Progressive Calendar 09.13.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2007 19:30:13 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    09.13.07

1. Venezuela in MN  9.14 9:30am/11am/5:30pm
2. Venezuela/rights 9.14 4:30pm
3. Palestine        9.14 4:30pm
4. Rachel Corrie    9.14 7:30pm
5. Baghdad/poet     9.14 7:30pm
6. Tour de Sprawl   9.14/15

7. China Market     9.15 10am
8. UofM strike      9.15 10am
9. NWN4P Minnetonka 9.15 11am
10. Natural home    9.15 12noon
11. Anti-war march  9.15 1pm
12. Nature benefit  9.15 7pm Duluth
13. Uworker benefit 9.15 7pm
14. War/IQ/CTV      9.15 9pm

15. Justice walk    9.16 11:30am
16. StillwaterVigil 9.16 1pm
17. Big pharma      9.16 3pm
18. Amnesty Intl    9.16 3pm

19. Michael Cavlan - Green Party: what is it?
20. Ted Rall       - The war party: Dems lie to prolong Iraq
21. B Ehrenreich   - College students, welcome to a lifetime of debt!
22. Ron Jacobs     - A talk with an anti-imperialist organizer
23. EB Patton      - US withdraws completely from Middle East
24. ed             - Dem party Dragnet  (haiku)

--------1 of x--------

From: Tim Jordan <jord0199 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Venezuela in MN 9.14 9:30am/11am/5:30pm

Venezuelan Delegation in Minnesota on September 14, 2007

The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela cordially invites
community and grassroots organizations, students, and the labor movement
to participate in a series of events in the Twin Cities next Friday,
September 14, 2007. The Honorable Ambassador of Venezuela to the United
States, Bernardo Alvarez, will be visiting Minneapolis-St. Paul as part of
a tour of the Midwest, along with the Consul for Venezuela in Chicago,
Martín Sánchez, Omar Sierra, and Marcos García, labor attache at the
Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC.

All the following events are free and open to the public:

9:30 am to 11:00 am
Meeting with the Venezuelan delegation to discuss questions of
integration, exchange, and international solidarity, presented by
Ambassador Alvarez. Representatives of community and grassroots
organizations, cooperatives, etc. are invited to join this important
discussion.
Lugar Playwrights' Center, <http://www.pwcenter.org/>
http://www.pwcenter.org/ 2301 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
55406-1099 Contact: 612.408.7375

11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Meeting with Martin Sanchez (Venezuelan  Consul in Chicago) and Marcos
Garcia (Labor Attache for the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC) to
discuss the labor movement in Venezuela and what U.S. and Venezuelan workers
can learn from each other.
United Labor Center 312 Central Ave. SE (Corner of Univ. and Central Fifth
Floor) Contact:  <mailto:jp [at] handsoffvenezuela.org>
jp [at] handsoffvenezuela.org or 651-373-7609

Reception from 5:30 to 6:00 pm  Recepción. Presentation and discussion
from 6:00 to 7:30 pm.
Conference with Ambassador Alvarez on "Socialism of the XXI Century".
Where is Venezuela going?  Come learn about the proposed changes to the
Venezuelan Constitution and the proposals for participatory, and communal
democracy.
Macalester College, Weyerhauser Board Room, Weyerhauser
Building(Corner of Grand & Macalester St. Contact: SorielxxI [at] aol.com or
651-696-6772 and  612 -232-1786

tim jordan jord0199 [at] umn.edu


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From: kathryn ansley <kathryn.2001 [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Venezuela 9.14 4:30pm

This Friday the 14th 4:30 -5:30 pm at the Peace Chapel in the Grace
University Lutheran Church on the east bank of the U of MN campus, near
the medical school, the Consulate from Venezuela and I will be drinking
good coffee and eating sweet foods. Discussion will be informal, centered
around health & human rights in the global context.

It'd be a great time to strategize about various projects, learn more
about what is going on in the South. This is an open invitation to all
folks interested-- translators, public health, nursing students, medical
students, community members, etc. Network for social change, global
health, & community based universal health care.

Rebecca
 Medical Student & 2006/2007 Fulbright Scholar in Venezuela
-My Bike Takes Me Places That School Never Could
Rebecca Trotzky-Sirr MS3 U of MN 612 817 3822"


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From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Palestine 9.14 4:30pm

Friday, 9/14, 4:30 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end the occupation of Palestine,
Snelling & Summit Aves, St Paul.  Karen, 651-283-3495.


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From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Rachel Corrie 9.14 7:30pm

"Rachel Corrie: a Life for Others" Dramatic Reading

Friday, September 14, 7:30 p.m. Macalester Plymouth United Church, 1658
Lincoln Avenue, St. Paul. At the age of 23, Rachel Corrie was working with
a nonviolent peace group in Gaza, trying to prevent a Palestinian home
from being destroyed, when her life was snuffed out by an Israeli
bulldozer in March of 2003. Professional actors read from her journals and
e-mail exchanges with her family and friends. Discussion led by Karen
Redleaf and Florence Steichen to follow. Donations accepted. Presented by:
The War Plays Project. FFI: Call Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642.


--------5 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Baghdad/poet 9.14 7:30pm

Friday, 9/14, 7:30 pm, poet Ann Iverson reads from her new book "Definite
Space" including the emotional journey of her stepson's 2 tours in
Baghdad, Gliddens Learning Center, room 100 E, Hamiline U, St Paul.
www.hamline.edu/events/calendar/


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From: Joshua Houdek <joshua.houdek [at] sierraclub.org>
Subject: Tour de Sprawl 9.14/15

Last chance to pre-register for the 12th Annual Tour de Sprawl (aka Tour
de Dakota County) is Friday (9/14).  The Tour begins at 9:30am on
Saturday, (9/15) at Lebanon Hills Park in Eagan.  24 miles of relaxed
bicycle riding, highlighting growth and development issues.  Great
local/organic food, vehicle support, solar powered live jazz and guest
speakers. Pre-registration is $15.  Kids/students are FREE but
registration is required - please help us plan for you.

