Progressive Calendar 05.23.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 23 May 2007 17:44:08 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   05.23.07
              delay due to dial-up server problems at the UofM

1. Women+class       5.23 5:30pm
2. Michael Albert    5.23 7pm
3. GLBT reading      5.23 7pm

4. NaturalStep       5.24 8:30am
5. NWN4P New Hope    5.24 4:30pm
6. Eagan peace vigil 5.24 4:30pm
7. Northtown vigil   5.24 5pm
8. StP architecture  5.24 6:30pm
9. Framing           5.24 6:30pm

10. Charles Marowitz - In praise of anger
11. Carol Christen   - Contrasts
12. David Sirota     - Driving triangulation over the progressive movement
13. Paul Bouchheit   - The dark side of democracy promotion

--------1 of 13--------

From: Bonnie Watkins <bonnie [at] mnwomen.org> Minnesota Women's Consortium
Subject: Women+class 5.23 5:30pm

Wednesday May 23, 5:30 to 8PM at the Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice
Street, St. Paul. Interactive discussion of class differences in the
women's movement, facilitated by Dr. Mai Moua of Leadership Paradigms,
plus light supper and networking. No cost but donations welcome. Open to
the general public. RSVPs to info [at] mnwomen.org are much appreciated.

Bonnie Watkins Minnesota Women's Consortium 651/228-0338 MNwomen.org &
EqualityQuilt.org


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From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Michael Albert 5.23 7pm

Michael Albert: "Remembering Tomorrow: From SDS to Life After Capitalism"

Wednesday, May 23, 7:00 p.m. Macalester College Student Union, John B.
Davis Auditorium, 1600 Grand Avenue (at Snelling Avenue), St. Paul.

One of the most significant visionary thinkers of our time on his new
book, Remembering Tomorrow: From SDS to Life After Capitalism: A memoir.
Wondering how to hang in for the long run? Learn what has worked
successfully in movement building, as well as what hasn't.

Whether you are an enthusiastic new organizer, a seasoned veteran or just
interested, you will want to hear Michael Albert speak about his
experiences of the past and visions for the future. A writer and activist
and the cofounder of Znet and Zmagazine, Alberts has been a leader in the
creation of alternative media. Schooled in economics, he has developed
"participatory economics," and has a vision to transform global
inequality. While chronicling the struggle to end the Vietnam War, social
change movements on Boston campuses, and the challenges of creating new,
alternative social models, Albert points the way forward for the next
generation. Sponsored by: WAMM, Mayday Books and Merriam Park Neighbors
for Peace.


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From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: GLBT reading 5.23 7pm

Wednesday May 23rd

7:00 P.M. S.A.S.E. at Intermedia Arts presents the GLBT Reading.
Featuring Lori L. Lake and Randy Stern. Hosted by John Medeiros and Andrea
Jenkins. Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S. , Mpls; 612-874-2815.


--------4 of 13--------

From: karen10 [at] hockey.net
Subject: NaturalStep 5.24 8:30am

Sustainability and the Natural Step Framework:
A Win-Win-Win for Business, Our Community and the Earth

This seminar provides an innovative, successful, and cost-effective
approach for becoming environmentally and socially responsible based on
consensus and systems thinking. Its purpose is to present a common
framework comprised of easily-understood, scientifically-based principles
that can serve as a compass to guide society toward a just and sustainable
future. Two workshops are now available - one in Minneapolis, one in St.
Paul:

Thursday May 24, 2007  8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Lake Harriet United Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Avenue South, Minneapolis

Or:

Two Evenings, Tuesday, May 29 and Thursday May 31, 2007  6:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Mississippi Market, 622 Selby Ave, St Paul, 55104, St. Paul

Presenter: Terry Gips is an economist, ecologist, Adjunct Professor at the
Minneapolis College of Art & Design, author (Breaking the Pesticide Habit
and The Humane Consumer and Producer Guide), President of the Alliance for
Sustainability and head of Sustainability Associates, a Minneapolis
environmental consulting firm. Terry is one of the first US NSF trainers
(independent) and has served as a White House and Congressional aide,
co-founder of the Sacramento Community Garden Program, Cargill economist,
and Aveda Sustainability Director. He worked with St. Joan of Arc Church
on their award-winning $2.7 million green building renovation.


--------5 of 13--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P New Hope 5.24 4:30pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of
Winnetka and 42nd.  You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near
McDonalds; we will be on all four corners.  Bring your own or use our
signs.


--------6 of 13--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 5.24 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.


--------7 of 13--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.24 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.


