Progressive Calendar 02.11.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2008 04:31:35 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    02.11.08

1. Empire/radical    2.11 9:30am
2. Single-payer bill 2.11 11:15am
3. Warming/fairness  2.11 11:30am
4. Report on HMOs    2.11 2pm
5. Pray for peace    2.11 6:30pm
6. Labor/globe/film  2.11 7pm
7. How to blog       2.11 7pm
8. Peace/school      2.11 7pm Rochester MN

9. Welfare rights    2.12 11am
10. Vs recruiters    2.12 5:30pm
11. Media reform/CTV 2.12 5pm
12. Stadium/TACSR    2.12 7pm
13. Rowley/terrorism 2.12 7pm

14. Dan DiMaggio     - Nader an alternative to procorporate parties
15. Ron Jacobs       - Recruiting kids to kill innocent flesh
16. Harvey Wasserman - Nothing mainstream about the corporate media
17. Cockburn/StClair - When is a delegate not a delegate?
18. Carl Bloice      - More bad news from the job market
19. ed               - Grab grab grab  (poem)
20. ed               - Orange alert  (bumpersticker)

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From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Empire/radical 2.11 9:30am

Monday, February 11: American Association of University Women Minneapolis
Branch. 9:30 AM: American Imperialism- Then & Now. 10:45 AM: Radical
Women Religious Thinkers. Noon: Lunch. 1:15 PM: Business Meeting. 2115
Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis.

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From:    "Melissa Waskiewicz" <Melissa [at]>
Subject: Single-payer bill 2.11 11:15am

Metro IBA [Independent Business Alliance] has endorsed the Universal
Single Pay Heath Care Bill (Marty/Tshumper Bill).

It has recieved very little attention and the MN Health Reform Caucus
(MHRC) Group is planning a Press Conference to get more media attention.
It will be held at the State Office Building (SOB), just west of the
Capitol in the Press Room, Feb. 11th at 11:15.

After that the Greater MN Health Care Coalition (GMHCC) will do a piggy back
Press Conference at 1:00pm same place.

The MHRC is going to have many legistlators talking the about the
Universal/Single Payer Bill ONLY.

GMHCC will be taking a more direct line showing what the Health Care Access
Commission and the Transfromation Task Force will be doing is just more of
the same.


Nancy D. Breymeier Strategic Financial Group, LLP W.651-224-3200
F.651-224-3400 C.651-492-0058
Metro Independent Business Alliance

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From: Consortium on Law & Values JDP Program <lawvalue [at]>
Subject: Warming/fairness 2.11 11:30am

Professor Stephen W. Pacala, PhD, is the 2007-08 Visiting Consortium
Professor. Prof. Pacala will visit from March 10-14, 2008. His public
lectures are scheduled for March 11 (description below) and a March 13
roundtable discussion with Fellows from the Institute on the Environment

"Equitable Solutions to Greenhouse Warming: On the Distribution of Wealth,
Emissions, and Responsibility Within and Between Nations"
Professor Stephen W. Pacala, PhD
Princeton University
March 11, 2008
Theater, St. Paul Student Center
(Note: This is a venue change from our earlier publicity. As noted above, Prof.
Pacala's lecture will take place in the Theater at the St. Paul Student Center)
Prof. Stephen Polasky, PhD
Prof. Elizabeth Wilson, PhD

This lecture focuses on recent delaying tactics used to postpone
international action on global warming and the misuse of the rhetoric of
fairness. The US claims that it is unfair to expect it to limit greenhouse
emissions when big emitters like India and China have no intention of
following suit. China, India and the developing nations counter-claim that
it is unfair to expect them to act when the developed nations have both
created the problem and become rich on their past emissions.

In neither case is the concept of "fairness" congruent with familiar uses
of the word. To clarify issues of responsibility and equity, Prof. Pacala
uses data on income distributions and greenhouse emissions in 300
countries over the last 40 years to estimate the personal emissions of
every individual on earth. The data shows that the top emitters are
responsible for half of the world's greenhouse emissions. Because of the
tight correlation between income and emissions, the top 500 million
emitters are also the 500 million richest people. Two-thirds live in
developed countries, but fully one-third live in developing countries. In
contrast, the 3.1 billion poorest and lowest emitting people (the bottom
half of the global distribution) are responsible for only 5-10% of the
world's emissions.

This talk describes actions and policies that would allocate
responsibility for climate mitigation to each nation based on the
individual emissions of its citizens, including the tradeoffs among
economic costs, the stringency of a mitigation target, and the amount of
damage caused by climate change.