Ride the Tour de Dakota County
Saturday, September 15
www.northstar.sierraclub.org/tour-de-sprawl
612-659-9124


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From: Doris Marquit <marqu001 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: China Market 9.15 10am

Women's International League for Peace & Freedom presents:
"Coffee With": Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, 10 am to noon
Van Cleve Community Ctr., 901 15th Ave. SE, Mpls
FREE - EVERYONE WELCOME
FFI: 651-458-7090; www.wilpfmn.org

The Quest for Social Justice in China's Socialist Market Economy
Speaker: Erwin Marquit, professor emeritus, U of M, leader of study tours
to China and Vietnam

China's mixed market economy has led to social problems such as pollution,
hazardous working conditions, loss of free health care and education, and
a growing income gap between rich and poor. However, besides cutting the
number of people living below the poverty level, it has also raised the
average standard of living, life expectancy, and educational levels.
Drawing on recent extended visits to China, the speaker will address the
question of whether the current Chinese policies of economic development
will enhance or obstruct its quest for social justice.


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From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com>
Subject: UofM strike 9.15 10am

Every Saturday, 10am - 12pm Community / Labor Strike Support Committee
meets every Saturday at Strike Headquarters - University Baptist Church,
1219 University Ave SE, Minneapolis.  All supporters welcome.


--------9 of x--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P Minnetonka 9.15 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the
fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.


--------10 of x--------

From: AmiVoeltz DoItGreen <mngreenguide [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Natural home 9.15 12noon

SEPT./OCT. Green Spending & Investing

Expand your local spending power, support community banks and learn about
green investing from a panel of financial advisors. Create either a basic
financial cash flow or a green investment portfolio.

Sat, Sept 15th 12-2pm
Natural Built Home 4020 Minnehaha Ave, Mpls


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From: Wyn Douglas <wyn_douglas [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Anti-war march 9.15 1pm

ANTI-WAR MARCH IN ST. PAUL
On September 15 a coalition of organizations will sponsor an anti-war
protest in the Twin Cities area. This protest will coincide with a
September 15 national anti-war protest in Washington D.C. initiated by the
national ANSWER Coalition and a week of nationally coordinated peace
actions (Sept. 14-21) initiated by the national Declaration of Peace
campaign.  September 15 is the deadline for the Bush Administration and
the Pentagon to report to Congress on the "surge"  of U.S. forces sent to
Iraq earlier this year.  Also, in September, Congress will be considering
new funding for the war in Iraq.

SATURDAY SEPT. 15, 2007
1PM GATHER
1:30 PM MARCH
Cathedral of St. Paul
239 Selby Avenue in St. Paul, MN

A march from the Cathedral will proceed past the Xcel Energy Center
to the State Capitol for a closing rally.

Fall Actions Against the War, Initiated by IPAC (Iraq Peace Action
Committee).
   For more info:  Women Against Military Madness 612-827-5364,
Veterans for Peace 612-821-9141, Twin Cities Peace Campaign/Focus on
Iraq 612-522-1861, Military Families Speak Out: mfso-
minnesota [at] mn.rr.com, Anti-War Committee 612-379-3899.

--
From: David Strand <mncivil [at] yahoo.com>

Take a Chartered Bus to the Anti-Iraq War Rally
Saturday, September 15
Noon - Bus leaves from Target at Highways 101 and 7
1pm - March from Cathedral of St. Paul to State Capitol
1:30pm - Rally at the State Capitol

Cost - $5 Round Trip - For Reservations, Contact
Warren Blechert <blechert [at] mchsi.com> 952-454-2233

Let's stand up and be counted! Let's join in with peace, anti-war,
student, faith-based and other organizations to march to end the war now!
This could be the biggest demonstration Minnesota has seen since Vietnam.
It coincides with the national anti-war protest in Washington D.C.  The
Lake Country Progressives are making it easy to be a part of this by
arranging bus transportation to the Cathedral.

When the rally is over, we will be picked up at the State Capitol and
delivered back to our cars in Minnetonka about 4:15 p.m.  (Because the
organizers are hoping for 15,000 people, it would be hard to find a place
to park, if we all drove individually).  Please make your reservations
soon.

Encourage family and friends to come to the rally, and bring signs if you
wish.  March with fellow progressives to let George Bush know that
Minnesota wants the U.S. Military out of Iraq now!


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From: Debbie <ddo [at] mchsi.com>
Subject: Nature benefit 9.15 7pm Duluth

Hartley Nature Center
Fourth Annual Eat Sweets, Bid on Treats!
Benefit Auction
Saturday, September 15th
7-10:00 p.m.
Hartley Nature Center 3001 Woodland Ave. Duluth, MN

This special evening will feature Gourmet Desserts, Fine Wines and Ale's
and live music with Sara Thomsen.

Auction items include:  Trip to Orlando, FL, Wilderness Experiences and
Getaways, Nature Theme Baskets, Outdoor Gear Packages, Art, gift
certificates, books and much more.

Auction proceeds help fund Hartley's educational program and park
stewardship efforts.  100% of ticket sales goes towards Hartley's School
Scholarship Fund.

Cost:  $35.00 per person.  Order tickets by phone or mail.  Call Hartley at
218-724-6735 for more information.


