Progressive Calendar 10.06.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2007 03:55:14 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    10.06.07

1. Leave the king   10.06 10am
2. Vets/peace       10.06 10am
3. Thoreau          10.06 10:15am
4. Green $          10.06 12noon
5. GreenParty StP   10.06 12noon
6. Resist the RNC   10.06 2pm
7. Guatemala vote   10.06 3pm
8. Pesticide action 10.06 3:30pm
9. Art/healing/mind 10.06 6:30pm
10. War made easy/f 10.06 7pm
11. Freedom/play    10.06 7:30pm
12. Free speech     10.06 8pm
13. Iran/US/CTV     10.06 9pm
14. Solar tour      10.06 whatever

15. Lee Sustar    - The Democrats and Iran: can they sink any lower?
16. Helen Thomas  - The Democrats who enable Bush
17. Sharon Smith  - The Kucinich Question: which side are you on?
18. David Macaray - De-skilling America's labor force

--------1 of 18--------

From: Leslie Reindl <alteravista [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Leave the king 10.06 10am

An invitation to a "Walking Away from the King" meeting:
Saturday, October 6, 10 am to noon, Merriam Park Library (room in lower
level), Corner Fairview and Marshall Aves., St. Paul

This meeting is to call together people who want to consider ways that we
can begin to "walk away from the king," (David Korten's phrase), the
"king" being the current endless-growth, neoliberal economic/cultural
paradigm that is destroying the environment, communities, and human
aspirations globally.

The confluence of peak oil, climate change, and economic turmoil has led
to people all over the world working on creating new, localized
communities able to adapt to future conditions.  This meeting is for those
who wish to pursue such a community here.

Because all of us are dependent on the current economic cultural
environment, it is difficult to see how we can move away from it in ways
that truly might adapt to the future.  The economic/business component of
such a community will be very important.  The Mondragon* Cooperative
movement that started in the Basque region of Spain in the 1940s-1950s,
based on cooperation, social justice, the primacy of labor, education of
the whole person, among others, might serve as a beginning model for our
time.

This meeting is called for those who agree with the following premises,
and are ready to act:

 1.  The entire world is facing an uncertain and drastically changed
future with the confluence of climate change, an economic system built on
once abundant and now increasingly scarce resources, and growing
instability in financial markets.
 2.  Globalization has spread the ills of the neoliberal economic system
around the world; local economies have almost disappeared.
 3.  This situation cannot be fixed by tweaking its cause: the economic
growth/ consumption system.
 4.  People cannot respond meaningfully to drastic change without
preparation.
 5.  People also cannot respond meaningfully if their sense of security
depends on the current economic system; change must offer a means to
achieve security outside this system.
 6.  Preparation for drastic change requires deep commitment and
follow-through, and cannot be achieved by individuals acting alone.

This will be a faciliated 2-hour meeting.  We hope it will be the
beginning of what becomes an "intentional Twin Cities community."

Betty Dyson, Linda Littrell, Wilhelm and Leslie Reindl Wilderness
Connections group (651-633-4410 or 651-645-2718)

(Wilderness Connections is a 501(c)3 organization formed in the late 1990s
with the mission of helping people regain their connection to nature so as
to gain perspective on life, on environmental issues, and on spirituality.
The base for activity was at that time a dairy farm-turned wildlife
sanctuary in Wisconsin.  That land is available for future needs.)

* Websites to investigate Mondragon further are www.justpreace.org/
mondragon, www.solhaam.org/articles/mondra.html, and many others.


--------2 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Vets/peace 10.06 10am

Saturday, 10/6, 10 to 11:30 am, meeting of Homeless Veterans for Peace,
Peacehouse, 510 E Franklin, Mpls.  Bob 612-789-9020.


--------3 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Thoreau 10.06 10:15am

Henry David Thoreau: His Journey to the Twenty-First Century
Presented by The Thoreau Society and The Minneapolis Athenaeum
FREE and Open to the Public

MINNEAPOLIS CENTRAL LIBRARY 300 Nicollet Mall,
(Baseball Bilker Hall---Mary & David Doty Rm.)

Saturday, October 6 -
Mary and David Doty Board Room

10:15-11:15 A.M. Thoreau's 1861 Journey to Minnesota:
Dale Schwie, writer/photographer and independent researcher, Minneapolis,
MN; Corinne H. Smith, writer and librarian at Anna Maria College, at
Paxton, MA. Both Dale and Corinne serve on the Board of the Thoreau
Society.

11:30-12:30 A Constant New Creation: Thoreau Greets Darwin:
Laura Dassow Walls, Bennett Chair of Southern Letters, Department of
English, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. She is the author of
several books about Thoreau, Emerson and their Science.

