Progressive Calendar 10.14.06
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 03:34:51 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     10.14.06

1. NE market fest    10.14 9am
2. WILPF/US-Iran     10.14 10am
3. Deportations      10.14 10am
4. Palestine         10.14 10am
5. GP/StThom parade  10.14 10am
6. Risser doorknock  10.14 10am
7. Alt to military   10.14 10:30am
8. Help Farheen      10.14 11am
9. Northtown vigil   10.14 1pm
10. Press/Truth/film 10.14 1:30pm
11. AWC fundraiser   10.14 7pm
12. Peace Ball       10.14 7pm
13. Sistahood/voices 10.14 8pm
14. Stadium tax/CTV  10.14 9:30pm
15. Iraq film/list   10.14-15

16. Paul Street - The repair of broken societies begins at home
17. How many members of the Bush Admin are needed to change a light bulb?

--------1 of 17--------

From: tom [at]
Subject: NE market fest 10.14 9am

THIS Saturday come experience the wonders of fall as winter seems to be
closing in all around us.  There will be pumpkins, fall vegetables,
entertainment at the most direct connection to local growers east of the
Mississippi in MPLS ~ THE NE FARMERS MARKET ~ Saturday, Oct. 14th from
9:AM to 1:PM.

It's will be a ton fun for the whole family.  Bird House John will be
there with his one of a kind bird houses to put an end to avian
homelessness and fabulous BBQ pulled pork sandwiches from the Trebesch
farm ( will be available.  Market stalwarts
Chowgirls Catering, providers of killer catering will be set up for your additional epicurean
and caffeinated needs.

The NE Farmers Market is in its 7th year of operation and located in
lovely lower NE MPLS at the corner of 7th and University AVE NE in the
parking lot of St. Boniface Catholic Church.  There is plenty of free
parking amongst the autumnal tree lined parking lot and streets and please
feel free to spread the word

See ya there for our first day of Indian summer in 2006, Tom Taylor

--------2 of 17--------

From: Doris G. Marquit <marqu001 [at]>
Subject: WILPF/US-Iran 10.14 10am

Minnesota Metro Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and
Freedom invites you to its October 2006 COFFEE WITH Program

"Historical Review of U.S. and Iran Relations," presented by M. Jay
Shahidi, president, Iranian-American Society of Minnesota

Sat. October 14
10 am to noon
Van Cleve Community Center, 901 15th Ave. SE, Minneapolis

Mr. Shadi came to the U.S. as an economics student in 1965.  Since then he
has served in leadership roles in more than 30 social service and advocacy
groups, including the United Nations Association, Citizens for Global
Solutions, American Refugee Committee, and Amnesty International.  In this
program he will address the tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the
history of this volatile relationship.

--------3 of 17--------

From: Mary Turck <mturck [at]>
Subject: Deportations 10.14 10am

October 14 Saying No: the Campaign for a Moratorium on Deportations with
Eduardo Cardenas and others from the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action
Coalition [Part of weekly coffee hour series, with a talk by a featured
speaker and discussion. Saturdays, 10-11:30 a.m. $4 includes first cup of
coffee. Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis
55406 FFI: 612-276-0788]

--------4 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine 10.14 10am

Saturday, 10/14, 10 to 11 am, Palestinian peacebuilder Sulaiman Khatib
shares his stories at Beth El Synagogue's Fiterman Chapel, St Louis Park.
bifsales [at]

--------5 of 17--------

From: PRO826 [at]
Subject: GP/StThomas parade 10.14 10am

University of St. Thomas Homecoming Parade
October 14, Saturday
Meet at Summit and Fry (one block west of Snelling) at 10am
Parade starts at 10:30am and lasts until Noon - Join the Homecoming parade
of the University of St. Thomas.  The Greens have been invited to join in
the march. Come help to flyer for the candidates!!

--------6 of 17--------

From: Julie Risser <julie.risser [at]>
Subject: Risser doorknocking 10.14 10am

Help elect Julie Risser to the State Senate. Door knock between 10:00-2:00
on Saturdays. Come to 6112 Ashcroft Avenue, Edina - campaign headquarters.
We need people to lit drop in Edina and West Bloomington.  Any amount of
time people can donate is much appreciated! Call 952-738-2308 for more

--------7 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Alt to military 10.14 10:30am

Saturday, 10/14 (and 2nd Saturday of each month), 10:30 am, Coalition for
Alternatives to Military Service (or CAMS, a counter-recruitment group)
meets at Twin Cities Friends Meeting, 1725 Grand, St. Paul.  Contact Mary
at wamm [at]

--------8 of 17--------

From: hijabicycle <hijabicycle [at]>
Subject: Help/Farheen 10.14 11am

We need a few good people to drop literature on Saturday October 14th.
 We need help promoting a debate which will happen the following
Wednesday.  I only have 4 confirmed volunteers so far.

