|Progressive Calendar 05.21.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 00:43:33 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 05.21.08 1. Judges/KFAI 5.21 11am 2. Mpls free speech 5.21 1pm 3. End anti-lurk law 5.21 1pm 4. RNC march/StP 5.21 3:30pm 5. 3CD Greens/CTV 5.21 4pm 6. Planned pthood 5.21 6pm 7. Green design conf 5.21-22 8. New Hope demo 5.22 4:30pm 9. Eagan peace vigil 5.22 4:30pm 10. Northtown vigil 5.22 5pm 11. Urban garden 5.22 6pm 12. Hwy 55/film 5.22 7pm 13. Lebanon 5.22 7pm 14. Congo 5.22 7:30pm 15. Palestine 5.22 7:30pm 16. French hip hop 5.22 8pm 17. Somalia/health 5.23 3:30pm 18. Palestine 5.23 4:15pm 19. Abu Ghraib/film 5.23 20. Plays/films 5.23-6.01 21. Erik Hare - A review of "Tragedy in South Lebanon" 22. Ralph Nader - A trip inside Google 23. Chalmers Johnson - Our "managed democracy" 24. ed - bumpersticker --------1 of 24-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Judges/KFAI 5.21 11am TRUTH TO TELL WEDNESDAY, May 21, 11:00AM: POLITICS AND THE JUDICIARY: How Should We Pick Our Judges? A recent Supreme Court ruling opened the door to a practice previously prohibited by Minnesotašs Canon of Judicial Ethics. Judicial candidates may no longer be prevented from expressing opinions on issues that may come before the bench, perhaps in the process revealing a bias in favor of one side or another well before the facts are in and a ruling issued. Many legal types see this as turning the entire judicial branch of government into an expensive, nasty politically driven court system. Others insist that traditional elections open debate to reveal bias and make the judiciary more accountable. Former GOVERNOR AL QUIE is spearheading a drive to create a state Constitutional amendment advocates believe addresses both impartiality and electoral accountability retention elections. TTTšs Andy Driscoll and Lynnell Mickelsen talk with Governor Quie and others about the pluses and minuses of a system that would place only previously incumbent judges before voters, but not directly elect newcomers. GUESTS: GOVERNOR AL QUIE MARK CHRONISTER, President, Minnesotans for Impartial Courts OTHERS KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis /106.7 St. Paul / Streamed [at] KFAI.org --------2 of 24-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: Mpls free speech 5.21 1pm STAND UP FOR THE RIGHT TO PROTEST (WHILE YOU STILL CAN!) Minneapolis City Council's PS&RS Committee Meeting Wednesday, May 21 1:00 p.m. Minneapolis City Hall 350 S 5th Street, Rm 317 We need your help to prevent an unreasonable new ordinance that restricts free speech from being passed by the City of Minneapolis. This Wednesday, May 21, a subcommittee of the Minneapolis City Council will meet to vote on a proposed ordinance that would require groups of 50 or more to apply for a permit to demonstrate, even if they are planning to gather on the sidewalk and do not intend to block the sidewalk. Groups can apply for a permit up to 60 days before the date of their protest, but must apply within 15 days of that date. This requirement denies people the right to organize protests quickly in direct response to an immediate event, and prevents people from gathering spontaneously. There is no appeal process if a permit is denied. The proposed ordinance also gives police the right to change the terms of a permit that has been granted during the protest itself, and to disband the group at their discretion. There is currently no Minneapolis city ordinance requiring groups who gather on the sidewalk to get a permit. This ordinance was written with the RNC in mind but its author, Paul Ostrow, said at the last PS&RS meeting that he intends for this law to become permanent. At that meeting, a quartet of mouthpieces for the local business community got up one after the other and expressed their support for Ostrow's measure, stating that it will allow them to maintain a neat and orderly business climate (unmolested by a little thing known as the First Amendment). One guy went so far as to demand "business as usual." Well, we're in the middle of a war predicated on lies under an administration that uses torture in violation of international human rights standards. The murderous cops who killed Sean Bell in NYC were let off scot free while MPD and St. Paul cops who thug on people continue to get a free pass. This AIN'T the time for business as usual! Cam Gordon has said he will introduce a counterproposal that eliminates many of the issues with this ordinance and he also plans to introduce a separate proposal that will control police behavior. The fireworks from that will definitely be worth watching! Take action NOW to oppose this ordinance before the it gets out of this committee and makes it to the full City Council can vote on it. The Public Safety and Regulatory Services subcommittee meets this Wednesday, May 21 at 1 pm in room 317 at Minneapolis City Hall (350 S 5th St) to consider the ordinance. THIS WILL BE A PUBLIC HEARING AND WE NEED YOU TO SPEAK OUT! Please attend this meeting or contact the Minneapolis City Council to express your concerns. The following council members are part of the PSRS subcommittee: Don Samuels don.samuels [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us (612) 673-2205 Paul Ostrow <mailto:paul.ostrow%40ci.minneapolis.mn.us>paul.ostrow [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us (612) 673-2201 Diane Hofstede <mailto:diane.hofstede%40ci.minneapolis.mn.us>diane.hofstede [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us (612) 673-2203 Barbara Johnson <mailto:barbara.johnson%40ci.minneapolis.mn.us>barbara.johnson [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us (612) 673-2204 Cam Gordon <mailto:cam.gordon%40ci.minneapolis.mn.us>cam.gordon [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us (612) 673-2202 Gary Schiff http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-schiff.asp (612) 673-2209 --------3 of 24-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: End anti-lurk law 5.21 1pm STAMP OUT THE LURKING ORDINANCE Public Hearing Minneapolis City Council's PS&RS Committee Meeting Wednesday, May 21 1:00 p.m. Minneapolis City Hall 350 S 5th Street, Rm 317 While you're down at city hall standing up for free speech you can make it a 2 for 1 by sticking around for the public hearing on overturning the Minneapolis lurking ordinance. This terrible ordinance makes it a crime to "lurk with intent" - meaning the cops get to pretend they can read your mind. The ordinance is so vague that it would be impossible to know what not to do to avoid being arrested under it. The vast majority of people arrested under this ordinance are homeless Blacks. As a result, a homeless person is arrested every 2.1 hours in Minneapolis with most charges being lurking, loitering or public urination. Roughtly 80-90% of lurking charges are thrown out once they reach court. Speak out against this truly terrible ordinance, which exists only to give cops and excuse to arrest poor people. Council member Cam Gordon plans to introduce measures to strengthen the loitering ordinance as an inducement to the other council members to support overturning the lurking ordinance. We wish to make it clear that CUAPB absolutely does not support this strategy or any further strengthening of the already vague and overused ordinance. We want nothing less than an outright repeal of the lurking ordinance. --------4 of 24-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: RNC march/StP 5.21 3:30pm PROTEST RNC MARCH PERMIT APPEAL Wednesday, May 21 3:30 p.m., public hearing at 5:30 p.m. St. Paul City Hall 15 W Kellogg Blvd, 3rd Floor St. Paul Call on St. Paul Mayor & City Council to Support Permit Appeal by the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War On Wednesday, May 14, the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War received an alternate permit for our demonstration on September 1, 2008. This alternate permit was provided because both the route and the time in our permit application were rejected by St. Paul Police. Thanks to public pressure from you, and pending legal action in federal court, we now have a permit that will take our march up to the Xcel Center. However, the terms of the alternate permit will not accommodate the large, national demonstration we are planning. The space and time limitations are unworkable, and are designed to limit the impact we can have on the RNC and its media coverage. Every street around the Xcel Center will be closed, to provide security to the politicians who will meet inside to congratulate themselves on 5 years of a brutal war on Iraq. Two parking lots adjacent to the Xcel are reserved for media trucks, which the RNC will rely on to broadcast their message of war, trying to convince the people of this country to cast their votes for more years of war and human suffering in Iraq, and more years of ignoring human needs here at home. The alternate permit grants our Coalition the small space that remains: A 2000 square foot triangle, across the street from the Xcel Center. Our permit allows the use of that space for less than 2 hours, and requires that the march proceed along a 1000-foot long turn about, then turn back on itself, and return to the State Capitol Building on the same road we marched in on. This limited time and space cannot accommodate 50,000 protesters. The alternative permit effectively protects the Republicans and their message of war, while restricting the rights of common people to demand peace, justice and equality. Limiting both time and space for the march - ensures that only some protesters will have a chance to raise their voice at the site of the Convention, while thousands may never even see the building. This is a plan we cannot accept. According to the City ordinance, permit decisions can be appealed to City Council. This week, we will ask St. Paul City Council members to overturn the police department's decision, and grant our original permit request for September 1, 2008. We will also raise our objections to the alternate permit that was granted. Moreover, the St. Paul Police Department is required to demonstrate a substantial public safety interest that necessitates rejecting the original request. We have received no explanation of how the alternate route satisfies any concerns raised by our original route. City Council members can get real answers. We ask you to call on the St. Paul City Council to stand on the side of peace and justice, to issue the permit we applied for, to ensure a successful March on the RNC to stop the war on Iraq. We expect our appeal to be heard at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, May 21, 2008, on the 3rd floor of City Hall at 15 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul. The meeting begins at 3:30pm, and public hearings are scheduled for 5:30pm - it is not clear when the Permit appeal will be scheduled on the agenda. Please attend the meeting if you can, and contact St. Paul City officials beforehand. Ask them to approve the original permit application, including a later and longer time, and a route that physically accommodates more protesters and provides more space at the Xcel Center. They can also help by getting the police to answer some of these questions: 1. Why was the original permit denied? What specifically about the route and time would create the traffic and safety issues stated as the basis for denial? How does the alternate permit avoid these issues? 