
will be ahead and to your right.


--------2 of 16--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Get real films 11.06 2:30pm

Get Real!: City Pages Documentary Film Festival
Landmark's Lagoon Cinema, on Lagoon Ave. off Hennepin Ave.S, uptown
Minneapolis
www.citypages.com/getreal

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6

2:30pm: William Eggleston in the Real World
Surrender to beauty in this Valentine to a contemporary photographer.

BELOW: GLBT double-feature:
 5:30pm: The Joy of Life
TC-native-transloplanted to San Francisco Lesbian filmmaker JENNI OLSON
creates a stirring meditation on longing for love, "butch" lesbian
identity and the city of San Francisco's most famous landmark,the Golden
Gate Bridge. The images of the city echo painter Edward Hopper's paintings
in their urban loneliess and beauty.
 7:30pm: The Aggressives
A Lesbian"drag king" parallel to the faous drag queen "balls" film "Paris
is Buring"

9:45pm: Zizek!


--------3 of 16--------

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Peace prize 11.06 4pm

Hawkinson Foundation Annual Awards Ceremony: WAMM Members Honored

Sunday November 6, 4pm, St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 3rd Avenue
South, Minneapolis.

The Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice was established
in 1988 to honor Reverend Hawkinson's 30 years of distinguished service to
Grace University Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, and his commitment to
peace and social justice. This year's Annual Award Ceremony will honor
long-time peace activists and WAMM members, Mary Lou and Gene Ott of
Edina. Former WAMM intern and current member, Sarah Dunn will also be
presented with a Hawkinson Scholarship for her work for peace and justice,
including WAMM's Conscientious Objector program, as a student at Hamline
University in St. Paul. FFI: Call 651-690-0483.


--------4 of 16--------

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org>
Subject: KFAI/Indian 11.06 4pm

COLONIALISM THE AMEIRCAN APARTHEID by Steven Charleston Partner at General
Synod.  "The Canadian experience graphically demonstrates that colonialism
is not a historic artifact. The past is not gone and forgotten, even
though some of us may pretend otherwise. Colonialism is historically
radioactive. It has a long half-life that continues to poison the
relationship between human beings even generations after the fact. The
colonization of the Americas by European imperialism, aided and abetted by
the Christian church, continues to haunt this hemisphere. Indigenous
people, who are the survivors of one of the most systematic efforts at
ethnic cleansing in the history of the world, remain in the shadow of what
I believe must be named the American apartheid."  Steve Charleston, of the
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is president and Dean of Episcopal Divinity
School in Cambridge, Mass., and the former Bishop of Alaska. This article
is reprinted, with permission, from Witness Magazine, January/February
2001; www.thewitness.org.
http://generalsynod.anglican.ca/ministries/departments/mm/2001/spring/mm05.h
tml.

MY NAME IS METH, a poem written by a young Indian girl who was in jail for
drug charges, and was addicted to meth.  She wrote this while in jail.
She fully grasped the horrors of the drug, as she tells in this simple,
yet profound poem. She was released from jail, but, true to her story, the
drug owned her. They found her dead not long after, with the needle still
in her arm.  "I destroy homes, I tear families apart, take your children,
and that's just the start..."

WE DIDN'T KNOW YOUNG SIDNEY, BUT WE SHOULD HAVE by Nick Coleman,
Minneapolis Start Tribune, Nov. 2, 2005.  It was just before sunrise on a
late October Sunday when Sidney Jade Mahkuk was found on a gritty
boulevard on Columbus Avenue in south Minneapolis.  She was on her side,
her jacket covering her like a blanket. She loved animals. She loved
spelling. She was 12 years old. "I thought she was sleeping," says a
23-year-old man named Nick who found her on the street. "I said, 'Hey,
hey, wake up!' Then I shook her, and there was nothing. Her eyes were
rolled back in her head. That's what I remember. Her face was so
distressed. There was no question she had passed."
http://www.startribune.com/stories/357/5702846/html.

* * * *
Indian Uprising is a one-half hour Public & Cultural Affairs radio program
for, by, and about Indigenous people & all their relations, broadcast each
Sunday at 4pm over KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Current
programs are archived online after broadcast at www.kfai.org, for two
weeks.  Click Program Archives and scroll to Indian Uprising.


--------5 of 16--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Spaghetti/peace 11.06 6pm

RSVP today!
Spaghetti Dinner Celebration and Fundraiser
for Youth Against War and Racism
Sunday, Nov 6, 6pm
Walker Community United Methodist Church
3104 16 Av S, Minneapolis
(one block off Lake St. and Bloomington Ave.)

Come celebrate and support youth anti-war activism in the Twin Cities.
Enjoy fine cuisine prepared by YAWR activists and a short program
including reports from high school students about the anti-war organizing
work they are doing.

Youth Against War and Racism started in one school less than a year ago
and today we link together high school (and even middle school)
activists in over 15 area schools from 7 districts. Already military
recruiters have been pushed out of the lunchrooms of two schools, and we
are expecting many more such successes in the coming weeks and months.

