|Progressive Calendar 01.15.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 02:22:07 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 01.15.08 1. Palestine/CTV 1.15 5pm 2. Ramsey sheriff 1.15 6pm 3. Poverty4Sale/f 1.15 6:30pm 4. Barter network 1.15 7pm 5. MN 911 truth 1.15 7pm 6. Poets 4 peace 1.15 7:30pm 7. Education/KFAI 1.16 11am 8. ToxicToys/Norm 1.16 12noon 9. Aeon housing 1.16 4:30pm 10. Stadium scam 1.16 6:30pm 11. Black union/f 1.16 7pm 12. Energy lit 1.16 7pm 13. Free flu shot 1.16 14. Bicking/Coleman - Stadium NO! 15. Gilles d'Aymery - The zoology of pwogs and pwogrevs 16. Michael Doliner - End the empire: a polemic --------1 of 16-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine/CTV 1.15 5pm Sainted St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesday evenings at 5pm and midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am. All households with basic cable may watch. 1/15 5pm and midnight and 1/16 10am "Ali Abunimah: Where Next for Palestine-Israel: Peace, Apartheid or Democratic Inclusion? Part 1" Talk by Palestinian American given at the U of M in Oct. '07. (a repeat) --------2 of 16-------- From: Mike Fratto <mfratto [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Ramsey sheriff 1.15 6pm Hearings of the Ramsey County Charter Commission on the question whether to amend the County Charter. The proposed amendment, if passed, would change the process of filling the Ramsey County Sheriff's position from election to appointment. Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Ramsey County Court House. --------3 of 16-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Poverty4Sale/f 1.15 6:30pm On Tuesday, Jan 15, i am showing a film made my my son-in-law, Thierry Vivier, a French film documentarian which is called L'or des Pauvres. It doesn't translate well. Poverty for Sale is a close as we can get. It is how the poor here in the US are pawns of the banks, credit companies and other institutions that take advantage of the poor. patty Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------4 of 16-------- From: Diane J. Peterson <birch7 [at] comcast.net> Subject: Barter network 1.15 7pm Two orientation sessions have been scheduled for the Hour Dollars barter network. You may attend to learn precisely how the program works and to register to enroll. I have been participating in this for several years and found it quite beneficial. Tuesday, January 15 - 7pm at the Merriam Park Library (1831 Marshall Ave.) Wednesday, January 23 - 7 pm. at the Hamline Midway Coalition building (1564 LaFond Ave., at the corner of LaFond and Snelling) Contact Vicki Patschke if you have questions--vpatschke [at] gmail.com. --------5 of 16-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: MN 911 truth 1.15 7pm January 15, 7 pm generally until 9 pm Lori's Coffeehouse (meeting is between the two businesses) 1441 N. Cleveland Ave St. Paul, MN Across from St. Paul U of M campus We would like to have new faces so come see what the 9/11 Truth Movement is about and what we are doing in Minnesota. We also encourage you to patronize the businesses, a middle eastern dinner or the coffee shop. Good food! Not mandatory, just encouraged. Helps if you can RSVP back to this address. --------6 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Poets 4 peace 1.15 7:30pm Tuesday, 1/15, 7:30 pm, Poets for Peace presents free "Peace and War in the Heartland," (St Paul poet laureate Carol Connolly hosts), University Club St Paul, 420 Summit Ave, St Paul. http://www.pwh-mn.org/events/arts.php or fkroncke [at] minnesota8.net --------7 of 16-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Education/KFAI 1.16 11am TRUTH TO TELL Wednesday, JANUARY 16 11:00AM EDUCATION IN THE CITIES: Who judges - them or us? KFAI 90.3FM Minneapolis/106.7 St. Paul Streaming @ KFAI.org The national education magazine, Education Week, has issued the latest in a multi-year report card on state education systems entitled, Quality Counts. While there may be serious questions about Minnesotas commitment to educational excellence overall, what should be the criteria for judging the success of our system and is it fair to compare states at all with their diverse sets of laws, rules, regulations, governance structures, and labor contracts, and, if it is what does a D+ in the Teaching Profession category even as we receive a B+ in Chance for Success. TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with education professional, a legislator, teacher reps and a parent on the credibility and ideas contained in Quality Counts and whether or not the media is overblowing report card grades given out by what is essentially another media outlet. GUESTS: MAUREEN PRENN, Acting Dean, College of Education, Minnesota University at Mankato KATE TOWLE, Active Parent (11 years) and Member, Minneapolis District Parent Advisory Council PENDING: ALICE SEAGREN, Commissioner, MN Department of Education PENDING: REP. MINDY GREILING, Chair of Education Finance Committee, MN House and former Teacher, St. Paul Public Schools TEACHER REP. TBA And YOU! -------8 of 16--------- From: Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition <aranney [at] citizenstrade.org> Subject: ToxicToys/Norm 1.16 12noon MN Fair Trade Coalition Join Steelworkers at Coleman's Office to Say Stop the Flood of Toxic Toys and