Stephen W. Pacala, PhD, is the Frederick D. Petrie Professor of Ecology
and Evolutionary Biology, Director of the Princeton Environmental
Institute and co-Director of The Carbon Mitigation Initiative at Princeton
University. He also holds an appointment as Professor in the Department of
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Prof. Pacala is
interested in the processes that govern ecological communities, the
interplay between community and ecosystem-level processes, and the
interactions between the global biosphere and climate. His research seeks
answers to the following questions:

How and to what extent does the terrestrial biosphere affect climate? Does
the feedback between climate and vegetation lead to multiple stable states
of climate? If so, could human land use cause a flip to an alternative
state (we are most concerned currently by the possibility of a dry tropics
caused by deforestation)? How does biodiversity affect global ecosystem

This event is free and open to the public. This lecture is intended for
students, faculty, researchers, scientists, policymakers, and community
members. Application for 1.5 hours of general Continuing Legal Education
(CLE) for attorneys has been submitted. Reservations are required for
those requesting CLE credit. Registration is available by phone at
612-625-0055, or by email at jointdgr [at] [mailto:jointdgr [at]].
Please provide your name, email address and indicate if CLE credits are

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From: John Schwarz <john [at]>
Subject: Report on HMOs 2.11 2pm

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) performed a "program
evaluation" of the state public health programs (PMAP - MA, MnCare,
etc).and are presenting it to the legislature on Monday. HMOs run the PMAP

From: "Legislative Audit - Shelly Watterud"

The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor will release the following
program evaluation report to the House Health Care and Human Services
Finance Division on Monday, February 11, 2008, at 2 p.m. in Room 10, State
Office Building:


 *Have there been sufficient efforts to contain costs in Minnesota´s
health care programs for people with low incomes?
 *What are the administrative costs of Minnesota´s publicly funded health
care programs, and is there adequate oversight of these costs?
 *What does existing information show about the quality of health care
services provided to people enrolled in Minnesota´s public programs?
 *Is it reasonable for the state to rely considerably on managed care
organizations to administer its publicly funded health care programs? What
has been the state´s experience so far with county-based managed care

REPORT COPIES AVAILABLE: 1 p.m., Monday, February 11, 2008, at the Office
of the Legislative Auditor, Room 140 Centennial Building or at

Joel Alter, Project Manager, joel.alter [at], 651-296-8313 or James
Nobles, Legislative Auditor, 651-296-4708

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From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Pray for peace 2.11 6:30pm

February 11: Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of
Carondelet & Consociates 11th Day Prayer for Peace. Reflection by Debra
Fastner & Music by  Charlie Fastner. 6:30-7:15 PM at Presentation of Our
Lady Chapel, St. Paul.

[Or we could pray that the Dems elected to Congress in 2006 to vote
agaisnt funding the war would actually keep their election promises. Well,
maybe not, that's asking for a miracle in the face of decades of pro-war
votes. This is they say a democracy, only the people don't and have never
run it. We could pray for democracy. I know, another impossible miracle;
the corporations won't allow it. -ed]

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From: Barb Kucera <kucer004 [at]>
Subject: Labor/globe/film 2.11 7pm

Monday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m.
Film: "The Red Tail"

The impact of globalization on working-class American families is the
topic of the documentary film, "The Red Tail," a work-in-progress that
will be screened Monday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. in the John B. Davis
Auditorium at the Macalester College Campus Center, 1600 Grand Ave.

The free screening is part of the Labor and Community Film Series hosted
by the University of Minnesota's Labor Education Service.

Filmmakers Dawn Mikkelson and Melissa Koch will be present to discuss
the film.

The film explores the impact of globalization through the eyes of the
family of Roy Koch, a 23-year Northwest Airlines mechanic who joined the
ill-fated 2005 mechanics' strike. One of Roy's daughters, Melissa Koch,
inspired by the struggle of her father and his co-workers, borrowed a
camera and began documenting the strike on film. The film follows the
Koch family as they meet workers in China and the southern U.S. who now
hold the jobs outsourced by Northwest Airlines.

Still in development, "The Red Tail" tells the personal story of the
destruction of working-class America in a global economy.

For more information on the film, visit

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From: Jonathan Barrentine <jonathan [at]>
Subject: How to blog 2.11 7pm

Blogs and Blogging workshop at Rondo Library   [Blog U, fella!]

This Monday, February 11, St. Paul E-Democracy will be hosting a workshop
on Blogs and Blogging at Rondo Library in St. Paul.  This workshop will
introduce participants to blogs and their uses, as well as RSS and the
more technical aspects of running a blog.  If you've ever been curious
about blogs, if you're familiar with the basics and want to learn a little
more, or if you have no idea what a blog is, then come to Rondo Library
this Monday to have your questions answered.

Blogs and Blogging
Monday, Feb. 11th
7:00 - 8:30 PM
Rondo Community Outreach Library 461 North Dale University & Dale, StP

As always, the workshop is free, all are welcome to attend, and no
registration is needed.

Full workshop schedule available online:
Contact <email obscured> with questions.