Please meet us at 11AM at the MayDay Cafe, located at 3440 Bloomington
Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407-2217. - Thanks, Farheen

--------9 of 17--------

From: Lennie <major18 [at]>
Subject: Northtown vigil 10.14 1pm

The Mounds View peace vigil group has changed its weekly time and place.
We will now be peace vigiling EVERY SATURDAY from 1-2pm at the at the
southeast corner of the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE
in Blaine, which is the northwest most corner of the Northtown Mall area.
This is a MUCH better location.

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

For further information, email major18 [at] or call Lennie at

--------10 of 17--------

From: altera vista <alteravista [at]>
Subject: Press/Truth/film 10.14 1:30pm

Sat Oct 14, 1:30pm, Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave.,

Free movie:  9-11: Press for Truth

This 86-minute documentary chronicles the struggle of the four widowed
"Jersey Girls" and other family members of 9/11 victims for truth and
accountability against the deception and stonewalling of the Bush
administration, the failure of the 9/11 Commission to address their
questions, and the refusal of the corporate media to report their struggle
to gain answers.  This movie premiered on September 11, 2006, the fifth
anniversary of this preventable event.

Sponsored by MN911.  FFI 651-633-4410.

--------11 of 17--------

From: Jess Sundin <jess [at]>
Subject: AWC fundraiser 10.14 7pm

Cocktails for a Cause: AWC Fundraiser

Saturday 10/14 @ 7-10pm @  4008 20th Ave. S., Mpls.
Come & enjoy insightful political discussions over wine, beer, cocktails
and mocktails, while supporting the important work of the Anti-War
Committee. Pass on this invitation to anyone who would enjoy the party! We
promise fun AND door prizes. Contact us for more information 612.379.3899
or info [at]

--------12 of 17--------

From: tom [at]
From: PEACE Foundation <citypeace [at]>
Subject: Peace Ball 10.14 7pm

To buy tickets today: (

Celebrate on the Northside!
Saturday, October 14th
7 pm to midnight
800 West Broadway
North Minneapolis

A gala ball will transform this grand but empty building for an evening of
celebration in the heart of the reawakening West Broadway business
district, as this 3rd annual event finds its home in North Minneapolis.

Have a ball on West Broadway with

appetizers and cocktails provided by Northside's premiere catering
establishments - The Bean Scene and Broadway Liquor Outlet an eclectic mix
of music offered by Northside entertainers visual art from members of the
Northside Arts Collective our unique view of the downtown skyline leaders
of the newly forming Northside Youth StandUp!

And, back by popular demand, headlining the evening is Soul Tight
Committee. Get down on the dance floor to old school soul, R & B and dance
music of the 70's with neighbors, friends, co-workers, and partners in the
movement to end local violence!

Brought to you with a generous contribution from North Memorial Medical

Tickets and Tables
Basic individual donor level - $45
If you can give more - $100
Buy a table of eight at two levels:
Basic donor table level - $360
Corporate table level - $1000

A limited number of community tickets are available for 0 to $15 for
Northside residents or community leaders. For more information, call the
PEACE Foundation at 612-521-4405.

Ticket proceeds will go to the PEACE Foundation, with 15% of proceeds
dedicated to the Northside Youth StandUp! All ticket donation amounts over
$15 will be tax-deductible.

--------13 of 17--------

From: Sarah Caflisch <scaflisch [at]>
Subject: Good sista/bad sista 10.14 8pm

Saturday, October 14, 8:00 p.m.
at Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis

Good Sista/Bad Sista is the wonder twin afroed down spoken word concoction
of us, Turiya and Walidah. We create together because, as dead prez said,
"one dreadlock is stronger than a single strand." We speak and scream and
yell because, as Frantz Fanon said, "I want my voice to be harsh. I don't
want it to be beautiful... I want it to be torn through and through." We
do all that we do because, as June Jordan said, "We are the ones we've
been waiting for."

The work that we do, whether it is writing, performing, teaching, or
activism is all about living our lives for worthwhile ends that are not
measurable in pay stubs, yet are responsible for adding to the collective
body of water that is capable of altering mountains and landscapes. We are
raising our voices to show others who have been historically silenced, our
brothas but especially our sistas, that they can too. We are raising our
voices to put forth a rallying cry, to inspire entreat and enrage people
to get involved, to free Mumia, to fight patriarchy, to smash prison
walls, to love a child, to protest an illegal eviction, to cook a healthy
meal, to love each other, to love ourselves. We are raising our voices
because it is our closest and deadliest weapon, and we must reclaim it.
-Good Sista/Bad Sista Web site $5/$3 Loft members

--------14 of 17--------

From: Shar in Minneapolis <sharinminneapolis [at]>
From: "theccarl" <theccarl [at]>
Subject: Stadium tax/CTV 10.14 9:30pm

Here's the info for the show we taped on Monday!

The show is called:  Vicki's Parlour, and her special guests for the
evening were Dave Bicking and Eva Young.  The topic of discussion was the
stadium tax.

It will air Saturday, 10/14 at 9:30 PM on NWCT Channel 20.

The show will be repeated three times:
Sunday 10/15 at 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM.
Also Monday 10/23 at 10:30 PM.

