Progressive Calendar 03.29.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2008 00:34:53 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    03.29.08

1. Community garden  3.29 9am
2. WAMM annual       3.29 10am
3. NWN4P Mtka        3.29 11am
4. Northtown vigil   3.29 2pm
5. Local foods       3.29 2pm
6. Social investing  3.29 2pm
7. Cynthia McKinney  3.29 3pm
8. GP book club      3.29 7pm
9. St Thomas U/CTV   3.29 9pm
10. WorldToday/CTV   3.29 10pm

11. Stillwater vigil 3.30 1pm
12. Housing/economy  3.30 2:30pm
13. HomeGrownEconomy 3.30-31 5pm Crookston MN
14. Remember Romero  3.30 6:30pm

15. Ted Dooley - Public insurance, private delivery: Ask the candidates II
16. Glen Ford  - Obama's crooked game
17. Steven Salaita - Why I won't vote for Barack Obama
18. ed         - WE/THEM    (bumpersticker)

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From: Stephanie Hankerson <hank [at]>
Subject: Community garden 3.29 9am

Community Gardening season is nearly upon us! Saint Paul gardeners
and community gardeners will find this of interest:
Announcing the
4th Annual Community Garden Spring Resource Fair
Saturday, March 29th.
9:00 am until 2:30 pm
First Christian Church, Mpls, MN

Will Allen from Growing Power ( in Milwaukee is
kicking off the Spring Resource Fair, highlighting his organization's
innovative work on bridging cultures through gardening. Activities for the
kids, workshops, and engaging educational displays during the day. Superb
raffle prizes, music and food top off the fun! Details and directions at or call GardenWorks at 612-278-7123. Free parking.
Come see what community gardening resources are available for you!

 9:00 am Coffee/Tea/Light Breakfast & Mingling
 9:30 am Keynote Speaker-Will Allen from Growing Power
 10:15 am Demonstration. Simply Good Eating Ross Safford from the U of M
Extension Nutrition Education Program will demonstrate how to make
nutritious meals from your garden. The Nutrition program (known as Simply
Good Eating) provides research-based nutrition, cooking, food safety and
wise consumerism classes to families with limited resources throughout the
state. Come early for a demonstration and learn how your community garden
can access this fabulous resource.

 10:15 am Workshops. A Successful Fundraiser that Builds Community too!
What are the essential components of a successful fundraiser? This
workshop will cover critical fundraising points from determining the
purpose of the fundraiser, rallying the community & volunteers, to
following-up on appreciations. Participants will brainstorm on unique ways
to raise funds for their community garden & neighborhood. Host Michael
Ziomko will share his experience of Empty Bowls.

Make Your Own Mosaic Garden Ball. Join Mosaic on a Stick's Maria Ricke for
this hands-on activity. You will learn the basic steps to create outdoor
safe mosaics and will create your own small mosaic garden ball. Supply
cost is $8. Registration is required by Wednesday, March 26th. Contact
GardenWorks to register, 612-278-7123, info [at] Space for
15 people. Bring payment to workshop.

Vermicomposting: An Informative Workshop by Will Allen. Come learn how to
construct and maintain a worm bin, how to use vermicompost for fertilizer
and making money, and how vermicompost, along with plants, remediate the
soil. Learn how to build indoor/small scale compost systems, and design
and maintain outdoor systems.

 1:00 pm Demonstration. The Community HenHouse Have you ever tasted a
freshly-laid egg? Have you been looking for low cost manure, insect
control, and a use for all those weeds and spoiled veggies? A flock of
chickens is a great project to start in your community garden or backyard!
Yes, it is legal and worthwhile to keep your own chickens in the city! In
this presentation, Peat Willcutt will cover the basics needs of chickens
and the benefits of a home or community henhouse

 1:00 pm Workshops.

Community Gardens for Beautification: Our Challenges and Best Practices
Planting for beautification is an immensely rewarding way to give
back to our community and to enhance our own lives as we go about our
neighborhoods. However, there are the challenges that surface in
these types of community gardens that differ from regular issues in other
community gardens. This session brings together gardeners from many
ornamental community gardens across the Twin Cites to learn from each
other. Breakthroughs and lessons learned will be shared in an
informal format to enrich all. Ideas for fundraising, volunteer
retention and recruiting, resource acquisition will be discussed.
Facilitated by GardenWorks Steph Hankerson.