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From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Peace/school 2.11 7pm RochesterMN

Monday, 2/11, 7 pm, Greg Mortenson, author of book "Three Cups of Tea: One
Man's Mission to to Promote Peace...One School at a Time," (in Afghanistan
and Pakistan) speaks at John Marshall HS auditorium, Rochester.

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From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Welfare rights 2.12 11am

Rally: Welfare Rights Committee's Opening Day at the Capitol

Tuesday, February 12, 11:00 a.m. Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul.

Join the Welfare Rights Committee (WRC) on opening day at the Capitol to
stand up and say, undo all cuts to poor and working people. In 2007, WRC
won back tens of millions of dollars for poor families in Minnesota. In
2008, WRC seeks to: undo the $50.00 housing cut to welfare, raise the
welfare grants, stop workfare, undo the family cap, completely stop MA
co-pays, stop attacks on immigrants. Sponsored by: WRC. FFI and to offer
transportation: Call WRC, 612-822-8020.

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From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Vs recruiters 2.12 5:30pm

Minneapolis School Board Meeting: Support Students Wanting to Restrict
Military Recruiters
Tuesday, February 12, 5:30 p.m. 807 Northeast Broadway, Minneapolis.

Join Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR) at the next Minneapolis School
Board meeting to urge the passage of a counter-recruitment resolution
which, we are told, will be formally introduced by School Board member
Chris Stewart on February 12th, and then likely voted on by the entire
Board at their March meeting. FFI and to offer transportation: Call Tyrus,
651-210-5342 or email <against.war [at]>.

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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Media reform/CTV 2.12 5pm

Esteemed St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesday evenings at 5pm,
after DemocracyNow!, and midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am.  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 2/12 5pm and midnight and 2/13 10am Robert McChesney: "Communication
Revolution or Counter-revolution? The Media Reform Movement and the Future
of Democracy" co-founder Robert McChesney's keynote speech
at the November '07 TC Media Alliance's annual public forum in Mpls.
Plus a set from a David Rovics concert in Mpls.

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From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at]>
Subject: Stadium/TACSR 2.12 7pm

[Up the stadiums's rear entrance -ed]

Taxpayers For an Anoka County Stadium Referendum
Tuesday February 12, at 7pm
The remaining months we will meet the Second Tuesday of every month.

Centennial High School
Red Building - Room 104 4704 North Road Circle Pines, MN

The red building is on the east end of the high school complex, and is set
back furthest from North Road.  Enter on the East side of the building.
The largest parking lots are near this building.

The most recent news is that leading State legislators and the Governor
have said the stadium will not be a priority for the 2008 Session but:

In December Wilf said "We look forward to advancing the stadium issue during
the 2008 legislative session."

And indeed the Metropolitan Stadium Commission (MSFC) was doing just that
with the "Listening Tour which just concluded January 16 at the Metrodome.
The MSFC spent $400,000.00 of your money on this latest dog and pony show.
Those of us who attended were left to wonder when the listening tours will
begin for our states failing schools, libraries, roads and bridges.

The 2008 legislative session will begin on Tuesday February 12.

Mr. Wilf has not given up on your money and neither should you!

The only question left is: when will our representatives stop entertaining
these giveaway welfare schemes to the richest men they can find at the
expense of our future.

Please join us for another episode in the series: "WHO WILL PAY FOR ZYGI'S
STADIUM?"  This could just as well mean a metro wide sales tax, including
the 30 year mortgage at a total of 1.5 billion dollars.  Can someone
calculate how many new bridges that could buy?


[How else is Zygi to reach full capitalist self-realization unless we give
him another billion or two? Ordinary people and their cares - or even
survival - are a mere nothing when it comes to a Capitalist Realizing
Himself! (Hosannas in the highest!) Make Zygi complete! Give him a
mountain of money, so he can taunt other billionaires with "Mine's bigger
than yours! Nyah nyah nyah!" I know I'm for it. -ed]

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From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Rowley/terrorism 2.12 7pm

February 12: American Association of University Women Minneapolis Branch.
5 PM: Social. 5:15 PM Book Discussion: The Mistress's Daughter. 6 PM:
Dinner. 7 PM: How NOT to Counter Terrorism with Coleen Rowley. 2115
Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis.

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Nader an alternative to procorporate parties
by Dan DiMaggio
Star Tribune Letter of the day:

A Feb. 5 Star Tribune editorial claimed that Ralph Nader "undermines the
democratic process" by running as an independent, anticorporate candidate
and refusing to join the Democratic Party.

The reality is that it's the two major parties in this country that
undermine the democratic process by excluding all independent voices who
seek to challenge their monopoly on power and the corporate domination of
our political system. In 2000, the Democrats and Republicans colluded to
exclude Ralph Nader from the debates even though a majority of Americans
said they wanted him in them. In 2004, the Democratic Party and its
supporting organizations spent tens of millions of dollars on lawsuits to
keep Nader off the ballot in a vain attempt to ensure that voters would
have to vote for their prowar candidate John Kerry.