2. Why does the March have to clear the Xcel by 2:00 p.m.? Will all demonstrators be banned from the "soft security zone" after 2:00 p.m.? If not, why can't the March go later in the afternoon? Can the March starting time be moved back to accommodate people from out of town who will be arriving? If not, why not? 3. Why do the free speech rights of the corporate media take precedence over the rights of the people? Two parking lots adjacent to X-Cel are both being given to the media, can't one of them be given to the people? Either parking lot would not be any closer to X-Cel than the demonstration zone, but would greatly expand the ability of people to reach the Xcel and turn around without problems. 4. When will the delegates arrive on 9/1/08? Is the plan to make the March pass by X-Cel center by 2:00 p.m. just so that it will be gone by the time the delegates start arriving? <mailto:ward1 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us>Debbie Montgomery (Ward 1) * 651-266-8610 <mailto:ward2 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us>Dave Thune (Ward 2) * 651-266-8620 <mailto:ward3 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us>Pat Harris (Ward 3) * 651-266-8630 <mailto:ward4 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us>Russ Stark(Ward 4) * (651) 266-8640 <mailto:ward5 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us>Lee Helgen (Ward 5) * 651-266-8650 <mailto:ward6 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us>Dan Bostrom (Ward 6) * 651-266-8660 <mailto:ward7 [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us>Kathy Lantry, President (Ward 7) * 651-266-8670 Also, please contact <mailto:mayor [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us>Chris Coleman, Mayor * 651-266-8510 Background: See a map of the City's proposal on-line here - <http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_9262346>http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_9262346 See the Coalition's proposed route on-line here - <http://www.protestrnc2008.org/node/39>http://www.protestrnc2008.org/node/39 --------5 of 24-------- From: Alan Hancock Subject: 3CD Greens/CTV 5.21 4pm 3rd Congressional District Green Party Show. Wednesday May 21 at 4 PM Thursday May 22 at 12 AM and 8 AM This show features Ken Pentel Green Party Candidate for Governor 2006 as keynote speaker at the Earth Day event in Fergus Falls, MN on April 22. --------6 of 24-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Planned parent 5.21 6pm May 21: Planned Parenthood MN/ND/SD. Please join Friends for Planned Parenthood for a reading, remarks, and book signing by renowned author Dr. Kenneth Edelin, whose recent book, Broken Justice, tells the story of his trial, conviction, and ultimate exoneration of manslaughter charges for performing a safe, legal abortion after the Roe v. Wade decision. Ticket price $25. 6-7:30 PM. Open Book/The Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis. --------7 of 24-------- From: Minnesota Housing Partnership [mailto:bjacobs [at] mhponline.org] Subject: Green design conf 5.21-22 Minnesota Housing Partnership is a proud sponsor of the 3rd Annual Green by Design conference How to plan and build healthy, sustainable affordable housing and communities in Minnesota Wednesday, May 21 and Thursday, May 22 * The Depot * Minneapolis This conference will be held May 21st and 22nd, 2008 at The Depot in Minneapolis, and will welcome Mark Fenton (Host of PBS's America's Walking), and Van Jones (Green for All) as keynote speakers during the conference. The Green by Design conference and training aims to provide housing developers, builders, contractors, architects, city planners, environmentalists, funders, and other professionals the tools needed to build energy efficient, healthy, and sustainable housing. Multiple tracks will be offered, including sessions by local and national experts that focus on various elements of the Green Communities Criteria and other related topics. Examples of successful green building projects, including both multifamily and single-family developments, will be highlighted throughout the conference. Topics of interest include: Residential Green Building * Minnesota Housing Funding Requirements * Energy Conservation and Climate Protection Strategies * Green Rehabilitation * Equitable Green Economic Development * Ensuring Healthy Homes and Communities * Rural and Urban Greening Strategies * Sustainable Land Use Planning * Green Building Materials * and other great topics on green building, design, and public policy. 