|Progressive Calendar 11.20.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2006 04:48:13 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 11.20.06 1. Fair trade Xmas 11.20 10am 2. Darfur/genocide 11.20 3pm 3. Oaxaca demo 11.20 4pm 4. GroundTruth/film 11.20 6:30pm 5. Criticize Israel? 11.21 5pm 6. Search engines 11.21 6:30pm 7. Jane Kenyon/salon 11.21 6:30pm 8. John Heilprin - Rep Rangel (Dem NY) seeks to reinstate draft 9. Alexander Cockburn - Top Dems to voters: "We've got a war to run!" 10. Ralph Nader - How Karl Rove lost the Senate 11. Dave Lindorff - Why the Dems should cut loose Lieberman 12. Gilles d'Aymery - It's the issues, stupid! 13. ed - Pecker order (poem) --------1 of 13-------- From: Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council <betsy [at] mplscluc.com> Subject: Fair trade Xmas 11.20 10am This holiday season, shop fair trade! Looking for ways to do your holiday shopping - and feel good about it? Shop the annual Fair Trade Holiday Craft Sale at the Resource Center of the Americas. Resource Center staff are union members, represented by The Minnesota Newspaper Guild Typographical Union, CWA. The mission of the Resource Center is to promote economic and social justice throughout the Americas. At the Fair Trade Holiday Craft Sale, you'll find ornaments, pottery, jewelry, bags, soaps, scarves, wood and metal carvings and toys, in addition to chocolate, coffee and other fair trade food items. All products are made by local artisans in Latin America who get a fair wage for their work. Many items are made in cooperatives that are working to eliminate child labor, lift families out of poverty and protect the environment. The Fair Trade Holiday Craft Sale is open now through December 30 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 pm. Saturday at the Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave. (corner of Lake and Minnehaha), Minneapolis. Closed Sundays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Bookstore of the Americas, at the same location, is open year-round with unique books, music and other resources about globalization and social justice, in English and Spanish, for all ages. Come to the Resource Center and shop knowing that your money is supporting union jobs here in Minnesota - and the development of fair trade systems in Latin America. Check the Resource Center out online at www.americas.org --------2 of 13-------- From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Darfur/genocide 11.20 3pm Action Briefing to Stop Genocide in Darfur "When Genocide is Identified and Intervention Fails" Mark Hannis, Director Genocide Intervention Network November 20, 3pm Nolte Hall 125 UofM Free and open to the public. * Learn the facts about the genocide in Sudan.* * Find out what action you can take to end it RIGHT NOW!* * Learn how to present the situation and action items to others. The Genocide Intervention Network envisions a world in which the global community is willing and able to protect civilians from genocide and mass atrocities. Our mission is to empower individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide. GI-Net aims to build an educated political constituency. GI-Nets programs and policy goals will be consistent with the principles of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) report. This report offers guidelines for international intervention when governments are unwilling or unable to protect their own citizens from preventable, widespread violence. Using the R2P report as a guide and consulting with the authors of the report and other experts, our efforts will enable citizens to support the most responsible and the most effective means of civilian protection in the face of genocidal crises. Refreshments will be served. --------3 of 13-------- From: Mary Turck <maryturck [at] visi.com> Subject: Oaxaca demo 11.20 4pm Demonstration on Monday, November 20 On Monday, November 20, 2006, Twin Cities residents will hold a demonstration at the corner of Lake Street and Bloomington in Minneapolis, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. The demonstration is part of an international call for solidarity with the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO). Currently, the people of Oaxaca, Mexico are facing massive, violent repression at the hands of local, state and federal police, and paramilitaries. To date, there are more than 20 confirmed dead at the hands of the government, with hundreds more wounded, jailed and disappeared. Since mid-June, protesters led by teachers in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico have demanded the ouster of the state governor, Ulises Ruiz, because of corruption and abuse of power. During that time the APPO nonviolently occupied radio stations, streets, and most of downtown Oaxaca (the capital city of the state of Oaxaca). We stand in solidarity with the people of Oaxaca, and call for an immediate end to the repression, and compliance with the