Progressive Calendar 01.13.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 08:11:09 -0800 (PST)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    01.13.08

1. Atheist events   1.13 9am/10am/6pm
2. Palestine        1.13 10am
3. Stillwater vigil 1.13 1pm
4. Vets for peace   1.13 6pm
5. KFAI/Indian      1.13 7pm

6. China/glob/env   1.14 10:45am
7. Atheist events   1.14 5pm/7pm
8. Sprogs           1.14 7pm
9. PBS/OswaldsGhost 1.14 8pm

10. Green Party  - A debate that matters
11. Daniel Welch - NH vote just the tip of a rotten iceberg
12. Saul Landau  - 60 years of empire

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

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Atheist events 1.13 9am/10am/6pm

NOTE NEW SHOW ON AIR AMERICA on SUNDAYS 9am!
Sunday, January 13, 9-10am. Debut broadcast of "Atheists Talk" on Air
America Minnesota radio - AM 950 or stream live on-line at
AirAmericaMinnesota.com/listen. Studio call-in line: 952-946-6205.
Featuring: News, an Atheist History of Robert Ingersoll, and an interview
with Richard Dawkins.

Sunday, January 13, 10:00 a.m. - Noon: Critical Thinking Club, Kelly Inn,
Anthony Ave. & Rice St. St. Paul Chapter: Breakfast $10, lecture only $3.
Ken Moses speaks on oddities of the English language. RSVP Laura Hutt,
lhutt [at] comcast.net.

Sunday, January 13, 6:00 p.m. - Atheist/Agnostic AA, Men's Center, 3249
Hennepin Ave. # 55, Minneapolis, Jason Herrboldt. Open to men and women.
Contact: MplsAtheistAgnosticAA [at] yahoo.com.


--------2 of x--------

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Palestine 1.13 10am

Anna Baltzer: "Witness in Palestine: A Jewish-American Woman in the
Occupied Territories"

Sunday, January 13, 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. St. Mark's Episcopal
Cathedral, 519 Oak Grove Street, Minneapolis.

Tuesday, January 15, 7:00 p.m. Carleton College, Boliou Building, Room
104, One North College Street, Northfield.

Wednesday, January 16, 6:30 p.m. Minnehaha United Methodist Church, 3701
East 50th Street, Minneapolis.

Thursday, January 17, 7:00 p.m. University of St. Thomas, John Roach
Center, Room 126, 2115 Summit Avenue, St. Paul. Co-sponsored by: WAMM
Middle East Committee and Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace.

Sunday, January 20, 11:15 a.m. Linden Hills United Church of Christ, 4200
Upton Avenue South, Minneapolis.

Anna Baltzer, a Jewish-American Columbia University graduate, Fullbright
scholar, and volunteer with the International Women's Peace Service, is
currently touring the U.S. with a presentation and book describing her
experiences documenting human-rights abuses in the West Bank and
supporting Palestinian and Israeli nonviolent resistance to the
Occupation. Anna's presentation covers checkpoints, Israeli activism, the
Separation Wall, censorship, nonviolent resistance, and other topics
rarely covered in mainstream U.S. media. FFI: Visit
<www.annainthemiddleeast.com>.


--------3 of x--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 1.13 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


--------4 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Vets for peace 1.13 6pm

Sunday,1/13, 6 to 8:30 pm (and the 2nd Sunday of each month), Veterans for
Peace chapter 27 meeting, St Stephens School basement, 2130 Clinton Ave S,
Mpls.  John at 952-448-2664.


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

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org>
Subject: KFAI/Indian 1.13 7pm

KFAI¹s Indian uprising for January 13, 2008 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CDT

INDIAN LAND TENURE FOUNDATION.  ILTF is a nonprofit organization that is
community organized and community directed. The community includes Indian
landowners, Indian people on and off reservations, Indian land
organizations, tribal communities, tribal governments and others connected
to Indian land issues. The Foundation's focus is to educate, support
activities and raise funds to carry out goals related to Indian land
tenure. The goals come from the hearts and souls of tribal community
members striving to make reservations a better place to live, now, and for
future generations.