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From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com>
Subject: U worker benefit 9.15 7pm

Benefit to Support U of M Workers
SAT, 9/15 @ 7pm @ CWA Hall, 3521 E. Lake St. Mpls

AFSCME Clerical, Technical, & Healthcare workers at the U of M will strike
on 9/5.  They need our support.  Please join us for an evening of solidarity
to support the AFSCME  U of M strikers.  Come hear updates from the striking
unions & statements of support from other unions.  Collection will benefit
AFSCME U of M Workers Support Fund. Sponsored by the Labor &  Community
Strike Support Committee, Uworkers.org, 612.234.8774


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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: War/IQ/CTV 9.15 9pm

Revered Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am.  Households with basic cable can watch!

9/15 9pm and 9/18 8am  "Intellectuals in a Time of War".   Interview
of University of Minnesota professor Richard Martinez.  Hosted by Eric
Angell.


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From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Justice walk 9.16 11:30am

Headwaters Foundation Walk for Justice

Sunday, September 16, 11:30 a.m. Boom Island Park, 8th Avenue and Sibley
Street Northeast, Minneapolis. Free parking is available at the corners of
8th Avenue and Sibley Street and 8th Avenue and Ramsey Street. It's not
too late to register and walk for justice! Join WAMM supporters before the
walk at 11:30 a.m. for pre-walk festivities. Registration starts at 11:30
and a short presentation is at noon. Sign up to walk with WAMM or to
pledge a walker at <www.walkforjustice.org>, call WAMM 612-827-5364, or
email <es1968 [at] yahoo.com>.


--------16 of x--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 9.16 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560


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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Big pharma/f/talk 9.16 3pm

Ideas to Mobilize People Against Corporate Tyranny (IMPACT) facilitates a
discussion of the documentary film:

"Big Bucks, Big Pharma"
Sun, September 16, 3 pm
Mayday Bookstore, 301 Cedar Ave U of M West Bank, Mpls

Big Bucks, Big Pharma (45 min, 2006) pulls back the curtain on the
multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry to expose the insidious ways
that illness is used, manipulated, and in some instances created, for
capital gain.  Focusing on the industry's marketing practices, media
scholars and health professionals help viewers understand the ways in
which direct-to-consumer advertising glamorizes and normalizes the use of
prescription medication.  Ultimately, Big Bucks, Big Pharma challenges us
to ask important questions about the consequences of relying on a
for-profit industry for our health and well-being.

Dr. Joel Albers, Pharm.D., Health Care Economics Researcher, Clinical
Pharmacist and activist with Universal Health Care Action Network - MN
will help facilitate the post-screening discussion.

The event is FREE; however, we ask that you consider giving a donation
to, or patronizing, our host: Mayday Bookstore  **

IMPACT (Ideas to Mobilize People Against Corporate Tyranny) is a
grassroots group of concerned citizens whose purpose is to raise awareness
about the impact of corporations on our society, promote sustainable
lifestyles, and mobilize ourselves and our communities to take cooperative
action. We believe another world is possible: a world where people and the
earth are more valued than profits!

FFI: http://wmom.typepad.com/impact/


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From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 9.16 3pm

GROUP 37 SEPTEMBER MEETING REMINDER: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH - 3 TO 5 P.M.

Join us for our regular meeting on Sunday, September 16th, from 3:00 to
5:00 p.m.

We will share actions on human rights cases around the world and get
updates on the work of our sub-groups.

All are welcome at the meeting, and refreshments will be provided.

Location: Center for Victims of Torture, 717 E. River Rd. SE, Minneapolis
(corner of E. River Rd. and Oak St.). Park on street or in the small lot
behind the center (the Center is a house set back on a large lawn).


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From: Michael Cavlan greenpartymike <ollamhfaery [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Green Party: what is it?

Greens and Fellow Allies:

This is a copy of an article that was just sent out. I have been active
with a national group called We Democrats for some time. They are a small
d democratic type of group. There is a national newsletter put out by them
that has a circulation of 60,000. When their Editor, a woman called Norla
found out that we Greens do not accept corporate or PAC money, she became
very interested in us. She asked me to write an article 300-500 words long
on about us greens and specifically on our priciple of not accepting
corporate money. I was very busy so I asked for help from our Party. I
recieved that help from one of the membership in whom I have a great deal
of respect for who did most of the below story. The individual has chosen
to remain anonymous and not have their name associated with the article
and I respect that wish but still remain extermely grateful of the
individual.

So anyway, here is the article that is now been sent out to a national
newsletter of 60,000 people. We Greens should be extremely proud of
ourselves. Feel free to pass on as you see fit.

If interested in reading the rest of the newsletter, then google We!
and/or we democrats and that should get it up.

I Remain Yours,
Michael Cavlan

The U.S. Green Party movement started in 1984 from a conference held in
St. Paul, Minnesota. As a set of principles it adopted the four pillars of
the worldwide Green movement: Grassroots Democracy, Social and Economic
Justice, Ecological Wisdom, and Nonviolence. To these it added six more:
Decentralization, Community-based Economics, Gender Equity, Respect for
Diversity, Personal and Global Responsibility, and Sustainability.

As these principles imply, the Green movement calls for a whole new kind
of politics - a politics based on people, not on money. Greens walk their
talk. They accept no contributions from corporations, foundations, or
political action committees. They are decentralized. State-based Green
parties have formed a national association, but each state adopts its own
constitution and platform, all resting on the key values listed above.
They advocate electoral reforms, including instant runoff voting,
proportional representation, and public financing of campaigns. They
advocate reform of corporate laws that give property equal rights with
people.