APPO's list of demands. For further information, contact Eduardo Cárdenas, (612) 747-9727 or Luce Guillén-Givins, (651) 645-7216. --------4 of 13-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: GroundTruth/film 11.20 6:30pm FREE Third Monday Movie: "The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends" Monday, November 20, 6:30 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, Hospitality Hall, 4537 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis. 75 minutes, followed by audience discussion. Hear and witness U.S. soldiers in this penetrating film. The shocking Iraq War ground conflict is only a prelude to the even more challenging battles these military personnel face upon their return home. Everyone who has seen this film says "it's not to be missed." When military come home, they will be among us and it's important that we understand them. Sponsored by: WAMM. FFI: Call WAMM 612-827-5364. --------5 of 13-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Criticize Israel? 11.21 5pm Dear St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers: "Our World In Depth" airs at 5 pm and midnight each Tuesday and 10 am each Wednesday on SPNN Channel 15. Below are the scheduled shows through the end of November. 11/21 and 11/22 ** "Is Criticism of Israel Anti-Semitic: An Evening with Norman Finkelstein" Part 1 of a talk given 11/5 at St. Joan of Arc Church. 11/28 and 11/29 ** "Is Criticism of Israel Anti-Semitic: An Evening with Norman Finkelstein" Part 2 of a talk given 11/5 at St. Joan of Arc Church. "Our World In Depth" features analysis of public affairs with consideration of and participation from Twin Cities area activists. The show is mostly local and not corporately influenced! For information about future programming of "Our World In Depth", please send an e-mail to eric-angell [at] riseup.net. (PS It might be better than PBS.) --------6 of 13-------- From: Cathi Lyman-Onkka <mclbaskets [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Search engines 11.21 6:30pm St. Paul E-Democracy Training SessionFinding Information on the Internet Learn how to access the millions of resources on the Internet Tuesday, November 21, 2006 6:30-8:00 p.m. Rondo Community Outreach Library 461 North Dale Street Saint Paul, MN This is a hands-on workshop. St. Paul E-Democracy volunteers will show you how to make search engines work for you! No Internet experience needed. Register for the session at the Rondo Community Outreach Library or call 651-266-7400. Who is providing the classes? We are volunteers and members of the Saint Paul E-Democracy (SPED) Saint Paul Issues Forum (SPIF). The Goals of SPED Outreach is: Increase the number and diversity of participants in SPIF Provide E-Citizenship workshops and training in communities in St. Paul that are not well represented on SPIF Learn more at: http://forums.e-democracy.org/stpaul/groups/stpaul-outreach St. Paul E-Democracy strives to improve the quality of public policy decision-making in St. Paul and Ramsey County by broadening public participation and linking the diverse voices of the citizenry to community leaders and elected officials in a civil and respectful exchange of information and ideas. St. Paul E-Democracy informs, engages, and empowers community members in the public life of St. Paul by building online forums and other tools for public dialogue, and by making those resources accessible to the community. Learn more at: http://forums.e-democracy.org/stpaul/groups/stpaul-issues A file with the above information in poster format is in the Files area under E Citizenship at Library. If you can help proote the sesion, please do! Cathi Lyman-Onkka --------7 of 13-------- From: Patty Guerrero <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Jane Kenyon/salon 11.21 6:30pm This Tuesday Nov. 21, at the salon we will be hearing and reading the poetry of Jane Kenyon. Jane died a couple years ago, but her poetry will live forever. Her husband, Donald Hall, is now the Poet Laureate in the United States. A short video of him when he was presented on the Lehr Report will be shown. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------8 of 13-------- ABC News Rep. Rangel Will Seek to Reinstate Draft Citing Insufficient Troop Levels, the Need for War Deterrents, Rangel Hopes to Reinstate Draft By JOHN HEILPRIN WASHINGTON Nov 19, 2006 (AP) Americans would have to sign up for a new military draft after turning 18 under a bill the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee says he will introduce next year. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Sunday he sees his idea as a way to deter politicians from launching wars. "There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way," Rangel said. Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, has said the all-volunteer military dispropo rtionately puts the burden of war on minorities and lower-income families. Rangel said he will propose a measure early next year. While he said he is serious about the proposal, there is little evident support among the public or lawmakers for it. In 2003, Rangel proposed a measure covering people age 18 to 26. It was defeated 402-2 the following year. This year, he offered a plan to mandate military service for men and women between age 18 and 42; it went nowhere in the Republican-led Congress. Democrats will control the House and Senate come January because of their victories in the Nov. 7 election. At a time when some lawmakers are urging the military to send more troops to Iraq, "I don't see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft," said Rangel, who also proposed a draft in January 2003, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. "I think to do so is hypocritical." Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Standby Reserve, said he agreed that the U.S. does not have enough people in the military. "I think we can do this with an all-voluntary service, all-voluntary Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. And if we can't, then we'll look for some other option," said Graham, who is assigned as a reserve judge to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. [The rich don't have enough poor people to kill and die killing other poor people. Their yachts and call girls aren't increasing fast enough, so they force the poor to dismember and be dismembered. That's how the rich do it. That's how the rich have always done it. Then they brainwash us to worship them. Evil all the way around. -ed] --------9 of 13-------- Top Democrats to Voters: Enough Already, Now Shut Up! "We've Got a War to Run!" By ALEXANDER COCKBURN CounterPunch November 18 / 19, 2006 Let's go first to that moment of good cheer on the morning after. Horrible senators like Allen and Burns lost narrow races. The Republicans got a pasting. A man who called Alan Greenspan "a political hack" and George Bush "a liar" will be Senate majority leader. A woman elected to Congress with the help of thousands of San Franciscan homosexuals, some of them married by Mayor Gavin Newsom, would be Speaker. Who wouldn't want Harry Reid instead of Bill Frist, or Nancy Pelosi instead of fatty Hastert? It's also the role of elections in properly run western democracies to remind people that things won't really change at all. Certainly not for the better. You can set your watch by the speed with which the new crowd lowers expectations and announces What is Not To Be Done. Nowhere was there an item on the Democrats' "must do" list saying "Reverse plunge towards fascism. Rescind Patriot Act. Dump the Military Commissions Act. Restore habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights." Pelosi made haste to say: impeachment is off the table. "Bold new vision" these days means Pelosi pledging a drive to notch up the minimum wage. I don't know about the vineyard, hotel and restaurant that Pelosi co-owns, but the effective minimum wage here in Humboldt country, northern California, is about $10 an hour, which is what you have to promise a young person to mow the yard. The pay-out rises rapidly to $13 an hour if you want to buy the tyke's loyalty for return visits. Maybe on some slave plantation in southern Florida attainment of the federal minimum wage is part of the American Dream, but elsewhere we have to talk about a Living Wage, which is something altogether different. But who cares! No one believes the Democrats are ever going to mess with the system, and that's not why the voters put them back in charge of Congress. They want America out of Iraq. Pronto, just like Rep Jack Murtha said it should, this time last year. To her credit and the chagrin of the Washington Post as well as Fox News Pelosi backed Jack Murtha against pro-war Steny Hoyer to be House Majority Leader and said that Jane Harmon shouldn't chair the House Intelligence Committee. A couple of days later the House Democratic caucus sent Hoyher cantering home 149-86, with Hoyer cheered on by the Washington Post, which ran nasty stories about Murtha; also by the New York Times which ran two dreadful stories by Michael Gordon saying this was not the time for the US to leave Iraq. So at most you can reckon there are 86 antiwar votes on the Democratic side of the aisle in the new House of Representatives. Over on the senate side, Harry Reid, who'd been calling for "redeployment" of US troops out of Iraq "within the next few months" told his fellow Democrats that the issue of what to do in Iraq shouldn't be raised till James Baker and his Iraq Study Group issue their report. Optimists somehow imagine the Baker Report will explode excitingly under the war's partisans and blow them sky-high. It'll do nothing of the sort. There'll be paragraphs of soggy language about the promise of democratic governance and the rule of law in Iraq, raised fingers of warning about the perils of failure, acres of statesmanspeak about the need for multilateral involvement. Probably, Baker and Co