Spirituality in the Garden: Nurturing our Connectedness
We will explore and share our own stories of the goodness of
planting, tending and harvesting. Gardens historically have been
maintained as sacred green space to nurture physical and spiritual
connections to Earth and all the living beings. Community gardens are
often a rare and vibrant common ground where people of many different
faith traditions come together and work side by side on a common goal.
Activities such as seasonal celebrations, can add depth and breadth to
the community garden experience. How do you experience and name
spirituality in your garden? How does gardening nurture your
spirit? Facilitators are Jennifer Tacheny, Jill Underdahl,
CSJ and Esther Moss of Celestes Dream Community Garden, and Lisa Coons
from Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry.

Community Food Security: An environmental workshop by Afro-Eco with Will
Community food security is a condition in which all community residents
have access to a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet
through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance
and social justice. Afro-Eco and Will Allen will share their knowledge and
experience on key components of Community Food Security. This workshop
focuses on urban food production practices that produce high-quality,
safe, healthy and affordable food for all residents in the community.
Urban food production connects people to the land and their neighborhood,
and builds and sustains urban communities.

Growing Greener Community Gardens A-Z
Designed to promote good gardening practices regardless of garden type,
this interactive workshop is geared towards sharing and discovering ways
of cultivating healthier, greener and neighborhood friendly community
gardens. Come learn simple, traditional and innovative tips and techniques
presented by local horticultural experts and community gardeners. Topics
from A through Z will be covered with helpful material and resources and
plenty of opportunities to ask questions and share experiences.
Facilitated by Master Gardeners: Pete and Mary Meysembourg, Susan Oven,
Theresa Rooney

Theft and Vandalism
Theft and vandalism eat away at the joy of gardening in community, but
there are steps that individuals and the garden community can take to
address and further prevent these destructive activities. Join GardenWorks
Kirsten Saylor as we learn common strategies for all kinds of community
gardens and then discuss specific examples.

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From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: WAMM annual 3.29 10am

WAMM's 2008 Annual Meeting
Saturday, March 29, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537
Third Avenue South, Minneapolis.

Good Music! Good Program! Good Brunch! WAMM Action! Meet old friends. Make
new friends. WAMM members Wanda Brown and Phyllis Goldin sing the annual
report. WAMM member and Professor of Economics at the College of St.
Catherine, Nasrin Jewell, speaks about "The Prospect of War and Peace,
Conflict or Compromise, U.S. Iran Relations." Local musicians Clint Hoover
and Papa Jon Kolstad perform. Anti-war bannering on the 40th Street
pedestrian (enclosed) bridge over 35W following the meeting. Bring a book
for the book sale with a comment enclosed. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364.

--------3 of 18--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 3.29 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the
fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.

--------4 of 18--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 3.29 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av.), every Saturday
2:00 -- 3:00 PM.

--------5 of 18--------

From: foodforum <foodforum [at]>
Subject: Local foods 3.29 2pm

Bobby King speaksng about legislative goings on that effect family
farmers, lovers of great local, sustainable food and our all too fragile

The First in Eastside Food Co-op's 2008 Food Forum Series
Eastside Food Co-op; 2551 Central Ave., Suite D, in NE Minneapolis
We all eat, no?
Free snacks and beverages provided from the Eastside Food Co-op.

I wanted to make sure that you know about Eastside Food Co-op's upcoming
Food Forum THIS Saturday, March 29th. At 2:00 p.m. Bobby King from the
Land Stewardship Project will be visiting the Co-op to shed a little light
on the Farm Bill in DC and what is happening right here in our own
backyard at the MN State Capitol that effects sustainable family farmers
and the food that they produce. Learn what we can do to effect positive
change in the food chain.

The 2008 Eastside Food Co-op's Food Forum series will be held in Suite D
(the former Dollar Store space). You can enter the space though the Co-op
at 2551 Central Ave. in NE Minneapolis.

Come get filled in on what is happening, ask questions (there are no
stupid ones) and find out what you can do!

FFI call Amy Fields at 612 788-0950.

--------6 of 18--------

From: Do it Green! <Do_it_Green [at]>
Subject: Social investing 3.29 2pm

Sat March 29th: Socially Responsible Investing with Jim Larson and
Jill Longo
2-3:30 PM
Washburn Public Library (5244 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls)

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is an investment strategy that
integrates social or environmental criteria into financial analysis.
In this presentation, learn to:
-Align your investment portfolio with your personal values.
-Encourage improved corporate social and environmental performance.
-Identify companies with better long-term financial performance
through the analysis of social and environmental factors.

