|Progressive Calendar 02.11.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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) --------1 of x-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> 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. --------2 of x-------- From: "Melissa Waskiewicz" <Melissa [at] metroiba.org> 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. PLEASE IF YOU CAN SPARE SOME TIME TO SHOW SUPPORT ON THIS, PLEASE ATTEND. Nancy D. Breymeier Strategic Financial Group, LLP W.651-224-3200 F.651-224-3400 C.651-492-0058 Metro Independent Business Alliance http://www.metroiba.org --------3 of x-------- From: Consortium on Law & Values JDP Program <lawvalue [at] umn.edu> 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 11:30am-1:00pm 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) Commentators: 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 function? 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] umn.edu [mailto:jointdgr [at] umn.edu]. Please provide your name, email address and indicate if CLE credits are requested. --------4 of x-------- From: John Schwarz <john [at] unitedhealthsystem.org> 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 programs. 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: FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS ISSUES COVERED: *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 organizations? REPORT COPIES AVAILABLE: 1 p.m., Monday, February 11, 2008, at the Office of the Legislative Auditor, Room 140 Centennial Building or at www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/2008/healthcare.htm CONTACTS: Joel Alter, Project Manager, joel.alter [at] state.mn.us, 651-296-8313 or James Nobles, Legislative Auditor, 651-296-4708 --------5 of x------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> 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] --------6 of x-------- From: Barb Kucera <kucer004 [at] umn.edu> 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 www.redtailmovie.com. --------7 of x-------- From: Jonathan Barrentine <jonathan [at] e-democracy.org> 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 FREE WORKSHOP 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: http://pages.e-democracy.org/Rondo_Workshop_Schedule Contact <email obscured> with questions. --------8 of x-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> 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. http://www.semnap.org --------9 of x-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> 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. --------10 0f x-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> 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] gmail.com>. --------11 of x-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> 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" Freepress.net 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. --------12 of x-------- From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at] attg.net> 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? WE WILL HAVE LAWN SIGNS AVAILABLE AT THE MEETING. [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] --------13 of x-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> 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. --------14 of x-------- 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. DAN DIMAGGIO, MINNEAPOLIS; CHAIRMAN, 2004 NADER FOR PRESIDENT CAMPAIGN AT TUFTS UNIVERSITY --------15 of x-------- Recruiting Kids to Kill Innocent Flesh By RON JACOBS CounterPunch 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 twenty. 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] charter.net --------16 of x-------- There's Nothing Mainstream About the Corporate Media by Harvey Wasserman Published on Sunday, February 10, 2008 by CommonDreams.org 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 not. 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 nomination. 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 possibility. 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 airwaves. 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 www.solartopia.org. He is senior editor of www.freepress.org. --------17 of x-------- When is a Delegate Not a Delegate? Lessons for Barack Obama By ALEXANDER COCKBURN and JEFFREY ST. CLAIR CounterPunch 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 January. 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' blog. 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 needed.' 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 question. '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 changed.' 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. BlackCommentator.com 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-------- Capitalism abandons everyone. So grab grab grab yours now! --------20 of x-------- ------------------------------- Orange Alert! Seduced & Abandoned - The World under Capitalism ------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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