Contaminated Products Rally held on Wednesday at 12:00 pm CST in front of MN Senator Norm Coleman's office to demand action to stop trade agreements that bring toxic toys and products into our homes and poisonous food to our dinner table. The Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition will join the United Steelworkers on their National Day of Action on Wednesday, January 16th to tell Norm Coleman and members of congress across the country that cheap goods come at a toxic price. There are many hidden costs to passing bad trade agreements, from off-shoring of jobs to environmental degradation. One of those costs result in the flood of cheap imported products and food that don't meet adequate health and safety standards. From toxic toys to lead-laden bibs, from poisoned pet food to contaminated human food, these costs come to the detriment of our children and families across the US. Join the United Steelworkers, the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition and many others who will speak out on this day to demand no more toxic trade. Wednesday, January 16, 2007 at 12:00 pm Central Standard Time Office of Senator Norm Coleman, 2550 University Ave. W., Suite 100N, St. Paul, MN OTHER EVENTS: Simultaneous events will be held at the office of Representative Michelle Bachmann in St. Cloud, and a friendly event will be held at the office of Representative Tim Walz in Rochester. Contact Nan Duchene at the USW office for more information. --------9 of 16-------- From: Jenny Johnson <JJohnson [at] aeonhomes.org> Subject: Aeon housing 1.16 4:30pm Aeon e-News (formerly Central Community Housing Trust) Learn how Aeon is responding to the affordable housing shortage in the Twin Cities. Please join us for a 1-hour Building Dreams presentation. Minneapolis Session: January 16 at 4:30 pm We are also happy to present Building Dreams at your organization, place of worship, or business. Space is limited, please register online at: http://www.aeonhomes.org/bd or call Jenny Johnson at 612-341-3148 x237 Aeon 1625 Park Ave Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612) 341-3148 www.aeonhomes.org <http://www.aeonhomes.org/> --------10 of 16-------- From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at] attg.net> Subject: Stadium scam 1.16 6:30pm Meeting Notice -- Metrodome Jan. 16 -- CALL TO ACTION Listening Tour for the Vikings: OPEN HOUSE -- 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Metrodome. I was told that there will be a short, formal presentation beginning at 7:00. Come and hear why Zygi needs your financial help with his private entertainment business. [Hand it over! I'm rich and I need to be richer! You're poor and you need to be poorer! I'm worthy and you're worthless! Hand it over!] One of our supporters recently wrote this: " ... I am definitely planning to be at the Metrodome Jan. 16, ready to speak to anyone and everyone who will let me. I'm just dusting off and updating my "testimony" at the Twins legislative hearing in Bloomington. But I'm even more ticked off this time around, if that's possible. We need a big crowd at that Metrodome meeting, even if people can't speak or don't want to speak. ... " Yep ... this time around ... here we go again folks .... it just seems there is no short supply of billionaires needing a helping hand. So if you can, show up next Wednesday and take advantage of the FREE PARKING!!! available in the Dome lot on the east side - this is the only lot that is actually attached to the Dome at 11th Avenue & 5th Street. You can find all the info at their website: http://msfc.com/ --------11 of 16-------- From: stpaulunions.org <llwright [at] stpaulunions.org> Subject: Black union/film 1.16 7pm 2007 - 2008 Labor & Community Film Series "Miles of Smiles" The organizing of America's first black trade union This inspiring story of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters provides one of the few accounts of African-American working life between the Civil War and World War II. "Miles of Smiles" both recovers an important chapter in the emergence of black America and reveals a key source of the Civil rights movement. January 16, 2008 7:00 PM (followed by discussion) St Paul Labor Center - 411 Main Street Free and Open to All Co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service and the St Paul Area Trades and Labor Assembly -------12 of 16-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Energy literacy 1.16 7pm ENERGY LITERACY: Energy-savings and carbon-reduction at the household and community level - what citizens can do. Wednesday, January 16, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Hillcrest Auditorium, Hillcrest Recreation Center 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul This seminar, free-of-charge, features local resources helping citizens concerned with reducing energy costs and reducing carbon emissions: Macalester College EcoHouse, a student residence, is a demonstration project for current best practices in green remodeling and sustainable living. The dream is to include clean energy technologies as well. EcoHouse will serve as a real-time laboratory showing how sustainable living works ? in a St. Paul neighborhood. <http://www.macalester.edu/ecohouse/>www.macalester.edu/ecohouse/ Neighborhood Energy Connection provides independent educational