The Sunday fundraiser at Stub & Herb's was mentioned, so this is GREAT

Please spread the word to all your friends and supporters that live in the
North West suburbs to tune in and watch, and even tape a copy for you.

Here is a link to the TV schedule:
Edit, Find: (any of these words) Citizens against Stadium Taxes
to review all air dates over the next 2 weeks.

--------15 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Iraq film/list 10.14-15

10/14 and 10/15, hosts movie parties featuring the film "Iraq for
Sale" about war profiteers.  For one near you go to
igils are listed at  )

--------16 of 17--------

The Repair of Broken Societies Begins at Home
By Paul Street
October 13, 2006
ZNet Commentary

A shortened version of this presentation was delivered at the Community
United Church of Christ at a meeting sponsored by the Anti-war Anti-Racism
Effort (AWARE) in Champaign, Illinois on September 26, 2006

Here we are, ten thousands miles away, fighting for the so-called freedom
of the Vietnamese when we have not put our own house in order
- Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968


The topic I want to flesh out tonight around this theme that "the repair
of broken societies begins at home" is less than original both in my own
writing and more generally on the intellectual and political culture of
the American left going back to the 19th century. I did a piece with the
exact same title for Dissident Voice (DV) in July of 2003. I wrote a
similar article for the same journal in June that same year.  The title of
that article was "Failed States at Home and Abroad."

Both essays had pretty much the same argument that Noam Chomsky would make
in the last chapter of his 2006 book Failed States.  My thesis was that
Americans looking around for a failed, broken, badly governed and
authoritarian sociopolitical order to fix and turn into a democratic
success need search no further than their own county. They could start by
taking an honest look in the national mirror.

The first DV article was sparked by an elite policy document I happened to
read in May of 2003.  The document was issued by the prestigious Council
on Foreign Relations on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  Bearing the
interesting title "Iraq: the Day After," this text contained a fascinating
comment from a leading policy thinker named James Dobbins.  At the time
Dobbins was Director of the Rand Corporation's Center for International
Security and Defense Policy.  He was a former special U.S. envoy during
U.S. interventions in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

"The partisan debate," Dobbins proclaimed, "is over.  Administrations of
both [U.S. political] parties are clearly prepared to use American
military force to repair broken societies."  Broken societies, Dobbins
explained, give rise to terrorism and to events like the jetliner attacks
of September 11th, 2001 It is in our national interest, Dobbins argued, to
find and fix "broken societies" around the world in places like
Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan.

The second DV article - the one with "failed states" in the title - was
sparked by an article in the New York Times in June of 2003 - June 9th to
be exact.  The story, written by Times reporter Elizabeth Becker, noted
that a bipartisan federal "Commission on Weak States and U.S. National
Security" had issued a report recommending that the U.S. do more to
"improve societies" that are being badly governed by "failed states."
"Failed states," the report argued, are "breeding grounds for terrorists"
of the sort who perpetrated 9/11. By Becker's account, following the
report, "failed states" are "those that generally cannot provide security
for their citizens or their territory, and that are corrupt and
illegitimate in the eyes of their civilians."

As we know, our policy and opinion leaders have a very good idea of where
the "broken societies" and "failed states" of the world would do best to
look for a positive role model.  The world's miserable failures should
look of course to the United States, the purported epitome and agent of
what that the Pentagon's calls "the single sustainable model of national

As Bill Clinton's Secretary of States Madeline Albright once proclaimed,
the United States "stands taller and sees farther" than all other nations.
And as U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas) explained in a 2002
speech supporting the granting of unlimited war powers to George W. Bush,
the U.S. is "The Beacon to the World of the Way Life Should Be." We are
the "City on a Hill," as John Winthrop put it; we are "the watchtower on
the walls of freedom," in the words of John F. Kennedy.  We are "the
greatest nation in the world," as our politicians feels compelled to say
over and over again.  God has blessed and continues to bless America. So
look to us when you want to know how to fix your state and society.

                    A BROKEN SOCIETY AT HOME

Or maybe not. I find it remarkable to hear the U.S. so cavalierly,
routinely, and narcissistically described as the ultimate model and agent
of democratic Success when it has become the most grotesquely unequal and
wealth-top-heavy society in the industrialized world, the world's
unchallenged incarceration leader and the only industrialized state NOT to
make access to basic health care a core birthright. The nation that
"stands taller and sees farther" than others has become something of an
openly acknowledged corporate plutocracy, a dollar democracy where
politics, policy, information, culture, behavior and the structure of
daily life are routinely, transparently and relentlessly dominated by the
selfish desires of the investor class.

Here were some basic facts of life in "The Beacon to the World of the Way
Life Should Be," from the time right before the planes hit the towers and
when the U.S. had just come off the longest continuous economic expansion
in its history:

* The richest ten percent owned more than 70 of the nation's wealth and
the richest 1 percent of families owned more than 40 percent of that

* 11 million U.S. households were "food insecure," recurrently short of
enough to eat and 23 million Americans relied on Second Harvest food banks
to get by

* Forty-two million Americans lacked health insurance

* Americans had the longest working hours in the industrialized world,
having outpaced the exhausted Japanese during the 1980s - something which
helped make informed, active, and sustained civic engagement next to
impossible for untold millions of ex-citizens in "the world's greatest

* Overwork was a factor in the nation's astonishing 60 percent divorce

* Nine corporations owned more than half all media (both print and
electronic), exercising a measure of concentrated private influence over
public information, imagery and consciousness that was without precedent
in world history.