--------8 of 13--------

From: Write On Radio <writeonradio [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: StP architecture 5.24 6:30pm

Thursday May 24th

6:30 P.M. Larry Millett presents a walking tour of the architecture in and
around the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood, as shown in his new book The AIA
Guide to the Twin Cities: The Essential Source on the Architecture of
Minneapolis and St. Paul. St. Paul Public Library Dayton 's Bluff Branch,
645 E. 7th St. , St. Paul .


--------9 of 13-------

From: Kelly <saintcurmudgeon [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Framing 5.24 6:30pm

May 24: Learn the Persuasion Skill of Framing
Changing the Conversation, Changing Minnesota's Future
Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at Openbook

This would be my first choice recommendation for a talk to attend to
attend this year!

Progressives believe in good government, working for the common good.
Instead of way forward, the rhetoric of this nation has been cast in
shades of fear, appeals to greed and a simplistic drumbeat of fanatical
loyalty. Facts do not shake this hold of Bushisms. Framing is the skill
that allows us to bring forth the values of common good, so that we again
have a government of, by and for the people. Picture progressives working
smart, as well as hard.

Jeffrey Feldman has been a master of how to change the political
conversation, so what we say has an impact. Come hear Feldman's talk
"Changing the Conversation, Changing Minnesota's Future" then join in a
discussion about how progressive candidates, advocates and citizens can
make framing work for them. Copies of Feldman's book, Framing the Debate,
we be available for sale. If you can't make the talk, buy the book, it is
the best current book in political persuasion!

Jeffrey Feldman has a blog, Frameshop for even more information. Reading
the book or hearing the talk is the best groundwork for understanding.

So mark it on your calendar now, Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 6:30 PM to 8:00
PM at Openbook Target Performance Hall, 1011 Washington Ave S,
Minneapolis, MN


--------10 of 13--------

In Praise Of Anger
by Charles Marowitz

(Swans - May 21, 2007)  Senators Joe Biden, John McCain, Dennis J.
Kucinich, and other presidential contenders have, at one time or another,
been admonished for being too hot-tempered. "Anger," it would appear, is
not a presidential trait and is one that turns off rather than encourages
the American voter. At the recent presidential debate, many Americans
admired and drew solace from the cool, controlled, and moderate tone that
oozed from politicians such as Barack Obama and John Edwards and were
rankled by the gruffness and rancor that growled out of ex-Senator Mike
Gravel.

But let us say we saw a person physically abusing a young child or a
helpless animal, wouldn't the slow lava of anger be bubbling in our
bloodstreams? When the disclosures of graft and corruption emerged from
the Enron investigations, weren't there many honest, hard-working, and
swindled Americans seething as a result of these revelations of bold
corruption? Do not the atrocities regularly chronicled about the Iraq
occupation, the allegations of torture, the cover-up of killings
perpetrated by "friendly fire," stoke the tempers of millions of
empathetic citizens?

Do we not recognize "self-righteous indignation" as a legitimate moral
response to low, conniving and immoral actions, and is "self-righteous
indignation" generated by anything other than welling anger at the crimes
and misdemeanors that outrage us as fraud follows fraud and scandal
follows scandal?

A person incapable of spontaneous anger when confronted by acts of
premeditated evil or rank corruption possesses a void where their sense of
righteousness should be. I would no sooner trust such a person than I
would consider giving him my vote. In a world where mendacity and
equivocation prevail, the absence of anger should be added to the list of
Seven Deadly Sins. It was anger at the British oppression that triggered
the American Revolution; anger at the callous disregard for the cruelties
of slavery which considerably contributed to the outbreak of the Civil
War. It was the violation of trust, the lies, and the cover-ups of the
Nixon administration that created the furor that led to that president's
resignation. "Anger," said Thomas Fuller in the 17th century, "is one of
the sinews of the soul; he that wants it (i.e., lacks it) hath a maimed
mind."

There is much to be angry about in America today and it is the gathering
crescendo of anger against the transgressions of the present
administration that is causing the groundswell of protest throughout the
nation and, indeed, the world.

When, in the 2004 election, Howard Dean seemed to whoop out his passion to
an assemblage of fellow Democrats in Iowa, he was roundly criticized on
all sides and it may well have been this single action that caused him to
retire from the race. It seemed to me more a whoop of enthusiasm than a
cry of belligerence, but even before this, Dean had in a spirited and
articulate manner expressed his angry dissatisfaction with the
Republicans' shortcomings.

The more anger one feels about corruption and mismanagement, the more a
force evolves to counter corruption and mismanagement. In a country where
civil rights are being routinely trampled and platitudinal hype is the
only form of political discourse that prevails, anger is a necessary
corrective. The opposite of anger is complacency, and God knows that has
done more harm to the Republic in the past six years than almost anything
else.

