Progressive Calendar 11.29.06
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 06:48:26 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     11.29.06

1. MN budget/women   11.29 9am
2. WelfRight/MN econ 11.29 10:30am
3. Palestine         11.29 12noon
4. Transport plan    11.29 6pm
5. Intl women/plan   11.29 7pm
6. Armenia/genocide  11.29 7:30pm
7. Apocalypto/film   11.29 7:30pm

8. CCHT housing      11.30 7:30am
9. Eagan peace vigil 11.30 4:30pm
10. Northtown vigil  11.30 5pm
11. GreenGreenWater  11.30 7pm
12. Why we fight/flm 11.30 7:30pm

13. William Blum    - New Congress, same quagmire
14. M Shahid Alam   - Zionism: pitting the West against Islam
15. Gabriel Kolko   - "As an economic system, capitalism is going crazy"
16. Mumia Abu-Jamal - Thanksgiving?

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

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: MN budget/women 11.29 9am

The State Budget and Its Impact on Minnesota Women

Wednesday, November 29, 9:00 a.m. to Noon Minnesota Women's Building, 550
Rice Street, St. Paul. The primary focus of the 2007 Legislative Session
will be the budget development for the next two state fiscal years.
Decisions regarding funding for education, health care, family planning,
childcare, welfare and transportation will be front and center before our
legislators. Learn more about the state budget development process as well
as how this budget will impact women and their families. This event is
free and open to the public. Sponsored by: The Minnesota Women's
Consortium. WAMM is a member of the Minnesota Women's Consortium. FFI or
to RSVP: Call Bharti Wahi 651-228-0338 or email <bharti [at] mnwomen.org>.


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

From: Welfare Rights Committee - Alt Email <welfarerights [at] qwest.net>
Subject: WelfRight/MN econ 11.29 10:30am

Join Welfare Rights Committee to Picket at "November - Economic Forecast
November 29, 2006"
RM G-15 Capitol Building t the MN State Capitol
10:30am till 11:30am on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006

Stand with the Welfare Rights Committee outside RMG-15 starting at 10 am
to get our message out to the politicians as they go in.

Join the Welfare Rights Committee as we picket the State of Minnesota
"November Forecast" presentation at the State Capitol, November 29, 2006.
The Forecast is where the Pawlenty administration predicts whether the
state will be in a budget surplus or a budget deficit.

No matter what the "Forecast" is for the state of Minnesota, we know that
the state budget has been seriously 'out of balance' for poor and working
people in this state!  The cuts to welfare, healthcare and childcare since
2003 are horrible for us - meanwhile the wealthiest in this state have not
had to sacrifice a thing!

Welfare Rights Committee states that it's time for the politicians to undo
the every single cut. We say its time for the buck to stop here! It is
time for the Legislature this year to give the stolen money back to the
poor and working people of MN. We say NO to balancing the budget on the
backs of the poor!

Welfare Rights Committee 310 E 38th St #207, Minneapolis, MN 55409 pho:
612-822-8020 Fax: 612-824-3604 welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com
www.welfarerightsmn.org


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

From: Kelly O'Brien <obrie136 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Palestine 11.29 12noon

Virginia Tilley, Author of "The One-State Solution" on Palestine, to Speak
at U of M

"Rethinking the Middle East Conflict: The One-State Solution?"
discussion
Virginia Tilley, chief research specialist for Human Sciences Research
Council (Pretoria, South Africa)
Wednesday, November 29, 12:00 p.m.
Room 235 Blegen Hall, University of Minnesota west bank campus
Free and open to the public
Directions/parking: http://www.onestop.umn.edu/Maps/BlegH/
FFI: Institute for Global Studies, www.igs.cla.umn.edu; 612-624-9007

Virginia Tilley, author of "The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough Plan
for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Debate" (University of Michigan
Press) will speak at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday, November 29
at noon.

"The One-State Solution" claims that Israeli settlements have already
encroached on the occupied territory of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
to the extent that any Palestinian state in those areas is unviable. It
discusses the irreversible impact of Israel's settlement grid by
summarizing its physical, demographic, financial, and political
dimensions. Tilley contends that this grid will not be withdrawn - or its
expansion reversed - by reviewing the role of the key political actors:
the Israeli government, the United States, the Arab states, and the
European Union. The book also addresses the obstacles to a one-state
solution and offers some ideas about how those obstacles might be
addressed.

Virginia Tilley is a chief research specialist in the Democracy and
Governance Research Program of Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of
South Africa. She holds an M.A. from the Center for Contemporary Arab
Studies at Georgetown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political
science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining the HSRC
in January 2006, she was Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Policy
Studies in Johannesburg. She is on extended research leave from Hobart and
William Smith Colleges, where she holds a tenured position as associate
professor of political science and serves as co-director of the
international relations program.


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

From: tom [at] organicconsumers.org
Subject: Transportation plan 11.29 6pm

Do you know that there is a 10 year transportation plan for the city of
Minneapolis and in this plan is the possibility of bringing back
streetcars, among other modes of transportation?  Do you know that a
feasibility study for bringing back those streetcars has been started?
Do you know that Central AVE, as well as numerous other routes, have made
the "first cut" to be considered for the first lines?

Come THIS WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29th to find out about the future of our
transportation system in Minneapolis and how it is being implemented.

Please do forward this on and do come as informed, conversant citizens are
vital for a functioning democracy.

Tom Taylor
612-788-4252

What's in store for Northeast MPLS' transit infrastructure?

What is being discussed.  What is not being discussed?  How are decisions
being made?