energy audits, serves as sole source for the Minnesota Energy Loan program, and manages the HOURCAR car-sharing program in the Twin Cities. Their website provides information on Home Energy and Energy Improvement Financing. <http://www.thenec.org/>www.thenec.org Great Plains Institute is playing a crucial advocacy role in regional approaches including the Midwest Governors Association Energy Security and Climate Change initiative and Powering the Plains Energy Transition Roadmap. <http://www.gpisd.net/>www.gpisd.net While public policy discussions on energy matters are on-going, results benefiting ordinary citizens have appeared distant. Discussions have seemed far removed from household and community economies. Suggestions of reducing overall energy use and transitioning to renewable energy have left questions about what will remain of the modern American lifestyle. I believe there is a need for local discussion of practical solutions and assessment of needs at the household and community level, a discussion focusing on regional resources informed by data from nearby, real-life implementation and demonstrations. At some point, energy transition requires a degree of consensus ? a shared understanding ? in a given community. The bonus would be promoting community development while promoting sustainability at the same time. In a sense, the January 16th citizen seminar is a demonstration project. My hope is that it could represent one contribution to the beginning of an on-going community approach to energy transition. Brian Merchant St. Paul, Minnesota MnPostCarbon [at] gmail.com --------13 of 16-------- From: Charlie Swope <mcswope [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Free flu shot 1.16 Ramsey County will be offering free flu shots on the 16th of January. For information about this and also for getting your home tested for Radon, see:http://www.co.ramsey.mn.us/PH/index.htm --------14 of 16--------- From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com> Subject: Stadium NO! Perhaps you thought I was done telling you about stadium rip-offs and asking for your help and participation. I really wish I could stop doing this, but even as OUR money is being spent to build the Twins stadium, another greedy team owner is looking for a public subsidy, possibly twice the size of what was stolen from us by Carl Pohlad. The Vikings are looking for "public participation" in the building of a brand new stadium for them. The dog and pony show for the new stadium is on an eight city "Listening Tour". They want us to "learn about the issues surrounding the Metrodome and a potential new stadium" and to "ensure that our voice is heard". Let's take them at their word and show up and let them know loud and strong that we don't want one penny of public money spent to subsidize the private profit of billionaires! Wednesday, January 16, 6:30 - 8:30pm, Open House and Public Forum, at the Metrodome Halsey Hall Room, 900 S. 5th St., Mpls. Directions: Park for free in the lot on the east side of the Metrodome. The entrance to the lot is on the west side of 11th Ave. S., just a little north of 6th St. >From the lot, they are supposed to have guides to direct you to the Halsey Hall Room. If not, look for a small building at the SW corner of that lot, close to the Metrodome itself. The building is nothing more than an enclosure for a stairway leading into a basement passage. Follow that passage to the right, enter the room with the guard station, and turn left. Please come - we should try to pack the event with stadium subsidy opponents! Already, some state legislators have expressed an interest in hearing a report about what the public thinks at these meetings. Of course, these meetings have nothing to do with honestly finding out what the public thinks. It appears that most of the publicity has consisted of emails to season ticket-holders for the Vikings. But we know we'll have enough of us there so you won't feel lonely or intimidated (like they would wish). Actually, this event is not hosted by the Vikings themselves. Instead, this show is being put on by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, a public group formed in the 70's to own and operate the HHH Metrodome. This public body is spending OUR money - $400,000 of it!! - to put on these events. Read Nick Coleman's article below - it is an excellent account of what is going on here, based on his attendance at a previous Open House in Virginia, MN. It seems at first that it is impossible that such a deal could go through - how could they possibly get something like $700,000,000 in public money for a private stadium? We're already paying for one stadium. And our state infrastructure is literally collapsing. And the economy is failing and people are being forced out of their homes. But history shows that overwhelming public opposition is at a great disadvantage when one billionaire comes begging to our politicians. So please come out Wednesday night. And please stay tuned, and contact your legislators. It may seem too early to be worried about this - but so often in the past, once the public is aware and active, we are told "it is too late now - you should have spoken up sooner" or simply, "it's a done deal". It is unlikely that this year's session of the State Legislature will act on the stadium request - it would