Sign up online, email ami [at] or call 612-345-7973 to
reserve your spot at the workshops!
There is a $5 suggested donation for each workshop, payable online or
in person on the day of the event. Do It Green! Minnesota appreciates
your support!

See website for more details and to sign up for the workshops!

--------7 of 18--------

From: David Strand <lavgrn [at]>
Subject: Cynthia McKinney 3.29 3pm

You are cordially invited to join Minnesotans for Cynthia McKinney.
We will come together and generate ideas on how to increase interest in
Minnesota for Cynthia McKinney's presidential campaign. Farheen Hakeem
will be hosting both of these events.

Saturday, March 29, 2008, meeting from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at May Day Cafe
3440 Bloomington Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 729-5627
(May Day Cafe closes at 6 p.m. on Saturdays)

--------8 of 18--------

From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at]>
Subject: GP book club 3.29 7pm

Our next Green Party book club is Saturday night at 7:00 on 3/29/08.  We
vwill meet at the same place, the community room between 161 and 163 on
Erie Street in St. Paul.  We are reading "The Great Turning" by David

Next month we will be reading "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis.
I bought my copy of "It Can't Happen Here" at the MayDay bookstore for

Open to all.

--------9 of 18--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: St Thomas U/CTV 3.29 9pm

Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!.  Households with basic cable may

Sat, 3/29, 9pm and Tues, 4/1, 8am "Anna Baltzer" (Part 2) and "CAIR, Fedwa
Wazwaz and Marv Davidov".  Anna (Part 2): Jewish American author takes
questions at the U of St. Thomas.  Plus, Fedwa Wazwaz on the the history
of the Oslo peace accords and Marv Davidov on the backstory of the
re-invitation of Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the
University of St. Thomas.

--------10 of 18--------

From: Janet Nye <jcarolnye [at]>
Subject: WorldToday/CTV 3.29 10pm

Suzanne Linton's cable TV show, Our World Today,

Saturday, March 29, Channel 17 (cable)  10 to 11 PM -  Santwana Dasgupta
from Peace in the Precincts talks with host Bill Oldfather

Sunday, March 30, Channel 17 (cable) 8 to 9 AM - Dave Bicking and Jeff
Nygaard talk with host Karen Redleaf about current events

--------11 of 18--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 3.30 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

--------12 of 18--------

From: Minnesota Housing Partnership <bjacobs [at]>
Subject: Housing/economy 3.30 2:30pm

Community Forum on Housing & Economy

Please join Minnesota Housing Partnership and Minnesota 2020 for a special
town hall forum on housing and the economy this Sunday, March 30th at
Ridgedale Library in Minnetonka. The forum will start at 2:30 p.m. with
Minnesota Housing Partnership's release of new analysis of the worsening
housing environment in Minnesota. Space is limited so register now!
Panelists include:

 *  Matt Entenza, founder and chair, Minnesota 2020
 *  Pam Perri Weaver, executive vice president, Builders Association of
 *  Matt Fulton, city manager, City of Coon Rapids
 *  Chip Halbach, executive director, Minnesota Housing Partnership
 *  Impacted home and business owners
 *  and more

Families, business, and local government representatives from across the
metro, MN 2020, and the Minnesota Housing Partnership
Town Hall Forum on housing & economy
Sunday, March 30 2:30 - 3:45 P.M.
Ridgedale Library, 12601 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka

The Minnesota Housing Partnership is a statewide nonprofit organization
that advances the preservation and creation of housing affordable to low-
and moderate-income people as a means of strengthening communities and
families. MHP provides local governments and nonprofit housing
organizations access to loans, grants, and technical expertise to plan and
construct housing, in addition to advocating and educating people on sound
housing policies. MHP's work in Greater Minnesota is primarily supported
by The McKnight Foundation. Click here to sign up for MHP's various
publications and action alert networks.