The onus against overt "anger" stems from a kind of deep-seated
conservative belief that "nice people" in the grips of tumultuous feeling
should moderate their speech and water down their passion. To "lose it" is
somehow the worst sin a civilized man can commit. (See Alec Baldwin's
recent tirade against his wayward daughter.) But when anger is consciously
diluted, it creates a subtle toxin which moves through the bloodstream and
into the heart. There, it accumulates and erupts with a far greater impact
than it would if it had been naturally released when it first appeared, or
it quietly festers causing permanent damage to the soul. It becomes the
breeding ground of those suppressions that Freud believed caused the most
disabling neuroses. When we see someone "all het up," we urge them to "get
it out of your system" - and for good reason, because if it doesn't, it
is the system that ultimately suffers the more ruinous consequences.
Rather than classes in Anger Management, it would be far more enabling to
have classes in venting one's rage. Or, as the Japanese do, create an
effigy of their most hated superiors, place them in a quiet,
out-of-the-way room and, when the feeling moves the workers, have them
repair to that room and pummel the hell out of their detested managers.

I say cast your vote for the orneriest, angriest candidate who comes down
the pike. If the old adage is true and one must fight fire with fire, we
need a fiery temperament to combat the deadly placidity of people such as
Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush, who bank on our placidity as
they draw us further into lethal strategies that cause the extinction of
young, brainwashed, tight-lipped servicemen.


--------11 of 13--------

Contrasts
by Carol Warner Christen

(Swans - May 21, 2007)   At my local bookstore's sale table, I picked up
two books: Radical Simplicity (1) and The Next World War. (2) In the
morning paper, The Oregonian, an article from The Boston Globe by Bryan
Bender on May Day was titled, "Oil's supply, cost threaten military's
reach." (3) On the Internet, Justin Raimondo wrote on April 30, 2007,
"Blueprint for Dictatorship: Recent legislation sets us up for tyranny."
(4) "The Impeachment Chronicles: Kucinich Introduces Articles of
Impeachment Against Cheney," by Bill Hare. (5) There are articles on bees
disappearing, water levels rising in the Pacific, and more and more of the
world being paved over with personal or group fortresses while foreclosing
on the mortgages of the overextended with interest rates moving up rapidly
while banks collapse.

Radical Simplicity by Dan Price is about creating an authentic life, as it
says on the book cover, and explains, "You can live a life of freedom, one
in harmony with the rhythms of nature, and your own internal rhythm and
creativity." He is basically advocating the freedom to live simply as our
ancient, pre-Sumerian ancestors did. Sumeria was in Iraq, the beginnings
of humankind's civilization. The United States has wrecked humankind's
heritage: the ziggurat, the archives, the museums, the very dirt was paved
over by American military gravel.

Here, on the other hand, giant homes and shopping centers are being
created to put as much space between people as is possible with a big
budget. Since one human woman cannot clean easily more than 2,000 square
feet, it means work for hired help at low wages. The life is stripped from
the site, replanted with special plants by a gardener, maintained by
crews, being both exotic and artificial. It also means longer trips for
necessities using petroleum products instead of one's own energy to get
around. A gated community barring children from elsewhere closes itself
inside locking out all others. If the site is a shopping center, all its
life is paved over to support one- or two-ton cars and big trucks and the
oil industry. The stores are huge and noisy without human interaction of
the meaningful kind. Houses fill up with stuff; more goes out to fill the
dumps. Perhaps, the word for this is "radical complexity" for profit that
is not in harmony with anything except monetary accumulation. It is truly
marvelous how money never gathers dust and the advertising never ceases
for a moment's peace or quiet. If "the play's the thing," (Shakespeare)
why is it interrupted every few minutes unless a commercial pitch is the
thing?

Just when I think that is bad enough, I start reading about The Next World
War, where "Computers Are the Weapons & the Front Line Is Everywhere" by
James Adams. Mr. Adams goes into great detail about using the
electromagnetic spectrum against undefined enemies. I couldn't tell when I
might be the object to kill by this overriding and overreaching idea that
people must fight each other rather than understanding each other. We have
the right to dissent in the United States of America on its public spaces;
however, the military and the politicians do not want the People to say a
single thing to them en masse in the streets. I thought "Brave New World,"
Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini had taught us the futility of the
totalitarian regimentation of humanity. The rigidity of American laws and
the length of prison sentences say differently. How many of us spell
"p-o-l-i-c-e s-t-a-t-e"?