look too bad in an election year, particular when there are deficits and the I-35W bridge is still closed. But they will be laying the groundwork, so we can expect action in 2009. Let's start now to show them we are determined to stop them. And to show that we are adamant that public money should be spent for the public good. Dave Bicking Here is Nick Coleman's article from the 11/15/07 StarTribune: VIRGINIA, MINN. -- I was unaware that the city of Virginia claims to be home of the largest loon decoy in the world until Wednesday, when I braved freezing rain and snow to drive up to the Queen City of the Iron Range. But maybe it makes sense. On Wednesday night, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission left the metro and went to Virginia to try to float an even more ungainly duck. The commission is a public body, created in 1977 for the good of "the public health, safety and general welfare" to establish procedures "for the acquisition and betterment of sports facilities." Translation, 30 years later: Get a new billion-dollar football stadium built, pronto. The commission, which serves as proprietor of the Metrodome, is barnstorming the state to drum up sympathy for a needy gentleman named Zygi Wilf and his purple gladiators. The commission's chair, former Republican state Sen. Roy Terwilliger, was appointed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2003. There is not a chance in a frozen open pit mine that Terwilliger, nursing a cold, would be taking his show around the state without the blessings of a governor who is hoping to get new stadiums built while the state's bridges are falling down, jobs are going away and the nursing homes and hospitals in the little towns around the Iron Range are facing closures and cutbacks in part because of declining state and federal reimbursements for taking care of all those old Rangers. The commission's "listening tour" has already visited Rochester and Mankato, and resumes in January with stops in Moorhead, St. Cloud, Duluth and Marshall. It's we who are supposed to be listening. This is a show where the stadium planners talk and then you get to ask a few questions or fill out a survey, answering useful queries such as, "Should the Vikings remain in Minnesota for future generations of fans?" It's a slick show, and it was meant to be. The sports commission spent $400,000 on it. That's for the lavish 8-foot high displays, the public relations firm, the "event specialists" on hand to monitor the cheer level, and a computer animation showing a gleaming stadium with a retracting roof that provoked a few oohs and aahs until it was explained that Mr. Wilf likes football outdoors and that the roof would never close for a Vikings game. On the Iron Range, freezing your keister is not glamorous. It feels like work. The sprinkling of citizens who attended the show in a basement room at the Virginia Regional Medical Center seemed to like football. Most of the few questions after the presentation were of the "Are you sure this plan is OK with the Vikes" variety. The odd thing about the stadium road show is that the Sports Facilities Commission is singing the praises of the 25-year-old Metrodome so convincingly that you can't see why it needs to be replaced. And it doesn't. The commission calls the Dome "Minnesota's Rec Room" and the place where "Minnesota goes to play." It's used 300 days a year! Why, the high school league has handed out 7,700 patches to kids who competed in state tournaments there! People come from all over! Wonderful! It takes $15 million a year to keep the Dome up and running. The biggest chunk of that, $6 million, comes from the Vikings. Throw in lost revenues from the Twins and Gophers, and the Dome would need an annual public subsidy of about $8 million to keep serving as our Rec Room. I'm no accountant, but the public cost for a $750 million investment in Zygi Land would be $25 million a year (not counting interest) for 30 years. It makes more sense to just put the Metrodome on a firm footing for all those Monster Truck rallies, soccer games and religious revivals, and let the Vikings do their own deal. But what does sense have to do with pro sports? The Sports Facilities Commission has been tasked to get the pigskin rolling. And time is short: It will take 54 months to get a new stadium done, and there are only 58 months left until the 2012 NFL season begins - without the Vikings tied by a lease to the Dome. Cue the Legislature. The only hard question came from a psychologist named Steven Carter. The taxpayers are being asked "to finance a corporation owned by multimillionaires," he said. But if the public puts up $750 million for a Vikings stadium but gets no ownership of the team, we're "socializing the risks while privatizing the profits." Ding. Ding. Ding. Lester Bagley, vice president of the Vikings, allowed as how it was a fair question, but went back to the script: Minnesota really, really needs a new football stadium because the Vikings "want to keep the team here." For a second, you could see the glint of the knife: The Vikings are not saying they will leave if they don't get a new stadium. They are just saying they would like to stay. The Twins' new park is underway, and the next sports temple is coming at you. [I for one wish all the big-league stadium-requiring sports teams would