Does the future include:
freeway extensions?
bicycles?streetcars?
truck-ways?
subways? Segways? skyways?
pedestrian paths?
personal rapid transit?
Heavy rail or light rail?
horse and buggies or horseless buggies?
[human beings or capitalists? -ed]
Come to be informed, get crucial updates and participate in this important
citywide conversation regarding transportation policy, planning and
priority setting.

6 pm to 8pm, Wednesday November 29th
Northeast Library (2200 Central Ave. NE) The Northeast Library is on the
number 10 bus line and bike racks are located on the east side of the
building.

Presenters include:Matt Hollinshead, Midway Corridor Consultant;
John Dewitt, founding member of Transit for Livable Communities;
John Akre, Northeast Minneapolis representative to "Access Minneapolis"
Peter Wagenius, Sr. Policy Aide for the City of Minneapolis.

Audubon Neighborhood Association, Holland Neighborhood Improvement
Association and Windom Park Citizens in Action will host this initial
informational meeting.

Please feel free to share this message with your neighbors.

If you have any questions, contact Kevin Reich at the Holland Neighborhood
Improvement Association - 612-781-2299


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

From: mary rivard <treebirdrivard [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Intl womens day/plan 11.29 7pm

Greetings, KFAI radio celebrates International Women's Day on March 8th
along with the rest of the world. I would like to invite you to create a
radio program with your students/teachers/friends...the purposal forms are
ready for down load at www.kfai.org any questions feel free to e-mail me
Mary Rivard at iwdkfai07 [at] yahoo.com.  The IWD committee wants to support
women and their talents by creating show cases 'live music/spoken word
venues and visual art' to be presented through out the month of March at
various locations around the Twincities

I also want to invite you to this meeting . Wed. Nov 29 at KFAI Radio
Station 1808 Riverside Ave at 7pm Studio 5. We will match artists and
venue opportunities.Share this with a friend. Mary Rivard


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

From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Armenia/genocide 11.29 7:30pm

Prof Taner Akcam to speak about new book
Wednesday November 29
Nolte Center for Continuing Education Lounge, 7:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Parking in Northrop Ramp or 4th Avenue Ramp, off 17th Avenue S

Professor Taner Akcam, Visiting Professor of History will speak about his
new book and do a book signing. His new work is: "A Shameful Act: The
Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility."

>From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. The story of the Ottoman Empire's
slaughter of one million Armenians in 1915, a genocide still officially
denied by the 83-year-old modern Turkish state has been dominated by two
historiographical traditions. One pictures an embattled empire,
increasingly truncated by rapacious Western powers and internal
nationalist movements. The other details the attempted eradication of an
entire people, amid persecutions of other minorities. Part of historian
Akcam's task in this clear, well-researched work is to reconcile these
mutually exclusive narratives. He roots his history in an unsparing
analysis of Turkish responsibility for one of the most notorious
atrocities of a singularly violent century, in internal and international
rivalries, and an exclusionary system of religious (Muslim) and ethnic
(Turkish) superiority. With novel use of key Ottoman, European and
American sources, he reveals that the mass killing of Armenians was no
byproduct of WWI, as long claimed in Turkey, but a deliberate, centralized
program of state-sponsored extermination. As Turkey now petitions to join
the European Union, and ethnic cleansing and collective punishment
continues to threaten entire populations around the globe, this
groundbreaking and lucid account by a prominent Turkish scholar speaks
forcefully to all.

Akcam's book received a five page review in a recent issue of THE NEW
YORKER and has been the subject of much positive discussion.


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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Apocalypto/film 11.29 7:30pm

Wednesday, 11/29, 7:30 pm, free sneak preview of Mel Gibsons's film
"Apocalypto" about Mayan man's struggle to save his way of life from a
violent invading force, Oak St Cinema, 309 Oak St SE, Mpls.
www.mnfilmarts.org


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

From: Philip Schaffner <PSchaffner [at] ccht.org>
Subject: CCHT housing 11.30 7:30am

 e-News November 2006

Learn how Central Community Housing Trust is responding to the affordable
housing shortage in the Twin Cities. Please join us for a 1-hour Building
Dreams presentation.

Minneapolis Sessions: Nov 30 at 7:30a
St. Paul Sessions: Dec 6 at 4:30p

We are also happy to present Building Dreams at your organization, place
of worship, or business. Space is limited, please register online at:
www.ccht.org/bd or call Philip Schaffner at 612-341-3148 x237

Central Community Housing Trust 1625 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 341-3148 www.ccht.org


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

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 11.30 4:30pm

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


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

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 11.30 5pm

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

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

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


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

From: Diane J. Peterson <birch7 [at] comcast.net>
Subject:  GreenGreenWater 11.30 7pm

I recommend this environmental justice film.
Diane J. Peterson White Bear Lake, Minnesota birch7 [at] comcast.net

The documentary by St. Paul filmmaker, Dawn Mikkelson, about the Xcel
Energy/Manitoba Hydro problem played recently in Toronto and San
Francisco; here's our chance to see the completed version.

"Green Green Water":  Midwest film debut and reception
Thursday, Nov. 30
7:00 p.m.
Bell Museum (U of M campus)
10 Church St. SE
Minneapolis
    $10 suggested donation

Panel discussion after the film consists of:
Dawn Mikkelson, Director
Jamie E. Lee, Co-director and Editor
State Senator Scott Dibble, DFL, Minneapolis
Ken Bradley, Fresh Energy

This event is sponsored by the Bell Museum of Natural History as part of
their Science on Screen film program, U of M EcoWatch, Fresh Energy, and the
U of M chapter of Amnesty International.