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. --------8 of 24-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: New Hope demo 5.22 4:30pm NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of Winnetka and 42nd. You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners. Bring your own or use our signs. --------9 of 24-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 5.22 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------10 of 24-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 5.22 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------11 of 24-------- From: Do It Green! Minnesota <Do_It_Green_Minnesota [at] mail.vresp.com> Subject: Urban garden 5.22 6pm Community & Urban Gardening 101 with Kirsten Saylor Thurs, May 22nd 6-8pm Eat Street Community Garden (2416 1st Ave S, Mpls) Outdoor workshop. Please dress accordingly. Uncooperative weather means the workshop will be at the Do It Green! Resource Center. Check the website or email annie [at] doitgreen.org to confirm the location on the day of the workshop. The urban gardening movement is taking hold of the Twin Cities! Nothing can be more local nor more satisfying than growing it yourself within your own neighborhood or city. If you don't have a sunny backyard (or front yard), there are still many options available to grow your own vegetables, herbs and more. Kirsten Saylor of GardenWorks will help you navigate the alternatives, from community gardens to sunny windows. --------12 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Hwy 55/film 5.22 7pm Thursday, 5/22, 7 pm, independent documentary on the Highway 55 reroute encampment "The ReRoute: Taking a Stand on Sacred Land," Riverview Theater, 38th St and 42nd Ave, Mpls. biego001 [at] umn.edu or http://www.oakfolkfilms.net/ --------13 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Lebanon 5.22 7pm Thursday, 5/22, 7 pm, Middle East expert Cathy Sultan discusses her new book "Tragedy in South Lebanon" about the lives of civilians in south Lebanan and northern Israel during and fter the war of July 2006, Common Good Books, 165 Western Ave, St Paul. http://www.magersandquinn.com or 612-822-4611. --------14 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Congo 5.22 7:30pm Thursday, 5/22, 7:30 pm, A.P. reporter Bryan Mealer discusses his new book "All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo," about the most deadly war since WW II, which has claimed an estimated 3.9 million lives, Magers and Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave S, Mpls. http://www.magersandquinn.com or 612-822-4611. --------15 of 24-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Palestine 5.22 7:30pm Susan Abulhawa: "The Scar of David" Thursday, May 22, 7:30 p.m. Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis. Susan Abulhawa, author of "The Scar of David" and winner of the 2007 National Best Book Award, presents a literary masterpiece of the Palestinian story. Mizna Journal release party. $5.00. Sponsored by: the Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Mizna, the Institute for Global Studies, the Consortium for the Study of the Asias, and the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Minnesota. --------16 of 24-------- From: Melis Arik <birchswinger2 [at] gmail.com> Subject: French hip hop 5.22 8pm [Freedom hip hop?] powerful / political / prophetic french hip hop La Rumeur + Ursus Minor with Post Nomadic Syndrome / PosNoSys Thursday, May 22 Triple Rock Social Club 629 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis Doors 8:00 pm $12 advance, $15 door 18+ opening the show: Post Nomadic Syndrome/PosNoSys AND An open conversation with La Rumeur Wednesday, May 21 Selam Coffee Shop 3860 Minnehaha Avenue, Minneapolis 7:30 pm Free These events are part of the 4th annual Minnesota sur Seine Music Festival* May 15 - May 25w www.surseine.org* <http://www.surseine.org/> Known throughout France for their intensely political lyrics, La Rumeur's music speaks out about the post-colonial "legacy" lived out in the experiences of their parents and in their own lives as French-born children of immigrants. We in the US have heard the news of riots of immigrant youth in the Paris suburbs; taking as a subject the lived injustices and contradictions of daily life in these commnities has landed La Rumeur with accusations and literal indictments of "inciting the riots." (One of the members of the group, Hame, currently awaits trial on these charges next week and so will not be appearing at MN sur Seine). Hear them live at the Triple Rock on Thursday, May 22! To know more about the power behind the beats, feel free to drop by Selam Coffee Shop on Wednesday, May 21, for an open and informal conversation about hip hop, political and personal evolution, making art and change... and wherever the conversation may lead! *Hosted by ibe kaba.