think the US should quit Iraq, but can't think of a way of accomplishing this without jump-starting charges across the next two years that America is cutting and runnng and is this any way to run an Empire? McCain's saying that already. There is a ferocious battle in the offing and the swift rebuff to Pelosi and Murtha is not an encouraging straw in the wind. On the one side is the majority of Americans sickened of the war in Iraq, who spoke clearly on November 7. Their prime institutional ally is the uniformed military which was against the war from the start, and which gave Jack Murtha the briefings that emboldened him to take his stand last year. Their most plausible presidential candidate, Russell Feingold, has just said he won't run for the nomination. On the other side is the massed legions of cold war liberalism, of whom the notorious neo-cons - now denouncing Bush and Rumsfeld -- are but one battalion. Remember the origins of the neocons, as shock troops of the Israel lobby. Back in the mid-70s Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, Albert Wohlstetter and the others saw the US facing impending defeat in Vietnam, and feared that the McGovernite peaceniks would rot the resolve of the Democratic Party to stand behind Israel. So they fanned out into the Committee on the Present Danger, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal and stoked up the furnaces of the new cold war and greased the wheels of the Reagan campaign. The apex neocons are a pretty discredited lot these days but there are legions like them spread across the nation's think tanks and policy institutes, all imbued with exactly the same fears that reverberated across the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Commentary, and the New Republic a generation ago: that America's "resolve" will soften; that there will be accommodation with Iran; that Israel will be abandoned. And in fact such fears are now more vivid. Thirty years ago the weight of the Israel lobby wasn't being excoriated by mainstream professors from Harvard and Chicago. Thirty years ago respectable professors like Tony Judt weren't publicly pillorying the Anti Defamation League. Thirty years the name of Israel, blowing apart children in Beit Hanoun and Gaza didn't stink in as many nostrils as it does today. So the stakes are very high, and the party of permanent war - represented at its purest distillation in the form of senators like Joe Biden and congressmen like Rahm Emanuel are regrouping for a counter-attack, their numbers refreshed by a phalanx of incoming blue dogs, ranged against the 60-80 "out now" Democrats. You think pro-war Tom Lantos - one of the most rabid Zionists in Congress -- will be an improvement on antiwar Jim Leach as chair of the House International Relations Committee? The Democratic foreign policy establishment cannot and will not tolerate the notion of Cut and Run in Iraq. Expect the Israel lobby to say, post November 7, "We're back, stronger than ever!" Expect reassertions of the essential nobility of the attack that ousted Saddam Hussein, a deprecation of the destruction of Iraq as a society, a minimization of the outrages committed by US forces. Expect a fierce campaign - spearheaded by the Democrats and the surviving neocons, to wage a "better" war, evocations of the bloodbath that would accompany "over-hasty" us withdrawal (weird: your 2003 attack triggers the killing of maybe half a million and you claim anti-bloodbath credentials?) Expect a presidential campaign waged among warmongers, from Clinton through to McCain by way of Giuliani. The voters spoke up, but that's the last chance they'll get, at least at the ballot box, for another two years. Top Democrats to voters: Okay. Enough already. Now shut up! In a few weeks we could be looking at Lieberman, Obama and Clinton holding a joint press conference and saying that no military option should be left off the table when it comes to Iran. They have said it often enough already. Ranged against them will be the peaceniks like James Baker and Brent Scowcroft and maybe Robert Gates, though that man is as slippery as an eel. Hagel-Edwards in 2008! (Liz Edwards of course.) Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair's new book, End Times: the Death of the Fourth Estate, will be published in February by CounterPunch Book / AK Press. [National Dems - what a useless bunch of war-mongers, corporate authoritarians, paid shills. We ask for one thing, and they systematically betray us. What scum both our national parties have become, all at the orders and behest of the top scum. A pox on all their houses, but especially on the source of the disease, the ruling class. Start NOW for alternatives - don't get stuck in that familiar Dem Lesser-Evil box. Or are we helpless slaves on our knees to that cowardly ploy? -ed] --------10 of 13-------- How Karl Rove Lost the Senate The Hole in Bush's Brain By RALPH NADER CounterPunch November 18 / 19, 2006 Bush's Brain, Karl