The editorial also claims that Nader would have been able to have a major
influence if he had given a national convention keynote at the Democratic
National Convention, like Barack Obama in 2004. There's no chance that the
Democrats would ever, in a million years, allow Nader, who earned his
reputation by attacking corporate interests -- the very same interests
that provide the majority of funding to the Democratic Party -- to give a
keynote speech at their convention.

There's nothing funny about the prostitution of our political system to
big corporations. I sincerely hope that Ralph Nader will again run for
president to provide a voice to those fed up with corporate power, the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the $500 billion military budget, the
criminal injustice system and racist war on drugs, and the enormous gaps
between rich and poor in this country. If he doesn't run, big business and
their two-party system will be laughing all the way to the bank.


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Recruiting Kids to Kill Innocent Flesh
February 7, 2008

I used to umpire Little League baseball in the roughest section of
Burlington, VT. Compared to so-called rough sections of bigger cities in
other parts of the United States, the Old North End was certainly not very
rough. However, it did have the largest number of working and other poor
families, a large number of immigrants and a higher number of single
parent homes than most of the rest of Burlington. On any given game day,
there would be a couple parole officers hanging around the game watching
younger siblings of their charges playing ball. One of the officers who
used to talk ball with me a little told me that he had been the parole
officer for two old brothers of one of the better players in the league
and hoped that the third and youngest boy would avoid the fate of his
brothers who had both served time for drugs and robbery. In addition to
the parole officers, various workers from Social Services and a good
number of parents and relatives, a couple military recruiters began
showing up at the occasional game in spring 2002.

The boys (and some of the girls) were intrigued by the recruiters. Their
uniforms and their sense of certainty seemed to appeal to these young
people - especially the ones with the least stable home lives. Burlington
never had much of a gang problem, but it always seemed to me that the
appeal of the recruiters was that they promised membership in something
very much like a gang with all of the solidarity and unity such membership
could provide. On the days the recruiters showed up they would converse
with the kids - none who were older than 13 - about the Red Sox, the game
and what they thought about high school. After all, the military was only
recruiting high school graduates at the time. To their credit, the
recruiters were more convivial than anything else and may even have
inspired some of the kids they talked to into staying in school. Yet,
their primary reason for befriending these kids was to get them to join
the military and go to war.

High schools across the nation include JROTC as a standard course. In some
schools it replaces physical education. The course is about physical
education but it is also about regimentation and indoctrination. Boys and
girls in the course do not use guns except when they carry fake ones in
drill. They do, however, get indoctrinated in the military doctrine and
nationalistic propaganda. Meanwhile, the US military has total access to
young people's phone numbers and school records. Recruiters come to
schools and speak to mandatory assemblies. The US Army sends mail and
calls students incessantly in their last two years of high school and send
recruitment vans into neighborhoods where many youth are present.
Recruiters hang out in shopping malls near arcades hoping to get boys
hyped up on the latest video game to consider a couple years in Iraq or
Afghanistan as an option. They push their way into job fairs at two and
four year colleges and set up offices in as many towns as possible
throughout the United States. The culture of militarism is pervasive and
it is heavily geared toward young people between the ages of twelve and

I mention all this in relation to a recent news item from the Associated
Press stating that the group the Pentagon calls Al-Qaida in Iraq is
recruiting and training teenagers. For the moment, let's assume that this
article is true and is not some kind of fake news planted by US psy-ops.
According to the story, some videos were found in an operation against
insurgents. According to Rear Admiral Smith of the US Navy, the videos
"were meant to spread Al Qaida's message among the young rather than train
the boys for missions." This was not the first time such videos had been
found, the story continued, but "it was the most disturbing."

Now, if I understand this right, the US military is appalled and disturbed
because some Iraqi insurgent groups (that may or may not have anything to
do with Al Qaida in Iraq) are using videos to propagandize among
adolescents in the hope that they will enlist. Meanwhile, the US military,
which is engaged in the same type of operations as the Iraqi insurgency
only as the occupying force, glorifies its mission of bloodshed,
intimidation, and killing in videos, video games, in schools, on the
television, at shopping malls and through the mails. Naturally, these
methods are not training the US adolescents that they are targeting for
operations, but they are definitely "meant to spread the US military's
message among the young (to borrow Admiral Smith's words.)"

As I write this, a news item is coming over the radio stating that the US
Army Surgeon General issued an order telling military counselors to stop
helping Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans fill out paperwork required to
seek psychological assistance. After denying such a document existed, the
General backtracked from that denial when the document was produced. He is
now looking for another lie to explain away the order. Do you think the
recruiters mention this to the teenagers they target?

Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather
Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs' essay on Big Bill
Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch's collection on music, art and sex,
Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is
published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625 [at]

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There's Nothing Mainstream About the Corporate Media
by Harvey Wasserman
Published on Sunday, February 10, 2008 by

As we stumble toward another presidential election, it's never been more
clear that our political process is being warped by a corporate
stranglehold on the free flow of information. Amidst a virtual blackout of
coverage of a horrific war, a global ecological crisis and an advancing
economic collapse, what passes for the mass media is itself in collapse.
What's left of our democracy teeters on the brink.

The culprit, in the parlance of the day, has been the "Mainstream Media,"
or MSM.

But that's wrong name for it. Today's mass media is Corporate, not
Mainstream, and the distinction is critical.

Calling the Corporate Media (CM) "mainstream" implies that it speaks for
mid-road opinion, and it absolutely does not.

There is, in fact, a discernable, tangible mainstream of opinion in this
country. As brilliant analysts such as Jeff Cohen, Norman Solomon and the
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) organization have shown, the
"MSM" is very far to the right of it.

The mainstream of American opinion wants this country out of Iraq. The
Corporate Media does not. It refuses to give serious coverage to the
devastating human, spiritual and economic costs of the war, and it
marginalizes those demanding it end.

The mainstream of American opinion wants national health care. The CM does

The mainstream of American opinion is deeply distrustful and in many ways
hostile to the power of large corporations. Obviously, the CM is not.

The mainstream of American opinion strongly questions whether our
elections are being manipulated and stolen. The CM treats with contempt
those who dare report on the issue.

The Corporate Media takes partisan stands (often in favor of the
Republican Party, but always in defense of corporate interests) by
sabotaging political candidacies, especially those of candidates who
challenge corporate power. This year it blacklisted the populist candidacy
of John Edwards, suffocating his ability to compete for the Democratic

Mainstream American opinion is no fan of George W. Bush and does not take
him seriously as a credible leader. A very substantial percentage has long
wanted him and Dick Cheney impeached and removed from office. The CM does
not tolerate such a discussion, and utterly marginalizes Rep. Dennis
Kucinich, the veteran Congressman who has dared to seriously raise the

Mainstream American opinion is committed to protecting what's left of the
natural environment. The Corporate Media makes an occasional show of
sharing that concern, but stops where Corporate interests might be
impinged. On the other hand, it promotes failed technologies, such as nuke
power, where centralized, corporate profits are huge.

Never in our history has the control of the nation's sources of
information been more centralized, or more at odds with what the country
as a whole believes.

This divergence is not limited to the attack pack fringe of far-right
bloviators who dominate the Corporate opinion print columns and talk
shows. Virtually all "personal" opinion expressed on the corporate
airwaves and in the syndicated big newspaper columns is significantly to
the pro-corporate right of moderate American opinion.

The "news" pushed by the major radio/TV networks and newspapers slants
unerringly toward the interests of the five major corporations that own
the bulk of them. They bury stories of vital importance while spewing
endless hours and column inches at the mind-deadening likes of Paris
Hilton and Brittany Spears.

Their excuse is that they "give the public what it wants" and are "in
business to make a profit".

But the real profit centers of the corporations that own the CM are not in
providing news and information. General Electric, Westinghouse, Disney and
the other media-financial-industrial behemoths have too much to lose from
an accurate reporting of the true news of the world. To protect their core
interests, they are bread-and-circus PR/diversion machines, not real news
organizations. They resemble the old Soviet official mouthpieces Izvestia
and Pravda far more than the news providers envisioned in the First
Amendment, by Founders who saw balanced, aggressive reporting as the
lifeblood of democracy. Nor does the corporate right never hesitate to
attack. Since Vice President Spiro Agnew assaulted those who dared report
the truth about the Vietnam War, the absurd myth of a "Liberal Media" has
been used to intimidate and silence mainstream opinion.

In fact, the term is used to apply to any outlet that harbors even the
slightest expression of dissent. Even conservative newspapers or
broadcasts that may be overwhelmingly pro-corporate, but which
occasionally tolerate a whiff of dissent, are branded as subversive,
ungodly and "out of the mainstream".

There are indeed liberal publications and radio shows in this country. But
it's no accident that they struggle financially, and for access to the

Thankfully, just as the CM solidifies its power over our mass media
outlets, the internet has burst forth as an open, wildly diverse medium
for mainstream opinion and actual truth. Its preservation will require
what Thomas Jefferson called "eternal vigilance".

That includes restoring the Fairness Doctrine, enacted by a Republican
Congress in the 1920s to guarantee balanced opinion on the emerging
electronic medium of radio. It means a ban on unified corporate ownership
of large fleets of radio, TV and print outlets. It means busting up the
monopolies that warp public access to information and opinion.

The word "mainstream" has nothing to do with the massively monopolized
machine that has a chokehold on our democracy. It's the "Corporate Media,"
and there's nothing mainstream about it.