Mission: To ensure that "land within the original boundaries of every
reservation and other areas of high significance where tribes retain
aboriginal interest are in Indian ownership and management." In order to
fulfill its mission, the Foundation focuses on strategies involving
education, culture, economics and law, as directed by the Indian land
tenure community that helped create ILTF. The specific problems on which
the Foundation is focusing have been in the making for the past 150 years
or more. The work of ILTF is to consolidate, support, and improve Indian
land tenure efforts and the conditions, under which Indians use, occupy,
transfer, and control land. www.indianlandtenure.org.

Prior to 1899, most rights of way over Indian lands were first obtained
through agreements made with tribes or individual landowners, and then
afterwards ratified by Congress.  Negotiating directly with tribes was
necessary as, up until the 1870s, the United States used the treaty making
process to gain consent through treaties before passing laws that affected
Indian nations.  However, in 1871, an Act of Congress ended treaty making
with tribes, ultimately leading to the Supreme Court's "plenary powers
doctrine." This doctrine allowed Congress to make unilateral decisions
affecting Indian nations by congressional act, or statute, rather than
having to first gain acceptance of the tribe through a treaty negotiation
process.  Once freed of constitutional constraints, Congress began to
impose laws and regulations for rights of way that proved disastrous for
Indian people - ILTFs The Message Runner, Volume 3.

Guests are:
Cris Stainbrook (Lakota), President, Indian Land Tenure Foundation.
Jo-Anne E. Stately (Ojibwe, White Earth-Pillager Band), Vice President of
Development, ILTF.

* * * *
Indian Uprising a one-hour Public & Cultural Affairs program is for and by
Native Indigenous People broadcast each Sunday at 7:00 p.m. CDT on KFAI 90.3
FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul.  Producer and host is volunteer Chris
Spotted Eagle. KFAI Fresh Air Radio is located at 1808 Riverside Avenue,
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454, 612-341-3144.

For internet listening, go to www.kfai.org for live listening, click Play
under ON AIR NOW or for later listening via the archives, click PROGRAMS &
SCHEDULE > Indian Uprising > STREAM.  Programs are archived for two weeks.


--------6 of x--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: China/glob/env 1.14 10:45am

Monday, January 14: American Association of University Women Minneapolis
Branch. 10:45 AM: China, Globalization & the Environment with Jim
Harkness.


--------7 of x--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Atheist events 1.14 5pm/7pm

Monday, January 14, 5:00 - 7:00, Happy Hour. La Casita Restaurant,
1925 Perimeter Road., Roseville. George Kane, nup [at] Minn.net.

Monday, January 14, 5:00 - 7:00, Dinner Social. Davanni's, 2312 W
66th Street, Richfield, MN 55423. Call Bob/Marilyn Nienkerk,
612-866-6200

Monday, January 14, 7:00 p.m. Stillwater Critical Thinking Club,
Family Means Building 1875 Northwestern Ave. Milo and Cynthia Schield
speak on "Formidable Arguments by Young-Earth Creationists." RSVP Lee
Salisbury, leesal [at] comcast.net RSVPs please to leesal [at] comcast.net


--------8 of x--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
From: brucelissem [at] aol.com
Subject: Sprogs 1.14 7pm

The January meeting of the Network of Spiritual Progressives-Minnesota
will be on MONDAY, JANUARY 14, at 7 PM at Plymouth Church. (1900 Nicollet
Avenue, enter through the door under the canopy off the parking lot in
back and go downstairs to the Jackman Room)  Come at 6:30 for a brief
orientation for new members, to check in with your affinity group, or to
have a snack and chat.

Our January meeting will focus on Israel and Palestine--one of the world's
clearest examples of how only spiritual consciousness will be able to
overcome entrenched thinking. We will see a selection of the video,
"Peace, Propaganda, and Promised Land", and then Sameh Shabaneh will share
his experiences and thoughts, with time for questions and discussion.
Sameh is an American citizen born and raised in Palestine who has returned
frequently and is one of the founders of the Al Aqsa Group, which is
educating Americans about Palestine.