* Black families' median net worth was one tenth of white families' median
net worth - ten black cents on the white dollar.

* There were 29,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. each year. Fifty-eight
percent were suicides and 38 percent were homicides.

* The U.S. had the highest death row population in the world and the
nation that proclaimed itself the homeland and headquarters of world
freedom housed 5 percent of the world's people but 25 percent of its

* On any given day, 30 percent of African-American adults were "under
correctional supervision" - either in prison or jail or on probation or

* One in five black American males possessed a prison record; one in three
possessed a felony record, and the sitting president of the United States
owed his presidency among other things to the lifetime electoral
disenfranchisement of predominantly black ex-felons in Florida.

* Less than 1 percent of the population accounted for 80 percent of all
campaign contributions. The winners of the campaign finance fundraising
contest won 92 percent of the elections for the U.S. house and 88 percent
of the Senate races.

* Americans were so excited about their world-leading "democracy" that
they exhibited the lowest voter turnout in the "democratic" world.

When 9/11 happened and then when the war on Iraq was initiated, I was
sitting in an urban "civil rights" and social policy research office in
the middle of Chicago's South Side ghetto putting together 2000 census and
a whole bunch of other data that encouraged me to develop a skeptical
perspective on our claims of unmatched national greatness. I was regularly
reviewing a seemingly endless series of data sets reflecting the
incredible price that people pay for empire and inequality at the bottom
of the nation's interrelated class and race structures.

One of the many terrible findings that stuck with me was the discovery
that Illinois placed 20,000 more black males in prison than it did in its
public 4-year undergraduate college programs. Another one I couldn't shake
was more than a quarter of the children lived in "deep poverty" - at less
than half the federal poverty level - in 15 of the city's 77 officially
designated Community Areas in 1999. All but one of these 15 neighborhoods
was located in predominantly black stretches of Chicago's South and West

There were six very predominantly black neighborhoods where more than 40
percent of the children were deeply poor and one (Riverdale) where more
than half the children lived in deep poverty. This was before the onset of
recession in 2001, which pushed the number of black children living in
deep poverty in the United States over one million?  Talk about a "broken

In a recent issue of the New Yorker there's an interesting article by
David Remnick about Bill Clinton's career as an ex-president. At some
point in the article, Reminick quotes Bill Gates and Clinton talking about
how they hope to bring African children the "same opportunities available
to kids in the United States." It's a noble objective but I want to ask
them: the same opportunities as WHICH AMERICAN KIDS, Mr. President and Mr.
CEO? The ones in Lake Forest Illinois, where median household income is
$120,000 and the "public schools" spend more than $20,000 per kid per year
or the ones in the South Side neighborhood of Riverdale, where median
household income is $13,000, where the official unemployment rate is 35
percent and where the "public" schools spend $6 to 7,000 per year on the

To quote Jonathan Kozol: "These are extraordinary inequalities within a
metropolitan community that still lays claim to certain vestiges of the
humanitarian ideals associated with the age of civil rights and the
unforgotten dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King."

                  LOOKING FOR A FAILED STATE?

You want to see a failed state, unwilling and/or unable to protect and
provide security for its citizens and territory? You don't have to go to
Sudan or Iraq. Look at the Bush administration's failure to act in basic
sorts of ways on numerous indications that the 9/11 attacks were coming.

Look at the federal government's failure to act on all but a few of its
own handpicked 9/11 Commission's basic recommendations on preventing
future predictable attacks even as it engages in an incredibly provocative
and nakedly imperialist war on the Middle East.

It fails to act even as it has long pursued a global-corporate neoliberal
agenda that encourages state failure by undermining the positive social
and democratic functions of government and thereby helps drive Arab and
other Muslims into fundamentalist organizations that recruit untold
thousands of future terrorists.

I'm guessing that many of you here saw the weekend' news reports detailing
the findings of a classified national U.S. intelligence report which
confirms what we've known for some time - that "the American invasion and
occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism
and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the September 11
attacks" thanks in large measure to the deeply inciting state-terrorist
war on Iraq.

We should add the U.S.-sponsored Israel attack on Lebanon to the list of
the factors that are inciting the Arab and Muslim populations and
worsening the terror threat.  People eager to discover state failure could
look at the federal government's failure to maintain levees and protect
wetlands prior to Katrina.

They can examine the state's miserable and humiliating response to that
hurricane's aftermath - a reflection not of government incompetence per se
but the ruling neoliberalism's hostility to all government functions save
war-making, the repression of dissent and other measures designed to make
the investor class wealthier.

We can investigate the government's failure to act against the looming
catastrophe of global warming that appears to have been part of the
Katrina story.

