|Progressive Calendar 12.23.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 08:07:03 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.23.06 1. Knollwood army 12.23 11am 2. NW N4P vigil 12.23 11am 3. Northtown vigil 12.23 1pm 4. Anti-war holiday 12.23 1pm 5. Papa John gig 12.24 1:30pm 6. David Cay Johnston - Income scorecard 1979-2004 7. Rahul Mahajan - Kucinich: maverick or stalking horse? 8. Edward S Herman - Reflections on 2006 9. Robert Wrubel - The anti-war movement failure --------1 of 9-------- From: margaret <hope4peace22000 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Knollwood army 12.23 11am Cookies, Cocoa, and the Constitution (Help us eat, drink, and defend) The Army has opened a "Career Center" in Knollwood Mall We protest in front of the mall (Hwy 7 & Aquila in St Louis Park,in front of the big Knollwood sign) Saturday, 11am. The management of the mall would prefer that we stand in a "safer" (out of the way) place. We're determined to stand up for our rights. --------2 of 9-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NW N4P vigil 12.23 11am The NW Neighbors for Peace weekly demonstrations every Saturday between 11am and noon along Vinewood, near Rockford Rd. (also known as 42nd Avenue or Cty. Rd. 9) and just east of 494. This is the entrance to Target, Rainbow, and other stores. --------3 of 9-------- From: Lennie <major18 [at] comcast.net> Subject: Northtown vigil 12.23 1pm Mounds View peace vigil EVERY SATURDAY from 1-2pm at the at the southeast corner of the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE in Blaine, which is the northwest most corner of the Northtown Mall area. This is a MUCH better location. We'll have extra signs. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. For further information, email major18 [at] comcast.net or call Lennie at 763-717-9168 --------4 of 9------- From: Out of Iraq! <iraqpeaceactioncoalition [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Anti-war holiday 12.23 1pm SEND AN ANTI-WAR MESSAGE FOR THE HOLIDAYS: OUT OF IRAQ! Bring the Troops Home! Anti-War Protest SATURDAY December 23, 2006 1:00 pm Hennepin & Lagoon Ave. Uptown, Minneapolis Twin Cities anti-war activists will mark the holiday season with a protest on Saturday, December 23 starting at 1:00PM at the corner of Hennepin and Lagoon in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. The event is being organized under the call of "Send an Anti-War Message for the Holidays - Out of Iraq - Bring the Troops Home Now." A statement issued by organizers says in part, "The Bush administration is planning to send more U.S. troops to Iraq to fight in a war that the majority of the people of the U.S. have rejected. As the holiday season approaches, these celebrations of peace are overshadowed by the continuing U.S. war in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died as well as over 2800 U.S. military personnel." "On Saturday, December 23, you are invited to join an anti-war presence during one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. We will have signs, banners and anti-war holiday carols to send an anti-war message." The December 23 event is organized by the Iraq Peace Action Coalition. For more information 612 522-1861 or 612 827-5364. --------5 of 9-------- From: Mill City Music <sk [at] millcitymusic.com> Subject: Papa John gig 12.24 1:30pm Papa John Kolstad. December 24, 1:30 - 3:30 Midtown Global Market Lake St and Chicago in Minneapolis [Something to do on this otherwise uncrowded day. -ed] --------6 of 9------- From: GlobalCirclenet [mailto:webmaster [at] globalcircle.net] Subject: INCOME SCORECARD 1979-2004 INCOME SCORECARD 1979-2004 BOTTOM 60% OF AMERICANS: DOWN 5% 60TH-80TH PERCENTILE: UP 2% TOP 5% OF AMERICANS: UP 53% TOP 1% OF AMERICANS: UP 248% DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, NY TIMES - Despite significant gains in 2004, the total income Americans reported to the tax collector that year, adjusted for inflation, was still below its peak in 2000, new government data shows. Reported income totaled $7.044 trillion in 2004, the latest year for which data is available, down from more than $7.143 trillion in 2000, new Internal Revenue Service data shows. . . The overall income declines . . . came despite a series of tax cuts that President Bush and Congressional Republicans promoted as the best way to stimulate both short and long-term growth after the Internet bubble burst on Wall Street in 2000 and the economy fell into a brief recession in 2001. . . Very top households, which include about 300,000 Americans, reported significantly more pretax income combined than the poorest 120 million Americans earned in 2004, the data show. This was a sharp change from 1979, the oldest year examined by the I.R.S., when the thin slice at the top received about one-third of the total income of the big group at the bottom. Over all, average incomes