MN 2020 is a nonpartisan, progressive think tank that focuses on the
issues that really matter: education, health care, transportation and
economic development. New content and analysis can be found daily at

For more information please contact
Glen Fladeboe, 651-208-3262 (cell)
Minnesota 2020
Barb Jacobs, (651) 649-1710 ext. 117
Minnesota Housing Partnership

--------13 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: HomeGrownEconomy 3.30-31 5pm Crookston MN

The Home Grown Economy
Connecting Local Food and Economic Opportunity
Local Food and Wine Sampler and Conference

Local Food & Wine Sampler Showcase
Sunday, March 30, 2008, 5pm-8pm - Kiehle Auditorium, University of
Minnesota, Crookston
5-6pm Local Food & Wine Sampler Showcase

6-8pm Presentation by Congressman Collin C. Peterson
and Short Films & Clips about Local Foods

Conference Program Schedule
Monday, March 31, 2008, 8am-4pm ? Bede Ballroom Student Center,
University of Minnesota, Crookston
8:00am Registration
8:45am Welcome & Introductions
Master of Ceremonies: Teresa Spaeth, Executive Director, Agricultural
Utilization Research Institute
Chancellor Charles Casey, University of Minnesota, Crookston
Collin C. Peterson, Chair U.S. House Agriculture Committee

9:15am Connecting Food to Land, Health and Economic Opportunity
Dr. Kate Clancy, Senior Policy Analyst for Union of Concerned Scientists

10:00 am Growth in Local Food Economies ? Trends and Indicators
Kenneth A. Meter, MPA, President of Crossroads Resource Center

10:45 am Retail Sales of Local Foods, an Opportunity Ripe for the Picking
GiGi DiGiacomo, Endowed Chair for University of Minnesota,
College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences

11:15 am A Taste of the Region
/Moderator: Jim Stordahl, Extension Educator
/White Earth Local Foods Challenge ? Stephanie Williams, WETCC
Native Harvest ? Todd Sisson, Production Manager, Native Harvest
My Sisters Farm; A Local Foods Buying Club ? Noreen Thomas

12:00 pm Locally Grown Foods Lunch & Exhibits and Poster Session

1:00 pm Local Foods in Larger Markets: UM Crookston?s Story
/Moderator: Barbara Muesing
/UM Crookston Story of Serving Local Foods ? Brent Melsa
Community Support Agriculture and Serving Institutional Markets ? Mike
Buy Fresh, Buy Local Red River Valley ? Linda Kingery

2:00 pm Gaining a Competitive Edge: a Sampler Plate
/Moderator: Mary Jo Forbord, Sustainable Farming Association
/Mark Askegaard ? Organic Flax and Wheat
Lynn Brakke ? Organic Beef
Dallas Flynn ? Detroit Lakes Farmers Market
Rod & Sue Cloose ? Blackstar Dairy ? Retail
Terry Nennich ? High Tunnel Technology & Organic Production Methods

3:30 pm Why Policy Matters & Wrap-Up
Rob Larew, Chief of Staff, U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture
Terry VanDerPol, Community-Based Food Systems Project Director, Land
Stewardship Project

*Linda Kingery
Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership
University of Minnesota
262 Owen, 2900 University Ave.
Crookston, MN 56716
kinge002 [at] <mailto:kinge002 [at]>

--------14 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Remember Romero 3.30 6:30pm

Sunday, 3/30, 6:30 pm, annual memorial service Remembering Archbishop
Oscar Romero, Faith Mennonite Church, 22nd St E and 28th Ave S, Mpls.
steveclemens [at]

--------15 of 18--------

Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2008 07:02:45 -0500
From: Ted Dooley <614grand [at]>
Subject: Public Insurance, Private Delivery:  Ask the Candidates II

According to a national poll that will be released next week, 59
percent of doctors in the United States want a single-payer, public
insurance, private delivery, Canadian-style national health insurance

That's up ten percent from five years ago.

Nurses agree.
As do the overwhelming majority of Americans.
Doctors say yes.
Nurses say yes.
The American people say yes.
Nader/Gonzalez says yes.

But the insurance industry continues to say no.
The corporate Republicans and Democrats continue to say no.
And McCain/Clinton/Obama say no.

So, on health insurance, the choice is manifestly clear.

If you want a health insurance system run by the wasteful, bloated
health insurance industry, then support McCain/Clinton/Obama.

Do you want a single-payer, national health insurance system, where
everybody is in one pool, and nobody is out, with savings of more
than $350 billion a year?

Simple as that.
They are on one side.
We are on the other.
Which side are you on?