Greens are friends of small business, local economies, human and workers'
rights, and keeping growth within sustainable limits. They look to the
future and insist that decisions about our economy, our technologies, our
consumption, and our resources be based on long-term community goals that
respect the needs of generations yet to come. While not strict pacifists,
Greens reject war as an instrument of national policy in a world of global
interdependence and a threatened environment. Members of Green parties are
encouraged not only to vote Green, but to live a Green lifestyle as far as
possible.

One of the guiding principles of the Greens is Grassroots Democracy.
Inherent in that is that the Green Party, as an institution and Green
Party candidates can not and will not accept any money from corporate or
PAC interests. Greens believe that this money is corrupting our entire
democracy. This at the root of so many of the problems we face in our
society today; from the Iraq war and occupation, to the impending crisis
of global warming and climate change. Likewise Greens hold that this
corruption of our democracy by corporate and other wealthy interests is
behind these problems and our governments reaction or lack of action to
them.

This principle, a refusal to accept money from the monied interests that
own our democracy, media and so much of society is what makes Greens so
different. The Green Party takes its positions and promotes its agenda
specifically because it is not beholden to any corporate or any other
wealthy monied interest.

Supporting those who take these positions, with more than just rhetoric
but with actions and deeds may just be the last true hope we have, here in
the United States to have an actual representative democracy. Or people
can continue to support the corporate monied corruption and the system
that, rhetoric aside, keeps it in place.

As the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while
expecting different results.

Michael Cavlan
Green Party candidate
US Senate 2006
Minnesota


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The War Party: Democrats Lie to Prolong Iraq; Reporters Go Along
by Ted Rall
Published on Thursday, September 13, 2007 by Ted Rall.com

Americans don't know how their government works. Democrats, in control of
Congress, are taking advantage of our ignorance to continue the Iraq War.
Which brings up two questions: Why won't the "antiwar" Democrats act to
stop the carnage? And why aren't reporters calling them on it?

"Democrats," writes Charles Babington in an Associated Press item that
appeared in hundreds of newspapers, "control both chambers [of Congress]
but lack the numbers to override President Bush's vetoes of bids to
mandate troop withdrawals from Iraq". It's a half-truth at best: the
Democrats' narrow majority is less than the two-thirds majority they'd
need to override a presidential veto. Here's the full truth: it doesn't
matter.

In June Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's Extra! Magazine wrote: "If
the Democrat-controlled Congress wanted to force the Bush administration
to accept a bill with a withdrawal timeline, it didn't have to pass the
bill over Bush's veto - it just had to make clear that no Iraq War
spending bill without a timeline would be forthcoming..

Democratic leaders know that. And here's how I know they know: days after
taking control of Congress, on January 30, they invited five
constitutional law experts to testify before the Senate Judiciary
Committee to ask them how they could end the war. Four out of five of the
experts swore that the Democrats could stop the Iraq War just.like.that.

"Today we've heard convincing testimony and analysis that Congress has the
power to stop the war if it wants to," said Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI).
Yet eight months later, there's still no end in sight.

The Dems won the 2006 elections with promises to end the war. Weeks after
taking over Congress, however, Republicans spooked them with one of the
most ludicrous talking points of all time. Cutting off the money, they
said, would abandon U.S. soldiers at the front, their ammo dwindling as Al
Qaeda insurgents swarmed over them. (Actually, the fact that I have to
write this speaks to the American rights intellectual dishonesty - the
troops would go to the airport. They would board airplanes. They would fly
home.)

Democrats worry that they'll be portrayed as weak on defense if they act
unilaterally to pull out of Iraq. Irony of ironies, they're wussing out to
avoid looking wimpy. Forcing Republicans to vote with them to end the war,
they calculate, would give them political cover. Extra! continued:
"Democrats may not have wanted to pay the supposed political costs of
[cutting off funding], but news coverage should have made clear that this
was a choice, not something forced on them by the lack of a veto-proof
majority".

Rather than set the record straight, the media continues to spread the
Democrats-can't-stop-the-Republican-war meme this week:

Michael Duffy, Time magazine: "If Democrats had more votes - particularly
in the House - they might be able to force Bush to change course. But Bush
will fight any resolution fencing him in with a veto that, as things stand
now, the Democrats cannot override. But the President's critics will
continue to try, hoping to attract moderate Republicans who are fearful of
losing their seats next year". Occasionally Time invites me to its
Christmas party. If I score an invite this year, my present for their
fact-checkers will be a copy of the Constitution.

Marcella Bombardieri, The Boston Globe: "In the Senate, Democrats have
only a 51 to 49 majority, far from the 60 votes needed to prevent a
filibuster and the 67 needed to override a presidential veto. All efforts
to force a troop withdrawal have failed, and the party will have to count
on substantial Republican defections to make any further progress this
fall". I'll be checking the Globe for a retraction.

Brian Knowlton, The New York Times: Knowlton dutifully quoted Democratic
Senator Joe Biden's claim that there were "political limits on his party,
even with the Congressional majority it has held since the November
midterm elections" "This is the president's war," [Biden] said. "Unless we
get 67 votes to override his veto, there's nothing we can do to stop this
war.." Not only did the Times fail to call Biden on his brazen lie, it
gave him the last word.

You'd think the Democrats would want to end the Iraq War before their
likely retaking of the White House, but that's because you're a human
being, not a politician. Politicians are happy to dispatch hundreds of
young American men and women to certain death (along with thousands of
Iraqis), if the bloodshed squeezes out an extra half percentage point at
the polls. Reid and Pelosi prefer to run against a disastrous ongoing
Republican war than point to a fragile Democratic-brokered peace.