rose 27 percent in real terms over the quarter-century from 1979 through 2004. But the gains were narrowly concentrated at the top and offset by losses for the bottom 60 percent of Americans, those making less than $38,761 in 2004. The bottom 60 percent of Americans, on average, made less than 95 cents in 2004 for each dollar they reported in 1979, analysis of the I.R.S. data shows. The next best-off group, the fifth of Americans on the 60th to 80th rungs of the income ladder, averaged 2 cents more income in 2004 for each dollar they earned in 1979. Only those in the top 5 percent had significant gains. The average income of those on the 95th to 99th rungs of the income ladder rose by 53 percent, almost twice the average rate. A third of the entire national increase in reported income went to the top 1 percent - and more than half of that went to the top tenth of 1 percent, whose average incomes soared so much that for each dollar, adjusted for inflation, that they had in 1979 they had $3.48 in 2004. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/28/business/28tax.html?ei=5088&en=fd84bcc13c1 bba9c&ex=1322370000&adxnnl=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1166198532-3If28 rH3TBNMLL/vKERokQ [Since we're all in that top tenth of 1 percent, what do we care? If other people want more, they can get a job, say from us, at minimum wage. They better hurry, because people in certain third world countries will work for 5 (4? 3?) cents an hour. We're entitled to our wealth, because we're the ones that provide all the jobs. -ed] --------7 of 9-------- Where Was He When It Mattered? Kucinich: Maverick or Stalking Horse? By RAHUL MAHAJAN CounterPunch December 22, 2006 Winter approaches and a young politician's fancy turns to thoughts of the 2008 presidential campaign. Among the announced candidates is antiwar favorite Dennis Kucinich. I have nothing against Kucinich. He's one of the most progressive Congresspeople and a genuinely decent, honest person who seems to have no trace of the personal corruption so endemic to politicians. Overall, his values and political stances seem highly compatible with the transformative left agenda that so many believe in quietly. I disagree with him on some issues. On trade, I want a fair international order with binding rules that apply to everybody - rules that embody values very different from those in the WTO - while Kucinich wants an essentially anarchic world order where the United States strong-arms other countries through bilateral trade pacts. A position he shares with George W. Bush -- back when Bush had positions on issues other than "freedom." To be fair, Bush wants to impose better conditions for U.S. corporations and for militaristic U.S. imperialism on weaker countries, whereas Kucinich merely wants to impose "social clauses" that are protectionist in effect - which is, of course, the kind of "humanitarian imperialism" that Kucinich resolutely opposes in the military sphere. He also doesn't seem to understand that this is impossible - the United States, beholden as it is to corporate interests and to its privileged position in the world order, cannot possibly be in the vanguard on this issue. Look to Venezuela, the G21, Mercosur, anywhere except the United States. I also task him for not voting against the absurd congressional resolution blindly supporting Israel's Lebanon war, whose avowed target was the civilian political supporters of Hizbullah - he voted "present," a cowardly act for someone who wants to be a leader of the left. Though these are important defects, Kucinich is in general very good, and, based solely on the issues, worthy of support. Even so, if you are considering supporting him, I want to caution you. Given the conservative-nationalistic populist refoundation of the Democratic Party, most likely Kucinich will stand out as the only even slightly anti-militarist and anti-imperialist Democratic candidate. Short of a run by Nader, Bill Moyers, or someone like that, he'll probably also be the only worthy candidate with any public recognition. Still, despite numerous fatuous proclamations of his, there's absolutely no way he will win or even make a respectable showing, and so one must consider what is to be gained from supporting him. Last time, his campaign spent $11 million -- $11 million of activist money poured down a rat-hole, in my opinion, along with a great deal of time, effort, and enthusiasm. His campaign was intellectually deficient on foreign policy, a crippling fault. His talks were long on platitudes about peace, but short on the specifics about real issues that might have spread the left message beyond the choir. So ignorant was he regarding the U.S.