leave, get out, go elsewhere, scram, hit the road, vanish, go south, get lost, amscray, disappear, "not just for a day, not just for a year, but always." -ed] --------15 of 16-------- The Zoology Of Pwogs And Pwogrevs by Gilles d'Aymery (Swans - January 14, 2008) A week or so ago, a tiger got loose in the San Francisco Zoo. It mauled two humans and killed another before being killed by the "authorities." The zoo was closed for a week or so and finally reopened with the moated enclosure where the tiger once resided now in search of new residents. With this empty space in mind, here's an opportunity to revisit the zoology of the "progressive" and "radical" Left. Truth be told, this is an exercise in futility since nothing much has changed in these political boutiques. The softies stick to their long-held strategy to support any Democratic candidate in the name of lesser-evilism, and parts of the slightly more radical crowd revel in tactical moves that include the number of reactionary angels on the head of the proverbial pin. From Kucinich's coitus interruptus to the embrace of Ron Paul, the entertainment is worthy of the Writer's strike and deserves a quick flyover of the circus where it plays. Dennis and the credulous progressives At the very least the progressive crowd (aka pwogs) won't have to wait until August 25-28, 2008, in Denver, Colorado, to find out that once again they have been taken for a ride. In 2004, Dennis Kucinich waited until the last minute, all the way to the Democratic Convention, to deliver his delegates to John Kerry, a pro-war, corporate Democrat who could not give a hoot about these progressives (so long as they voted for him in the name of lesser-evilism - which they did). This time around, Kucinich showed his true colors as early as January 1, 2008, in the Iowa caucus. He called upon his supporters to caucus for corporate-controlled Barack Obama on the grounds that both of them had "one thing in common: Change." Obama, a trendy and upcoming operator, was quick to respond that he was "honored that [Kucinich] has done this because we both believe deeply in the need for fundamental change." Kucinich, an avatar of history, is crawling back to his UFO-sighted, vegan-loaded spiritual cave, where his red-haired, tongue-pierced wife will soothe the pain until she moves on to a better climate, leaving the cultural creative, egocentric pygmy to struggle for his lonely self. It goes without saying that the progressive community got rattled by his appeal and felt a sense of deep betrayal, proving once again, election cycle after election cycle, that this crowd is irredeemably and incurably irrelevant - or at least utterly laughable. As early as July 2006 (see my Blips #54), I opined that Kucinich could only be supported, religiosity and pomposity aside, if he pledged to release his delegates from voting for the nominee, let his supporters vote according to their conscience, and to not campaign for the pro-war candidate should he lose the nomination. He did not make the pledge. I walked away. Norman Solomon, a strong advocate of Kucinich in 2004, did not walk away though. He supported Kucinich wholeheartedly, and following the call to caucus for Obama as a second choice he woke up with a really bad migraine. He had planned to vote for Kucinich but unable to swallow the latest perfidy he decided through a few intellectual contortions to throw his support to John Edwards instead ("Edwards Reconsidered," Counterpunch, January 3, 2008). Another leftist who got had and threw his lot to Edwards once Kucinich made the loony suggestion that Ron Paul would be a fitting running mate is one of the Revolutionaries for Democrats that I covered in "The Democratic Salvation And The Idiotic Left" (November 2006). The mushy-brained pseudo-Marxist revels in doing revolutionary work in between elections (though I suspect that due to the lengthy campaign he has not had much time for such activity). Expect him to vote for whoever the Democratic ticket turns out to be. Perhaps a new entry should be added to the nomenclature of the left, "Entertaining Revolutionaries," or "Revolutionary Clowns." Even Paul Street, the hard-hitting commentator and author who had given somewhat of an uneasy nod to Kucinich, was taken aback by the fraudulent treachery of the silly man (which should have been expected) and, although his opinion of John Edwards had not been particularly warm, he reversed his stand, using Ralph Nader as a shield against possible critics. The remaining crowd that did a hatchet job on Nader in 2004 (Doug Ireland, Ted Glick, Ronnie Dugger, the folks at Znet, the Cruise-Line Left at The Nation, etc., etc., etc.) and voted for the Democrats in the 2006 mid-term elections has been singularly quiet, or whispering its support for a Democratic nominee, whoever he or she may be. The reasons, I suspect, are three-fold. 1) They are much too busy with their own ventures: Ted Glick has moved to a new field of consciousness - climate change. Doug Ireland is very occupied with writing his newly commissioned weekly column for the French magazine Bakchich (gosh, his American French is as horrendous as my French American!) and focusing on gay issues. The brain trust at Znet is content to leave Paul Street to rant on the issue at hand as those folks are working hard on their new impressive Web site and focusing on raising $120,000 with the help of their iconic supporters (Chomsky, Zinn, Pilger, et al.). 