12:30 - 2:00         Lunch on your own

2:00 - 3:00 Thoreau's Country: Photographer Herbert W.  Gleason's early
1900's Illustrated LectureLeslie Perrin Wilson, Curator, Special
Collections, Concord Free Public Library, Concord, MA

3:15 - 4:30 Current & Future Thoreau Studies: Panel: Richard H.  Dillman,
Professor of English at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota;  Richard J.
Schneider, Professor of English and Modern Languages at Wartburg College,
Iowa; Laura Dassow Walls, University of South Carolina; Moderator: Tom
Potter, President of the Thoreau Society

Items from the Minneapolis Athenaeum and the Minneapolis Public Library
Special Collection, 19th Century American Studies Collection will be
exhibited.

Attend all or any part of this event. No reservations are necessary.
For more information: (612) 866-2644 or email: schwi014 [at] umn.edu


--------4 of 18--------

From: AmiVoeltz DoItGreen <mngreenguide [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Green $ 10.06 12noon

FREE Do It Green! Workshop Series
Visit doitgreen.org or call 612-345-7973 for workshop updates and to RSVP.

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.


--------5 of 18--------

From: Andrew Abruzzese <spreadleft [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: GreenParty StP 10.06 12noon

Our Monthly Membership Meeting for October 2007 is this coming Saturday.
10/06/07
12:00-2:00
Mississippi Market (Selby/Dale)

Andrew Abruzzese co-chair, Green Party of Saint Paul 651-917-2846


--------6 of 18--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Resist the RNC 10.06 2pm

Resisting the RNC: MN Town Hall Organizing Meeting
Saturday, Oct. 6, 2-5 pm
Weyerhauser Chapel, Macalester College
1600 Grand Ave, St. Paul

This event will feature a presentation by the National Lawyers Guild on
protest rights in the Twin Cities.  There will be a discussion of efforts
by city officials in Minneapolis and St. Paul to clamp down on free speech
and what the community can do.  Groups currently working on protest plans
for the RNC will give presentations on how you can get involved.

Cosponsored by Protest RNC 2008 (www.protestrnc2008.org) and the RNC
Welcoming Committee (www.nornc.org).


--------7 of 18--------

From: Corey Mattson <coreymattson [at] maydaybookstore.org>
Subject: Guatemala vote 10.06 3pm

Latin America Series:
Elections in Guatemala

Guatemalan scholar Walter Davila will discuss the recent elections in
Guatemala analyzing their significance in the historical and political
context of Guatemala and Latin America. Presentation in Spanish with
English translation. Discussion to follow. Part of a four-part series on
the left in Latin America.

Saturday, October 6th 3:00pm
Mayday Bookstore
301 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls, MN 55454
(612) 333-4719

Free and open to the public!
Sponsored by Socialist Action


--------8 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Pesticide action 10.06 3:30pm

Saturday, October 6
Omega Co-op House & Garden
2412 First Avenue South, Minneapolis
3:30 Garden Reception with light refreshments
4:00 Presentation by Dr. Hayes
5:00 Q & A and discussion

Pesticide Action Network North America and White Earth Pesticide Action
Network invite you to Gather in the Garden to meet Dr. Tyrone B. Hayes and
hear him speak on From Silent Spring/ to Silent Night: When Will We Learn?

Your reservation helps us better plan for everyone's comfort. RSVP at
garden [at] panna.org or (415) 981-1771. This is a fundraising event. We will
ask for your support of the host nonprofits following the presentation.

Dr. Tyrone B. Hayes, Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology,
University of California, Berkeley, is known for his research on the weed
killer atrazine, the most common chemical contaminant of ground and
surface water in the U.S. This potent endocrine disruptor chemically
castrates and feminizes wildlife and reduces immune function in both
wildlife and laboratory rodents.

White Earth Pesticide Action Network is a collaborative project of
Indigenous Environmental Network, White Earth Land Recovery Project and
the Environmental Association of Great Lakes Education. The collaborative
is using PAN?s Pesticide Drift Catcher to monitor the air around Pine
Point School for airborne pesticides and to protect White Earth children
from pesticide exposure.

Pesticide Action Network North America combines science with network?based
campaigns to force global phaseouts of highly hazardous pesticides and the
adoption of sustainable alternatives. PAN North America is one of five
independent centers of PAN International, a global network of more than
600 organizations in 90 countries. PAN North America scientists developed
the Pesticide Drift Catcher, a scientific monitor that local groups are
using to document the presence of airborne pesticides.


--------9 of 18--------

From: marketing [at] intermediaarts.org <marketing [at] intermediaarts.org>
Subject: Art/healing/mind 10.06 6:30pm

Intermedia Arts presents
Art & Healing: Mind Fields
Visual Art Exhibit with Creative Writing, Digital Storytelling and
Community Conversations

September 27, 2007-January 5, 2008 (Main Gallery)
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 6, 2007; 6:30-9:30 PM

WHAT: Explore the many dimensions of the invisible and make psychological
realities tangible. Art & Healing: Mind Fields is a unique opportunity to
see the mind from the inside out. This groundbreaking new exhibit from
Intermedia Arts takes a frank and creative look at neurological and mental
health - inviting local artists and health care practitioners to address
the ways in which artistic expression can be used as a tool for healing.