-backed coup against Aristide that, in a televised debate, he said what the U.S. was doing was good, but it needed to do more - it was left to John Kerry, oddly, to expose the extent of the Bush administration's animus toward Aristide. Although Kucinich's "position" on Iraq was fine, he had very little to say about it and avoided the issue in favor of expansive visions on social programs that couldn't possibly make any difference in a political campaign defined by Iraq. What really stood out, though, was his behavior at the Democratic Convention. Although he had maintained his candidacy in order to hang onto his delegates, loyalty to the Party trumped the antiwar cause and he capitulated to the militarism of the Democratic leadership, instructing his delegates to back down on the question of an antiwar plank in the Democratic platform -- even though an estimated 95% of all delegates to the convention were antiwar. Even though he did speak there, he went with the flow and talked about Kerry the great war hero. Not a mention of the still-fresh Abu Ghraib/torture scandal, alluded to only by Jimmy Carter and Jesse Jackson Last but hardly least, he did nothing to help build self-sustaining left organizations that could continue to exert influence after the campaign was over. Those of you who want to work for Kucinich don't need to rule it out right away. But make him accountable. He's not going to win and the meaning or lack thereof of his campaign is going to be in relation to the antiwar movement. He needs to know if he runs again he's working for us. Rahul Mahajan is publisher of the weblog Empire Notes, with regularly updated commentary on U.S. foreign policy, the occupation of Iraq, and the state of the American Empire. He has been to occupied Iraq twice, and was in Fallujah during the siege in April. His most recent book is Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond. He can be reached at rahul [at] empirenotes.org --------8 of 9-------- Reflections On 2006 by Edward S. Herman (Swans - December 18, 2006) The year 2006 has been another bad one, despite the fact that the world's most important set of "willing executioners" (the US public) has finally aroused itself enough to slap down the frat-boy would-be emperor in the November elections. It would be nice if we could explain this as based on moral revulsion at the would-be emperor's biggest crimes (aggression, a global torture gulag, and Constitution busting), but regrettably this is not so -- it was rather that there was that stink of corruption, plus the fact that the "mission" was not "accomplished" and the invasion-occupation has clearly been a failure by any measure. A successful aggression would almost surely have overpowered the stink and allowed Bush to continue on his regressive path. The US public likes wins and doesn't lose well. It doesn't like to see US body bags coming home from abroad, although it (and the political establishment) doesn't seem at all concerned over returning veterans who are very sick or unemployed. (It reminds me of the "pro-life" hyper-concern over fetal welfare along with better than average unconcern over post-fetal life.) As Bill Blum puts it, the good news is that the Republicans lost; the bad news is that the Democrats won. The Democrats are a more moderate threat to pursue distant wars of aggression and Constitution busting than the Bush Republicans and they are likely to be more moderate on domestic economic and environmental policy. They have a mass constituency that they must placate to some degree, and they are not hamstrung by the support of a large right-wing Christian cohort. On the other hand, the Democrats are not only on the business payroll, and under pressure to prove their pro-business credentials, they are heavily funded by pro-Israel interests, which severely limits their ability to constrain Israeli expansionism and ethnic cleansing. They are under constant pressure to demonstrate their pro-Israel sentiments and toughness on "national security." The result of all this is that, in the political economy of US elections, the Democrats are at best a centrist counter to the increasingly right-wing thrust of the Republicans. They serve business far more than their mass constituency, and they support a huge military budget and the global projection of US power, even if they push outward with somewhat more constraint than the Bush-Cheney administration. Clinton never "put people first," he put business first, with his budget balancing, aggressive support of NAFTA, deregulation policies, foot dragging on policies to deal with global warming, and inaction in the face of a stock market bubble (see Robert Pollin, Contours of Descent). In foreign policy, he did nothing to constrain Israeli expansionism and his war against Yugoslavia was carried out in violation of the UN Charter, another of multiple Clinton lead-ins to Bush's more blatantly egregious policies. The Democrats today are not likely to do much to alleviate or reverse the multiple crises that face this country and the world. They are splintered, with "blue dogs" and "New