Our dinner will take place four days after hundreds, maybe thousands, of
YAWR activists and supporters walk out of the high schools to protest
military recruitment and the war in Iraq on November 2 - Bush's reelection
anniversary. With this momentum we are aiming to establish more stable
chapters of YAWR capable of consistently mobilizing a response every time
military recruiters come into our schools. In this way, we think we can
make real progress toward making the Twin Cities a military recruitment
free zone.

But we need help from supporters like you to make this happen.  The
costs of building YAWR and the walkout have been nearly $3,000 since
August. A few YAWR members and supporters have taken on big personal
debts to pull this off, faithful that others will agree to share the
financial burden as they see the importance and success of the work
being done. We need to insure the current debts facing YAWR don't hinder
our future growth.

Please RSVP. If you can make this important dinner fundraiser, please let
us know ahead of time so we know how much food to prepare. We are asking
for a donation of $10 a plate, though of course larger contributions are
tremendously appreciated. RSVP by emailing alec.johnson [at] gmail.com
<mailto:alec.johnson [at] gmail.com> or calling 612-760-1980.

Invite your co-workers, bring your family, and enjoy a relaxed evening
among anti-war friends.

If you can't make the dinner but would like to support our work, please
send a check made out to Youth Against War and Racism to:
Alec Johnson / YAWR
2448 Lyndale Ave. S  Apt. 5
Minneapolis, MN  55405

-Ty Moore Volunteer organizer for Youth Against War and Racism


--------6 of 16--------

From: mn_united_ireland [at] lycos.com
Subject: MUI 11.06 7pm

MUI meeting this Sunday at Arise bookstore, 7pm.  Please come and help
shape MUI as we continue on in support of a free and United Ireland.

Minnesotans for a United Ireland 651-645-9506


--------7 of 16--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Get real films 11.07 2:30pm +

Get Real!: City Pages Documentary Film Festival
Landmark's Lagoon Cinema, on Lagoon Ave. off Hennepin Ave.S, uptown
Minneapolis
www.citypages.com/getreal

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7
2:30pm: When Billy Broke His Head and Other Tales of Wonder (FREE
admission) TC fiklmaker Billy Golfus documents his journey to deal with
and recxover form a head injury, with bittersweet results.

(Afternoon happy hour at Bryant Lake Bowl!  Enjoy reduced rates on
cocktails, wine, beer and select appetizers following the afternoon
screenings.)

5:30pm: Pack Strap Swallow
The 'war on drugs' is now claiming more women---who are doing serious time
as "mules" for boyfriends and husbands. Director Holy Paige Joyner goes to
a women's prison in Ecuador to show 6 women's experience. While this
reviewer would ahve preferred a look at an AMERICAN women's prison,
increasingly the press is BANNED from the US priosn-industiral complex.
This film stands in and poses critical questions about the endless (&
failed) "drug war".

7:30pm: The Green Bus v. the White House
Director SALLY HANLEY takes another look at PAUL WELLSTONE - in the last
3 weeks of his final US Senate campaign. Hanley speaks at the screening.

9:45pm: State of Fear
From: humanrts [at] umn.edu
STATE OF FEAR
Monday, November 7 at 9:45pm
Pamela Yates, director. 94 minutes.

Though shot in Peru, this gripping tale of escalating bloodshed and
repression serves as a cautionary tale for any nation engaged in a "global
war on terror." In the wake of terrorist attacks by the Shining Path
guerrillas, military justice replaces civil authority in Peru and nearly
70,000 civilians perish. But State of Fear is also the story of courageous
Peruvians who fight to maintain democracy and persevere in their search
for truth and justice.


--------8 of 16--------

From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Cambodian poet 11.07 5pm

Cambodian Poet to Speak November 7 and 8
Monday, Nov 7. Lind Hall, room 207, 5-6pm.
Tuesday, November 8, Humphery Institute room 35, 4-5:30pm
Reception to follow with support of the Cambodian Student Association.
Sponsored by CHGS and the Ohanessian Chair in CLA

Cambodian poet U Sam Oeur was assumed to be a casualty of the Pol Pot
regime's purge of intellectuals, but he re-emerged after the "Killing
Fields" era, having survived by discarding his tell-tale glasses and
destroying his life's work.

He will read from his memoir "Crossing Three Wildernesses," about his
country's hopes and ultimate tragedy at the hands of Pol Pot, co-written
with Ken McCullough, St. Mary's University.


--------9 of 16--------

From: Pangea Public Relations <pr [at] pangeaworldtheater.org>
Subject: Patriot acts/play 11.07 7:30pm

Pangea World Theater Presents:
A Bridges Project

LP¹s Patriot Acts
Created/performed by Me-K Ahn, e.g. bailey, Shá Cage, Michele Scaly Clark,
Kate Edwards, Khadijah Ibrahiim, Ibe¹ Kaba,  Anika McMullen,  Flavia
Merdeiros, Paulette Morris, Ole Seyi Ogunjobi, Andrea Reynolds, Kim
Thompson, Truthmaze, and Krzystof Wieczorek.