--------16 of 18--------

Obama's Crooked Game
by Glen Ford
Black Commentator
March 28th, 2008

Barack Obama thinks he's a magician. Magicians have always been very
popular, so it's no mystery that millions of people are fascinated by the
man, and especially that millions of African Americans are desperate to
see him pull off the biggest trick of all - become president of the
thoroughly racist United States of America.

Obama is smart, but his basic game plan is quite simple. Knowing full well
the group most hostile to Black progress in the U.S. has always been white
males, he aims to neutralize much of this demographic by assuring them an
Obama presidency would be aggressively race-neutral. In practice, that
means Obama ascribes all racial offenses to the past, where the only
guilty white people are dead. The accumulated white wealth and privilege
that is the result of hundreds of years of racist exploitation also was
due to actions (crimes) of people now mostly dead. Obama forgives the dead
racists, and has never expressed any intention of readjusting the ten to
fifteen to one disparity in median white to Black household income. Yes,
Obama knows perfectly well that wealth disparity, if not aggressively
dealt with as a racial problem, will take centuries - if ever - to
disappear. But Obama accepts the racial status quo as a fait accompli that
can only be altered by methods that do not penalize living white people
who benefited from their dead ancestors' crimes. In practice, this means
Obama would leave American race relationships frozen in time.

White men, the recipients of the most unearned privilege, wealth and power
over the four centuries of English-speaking settlement (theft) in North
American, therefore have nothing to fear from Barack Obama. Obama makes it
quite clear that he not only considers white men's riches to be
sacrosanct, but he believes every word of the mythical origins of the
white settlers who seized power from the British Crown. These men were
"farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an
ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their
declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted
through the spring of 1787," said Obama. No mention of slaveholders or
slave traders in the bunch. By dishing out a historical narrative of race
in America that omits the theft of the continent and genocide of Native
Americans Obama tacitly accepts the lie that most European settlers were
escaping religious persecution - a fairy tale that even children's
schoolbooks seldom tell anymore - and pretends that the whites acquired
Indian lands by legal means. But what's the point of arguing about such
matters, since everyone involved - especially the Indians -  is dead.

Having taken "off the table," so to speak, almost every aspect and
resource of American life that over many generations created a thoroughly
racist society, Obama then encourages Americans to engage each other in
mutual self-help, all the while deftly avoiding any speech that might
upset whites, especially males, jealous of their privileges. "I believe
deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve
them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may
have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the
same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move
in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our
grandchildren". What does that mean? Nothing, except that people should be
nicer to each other and avoid hurting anybody's feelings by bringing up
racial privilege.

Obama's central message for white consumption, here, is that everybody's
story is equally compelling, whether you are the grandchild of slaves or
slaveholders. This is sometimes called "moral equivalence," and is
especially favored by whites of European immigrant descent who remember
how hard their fathers worked at jobs that wouldn't hire native-born,
English-speaking Blacks. But hey! Everybody's families have had problems,
right? Forgetaboutit!

Obama claims his political beliefs are based on an "unyielding faith in
the decency and generosity of the American people". Of course, he never
asks white people to acknowledge, let alone give up an iota of privilege
in order to even the score after all these years, so we'll have to accept
the existence of this vast reservoir of decency on faith.

Even Obama can't deny that slavery was an evil institution - although he
abhors the very idea of slave descendants making claims to present day
remuneration for their dead relatives' free labor. After all, that would
tend to create unnecessary tensions that might stand in the way of the
quest for change. The quest for change should be calm, quiet, cost nobody
anything, and allow everyone to leave with a good feeling.

Preserving good feeling requires that Black people avoid at all cost
telling the truth about the United States. Euro-Americans have an absolute
right to tell bald faced lies, especially at the expense of Blacks. That's
Obama's version of democracy - the sacred right to lie, especially about
dead people.

Obama's great friend and once-mentor Rev. Jeremiah Wright has gone beyond
the pale, and represents a one-man threat to racial harmony in the United
States. Rev. Wright went a lot farther than speaking out "against
perceived injustice". They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to
speak out against perceived injustice. Oh, no. Instead. Rev. Wright
"expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees
white racism as endemic".