Harvey Wasserman's History of the United States is at
He is senior editor of

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When is a Delegate Not a Delegate?
Lessons for Barack Obama
February 11, 2008

Barack Obama and his supporters are exuberant after their victories this
last weekend in the Washington and Nebraska precinct caucuses, in the
Louisiana primary and the Maine municipal caucus. But they would do well
to remember that since the mid-1970s the Democratic National Committee
[may it rot in hell] has spent countless hours plowing firebreaks between
expressions of the popular will in such caucus and primary votes and the
ultimate selection of the nominee. [If democracy is ever achieved in
America, it will be no thanks to the DNC -ed]

Take Alabama. On February 5, Super Tuesday, Obama won that primary in
convincing fashion by a margin of nearly 20 points. But when the dust
settled, he and Hillary Clinton ended up with an equal number of pledged
delegates from the state. Why? The delegates were proportioned according
to the votes in the state's 7 congressional districts and like all such
political real estate in the USA, these districts have been gerrymandered
to corral the black vote in as small a number of districts as possible.
Result, Obama won 83 per cent of the black vote, but the those numbers
were concentrated in two or three districts so even though Obama ran up
70-30 triumphs and Hillary battled to 55 to 45 margins of victory, the
count at the end of the day gave them the same number of delegates each.

Another firebreak is the follow-on in many states, from caucus to state
convention. The current pattern is that Obamian enthusiasts go the
caucuses and delivery fiery speeches about their man and his dream of
change, rack up a substantial victory and head back to campus, aglow with
victory. But then the [undemocratic] party regulars regroup, the
[undemocratic] labor organizers confer, and the [undemocratic] party
establishment strikes back at the state convention, where those delegates
pledged at the caucus are "authorized" in a series of backroom deals.

Gary Hart learned this the hard way in 1984. Hart had won his political
spurs in a famous mutiny of the Democratic base, when Hart managed George
McGovern's successful drive to the nomination in 1972. In the early states
of the 1984 campaign Hart won a dramatic victory by ten points over Walter
Mondale in New Hampshire. Short on money, Hart then aimed, exactly like
Obama, at the caucuses to show momentum. After Super Tuesday, Mondale and
Hart were neck and neck. Then Hart cleaned up in the caucuses, just as
Obama is now doing. The two split the big states. Mondale won New York and
Pennsylvania. Hart won Ohio and California. Then, in the weeks before the
Democratic Party convention [undemocratic] Mondale and the [undemocratic]
Democratic Party machine went into action at the various state
conventions. Hart watched aghast as his hard-won delegates melted back
into the smoke-filled rooms and emerged with Mondale buttons on their
lapels. The coup de grace came with Mondale's efficient capture of the
[super-undemocratic] Super Delegates, who went to him almost en bloc.

There was another powerful challenge in 1984, from Jesse Jackson. At the
early part of the campaign for the Democratic nomination Jackson won five
primaries and caucuses - Louisiana, Washington DC, South Carolina,
Virginia and Mississippi (which duly reversed Jackson's singular triumph
at the state convention.} Altogether, Jackson got 3.3 million primary
votes, 21 per cent of the total votes cast in the 1984 primaries and
caucuses. He ended up with precisely 8 per cent of the delegates. Jackson
bitterly denounced the process as a rigged affair that should be reformed.
Nothing has changed. [But it still calls itself the "Democratic" Party.
And I still call myself "Little Davey" Shove. -ed]

So although Obama has pulled even and on some counts is ahead in delegates
pledged to him thus far, these numbers are far from conclusive.

In the Hillary camp we are witnessing the usual ritual following a bad
spell on the campaign trail. Patti Solis Doyle, Hillary's campaign
manager, has been shown the door and Maggie Williams installed in her
place. Meanwhile, Bill has been demoted to the telemarketing division of
the campaign, speed-dialing Super Delegates.

Still amid such flurries the basic strategy is in place. Hang on until the
big primaries in Ohio and Texas on March 4. Here Hillary is still seen as
having the advantage of organized labor in Ohio and of the Hispanic vote
in Texas. By and large union members are for Hillary, as John Edwards
sadly discovered. Bizarre though it may seem, given Hillary's record as a
corporate lawyer, there's a class divide between her and Obama. Hillary
has the support of the white working class. She has also had a commanding
edge in winning the votes of white women and people over sixty. These are
very formidable assets.

Jackson ran into that wall in 1988. The early part of the campaign was one
of the most exciting drives by an outsider in American political history.
Hart put himself out of contention by his nautical jaunt with Donna Rice
on the good ship Monkey Business. Jackson swept triumphantly through the
early primaries: Alabama, Washington DC, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Puerto Rico and Virginia. In the caucus states, he won Delaware, Michigan,
South Carolina, Vermont. (His caucus victories in Texas and Alaska were
once again diminished at the state conventions.)