Film Description
As an average American consumer, filmmaker Dawn Mikkelson embarks on a
journey to investigate where the "green energy" she is purchasing through
Xcel Energy comes from. Her trip takes her to northern Manitoba, where
hydroelectric dams have left massive environmental devastation in their wake
and deep divisions in the communities about further development in the area.
Allegations of bribery and government corruption surface. In this
captivating and eye-opening documentary, the filmmakers explore the
complexity of cultures in collision and the effects of environmental
destruction on a way of life.

www.greengreenwater.com


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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Why we fight/film 11.30 7:30pm

Thursday, 11/30, 7:30, Hamline Students for Peace host movie "Why We Fight,"
about the development of the military-industrial complex, Giddens Learning
Center room 100E, Hamline Univ, St Paul.  matthewfbyrnes [at] gmail.com


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

New Congress, Same Quagmire
Would Jesus Get Out of Iraq?
By WILLIAM BLUM
CounterPunch
November 25 / 26, 2006

The good news is that the Republicans lost.

The bad news is that the Democrats won.

The burning issue - US withdrawal from Iraq - remains as far from
resolution as before.

A clear majority of Americans are opposed to the war and almost all of
them would be very happy if the US military began the process of leaving
Iraq tomorrow, if not today. The rest of the world would breathe a great
sigh of relief and their long-running love affair with the storybook place
called "America" could begin to come back to life.

A State Department poll conducted in Iraq this past summer dealt with the
population's attitude toward the American occupation. Apart from the Kurds
- who assisted the US military before, during, and after the invasion and
occupation, and don't think of themselves as Iraqis - most people favored
an immediate withdrawal, ranging from 56% to 80% depending on the area.

The State Department report added that majorities in all regions except
Kurdish areas said that the departure of coalition forces would make them
feel safer and decrease violence.

George W. is on record declaring that if the people of Iraq ask the United
States to leave, the US will leave. He also has declared that the Iraqis
are "not happy they're occupied. I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied
either."

Yet, despite all this, and much more, the United States remains, with
predictions from Pentagon officials that American forces will be in Iraq
for years. Large US military bases are being constructed there; they're
not designed as temporary structures. Remember that 61 years after the end
of World War II the United States still has major bases in Germany.
Fifty-three years after the end of the Korean War the US has tens of
thousands of troops in South Korea.

Washington insists that it can't leave Iraq until it has completed
training and arming a police force and army which will keep order. Not
only does this inject thousands more armed men - often while in uniform
- into the raging daily atrocities, it implies that the United States is
concerned about the welfare and happiness of the Iraqi people, a
proposition rendered bizarre by almost four years of inflicting upon those
same people a thousand and one varieties of hell on earth, literally
destroying their ancient and modern civilization. We are being asked to
believe that the American military resists leaving because some terrible
thing will befall their beloved Iraqi brethren. ("We bomb you because we
care about you" ... suitable to be inscribed on the side of a cruise
missile.) Even as I write this, on November 14, I read: "An overnight US
raid killed six people in mainly-Shia east Baghdad, sparking angry anti-US
protests. Thirty died in a US raid on the Sunni stronghold of Ramadi,
Iraqi officials said."

At the same time, the American occupation fuels hostility by the Sunnis
toward Shiite "collaborators" with the occupation, and vice-versa. And
each attack of course calls for retaliation. And the bodies pile up. If
the Americans left, both sides could negotiate and participate in the
reconstruction of Iraq without fear of being branded traitors. The Iraqi
government would lose its quisling stigma. And Iraq's security forces
would no longer have the handicap of being seen to be working on behalf of
foreign infidels against fellow Iraqis.

So why don't the Yanquis just go home? Is all this not rather odd? Three
thousand of their own dead, tens of thousands critically maimed. And still
they stay. Why, they absolutely refuse to even offer a timetable for
withdrawal. No exit plan. No nothing.

No, it's not odd. It's oil.

Oil was not the only motivation for the American invasion and occupation,
but the other goals have already been achieved - eliminating Saddam
Hussein for Israel's sake, canceling the Iraqi use of the euro in place of
the dollar for oil transactions, expansion of the empire in the middle
east with new bases.

American oil companies have been busy under the occupation, and even
before the US invasion, preparing for a major exploitation of Iraq's huge
oil reserves. Chevron, ExxonMobil and others are all set to go. Four years
of preparation are coming to a head now. Iraq's new national petroleum law
- written in a place called Washington, DC - is about to be implemented.
It will establish agreements with foreign oil companies, privatizing much
of Iraq's oil reserves under exceedingly lucrative terms. Security will be
the only problem, protecting the oil companies' investments in a lawless
country. For that they need the American military close by.

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA
Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only
Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.

He can be reached at: BBlum6 [at] aol.com


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

Zionism: Pitting the West Against Islam
by M. Shahid Alam
www.dissidentvoice.org
November 24, 2006

It is tempting to celebrate the creation of Israel as a great triumph,
perhaps the greatest in Jewish history. Indeed, the history of Israel has
often been read as the heroic saga of a people marked for extinction, who
emerged from Nazi death camps - from Auschwitz, Belzec and Treblinka - to
establish their own state in 1948, a Jewish haven and a democracy that has
prospered even as it has defended itself valiantly against unceasing Arab
threats and aggression. Without taking away anything from the sufferings
of European Jews, I will insist that this way of thinking about Israel -
apart from its mythologizing - has merit only as a partisan narrative. It
seeks to insulate Israel against the charge of a devastating colonization
by falsifying history, by camouflaging the imperialist dynamics that
brought it into existence, and denying the perilous future with which it
now confronts the Jews, the West and the Islamic world.