Pretty much all the terrible social terrible indicators I mentioned above
have gotten worse since 9/11 and the onset of an overdue recession that
started the previous year. Child poverty and deep community poverty are
both back on the rise. Black household net worth has fallen to 7 cents on
the white dollar.

According to the Current Population and American Community Surveys, the
black poverty rate in Chicago has gone from 29 percent in 2000 to 33
percent in 2004; it's back to the worst levels of the late Reagan era. As
the New York Times reported a few weeks back, the top fifth of income
recipients now gets more than half of the nation's income.  That's never
happened before as far as we know from Labor Department data to date.

The U.S. poverty rate has gone up for five years in a row.  That's never
happened as long as the federal government has collected national poverty
statistics. The top 1 percent now owns more than half the nation's wealth
- a positively Gilded Age statistic. The bottom 20 percent has seen its
paycheck fall by 20 percent in the last five years even as Fortune 500 CEO
salaries increased by more than 50 percent to an average of more than $8
millions per year. It would be a gross understatement, a misstatement
actually, to say that the U.S. government has merely failed to act in
response to deepening domestic poverty and inequality.

More than merely failing to move against homeland disparities, it has
actively exacerbated homeland disparities through a deadly mix of Empire
and Inequality. It has combined huge tax cuts for the already
super-wealthy few with massive increases in military spending to pay for
an illegal and unnecessary occupation that has killed more than a 100,000
Iraqi civilians. Beneath solemn claims of reverence for the victims of
9/11, the in-power hard right has seized on that great crime as a welcome

Nine-eleven was for them a salutary occasion to deepen the concentration
of wealth and power, to further the repression of dissent at home and to
tighten their grip on super-strategic Middle Eastern oil supplies while
funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to leading so-called "defense"
corporations like Boeing, Raytheon and the rest. One of the strangest
parts of all this and it speaks volumes about the real White House agenda
is to see the Bush administration advancing tax cuts for the rich while at
the same obsessively proclaiming that we are in a life or death war to
save civilization as we know it.

When the government needs to fight such a war, like some would argue was
the case during World War II, it doesn't cut taxes on those who possess
the greatest amount of wealth to help to pay for it.

Right here in the U.S., we are witnessing an especially perverse form of
state failure and related plutocratic success on a truly remarkable scale.


It's very important, I think, that we not confuse this homeland state
failure with what I call the myth of the powerless state.  The
corporate-neoliberal ideology that has ruled America since at least the
early 1980s is commonly described by critics as anti-government. There's
some real deception there.  The reality is more complex.  Conventional
ideological wisdom to the contrary, the public sector today retains the
resources and wherewithal to carry out certain key objectives favored by
the rich and powerful.

Its cup runs over when it comes to serving the needs of wealth, racial
disparity, corporate (top-down) globalization, and empire.  Its poverty
and powerlessness come into play when we are talking about health,
education, welfare, rehabilitation, social uplift, community development
and ecological sustainability for the many and especially when we are
talking about services for the disproportionately nonwhite poor.

Increasingly stripped of lost social and democratic functions government
is inadequate and cash-poor only when it comes to meeting the needs of the
nonaffluent majority and especially of the disproportionately black,
urban, concentrated, and demonized poor. Its relationship to the
non-affluent and especially the black poor is increasingly weighted
towards policing and repressive functions, which have expanded
dramatically in ways that are more than just coincidentally related to the
assault on social supports and programs.

To use the suggestive terminology of the late left sociologist Pierre
Bourdieu, the dominant homeland ideologies of neoliberalism and
neoconservatism starve the "left" hand of the state and feed "the right
hand of the state." It's the social, nurturing, egalitarian, democratic,
and peaceful parts of the public sector that need to be starved, not the
regressive, disciplinary, repressive, militaristic, and authoritarian
parts of government.

                      THE TWILIGHT OF DEMOCRACY?

One of the scariest parts of all this is that this drift from the left to
the right of the state is actually opposed by the majority of American
citizens. In poll after poll, public survey researchers report that
Americans prefer spending on health, education, and social welfare and
rehabilitation and training and ecological protection over war and
militarism and incarceration and corporate welfare and surveillance and
weaponry and environmental rape.

The most chilling thing about recent American history to me is that none
of this seems to matter in terms of policy.  Noam Chomsky has been talking
lately about the nation's democracy deficit, a hidden corollary of its
fiscal deficit.

We have a radical disconnect between public opinion and public policy that
is starting to lead many serious investigators to wonder if the American
experiment with democracy is now finally and completely exhausted.

Right now, in this election season, we see Bush saying that we are
fighting in Iraq in the name of an ideology which says that government
must "reflect the will of the people."  Then he says there will be no
troop reductions this year and there will be no timetable for the
withdrawal of troops from Iraq.  He and Rumsfeld and Cheney run around
denouncing supposed elite liberal war opponents for advocating the deadly
appeasement of "Islamofascist" terrorism. And during all of this leading
national polls report say that 61 percent of Americans want troops reduced
this year, that 60 percent oppose the war, and that 57 percent want a
timetable for withdrawal.