November 7-9, at 7:30 pm
Varsity Theater
1308 4th Street Southeast
Minneapolis- Dinkytown

Patriot Acts is the third piece of Pangea World Theater's 3-part Bridges
program. The title Bridges refers to passageways across art forms, cultures,
aesthetics, class, borders, and traditions to a freedom of expression in
theater venues, community gathering places, and arts performance spaces.

³A goal of Bridges was to facilitate a process that fosters and encourages
artists to achieve an authenticity of being in the progression of their art,
says co-curator J. Otis Powell!. ³This ³authenticity of being² is essential
to new ways of telling, because there is a gap, in contemporary society,
between genuine stories of artists making documentation of their journeys
and commercial commodities that result from their work. This distinction is
significant and it probes issues of the stories that we need to tell for the
enhancement of our society.²

What does a terrorist look like? What is a patriot? What roles do race,
culture, and class play in the ³war on terror²? What role does art play?
What does it mean to be an American?

³There are theatricalities all around us,² says creator e.g. bailey. ³We are
asked to and forced to participate, if nothing else as spectators to this
high drama. There are machinations that would impress even Iago.  Greed,
power, ego, vengeance -take your pick. We delegate our power to the players
to think and act for us, even at times when we know their actions are
contrary to our core values.²

By investigating new processes of creating art and grassroots methodologies
of affecting change in the world we live in, Patriot Acts gives birth to a
fresh new type of theater.

LP¹s Patriot Acts
November 7-9
Monday-Wednesday at 7:30 pm
For information and directions, call 612-203-1088 or visit
http://www.pangeaworldtheater.org

Box Office: 612-203-1088
Tickets $12
Students/Seniors: $10
Groups: $10
Special Offer to Peace and Justice Groups: $8

All performances are at:
Varsity Theater
1308 4th Street Southeast
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(Dinkytown)

Media Contact: Elisabeth Heinzelmann Miller 612-822-0015 612-396-3493
(cell) pr [at] pangeaworldtheater.org


--------10 of 16--------

Park and Wreck
by Britt Robson
This election season, the dysfunctional Minneapolis Park Board is ripe for
reform

It is the largest landowner in Minneapolis, with more than 170 properties
comprising nearly 6,400 acres of land. It has been around for more than a
century, employs more than 2,000 people, and currently has an annual
budget just shy of $50 million. It is the Minneapolis Park and Recreation
Board, and the facilities it operates are second only to the Mall of
America as a destination for tourists in the metro area.

Despite these impressive credentials, the park board has traditionally
kept a relatively low political profile throughout its long history. In
the past few years, however, a series of embarrassing incidents and
controversies has contributed to the impression that the MPRB has been
operating like a private club, rife with cronyism and a lack of public
accountability. More than that, there have been controversial expenditures
by the board over the years, and an unseemly rift on the board itself.
Now, on the verge of an election in which all nine seats - six district
positions, and three at-large - on the park board commission are up for
grabs, this typically sleepy corner of city government has become a highly
scrutinized hotbed of political activity.

The defining event of the recent park board power struggle, one that
birthed a cadre of reform-minded board critics, happened in December 2003,
when the board hired its current superintendent, Jon Gurban. Not only
hadn't Gurban participated in the interview and screening process, but his
candidacy was unknown to the public - and four of the nine
commissioners - until just hours before the meeting to elect him. At the
time, he was executive director of the Minnesota Recreation and Park
Association, a state entity, and a former high school classmate of
then-park board president Bob Fine.

In short, the park board has been a poster child for unchecked government.
The uproar over Gurban's hiring motivated a group of citizens to form
Minneapolis Park Watch, which set up a website and began issuing detailed
minutes and critiques of subsequent park board meetings. Among many
complaints, Park Watch members charged that the minutes of board meetings
were too vague, and that public feedback was discouraged because of scant
prior notice of meeting topics and too little time set aside by the board
to hear citizen concerns.

"That still happens," says Annie Young, one of a four-member minority
currently on the board who sides with the reformers. "Last week, we had 11
people scheduled to speak and they were told they would each get 90
seconds!"

Discouragement of public discourse reached absurd heights in June, when
Gurban called the cops on Jason Stone, a frequent Gurban critic and
current park board commissioner candidate. Stone's offense? He was passing
out campaign literature without a permit. The 14-year-old permit policy
had been previously ignored (and thus violated) by hundreds of candidates,
including many park board members. It had been rarely - if ever - enforced
because of the unlikelihood that it would withstand a free speech
challenge in the courts. A few weeks later, after an embarrassing board
meeting, Gurban suspended the policy on the advice of the board's legal
counsel.

To many increasingly vocal critics, the snafu was just another shining
example of how arrogant, dysfunctional, and out-of-touch the board has
really become.