Democrats" together outnumbering the membership in the Progressive Democratic Caucus, with Bush in possession of the veto, and the Democratic leadership, as always, eager for a bipartisanship that the Republicans completely reject when in power. The Democrats also suffer from hostile media treatment, with continuous pressure from the media to reject populism and service to ordinary citizens and prove their "national security" credentials. In the wake of the November 7 election the media rushed to claim that this was a conservative Democratic victory, with no public sanctioning of populism or demand for a real change of course in Iraq. In fact, they may be right on what the newly elected Democrats stand for and will do, with media assistance, but not on what the voters actually want, which is unrealizable in the present political system. The Democrats bend easily to these pressures, and to those of their monied supporters and the pro-Israel lobby. This is why, in contrast with Bush, the Democrats were regularly stalemated even with Democratic legislative majorities and Democratic presidents (Clinton, Carter). This is why impeachment is "off the table" here as regards really serious crimes, while it was "on the table" for Clinton's lie that had no public interest and welfare significance. In Iraq, we now have an open civil war on top of an ongoing but confused US counter-insurgency program, with a huge casualty rate, immense destruction, and another US-created "failed state." It is interesting to see how, as the situation deteriorates, the mainstream media and politicians struggle to avoid concluding that we ought to leave. Bush of course has a vested interest in not exiting before "victory" because he would then have to admit making a mistake, and with God's advice! And this insecure numbskull may have belatedly convinced himself that he is pursuing "democracy" and is fighting terrorists (rather than both terrorizing and producing new terrorists at the same time). The mainstream media and most of the Democrats also hate to lose and, knowing that the US public does also, they don't want to be accused of failing to support our boys and girls. They don't care at all about the vast killings of Iraqis and destruction of the infrastructure, or even about the additional US boys and girls who will die or suffer injuries in the struggle to avoid losing. They never point out that we are in Iraq on the basis of an act of blatant aggression, and they have a hard time admitting that our unkindly presence has fed the violence from the beginning to right this minute. We allegedly have to stay there because of our responsibilities to the people we have attacked and whose society we have destroyed. Saddam should have thought of this one as a reason for staying in Kuwait after his 1990 invasion. By refusing Murtha as House speaker the Democrats made it clear that they weren't going to push for any quick or even definite exit. One believable theory is that they will go along with Bush and his Baker-Hamilton panel, give Bush the money he wants while carping about mismanagement, and use the sure continuing failure to help them win in 2008. This is opportunism at its most immoral and merciless, but it is an easy road that fits the Democrats lack of unity, program or principle. It also fits the purpose of the elite and a main objective of the panel, which as Jonathan Steele points out, is "to ignore the American people's doubts and build a new consensus behind the strategy of staying in Iraq on an open-ended basis, with no exit in sight" (Jonathan Steele, "Baker's predictable plan is what Bush is already doing," The Guardian, December 7, 2006). The Baker panel even mentions oil and acknowledges a continuing aim of privatizing Iraq's oil, no doubt with the consent of the "democracy" achieved through a few more years' effort at producing "stability." This set of purposes of the dominant elite, not the US public, is why the media have been so relentless in opposing any real withdrawal plan; they are serving an elite aim just as they did in propagandizing for the Bush war prior to the March 2003 invasion. The situation in Israel and Palestine has worsened in 2006, with the reinvasion of Gaza, the advance of settlements and apartheid wall construction on the West Bank, the political advance of the openly racist Lieberman in Israel, and the remarkable complicity of the United States and the EU in the semi-genocidal Israeli policies, with the Palestinians punished for freely electing Hamas, Israel still cosseted while committing serious crimes on a daily basis. The sad fact is that the triumph of the Democrats is not likely to do a thing to alleviate this horrendous crisis and call off the Israeli attack dogs. Each AIPAC meeting is crowded with Democrats eager to pay homage and express their commitment to Israel, with Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Rahm