The species is in dire straits indeed if this is what we get from world's
"single sustainable model of national development."


Pointing out the contradiction between ugly domestic realities and the
idealistic discourse and proclaimed noble and democratic goals of the
nation and its foreign policy is an old activity on the American left.
"Who are you," we and other Americans have long told our power elite and
its many defenders, "to speak of defending and/or embodying and/or
exporting democracy and freedom when you are beneficiaries and/or agents
of monumental inequality, repression, and oppression right here at home,
in the supposed homeland and headquarters of liberty, justice, and
compassionate human concern?"

This goes back a long way. I think of Frederick Douglass's marvelous
speech, titled "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?." Douglass's
famous address was delivered four years after the United States had
claimed to bring democracy to Southwestern North America by militarily
annexing present day California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.

The Mexican Cession, as it was called in the U.S., led among other things
to the reintroduction of slavery into the Southwest, where the ownership
of humans had been outlawed by the Mexican government.  With that as a
background, listen to some of the exceptional prose that the escaped slave
and leading abolitionist Frederick Douglass read aloud on July Fourth,
1852, five years before the United States Supreme court would rule that
Dred Scott blacks possessed no human rights whatsoever by virtue of their

"What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?. A day that reveals to
him the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.
To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy
alliance; your national greatness and swelling vanity; your sounds of
rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants
brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality hollow
mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all
your religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud,
deception, impiety and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which
would disgrace a nation of savages."

"Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies
and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out
every abuse [Douglass said], and when you have found the last, lay your
facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will
say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy,
America reigns without a rival."

"You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants Russia and Austria
[Douglass said]; you invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from
abroad; you shed tears over fallen Hungary and make the sad story of here
wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen, and orators; you are all on
fire at the mention of liberty for France or Ireland; you can bare your
bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a three-penny tax on
tea; and yet [Douglass intoned] you maintain a system as barbarous and
dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation [and] you are as cold
as an iceberg to the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America."

I think also of some of the letters black soldiers wrote to black U.S.
newspapers during the Spanish-American War, when the U.S, seized control
of the Philippines and Cuba, with President McCKinley claiming that the
U.S. would "educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and
Christianize them and by God's grace do the very best we could by them."

In one of the aforementioned letters, reproduced in Howard Zinn's
"People's History of the United States," the chaplain of a black regiment
asked, "is America any better than Spain?  Has she not subjects in her
very midst who are murdered daily without a trial of judge or jury?  Has
she not subjects in her own borders whose children are half-fed
half-clothed because their father's skin is black?.?"

In the period when this letter appeared, numerous progressives, laborites,
and socialists like Jacob Riis, Algie Simons, Jack London and Upton
Sinclair observed that immigrant slums were filling with masses of
desperately poor and super-exploited proletarians.  United States
government was widely known to be under the iron heel of an authoritarian
corporate plutocracy that owned not only the means of production and
distribution but also the lion's share of the politicians and

There was more than enough social uplift an democracy promotion required
at home, these and other writers and activists noted.

I think of Randolph Bourne's comment during World War One. "Hearts that
had felt only ugly contempt for democratic strivings at home," Bourne
bitterly observed, now "beat in tune for the struggle for freedom abroad."

I think of the connection that the 1960s New Left made between "war
machines" built for supposed "democracy" defense and promotion abroad and
"ghetto scenes" reflecting race and class oppression and democratic
deficits at home.

And I think of Martin Luther King's comment in 1968.  "Here we are," King
noted five days before his assassination, "ten thousands miles away,
fighting for the so-called freedom of the Vietnamese when we have not put
our own house in order. We force young black men and young white men to
fight and kill in brutal solidarity. Yet when they come back home they
can't hardly live on the same block together."


Now, our critique of Empire doesn't and shouldn't stop with just noting
the domestic hypocrisy behind our leaders' global and imperial claims. It
never has. Like American progressives of the past, I'd like to mention six
other and related problems with our imperial foreign policy. First, the
Empire Project not only mocks it also deepens inequality and repression at
home.  While the benefits of empire tend to go primarily to the wealthy
few in the elite investor class, the costs tends to be spread across the
entire society and to fall with special high impact on the working and
lower classes, who suffer most from enlistment and from the diversion of
public dollars from domestic social health to projects of global

It was darkly amusing last April to hear the American arch-terrorist and
National Intelligence chief John Negroponte and other administration
officials denounce Venezuela and Iran for - get this - diverting money
from domestic expenditures to aggressive foreign policy goals. The United
States has spent $318 billion on the incredibly aggressive and richly
provocative and illegal occupation of Iraq even as millions of Americans
have sunk deeper into poverty and hopelessness.

As the National Priorities Project reports, the taxpayer money spent by
the United States on the war on Iraq between March 2003 and August 2006
would have paid for the providing of health insurance to 72 million
Americans. It would have paid for the hiring of 5.5 million school
teachers or the granting of 61 million university scholarships or the
hiring of 5 millions port container safety inspectors.