Using oils, photographs, Sumi ink, audio recordings and more, Mind Fields
creates an integrative landscape in which artists raise compelling
questions about the life of the mind. Profile the history behind art in
mental health institutions; hear for yourself the voices, sounds and
stories of men and women struggling to overcome the stigma associated with
their illness, and discover the ways in which the health of humans is
inextricably linked to the energies of the earth.
 From artists and survivors living with mental health conditions to
those whose lives have been touched by the challenges of care giving,
Mind Fields takes you on a whimsical and fantastic voyage to a place
where Art means Life.


--------10 of 18---------

From: David Zupan <zupandavid [at] gmail.com>
Subject: War made easy/f 10.06 7pm

WAR MADE EASY: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death
See it!  Tell your friends to see it!  Let's get it shown throughout the U.S.

Dear Minneapolis Activist:

You can help turn an antiwar movie into a nationwide success.  I'm writing
about the new documentary, "War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep
Spinning Us to Death."  It's based on my book, is narrated by Sean Penn,
and is earning rave reviews: "Superb" (Howard Zinn); "Chilling and
persuasive" (The Nation); "Damning" (Variety); "A tour de force" (editor
of "An Inconvenient Truth ").

Beginning a run on October 5th, 6, and 7, "War Made Easy" will show
nightly @ 7 p.m. & 8:45 p.m. with a Sat. & Sun. matinee @ 5:30 p.m. at the
Oak Wood Theatre at 309 Oak Street S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55414 (near the
intersection of Oak Street and Washington Avenue SE in the Stadium Village
area of the East Bank). If the movie succeeds there and at other key
venues, it will help our efforts to bring it to theaters across the
country. So please come see "War Made Easy," spread the word and send this
email to your Minneapolis Area friends.

The movie uses stunning archival video to expose a 50-year pattern of
White House deception and media propaganda that has dragged our country
into one military intervention after another from Vietnam to Iraq.  But
it's not just about villains - rare footage spotlights heroes who have
resisted the war barrage: people like Sen. Wayne Morse, Rep. Barbara Lee
and Phil Donahue.

The www.warmadeeasythemovie.org site now has on its home page the links to
other screenings around the country. There you will find info on "War Made
Easy" and how to purchase it in DVD. View the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5CF5pfVzLI


--------11 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Freedom/play 10.06 7:30pm

Multi-media performance a Disease called FREEDOM.
A ten member ensemble of jazz musicians, spoken word performance & visual
artists explore ideas and concepts of freedom using river as a metaphor.

Thursday - Sunday, October 4 - 7
7:30 pm
AVALON Theatre (Home of In the Heart of the Beast Theatre)
1500 East Lake Street, Minneapolis 55407

Tickets:  $12 Students and Senoirs $10 Groups of ten or more $10
               Call the box office at (612) 203-1088 or visit
www.pangeaworldtheater.org <http:www.pangeaworldtheater.org>


--------12 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Free speech 10.06 8pm

MAGERS AND QUINN PRESS RELEASE :  Banned Books Week finishes with Chris
Finan discussing his book From the Palmer Raids to the PATRIOT Act, 8:00pm
Saturday, October 6, at Magers and Quinn Booksellers.

"American history is marred by recurrent episodes of hate - Red scares,
super-patriotism, fear of sexual expression. Christopher Finan brilliantly
paints that record, and shows how courageous Americans have fought for
freedom." - Anthony Lewis, author of Gideon's Trumpet and Make No Law

Writing for the majority in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, which ruled against the
Bush administration in declaring that a citizen who is held as an enemy
combatant must have the opportunity to refute the claims of the government
in court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor cautioned that "It is during our
most challenging and uncertain moments that our Nation's commitment to due
process is most severely tested; and it is in those times that we must
preserve our commitment at home to the principles for which we fight
abroad."

Now, in From the Palmer Raids to the PATRIOT Act: A History of the Fight
for Free Speech in America, Chris Finan, the president of the American
Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the chair of the National
Coalition Against Censorship, dissects this struggle over civil liberties,
as well as the many others that have unfolded during the twentieth
century, offering a first-ever synthesis of the free speech battles that
have helped secure, in Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes's words, "a free
trade in ideas."

It was censorship during World War I and the excesses of the post-war Red
Scare, notes Finan, that first galvanized civil libertarians and led to
the establishment of free speech organizations, including the founding of
the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920.  Finan traces the ACLU and
other civil libertarians' part in dramatic First Amendment battles, from
their early defense of Socialists, union organizers and groups like the
Klu Klux Klan and Jehovah's Witnesses to their role during the second Red
Scare, the civil rights and antiwar movements, Watergate, the release of
the Pentagon Papers, the Reagan era anti-pornography crusades, and the
enforcement of the Patriot Act.