When we examine the consequences that have flowed from the creation of
Israel, when we contemplate the greater horrors that may yet flow from the
logic of Zionism, Israel's triumphs appear in a different light. We are
forced to examine these triumphs with growing dread and incredulity.
Israel's early triumphs, though real from a narrow Zionist standpoint,
have slowly mutated by a fateful process into ever-widening circles of
conflict that now threaten to escalate into major wars between the West
and Islam. Although this conflict has its source in colonial ambitions,
the dialectics of this conflict have slowly endowed it with the force and
rhetoric of a civilizational war: and perhaps worse, a religious war. This
is the tragedy of Israel. It is not a fortuitous tragedy. Driven by
history, chance and cunning, the Zionists wedged themselves between two
historical adversaries, the West and Islam, and by harnessing the strength
of the first against the second, it has produced the conditions of a
conflict that has grown deeper over time.

Zionist historiography describes the emergence of Israel as a triumph over
Europe's centuries-old anti-Semitism, in particular over its
twentieth-century manifestation, the demonic, industrial plan of the Nazis
to stamp out the existence of the Jewish people. But this is a tendentious
reading of Zionist history: it obscures the historic offer Zionism made to
the West - the offer to rid the West of its Jews, to lead them out of
Christendom into Islamic Palestine. In offering to 'cleanse' the West of
the 'hated Jews,' the Zionists were working with the anti-Semites, not
against them.

Theodore Herzl, the founding father of Zionism, had a clear understanding
of this complementarity between Zionism and anti-Semitism; and he was
convinced that Zionism would prevail only if anti-Semitic Europe could be
persuaded to work for its success. It is true that Jews and anti-Semites
have been historical adversaries, that Jews have been the victims of
Europe's religious vendetta since Rome first embraced Christianity.
However, Zionism would enter into a new relationship with anti-Semitism
that would work to the advantage of Jews. The insertion of the Zionist
idea in the Western discourse would work a profound change in the
relationship between Western Jews and Gentiles. In order to succeed, the
Zionists would have to create a new adversary, common to the West and the
Jews. In choosing to locate their colonial-settler state in Palestine -
and not in Uganda or Argentina - the Zionists had also chosen an adversary
that would deepen their partnership with the West. The Islamic world was a
great deal more likely to energize the West's imperialist ambitions and
evangelical zeal than Africa or Latin America.

Israel was the product of a partnership that seems unlikely at first
blush, between Western Jews and the Western world. It is the powerful
alchemy of the Zionist idea that created this partnership. The Zionist
project to create a Jewish state in Palestine possessed the unique power
to convert two historical antagonists, Jews and Gentiles, into allies
united in a common imperialist enterprise against the Islamic world. The
Zionists harnessed the negative energies of the Western world - its
imperialism, its anti-Semitism, its Crusading nostalgia, its anti-Islamic
bigotry, and its deep racism - and focused them on a new imperialist
project, the creation of a Western surrogate state in the Islamic
heartland. To the West's imperialist ambitions, this new colonial project
offered a variety of strategic advantages. Israel would be located in the
heart of the Islamic world; it would sit astride the junction of Asia,
Africa and Europe; it would guard Europe's gateway to the Indian Ocean;
and it could monitor developments in the Persian Gulf with its vast
reserves of oil.

For the West as well as Europe's Jews, this was a creative moment: indeed,
it was a historical opportunity. For European Jews, it was a stroke of
brilliance. Zionism was going to leverage Western power in their cause. As
the Zionist plan would unfold, inflicting pain on the Islamic world,
evoking Islamic anger against the West and Jews, the complementarities
between the two would deepen. In time, new complementarities would be
discovered - or created - between the two antagonist strains of Western
history. In the United States, the Zionist movement would give
encouragement to evangelical Protestants - who looked upon the birth of
Israel as the fulfillment of end-time prophecies - and convert them into
fanatic partisans of Zionism. In addition, Western civilization, which had
hitherto traced its central ideas and institutions to Rome and Athens,
would be repackaged as a Judeo-Christian civilization. This reframing not
only underscores the Jewish roots of the Western world, it also makes a
point of emphasizing that Islam is the outsider, the adversary.

Zionism owes its success solely to this unlikely partnership. On their
own, the Zionists could not have gone anywhere. They could not have
created Israel by bribing or coercing the Ottomans into granting them a
charter to colonize Palestine. Despite his offers of loans, investments,
technology and diplomatic expertise, Theodore Herzl was repeatedly
rebuffed by the Ottoman Sultan. It is even less likely that the Zionists
could at any time have mobilized a Jewish army in Europe to invade and
occupy Palestine, against Ottoman and Arab opposition to the creation of a
Jewish state on Islamic lands. The Zionist partnership with the West was
indispensable for the creation of a Jewish state. This partnership was
also fateful. It produced a powerful new dialectic, which has encouraged
Israel, both as the political center of the Jewish Diaspora and the chief
outpost of the West in the heart of the Islamic world, to become more
daring in its designs against the Islamic world and beyond. In turn, a
wounded and humiliated Islamic world, more resentful and determined after
every defeat, has been driven to embrace increasingly radical ideas and
methods to recover its dignity and power - and to attain this recovery on
the strength of Islamic ideas. This destabilizing dialectic has now
brought the West itself into a direct confrontation against the Islamic
world. We are now staring into the precipice. Yet do we possess the will
to pull back from it?