Many of the weapons already created and many envisioned are to take the
People themselves down and out using a militaristic equation promoted in
secrecy by bureaucrats, the military itself, and the Executive Branch of
government where power seems to reside often hooked to local police
bureaus. Are police bureaus ranked upon who trumps whom? Do city police
outrank county sheriffs or vice versa? Can federal marshals override all
of them? What about the FBI or now the expensive "Homeland Security"
group? Is it higher or lower than the military? Can it trump state law or
city law? Where and why does right lie with force?

If the National Guard was created to defend the individual states, why was
it nationalized, its equipment sent overseas to be blown up or impregnated
with depleted uranium? Did the federal government pay for its
transportation to Iraq? The people of each state paid for the Guard and
the equipment. Now the equipment is depleted as well. There are piles of
metal in Iraq wasted, rusting, radioactive, while here the states cannot
care for natural disasters as they should. In order to function, the state
taxpayers will have to buy this stuff again for the state's benefit,
except it will be reconfiscated for foreign wars of choice against made-up
enemies, much like children take sides. There is some evidence in the book
about the next war that the People are going to become the targets, too,
with bizarre non-lethal weapons of mass silencing for the political good.
In other words, the government, our sub-system of the Constitution, feels
it owns us rather than owes us its duty. Hubristic white arrogance of
proportions shameful to humanity itself is popping up all over the planet
as our Constitutional Republic puts on airs as an empire.

Bryan Bender's article about a Pentagon study "warns that the rising cost
and dwindling supply of oil - the lifeblood of fighter jets, warships, and
tanks - will make the U.S. military's ability to respond ...'unsustainable
in the long term.'" Is there a single human out there who imagined that
life itself is sustainable using trillions of dollars for weapons and
moving vehicles, rather than growing food, healing the ill, the injured
soldiers, making life happy without armies? Selfishness and empire are not
sustainable concepts. Early humanity shared; we teach our children to
share; then, something untoward happens in one capital or another on the
planet: greed, blood, rape, death, and destruction arise because we are so
bored to tears with what we have created. We go along to get along and we
hope for rewards not our due. We are stealing and pillaging others'
countries, lives, and wealth for diminishing returns.

I, myself, have pondered the same question Justin Raimondo is pondering: a
dictatorship in the United States before, or during the next election. The
Congress has passed laws that pierce my soul: no habeas corpus; the
Defense Authorization Act; the Military Commissions Act; the Patriot Act.
The president now has powers to define a terrorist incident, an unlawful
combination, a conspiracy in progress to threaten national security and
domestic order; he is able to outlaw the opposition with the stroke of a
pen. The president can torture and he can hold anyone incommunicado
without trial as a "terrorist." He is so god-like He doesn't have to prove
it anymore. The Congress overwrote the Constitution on its own without any
authority from the People. The powerful shadows are calling the shots for
us now. I wrote my senators and representatives; nothing has changed. Who
are those people? What secret un-American deal allows such travesty? The
old question: "Is anybody out there?" is apropos more than ever. Are the
pod-people supreme?

On a television debate with all the Democratic presidential candidates,
Dennis Kucinich stood out to impeach the vice president. Mr. Kucinich took
out a copy of the Constitution from his pocket and said that was his
guide. Not one other person on stage came forward. Since neither officer
of the Executive Branch can run again, my feeling is very strong that an
incident in their favor will be created and the coup d'tat will happen
before our astonished eyes. It would be illegal on their part. Which
American citizen serf would stop them? You or me?

Finally, we remain like the god Janus looking backward to the way it was,
not forward to the way it may be because we refuse to see or hear our
denials about the state of our small planet. I mean earth is just a mere
8,000 miles in diameter with almost seven billion humans on it who have,
it appears, little regard for its welfare, their own welfare, or life's
welfare. Since we here were to "establish the general welfare," we have
failed on too many counts. Continuous warring began after WWII by our
politicians for stuff others owned. None of the warring was legal. We
manipulate the world to pretend it is okay if we do it.

Now look what we have done. Look hard and closely because much cannot be
undone without a serious reality check. I hear excuses for not listening,
not changing. I hear people avoiding reality to wallow in whatever their
favorite distraction may be. I see women degraded beyond belief. I see
children shot as "collateral damage." I see piles of rubble. I see an
occupation without honesty called a war. I see soldiers ignored for their
injuries, denied healing funds and doctors. I see denial as if everyone
were a practicing saint praying, preying. I see laws justified, such as
"for every action, there is an opposite, but equal, reaction" as the
center of our country is devastated again and again by storms and our
rubble piles up, too, pitifully evening the score.