Rove, outsmarted himself and lost a chance to keep control of the Senate in Republican hands. It started and ended in the Connecticut Senate race with Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman as his "fatal attraction." When "pendulum" Joe Lieberman lost the Connecticut Democratic primary in August to upstart multimillionaire Ned Lamont, Rove phoned Lieberman expressing his support for Lieberman's Independent run, post primary. Lieberman is widely described as George W. Bush's favorite Democratic Senator. This is true, not just due to his support for Bush's Iraq war and other policies, but because Lieberman's zig-zag reputation undermines the Democrats solidarity in the Senate. When Rove signaled support, the business lobbies poured even more money in to Lieberman's $17 million campaign. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Lieberman (one of only two Democratic Senators receiving its taint), and put about $160,000 into his campaign and caused other similarly anti-worker, anti-consumer and anti-environmental business lobbies to send him checks. Earlier, Rove laid his own trap inadvertently when, believing that Lieberman was going to sail through his nomination fight and the November election, prevailed upon the state Republican Party not to seek a strong nominee and signaled that they should not expect any financial help for their nominal nominee from the many Republican political coffers in Washington, D.C. Compliantly, the state Republicans tossed the nomination to a former mayor of Derby, Connecticut, Alan Schlesinger - truly a nominal candidate - and let him know that he was on his own - no money, no staff. After reports about his gambling debts and continuing gambling addiction, Schlesinger promptly measured 3% in the polls (He ended up with only 10% on Election Day). Suddenly Lieberman, having lost the primary, is in political trouble. Does Rove give himself another chance for a three way race and press the Connecticut Republicans to find Mr. Schlesinger a nice new career and replace him with some distinguished candidate who could possibly win a three way race against two Democrats? No, he does not. Instead he sticks with Lieberman, who wins the election, and gives the Democrats their 51st seat and control of the Senate and Karl Rove's judicial nominations. A 50-50 split between the Republicans and the Democrats would have been a tie broken by Vice President Dick Cheney and the Republicans would have continued to control the Senate. It is remarkable how absent was this commentary on Rove's very serious blunder in the Washington press corps' post-election commentary. Rove jauntily went to his White House job telling reporters the election wasn't that big of a win for the Democrats. Mr. Rove, they only took control of the House and Senate. On the Democrats' side, the recriminations against Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman, Howard Dean, have begun from the proxies for Hillary and Bill Clinton - namely, James Carville and Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL). Their ostensible hostility flows from Dean's determination to run viable Democratic Party races in all fifty states, reversing the policy of ruling out most of the so-called more conservative Red States. Hardly had the ink dried on the Democrats' election victory tallies, when Carville called for Dean's resignation and Emanuel grumbled, as he has throughout, about Dean spreading the money into what he called hopeless races. This has been the kind of short-term thinking that has brought losses and a shrinking geographical base for the Democrats year after year, at both federal and state levels. Both Carville and Emanuel claimed Dean could have brought victory to more House seats had he not spread the money out so much. It seems that Dean has the better of this argument by far. First, the DNC can claim some red state victories - three House seats in rock-ribbed Republican Indiana were taken from Karl Rove's Party. One in Georgia. A Senate seat in Virginia with Senator Chuck Schumer's help, and Montana. All very close red state races. Over the longer run, Dean also wins the strategy race. When Democrats abandoned the South, the Rocky Mountain states, Nebraska, the Dakotas and Alaska in their Presidential races, the Democratic Party suffered all the way down the ballot line to the towns and cities. The Party shriveled up. Party offices closed. Few field organizers remained. The Republicans were automatically elected in larger numbers, setting up their control of the redistricting process to further entrench their electoral numbers. A vicious circle that Dean wants to challenge even if it takes a few years. What Dean started was a rebuilding process to make his Democrats a factor, to make a contest out of these elections, instead of what they have become for the Republicans - coronations. This approach spreads out the Republican's resources and puts them on the defensive for a change. Dean's