M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at a university in Boston, and
author of Challenging the New Orientalism: Dissenting Essays on America's
"War Against Islam" (IPI Publications: 2006). He may be reached at:
alqalam02760 [at] yahoo.com. Copyright  2006 M. Shahid Alam


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

"As an Economic System, Capitalism is Going Crazy"
Factors in Our Colossal Mess
By GABRIEL KOLKO
CounterPunch
November 25 / 26, 2006

These are dismal days for those who attempt to run the affairs of the
world. But how should we understand it?

It would be a basic error to look at our present situation as if it were
rationally comprehensible. The limits of rational explanations are that
they assume rational men and women make decisions and that they will
respect the limits of their power and behave realistically. This has
rarely been true anywhere historically over the past century, and politics
and illusions based on ideology or wishful thinking have often been
decisive. This is especially the case with the present bunch in
Washington.

We are right to fear anything, particularly a war with Iran that would
immediately reel out of control and have catastrophic consequences not
only to the region but globally. We are also correct to see limits to the
power of irrational people, for the United States is strategically weak.
It loses the big wars, as in Korea, Vietnam, and now Afghanistan and Iraq
- even though its tactical victories often prove to be very successful -
but also ultimately destabilizing and ephemeral. Had the U.S.  not
overthrown the Mossadegh regime in Iran in 1954 it is very likely the
mullahs would never have come to power and we would not now be considering
a dangerous war there.

Although the whole is far more important than the parts, the details of
each part deserve attention. Many of these aspects are known, even
predictable, there are - to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld - the "known
unknowns and the unknown unknowns" - the "x-factor" that intercedes to
surprise everyone. All of these problems are interrelated, interacting and
potentially aggravate or inhibit each other, perhaps decisively, making
our world both very difficult to understand - or to run. Putting them
together is a formidable challenge to thinking people outside systems of
power. It has always been this way; fascism was in large part the result
of economic crisis, and World War Two was the outcome. How factors combine
is a great mystery and cannot be predicted - not by US or by those
ambitious souls who have the great task of making sure there is no chaos.
We wish to comprehend it but it is not decisive if we don't; for those who
have responsibility to manage it, this myopia will produce the end of
their world - and their privileges.

                      What is important to watch?

We can rule out the Left, that artifact of past history. Socialism ceased
being a real option long ago, perhaps as early as 1914. Since I have just
published an entire book, After Socialism, and detailed its innumerable
myopias and faults, I need not say more than that it is no longer is a
threat to anybody. The fakirs who lead the parties who still use
"socialism" as a justification for their existence have only abolished
defeats at the hands of the people from the price capitalism pays for its
growing follies. That confidence - freedom from challenge by the unruly
masses - is very important but it is less and less sufficient to solve the
countless remaining dilemmas. The system has become increasingly
vulnerable, social stability notwithstanding, since about 1990 and the
formal demise of "communism".

                          Assume Anarchy

The failure of socialist theory is much more than matched by the failure
of capitalism because the latter has the entire responsibility for keeping
the status quo functioning - and it has no intellectual basis for doing
so.  The crisis that exists is that capitalism has reached a most
dangerous stage in destructiveness - and no opposition to it exists. This
malaise involves foreign affairs and domestic affairs - vast greed at home
and adventure overseas. If the foreign policy aspects are largely
American-originated, the rest of the world tolerates or sometimes
collaborates with it. Its downfall is inevitable, perhaps imminent. The
chaos that exists will exist in a void. No powerful force exists to
challenge, much less replace it, and therefore it will continue to exist -
but at immense and growing human cost. Alternative visions are, for the
moment at least, mostly cranky.

Ingenious and precarious schemes in the world economy today have great
legitimacy and flourish in the sense that the postulates of classical
economics postulated are fast becoming irrelevant. It is the era of the
fast talker and buccaneer-snake-oil salesmen in suits. Nothing
old-fashioned has credibility. Joseph Schumpeter and other economists
worried about pirates, but they are more important today than ever before
- including than during the late 19th century when they were immortalized
in Charles Francis Adams Jr's Chapters of Erie. The leitmotif is
"innovation," and many respectables are extremely worried. I argued here
in Counterpunch recently (June 15 and July 26) that gloom prevails among
experts responsible for overseeing national and global financial affairs,
especially the Bank for International Settlements, but I grossly
underestimated the extent of anxieties among those who know the most about
these matters. More importantly, over the past months officials at much
higher levels have also become much more articulate and concerned about
the dominant trends in global finance and the fact that risks are quickly
growing and are now enormous. Generally, people who think of themselves as
leftists know precious little of those questions, questions that are vital
to the very health of the status quo. But those most au courant with
global financial trends have been sounding the alarm louder and louder.

The problem is that capitalism has become more aberrant, improvisatory,
and self-destructive than ever. We are in the age of the predator and
gamblers, people who want to get very rich very quickly and are wholly
oblivious to the larger consequences. Power exists but the theory to
describe the economy which was inherited from the 19th century bears no
relationship whatsoever to the way it operates in practice, a fact more
and more recognized by those who favor a system of privilege and
inequality. Even some senior IMF executives now acknowledge that the
theory that powerful organization cherish is based on outmoded 19th
century illusions. "Reconstructing economic theory virtually from scratch"
and purging economics of "neoclassical idiocies," or that its
"demonstrably false conceptual core is sustained by inertia alone," is now
the subject of very acute articles in none other than the Financial Times,
the most influential and widely-read daily in the capitalist world.