There is a story about the blind leading the blind. Where are the great
ones of humanity? They are dead, many shot to silence them. Are you lost
in the crowds? Lost for want of an audience? Lost for want of time, of
life, of love? Life is a process of creation. Are we lost for want of
imagination except for weapons and games and profit? Radical complexity
has filled space and time; one man is testing its opposite.

I live on a farm created in 1894 and our house is a hops barn changed to
four Army apartments for wives in 1914. It is seventeen acres, mostly a
fen and some parts of a creek run through it. It drains the local hills
until the creek picks up the water. When we moved in, water sloshed
against the front of the "house" and destroyed its foundation. The state
highway department channeled the water here. I ditched into the streets to
protect our place. Once someone asked me if the streams around my house
were salmon runs! I dig because some of my ancestors were Welsh coal
miners; I figure I'm built for digging. It never tires me out. Plus, I was
a mechanical design drafter for engineering firms that designed water and
water treatment plants, prison water systems, and municipal systems, even
steel companies in Indiana, and Trojans as built in Oregon.

The state in Oregon owns the water unless it is a spring that never runs
off the property. The state and I had a standoff on the highway since we
were a house prior to his culvert. I told him if he kept it there, then he
(the state) had no right to say how I used the water. It was only a verbal
agreement, not binding, but ethically correct. If I have to, I will begin
to create terraced gardens watered by the state.

Our farm is in a shadow from satellites and cell phone towers. We might be
invisible. This brings me to the bees. I was worried when our apple trees
bloomed that there might be no bees. I went out last week during one
tree's flowering and the buzz of real bees was very loud and they were
everywhere on that tree. It is the only tree out of all lines of sight
from cell towers. Others around here have complained about their lack of
bees. We will all have to shadow our trees from our technology or starve.
How do we do that?

Last, but not least, is another article I did not mention above: "Sweet
Waters From a Bitter Fountain," by Richard C. Cook. (6) The article says
"the U.S. financial system headed by the Federal Reserve System has failed
and that only an emergency program of monetary reform can address
conditions which may be leading to a catastrophe like the Great Depression
or worse...But the analysis and recommendations contained in the report
may be surprising, even to many progressives."

The report is 28 pages long and is the fairest way - democratic
capitalism - to share what our parents built and we are squandering. It
removes financiers from the control of our monies and puts it back in the
Treasury where it belongs. The People benefit by the difference between
our gross domestic income and our debts. The GDI is higher than the debt.
Every human in the United States would actually get out of taxes and a
bonus of $12,000 each to begin living the life we thought we were earning,
which goes now to the wealthy only as the People become poorer and poorer
in time and money. To change the gross ineptness of the current system, I
would vote for this in a heartbeat. Our 750,000 homeless would, too. Read
it and weep for yourselves and your children or change it now.

Notes

1.  Dan Price. 2005. Radical Simplicity, creating an authentic life.
Running Press Book Publishers, 125 South Twenty-second Street,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-4399, back cover.  (back)

2.  James Adams. 1998. The Next World War: Computers Are the Weapons and
the Front Line Is Everywhere. Simon & Schuster, Rockefeller Center, 1230
Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.  (back)

3.  Bryan Bender. "Oil's supply, cost threaten military's reach," The
Boston Globe, The Oregonian, May 1, 2007.  (back)

4.  Justin Raimondo. "Blueprint for Dictatorship - Recent legislation sets
us up for tyranny," http://antiwar.com, April 30, 2007.  (back)

5.  Bill Hare. "The Impeachment Chronicles: Kucinich Introduces Articles
of Impeachment Against Cheney," http://politicalcortex.com, April 24,
2007.  (back)

6.  Richard C. Cook. "Sweet Waters From A Bitter Fountain." "Global
Research." http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17635.htm, May
2, 2007.  (back)


--------12 of 13--------

Driving Triangulation "Over the Dead Bodies" of the Progressive Movement
by David Sirota
Published on Monday, May 21, 2007 by Working For Change

The term "triangulation" in politics means a set of leaders trying joining
with their opponents to pass measures that run counter to those leaders'
own supporters. Typically, triangulation is practiced by presidents
against their own parties in Congress, with the master of triangulation
being President Bill Clinton who, among other things, rammed welfare
reform and NAFTA "over the dead bodies" of rank-and-file Democratic
lawmakers and the progressive movement. Can congressional leaders can pull
the same move? Unfortunately, we're going to find out very soon, as
congressional Democratic leaders are very clearly attempting to
triangulate against their own party on the three issues the party ran on
to win Election 2006.