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

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: PBS/OswaldsGhost 1.14 8pm

American Experience: Oswald's Ghost

American Experience kicks off its 20th season with a look at one of the
most tumultuous events of the 20th-century. Oswald's Ghost takes a fresh
look at President Kennedy's assassination and the public's reaction to the
tragedy.

tpt2tptHD Monday, January 14, 8pm; Tuesday, January 15, 2am
tpt17Tuesday, January 15, 8pm


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

From: PRO826 [at] aol.com
Subject: A Debate That Matters

Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney confirm 'A Presidential Debate That  Matters'
in SF This Sunday; Cindy Sheehan will moderate
Forwarded by the Green Party of the United States
_http://www.gp.org_ (http://www.gp.org/)

SAN FRANCISCO - Progressives will hold their own Presidential debate here
Sunday when former presidential candidate Ralph Nader,
Democrat-turned-Green Rep. Cynthia McKinney and others on the Green Party
Presidential ballot Feb. 5 will participate in what is being billed as "A
Presidential Debate That Matters."

The debate will be held Sunday, Jan. 13, at 2 p.m. at the Herbst
Theater/Veterans Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue.

A NEWS CONFERENCE* is scheduled with candidates at 1 p.m., shortly before
the debate begins. This is the best, and maybe only, opportunity to
conduct interviews.

Ex-Rep. McKinney, former Green Party presidential candidate Nader (an
undeclared candidate), university Hip-Hop professor Jared Ball,
environmental engineer Kent Mesplay, actor/union organizer Jesse Johnson
Jr. and Texas political organizer Kat Swift are confirmed as participants.

"Peace Mom"  Cindy Sheehan will co-moderate the debate with former
President of the SF Board of Supervisors Matt Gonzalez. Other co-hosts
include San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, Richmond Mayor Gayle
McLaughlin, KPFA anchor Aimee Allison and Board of Education member Mark
Sanchez.

"This is an opportunity for those opposed to the war, who support
healthcare for all and want to address global warming to hear from the
most progressive Presidential candidates in the U.S. today," said John
Morton of the Green Presidential Debate Committee.

For more information go to _http://www.acgreens.org/debate_
(http://www.acgreens.org/debate) .


--------11 of x-------

Don't Count on It
New Hampshire "voting irregularities" just the tip of a rotten iceberg
by Daniel Patrick Welch / January 12th, 2008
Dissident Voice

As the dust settles, stirs and settles again in the quadrennial puppet
show that is billed as "democracy" in the US, new questions - surprise! -
are being raised about the accuracy and validity of vote counts in the New
Hampshire primaries.

An electorate shocked to its senses - well, okay, not exactly - by the
2000 debacle is understandably jittery about how and by whom their votes
are counted, though in truth most seem to have given it little thought
before or since. But the problem is far deeper than which corporate
lobbyist-in-training gets the nod to take on her or his counterpart from
other industries' lobbyists-in-training. It is even deeper than the notion
of democracy itself, as sweeping and grandiose as that sounds. A nation so
caught up in its own "destiny," its sense of itself so distorted and
self-aggrandizing, can hardly look closely at the building blocks of its
alleged "greatness" for fear of confronting the Big Lie of American
exceptionalism.

True, the votes in New Hampshire and elsewhere should be accurately
counted; there is no excuse for not doing so in a nation which touts its
role as the greatest democracy on earth. Suffrage is one of the most
elemental components of democracy. Forget for a moment - just for a moment
- whether the results have any meaning or bearing on the lives of the mass
of people. The very least an electorate can expect is that its vote
reflects their actual actions in the voting booth.

Much has been made of the discrepancies between handcounted paper ballots
and machine counts on optical scanners in the New Hampshire voting. This
is, of course, crucial, and should be investigated. But logic blunts the
charge absent a control: the two sets of data are measuring different
phenomena. It is improbable that a candidate's share of the vote in a
certain group of towns would match that in another group. Why would
Clinton or Obama have the same exact support in Goffstown that each had in
Portsmouth, for example? Still, the widely varying results merit, at the
very least, a thorough review.

Of greater concern in this as in every other election is whether there is
a discrepancy between raw exit poll data and reported results. One of the
greatest and most cynical assaults on US democracy waged by the blowhard
lawyers and lackeys of the GOP in 2000 was the charge, which mostly stuck,
that exit polls aren't reliable. In fact, and in the world at large, they
are considered to be more reliable than actual results. I should say
reported results: there are no actual results, keeping in mind Stalin's
famous caveat about power resting with those who count the votes, not cast
them.