Let's take this slowly, so as not to distort Obama's core beliefs. He
denies that racism is or has been "endemic" to American life. The MSN
Encarta dictionary defines "endemic" as "characteristic of a particular
place, or among a particular group, or area of interest or activity".
Since slavery was legal in every single colony that became the United
States in 1776, it is safe to say that slavery was "endemic" to the
original United States. Nevertheless, Obama is outraged that Rev. Wright
has the nerve to "elevate what is wrong with America above all that we
know is right with America" - in other words, Rev. Wright is more angry
about slavery than the nice things that white folks did for Blacks during
and after slavery. What those nice things were, Obama doesn't mention, so
we'll have to take that on faith, too.

"Reverend Wright's comments," says Obama, "were not only wrong but
divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a
time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems -
two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care
crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are
neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that
confront us all".

It is at this point that I suspect Obama is playing stupid, but maybe he's
just too sophisticated for my limited understanding. It appears he's
saying that Rev. Wright and other Black complainers are responsible for
divisions in the nation. If memory serves, it was white folk who extended
Jim Crow and all manner of racial division to every aspect of American
life, including the toilet bowl, but Barack Obama maintains Blacks have
become the present day divisionists. Exactly what year that happened, he
doesn't say. However, this great division by Blacks has, according to
Obama, interfered with "two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a
chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change".
Black America overwhelmingly opposed the two most recent wars; I suppose
that amounts to creating divisions. Blacks haven't blown up anything on
the scale of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, but maybe our constant
complaining about racism scares people into fearing we have divisive
intentions. We must admit, however, that high Black unemployment and home
foreclosures, as well as high infant mortality and shorter life spans,
tend to clutter up the landscape with unattended Black bodies, alive and
dead, a source of unnecessary divisions in society and stinking to high
hell in the warming climate, for which we are also culpable. We should all
thank the eloquent and wise Barack Obama for pointing out our collective
failure to keep track of all these excessive, bloated Black bodies.

"Rev. Wright is more angry about slavery than the nice things that white
folks did for Blacks during and after slavery". What those nice things
were, Obama doesn't mention?

One has to admit, Obama worked extra hard to earn such an historically
unprecedented proportion of white male votes. He admonishes us that "to
wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided
or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate
concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to
understanding". Obama would have us cease and desist all criticism of what
might appear to be racist behavior, since there always exists a small
chance that a few of us might be mistaken. Such mistakes by Blacks could
cause climate warming to go entirely out of control, not to mention war
with China.

Quite understandably, white males appeared to love Obama's "race" speech.
No wonder. Every conceivable mode of eliminating racial disparities has
been methodically taken off the table by the Illinois Senator. We are left
only with an opportunity to conduct a "dialogue" about race, as long as we
do so politely and without a hint of redistributive thought or intention.

Marlin Adams seems to have figured out Obama's complicated racial
diplomacy. "Barack Obama, as the Grand Mediator, is proposing a racial
settlement agreement, Black folks get acknowledgment of our historical
struggles, and recognition of that legacy's impact on our condition; White
society, for its willingness to listen, gets a cease and desist of the
criticism of America's racial past, and full allegiance to a White
ethnocentric version of the future".

So far, I have heard nothing of facilitating the release of some of the
one million Black men and women held captive behind bars on any given day
in America. Any references to crim I submit, where all is plain there is
nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have
me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need
light? - or innocence of crime - causes great stress among many white
males. Therefore, the Black American Gulag, the largest on the planet, is
ineligible for dialogue.

Malcolm X, in the year before he was assassinated, found himself and other
Black notables under pressure to "sit-down" (rather than stand up) and
have calm deliberations about what should be presented to white
authorities. Sounds very much like Obama's admonitions that Blacks and
whites engage in some meaningless "dialogue". "They'll have you sitting in
everywhere," said Malcolm. "It's not so good to refer to what you're going
to do as a "sit-in". An old woman can sit. An old man can sit. A chump can
sit. A coward can sit. Anything can sit. Well you and I been sitting long
enough, and it's time today for us to start doing some standing, and some
fighting to back that up".