TRADE - TRIANGULATING WITH A SECRET DEAL IN PURSUIT OF WALL STREET CASH

On trade, Public Citizen has shown that the Democratic Party relied on
candidates who ran against lobbyist-written trade deals in order to win
many of the crucial conservative-leaning districts that were necessary to
win the congressional majority. Yet, as we've seen over the last week, a
handful of senior Democratic leaders are joining with the Bush White House
in an attempt to ram an ultra-secret free trade deal through Congress,
acknowledging that in order to be successful, they will rely on all
Republicans and just 25 percent of Democratic lawmakers. As rank-and-file
Democratic lawmakers and organizations representing millions of workers,
farmers and small businesses have raised objections to the deal, Reuters
reports today that Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY)
is digging in, saying that if he knew what he knew now about how serious
rank-and-file Democratic opposition to lobbyist-written trade policy was,
he would have tried to negotiate the deal in even more secrecy than it was
negotiated in in the first place.

On Bill Moyers' terrific PBS report on Friday about the secret deal,
author John R. MacArthur says the motivations for the triangulation on
trade are obvious. "This is like the NAFTA campaign of the '90s, an
attempt by the Democratic leadership - in those days it was the Clintons -
to raise money from Wall Street". You can watch Bill Moyers' entire piece
on the secret deal here.

This drive to triangulate on trade has now reached a point where the
handful of Democrats who made the deal are publicly attacking those
rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers, labor, environmental, health, human
rights, religious, consumer protection and agricultural groups raising
questions about the deal. On Friday, Reuters reported that Ways and Means
Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) "offered no apology" for
negotiating the deal in secret or for continuing to conceal the
legislative text of the deal. Instead, he went on the attack, saying the
only thing he would do differently would be to "ignore a lot of people
that really were just wasting my time". He claimed innocently that "I
cannot see how anybody would be upset" by the deal, even though as Public
Citizen shows today, the list of reforms to current trade policies that
fair trade groups forwarded to Democratic leaders many months ago was
almost entirely brushed aside by Rangel, as were proposals for a whole new
framework for global trade deals.

TRIANGULATION STRATEGY: The dynamics set up a situation whereby the
Democratic congressional leadership and less than half of all Democratic
lawmakers (as during NAFTA) join with all Republicans to ram a free trade
package through Congress over the objections of the progressive movement
and rank-and-file Democrats who ran against lobbyist-written trade
policies in 2006.

LOBBYING - TRIANGULATING TO PERPETUATE THE CULTURE OF CORRUPTION

Most observers agree that outrage at the Republican's corruption scandals
and Democrats promise to clean up the "culture of corruption" helped
Democrats win in 2006. Yet, late last week, The Politico reported that
Democrats on the House Judiciary committee yesterday "scrapped a beefed-up
provision of the Lobbying Reform Bill that would have prohibited former
lawmakers and senior staff from lobbying their former colleagues during
their first two years out of office". The original bill would have
extended the revolving door ban from one to two years, but the amendment
eliminating that provision passed by a unanimous voice vote. AP reports
that "several days of backroom deal-making where some of the toughest
proposed reforms were left on the cutting-room floor". The shenanigans
come just as freshman Democrats announced their demands for a much
stronger anti-corruption bill.

TRIANGULATION STRATEGY: The dynamics set up a situation whereby the
Democratic congressional leadership would join with all Republicans to ram
a sham lobbying "reform" bill through Congress potentially over the
objections of many of rank-and-file Democrats and the progressive
movement.

IRAQ - POTENTIAL TRIANGULATION TO KEEP THE WAR GOING

Finally, Iraq - the big issue that helped Democrats win in 2006. The
Associated Press reports that congressional Democratic leaders may be
backing away from using their power to oppose the war, floating the
possibility of an Iraq War supplemental bill that "would allow the
president to waive compliance with a deadline for troop withdrawals". The
New York Times says that the "likelihood that any final agreement will
specify no withdrawal date for American troops from Iraq raised the
possibility that antiwar Democrats will not support it, particularly in
the House, and that the measure will need substantial Republican support
to pass".

TRIANGULATION STRATEGY: The dynamics set up a situation whereby the
Democratic congressional leadership would join with all Republicans to ram
a blank check Iraq spending bill through Congress potentially over the
objections of many of rank-and-file Democrats and the progressive
movement.

***
Where is the motivation for triangulation coming from? As MacArthur says,
at least some of it comes from money - especially the issues like trade
and corruption that deal directly with Wall Street's power over the
Democratic Party. But I'd also say it comes from the psychology of those
who the Democratic Party elders in Washington have grown used to listening
to. Remember, Washington is a place dominated by David Broderism - that
is, the religion that says bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake should
be the ultimate goal of politics, regardless of the policies being pushed
in bipartisanship's name. The Democratic Party - far more than the
Republican Party - often seems to play to the opinions of the David
Broder, rather than the opinions of the vast majority of the American
people.