Why are so many respected journalists parroting the Democratic party line?
I suspect that corporate media culture, rather than Judith Miller-style
malfeasance, is largely to blame. Ink-stained newsrooms have been replaced
by bullpen offices indistinguishable from those of banks or insurance
companies. Reporters used to come from the working classes. They
distrusted politicians and businessmen, and politicians and businessmen
loathed them. Today's journalists are products of cookie-cutter journalism
schools. Because graduate schools rarely offer scholarships, few come from
the lower or middle classes. They look like businessmen. When they meet a
politician, they see a possible friend. They wear suits and ties. And when
a U.S. senator like Joe Biden feeds them a line of crap, they gobble it
up.

Ted Rall is the author of the new book "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia
the New Middle East?," an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of
America's next big foreign policy challenge.
 2007 Ted Rall


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College Students, Welcome to a Lifetime of Debt!
by Barbara Ehrenreich
 September 13, 2007

Welcome to Fleece U., where our mission is to take feckless teenagers such
as yourselves and turn them into full-fledged citizens of our economy,
meaning, of course, debtors.

Many life-changing things will happen to you in the next four years. You
will make lasting friends, including perhaps the love of your life. You
will drink more than you ever thought possible and bitterly regret it in
the morning. You will lose your virginity, if you happen to have brought
it with you.

Our stellar faculty ardently hopes that along the way you will be amazed
by calculus and charmed by the tipsy conversation between Alcibiades and
that wily old radical, Socrates. There is also a general expectation that
you that you will come out of here with some hazy notion of spelling and
grammar.

But never forget that your real purpose here is to shake off the pointless
freedom of youth and assume the burden of debt. To this end, we have just
raised our tuition in an attempt to keep up with such top-of-the-line
institutions as George Washington University (now weighing in at $39,210 a
year, or $50,000 with room and board). You will find us also charging a
plethora of additional fees - a "student activities fee," a "technology
fee," and an "incidentals fee." In addition, we will be experimenting this
year with a "snow removal fee," a "lecture hall seat-use fee," and the
installation of pay toilets in the dorms.

It would be short-sighted to resent these fees, since they provide
valuable experience in bill-reading, and will come in handy when you
confront your own personal monthly utility statements. At present we do
not charge any additional tuition for this training in bill- reading,
though we are considering adding a special "fee fee" in the future.

Another thing that will help ease you into the status of debtor is the
price of your textbooks - about $120 to $180 for a new, graffiti- free
copy. True, this seems high when you could buy a hardcover of Harry Potter
and the Deathly Hallows for $20 or less, but the aim is to teach you that
a book is something to treasure (and, again, we charge no extra fee for
this lesson.)

On average, you will graduate with a respectable-sized debt of $20,000,
which will enable you to establish your all-important "credit history." If
we have succeeded in our educational mission, you will be a first-rate
debtor, capable of making minimum monthly payments much of the time. As
fresh offers of credit cards and home equity loans pour in, you will beam
with pride at your achievement.

Please note carefully that Fleece U degree cannot guarantee you a future
income that will allow you to pay off your debts. Many of our most
promising graduates are now, three or four years later, working for $8-12
an hour serving up latts, counseling disturbed youth or creating business
computer networks. They are set for a lifetime of debt, and we are proud
that they first began to accrue it right here, on our lovely mock
Oxfordian campus.

We don't have to remind you not to stigmatize debt as a condition
associated with poverty. In 2006, for the first time, the average
household's debt exceeded its income. By becoming a debtor, you will have
entered the American mainstream! We have confidence that you will go on to
mature effortlessly from college debt to car loan to mortgage to medical
debts occasioned by the ever-growing gaps in coverage.

You will see the value of all this debt when the day comes, as it
inevitably will, when you wake up and ask yourself, "Who am I and what am
I doing here?" You will be tempted to take long walks, read the
Upanishads, or try out for a new career as a trophy spouse.

In a crisis like this, you could easily spend thousands of dollars on life
coaching and motivational DVDs. But you won't have to, because you'll have
debt to keep you going. You will get up, shower, and toil faithfully in
your cubicle year after year until, in the fullness of time, your family
acquires the debt for your interment (at which point we trust you will
have remembered Fleece U in your will.)

So think of debt as the great motivator. Think of it as our gift to you.
Because for at least the next academic year, we are not even thinking of
charging for it.


--------22 of x--------

Questions That Might Determine History:
A Conversation With an Anti-Imperialist Organizer
by Ron Jacobs
September 13, 2007

In recent days, the US public has been satiated with a variety of press
reports about numerous "new" plans aimed at addressing the US occupation
and war in Iraq. Some of these plans are rumored to include
recommendations for an eventual withdrawal of all US forces from that
country while some urge the Pentagon and Washington to stay the course.
One, written by an entity that calls itself the US Institute for Peace,
suggests a fifty percent reduction in forces in three years with a
complete withdrawal in five. Now, I don't know about you, but that doesn't
sound like peace. It sounds like five more years of war and occupation.
The White House, its generals and ambassador to the Green Zone, meanwhile,
are reported to want no changes at all in the current strategy. The
Democratic leadership seems to fall somewhere in between these two. They
say they want to introduce withdrawal legislation but don't want to
include any deadlines for this withdrawal to occur. Instead, they want to
provide the military and the White House with some guidelines as to when
they think the withdrawal should be completed. In other words, they are
once again drawing up legislation that has no teeth and is essentially
meaningless.