As an economic system capitalism is going crazy. In late November there
were $75 billion in global mergers and acquisitions in a 24-hour period -
a record. Global capitalism is awash with liquidity - virtually free money
- and anyone who borrows can become very rich, assuming they win. The
beauty of the hedge fund is that individual risks become far smaller and
one can join with others to bet big - and much more precariously. Hence,
spectacular chances are now being taken: on the value of the U.S. dollar,
the price of oil, real estate - and countless others gambles. In the case
of Amaranth Advisors, this outfit lost about $6.5 billion at the end of
September on an erroneous weather prediction and went under. At least
2,600 hedge funds were founded from the beginning of 2005 to October 2006,
but 1,100 went out of business. The new financial instruments -
derivatives, hedge funds, incomprehensible financial inventions of every
sort - are growing at a phenomenal rate, but their common characteristic,
as one Financial Times writer, John Plender, summed it up on November 20,
is that "everyone [has] become less risk adverse."  Therein lies the
danger.

Hedge funds will bet on anything, natural disasters and, soon, longevity
of pension fund members being only the latest examples of their addiction
to taking chances. London is fast replacing New York as the center of this
activity, and the capital market in general, because the regulatory regime
of the government the British Labour Party established is much more
favorable to this sort of activity than that Bush's Republican minions
allow - though this may change because Wall Street does not like losing
business.

On September 12, 2006, the International Monetary Fund released its report
on "Global Financial Stability," and it was unprecedented in its concern
that "new and complex financial instruments, such as structured credit
products," might wreak untold havoc. "Liberalization," which the
"Washington consensus" and IMF had preached and helped realize, now
threatens the US dollar and much else. "The rapid growth of hedge funds
and credit derivative mechanisms in recent years adds to uncertainty," and
might aggravate the "market turbulence and systemic impact" of once-benign
events. Hedge funds, it warned, have already "suffered noticeable losses."

At the end of October, again the Financial Times, Jean-Claude Trichet,
head of the European Central Bank, deplored these new financial products,
which have been increasing and growing into the trillions. He wrote that
he could not comprehend them; that there is scant oversight over them;
that many are pure hype; that nothing prevents them from creating immense
domino effects on the entire financial system were they to collapse,
thereby also dragging the well-regulated parts of the system down. Then,
at the beginning of November the quasi-official UK Financial Services
Authority issued a report that detailed the existing risks to the entire
world financial structure. Despite its tone, it is dynamite.

The FSA report documents the many risks to the private equity sector:
excessive leverage, unclear ownership of risk, market abuses and insider
trading. There are conflicts of interest of every sort; the system is
opaque; hedge funds made inherent dangers even riskier. "Given current
leverage levels and recent developments in the economic/credit cycle, the
default of a large private equity backed company or a cluster of smaller
private equity backed companies seems inevitable."

Given this growing consensus of risks, on November 13 Sir John Gieve, the
deputy governor of the Bank of England, concluded, in the Financial Times,
that each national state regulating full-blown financial crises was no
longer feasible: the financial system is international in scope today and
no national mechanism can handle it. There have been at least 13
borderline or full-blown financial crises since the late 1970s and some of
the methods for dealing with them would be "less easy to deploy" under
present conditions - which is a polite way of saying they were irrelevant.
His conclusion: Regulators "should practise coping with global crisis,"
"work together" on practical examples to develop machinery, especially to
avoid the "moral hazards" of bailing out firms in trouble, including
"closing down a large firm in an orderly way."

The chances of developing a common trans-national approach or rules are
close to zero, if only because nations of the world are rivals in the bid
to attract financial companies and regulation, or lack of it, is a major
factor on where to headquarter. When the next financial crisis occurs, and
the likelihood of that happening has grown by leaps and bounds, it is more
likely than ever to drag the entire global economy with it. At least the
"experts" think so. They did not before now.

So economics may foul up politics. Perhaps not, but it could become a very
important factor in the overall situation.

                         Power in Washington

President Bush made the election a referendum on the war and was badly
repudiated; his party suffered a disaster. Disorientation, depression, and
defeat have left the president and his neoconservatives adrift. They have
power, two more years of it, and we are at the mercy of people who are
irresponsible and dangerous. Their rhetoric proved a recipe for disaster
in Afghanistan and Iraq - a surrealistic nightmare. The American public is
largely antiwar (55 percent of those who voted disapproved of the war,
most of them strongly); they voted against the war and only tangentially
for Democrats, most of who vaguely implied they would do something about
the Iraq war but immediately after the election shamelessly reaffirmed
their support for its essence. But people, and voters in particular, are
such a nuisance everywhere. More quickly than in the past, they respond to
reality, which means that traditional politicians must betray them very
speedily. They create certain decisive parameters that ambitious
politicians flout at greater risk than ever because the people have shown
themselves ready to vote the rascals - whether Democrats in 1952 and 1968
or Republicans last November - out of office. The American public is more
antiwar than ever, and no one can predict what the future holds, including
some Republicans outflanking the Democrats from a sort of antiwar left so
that they can remain, or gain, office. That the people are subsequently
cynically ignored - as they have been immediately after the last American
election - is a fact also, but their role can neither be overestimated nor
gainsaid. Experience shows that politicians, whatever they call themselves
or in any nation we can think of, can never be trusted. Ever. But the
facts on the ground - reality - are today very bad for those who advocate
wars.