2) Many, if not all, follow the money, which comes from Democratic supporters. 3) There is no third-party candidate as of yet and therefore no need to denounce a potential "spoiler." Or they may feel a bit ashamed of themselves for time and again succumbing to the rationale of lesser-evilism - though I doubt that they even comprehend the notion of shame. It matters little though. They will all vote for the Corporate Democrat chosen by America Inc. - all, without exception. They'll lament the choice, of course, but will emphasize the symbolism and barrier-breaking of it - an African American or a woman or a populist. It's so predictable. To add fun to the already pathetic picture, some of these luminaries have jumped on the bandwagon of one very reactionary candidate. Pwogrevs: Good old red and brown shirts Pwogrevs are progressive revolutionaries who for a mix of tactical, antiwar, and ideological reasons, decide to support what and whom they are supposed to vehemently oppose. Who's not used to Alexander Cockburn's antics? The Israeli government and the Jewish (Israel) lobby control America through their bankers and media moguls; global warming is sheer hogwash, driven by profiteers (Alex cannot fathom that profiteers have not created global warming; they simply take advantage of the reality); peak oil is an invention of the oil companies to better increase their profits; and all the muckraking hokum that apparently sells well on Counterpunch (CP). Having a fixation with Jews, in the lineage of his father Claud, he's been flirting with his alter ego at antiwar.com for years. Left-Right "unity" is his motto - same as it was in Mussolini's times, and in our post-partisan era. Some leftists, even of the libertarian mold, have always had a fascination with the sirens of muscular order. Cockburn's evolving ideological drift toward reactionary politics was in full display when he wrote favorably in support of Ron Paul and took a few sharp arrows out of his quiver to shoot at Ralph Nader. (And no, Alex, Nader did not "endorse" Edwards. It should be evident enough that this is a ploy from the Establishment's guard dogs to discredit John Edwards - "See, the guy is being endorsed by a radical, spoiling, lunatic; it's proof positive that he is not a viable candidate..." Who knows, next he may well endorse Mike Huckabee, the Christ's soldier, Republican with a soul and welcome Chuck Norris on CP! However, the position taken by Joshua Frank, the co-editor of dissidentvoice.org and regular contributor to CP, is more troubling. He recommends paying attention to and embracing the candidature of Ron Paul because of Paul's strict antiwar position. In doing so, Frank, like many antiwar activists, confuses an antiwar coalition with an ideological alliance. An antiwar coalition should encompass all activists independent of their ideology but should remain focused on that single issue. When you jump into an ideological alliance you're entering some very muddy waters. For instance, should one support David Duke because of his antiwar positions? I'm not suggesting or even insinuating that Paul is a white supremacist. I have no idea, but I sure know that he is anti-immigrant, against freedom of choice, anti-gay, anti-affirmative action, against civil rights, against universal health care, against public education, against all antipoverty programs at home and abroad, against any kind of governmental regulations in the name of the famed "free market" so dear to the paleoconservatives, and, and, and...the list is too long to enumerate here. Suffice it to say, Paul would be happy to return to a social construct that existed in the 19th century and erase all the rights that our forebears fought and died for so that the working class, the small people, the minorities, would be less exploited and share the fruits of their work in a more egalitarian fashion. The partisans of such an ideological alliance will retort that there is no way, no chance that Paul's principles could turn into the policies of the United States, proving that they are in dire need to revisit their history books, and one could rhetorically ask: If a Paul administration could not deliver his program what makes you believe that he would be able to end the war? They also argue that we have to reach out to conservative, even reactionary voices and forces if we want to achieve results (end the war, etc.), all the same ignoring that in doing so they end up co-opted by these reactionary forces and continually move in one direction, and one direction only: that of the reactionary they otherwise seemingly abhor and combat. Haven't they learned yet from the centrist Democrats? Out of rationales, which to be honest they have in profusion, they'll wink and allude to the fact that the odds of Ron Paul getting the nomination of the Republican Party are so slim it's worthy and not that risky to monkey-wrench the game. It'd be more useful that instead of wasting their time on baloney they spent it on building a credible alternative to the duopoly, one that reflects their actual social and political principles. What a quaint idea, less gaming and more work back at the drawing board. But this short review would not be complete without having