Detailing the legislative initiatives and defining Supreme Court decisions
that have variously threatened and strengthened First Amendment rights,
Finan reveals how swiftly free speech has been endangered, especially
during times of war when civil liberties have often been sacrificed in the
name of national security. Readers learn how ordinary citizens, including
miners and railroad workers, union representatives and political
activists, and booksellers and librarians, have taken tremendous risks in
fighting for free expression. Finan also illuminates the contributions of
prominent figures, including Roger Baldwin, the passionate first leader of
the ACLU; Margaret Sanger, who triumphed over the obscenity laws in her
fight to legalize birth control; Edward Murrow, who famously challenged
Joseph McCarthy; and Representative Bernie Saunders, who helped librarians
and booksellers fight a provision of the Patriot Act that threatened
reader privacy.

>From the Scopes trial, which tested Tennessee's law against teaching
evolution in schools, to the censoring of movies and magazines, and the
banning of books, Finan reveals how censors, often driven by Christian
notions of morality and the political, social and sexual status quo, have
wielded surprising power in limiting intellectual and artistic freedom. In
telling the story of early censorship campaigns, a time when censors in
Los Angeles screened thousands of miles of film every year and New York
nearly passed a "clean books" bill, Finan focuses on the anti-obscenity
movement in Boston, where by 1929 the Watch and Ward Society had banned so
many books - including works by Bertrand Russell, H.G. Wells, Sherwood
Anderson, William Faulkner, and John Dos Passos - that "Banned in Boston"
had become a national catchphrase, symbolizing narrowness and intolerance.

Despite suffering setbacks in the thirties, by mid-century, writes Finan,
government and private censorship groups were again rigorously fighting
obscenity, from targeting comic books, believing they contributed to the
delinquency of juveniles, and magazines such as Esquire, whose editor
traveled to Washington once a month to have the contents of the
forthcoming issue cleared, to paperbacks such as Henry Miller's Tropic of
Cancer, which had been banned in the U.S. for twenty-seven years.
Underscoring how librarians and booksellers became champions of free
expression during this period, Finan goes on to trace how the fight over
sexually explicit material would gain new momentum during the Reagan
years, when feminist Catharine MacKinnon joined forces with conservative
clerics, and later the Meese Commission, to prosecute distributors of
pornography.

In reviewing the history of the struggle for free speech, during
conservative times, often shaped by paranoia and fear, and during times of
social upheaval and change, Finan reaffirms First Amendment rights as one
of the most enduring and vital cornerstones of American democracy. "In the
end," he reflects, "free speech depends on the courage of the individuals
who fight for their rights. We are fortunate to live in a country that
includes many brave souls. They have made freedom of speech one of the
glories of American civilization."

Christopher M. Finan is the author of Alfred E.
Smith: The Happy Warrior. He lives in Brooklyn,
New York.
MAGERS AND QUINN BOOKSELLERS
3038 HENNEPIN AVENUE SOUTH
MINNEAPOLIS MN 55408
612-822-4611
www.magersandquinn.com


--------13 of 18--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject:  Iran/US/CTV 10.06 9pm

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!

10/6 9pm and 10/9 8am  "Iran and the US: Myths and Reality"
Interview of Nasrin Jewell, Iranian born professor at the College of St.
Catherine.  Co-hosted by Karen Redleaf and Eric Angell.


--------14 of 18--------

From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at] mppeace.org>
Subject: Solar tour 10.06

[[do re mi fa solar tour do]]

2007 Minnesota Solar Tour
Saturday, October 6, 2007
www.SolarTour.net

Sponsored by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES), a non-profit
and all-volunteer organization, the self-guided, public Minnesota Solar
Tour features 50 exemplary homes, businesses, and institutions that have
incorporated renewable energy into the design and operation of their
buildings. From geothermal heat pumps using the earth as a huge thermal
buffer to wind turbines elegantly spinning in the breeze and the many
incarnations of solar energy between earth and sky, this event offers
local residents an opportunity to find out how their neighbors are
trimming their energy bills, increasing their energy independence, and
taking steps to address global warming. This is an excellent opportunity
for those interested in solar and other renewable energies to view
installations and talk with building owners, builders, architects, and
planners about their experiences.

We invite you to join us on the next Minnesota Solar Tour! See renewable
energy technology in action, and meet people who have learned from
experience.


--------15 of 18--------

Can They Sink Any Lower?
The Democrats and Iran
By LEE SUSTAR
CounterPunch
October 5, 2007

Voting to declare one of Iran's security forces a "terrorist
organization." Authorizing yet more funding for Bush's war on Iraq.
Declaring that U.S. troops might occupy Iraq until at least January 2013.