Emanuel leading the way. They are paralyzed on this front, and with their deference to Israel, and Israel and its numerous US agents calling for war on Iran, the Democrats are also not likely to be helpful in dealing with this US-manufactured crisis. One global scene that does raise hopes is Latin America, where, led by Hugo Chavez, but reflecting a broad set of grass-roots movements aroused to resist by the anti-human effects of neoliberalism, we have seen a series of electoral victories for the left or maybe-left. Chavez has been a catalyzer, model, and supporter of these movements and they have also probably been helped along by the publicity given to the Bush aggressions against Afghanistan and Iraq, the open pugnacity and involvement in the failed anti-Chavez coup of 2002, and the recent inability of the Bush team to attack in Latin America given their diversions and quagmires overseas. How permanent these developments will prove to be, how much change these left rulers will be able to bring about given the power of the United States, its allies, and global market forces, is very uncertain. But they are a breath of fresh air and hope that should be given maximum support. I mentioned in the opening paragraph that the 2006 election had been a defeat for Bush-Cheney, a kind of public repudiation. However, this defeat may not yield the positive outcomes anticipated by many liberal commentators (see, e.g., John Nichols, "The Iraq War Election," The Nation Blog, November 8, 2006; William Rivers Pitt, "A Deep, Deep Breath," Truthout, November 9, 2006; William Greider, "Watershed," The Nation, December 4, 2006; and Robert Kuttner, "The People, Yes," The American Prospect, December, 2006). First, there is the character of the Democratic Party, discussed earlier, which won by strategic inaction and may well continue in that mode. Furthermore, in our rotten political system this election loss doesn't remove Bush from the presidency or his finger from the bomb. He is still "Commander in Chief" with missions still unaccomplished. He can veto anything he doesn't like, including bills reestablishing constitutional rights removed by the Patriot and Military Commissions Act. He is deciding what to do about the Iraq occupation, supposedly weighing all the options. In short, he is going to stay. We face two more very painful years, of continued horrors in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, but probably mainly of stalemate in legislation and policy at home. It is also possible that God may tell Bush (through making him feel it in his gut) that Israel faces an existential threat and that Iran must be stopped now. Let us hope that God does not do this, or tell Bush that he has been chosen to lead us into End Times. ---------9 of 9-------- The Anti-War Movement Failure by Robert Wrubel (Swans - December 18, 2006) 2006 is the year in which we can finally say goodbye to the anti-war movement. By allowing the focus of the debate to be shifted entirely onto the November elections, we allowed victory to be defined as a Democratic Congress. I'm not even sure the word "we" is justified in this case. It seems the electorate would have gone that way without any help from us. The Democratic victory was not about whether the war was right or wrong, but merely whether it was being properly managed. This is how the Democrats are interpreting it, and they ought to know. They crafted the message on the war that carefully avoided any of the larger questions of legality, morality, or national strategy. The anti-war movement failed to achieve its goals for four reasons: 1) the campaign was fought exclusively in the realm of public opinion, through the mainstream media; 2) opposition to the war was mainly expressed on moral grounds; 3) the message was aimed at only a limited part of the electorate; and 4) the campaign lacked adequate political strategy. The anti-war movement expressed itself in a scattering of demonstrations, an outpouring of passionate writing, particularly on the Internet, and a few acts of personal heroism, like Cindy Sheehan's or Lieutenant Watada's. Each of these forms of action had to pass through the filter of the mainstream media in order to reach the public at large, and very few did. Cindy Sheehan almost succeeded, by defying the rule that only privileged insiders can address the President, but the media soon tired of her storyline. Though the critical books and articles and reporting on the war doubtless seeped through to the public at large, to some degree, the anti-war campaign increasingly found itself talking to itself, through the narrow channel of the Internet. Was there any alternative to this? Perhaps not. I would like to say that direct physical action that disrupted the system, like strikes or boycotts, or rolling demonstrations, might have been effective, but those too ultimately depend for success on being reported