But then, Malcolm was not a modern Negro like Senator Obama. Neither was
the great Frederick Douglass, who had little patience for idle sitters or
time-wasting dialoguers. Called upon by white "friends" in Rochester to
speak on the 4th of July, 1852, Douglass delivered a speech that would
have caused Barack Obama some sort of seizure:

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that
reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice
and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration
is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national
greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and
heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your
shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns,
your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and
solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and
hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation
of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more
shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very

Clearly, Obama would conclude that Frederick Douglass specialized in
unnecessary racial divisions. However, the illustrious Mr. Douglass was an
efficient speaker, who did not waste words on fools, no matter how
well-meaning. When whites demanded that Douglass convince them just how
bad slavery was, he recoiled. "I submit, where all is plain there is
nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have
me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need

In the same manner, what is it about pervasive racism in American life
that honest people do not already understand? What does Barack Obama think
is within acceptable bounds of dialogue, and what is not? Is he aware of
some racial mysteries that have evaded the rest of us? To tell the truth,
Obama couldn't manage to keep his own hind parts from being singed when he
tried to find some middle ground between the vicious, thieving, genocidal,
slaveholding God revered by most white Americans, and the truthful Black
narrative of four centuries in an American hell.

Barack Obama has literally nothing to contribute to such a conversation.

Glen Ford is Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, where this article
first appeared. He can be contacted at: Glen.Ford [at]
Read other articles by Glen, or visit Glen's website.

This article was posted on Friday, March 28th, 2008 at 4:59 am and is
filed under Capitalism, Democracy, Democrats, Discrimination, Racism,
Right Wing Jerks. Send to a friend.

--------17 of 18--------

Why I Won't Vote for Barack Obama
by Steven Salaita
March 27th, 2008

I would like to start by noting that although this will not be an essay
about why one should vote for Ralph Nader, I am remarkably weary of
liberals wagging their fingers at those unmoved by the Democratic Party
and lecturing to us about who we should - nay, must - support. In
typically self-righteous fashion, they want to limit our choices because
they know what's best for us (which just so happens to be better for
them). These folks love to blame Nader for all the injustices that the
Democrats have actively pursued or refused to prevent since 2000. They
usually cite pragmatic rather than ethical factors to justify their
support of the mendacious Democratic Party: electability, lesser-evilism,
the necessary beginning of genuine progressivism, and so forth.

Nothing makes this class of politico so hysterical as somebody choosing to
exercise the right to vote for a candidate who best represents his or her
own positions. That hysteria exposes the carefully-unexamined assumption
that the purpose of voting is to fortify institutional Democratic agendas.
The use of pragmatism to justify this pandering is meant to suggest a
political reasonableness, but it actually functions to reinforce
complicity in the same centers of power these liberals claim to challenge.

These matters illustrate another reason why voting in the United States is
mostly disport, a way for the unwitting enablers of imperial neoliberalism
to feel like they are participating in a civic and economic system in
which they are political surplus, useful only insofar as they spend and
consume. Whether or not they vote, the system will continue to operate
unabated, its managers welcoming voting because it convinces would-be
agitators that they are actually effecting change.

Now that these qualifications are out of the way, let's focus on what this
essay will be about: why I won't vote for Barack Obama. I hope others will
likewise eschew Obama, but I welcome them to vote their conscience. Or, I
welcome them to not vote at all. There are better ways to procure a right
to complain.

I won't vote for Obama because he once was promising but has morphed into
an unusually charismatic but typically mediocre politician. A man once
known for engaging the issue of Palestinian liberation in Chicago's Arab
American community now can be found sharing his message of Israel-love to
anybody who will listen. This change of opinion intimates a lack of
integrity. Obama's supporters will argue that he is simply doing what
allows him to become a viable contender for president, to which I would
respond: if one wishes to keep his or her integrity intact, then that
person shouldn't seek national office as a Democrat. Obama is willingly
forfeiting his integrity for his ambition. That is his choice and it isn't
my place to make the decision on his behalf. However, it is my place to
decide not to vote for him based on that choice.

The primary but not exclusive impetus for my displeasure with Obama is his
suddenly avid support of Israel. It is an issue that I and many of my
peers in the Arab American community cannot dismiss, as do other
progressive supporters of Obama. We may be accused of shortsightedness by
rejecting Obama based largely on this issue, but nearly everybody
privileges one or few concerns when entering into the American political
arena: religion, abortion, a particular foreign policy, immigration, the
economy. I cannot listen to the man smilingly discuss the continued
dispossession of millions of people who have already suffered unspeakably
and then endorse such treachery with a vote.