Ironically, Stone's race against board incumbent Carol Kummer in District
Five is regarded by many observers as pivotal in the drive by reformers to
overturn the current 5-4 park board majority. Stone has been endorsed by
both Park Watch and the Minneapolis Citizens for Park Board Reform, a
group that is raising money for a slate of reform candidates. MCPBR
founder Michael Guest says the candidates were endorsed according to their
fidelity to three core principles: fiscal accountability, openness and
transparency, and environmental stewardship.

He claims that in addition to the Gurban hiring, which smacked of
cronyism, reformers are concerned about the relationship between the board
and its lawyer/lobbyist Brian Rice. Rice has received hundreds of
thousands of dollars for his services (including more than $400,000 in
2001 alone) and has been among the largest campaign contributors to a
number of board incumbents. Guest further cites cost overruns of millions
of dollars on the new park board headquarters and the Neiman field complex
near the airport as evidence of poor management by the board.

Another concern of reformers is that the current administration will lease
away or otherwise commercialize valuable park assets. Recent years have
seen spirited, as yet unsuccessful attempts to open Dairy Queen franchises
on park property near local lakes, allow Crown Hydro to construct a power
plant on park board property, and lease the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown
Minneapolis. The board recently green-lighted the construction of a
football field on Nicollet Island for use by a private school.

Board sentiments on these issues are neither clear-cut nor monolithic.
Young, for example, voted to purchase the new park headquarters space, yet
is still endorsed by both reform groups, Park Watch and MCPBR. But with
the reformers allied on their voting preferences, yet another group, this
one known as People for Independent Parks (PIP), was formed in September
to counteract what they claim has been a nasty reform campaign.

Although PIP now includes dozens of names, including many public
officials, its original organizers were current Fourth Ward Minneapolis
City Council member Barb Johnson and former Northwest Airlines lobbyist
and Sharon Sayles Belton aide Julie Idelkope. "It is a reaction to a lot
of bad information folks have put out there," Johnson says, referring to
the reformers. She adds that talk of huge cost overruns on the
headquarters and a rumored slush fund for the superintendent "are
absolutely untrue. To suggest that the park system is all screwed up is
nonsense."

PIP and the reform groups are so far apart, they only have one endorsement
in common, Scott Vreeland in Ward Three. In addition to the Stone-Kummer
contest, the at-large seats figure to be most competitive. Young and
Merrill Anderson finished first and second in the September primary,
followed by Tom Nordyke, who is endorsed by the reformers; incumbent
Rochelle Berry-Graves (who is also allied with the reformers); Meg Forney;
and Froehlich.

So every seat on the board is crucial for the reformers and the old guard.
Which is why, after four years of ill will, there's more mudslinging over
the park board than at any other time in recent memory.

Annie Young, for one, is already counting the votes of possible newcomers.
"I'd like to get six, because it takes six votes on issues of selling
land, and it would be nice on discussions over a superintendent," says
Young, the reform-oriented incumbent. "But after all this time and
struggle, I'd be happy with five."


--------11 of 16--------

To halt land rush on urban parks, vote Nov. 8
http://www.startribune.com/stories/109/5701911.html

Last month's Star Tribune series on skyrocketing prices for property in
northern Minnesota underscored how highly people value the chance to live
near natural resources and places for passive and active recreation. If
such properties are coveted in remote areas, imagine what public parks
mean to urban dwellers who, unlike our friends in rural and suburban area,
have yards the size of postage stamps if we have them at all.

With 6,400 acres containing lakes, creeks, a riverfront, playing fields,
open spaces and 48 recreation centers, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation
Board is the largest landowner in the city. The nine-person, elected Park
Board controls an annual budget which includes nearly $50 million in
taxpayer money. Because of this substantial budget, the stewardship and
responsibility required of those elected to the Park Board is daunting.
Park commissioners must be vigilant in protecting our much-needed open
spaces and picturesque shorelines from the grasping hands of those seeking
to create profit for the few. They must exercise caution when pondering
long-term contracts for spaces paid for by the public. They must practice
diligent oversight to ensure we are getting the best return on our tax
dollar. And they must balance the public's diverse needs for sound
environmental policy and recreational opportunities without overly
burdening city taxpayers already reeling from cost of living increases.

A current majority on the Minneapolis Park Bard has not lived up to those
standards. These commissioners have squandered funds on unwise, overpriced
capital projects that have little or no public benefit, while threatening
basic necessities like restrooms, summer park supervision and wading
pools. From the lakes to the riverfront they have tried to remove precious
park resources from public control or access.

The land rush on our urban parks has been held in check, but if the
board's narrow five-member majority gains a sixth vote in November's
general election, our parkland could be auctioned to the highest bidder
(or to the best-connected private party in a no-bid process). And all done
in the name of preserving the park system, following the Orwellian logic
that to save our parks we must divest ourselves of them.