Illinois' share of the war's costs would paid for the construction of
133,000 affordable housing units or the building of more than 1600 new
elementary schools in the state or the provision of health insurance to
more than 2 million people.  For five years now, people who highlight and
criticize these "perverted national priorities" (as King called them) have
been painted out as dangerously divisive and unpatriotic trouble-makers,
objective allies of the evil terrorists and their war on freedom.

Specific wars aside, its worth that the federal government pays 29 dollars
on so-called defense for every four dollars it spends on education, for
every six dollars it spends in income security, for 3 dollars it spends on
nutrition, and for every three cents it spends on job training. That
so-called defense budget pays for an astonishing apparatus of what
Pentagon insiders call "forward global force projection" that involves the
maintenance of over military bases on foreign soil and which outspend the
military budget of the rest of the world.

Much of the opulent "defense" budget amounts to a spectacular public
subsidy to powerful high-tech corporations like Boeing and Raytheon, who
have enjoyed unusually high and distinctively high rates of return ever
since the beginning of the beginning of the so called war on terror. "A
nation that spends more on militarism than on programs of social uplift,"
Martin Luther King said in 1967, "is approaching spiritual death."

Second, war and militarism function as a method to distract ordinary
working people from thinking and acting in collective ways about their
shared interests and their need to fight together against the homeland

Third, war and empire have always provided pretexts for the repression of
domestic dissent.  They continue to create opportunities for concentrated
power to portray social justice and democracy activists as objective
allies of "the enemy."

Fourth, it is inherently absurd to claim or think that democracy can be
exported from one state to another through the barrel of a gun. Democratic
change has to emerge from within.

Fifth, U.S. policymakers generally speak disingenuously when they say they
want meaningful democracy and freedom in the other nations they are
attacking, occupying or otherwise seeking to control.

"Democracy" promotion is cover talk for their deeper hidden agenda, which
is to enforce foreign state insertion within a broader U.S. dominated
world system wherein their primary role is to serve American economic and
political power.

As Chomsky has been saying for some time now, the notion that the U.S.
policy makers of either party want to see true national self determination
and democracy in oil-rich Iraq is a just a pure fairly tale. U.S.
policymakers are not about to physically abandon Iraq unless they are just
absolutely forced to leave.

Iraq and the Middle East's strategic oil reserves are just too great for
that and America's declining economic position in the world system is too
weak to expect policymakers of either dominant business part to just say
"okay, go ahead and cut whatever deals you want with that oil." Sixth, our
foreign policy, both "soft"/economic and "hard"/military is profoundly
damaging to foreign peoples and states. It is more damaging to them than
it is to even poor Americans in all likelihood, which brings me to a point
I want to make on the false Republican dichotomy of "Stay the Course"
versus "Cut and Run" in Iraq.


It will not do morally speaking simply to take a sort of left-wing America
First approach.  It is insufficient in my opinion just to advocate that
stop attacking others and pour the money saved from militarism into
domestic social programs.  We have to move resources from the militaristic
and plutocratic right hand of the state to the social and democratic left
hand of the state in our foreign policy as well as in our domestic policy.

We should reject the false, all-or-nothing framing of the choices in Iraq
as either "stay the course" or "cut and run."  We should replace that
black and white duality with a more responsible tensions between (1)
"attack, dominate and destroy" versus (2) "acknowledge, heal, and repair."
We need to reject number 1 and embrace number 2.

We will have to pay significant reparations overseas geared to the
reconstruction of developing and other states we have viciously assaulted
for decades. While we should leave militarily, something that would damp
down the insurgency and perhaps force Iraqis to co-exist peacefully, we do
have a moral obligation to be a major part of the solution through a
change in the emphasis of our policy from repressive force to reparations
and uplift.

We have been badly damaging Iraqi society for a very long time, including
of course the deadly sanctions period.  We don't need to cut and run.  We
need to heal and repair. We need to contribute to solutions over there in
other ways than just leaving.

                           HOPEFUL SIGNS

Some of this material can get depressing so I want to conclude by noting
some positive and hopeful developments.  There are some encouraging signs
at home.  We've known for some time from serious opinion surveys that when
asked the majority of American people support a number of policy choices
that fit the progressive perspective against Empire and Inequality.

A Chicago Council of Foreign Relations survey two years ago found that
Americans ranked support for education, health care, welfare and Social
Security far above so-called defense spending when it comes to preferred
government expenditure.

Nearly three fourths thought the U.S. should remove its troops from Iraq
if that's what the majority of Iraqis want (and by the way we know from
British intelligence that 83 percent of Iraqis wanted that in 2005).

Seventy three percent of Americans thought the U.S. needed to work more
closely with other countries to effectively combat terrorism.  Nearly nine
in ten supported working through the United Nations and international law.
The percentage who thought the U.S. should put more emphasis on diplomacy
was twice the percentage that thought we should put more on military
approaches.  Less than 1 in 5 supported Bush's preemptive war doctrine.

A majority supported general compliance with the rulings of the World
Court.  Three fourths supported giving the International court the right
to try American military and civilian officials for war crimes and 71
percent supported the Kyoto accord on global warming.