By March of 1988 Jackson and Michael Dukakis, the uptight governor of
Massachusetts, were neck and neck. Jackson thought he had a good chance of
winning in Wisconsin, thus showing he could win a primary in an industrial
state with a big slice of white working class voters. Jackson spent much
time in the state, particularly on the picket lines outside the American
Motors plant, scheduled to shut down. Jackson compared the struggle in
Kenosha to the struggle in Selma in the 1960s. In the polling before the
Wisconsin primary Jackson had a substantial lead. His hopes were dashed.
In the last hours, in the privacy of the voting booth, many of these white
working class voters jumped to Dukakis. This was the moment the wind went
out of the Jackson campaign.

On the Republican side, the conservatives, distraught at the likelihood of
McCain being the nominee, are prophesying disaster in the November vote.
An internal assessment circulating though the Conservative Political
Action Committee meeting in Washington DC last week predicted "an epic
landslide" by the Democratic ticket similar to Lyndon Johnson's
obliteration of Goldwater in 1964. The memo attributed this likely outcome
to recession, the war in Iraq and a terrible candidate. Republican senator
Thad Cochrane has openly said he trembles at the thought of an unstable
McCain in the Oval Office with his finger on the nuclear trigger. Whoever
the Democratic nominee is, McCain should be easy meat, with scores of
victims of his savage onslaughts ready to testify to his frenzied personal
onslaughts and profanity-laden tirades. By insisting on using the word
"gooks" about the Vietnamese, he's already well on the way to losing the
Asian-American vote. To an electorate opposed to the war in Iraq by some
70 per cent, he enthusiastically prophesies a century of war.

Against this distasteful and manic figure Mike Huckabee continues his
challenge. Five days after the press, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred
Thompson bowed in surrender and hailed McCain as the nominee, Huckabee
this weekend won a primary in Louisiana, and caucuses in Kansas. He came
in a very close second in the disputed caucuses in Washington state, where
the Republican party chairman, Luke Essers, simply cut off the vote as
soon as McCain nosed ahead of Huckabee by a 200 vote margin, with 15 per
cent of the votes still to be counted. When asked why he has declined to
run up the white flag of surrender, Huckabee said jovially, "You never
know, McCain might have a macaca moment", referring to the ethnic slur
that doomed Senator George Allen in the Virginia race in 2006.

He may be right.

--------x of x--------

More Bad News from the Job Market
February 10, 2008 By Carl Bloice
Source: The Black Commentator

I had turned in my seat to look down the bar but I couldn't help
overhearing the guy behind me when he told his friend, 'I don't want to be
mean but I think I am going to buy a foreclosure.' He said there were real
deals in another county for condos from which the previous owners had been
evicted or from which they had just walked away. Of course, he wasn't
proposing to do anything wrong but in that statement he expressed the
lingering moral quandary about benefiting from someone else's misfortune.
It's the sense you get when going through the endless supply of offers for
foreclosed homes that flood both my snail and email boxes. And, it's a
good thing to feel that little twitch or pang at times like this; it
reminds us that behind the flood of bad new statistics there are real
live, breathing people, many of them in pain. I was thinking about that
when the new government employment figures came out last week.

'Minorities often have a tougher time in a weak job market,' wrote David
Madland, analyst for the Center for American Progress 'and that has
especially been the case this month and over the past year for African
Americans.' That's putting it mildly. 'In January, the unemployment rate
for African Americans increased to 9.2 percent from 9.0 percent in
December 2007, while the unemployment rate for whites held steady at 4.4
percent. The unemployment rate for African Americans grew by an
astonishing 15 percent between January 2006 and January 2007, from 8.0 to
9.2 percent, while for whites the unemployment rate dropped from 4.6 in
January 2006 to 4.4.'

What that means - when viewed from the angle of Main Street rather than
Wall Street - is that there are a lot more people out and about unable to
find work, especially black people.

However, the numbers that drew my attention - which few in the media chose
to mention - is the unemployment rate for young African Americans. It has
gone from 29 percent this time last year to 35.7 percent in January 2008-
up from 34.7 in December.

What that means - when viewed from the hood rather than the Stock
Exchange, is that the numbers of black teenagers on the streets without
gainful employment, through which to earn a living, continues to grow with
no seeming end in sight.

It's easy to become a statistics junkie. The numbers seem to say so much.
Yet, what they say can vary, depending on your vantage point. It's sort of
like which end of the telescope you're peering through. You can search the
numbers as most of the media does and see in them a rise in home
foreclosures or rising joblessness, a threat to the health of the 'overall
economy,' or you can see those kids just hanging out and small businesses
hammered by the loss of income into the community.