Sounds like the posturing of one of the whatshisnames running for the
Republican presidential nomination. But these are the policies and
political positions of the Democratic Congress and its leading
presidential contenders.

At a debate on September 25, the top three Democratic presidential
candidates - Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards - all refused
to declare that they'd have pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of
their first term, if elected.

"I think it would be irresponsible" to promise a pullout by January 2013,
Obama said. "I cannot make that commitment," said Edwards. For her part,
Clinton, typically, dodged a direct answer: "It is very difficult to know
what we're going to be inheriting."

Earlier that day, a majority of Senate Democrats supported a measure
sponsored by Sens. John Kyl and Joe Lieberman declaring Iran's
Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization - and calling on the U.S.
government to "combat, contain and roll back the violent activities" of
Iran.

Thanks to the Democrats, the referendum - which at least some observers
likened to an authorization for war - won by an overwhelming 76-22 margin.
Clinton voted yes; Obama, in what is becoming a habit, skipped the roll
call.

To top it off, tacked onto the measure at the last minute was a resolution
expressing support for the partition of U.S.-occupied Iraq into ethnic and
sectarian cantons - a ratification of the process of ethnic cleansing that
has driven millions of Iraqis from their homes and claimed the lives of
untold numbers.

Not quite one year after they took control of Congress, thanks to a huge
antiwar vote in the 2006 congressional elections, the Democrats have not
only failed utterly to stop the war on Iraq - they've caved in one
confrontation after another with the White House. Party leaders who once
claimed they would force the Bush White House to "change course" have come
to resemble their loser of a presidential candidate in 2004, John Kerry.

When criticized by opponents of the war, the Democrats respond in almost a
single voice that they don't have the votes to override a Bush veto - or
even win a procedural voice to end debate in the Senate and come to an
up-and-down vote on controversial legislation.

That's blatantly dishonest - as insider journalists Jim VandeHei and John
Harris pointed out in the online Beltway gossip publication The Politico.

"There is a lot more Democrats could do to change, or at least challenge,
the politics of the war in Washington, even if they do not have the
numbers to impose new policies on President Bush," VandeHei and Harris
wrote.

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could force a vote a day over Iraq.
She could keep the House in session all night, over weekends and through
planned vacations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could let
filibusters run from now till Christmas rather than yield to pro-war
Republicans...[A]ntiwar lawmakers can hardly say they have done everything
possible to challenge the war and bring attention to their cause."

The Democratic contenders to replace Bush in 2009 aren't doing anything
more. With the exception of Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson, the
candidates all propose not to end the occupation of Iraq, but to downsize
and repackage it to make it more militarily and politically sustainable
for the long term.

As Financial Times commentator Gideon Rachman - in an article titled "Many
contenders but just one voice" - wrote: "On a whole range of issues that
remain very controversial even among close American allies in Europe and
Asia, there is a broad American consensus [spanning] Barack Obama, Hillary
Clinton and John Edwards on the Democratic side to Rudolph Giuliani, Mitt
Romney, John McCain and Fred Thompson among the Republicans.

"All of the main candidates want to build up the American military rather
than shrink it (Senator Clinton wants to add 80,000 troops to the Army).
They all agree that the U.S. has the right to take pre-emptive military
action in the 'war on terror.'...They are all strong supporters of Israel.
And they are all talking tough on Iran.

"Even on Iraq - despite the bitter rhetoric - the mainstream Democratic
and Republican positions are closer than either side would care to
acknowledge. President George W. Bush announced last week that troops will
start withdrawing later this year. The 'surge' is over. But none of the
main Democratic candidates endorses the antiwar left's call for an
immediate and complete pullout. So the debate comes down to an argument
about the scale and pace of troop withdrawals."

The leaders of the Democrats are more and more openly converging with an
imperialist consensus for U.S. policy in Iraq and beyond that the
bipartisan Washington establishment can live with.

The Democrats' base, on the other hand, is as bitterly opposed to the war
as ever. The frustration and disillusion with the party that claimed to be
against the war has been expressed in small protests by figures like Cindy
Sheehan, who have called the Democrats out. But the more general response
has been demoralization.

THAT KIND of attitude among the party's most dedicated supporters could
even put the party's 2008 prospects at risk - an election that has looked
like a slam dunk for the Democrats, no matter who is nominated for
president.

"So nothing can go wrong for the Democrats?" wrote New York Times
columnist Frank Rich. "Of course it can." Rich points out that the
Washington insiders who have already anointed Hillary Clinton as the next
president "are the same political pros who predicted that scandal would
force an early end to the Clinton presidency and that 'Mission
Accomplished' augured victory in Iraq and long-lasting Republican rule."