The OCSE, the Carter Center and other world groups consider exit polling
data to be the only real check on whether a country is running free and
fair elections. Despite the perverse and twisted reasoning of the
red-faced James Baker et al (remember that image? - still wakes me up in a
cold sweat occasionally), the logic is fairly straightforward. Predictive
polling and exit polling are completely different tasks, and it is silly -
not to mention cynical and dangerous - to conflate the two. In the one
instance, the task is inherently pure speculation on an action that has
yet to be taken - even the respondent can't say with complete certainty
whether the response is true or not. Exit polling, on the other hand, is
sampling the results of an event that just happened. Absent some mass
hypnosis or incredibly complex psy-op campaign, skewing the results on a
broad scale is nearly impossible.

But of course, the pundits and the politicians and the pollsters know all
this, and have for a very long time. Down to the local city councilor,
election officials have long dealt with a substandard and wildly
inaccurate patchwork of systems based on what the local authority can
afford, and who gets what contract for what technology in what district.
Punchcard machines jamming and kicking out ballots were so commonplace
that up to 10% of cards went uncounted on a regular basis. The dirty
little secret is that US elections suck, pure and simple. Many americans
were outraged when international monitors offered to observe the 2004
elections, and when Carter bluntly stated that his organization couldn't
participate because voting in the US didn't rise to its minimum standards:
centralized counting authority with uniform standards, etc.

The real crime is that US voters are led to believe - and gladly do so -
that their system is not only the best in the world but is above reproach.
Such asinine and self-delusional fantasies help to shore up a whole host
of other crimes, as delusions of grandeur tend to do. Manifest Destiny
made it okay to slaughter indigenous people from coast to coast, just as
taming a new continent justified the enslavement of Africans. Saving The
World for Democracy made the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo, and the
nuking of Nagasaki and Hiroshima into historical footnotes for generations
of students. Our moral superiority over the Soviets not only justified,
but necessitated, the militarization of global jihad, not to mention the
creeping, nearly complete and unprecedented tyranny of the Military
Industrial Complex. And so on. Why would voting be any different when
cooked up in this same self-righteous stew?

Of course, it doesn't fool all Americans. In fact, most are so fed up with
the system, or so alienated by it, that they steadfastly decline to vote.
The facade of democracy has produced a system utterly unresponsive to the
people's needs. How else could it sustain the insatiable appetite for war,
the limitless spending on arms and killing machines, and the subsequent
strangling of any local government's ability to meet people's most basic
infrastructure needs? A potential voting friend, neither active nor
particularly motivated politically, put it in surprisingly succinct and
stark terms: "I hate to sound like a skeptic, but I don't hold out much
hope for any change. By the time they get to Washington, they're all so
beholden to the people who paid for their campaigns that they have to
spend their whole time in office returning the favor".

American bravado about its democracy is especially galling in the face of
most of its own history. Democrats' timidity in the 2000 sham may stem
from its guilt over its own complicity in the deliberate suppression of
suffrage. American Apartheid, after all, was the exclusive province of the
Democratic Party for nearly a hundred years. I'm reminded of a somewhat
sick joke my dad used to tell from the days of the poll tax and the
literacy test. An elderly Black gentleman in Birmingham decides to try his
hand at voting, only to be rigorously tested on his reading skills by the
local thug, no doubt a Democrat. When he read everything in due course,
frustrated officials pulled out a copy of The Polish Bugle. They snickered
among themselves until the old man said he could read that too. Stunned,
the Good Old Boys asked carefully what the headline said. "Ain't no n*****
gonna vote this year in Alabama!" was the would-be voter's retort. Ah,
democracy.

Naturally, the struggle for universal suffrage played an important role in
trying to hold American feet to the fire, so to speak. The struggle to
hold the society accountable for its racism is ongoing. Every expansion of
suffrage in human history has marked a milestone toward the promise of
increased freedom and human dignity, and each has come in the face of huge
opposition from the elites. But the sad and simple fact is that universal
suffrage no longer scares those elites - they have mastered the game. And
as Burke said, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. The focus of the
struggle is ever-shifting: new battles loom, and we Ewoks must constantly
invent new tools with which to fight the Empire. And until Americans
realize that we are not special, or different than other people in the
world, our government wil be beyond our control, the focus of evil in the
modern world, to quote another Servant of Empire. Telling the truth is not
cynicism, though I'm sure to be accused of it. True cynicism is the forced
collective belief that votes have been counted when they haven't, and that
results matter when they don't.