by the media. We may have to face the painful truth that we live in a world of "spectacle," where speaking the truth is vastly overmatched by the constant din of "news," propaganda, entertainment, and product advertising. Admitting this can be healthy, if it makes us turn our attention to other forms of action. Related to the mistake of relying on speech rather than action was the tendency to oppose the war mainly on moral grounds. Moral grounds are of course why we do oppose the war, but moral arguments are notoriously ineffective in changing peoples' opinions. Humans are generally defensive about their deeply held beliefs. Most Americans believed the terrorist story the Bush administration spun out of 9/11, and were not well-informed enough to spot the shell game when the war was switched from Afghanistan to Iraq. Having said yes to what turned out to be a grotesque and futile slaughter, it was difficult to later admit they were wrong. Beyond that, Americans generally accept the myth of America as global policeman, and global arbiter of good and bad behavior. So there is quite a mass of congealed prejudice to be penetrated by opponents of the war on moral grounds. Is there an alternative to the moral argument? Michael Neumann says, in an August article on Counterpunch.org, it's arguing based on self-interest. By self-interest Neumann seems to mean the interest of people who have power, i.e., corporate wealth, but I think his meaning can be expanded to include ordinary people affected by the war. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X both linked opposition to the Vietnam War with racism. Though the number of Americans directly involved in Iraq is smaller than in Vietnam, racial and class bias in military recruiting is even more pronounced. In this particular war, further, the National Guard and Reserves were crudely exploited, being forced to serve well beyond their normal terms and make significant domestic sacrifices. All members of the armed services had to serve without adequate protection, and large numbers are returning home to inadequate services and dim employment prospects. The number of people directly affected by the war, if expanded to include family and friends, is a potentially significant electoral bloc. The point about interest-based rather than value-based arguments is related to my third point, the failure to address other segments of the electorate. I have mentioned some of these above, and to them may be added anyone dependent on government services (the Katrina victims, for example), the elderly living on fixed incomes, the unemployed, those with inadequate public services, and the young who are the target of next year's recruiting. Any of these segments could have been fertile ground for sowing the message that war is not in our self-interest. The final weakness of the anti-war movement was the lack of an effective political strategy. Evidently the strategy was to influence public opinion and thereby put pressure on the political class to bring about change. There was obvious wishful thinking in this approach, since the political class -- the Democratic Party, in this case -- was guided by its own calculations and was evidently going to avoid any of the tough issues raised by the war. A realistic strategy would have begun with the recognition that the Democratic Party was as much responsible for the war as the Republican, and that the idea of merely throwing the Republicans out would accomplish nothing. An effective political strategy would have put pressure on the Democrats, by threatening not to vote for them if they did not change their position. All of these "failures" are linked together, or are perhaps different faces of a single failure, which is to see the war only from the viewpoint of a single class. The focus on moral grounds, the belief in speaking truth to power, the assumption that the political parties actually represent us, the unfamiliarity with the needs and interests of other classes, the tendency to rely on speaking rather than organizing, are all characteristics of an educated and comfortable middle class. Since most of the writers and activists of the anti-war movement come from this class, it is not surprising that they expressed its viewpoints. There is a mixed message of hope and hopelessness in all this. On the negative side is the recognition that as long as America is a predominantly middle-class nation, we're unlikely to change any of its basic institutions -- its two-party system, its domination by corporate power, the favored status given to the military. On the positive side, recognition of this could be a first step toward seeing that war is part of a larger dysfunctional class-based system, which harms us all. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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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