                      Israel: the Dream Comes Apart

Hawks in Israel, ascendant since the founding of the Jewish state, are
still debating their thirty-three day war in Lebanon and the decisive
limits to their once awesome, ultra-sophisticated modern military power
exposed by their Lebanon adventure. The Israeli press is full of accounts
of ministers' sexual offenses and corruption. Ehud Olmert's government is
badly divided, backbiting, and may fall soon. The army is openly split and
Olmert would like to dump its chief of staff, Dan Halutz, and the minister
of defense. The Zionist project is in an unprecedented state of disrepair,
with profound demoralization taking hold. Olmert himself is a complete
mediocrity, a minor Likud politician who parlayed himself into the number
two spot and was lucky. His comment when he visited the U.S. in the middle
of November that America's Iraq war had brought stability to the region
either infuriated or embarrassed everyone. He is basically a shrewd
politician but very stupid man.

The most devastating analyses of Israel's war in Lebanon have appeared in
Israel itself, and "the fact the Israeli army is at a low point,"
according to a writer in Haaretz, has goaded rather than deterred Iran.
"Almost every weapon lost its significance and effectiveness as soon as it
was used," Ofer Shelah wrote in the Jaffee Center's Strategic Assessment.
The Israeli military relied on massive, overwhelming firepower delivered
by the most modern means possible and it failed to stop incoming rockets
and enemy mobility, much less win the war. Hizbollah not only showed Syria
how to defeat the Israeli army but made Iran much more confident they can
carry on what it is doing. The entire government and army leadership was
incompetent.

>From its very inception there was a warrior ethic in the Zionist ideology,
one it shared with diverse reactionaries in Europe. Both its left-wing as
well as the Right have nourished it, and Joseph Trumpeldor, the hero of
this militant mentality, was one of the founders of Zionist socialism - a
leader of the Hashomer Hatzair, the far left of this tendency. But the
cult of heroism in Israel has made way for military technocrats who read
digital print-outs (as described in Defense Tech, Nov. 20, 2006.) Morale
in Israel, and especially the once elitist military, has plummeted. The
arms industry there is very large, and like its American equivalents need
subsidies - computer-based war is very expensive and greatly helps
employment. But Lebanon only showed Israel what the Americans learned
elsewhere - it loses.

There are many dangers, from fascistic politicians like Avigdor Lieberman
becoming even more powerful, to yet greater emigration abroad of those
Jews with high skills. The latter is happening. Israel's ability to flout
European opinion with impunity or to have Washington embark on military
adventures from which Israel gains is increasingly limited. France has
warned Israel that should it initiate a war with Iran it would create "a
total disaster" for the entire world". Oil prices would rise, the entire
Arab world would unite behind the Iranians, and Israel would be targeted
but so would other nations. Even more important, Israeli strategists admit
that Iranian nuclear weapons would only create a stable deterrent
relationship between the two nations, and are not an "existential threat."

                      Repentance or Rapture?

Above all, in Iraq the American government is facing the failure of its
entire Middle East project, an illusion in which the Israelis have a
profound interest. Bush and gang are in a state of denial, but the U.S. is
going the way of its defeat in Korea and Vietnam, and its military is
increasingly overstretched and demoralized. It has based its foreign
policies on fantasies and non-existent dangers, neo-con dreams and
desires, only partially to meet equally illusory Israeli objectives to
transform the entire Middle East so that it accepts Israel in whatever
form the fickle Israeli electorate presents it. American foreign policy
has been fraught with dangers since 1945, and I have documented them
extensively, but this is the worst set of incompetents ever to hold power
in Washington. It "shocked and awed," to use the departed Secretary of
Defense's phrase, itself. Things are going disastrously for conservative
warriors.

But it is very difficult to anticipate what this administration will come
up with, though disasters over the past six years have made a number of
alternatives far less probable. In a way, that is a good thing, although
the cost in lives lost and wealth squandered has been immense. The
Baker/Hamilton bipartisan commission is deeply split and if - with
emphasis on "if" - if it happens to come up with a clear alternative the
president is free to ignore it. The Pentagon has formulated alternatives,
summed up as "go big," "go long" - both of which would require 5 to 10
years to "Iraqize" the war - or "go home", but it is divided also. One
thing certain, however, is that it has neither manpower, materiel, nor
political freedom to make the same mistakes as in Vietnam - as the first
two alternatives would have it do. There are no options in Iraq because
the US has traumatized the entire nation and created immense problems for
which it has no solutions. No one can predict what it will do in Iraq
because the administration wishes to preserve the illusion of success and
is genuinely confused how to proceed. It has produced chaos. Iraq is very
likely to remain a tragedy, one wracked by violence, for years to come.
The Bush administration has created a massive disaster involving the lives
of many millions of people.

A great deal depends on the President, whose policy has utterly failed in
Iraq, is failing in Lebanon, and one of his options is escalation - war
with Iran. Israel might attack Iran in order to drag America in, but by
itself it can only be a catalyst. Olmert and Bush approach these issues in
a remarkably similar fashion. Either way, Bush has not ruled out war with
Iran despite warnings from many military men that such a conflict would
have vast repercussions, probably last years, and the U.S. would likely
lose the war, even if it used nuclear weapons, after creating an
Armageddon.

A number of the neocon theoreticians have repented the Iraq adventure, and
even criticized some the basic premises that motivated it, but it would be
an error to assume that this administration has some contact with reality
and can be educated - by the electorate or by alienated neocon
intellectuals. There are still plenty of people in Washington who advocate
going for broke, who still retain fantastic illusions. There remains the
imponderable factor of rapture - fantasy and illusions mixed with
desires. Is victory around the corner if we escalate with more troops?
Will the Iraqi troops the Americans train attain victory over enemies that
eluded U.S. forces? Many much wiser presidents have pursued such chimeras.
Why not Bush too? Facts on the ground, which are much greater in
constricting American power than they were six years ago, are a critical
factor. They may not be sufficient to prevent irrational behavior. We
simply cannot know.