In any case, there is no need to apologize for or shy away from
emphasizing Israel's brutality. Far from being a marginal item in the life
of the United States, American support for Israeli colonization has
serious moral and geopolitical consequences. It, more than any other
action, generates justifiable anger toward the United States in much of
Europe and almost uniformly throughout the Southern Hemisphere. It extends
the bloody tradition of settler colonization in the American polity and in
its imagination, a state of mind that helps facilitate so many of today's
imperialist adventures. And it renders every politician who has ever
lectured an Arab nation about human rights glaringly hypocritical.

Obama's wasted potential as a candidate is exemplified by his
already-legendary "Race in America" speech. Obama critiqued the topic of
race in a way that would be considered tame in an Ethnic Studies
department, but that was audacious by the standards of mainstream
politicians. Unexamined in the chorus of praise, however, was the
following statement, offered as a rebuke of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's
beliefs, which Obama patronizingly dismissed as misguided despite his
refusal to condemn their messenger:

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply
controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak
out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly
distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic,
and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is
right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as
rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of
emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

The statement does lots of things at once. From a public image standpoint,
it allowed Obama to further distance himself from accusations that he is
secretly Muslim while simultaneously cozying up to his
still-slightly-suspicious Zionist patrons. As rhetoric, it enabled Obama
to fulfill the requisite demand that whites be made adequately
comfortable, a demand that entails the condemnation of anything that might
actually threaten their privilege. This injunction is de rigueur for
people of color.

But I don't want to highlight these stupid political games. I'm more
interested in what the statement doesn't do, which is to convey anything
even incidentally truthful. Obama's claim is a profound insult not only to
the Palestinians who have courageously fought for their physical and
cultural survival, but to anybody who values the use of evidence to
express an informed opinion. In no framework other than Zionist extremism
can the Israel-Palestine conflict be attributed to "radical Islam". Even
those who disagree vehemently about the history of Palestine concur that
the conflict is fundamentally territorial.

The very construct of a "radical Islam," in fact, means nothing of
substance; it is a rhetorical ploy for the intellectually vacuous. Much of
Palestine's resistance, in the past and present, has been conducted by
members of the Christian minority. Palestinians, far from being religious
extremists, are noted for their progressive secular institutions. The
first Palestinian suicide bombing, an act said to exemplify "radical
Islam," didn't even occur until 1994. To Obama, this is apparently the
point at which the Israel-Palestine conflict started.

It is utterly indecent for a person to deem himself a moral authority on
tolerance while concurrently recycling an anti-Arab racism whose existence
has been devastating for the Palestinians.

For these reasons, I won't vote for Barack Obama. His liberal supporters
claim that as a complete package Obama is superior to any other candidate,
despite whatever flaws may exist in his platform (if flaws are even
acknowledged). To me, though, his revivalist Zionism is a flaw that I
cannot overlook and that liberal pragmatists should not ignore. Obama made
a choice to court the AIPAC bloc, and we fail in our duty as citizens of a
democracy if we do not hold him accountable for his immorality. We fail to
strengthen the well-being of our own society, and we fail in our moral
obligation to those who suffer the brute end of the imperialism our taxes
bankroll. Obama should therefore be punished for his choice by those who
stand against Israel's oppression of Palestinians.

When the liberal cognoscenti lecture Nader supporters for our obstinacy or
naivete, they are yet again performing the conceit of the privileged: they
are telling us that they know our needs better than we do. (It happens
right around the time they accuse Nader of egomania.) They are telling us
that a commitment to Palestinians, whose dispossession the United States
underwrites, is silly or unimportant. And they are telling us, without
having to confront any of the consequences, to accept the permanence of
Israel's violence. We should know well enough that what they imagine to be
virtuous or commonsensical is ultimately a projection of their own needs
and interests.

So, consider voting for somebody other than Obama. Or consider not voting
at all. It's your choice, after all. Whatever you choose, though, just
quit telling the Palestinians that their lives don't matter.

Steven Salaita is assistant professor of English at Virginia Tech. He is
author of three books: Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where It Comes from
and What It Means for Politics Today; The Holy Land in Transit:
Colonialism and the Quest for Canaan; and Arab American Literary Fictions,
Cultures, and Politics. Read other articles by Steven.

This article was posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2008 at 5:01 am and is
filed under Democracy, Democrats, Elections. Send to a friend.

--------18 of 18--------

 Obama is THEM
 McCain is THEM
 Hillary is THEM
 Where are WE?


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