In both 2000 and 2004, the Democrats had every opportunity to give voters
a reason to be for their presidential candidate - and they failed
miserably. The electoral strategy of positioning its candidates just
barely to the left of the Republicans convinced at least some voters of
what didn't seem possible - that George Bush was not only worth having a
beer with, but he was more honest than John Kerry.

Now, after a brief period earlier this year in which the Democrats
appeared willing to challenge the Bush White House, the old strategies of
retreat, concession and surrender have returned.

This isn't merely because the Democrats are following a bad electoral
strategy. The Democratic Party is the second party of American capitalism
and is fundamentally committed to the interests and priorities of the U.S.
ruling establishment.

When it comes to foreign policy, while there may be disagreements about
tactics, the Republicans and Democrats agree on the aim of protecting U.S.
power around the globe - as is increasingly clear from the debate in
Washington these days.

But the anger among ordinary people that made itself felt in the 2006
elections - over the war specifically, and falling standards of livings
for worker more generally - hasn't gone away.

Pressure from its base - as well as another disaster in Iraq and
Afghanistan - may yet prod the Democrats back to the left. In any case,
the hatred of Bush and the Republicans runs so deep that even the
Democrats' prowar policies may not overly harm their election chances,
even if the voters are well to the left of the candidates on Iraq and
other issues.

What's certain right now, however, is that opponents of the war can't wait
on a Democratic president taking office in 2009 to try to revive antiwar
organizing. Those opposed to the war will have to rely on their own
activism to force a change in U.S. policy - and the time to begin is now.

Lee Sustar writes for the Socialist Worker. He can be reached at:
lsustar [at] ameritech.net

                             ed comment

[[Indeed, the DP is as bad as described. So we should not vote for
it.  Progressives should withdraw and find some other home. Bury the
DP, have a brief grave-side service, and move on.

You used to be able to get some things from the DP if you tried hard
enough. But each election the "business" DP moved right; each election you
had to try harder and you got less; now you bust your butt and get
nothing. Ruling class 1, people 0.

But the rulers have been too clever, because now we the people have NO
reason to vote for either of their tinsel parties, and every reason to
challenge everything they stand for.

What does a pragmatist get from being "pragmatic" (non-principled)
with the DP? Nothing. Then it ain't pragmatic; it's just stupid and
clueless.

The DP is no longer a lesser evil we can get something from if we sell it
our soul. It is now just a massive evil from which we get nothing but
more evil and despair.]]


--------16 of 18--------

The Democrats Who Enable Bush
by Helen Thomas
Published on Friday, October 5, 2007 by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic
congressional leadership and the party's leading presidential candidates
when it comes to his failing Iraq policy.

Those Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S.
troops out of Iraq, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible
reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war.

Last week at a debate in Hanover, N.H., the leading Democratic
presidential candidates sang from the same songbook: Sens. Hillary Clinton
of New York, and Barack Obama of Illinois and former North Carolina Sen.
John Edwards refused to promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by 2013,
at the end of the first term of their hypothetical presidencies. Can you
believe it?

When the question was put to Clinton, she reverted to her usual cautious
equivocation, saying: "It is very difficult to know what we're going to be
inheriting".

Obama dodged, too: "I think it would be irresponsible" to say what he
would do as president.

Edwards, on whom hopes were riding to show some independence, replied to
the question: "I cannot make that commitment".

They have left the voters little choice with those answers.

Some supporters were outraged at the obfuscation by the Democratic
front-runners.

On the other hand, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Rep. Dennis Kucinich,
D-Ohio, and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., are more definitive in their calls for
quick troop withdrawals.

But Biden wants to break up Iraq into three provinces along religious and
ethnic lines. In other words, Balkanize Iraq.

To have major Democratic backing to stay the course in Iraq added up to
good news for Bush.

Now comes a surprising Clinton fan.

President Bush told Bill Sammon - Washington Examiner correspondent and
author of a new book titled "The Evangelical President" - that Clinton
will beat Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination because she is
a "formidable candidate" and better known.

Sammon says Bush revealed that he has been sending messages to Clinton to
urge her to "maintain some political wiggle room in your campaign rhetoric
about Iraq".

The author said Bush contends that whoever inherits the White House will
be faced with a potential vacuum in Iraq and "will begin to understand the
need to continue to support the young democracy".

Bush ought to know about campaign rhetoric. Remember how he ridiculed
"nation building" in the 2000 presidential campaign? Now he claims he is
trying to spread democracy throughout the Middle East.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is another Democratic leader who has empowered
Bush's war.

Pelosi removed a provision from the most recent war-funding bill that
would have required Bush to seek the permission of Congress before
launching any attack on Iran. Her spokesman gave the lame excuse that she
didn't like the wording of the provision. More likely, she bowed to
political pressure.

Is it any wonder the Democrats are faring lower than the president in a
Washington Post ABC approval poll? Bush came in at 33 percent and Congress
at 29 percent.

Members of Congress seem to have forgotten their constitutional
prerogative to declare war; World War II was the last time Congress
formally declared war.