* --------17 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Somalia/health 5.23 3:30pm Friday, 5/23, 3:30 to 6 pm, St Kate's presents documentary (and discussion of) "The Forgotten Struggle: Healthcare in Somalia," free, Old Main auditorium #600, College of St Catherine, Mpls campus, 601 - 25th Ave, Mpls. http://www.hrcenter.umn.edu --------18 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Palestine 5.23 4:15pm Friday, 5/23, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St Paul. --------19 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Abu Ghraib/film 5.23 5/23 to 5/29, director Errol Morris (Fog of War) presents documentary "Standard Operating Procedure" about the people who made and were in the infamous photos of torture at Abu Ghraib, Lagoon Cinema, 1350 Lagoon Ave, Uptown Mpls, http://www.landmarktheaters.com/ --------20 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Plays/films 5.23-6.01 5/23 to 6/1, Spirit in the House presents a spiritual play and film festival at Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Ave, Mpls. Plays include Jesus in Guantanamo (which ed has seen and very highly recommends), Witnessing to a Murder by a friend of ed's and highly recommended by people ed trusts, The Diana and Mother Teresa Story which ed has heard rave comments about.. Also perhaps of interest are the plays Dachau Dreaming about the liberation of the death camp, Presente! apparently about the US-operated torture training school, and The World's Most Frequently Bombed Hotel which takes place in Belfast during the Troubles. Details can be found at http://spiritinthehouse.org/ --------21 of 24-------- Books about Peace: A Review of "Tragedy in South Lebanon" By Erik Hare From far away, people in the United States get their information on the ongoing wars of the Middle East from news sources. These invariably emphasize what has changed and what is new about the situation. But what hasn't changed is the suffering of the people who are caught in it and their determination to live their lives while audaciously working for peace. They are the voices of Cathy Sultan's new book, "Tragedy in South Lebanon: The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006". The geo-political forces that rain down on them examined not as if the region was some kind of chessboard, but as a power struggle involving real people - including the United States. Cathy doesn't let anyone off the hook as the misery, death, cultural genocide and determined hope of the people are all placed into a context that anyone with a heart and a brain can understand. Cathy Sultan raised her family in Beruit and has been actively pursuing peace as an Executive Board Member of the National Peace Foundation. This personal connection with the situation shows in "Tragedy in South Lebanon" through her delicate yet direct touch with her sources and interviewees. She isn't a journalist, she is someone who cares deeply about Lebanon and the desperate need for peace. With its myriad political, cultural, and economic force, the Middle East can be difficult for outsiders to understand. "Tragedy in South Lebanon" not only explains this situation clearly and concisely, it's also an excellent read. Most importantly, you'll never read a dry, analytical news article about the region again without remembering that these are real people struggling with the situation. That's the transformative power of "Tragedy in South Lebanon", and why it's a must read as the United States finds itself deeper and deeper into a region so few of us can relate to. For more information on Cathy Sultan, visit her website at http://www.cathysultan.com/cms. --------22 of 24-------- Can the Company Break the Political Gridlock? A Trip Inside Google By RALPH NADER CounterPunch May 20, 2008 An invitation to visit Google's headquarters and meet some of the people who made this ten year old giant that is giving Microsoft the nervies has to start with wonder. The "campus" keeps spreading with the growth of Google into more and more fields, even though advertising revenue still comprises over 90 percent of its total revenues. The company wants to "change the world," make all information digital and accessible through Google. Its company motto is "Do No Evil," which comes under increasing scrutiny, especially in the firm's business with the national security state in Washington, D.C. and with the censors of Red China. Google's two founders out of Stanford graduate school - Sergey Brin and Larry Page - place the highest premium on hiring smart, motivated people who provide their own edge and work their own hours. We were given "the tour" before entering a large space to be asked and answer questions before an audience of wunderkinds. E-mail traffic was monitored worldwide with a variety of electronic globes with various lights marking which countries were experiencing high or low traffic. Africa was the least lit. One of our photographers started to take a picture but was politely waved away with a few proprietary words. A new breed of trade secrets. I noticed all the places where food - free and nutritious - was available. The guide said that food is no further than 150 feet from any workplace. "How can they keep their weight down with all these tempting repasts?" I asked. "Wait," he said, leading us toward a large room where an almost eerie silence surrounded dozens of exercising Googlelites going through their solitary motions at 3:45 in the afternoon. "How many hours do they work?" one of my colleagues asked. "We don't really know. As long as they want to," came the response. In the amphitheatre, the director of communications and I started a Q and A, followed by more questions from the audience. It was followed by a YouTube interview. You can see both of them on: (Q&A) and (Interview). Google is a gigantic information means, bedecked with ever complex software, to