Progressive Calendar 01.15.08
From: David Shove (
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]>
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]>
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]>
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 ( )
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]>
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]

--------5 of 16--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
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]>
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. or fkroncke [at]

--------7 of 16--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Education/KFAI 1.16 11am

TRUTH TO TELL Wednesday, JANUARY 16  11:00AM
Who judges - them or us?
KFAI 90.3FM Minneapolis/106.7 St. Paul  Streaming @

The national education magazine, Education Week, has issued the latest in
a multi-year report card on state education systems entitled, Quality

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.

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.

 MAUREEN PRENN, Acting Dean, College of Education, Minnesota University at
 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
And YOU!

-------8 of 16---------

From: Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition <aranney [at]>
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

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]>
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: or call Jenny Johnson at 612-341-3148 x237

Aeon 1625 Park Ave Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612) 341-3148

--------10 of 16--------

From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at]>
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

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:

--------11 of 16--------

From: <llwright [at]>
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]>
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.

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.

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. <>

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]

--------13 of 16--------

From: Charlie Swope <mcswope [at]>
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,

--------14 of 16---------

From: Dave Bicking <dave [at]>
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

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

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

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

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

[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
 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
 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

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 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

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 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

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

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]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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