Daniel Patrick Welch joins the hoopla over rumors of voting irregularities
in the New Hampshire installment of US presidential primary elections. But
the real threat he sees is Americans' misplaced belief in their own
system. Read other articles by Daniel Patrick.

This article was posted on Saturday, January 12th, 2008 at 9:00 am and is
filed under Activism, Censorship, Civil Liberties, Democracy, Democrats,
Elections.


--------12 of x--------

"Visions of Omnipotence"
60 Years of Empire
By SAUL LANDAU
CounterPunch
January 12 / 13, 2008

Look at 2008 symbolically! Some 60 years ago, the United States emerged as
the world power. Henry Luce formally announced the arrival of "The
American Century" even before the country entered World War II. Luce
thought the United States should become the world's missionary, spreading
Christian values and democracy. US history had woven together a people
with noble purpose, Luce argued, and had "the most exciting flag of all
the world and of all history," blowing toward the "triumphal purpose of
freedom."

Luce, owner of the publishing empire (Time, Life and Fortune), waxed
eloquent, calling on all Americans "each to his own measure of capacity,
and each in the widest horizon of his vision, to create the first great
American Century. (February 1941 Life; see also Philip S Golub's October
2007 essay in Le Monde Diplomatique.)`

It happened. After World War II, Luce's dream conditions became reality.
The United States possessed more than 50% of the world's manufacturing
capacity. The powers of Europe and Asia lay in ruins. But politicians and
media eschewed the word "empire" to describe the nation that used its
dollar as world currency base, set up vast military alliances (NATO, CENTO
and SEATO) and, by the early 1950s, had established military bases in
scores of other countries and begun to stockpile nuclear weapons.

US leaders used the Soviet "threat" - the wicked commies would overrun
all other countries - to justify such an extension of might. As they
"checked" Soviet desires of expansion US corporations and banks moved
quickly into much of the non-Soviet world. (The media did not make public
the fact that Soviet railroad gauges did not coincide with those in their
East European colonies, thus making the supply of a potential invasion
nearly impossible.)

Washington invented a Marshall Plan and other popular schemes to help
rebuild a thriving capitalism in and a junior partnership with Western
Europe. Such behavior did frighten a defensive Soviet Premier Stalin who,
in the immediate post war period, refused support comrades in Greece and
Iran apparently in response to threats by President Truman.

The Cold War posited a good West against an evil East. Stalin's behavior
helped meet that stereotype, but the Soviets never built a rival economy.
Indeed, they possessed no corporations or banks to loot Eastern Europe.
Without them, the Soviets had few means with which to transfer wealth from
their supposed colonies.

No matter. Facts did not intrude on the political axioms developed by the
Cold Warriors. The United States became the protector of the free world.
Then, around 1990, the Soviets imploded. But the institutions designed to
protect the West from the threat of that wickedness not only remained but
grew. NATO, for example expanded. Indeed, in 2002, Washington even
sponsored a NATO-Russia council. The number of US bases abroad grew to
some 800.

At home, politicians' rhetoric denied the existence of empire as the very
context of US life even as the military consumed giant hunks of the budget
(some $700 billion) at a time when no nation even remotely threatened US
security militarily.

Leading presidential aspirants and Congressional leaders continue to
ignore this issue lest the public get a glimpse of the empire without a
wardrobe. They enable the naked miscreants of power - Bush, Cheney and the
neo cons - to continue to bleed the treasury through a capricious war and
occupation.

In the 2008 election over whom shall run the empire, Republicans and
Democrats ignore the lingering toxicity of US defeat in Vietnam.
"Patriotism" still entails chanting slogans (support our troops) and
rejecting the syndrome that followed the Vietnam War - don't fight anyone
who can fight back. The Republicans still want to revive the US reputation
as a "winner." (The last time the US actually won a war - where the enemy
fought back - was 1945)

The Iraq invasion and subsequent occupation has proven beyond unpopular
with the public. Upper national security bureaucrats have begun to express
their deep unease about the predicament. In 2006, retired generals, senior
intelligence, diplomatic and security officials also made public attacks
on the Bush policy, led by General William Odom and Colonel Larry
Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff. Odom, who headed the NSA
under Reagan, called the invasion of Iraq the "greatest strategic disaster
in United States history." (Associated Press, Oct. 5 2005.