what end? Information ideally leads to knowledge, then to judgment, then to wisdom and then to some action. As the ancient Chinese proverb succinctly put it - "To know and not to do is not to know". But what happens when a company is riding an ever rising crest of digitized information avalanches without being able to catch its breath and ask, "information for what?" I commented that we have had more information available in the last twenty five years, though our country and world seem to be getting worse overall; measured by indicators of the human condition. With information being the "currency of democracy," conditions should be improving across the board. "Knowledge for what?" I asked. Well, for starters, Google is trying to figure out how to put on its own Presidential debates, starting with one in New Orleans in the autumn. Certainly it can deliver an internet audience of considerable size. But will the major candidates balk if there are other candidates meeting criteria such as a majority of Americans wanting them to participate? The present Commission on Presidential Debates is a private nonprofit corporation created and controlled by the Republican and Democratic Parties. They do not want other seats on the stage and the television networks follow along with this exclusionary format. Google, with its own Foundation looking for creative applications that produce results for the well-being of people, should hold regular public hearings on the ground around the country for ideas. They may be surprised by what people propose. In any event, the examples of knowing but not doing are everywhere. More people succumbed to tuberculosis in the world last year than ten years ago. Medical scientists learned how to treat TB nearly fifty years ago. Knowledge alone is not enough. For years the technology to present the up-to-date voting record of each member of Congress has been available. Yet only about a dozen legislators do so, led by Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Chris Shays (R-CT). Recalcitrant power blocks what people most want directly from their lawmakers. website. Here Google can make the difference with Capitol Hill, if it wants to connect information technology to informed voters. When the internet began, some of us thought that it would make it easy and cheap for people to band together for bargaining and lobbying as consumers. At last, the big banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, automobile firms and so forth would have organized countervailing consumer power with millions of members and ample full time staffs. It has not happened. Clearly technology and information by themselves do not produce beneficial change. That depends on how decentralized political, economic and social power is exercised in a corporate society where the few decide for the many. I left Google hoping for a more extensive follow-up conversation, grounded in Marcus Cicero's assertion, over 2000 years ago, that "Freedom is participation in power". That is what connects knowledge to beneficial action, if people have that freedom. I hope my discussions with the Google staff produced some food for thought that percolates up the organization to Google's leaders. Ralph Nader is running for president as an independent. --------23 of 24-------- Our "Managed Democracy" By Chalmers Johnson May 20, 2008 Source: Truthdig Chalmers Johnson's ZSpace Page ZNet It is not news that the United States is in great trouble. The pre-emptive war it launched against Iraq more than five years ago was and is a mistake of monumental proportions - one that most Americans still fail to acknowledge. Instead they are arguing about whether we should push on to "victory" when even our own generals tell us that a military victory is today inconceivable. Our economy has been hollowed out by excessive military spending over many decades while our competitors have devoted themselves to investments in lucrative new industries that serve civilian needs. Our political system of checks and balances has been virtually destroyed by rampant cronyism and corruption in Washington, D.C., and by a two-term president who goes around crowing "I am the decider," a concept fundamentally hostile to our constitutional system. We have allowed our elections, the one nonnegotiable institution in a democracy, to be debased and hijacked - as was the 2000 presidential election in Florida - with scarcely any protest from the public or the self-proclaimed press guardians of the "Fourth Estate." We now engage in torture of defenseless prisoners although it defames and demoralizes our armed forces and intelligence agencies. The problem is that there are too many things going wrong at the same time for anyone to have a broad understanding of the disaster that has overcome us and what, if anything, can be done to return our country to constitutional government and at least a degree of democracy. By now, there are hundreds of books on particular aspects of our situation.the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bloated and unsupervised "defense" budgets, the imperial presidency and its contempt for our civil liberties, the widespread privatization of traditional governmental functions, and a political system in which no leader dares even to utter the words imperialism and militarism in public. There are, however, a few