Park Watch (www mplsparkwatch org) is an ad hoc group that monitors the
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and tries to shine a light on its
actions and policies - a laborious but necessary function with a public
body that has ceased to uphold such basic elements of governance as
recording written meeting minutes. The group formed after a five-person
majority faction of Minneapolis park commissioners voted in December 2003
to hire a superintendent who was not a candidate for the position and had
not even interviewed. Park Watch supports good government and an
independent park board.

Please remember to vote on Nov. 8 and elect a district park commissioner
and three at-large, citywide park commissioners who will be accountable,
govern in a transparent manner, reverse the course on privatizing park
resources and provide the stewardship to keep our waters clean, our
recreations centers open, our open spaces public and basic services
maintained.

Written by: LIZ WIELINSKI, MINNEAPOLIS; CO-FOUNDER PARK WATCH

[Amen! Every last one of the Majority 5 Park Privatizers has gotta go!
Send the snotty snooty arrogant over-developers a message - get lost! -ed]


--------12 of 16--------

From: Jenny Heiser <jennyh [at] mn.rr.com>
Subject: How to register to vote on election day

How to register to vote on election day

You can register at your polling place on election day. You will need
ONE of the following to verify your residence:

 Minnesota driver's license, learner's permit or Minnesota ID card,
or receipt for one with current address.
 Tribal ID
**If the Minnesota license/permit, Tribal ID or MN State ID has a
former address, you may bring a recent utility bill* to use with your
license.
 Late Registration Notice Postcard
 U.S. Passport with recent utility bill*
 U.S. Military ID card with recent utility bill*

Students can use:
 Student ID, registration, or fee statement with your current address
 Student photo ID if you are on a student housing list on file at the
polling place
 Student photo ID with utility bill*

*Note: The utility bill must have your name, current address, and be due
within 30 days before or after election day. Utility bills may be for
electric, gas, water, solid waste, sewer, telephone (including cell
phone), or cable TV.

OR
Bring someone with you that is registered in the precinct who will
vouch for your residence in the precinct.

Questions about voting? Call 612-673-2070


--------13 of 16--------

Senate Democrats Stage Political Disappearing Act
Sham Behind Closed Doors
By JOSHUA FRANK
CounterPunch
November 3, 2005

Oh, what a farce it was. On Tuesday November 1, the Senate Democrats
pulled a rare maneuver, kicked the press and the public out of their
hallowed chambers, slammed the doors, and for 3 1/2 long hours purportedly
took the Republicans to task. The Democrats demanded that the Republicans
give them what was promised: an investigation into the Bush
administration's misuse of intelligence leading up to the invasion of
Iraq.

It sounds noble enough and predictably their act, which was led by Senate
Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, has been praised by a flurry of
antiwar pundits and bloggers who claim the Democratic Party must finally
be warming up to their side of the war question.

But just because something sounds noble, doesn't mean it is.

Writing for The Nation online, John Nichols gushed,

"Remarkable as it may sound, there is reason to believe that Congressional
Democrats may finally be waking from their long slumber and stirring into
a functional opposition party ... [Reid] merits the high praise of being
referred to not as a Democrat or a Republican but as the leader of the
opposition that this country has so sorely needed."

Opposition to what? Calling for an investigation into how the Bush
administration manipulated the public (forget that the Democratic
leadership throughout the 1990s up until, well, November 1, were
propagating the same lies about Saddam's threat) isn't called
"leadership," let alone the makings of "functional opposition party," as
Nichols believes. It was all just a silly ruse. The Democrats certainly
know how the Republicans misrepresented and inflated intelligence about
Saddam's WMD.

But there is a much bigger charade going on here that most have missed:
despite their newly found tenacity, the Democrats still have not taken a
sound position on the war in Iraq.

The grassroots of the Party - if their trendy blog DailyKos is an
accurate sample - have missed the boat on this fact entirely. As a
popular DK blogger by the name of Hunter, exclaimed jovially, "In a move
worthy of a Wild West gunfight, Minority Leader Harry Reid changed the
political landscape on a dime, and cleaved the Republican talking point
brigades into shards and splinters. This move was political brilliance on
more fronts than I can count."

What a crock. Even though the Democrats have allegedly changed their tune
on pre-war intelligence, it doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot, even if
Hunter et al say so. And if an investigation is ever honestly waged (not
likely) you can forget about it meaning anything more than just another
blow to Bush's already plunging popularity. But Bush's poll figures, up or
down, good or bad, isn't going to bring the troops home. Nope, even if the
Dems somehow expose the bipartisan lies that led to the Iraq invasion, the
current occupation will still rage on. And even if the Dems take back the
House and Senate in 2006, thanks in part to their latest political stunt,
there won't be an exit strategy in place. The Democrats are so pitifully
predictable that they'll simply say that since our troops are there now,
we can't just "cut and run." How is this any different than the Democrat's
weak position before their Senate close out?

It's not.

What Senator Harry Reid and the other Senate Dems pulled wasn't an act of
gallant proportions as so many liberals and antiwarriors contend. It was
just a political trick intended to persuade their base and the antiwar
movement into believing they actually are an "oppositional party."