All of these reports and strategies share one basic assumption: that the
US has a right to decide Iraq's future. Furthermore, this assumption is
accompanied by the belief that Iraq's future should be one that benefits
the goals and interests of US capital. In other words, the bloodshed and
other hardships caused by the US occupation and the tensions it has
unleashed do not really matter to the US warmongers. Nor do the deaths and
injuries suffered by US soldiers and their families. Unfortunately for all
of the aforementioned parties, the US antiwar movement has done little in
the past year to change this. Indeed, some of its members and movers share
this assumption, although not to the same degree as those US leaders and
legislators that are actually funding and prolonging the war. How else
would one explain the recent statements by Phyllis Bennis and others
castigating the Iraqi resistance and, by default, the Iraqis right to
resist the occupation?

Since the war began in 2003 (actually, for a long time before that, but
for the sake of maintaining focus), there has been an element in the
antiwar movement that understands the fundamentally imperialist nature of
the US war and occupation. In response, this element has organized its
opposition to the debacle in anti-imperialist terms. The
anti-imperialists' politics range from libertarian to anarchist with most
of them considering themselves leftists. I have had a running conversation
with Ashley Smith - one of those organizers with the International
Socialist Organization - since well before March 2003. Recently, we
decided to exchange thoughts regarding the need for a re-energized antiwar
movement whose fundamental understanding is that the war in Iraq (and
Afghanistan) is imperialist and that opposition to that war should be
anti-imperialist. What follows is a transcript of this recent discussion.
It doesn't provide answers as much as it provokes thought. After all, only
the movement and the people it inspires can create the answers. It is
those answers that become history.

Ron Jacobs: First, let's define our terms - to me imperialism is the
process whereby capitalist nations expand into other countries via
economic aid, diplomacy and war in search of raw materials and resources,
cheaper labor and new markets. This expansion is necessary because of the
essential nature of capitalism: In order to survive, it must make a
profit. In order to make a profit, it must minimize costs, produce ever
more goods, and create markets to sell those goods. So, when a country can
not provide all of the resources and labor required by a capitalist
enterprise (or collection of enterprises) and the markets of that country
are saturated with goods, the enterprises move overseas. When necessary,
they enlist the government (which is made up of men and women who believe
in the holiness of profit as well) to help them make that move. Hence,
so-called free trade deals and wars.

This is from a recent article by Max Elbaum:

During the 1960s, left-led emancipatory movements held great initiative
across the globe and the Black freedom movement surged at home, making
radical perspectives a huge pole of attraction for anyone beginning to
question the Vietnam War or other U.S. actions. So as the anti-Vietnam War
movement expanded, there was a big pull on very large sections of people
toward anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and left perspectives. The situation
is much different today.

What do you think of Elbaum's statement? Also, is the situation much
different today? If so, how?

I think it is quite different, but also believe that this is precisely why
an anti-imperialist understanding is so important.

Ashley Smith: I'm glad that you began identifying the nature of the
problem we confront, that is, capitalist imperialism. For most people
opposed to the war on Iraq, the problem is the Bush Administration or this
or that wing of corporate America, say the oil companies. This
administration or the oil industry has corrupted what is essentially,
whatever its pock marks, a fine system. The aim of the movement therefore
should be to pressure the government, isolate a regressive wing of
corporate America, elect a liberal Democrat, and then implement a sane
foreign policy through the existing government. Imperialism is therefore a
problem of policy, not the of the system itself. In 2004, this led the
mainstream anti-war movement to entirely subordinate grassroots struggle
to the project of electing John Kerry, who was an ardent supporter of the
Iraq War and merely claimed that he would more effectively run the war.
The anti-war movement thus collapsed. Understanding the actual roots and
nature of imperialism is therefore pivotal for building an effective
movement that can end this occupation and develop a radical movement for
overthrowing imperialism.

The Marxist tradition has argued that imperialism, and imperialist wars
like the US one in Iraq, are inseparable from capitalism itself.
Imperialism is thus a systemic problem not a policy of this or that
elected government. It does not change with elections. Nor is it the
result of particular branches of industry. Essentially Marxists have
argued that capitalism by its very nature was an expansive system; it
creates both integrated national economies and a competitive and
hierarchical world system.

The capitalist drive for profit compels corporations to gobble up their
competition creating giant monopolies that dominate national economies.
They concentrate and centralize the entire national economy. These
monopolies tend fuse with their home state, dictate its domestic policies
to their advantage, and use it to prosecute their interests in the world
system. At the same time, these monopolies break out of their national
economies to create a world market, internationalizing the economy,
creating an intertwined world system of exploitation of labor and
resources.

Instead of producing peaceful development, however, the most developed
capitalist nation states compete for spoils of the world system. At
various points in the history of capitalism, they have struggled over
colonies, spheres of influence, trade deals, political treaties,
resources, and cheap labor. Inevitably they build massive militaries to
enforce their aims. Eventually economic competition for division of the
world between great powers triggers inter-imperial wars like the twentieth
centuries world wars. In pursuing these imperialist aims, the great powers
oppress less developed countries through colonialism, invasions and
occupations, maintaining military bases, and many sundry other mechanisms
from structural adjustment programs of the IMF to discriminatory political
treaties. Capitalism has thus produced imperialism. Of course, massive
movements can so disrupt the system as to end particular imperial wars,
but to end imperialism itself, capitalism must be overthrown. It cannot be
reformed out of existence.