Presidents have found other ways to make end runs around the law, mainly
by obtaining congressional authorization "to do whatever is necessary" in
a crisis involving use of the military. That's the way we got into the
Vietnam and Iraq wars.

So what are the leading Democratic White House hopefuls offering? It seems
nothing but more war. So where do the voters go who are sick of the Iraqi
debacle?

Helen Thomas is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. E-mail:
helent [at] hearstdc.com.

Copyright 2007 Hearst Newspapers


--------17 of 18--------

The Kucinich Question
Which side are you on?
by Sharon Smith / October 4th, 2007

It was July 12 in Detroit, and all eight Democratic Party presidential
candidates had just finished sparring at a forum sponsored by the NAACP
when John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were caught hatching a plot to rid
future debates of all but front-runners.

The two were apparently unaware that Fox News. microphones were still
turned on to overhear their mutual exasperation at sharing the stage with
those on the losing end of opinion polls.

According to the Associated Press, Edwards whispered, "We should try to
have a more serious and a smaller group". Clinton agreed that the broad
format had "trivialized" the debates, adding, "We've got to cut the
number. They're not serious".

Dennis Kucinich, who would certainly be excluded if Edwards and Clinton
succeed at this scheme, rapidly issued a press release stating his
outrage: "Candidates, no matter how important or influential they perceive
themselves to be, do not have and should not have the power to determine
who is allowed to speak to the American public and who is not. Imperial
candidates are as repugnant to the American people and to our Democracy as
an imperial president".

Indeed, Kucinich stands alone among the current crop of candidates in his
consistently principled stand on issues ranging from opposition to the war
in Iraq to support for single-payer health care, immigrant rights and the
legalization of gay marriage.

During a nationally televised MSNBC debate on September 26, none of the
three front-runners - who all claim to be "antiwar" - pledged to withdraw
U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of their first term in office in 2013.
Clinton argued, "It is very difficult to know what we're going to be
inheriting". Barack Obama stated, "I think it would be irresponsible".
Edwards admitted, "I cannot make that commitment".

Kucinich answered with a refreshingly concrete antiwar resolve: "We can
get out of there three months after I take office". He added, "To me, it
is fairly astonishing to have Democrats who took back the power of the
House and Senate in 2006 to stand on this stage and tell the American
people that the war will continue till 2013 and perhaps past that".

And while current Democratic Party talking points blame Iraqis for the
chaos enveloping Iraq, Kucinich supports reparations for the Iraqi people
from the governments who have caused their suffering, arguing, "The U.S.
and Great Britain have a high moral obligation to enable a peace process
by beginning a program of significant reparations to the people of Iraq
for the loss of lives, physical and emotional injuries, and damage to
property".

While Clinton has lurched rightward on support for abortion rights in
recent years (stating in 2005 that abortion is "a sad, even tragic
choice"), Kucinich is the only candidate who has shifted leftward on the
issue of choice. He actively opposed abortion for many years but reversed
his stand in 2003, stating, "[I]t finally came to the point where I
understood that women will not be truly free unless they have the right to
choose".

Kucinich also stands firmly on the side of immigrants rights, however much
his own party has compromised, arguing, "No fines should be paid [by
immigrants], no one should be made to go back, and we should stop
scapegoating immigrants". He seeks to abolish NAFTA (the North American
Free Trade Agreement) because it drives down Mexican wages and opposed the
Security Fence Act to further enhance border control.

But Kucinich has no hope of winning the Democratic Party nomination, for
his unwillingness to compromise on sound humanitarian principles dooms
that outcome. This fact, combined with his steadfast refusal to accept
corporate donations, relegates his candidacy in 2008, as it did in 2004,
to the margins of the electoral arena, a project willingly enabled by a
compliant mainstream media.

The Kucinich campaign complained, for example, that ABC News "deliberately
cropped [Kucinich] out of a "Politics Page" photo of the candidates after
their August 19 debate" and removed an online "Who won the debate" survey
after Kucinich came out the winner.

Nevertheless, like a scorned relative who always shows up to family
functions, Kucinich refuses to disengage from the Democratic Party
establishment that, as Clinton and Edwards attest, tolerates his presence
only with gritted teeth.

But Kucinich's loyalty to the party that holds him in such contempt will
perform a useful service in delivering left-wing support for the party's
chosen, corporate-backed nominee in 2008.

This is a service that Kucinich will undoubtedly perform. Look back no
further than 2004 for a preview of what lies ahead. After a principled
antiwar campaign, Kucinich promised his supporters he would fight for a
plank opposing the Iraq war at the Democratic Party Convention in July
2004. But no antiwar debate materialized, and Kucinich's stunned
supporters were left with no other choice than backing pro-war John Kerry
as the anointed candidate.