attempts at more complex analyses of how we arrived at this sorry state. They include Naomi Klein, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," on how "private" economic power now is almost coequal with legitimate political power; John W. Dean, "Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches," on the perversion of our main defenses against dictatorship and tyranny; Arianna Huffington, "Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe," on the manipulation of fear in our political life and the primary role played by the media; and Naomi Wolf, "The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot," on "Ten Steps to Fascism" and where we currently stand on this staircase. My own book, "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic," on militarism as an inescapable accompaniment of imperialism, also belongs to this genre. We now have a new, comprehensive diagnosis of our failings as a democratic polity by one of our most seasoned and respected political philosophers. For well over two generations, Sheldon Wolin taught the history of political philosophy from Plato to the present to Berkeley and Princeton graduate students (including me; I took his seminars at Berkeley in the late 1950s, thus influencing my approach to political science ever since). He is the author of the prize-winning classic "Politics and Vision" (1960; expanded edition, 2006) and "Tocqueville Between Two Worlds" (2001), among many other works. His new book, "Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism," is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States - including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors: Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Bolshevik Russia. The hour is very late and the possibility that the American people might pay attention to what is wrong and take the difficult steps to avoid a national Gtterdmmerung are remote, but Wolin's is the best analysis of why the presidential election of 2008 probably will not do anything to mitigate our fate. This book demonstrates why political science, properly practiced, is the master social science. Wolin's work is fully accessible. Understanding his argument does not depend on possessing any specialized knowledge, but it would still be wise to read him in short bursts and think about what he is saying before moving on. His analysis of the contemporary American crisis relies on a historical perspective going back to the original constitutional agreement of 1789 and includes particular attention to the advanced levels of social democracy attained during the New Deal and the contemporary mythology that the U.S., beginning during World War II, wields unprecedented world power. Given this historical backdrop, Wolin introduces three new concepts to help analyze what we have lost as a nation. His master idea is "inverted totalitarianism," which is reinforced by two subordinate notions that accompany and promote it - "managed democracy" and "Superpower," the latter always capitalized and used without a direct article. Until the reader gets used to this particular literary tic, the term Superpower can be confusing. The author uses it as if it were an independent agent, comparable to Superman or Spiderman, and one that is inherently incompatible with constitutional government and democracy. Wolin writes, "Our thesis ... is this: it is possible for a form of totalitarianism, different from the classical one, to evolve from a putatively 'strong democracy' instead of a 'failed' one." His understanding of democracy is classical but also populist, anti-elitist and only slightly represented in the Constitution of the United States. "Democracy," he writes, "is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs." It depends on the existence of a demos - "a politically engaged and empowered citizenry, one that voted, deliberated, and occupied all branches of public office." Wolin argues that to the extent the United States on occasion came close to genuine democracy, it was because its citizens struggled against and momentarily defeated the elitism that was written into the Constitution. "No working man or ordinary farmer or shopkeeper," Wolin points out, "helped to write the Constitution." He argues, "The American political system was not born a democracy, but born with a bias against democracy. It was constructed by those who were either skeptical about democracy or hostile to it. Democratic advance proved to be slow, uphill, forever incomplete. The republic existed for three-quarters of a century before formal slavery was ended; another hundred years before black Americans were assured of their voting rights. Only in the twentieth century were women guaranteed the vote and trade unions the right to bargain collectively. In none of these instances has victory been complete: women still lack full equality, racism persists, and the destruction of the remnants of trade unions remains a goal of corporate strategies. Far from being innate, democracy in America has gone against the grain, against the very forms by which the political and economic power of the country has been and continues to be ordered." Wolin can easily control his enthusiasm for James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution, and he sees the New Deal as perhaps the only period of American history in which