So don't go getting your hopes up. The Democrats have a long way to go
before anyone can consider them an opposition to the Republican agenda.
For that to happen they'd have to call for an end to this illegal war. And
that's not going to happen anytime soon.

Joshua Frank is the author of the brand new book, Left Out!: How Liberals
Helped Reelect George W. Bush, which has just been published by Common
Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at
www.brickburner.org. Joshua can be reached at Joshua [at] brickburner.org.


--------14 of 16--------

Why Are Democrats Working For Wal-Mart?
Jonathan Tasini
Working Life
November 02, 2005
http://workinglife.typepad.com/

I'm going to spend a second day here on the Beast of Bentonville. If you
want to know why the Democratic Party will continue to be the minority
party in the country, look no further than the raft of Democratic
operatives and elected representatives who do the bidding of Wal-Mart. At
the end of this rant, I'll propose a solution to cut off money to any of
these Democrats who have ties to Wal-Mart.

Yesterday, I attended the screening of Robert Greenwald's new film,
"Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price." You have to see it - or buy your
own copy here. It is a great piece of investigative work which gives voice
to the people and communities Wal-Mart has destroyed. And the movie makes
you wonder why the Democratic Party does not take on Wal-Mart in a big
way...well, we know part of the answer: money.

Let's start by looking at what I call the Wal-Mart 22: The 22 Democrats
who, on June 24th, voted against an amendment to the 2006 fiscal year
Labor appropriations bill (offered by Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut) that
would have barred any spending of money by the Department of Labor to
implement the part of the deal the department had made with Wal-Mart
calling for advance notice of inspections any time the DOL planned to
investigate Wal-Mart. This is the deal that was heavily criticized by the
Department's Inspector General.

That point bears repeating - the federal government, the people who are
supposed to protect citizens from corporate abuse, said to perhaps the
most notorious corporate law breaker in recent years, "when we come
looking for wrong-doing in your company, we're going to tell you ahead of
time." I wonder if the orders for paper shredders skyrocketed in
Bentonville after that little deal was made.

Anyway, so who were the Wal-Mart 22?
 Marion Berry (AR)
 Sanford Bishop (GA)
 Dan Boren (OK)
 G. K. Butterfield (NC)
 James Clyburn (SC)
 Bud Cramer (AL)
 Henry Cuellar (TX)
 Artur Davis (AL)
 Diana DeGette (CO)
 Harold Ford (TN)
 Charles Gonzalez (TX)
 Ron Kind (WI)
 Jim Matheson (UT)
 Dennis Moore (KS)
 Mike Ross (AR)
 John Salazar (CO)
 Vic Snyder (AR)
 John Tanner (TN)
 Mike Thompson (CA)
 Bennie Thompson (MS)
 Ed Towns (NY)
 Al Wynn (MD)

I'd note a few things about the Wal-Mart 22. A disturbing number of them
are members of the Congressional Black Caucus (Bishop, Butterfield
Clyburn, Davis, Ford, Bennie Thompson, Town and Wynn). What's up with
that? Now, I know Harold Ford is running for the Senate and needs money.
But, why should any labor union give him a dime if he's protecting Wal-
Mart? I'll come back to that in a moment...

And, then, there is the interesting fact that up pop the names of Ed Towns
and Henry Cuellar, who are also proud members of the CAFTA 15. Is there
anymore evidence needed that these two deserve to be booted from office
via a challenge in the Democratic primary?

Oh, yes, just up the street from the theater, at the swanky W Hotel,
Wal-Mart scheduled a press conference last night to attack the Greenwald
film. Almost no one from the press showed up. But, who was doing the press
work for Wal-Mart? The Marino Organization. Among this p.r. firm's clients
are the Directors Guild of America, the Construction Industry Partnership
(which is heavily dependent on the building trades in New York) and the
Center for American Progress. They also have Republican clients but...

Then, to top it off, I heard from a source that Matt Miller, a staffer at
the Center for American Progress, is doing consulting work for Wal-Mart.
Miller considers himself a Democrat and CAP, I believe, seems to position
itself as a rapid-response operation in opposition to the Republican
idea- and-spin machine.

And let's not forget, as I pointed out yesterday, that Clinton operatives
are helping Wal-Mart run its "war-room."

UPDATE: This has obviously struck a chord because I'm already getting
feedback. As one wag points out, Mia Masten, Walmart's East Coast rep is a
former Clinton Administration staffer (her post was Special Assistant to
the Senior Advisor to the President for Policy Development). A slight
correction from before - Bill Daley was not involved, but, a Chicago
source says, "another brother of the mayor, Michael Daley, was hired to
lobby for the zoning changes for the west and southside stores.  He has a
law firm, and if his firm is hired, it is a signal that his position is
the one supported by the mayor, a very powerful signal."

UPDATE: A well-connected source writes just now: "It is my understanding
that former Sen. Birch Bayh is a "door opener" for Wal-Mart by
scheduling/arranging/accompanying Wal-Mart officials to meetings on
Capitol Hill." That would be sad, if true, since I still hold on to the
memory of Bayh as a stalwart liberal.

