Progressive Calendar 12.23.06
From: David Shove (
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]>
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]>
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]>
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] or call Lennie at

--------4 of 9-------

From: Out of Iraq! <iraqpeaceactioncoalition [at]>
Subject: Anti-war holiday 12.23 1pm

Bring the Troops Home!

Anti-War Protest
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]>
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

[Something to do on this otherwise uncrowded day. -ed]

--------6 of 9-------

From: GlobalCirclenet [mailto:webmaster [at]]
Subject: INCOME SCORECARD 1979-2004



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

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

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.

[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?
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]

--------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

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

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, it's arguing based on
self-interest.[1] 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

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]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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