Wilkerson labeled it a "blunder of historic proportions." (Washington
Post, Jan. 19 2006) Former Carter National Security Council boss Zbigniew
Brzezinski described Iraq as a "historic, strategic and moral calamity."
(Senate Foreign Relations Committee, February 1, 2007)

These establishment attacks stress Bush mismanagement, arrogance and
incompetence - as well as his straying from the traditional alliance
system - for losing US hegemony in the Middle East and Gulf. The critics
of Bush's policy fear that Iraq may have seriously weakened the US
military, the entity that stands as central enforcer of empire. Brzezinski
told Congress that Bush's Iraq and Afghanistan wars had undermined
"America's global legitimacy."

After the United States left Vietnam with its proverbial tail between its
legs, revolutions won power in Nicaragua and Grenada - traditional back
yard areas. Similarly, the travails of the US military have gone hand in
glove with left gains in Latin America. Voters in Venezuela, Bolivia,
Ecuador, Argentina, and even Guatemala and Paraguay indicated not only
their disgust with US economic policies, but showed their lack of respect
for US power as well.

In 1959, only Cuba dared act disobediently; other nations knew the price
of such rebellion: invasion or CIA destabilization. Similarly, Bush's 2002
"Axis of Evil" threat did not work on North Korea or Iran. Bush had to
negotiate with a regime he had declared "off limits." Moreover, China,
which now holds the power of being a major US creditor, has also emerged
as a big time Asian player.

Sixty years ago, Washington made plans to install a primitive defense
system in Western Europe. Bush wants to extend that system to Poland and
other newly "freed" countries. But some of the old allies take exception.
Indeed, ass kissing regimes like Saudi Arabia even dare to object to some
US policies. In the once monopolized sphere of the UN and other world
financial institutions, Washington cannot dictate terms so easily.

The world has watched George W. Bush lead the United States from a bright
dream toward an incipient nightmare. Under his rule, the dollar has
dropped in value. His Homeland Security goons have mistreated potential
tourists hoping to use the cheap dollar to get "bargains." A young
Icelandic woman trying to enter the United States - once symbolized by the
Statue of Liberty - was imprisoned for more than 24 hours, treated
inhospitably, and rudely deported. HS claimed she had overstayed a visa by
three days more than a decade earlier.

This kind of story mixes with reports and images of US behavior in Iraq
the Abu Ghraib torture photos circulated widely - around the world. For
the US power elite, George W. Bush and his neo con partners have made the
world deeply unsettling.

US leaders have assumed for sixty years that they had replaced their
British cousins as the world's elite, that as movers and shakers of the
new dominant power they had a mandate from God or history to maintain
stability, to make the rules for the economy.

My late professor, William Appleman Williams, lectured about how US
leaders suffered from "visions of omnipotence." Because they had
overwhelming economic and military power they believed they would forever
prevail. But they did not in Korea in 1953; nor in Vietnam in 1975. In
2008, a daily drain saps the Treasury as US military forces in Afghanistan
and Iraq fail - expensively - to overcome adverse conditions that no
military could hope to achieve.

Soviet collapse in 1990 led to the rise of the neo cons, demanding that
Washington become the new Rome. By starting with the conquest of Iraq,
they would spread the US order throughout the Middle East. It has not
worked and democracy is not what the United States wants to bring.

Presidential aspirants of both Parties ignore this fact. None address the
issue of what role a weakened United States should play in the emerging
world of the 21st Century when the US economy no longer provides the
pillar of economic stability; when its technologically omnipotent military
failed to defeat less equipped foes. As global warming intensifies and UN
rules, created by the United States for other nations to follow, have lost
prestige, what should Washington do?

Republicans - save for Libertarian Ron Paul - want more military. They
have become a sick joke. But Hillary? Barack? John? Is it premature to ask
them after only 60 years of the American Century? Or, in lieu of US
political imagination and courage, will the answers come from abroad?

Saul Landau writes a regular column for CounterPunch and
progresoweekly.com. His new Counterpunch Press book is A BUSH AND BOTOX
WORLD. His new film, WE DON'T PLAY GOLF HERE (on globalization in Mexico)
won the VIDEOFEST 2007 Award for best activist video. The event was held
in October at the Roxie Theater. The film is available through
roundworldproductions [at] gmail.com

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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