Overall, unemployment is reported to have dropped from 5 percent to 4.9
percent, over the first month of this year. Actually, as noted by the
Economic Policy Institute, the decline was 4.98% in December to 4.93% in

Joblessness in the construction industry stands at 11 percent, having shed
28,000 jobs in January and over 200,000 since last year this time. The
weak dollar may recently have boosted exports somewhat but the affect on
employment has been nil. The number of people working in factories also
declined 28,000 over the month. 'The percentage of the workforce employed
in manufacturing fell below 10 percent for the first time since we've been
keeping the data,' reported economist Dean Baker in his 'Beat the Press'

The percentage of workers out of a job for over six months jumped in
January from 16.2 percent a year ago to 18.3 percent. That's 1.38 million
people who haven't had a job since last summer. One estimate is that about
1.28 million unemployed will not find jobs before June and thus lose their
benefits - averaging $282 a week.

It is now estimated that five states, representing a quarter of the
country's population, are undeniably in recession. The Prognosis?  The
housing market collapse 'is rippling through the rest of the economy and
suggests the likelihood of more pain for millions of American families in
the months ahead from job losses, lower real wages and fewer working
hours,' says the New York Times.

'Given the critical importance of the labor market to the economic
well-being of American families, policy makers must continue to address
the developing recessionary conditions,' wrote Jared Bernstein in the
Financial Times, February 1. 'The economy grew at only 0.6% in the last
quarter, demonstrably too slow to promote robust job growth. Long-term
unemployment appears to be on the rise, and most industries are
retrenching. The highly leveraged American consumer is already feeling the
effects of slowing wage growth and faster inflation. Efforts to stimulate
growth through monetary and fiscal policy are now even more urgently

Problem is, the effects of the Federal Reserves interest rate cuts and the
Congress-approved economic stimulus package aren't expected to kick in
until the middle of the year and then only incrementally. We still have
four months of an uncertain spring to go. Further, there are serious
doubts as to whether they will produce the intended results. Some
economists say we are only proceeding on a wing and a prayer.

Clearly, much more is needed.

Two measures could be enacted that could have a positive impact on the
lives of the jobless and those threatened with the continuation of what is
being called a 'flurry of pink slips.' One is an extension of the time
unemployment benefits are available. The other would be some sort of
provision of benefits for first-time job seekers unable to find work. The
former is being opposed by the freemarketeers in the White House and the
Republican Party. The latter isn't even being discussed and I suspect it
won't be until the individuals and communities affected start to raise the

'I wanted to compare national unemployment rates and African American
unemployment rates today with national and African American unemployment
rates from the past to see how much progress we have made,' said the Rev.
David Bryce, minister of the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, NY,
in his Martin Luther King Day sermon January 20. 'The Bureau of Labor
Statistics has monthly unemployment rates going back to 1948, but black
unemployment rates going back only to January 1972. I looked for the
national unemployment rate of 5 percent as close to that as possible -
because I wanted an exact match - and found it in February of 1973. The
black unemployment rate then was 9.5 percent. Now, if we have made a lot
of social progress, things should be dramatically different. In December,
not quite thirty five years after the 1973 figures, the black unemployment
rate was in fact, better, it was 9 percent. But I consider that to be only
marginally better. Ironically, if you go to the nineteen eighties, things
were actually worse. In March of 1989, when the national unemployment rate
was at 5 percent, the rate in the black community was 11.1 percent.

'By the way, the white unemployment rate for this past December was 4
percent, less than half that of the level for African Americans. And that
is about what it has been throughout the entire time that both white and
black rates have been tracked. Black unemployment has stayed at just about
double that of the white rate. By that measure, at least, nothing has

What the country needs is a jobs program. This would mean a comprehensive
attack on unemployment and underemployment through targeted measures in
manufacturing, service and construction. Everybody seems to agree that the
country's physical infrastructure is in serious disrepair and unfit to
meet the demands of the new century. Isn't it time to put people to work -
particularly the young - on bridges, highways and waterways? Much of the
rest of the world is building high speed, environmentally friendly
passenger railway systems, why can't we? The massive work needed for
transition to a more 'green' economy would employ millions.

For people of color, the objective in this period must be to go beyond the
palliatives being prescribed to get past what President Bush is calling
this 'rough patch.' What we need, what the country needs, are serious
steps to eradicate the growing poverty, homelessness, depravation and
inequality around us. This opinion will disturb some people. Some amongst
us are content to insist that all this will be overcome when we change our
attitude and social behavior. It's a lot easier than recognizing the
challenges and pernicious effects of deindustralization, globalization and
the workings of contemporary, run-amuck capitalism. And dealing with them. Editorial Board member Carl Bloice is a writer in San
Francisco, a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and formerly
worked for a healthcare union.

--------19 of x--------

 abandons everyone. So
 grab grab grab yours now!

--------20 of x--------

                                Orange Alert!
                             Seduced & Abandoned -
                         The World under Capitalism


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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