That has more than a little something to do with the kinds of people who
have dominated the Democratic Party: Washington insiders, many of whom are
former Clinton officials. Many of these people really do believe that
making David Broder happy is more important than making America happy, and
thus that making any deal, even a bad one, is better than fighting for
things.

We see this with, for instance, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) - the Clinton
aide who helped triangulate the White House against congressional
Democrats to ram NAFTA "over the dead bodies" of the progressive movement,
as American Express's CEO bragged at the time. He is running around
bragging about working to pass the secret trade deal over the objections
of 75 percent of congressional Democrats, and he has been using his
position as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus to try to prevent an
open debate on the still-secret deal.

Then there is Leon Panetta, a former chief of staff to Clinton. He is
quoted in the New York Times vomiting up a rancid bucket of Broderism:

"Leon E. Panetta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, said
he had been concerned, once the Democrats took control of Congress, that
"an awful lot of blood in the water" would prevent the parties from coming
to terms on "low-hanging fruit" like immigration and trade. In Mr.
Panetta's view, the talks [over trade and immigration] are a good sign.
"Whether it can go into bigger areas like the war remains to be seen," he
said. "But it clearly helps build at least a rapport that you absolutely
need if you're going to try to come to a deal.."

As you can see, Panetta doesn't care about what's being talked about, or
the substance of whatever deals are made on issues - all he seems to care
about is making a deal. This same kind of attitude is spewed by the
Beltway press, as evidenced by its trumpeting of the secret trade deal
without ever having seen the actual legislative language of the deal. It
is a psychology that prioritizes any deal on any issue - even one that
sells out the Democratic Party's agenda and the interests of the vast
majority of the American people - is good.

Thus, we get Democratic leaders who just months after election to the
majority are attempting to triangulate against their own party and the
progressive movement. That this strategy helped destroy the progressive
agenda, the Democratic Party, and Democrats' electoral prospects for the
better part of a decade seems of no concern to the people trying to
perform these acrobatics - all they seem to be focused on is bringing a
smile to David Broder's face and a truckload of Wall Street cash to their
campaign coffers. Whether their triangulation defies political history and
brings them electoral success in 2008 is less important than what the
actual real-world consequences of such behavior is for the country - and
if the current trend continues, those consequences could be severe.

David Sirota is the author of the book Hostile Takeover. To subscribe to
Sirota's regular newsletter, go to www.davidsirota.com and sign up on the
left hand side.

 2007 David Sirota


--------13 of 13--------

We're the US and We're Here to Help Your Nation
The Dark Side of Democracy Promotion
By PAUL BOUCHHEIT
CounterPunch
May 21, 2007

The White House has clearly stated goals of promoting democracy around the
world. Does this work? Let's consider the past and present.

In 1950 Jacobo Arbenz was democratically elected president of Guatemala.
He tried to help native Mayan Indians regain rightful ownership of their
land, which had been appropriated by the United Fruit Company (UFC). But
the powerful conservative base in the U.S. saw the land reforms as
communist activities. By 1954, after nearly 400,000 acres of uncultivated
land had been redistributed to the native population, UFC launched a
public relations campaign to portray Arbenz as a Marxist and a threat to
freedom. The Eisenhower administration backed the idea of a coup. By late
1953 the CIA was excitedly planning the bribes, propaganda, infiltration,
and sabotage that would harass Arbenz into a humiliating resignation.

After the 1954 overthrow, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon noted that
"this is the first instance in history where a communist government has
been replaced by a free one." In the 40 years following, over 100,000
Guatemalans, most of them native Mayans, were slaughtered in one of the
most brutal ethnic cleansings in recent history. Anyone suspected of
leftist influences was subject to torture and death. This included
priests, teachers, students, lawyers, journalists, and anyone who might be
capable of organizing the people. A military mentality flourished through
the years as the U.S. continually supported the Guatemalan army with money
and military training. A Guatemalan Historical Commission concluded in
1999 that US- trained and US-supported military forces had been
responsible for most of the human rights abuses during the war. The
commission estimated that over 200,000 Guatemalans were killed. President
Clinton admitted U.S. involvement and issued a formal apology.

* * *
In 1962 the little country of the Dominican Republic was freed from
President Trujillo's oppressive rule and Juan Bosch became the country's
first democratically-elected president in 40 years. He introduced land
reform, low-rent housing, nationalization of businesses, and public works
projects. Nationalization and civil liberties, and especially Bosch's
tolerance of communists, frightened Washington. Bosch was forced out in
1963 by a military coup supported by the United States. Newsweek magazine
said, "Democracy was being saved from communism by getting rid of
democracy."