That is pivotal for understanding the nature of the US occupation of Iraq
and what kind of movement, strategies, and tactics will be necessary to
end it. In reality, the Iraq War was not cooked up in the devilish mind of
Cheney or Bush for their oil friends. In reality, the US ruling class as a
whole supported the war as a means of overcoming their failure to contain
Iran and Iraq. They aimed to use the cover of 9/11 to reorganize the
Middle East through a series of regime changes beginning with Iraq and
ending most importantly with Iran. They did so not to secure supplies for
US consumption, but to prevent US competitors like Europe, Russia, China,
and lesser threats to US dominance like Venezuela from developing
independent access to the region's strategic oil reserves, especially
those in Iran and Iraq. If they did so, they could build a rival axis to
US imperialism. The US was aim was thoroughly about not only control of
Iraq and the Middle East, but also dominance over potential imperial
rivals.

The US has thus far more at stake in Iraq than it had in Vietnam and will
take an ever more powerful movement to drive it out of Iraq and the
region. During the Vietnam War, which was a brainchild of Cold War
Democrats Kennedy and Johnson, it took a mass domestic anti-war movement,
a rebellion of US troops in Vietnam, and a heroic resistance by the
Vietnamese people to defeat the US. Congress never lifted a finger. We
should learn that lesson well and organize an independent mass movement of
mass protests and sit-ins, help build a new Vet and GI resistance through
Iraq Veterans against the War, and also support the legitimate resistance
of the Iraqi people against occupation. Only the combination of all those
forces has the social power to drive the US out of Iraq. And while we have
the majority of the US population coming our way, it will take a good deal
of time to organize that kind of movement and solidarity. Pivotal amidst
that process is building a new American left with a clear understanding of
imperialism and how to resist its wars.

RJ: With all of that understood, how does one go about organizing such a
movement, especially in light of the ongoing attempts by the Democrats to
confuse what exactly it means to be against the war? While the IVAW and
other vet's groups certainly play an important role, they are not enough.
Indeed, some folks are hesitant to endorse them because they were in the
war and might have been involved in killing people, while others might
consider them whiners because "after all, they signed up". I personally
believe that the most important role the vets can play is in helping to
organize their active duty brothers and sisters into opposing the war from
within. At the same time (having been involved in the antiwar movement
against the US war in Vietnam,) I understand the moral suasion the vets
can hold on the popular imagination. Indeed, this is part of the reason
everybody wants a piece of the vets and why antiwar vets are so hated by
the pro-war forces.

Anyhow, back to the Democrats. The New York Times had a piece on the
Democratic candidates' true Iraq/Afghan war stances and none of the three
major candidates' plans include anything even approaching an immediate and
unconditional withdrawal. This isn't a surprise to us, but you gotta
wonder how many antiwar citizens think that Edwards, Obama or Clinton are
going to end the war. Just like the 2006 Congressional elections, the
Democrats are lying about their true intentions, yet you can bet that
there will be some of their supporters at every antiwar rally between now
and the 2008 elections. This is our biggest task: get the movement past
these liars.

[Amen. The biggest. The Dems serve the elite by throwing dust in our eyes.
-ed]

AS: The Democrats are really a challenge for social movements and the
Left. Just a glance at the main funders of the party reveals the problem;
they get the bulk of their money from corporate America. As a result,
however much they appeal to the movements of workers and the oppressed,
they are tied to a class that does not share our interests and as a result
betray their promises to us. Nowhere is that more clear than the war in
Iraq. Save for a handful of exceptions, they voted for the war; they
refuse to cut the funding; they oppose immediate withdrawal; and won't
even impeach the war criminals in the White House. Some of them are
actually more hawkish on Iran than Bush is! They have more in common with
the Republican's imperial and corporate agenda than differences.

That's why we have to stress that social movements must remain independent
of both corporate parties, not compromise our demands like immediate
withdrawal, and rely on our own social power to compel them to follow us,
conform to our agenda. Only then can we force their hand and end this
occupation and challenge imperialism itself.

While most people in the anti-war movement are going to vote for the
Democrats, a big layer realize that Hilary Clinton, who looks like the
odds on favorite, is not for immediate withdrawal. So with that layer I
think we have to say, regardless of who you vote for, it is our struggle
that will determine whether or not the war comes to an end.

Once you grasp that change does not come through the Democrats nor really
even through the ballot box, but through social movements like the civil
rights movement that compelled reluctant Democrats like Kennedy and
Johnson to grant voting rights, then it becomes obvious that we must
develop a anti-war strategy that looks to our social power to end the
occupation.

The key historical precedent we have to turn to is how we, not the
Democrats, ended the Vietnam War. We ended it through the dynamic
interaction between a truly mass domestic anti-war movement, a rebellion
among the US troops and Veterans documented in David Cortright's brilliant
book Soldiers in Revolt, and the national liberation struggle of the
Vietnamese people.

That's exactly what we must build today. We must build a grassroots and
sustained anti-war movement expressed through demonstrations, sit-ins,
teach-ins, and many other tactics to turn majority anti-war sentiment into
the social power to shut down campuses, paralyze cities in mass protests,
and even organize strikes at workplaces against the war.

Even more importantly we have to build such resistance inside the troops;
if they refuse to fight the war is over. That's why any moralistic posture
toward soldier's is foolish. Most of these soldiers didn't really
volunteer; they are subject to a poverty draft. They are young workers who
are looking for money, job training, and education so that they can have
better lives. And, as has been amply documented, the military has often
hoodwinked them with recruiter's lies and aims to use them as cannon
fodder for imperial actions that are not in their interests. A growing
majority of the US troops don't want to be in Iraq, an emergent minority
has drawn anti-war conclusions, and its leading edge has built Iraq
Veterans Against the War. We must support this effort as part of our
movement to end the war, because IVAW has the potential to turn the ranks
of the US military against the war.