a look, or taking an ironic shot, at my favorite "monkey-wrencher," the endearing Stan Goff, the self-defined unorthodox Marxist and feral scholar of fame within the withering blogoleftsphere. You'll recall that Stan is the master tactician (also covered in my November 2006 article) who advocated voting for the Democrats in the midterm elections. Having found out that the Democrats did not make one inch of a difference regarding Iraq (wow, what a find!), he announced a few months ago that he would campaign for Ralph Nader, were he to run in the coming presidential election. He also blathered a few positive words about Cynthia McKinney and her attempt to become the Green Party flag bearer. A renown strategist, Stan sat in front of his chess board, pondered what lateral move he could make to defeat his opponents (the "war party" as Justin Raimondo calls them), and, Eureka!, came up with another genial tactical move. Forget about the king (Nader) and the queen (McKinney): let's muddle up the opposition by registering as Republicans in the primaries and vote for Ron Paul, he wrote in a little rant published on - where else but - CP. That will throw the proverbial monkey wrench into the game. Then he went on to refine and further clarify his tactical move on his blog. A lively discussion ensued. The gallery applauded. To paraphrase: "What a gutsy move, Stan; I'm all for it. Let's become Republicans for a day or more and vote for Ron Paul. We'll show 'em the power of our discontent" - Even good old John Steppling embraced the tactic, taking the occasion to plug one of his latest typo-laden admonitions against the Imperialists. It was all bon enfant as usual and, in the big scheme of the presidential charade, rather insignificant. Still, it was a reminder of the age-old commonality between the red and brown shirts, and made me wonder whether these people will ever, ever bring a coherent message that could be supported by the masses of confused voters - those millions who long for real change but cannot find a bearer for their hopes...and are instinctually rejecting the perpetual contortions and tactical moves of activists that are incapable of offering a realistic alternative to the duopoly. Thus, here we are: The pwogs for Democrats remain as entrenched as ever in their ineptitude and the pwogrevs call for an alliance with a reactionary nut ball. It's dj vu all over again. I am sorry the tiger had to be killed, but the emptied, moated enclosure is available. I hear that there is no access to the Internet and computers are forbidden in that space. It could be used for more creative purposes! --------16 of 16-------- End The Empire: A Polemic by Michael Doliner One keeps forgetting to go right down to the foundations. One doesn't put the question marks deep enough down. -Ludwig Wittgenstein (Swans - January 14, 2008) We can only understand the machinations of the Bush administration as a continuation of an American foreign policy that started, at the latest, in 1898. With the invasion of the Philippines then, if not earlier, the United States abandoned its policy of non-intervention and embarked on its present imperial policy. Without an understanding that the Bush administration policy is a continuation of this long policy, we tend to interpret it as merely bungling and incompetence. As long as we continue to do that nothing significant will change. For example, many people would like to see the troops withdrawn from Iraq. But the troops are in Iraq to maintain control the oil cornucopia of the Middle East. American imperial policy, supported by all administrations since the first third of the last century, requires such control. Iraq is a shambles and the American troops protect no one except themselves. They are there not for any of the false reasons Bush gave, but to occupy and control Iraq and allow American rather than Chinese oil companies to profit from the oil resource. The policy is bipartisan. It will therefore be impossible to elect a Democrat who will withdraw the troops from Iraq unless we confront, expose, and end this imperial policy itself. Laughing at Bush, cursing deposed Rumsfeld, and kicking out Cheney, however satisfying in themselves, will not help to change an American foreign policy that both parties and all the organizations of the elite support. Electing Clinton or Obama will not help either. Troops will remain in Iraq as long as the United States maintains its imperial policy. Again, will the new National Intelligent Estimate (NIE) prevent Bush from attacking Iran? It might, but that will only leave it to the next president, Republican or Democrat, to do the attacking. Why? Because even with its troops in Iraq the United States cannot maintain control of the Middle East as long as Iran remains powerful and independent. The US destruction of Iraq strengthened Iran. The occupation of Iraq is too expensive, too chaotic, and too exhausting for America to continue it for much longer. Already the American presence is so weak that it has little influence on events. If we have to leave Iraq, Iran will still be there, and it will dominate the region with an anti-American policy. That would put an end to the Empire. To continue, the Empire needs to eliminate Iranian independence. But Iran is too large and strong, and oil shipments through the Persian Gulf too