job is secure. He has the support of the state Democratic Parties who welcome his fair distribution of attention and resources. He is gaining credibility outside the Beltway. But the Clintonistas in his Party do not like his independence. And Karl Rove does not like Dean's victories. Now what Dean needs is a broad-gauged, present and future sensitive political agenda, which seeks secure peace abroad and the supremacy of the people over corporations at home. --------11 of 13-------- The Albatross Why the Democrats Should Cut Loose Lieberman By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch November 18 / 19, 2006 If the Democratic Party were a real opposition party - a party of principle filled with fighters - I'd say maintaining control of the Senate, even with by a margin of a single, fragile vote, would be important and valuable. But that's not what we have. The Democratic Party, particularly the actual elected congressional delegation and the leadership of the party in the two houses, is so washed out, so gutless, so calculating, and so self-serving, that it hardly rates as a second party. Because of this, the role of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, recently re-elected by the voters of Connecticut while running as an independent after losing his own party's nomination to an upstart anti-war candidate, Ned Lamont, is dangerous in the extreme. Lieberman, who won re-election by stealing the votes of Connecticut's Republicans from the GOP's official candidate (Lieberman only won about a third of the Democratic vote), has been a closet Republican for years. He was a Republican in all but name when he ran as Al Gore's vice presidential partner in 2000, and since helping that campaign go down in flames has been one of George Bush's most stalwart supporters in Congress. Let's look at the Lieberman record: Absolute and wholly uncritical support for Israel's right-wing governments and for Israel's most incendiary and repressive policies towards the Palestinians. Wholehearted support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and for continuing U.S. military involvement in that unmitigated disaster. Full support for Bush's criminal policies of torture, kidnapping and stripping away of Americans' historic right to habeas corpus. Full support for the Patriot Act and its even worse offspring, Patriot II. Advocate, along with Lynn Cheney, of government intrusion into universities, and of the undermining of academic freedom, in the name of rooting out alleged "traitors" on university campuses who might have the temerity to question the official story on 9-11, or to challenge the so-called War on Terror. Support, even, for former Attorney General John Ashcroft's mad plan for 20 million citizen spies in an Operation TIPS to spy on their neighbors. Having Lieberman on your side in a narrowly-divided Democratic Senate is like having a nest of termites on a wooden ship. As the crucial 51st vote that gives Democrats majority control of the Senate, Lieberman is able to hold the entire party hostage to his and Bush's crazy, right-wing, war-mongering and Constitution-shredding agenda. Absent any fighting spirit and any real principles, the Democratic Party leadership will give Lieberman everything he wants over the next two years, just to keep him on board and themselves in power. It's a bad bargain. America, and the Democratic Party, would be far better off if Democrats in the Senate gave Lieberman his marching orders: either support the party caucus on issues like the war, civil liberties and challenging Bush's unconstitutional abuses of power, or forget getting any key committee assignments. If he doesn't like it, he can come out of the closet and become an honest Republican. So what if that means the Republicans take control of the Senate? They still won't be able to pass any legislation, with Democrats in control of the House. They still won't be able to overturn Democratic fillibusters. And in any event, a Democratic House and Senate won't be able to pass any progressive legislation in the next two years anyhow, with Bush in the White House, casting vetos and issuing his signing statements. Lieberman in the GOP will be a nobody - a welterweight from a tiny state, out of touch with his own voters. He will be toast in his next election, when no Democrats will vote for him. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party will be cut free of one particularly noxious albatross. Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's new book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by Barbara Olshansky. He can be reached at: dlindorff [at] yahoo.com --------12 of 13-------- It's The Issues, Stupid! A Call for Practical Input by Gilles d'Aymery (Swans - November 20, 2006) Whether the election of the Democrats in both the House and the Senate will bring some much needed breathing room and slow down the freight train that has long gone out of control at an increasing speed under the Republican conductors is at best debatable and quite possibly irrelevant. The train will not change direction. The next two years will show the same trends: more wars, more corporate control of the electoral system and of the economy, more countless suffering for the many, and more riches for the few. What's urgently needed is not a change of direction within the same paradigm but a change of paradigm. Can people offer reasonable solutions? As George Lakoff, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute, has often repeated, we need to accurately frame our values and our deepest principles and offer a positive vision, not a "new direction" based either against the other side or century-old revolutionary textbooks. Those of us who do not place our hopes in the Democratic Party to even remotely move toward a new economic and social paradigm must revisit and define the issues that need to be addressed, devise practical and hopeful solutions that can appeal to people at large, not just ideological and sectarian groups. We need to foster minorities, black and Latino, toward leadership positions, as well as women. And, above all, we need unity and steadfastness. We cannot ask, prod, and support candidates to run for office at great sacrifice to themselves and their families and, come election time, return to the big Democratic tent - and let them fend for themselves. A few observations about these elections First, what the Democrats call a "mandate from the American people" is a misnomer. Only 40.4 percent of the voters went to the polls, of which half voted for the Democrats (or against the Republicans). In short, the so-called "mandate" comes from at best 20 or 21 percent of the voters (even less if you factor in the third parties votes), and if the black and Latino communities had not voted overwhelmingly for the donkey, the elephant would still be the king of the Hill. In contrast, 59.6 percent of the voters repudiated both parties. They did not show up. Peter Camejo, who ran his last political campaign for the California governorship, said to George Kenney in a recent interview that people did not understand how deeply corrupt the electoral system is. He is incorrect. Poll after poll, voters' approval rating of Congress is even lower than that of the president. Non-voters repeatedly justify their decision on the account that it does not make one iota of a difference whichever party is in power. These people should not be ignored. To the contrary, they should become a constituency to be brought in thanks to a clear message and practical solutions that speak to their concerns and aspirations. Second, once again electoral irregularities have been reported, but they do not appear to have significantly altered the overall results. People, mostly independent, did not vote for the Democrats. They voted against the Republicans (Iraq, corruption, Katrina, moral hypocrisy, Bush/Cheney, etc.) and that was enough to put the Democrats over the top, whatever the voting machine shenanigans and the usual gerrymandering of districts. Third, and this is important to notice, third party (in light of the bicephalous system we live in, it should be renamed "second party") candidates were able to run in spite of usual Democratic Party machine interferences (keep candidates out of televised debates, stringent regulations to get on the ballot, lawsuits, etc.) without, however, being vilified. This time, we were not accused of being spoilers - just naive - and often ignored. Most of the Lib-Labs ala Ted Glick, Norman I-am-a-Green-but-now-I-am-not-a-Green Solomon, Michael Brub, Marc Cooper, and the entire contingent of the cruise missile left kept a rather low profile and did not attack us relentlessly. This demonstrates that the Democrats are quite capable of winning without us when the situation is ripe for...a Republican loss. Let's not forget this in 2008 and beyond. While under the radar screen, the Green Party fared well in these elections. The party has actually grown in number and in percentage, this after the 2004 debacle that saw a chunk of the party jump on the Anyone-But-Bush bandwagon, which dispirited so many activists and Green/Independent voters. Without getting into the numbers - they can be found on the Web Site of the Green Party - these are positive and hopeful signs so long as the rank and file does not get entangled in the net of lesser-evilism again in 2008. Fourth, for those of us who opposed the illegal war against Iraq from the get-go and before, we need to keep in mind that if, as Stan Goff put it in a flyer he distributed on election day, "Voting Democratic is not endorsing Democrats right now. It's putting the only speed bump we have at our disposal in front of a scofflaw regime that is stepping on the gas as it drives us all down the Road to Ruin," it's the Iraqi resistance to an illegal occupation that actually built the speed bump at extraordinary costs to the Iraqi people and