Kucinich must therefore be faulted for compromising his principles in one
crucial respect. He remains beholden to the Democrats'a ruling-class,
imperialist party that coexists in a power-sharing arrangement with the
Republicans - offering voters no genuine alternative to the status quo.

If Kucinich truly believed his own rhetoric, he would leave, creating the
possibility for building a viable third party that could express popular
opposition to corporate rule.

Sharon Smith is a columnist for Socialist Worker and author of Women.s
Liberation and Socialism (Haymarket Books). This article first appeared on
the SW website. Read other articles by Sharon.

This article was posted on Thursday, October 4th, 2007 at 5:06 am and is
filed under Elections and Democrats. Send to a friend.

[[Kucinich performs the function of a Judas Goat. A Judas Goat leads other
goats into the slaughter house, and is owned by the Big Butchers. The goat
may not understand its dire function, but Kucinich does. -ed]]


--------18 of 18--------

Automation's Evil Twin
De-Skilling America's Labor Force
By DAVID MACARAY
CounterPunch
October 5, 2007

If there were any lingering doubts about Corporate America's contempt for
working men and women, the on-going attempt to replace people with robots
should put those doubts to rest. Clearly, a company that prefers a
"mechanical man" to a functioning human being is trying to tell us
something.

A recent announcement by Big Three automakers that they plan to invest a
billion dollars over the next decade in the development of robotics
reminded me of a remark made by an HR representative of the Kimberly-Clark
Corporation, some years ago.

Off-handedly, he suggested that we might be surprised at what kind of
workforce would, hypothetically, "scare" a management team. For example,
it wouldn't be a lazy, belligerent or even militantly pro-union workforce.
Those types, he assured us, could be "fixed" (his term). No, the scariest
workforce would be a conspicuously talented one.

Why? Because talent is expensive. Talent is leverage. And while there is
obviously a profound upside to having valuable workers, there is,
paradoxically, a built-in downside: Management is now dependent upon a
variable it can't control.

Typically, people with "careers" are interested in advancement,
recognition, self-realization, etc. Ambition is recognized as a virtue and
is encouraged. Conversely, people with "jobs" tend to focus on wages and
benefits. But because wages and benefits constitute overhead, ambition
among the "gravy-and-french fry crowd" (witty management-speak) is not
only discouraged, it often needs to be "fixed."

Accordingly, management has embraced a strategy called "de-skilling," the
systematic dumbing-down of jobs into easily mastered tasks. De-skilling is
to virtuosity what Agent Orange is to foliage. While its primary goal is
to improve efficiency through standardization, it's also a means of
"neutralizing" a workforce.

We see a glimpse of it in the fast-food industry. Employees now press
buttons with pictures of menu items. No arithmetic to mess with, no
management worries about having enough cross-trained employees to go
around. The job becomes, literally, as easy as A-B-C.

Warehousing is a better example. Before computerization, shipping checkers
(the forklift drivers who load trucks) needed to know how to "cube out" a
load. It was an art. They had to visualize the "cube," calculate its
volume, number of cases, and number of stacks-to fill an 18-wheeler. It
isn't rocket science, but it requires logic and finesse.

Today, the size and shape of every container in the warehouse-along with
the interior dimensions of every trailer and boxcar in the yard-are logged
into a computer. Everything is bar-coded. Monitors mounted on forklifts
tell checkers where to go, what to scan, how much to grab, where to take
it, and how to stack it.

While accuracy has improved significantly, productivity has not. Forcing
checkers to paint by-the-numbers not only prevents any creative
time-saving, it's a morale buster, an insult, like hitching a thoroughbred
race horse to a plow. Also, with everything tied to one computer, a minor
glitch now shuts down the entire warehouse.

But management got what they wanted. Checker-training used to require two
months; now it's two weeks. Because experienced checkers were a relatively
valuable commodity, they could earn $60,000 annually. Today, they compete
with drivers making $11 an hour.

Companies tell unions not to worry. They remind them that automation
itself was once demonized, and that until workers saw the phenomenon in
action and came to appreciate the advantages of mechanization, they feared
it.

But automation arrived long before America's manufacturing sector had been
hollowed-out and picked-over; it arrived when good jobs were still
plentiful, and workers had time to adjust to new technology.

De-skilling is different. It has the potential to erode what's left of
blue-collar dignity and leave in its wake a sub-class of drones. By
stripping workers of their craft-effectively washing out their value on
the open market-de-skilling has revealed itself as automation's evil twin
brother. And there's no easy "fix" in sight.

David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright and writer, was president and
chief contract negotiator of the Assn. of Western Pulp and Paper Workers,
Local 672, from 1989 to 2000. He can be reached at: dmacaray [at] earthlink.net


[Capitalism sucks money out of our bodies. It also sucks spirit from our
souls. In the end everything is destroyed. A few sociopaths sit smug on
hills of gold, fiddling while humanity burns. -ed]


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