At the same time we argue for such a dynamic movement, independent of the
two corporate parties, we have to build a new American Left that can
eventually provide an alternative at the ballot box, but even more
importantly in grass roots struggle that does represent the interests of
immense majority of workers and oppressed inside this country and
internationally. Otherwise, the movements will be hamstrung by the
dominant politics of the two corporate parties. As Engels said a long time
ago, the struggle is economic, political and ideological. We therefore
must build a new left that fights on all these fronts - fights in the day
to day grassroots battles over basic demands; aims to build an electoral
challenge; and provide as anti-capitalist, dare I say socialist, worldview
to combat the corporate propaganda and provide an alternative based on
solidarity from below. We have to fight them on all fronts as part of an
overall strategy to challenge and transform the system.

RJ: Once again, the stuff about Democrats is well understood by all but
the most hardened party loyalists and those people are probably not going
to be convinced that the Democratic Party is part of the problem, not the
solution. However, that leaves pretty much everyone else. Amongst that
everybody else, there are a variety of perspectives ranging from the very
cynical to the not as cynical to the somewhat hopeful. The latter will
probably vote Democratic just because they believe that it has to be
better under them. How does one wrestle with that hope and conviction?
People in this country seem very far from even grasping the idea that
there is something besides the GOP, the Democrats, and giving up. I know
many of my friends consider trying to change anything is a big waste of
time. I can only answer them by saying that one never knows until one
tries, but their response is that the historical evidence is against such
a possibility. Part of me thinks that this cynicism stems from the
overwhelming presence of capitalist ideology in our daily lives, but
knowing that doesn't change a thing. In fact, it only feeds the conviction
that the only thing leftists can really do is prevent the absolute worst
from happening - whatever that is.

Given that most antiwar voters are going to [alas -ed] vote Democratic
(which means that they will end up voting for a candidate that supports
the war since the antiwar candidates will be pushed to the sidelines by
the party leadership), how does one prepare for the certain disappointment
to come if the Democrats win and nothing changes - the war goes on and
perhaps expands? What I mean is how does one turn the almost certain
disappointment away from cynicism and towards a truly popular grassroots
antiwar movement?

So, we end with questions similar to those we started with, which
suggests, like I said before, that it is up to the movement that is
organized against the war to provide the answers - answers which will
determine the history of this moment, and the future.


--------23 of x--------

US Withdraws Completely from Middle East
by E.B. Patton
September 13th, 2007

WASHINGTON (AEP) - A new group calling itself WAR (Workers for a
Revolution) issued a report today with their suggestions for how the U.S.
labor movement might revitalize itself. Their report quotes the 1978 book
Poor People's Movements, where authors Richard Cloward and Frances Piven
say:

"Factory workers had their greatest influence, and were able to extract
their most substantial concessions from government, during the Great
Depression, in the years before they were organized into unions. Their
power during the depression was not rooted in organization, but in
disruption".

With this in mind, WAR's report says that, "Given the current weak state
of labor, perhaps one of the keys to re-igniting it lies in a strategy of
what might be termed 'organized disruption'. If business needs smooth
running and no disruptions, and if such smoothness in their operations
gives them little to no reason to address any of our concerns, then
perhaps the right way forward for us lies, at least in part, on a strategy
of organizing ourselves in ways that would allow us to disrupt the normal
operations of our workplaces at will..

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney issued a scathing denunciation of the
report. "That's the biggest crock of shit I've ever heard in my life.
Those ungrateful bastards are forgetting everything we've done for them.
Just look at all the things we've won for them! We've won -. we-ve won -
dammit, we've won a lot!"

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said, "This is fascism, plain
and simple. These workers want us to take the union off Old Glory and
replace it with a swastika."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, "These workers are evil.
They hobnob with the devil. They all have 666's tattooed on the backs of
their heads. If you go into their homes, you'll find altars where they
sacrifice babies. I've even got video footage of one of them kicking his
dog."

Democratic president candidate and Illinois senator Barack Obama said,
"Ending slavery was the right thing to do. But freeing blacks only to turn
around and make slaves out of the rich isn't progress."

The workers tried to indicate they were not looking to make slaves out of
anyone, but rather to create a society where no one was a slave of anyone
else. "An honest look at the US capitalist economy would, we think, call
it by its rightful name: wage slavery."

Speaking via telephone from her home in Hampstead, England, former British
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, "Rubbish. These workers don't know
anything at all about economics. When it comes to market-based capitalism,
there is no alternative."

The workers noted that, "We don't have all the answers, but one idea that
seems promising to us is Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel's Participatory
Economics. We particularly like Albert & Hahnel's understanding and
acknowledgement of the fact that any economy that leaves our bosses
lording over us and making all the decisions themselves isn't one that
truly liberates us."

Responding to the report, a coalition of doctors, lawyers, managers,
engineers, accountants, architects, and university professors calling
themselves Intellectuals for a Bright Future said, "Small minds, small
ideas. No other comment is required."

Still, the US government isn't taking any chances. Upon release of the
report, the entire US military apparatus in Iraq and Afghanistan was
immediately withdrawn and returned stateside. The approximately 160,000 US
soldiers and 130,000 mercenaries, or contractors, immediately attacked
WAR's Washington office -w a small efficiency apartment with no air
conditioning and a constantly-running toilet.

While the US military was unable to achieve its objectives in the Middle
East, they did succeed in stopping the toilet.

E. B. Patton is a reporter for the Cincinnati-based AEP, and can be
reached via e-mail at: ebpatton [at] yahoo.com. Read other articles by E.B..

This article was posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2007 at 5:00 am and
is filed under Capitalism, Labor, Fiction, Revolution and Satire.



--------24 of x--------

 just the facts m'am

 Dem party Dragnet:
 Doom de doom doom! Doom de doom
 doom DOOM! (doom doom doom)


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