In 1965 popular support appeared ready to return Bosch to office, but the
U.S. intervened again. President Johnson and the CIA announced that
communists had infiltrated Bosch's party. To placate the U.S. public they
claimed to be protecting the lives of Americans in the Dominican Republic.
23,000 American troops invaded the country, and the bombing of Santo
Domingo was approved. About 3000 Dominicans, many of them civilians, were
killed. Reputable sources later showed that even Bosch's opponents scoffed
at the idea of a communist takeover. In an eerie parallel to the failed
search for WMD in Iraq 40 years later, the search for communists turned up
almost nothing, and American troops remained in the country long after the
invasion.

* * *
In 1970 Salvadore Allende was elected President of Chile. The South
American country had a strong democratic society with a high literacy rate
and bright prospects for its sizable middle class. Allende was a
passionate supporter of people's rights and the nationalization of
industries that were controlled by American companies. He was also
friendly with Cuba and China. In 1973 a CIA-supported coup assassinated
him (or pressured him into committing suicide) and installed General
Augusto Pinochet, who tortured and murdered thousands of people over the
next two decades.

At least 40,000 citizens of Chile were tortured under the Pinochet
government from 1973 until 1990. They suffered rapes, beatings, electric
shock, sleep deprivation. A document released by the U.S. Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2000, titled "CIA Activities in Chile",
revealed that the CIA actively supported Pinochet.

* * *
In the early 1980s, the small Caribbean nation of Grenada achieved a 9%
cumulative growth rate under socialist-leaning Prime Minister Maurice
Bishop. Unemployment dropped from 49% to 14%. The government developed a
diversified agricultural base that sharply reduced imports. The literary
rate rose from 85% to 98%. Free health care and secondary education
systems were established. Although there were aspects of repression to
Bishop's government, the overall human rights record was good. Bishop
supported the Soviets, but his own government was more of a 'popular
socialism.'

In 1983 military extremists killed Bishop. The U.S., which had been
hostile toward Bishop and frequently hinted at Cuban or Soviet
infiltration, seized the opportunity to invade the island and take over
the government. The attack was called Operation 'Urgent Fury.' The
official reason for the invasion was the protection of American lives,
although employees of the U.S. embassy reported no need for urgency.

Most of the world opposed the invasion. The United Nations Security
Council voted to condemn it, but this action was vetoed by the United
States. The General Assembly also voted against the invasion. Despite
post-invasion aid from the U.S., the quality of life deteriorated for most
islanders. No pediatricians or psychiatrists remained in the country (the
U.S. bombed the mental hospital during the invasion). Many foreign doctors
and teachers were arrested and deported by the U.S. The island's only
radio station was taken over by the U.S. Navy and the press was censored.

* * *
In 1990 Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a Catholic priest, was elected president
in Haiti's first free democratic election. He was popular among the poor
for his social programs, and he opposed industry privatization measures
that were supported by the upper class. After a few months in office
Aristide was overthrown by a US-backed military coup. The Council on
Hemispheric Affairs stated after the coup: "Under Aristide...Haiti seemed
to be on the verge of tearing free from the fabric of despotism and
tyranny..." In 2000 Aristide was re-elected president with over 90% of the
vote. The US-led Organization of American States claimed that the election
was conducted unfairly, and the U.S. began to withhold foreign aid from
Haiti. In 2003 the country was forced to send 90% of its foreign reserves
to Washington to pay off its debt.

Conditions in Haiti remain desperate, with crumbling roads and
infrastructure and nonexistent public services. Haiti is the poorest
country in the western hemisphere, with unemployment at 70% and half the
adults illiterate. The great majority (85%) of Haitians live on less than
$1 U.S. per day. The richest 1% of the population controls nearly half of
all of Haiti's wealth.

* * *
How about today in Iraq, where our democracy objective is clearer than
ever? A recent study by Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank shows a
sevenfold increase in the annual rate of fatal terrorist attacks around
the world since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. Even outside Iraq and
Afghanistan such attacks have increased by over one-third. Data was taken
from the MIPT-RAND Terrorism database (terrorismknowledgebase.org),
generally regarded as the best public database on terrorism. Terrorist
attacks were defined as politically- motivated jihadist attacks on
civilians with at least one fatality. And it's getting worse each year.
According to Iraq Body Count, "almost half (44%) of all violent civilian
deaths after the initial invasion phase occurred in the just-ended fourth
year of the conflict."

Paul Buchheit is a Professor, Harold Washington College in Chicago. He can
be reached at: pbuchheit [at] ccc.edu


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