All of these factors, and perhaps others not mentioned here, will affect
each other. The whole is very often no stronger than all the parts. All
surprises that thwart the Bush administration's freedom to act are now to
be welcomed, and while the world's financial system is the leading
candidate for upsetting the U.S.'s calculations, it is scarcely the only
one. The facts on the ground, realities rather than decisions, are usually
crucial, and here the US is losing in its megalomaniac ambition to shape
the world. It has been this way for many nations led by men far superior
in intellect to George Bush.

Wishes are not reality and the US has an endemic ability to hold onto its
wishes and fantasies as long as possible. Desire often leads to its acting
despite itself. But its resources are far more constrained now than they
were six years ago, much less for the United States during the Vietnam
War - which it lost. The American public is already deeply alienated, the
world financial system is teetering, the US' military resources are
virtually exhausted.

We shall see.

Gabriel Kolko is the leading historian of modern warfare. He is the author
of the classic Century of War: Politics, Conflicts and Society Since 1914,
Another Century of War? and The Age of War. He has also written the best
history of the Vietnam War, Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the US and the
Modern Historical Experience. His latest book is After Socialism.

[Now that capitalism is down, I propose that we kick it. -ed]


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

SOME WHO FEEL NO REASON FOR THANKSGIVING
[Col. Writ. 11/19/06] Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

To this day, I can hardly bear to think of that quintessentially American
holiday -- Thanksgiving.

When I do, however, I do not dwell on pilgrims with wide black hats
sitting to sup with red men, their long hair adorned with eagle feathers.
I think not of turkeys, nor of cranberry, foods now traditional for the
day of feast.

Unlike millions, I don't even think of the day's football game; and not
thinking of it, I don't watch it.

I think of the people we have habitually called 'Indians'' the indigenous
people of the Americas. Those millions who are no more.

I think of those precious few who remain, and wonder, what do they think
of this day; this national myth of sweet brotherhood, that masks what can
only be called genocide?

Several years ago, I read a thin text that was pregnant with poignancy. It
was a collection of Native remarks from the first tribes who encountered
whites in New England, and down through several hundred years. Throughout
it all, the same vibration could be felt, no matter what the clan or
tribe. A profound sense of betrayal and wrong; from people who were
treated like brethren when they first arrived.

In New England, the name Powhatan (ca. 1547-1618) is still recalled (even
if that wasn't his name, but what the English called him). Known as
Wahunsonacock by his people, he headed a confederacy of 32 tribes, and
governed an area of hundreds of miles. He was the father of Pocahontas,
the young Indian maiden who saved the life of Capt. James Smith. A year
after sparing Smith's life, the white captain threatened the great chief.
This is some of his response given in 1609:

"...Why should you take by force that from us which you can have by love?
Why should you destroy us, who have provided you with food? We can hide
our provisions, and fly into the woods; and then you must consequently
famish by wronging your friends. What is the cause of your jealousy? You
see us unarmed, and willing to supply your wants, if you come in a
friendly manner, and not with swords and guns, as to invade an enemy. I am
not so simple, as not to know it is better to eat good meat, lie well, and
sleep quietly with my women and children; to laugh and be merry with the
English; and, being their friend, to have copper, hatchets, and whatever
else I want, than to fly from all, to lie cold in the woods, feed upon
acorns, roots, and such trash, and to be so hunted, that I cannot rest,
eat, or sleep. In such circumstances, my men must watch, and if a twig
should but break, all would cry out, "*Here comes Capt. Smith*"; and in
this miserable manner, to end my miserable life; and, Capt. Smith, this
*might* be soon your fate too, through your rashness and unadvisedness. I
therefore, exhort you to peaceable councils; and, above all, I insist that
the guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy and uneasiness, be
removed and sent away." [Blaisdell, Bob, ed., *Great Speeches by Native
Americans* (Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Press, 2000), p.4.]

That great chief's sentiments would be echoed for over hundreds of years,
but injustice would just be piled on injustice. Genocide would be the
white answer to red life.

Centuries later, what can Thanksgiving Day mean to Native peoples?

Thank you for stealing our land? Thank you for wiping out our people?

Thank you for placing a remnant of our once great numbers on rural
ghettoes called 'reservations?'

Thank you for abolishing most of the ancient traditions?

Thank you for poisoning what little Indian lands remain with uranium?

Thank you for poisoning the lands now inhabited by the whites?

Thank you for letting Indians fight in American wars against other people?

Thanks.

The real tragedy is that millions of Americans don't know, and don't want
to know about Indian history and traditions.

Today, the names of rivers, lakes, and landmarks bear indigenous markers
of another age.

The people, except for an occasional movie, are mostly forgotten; out of
mind. The easier to replace with false images of happy meals, and turkey
dinners.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner in the United States on death
row. For more information on Mumia's case, check out the following web
sites:

Yet Another Witness Comes Forward and Refutes The Frame-Up Of Mumia
Abu-Jamal!  http://www.freemumi a.com/policecoer cion.html

Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal http://www.laboract
ionmumia. org/

International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
http://www.mumia. org/freedom. now/

Free Mumia Coalition, NYC http://www.freemumi a.com/

Socialist Action Free Mumia Site http://www.freemumi a.org

Chicago Committe To Free Mumia Abu_Jamal http://www.chicagof reemumia.
org/

Liberation News at RiseUp:  http://lists. riseup.net/ www/info/
liberation_ news


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