This is unconscionable, morally and politically. I think we all get the
moral part - I know readers are pretty hip to the way Wal-Mart rampages
through our communities (if not, go to www.walmartwatch.com and get
religion). But, politically, this is dumb: if the Democratic Party can't
be unified in opposition to the number one economic enemy of the people,
to the number one enemy undermining any hope for a decent standard of
living in the future, then, what exactly should people think the
Democratic Party stands for? Why exactly should voters believe that
Democrats have any more intention to challenge corporate power? And I do
believe that, given the choice between Republicans and Republican-lite
(read: CAFTA 15 or the Wal-Mart 22), people will always vote for the real
thing.

So, WHAT TO DO? Here are my humble suggestions:

1. The Change To Win Coalition and the AFL-CIO should jointly send a
letter to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer (head of the
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) and Rahm Emanuel (head of the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) demanding that no work be
given to any Democratic operative or consulting firm that shills for
Wal-Mart. If the party refuses to at least dry up the money for Wal-Mart
shills, then, the two Federations should pledge not to send a single
dollar to any campaign committee.

2. Both Federations should also write to every member of Congress
declaring that any Democrat receiving Wal-Mart money can kiss any labor
donations or labor support good-bye.

3. Both Federation should, then, send a letter to every supposed
Democratic campaign consultant and make it clear: you work for us OR you
work for Wal-Mart. You can't do both.

We all know the political world is oiled by money. So, if there's really a
commitment to roll back Wal-Mart, it makes no sense to me to reward people
who aid Wal-Mart. Stop the money - and their hearts will follow.

Jonathan Tasini is the president of the Economic Future Group, a national
consulting group. He is a strategist, organizer, activist, commentator and
writer, primarily focusing his energies on the topics of work, labor and
the economy.


--------15 of 16--------

[I highly reccommend this article and the actions and attitudes advised.
Start where you live. Bottom up. Get involved LOCALLY. Don't waste time
and lives begging the rulers to change. Organize with the people and kick
the rulers out. -ed]

We Don't Need Them
by Joe Carpenter
www.dissidentvoice.org
November 2, 2005

"But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own
strength, would have no reason to conspire.  They needed only to rise up
and shake themselves, like a horse shaking off flies. If they chose, they
could blow the party to pieces tomorrow morning.  Surely, sooner or later,
it must occur to them to do it?  And yet --"
              -- George Orwell, 1984

I've never understood the idea of speaking truth to power. The truth,
surely, is that in almost all countries of the world, political and
economic systems are designed to benefit only the rich and powerful, at
the expense of those with less money and power. This is how the world
works, and I see no reason to think that the powerful don't already
understand that.  After all, they designed it; they maintain it.

They steal our money, sacrifice our children in their wars, send the
poorest and most victimized among us off to jail for petty mistakes, and
crush those of us who might present a real threat to the arrangement. They
know we don't like it. They don't care. They don't need to care. They also
control most of our avenues of dissent. It's a very simple, very elegant
design.

Meanwhile, we get angry and toddle off to tell the truth to the powerful.
We have been telling them the truth for centuries. We travel to their
great palaces by the hundreds of thousands, to express our anger and
despair. We shout and sing and stomp and whine. We threaten. We plead.
Sometimes we're beaten up, or sent to jail. It's a tradition of great
courage and personal sacrifice, no doubt.

We go to tell them to stop using our money and our children and our energy
and intelligence to further rob and rape and murder us. We tell them to be
more respectful and compassionate. We're like angry but terrorized
children, anxiously scolding our stern, all-powerful parents. And, in the
end, we look to the Democrats or to some congressional panel or to the
Supreme Court and demand that they come to our aid. As my friend Harry
puts it: "We're left in the terrible position of trying to decide which
elite group will be less likely to prey on us".

Well, the government and their pals are not going to stop using and
abusing us. They're not going to stop preying on us. They cannot stop!
Republican or Democrat, they are rich and powerful precisely because they
prey on us.  They are rich because they rob us. They're robbing us right
this minute.  They are powerful because they dominate every aspect of our
lives, because they've taken control of all the major social, political,
economic, and communication systems in the world. These systems were
designed to increase their wealth and power by taking both from all the
rest of us.

But, we are not children, and they are not our parents. We're not little
people and they are not big people. We're not insignificant and they are
not significant. In fact, we do not need them.

They are very few and we, here in the US alone, are roughly three hundred
million. We don't need to rush out to tell the few that they are abusing
the many. They already know that. We need to stand upright and walk out to
tell the many that they are being slowly devoured by the few, for --
incredibly, they do not know. We need to look to our next-door neighbors,
and to their next door neighbors and to the folks all along the block. We
need to tell the truth to each other -- for we are the answer.