vulnerable, for such an attack to be anything but catastrophic. Nevertheless, the Imperium requires control of oil. Since the Iraq occupation is impossible partly because of the existence of Iran, Iran must be destroyed to maintain that occupation and continue the Empire. On this all the presidential candidates except Ron Paul agree. The Iranian nuclear policy, like the false reasons for the invasion of Iraq, is a pretext only. If it proves not serviceable the Empire will, must, find something else to justify an attack or perish. Only by abandoning the American Empire and therefore the need to control the Middle East will we be able to restrain such an attack once and for all and heal the ever-growing wound in the Middle East and beyond. The NIE alone will, at best, postpone the Empire's last desperate futile move that is likely to consume the world. We can only hope that the American elites are aware of the insanity of this contemplated attack and that it was because some secret power behind the throne wanted to block it that the NIE was published after Cheney's long concealment. But that would imply that some secret power was ready to abandon the Empire as a whole and it is unlikely that anyone has that much power. The super rich, who think they control everything, control a lot less than they think. No person or group of persons is strong enough to abandon the Empire itself, for that is the condition of their rule. Only if the Empire is directly exposed within the political arena will it become even possible to abandon it. For only then can they be forced politically to do so? The Empire, to survive, needs to control the oil of the Middle East, and that is impossible through the Iraq occupation. To continue to try to maintain this control is to walk a tightrope over calamity and eventually to plunge into it with some sort of attack on Iran. Maintenance of the Empire requires such a suicidal attack on Iran. Apparently, some rich powerful Americans know the plan to attack Iran is a disaster. But do they know what that means about the Empire as a whole? It is a strange situation. Those who seem to be secretly in power might even want, if they see the true implications, to end the Empire. But they cannot do so because of the bedrock ideas of their class. The question of the Empire's survival, as an open political question, might just allow them to do what they want to do anyway. What is certain is that the appearance of that question as an open political question is essential to any hope of abandoning the Empire and thus thwarting an attack on Iran. It may be that the loss of the Empire will coincide with a drastic decline in American wealth and power, but it will not be the cause. The United States would have done far better had it never engaged in this imperial policy. The United States was extremely prosperous and free before the disastrous intervention into World War I, and would have remained so had it not intervened. If the Empire ended, its enormous drain upon the country, both in people and resources, would stop. The horrible politics of lying, war, and corruption would also likely stop. This would more than make up for any possible losses from the end of an Empire that has never been even profitable for the country as a whole. Even control of Middle Eastern oil itself never benefited the average guy, but only the big oil companies. The real cause of an American decline will be the pathetic American financial situation, peak oil, global climate change, and the rest of the fundamental ecological, medical, agricultural, geological, and other challenges that face the human race as a whole. Of course, mishandling of these problems with a continuation of politics as usual might precipitate a World War III that would likely end the human experiment in toto. When and if Americans ever grasp just what a formidable adversary nature is about to prove they will think of terrorism as nothing more than a pinprick. In any case terrorism will end with the Empire's end. We are already too late to avoid a calamity, but we can mitigate it somewhat. The enormous resources wasted on the military and the complete corruption of the political mechanism make any response to the looming ferocious natural threat impossible. America must abandon its Empire as a first step. Right now all the political space is filled with arrant nonsense as political hacks try to explain American policy with obvious gobbledygook. The terms of the discussion must change. The conversation must take the existence of the Empire as obvious and raise the question of its continuation. Only if continuation of that Empire becomes an open political question can the Empire ever be abandoned. And only then can we turn our attention to the tsunami of dangers we now face. An American attack on Iran is nothing but the last reflexive twitch of the dying Empire. It is a desperate move that cannot save the Empire in any case, but can plunge the world into its last horrible war. Yet the Empire's inertia pushes us towards this policy. Given the natural American distaste for Empire, exposing it would likely go a long way towards turning the public against it. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments --------------------- Support Our Tyrants ---------------------
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