their country. In many ways the "enemy" was instrumental in the Democrats winning these elections. Finally, it is worth noting the composition of the Democratic Congress. In the House, the Blue Dogs will have 44 or more seats. The New Democrats, DLC-type, are up there too. The Progressive caucus (with representatives like California's Tom Lantos!!!) has arithmetically no chance to carry the day or any vote. Dennis Kucinich, who's calling upon the House to cut funding for the war and withdraw the troops, may garner, at the very most, 10 or 12 members' yeas. The war will end when the costs of waging it in both human and financial capital become too prohibitive. Building another party If one agrees that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any intention to really change course; if one agrees that the country, in its majority, is conservative and enamored with violence; then one must face the fact that we are in the minority. What does a minority do? Hope to change from within, like the "progressive Democrats" have been attempting to do for decades? Not participate in the political process out of dejection? Or build a party according to one's predilections? The change from within cannot happen in the current historical conditions. This is not FDR's party anymore. The country is no longer an industrial economy. It's a service-oriented, technology-, financial- and military-driven economy. The working class of yesteryear is a figment of the imagination. It's not going to come back any time soon. To not participate in the political process - not vote, but bitch and complain - may be emotionally satisfying, but it won't affect much of anything. It's a great strategy to keep the status quo indefinitely (and...keep bitching and complaining). To wait for the pitchforks to flood the streets may attract keyboard revolutionaries, but the mess and blood involved (especially when it's not yours) should make people think twice about the guillotine, especially in the reactionary climate in which one operates. Building a party around well-defined issues with practical solutions - which means a lot of compromises - and sticking to it, appears to be the only instrument that has some legs. It's a vehicle to try to implement policies. Politics, remember, is the art of the possible. The Green Party has the advantage of a national infrastructure. It might not be the ultimate vehicle but there is no replacement at this time. Small sectarian parties may be ideologically pure, but that's all they are, with no chance to affect any positive outcome. The "revolutionary vanguard" needs to grow up. They've become utterly irrelevant. In other words, they should help the Greens to grow and stay clean. In the interview referred above, Peter Camejo said that the majority of Green voters in California was both black and Latino - not white. Bring those brothers and sisters (with an affirmative action in favor of our sisters) in leadership positions within the party. Listen to them. They know more than we do. Keep plugging in. The Green Party is just about 20 years old. That's a baby. Let's help it become an adult. We all will be rewarded - and if not us, our children and grandchildren will. Changing the paradigm Wheels need not be reinvented (and yet, and yet...), but perhaps we would all benefit from not falling back time and again in how and what was done in former historical periods...and try to think anew. The complexities, and their management, are beyond comprehension. No single individual can come up with devising a "new system." There is no magic bullet. It encompasses cultural traits, economical hard facts, societal dilemma, environmental challenges, and exceptional hard choices. These are exceptional times. Solutions cannot be devised without defining the issues at hand. Social, economic, environmental, worldwide, issues must be clearly defined. The United States is not the center of the world. The white pigmentation world, of which this writer belongs, needs to take a deep breath and let those who have for so long been subjugated to white rule take the helm of the ship. Let's define. Let's strategize. Let's compromise among ourselves and challenge our own parochial interests and orthodoxies... But let us never be bought by the status quo. Then let's field candidates with a clear, united, and unified message. As a neighbor recently told me, people are thirsty for change and they aren't idiots. Stop the infighting, present meaningful policy changes, stop railing against the system, drop the sloganeering, and they'll come to us. Even some Democrats will, she added. Of course, she was a woman! Please, help us to define the issues on which we must act and the advocates whom we should support - not just the party for which we must vote. --------13 of 13-------- As you go up the pecking order, it's bigger and bigger peckers. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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