While hundreds of thousands of anti-war demonstrators gathered in
Washington, DC, back in September, hundreds of millions of American
citizens went about their business without even a vague awareness of the
protests.  The media to which most of them attend barely mention such
things -- obviously.  And, most Americans don't live in the DC area, so
they didn't see a thing.

Most Americans live in my neighborhood, or in your neighborhood.  Most
Americans eat breakfast right next to you in the local cafe. Most
Americans get their car fixed at the same garage as you and I do. Most
Americans visit my library, my bookstore, my grocery store, my local park
-- or yours.

But the rich and powerful have convinced us that we cannot, we must not
communicate with the people we can see and hear and touch, right here,
right now. They have convinced us that we need to travel to some
government office to persuade elected officials and bureaucrats to change
our world for us. The government and media drone on, endlessly,
hypnotically, and convince us that if we just elect the right leaders,
they'll talk to our next door neighbor for us.

Government programs, they promise us, will fix that gaping hole in the
pavement, right out beyond your driveway. Government will help poor Mrs.
Wilson, languishing in the old, dilapidated house right across the street.
Government will settle your dispute with that family right down the block.
Government will take care of your neighbors who can't escape the
hurricane:

"It's OK, just hop in the SUV and go, we'll take care of everything!"
Government will help; government will heal; government will bring us
together.

That's not going to happen, of course. The elites are too busy dividing
us, setting us against each other, exacerbating every animosity, every
misgiving, every anxiety, however slight. They insinuate themselves into
every new crack and crevice and offer convoluted, expensive legislation
and bureaucracies to bring us back together again. "There oughta be a
law," says the old complaint. Well, there will be, to be sure - but it
will just make things worse.

We're all looking in the wrong place for reason and compassion and
justice. It's not anywhere to be found in Washington, DC. It's not in
governments or state houses. It's not there in that prestigious gathering
of experts and big brains.

It's right here. It's wherever you are, and it's right next door and it's
everywhere along your street and all around your neighborhood. It's in the
cars that pass you on the roadways and in the shops where you buy your dog
or cat food. There's no need to travel a thousand or even a hundred miles.
It's not necessary to make the climb up to the penthouse. Our hope, our
possibility - our only hope, our only possibility, lies in the ordinary
people who compose our world, who are the very stuff of our lives.

Want to change the world? Tell the truth to the plumber. Begin with the
lady who hands you the stamps at the post office. Talk with the check-out
people at the grocery store. Chat with the waiter at your favorite cafe.
Speak with the cops who sit down at the next table. Gab for a few minutes
with the guy who changes your oil or with the elementary school teacher
with whom you've been discussing your child's future. Lean out of your
window while stopped at the light and tell the truck driver some truth
he's certain to recall and ponder.

Feel the need to march? Gather a bunch of folks and wander about your
neighborhoods with signs and leaflets. When people walk by, stop and gab
with them. When that huge guy with the Hemi-powered Ram pulls alongside
and tells you to "love it or leave it," ask him to stay and talk. Smile,
offer your hand, make nice. He's one of us. He'd make a wonderful ally.
When a carload of high school jocks slows to offer some single-fingered
communication, hand them some cold colas and tell them about the
probability of a draft. They're our people, too. Convince yourself that
this is so, then convince them.

Get together with like-minded people and think of simple, brief,
meaningful ways to communicate with the folks all around you. Think about
little things, easy things, immediate things. Think about what you can do
together, and what you might accomplish alone. Think about your real
day-to-day life, and how many opportunities there are to educate and
enlighten, every day.  Blab and babble and blunder and tell the truth, one
ordinary person at a time.  We're all ordinary people, and we are our only
hope. Tell the truth to the guy who pumps out the septic tank - he's one
of us!  Forget about telling the government, forget about the hot-shots.

To the extent that we believe we need them, exactly to that extent will we
continue our dependence upon ruthless, murderous plunderers, people
entirely opposed to our needs and deepest longings. As long as we believe
we need them, exactly that long will we live life on our knees, begging -
as Mickey Z. says - for crumbs from their table.

The depth of our apparent need is the measure of their height above us.
The nightmare of our poverty is our dream that they have a right to take
our money. The illusion of our impotence is the chimera of their monstrous
strength.  We shall be slaves as long as we're convinced that we have
masters, and not one moment longer.

Time to wake up, time to grow up. We're not children. We do not need to
ask permission to live like sane, reasonable, thoughtful, compassionate
human beings. We do not need to beg or bow or kneel. We do not need to
look to government or to experts or to the rich and famous. Whatever we
need, we can get it ourselves.  Whatever we want to stop - we can stop it
ourselves.  Whatever must be done, we can do it ourselves. We do not need
them; we need each other.

All else is distraction and delusion.

Joe Carpenter is a guy living in Southern Oregon who has traveled
extensively and kept his eyes open. He can be reached at:
joecarpenter [at] charter.net.

[Amen. Amen. Amen. - ed]


--------16 of 16--------

 [A previous haiku, relevant to the above article. ed]

 If knowledge is power,
 speak truth to the powerless,
 speak lies to power.


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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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