Domestically, large majorities think that corporations have too much power
in the U.S. They support various measures to level the political playing
field, including significant campaign finance reform.  They prefer
treatment and rehabilitation over mass incarceration, environmental
protection, school-funding equity and a whole list of decent, socially and
ecologically healthy and balanced policies and programs.

By the fall of last year, half of the population said the war on Iraq was
NOT morally justified whereas 75 percent had said it was justified in
March 2003.

According to a New York Times/CBS poll this month, we now have for the
first time a majority of the population rejecting the administration's
efforts to link the war on Iraq with the war on terror. According to a CNN
poll in August, 60 percent of the population opposes the war on Iraq.
Sixty one percent believe that some troops should be removed before the
end of the year and 57 percent want a timetable for full withdrawal.

We now have a big majority of the population saying the country would be
better off if the current war party in power was removed from office. The
Bushcons have been unable to shake the image of failure hung on them by
Iraq and Katrina even with a mild economic expansion and the surprising
lack of a major terror attack on U.S. since 9/11. The defeat of the
Republicans in upcoming mid-term Congressional elections and if that
happens it could open the door to some very serious investigations and
proceedings against the Cheney-Rove cabal.

An antiwar electoral rebellion in Connecticut has put forward a Democratic
candidate for the U.S. Senate who might be a millionaire but who feels
compelled to make connections between the cost of the war on Iraq and the
under-funding of schools and social programs in the U.S.

This is all good news. The population is beginning to wake up from the big
Orwellian post-9/11 nightmare. It's starting to shake off the heavily
propagated hatred of government per se and to see that the particular
ruling right-wing version of what passes for governance is the problem,
not government per se.

Whether it will translate into anything meaningful and progressive in the
realm of politics and policy remains to be seen.  It is one thing to throw
some of the hard right bums out of office; it's another altogether to
compel some new officeholders to receive and act on progressive ideals.
And as we all know the Democratic Party is far from being a progressive
change agent.  Its leaders share many of the same basic neoliberal
assumptions, not to mention funding sources, that the Republicans hold so

We need to be honest about the difference between opinion and action.
It's one thing to privately express one's disapproval of the current
policies and regime at a dinner party or over the phone talking to a
pollster.  It is another and altogether more significant thing to act
publicly and collectively to punish the vicious actors who exploited 9/11
for unsavory purposes and then to build the sort of democratic and
participatory society and polity where such vile actors could never come
back into power,

The administration and the current proto-fascistic and hyper-plutocratuic
party in power know all abut these differences. That's how it can put Bush
up there the last few weeks to say that America is in Iraq to advance an
ideology of democracy whereby "government responds to the will of the
people" while conducting a foreign and also a domestic policy that
directly confounds the actual will of the American people. It can do that
because it doubts that the American people are willing and/or able to act
effectively on their beliefs in a politically meaningful way.

It is counting on corporate media and other cultural and ideological
authorities to combine with the chaos and overwork and atomization of
overextended American daily life to keep people weak, anemic, alienated
and divided.  It is counting also on the power of private money and
negative campaigning and gerrymandered, winner-take-all election
procedures and possibly biased election machines. It is counting on the
Democratic Party to keep functioning as a frightened and confused and
divided and elite-dominated opposition party only in name. And of course,
it is counting on what it thinks is its ace in the hole - sheer
unmitigated FEAR - to keep us all in line and putting our hopes and dreams
for democracy and justice on permanent hold.

Whether we can and will break through these and other great barriers to
democracy and overcome the great disconnect between American popular
desires and American imperial policy is one of the great questions of the
21st century. Given the United States' remarkable power in the world, it
is a matter of no small significance for the entire species. As Noam
Chomsky noted in 1969, "the level of culture that can be achieved in the
United States is a life-and-death matter for great masses of suffering

 Paul Street is a writer and independent social policy research in Iowa
City, IA.  His first book is Empire and Inequality: America and the World
Since 9/11 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2004).  His next book is Racial
Oppression in the Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History
(forthcoming in 2007)

[Your editor is convinced that voting lesser-evil Hillary & Co is not the
answer to anything - just another way to criminally delay doing anything
about the worst government/ruling class in US - and perhaps world -
history. We have waited too long for the easy answers to work. Now they
will be harder, and harder still the longer we wait resting on our
spreading benumbed butts. -ed]

--------17 of 17--------

[And now, from the vast womb of the internet, the brain-buster problem of
the day:

Question: How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to change
a light bulb?

Answer: TEN.

1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed;

2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to
be changed;

3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb;

4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either for changing
the light bulb or for eternal darkness;

5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for a new
light bulb;

6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on
a step ladder under the banner "Bulb Accomplished";

7. One administration insider to resign and in detail reveal how Bush was
literally "in the dark" the whole time;

8. One to viciously smear #7;

9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has
had a strong light bulb-changing policy all along;

10. And finally, one to confuse Americans about the difference between
screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

And after all is said and done, no one will notice that they never
actually managed to change the light bulb...


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