rule by a true demos prevailed. To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: "inverted totalitarianism," a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on "private media" than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison - 751 per 100,000 people - of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has "emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation's political traditions." The genius of our inverted totalitarian system "lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. ... A demotion in the status and stature of the 'sovereign people' to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of 'popularizing' power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. ... The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. ... The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed." Among the factors that have promoted inverted totalitarianism are the practice and psychology of advertising and the rule of "market forces" in many other contexts than markets, continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the penetration of mass media communication and propaganda into every household in the country, and the total co-optation of the universities. Among the commonplace fables of our society are hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds, and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose adepts are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge. Masters of this world are masters of images and their manipulation. Wolin reminds us that the image of Adolf Hitler flying to Nuremberg in 1934 that opens Leni Riefenstahl's classic film "Triumph of the Will" was repeated on May 1, 2003, with President George Bush's apparent landing of a Navy warplane on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to proclaim "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. On inverted totalitarianism's "self-pacifying" university campuses compared with the usual intellectual turmoil surrounding independent centers of learning, Wolin writes, "Through a combination of governmental contracts, corporate and foundation funds, joint projects involving university and corporate researchers, and wealthy individual donors, universities (especially so-called research universities), intellectuals, scholars, and researchers have been seamlessly integrated into the system. No books burned, no refugee Einsteins. For the first time in the history of American higher education top professors are made wealthy by the system, commanding salaries and perks that a budding CEO might envy." The main social sectors promoting and reinforcing this modern Shangri-La are corporate power, which is in charge of managed democracy, and the military-industrial complex, which is in charge of Superpower. The main objectives of managed democracy are to increase the profits of large corporations, dismantle the institutions of social democracy (Social Security, unions, welfare, public health services, public housing and so forth), and roll back the social and political ideals of the New Deal. Its primary tool is privatization. Managed democracy aims at the "selective abdication of governmental responsibility for the well-being of the citizenry" under cover of improving "efficiency" and cost-cutting. Wolin argues, "The privatization of public services and functions manifests the steady evolution of corporate power into a political form, into an integral, even dominant partner with the state. It marks the transformation of American politics and its political culture from a system in which democratic practices and values were, if not defining, at least major contributing elements, to one where the remaining democratic elements of the state and its populist programs are being systematically dismantled." This campaign has largely succeeded. "Democracy represented a challenge to the status quo, today it has become adjusted to the status quo." One other subordinate task of managed democracy is to keep the citizenry preoccupied with peripheral and/or private conditions of human life so that they fail to focus on the widespread corruption and betrayal of the public trust. In Wolin's words, "The point about disputes on such topics as the value of sexual abstinence, the role of religious charities in state-funded activities, the question of gay marriage, and the like, is that they are not framed to be resolved. Their political function is to divide the citizenry while obscuring class differences and diverting the voters' attention from the social and economic concerns of the general populace." Prominent examples of the elite use of such incidents to divide and inflame the public are the Terri Schiavo case of 2005, in which a brain-dead woman was kept artificially alive, and the 2008 case of women and children living in a polygamous commune in Texas who were allegedly sexually mistreated. Another elite tactic of managed democracy is to bore the electorate to such an extent that it gradually fails to pay any attention to politics. Wolin perceives, "One method of assuring control is to make electioneering continuous, year-round, saturated with party propaganda, punctuated with the wisdom of kept pundits, bringing a result boring rather than energizing, the kind of civic lassitude on which managed democracy thrives." The classic example is certainly the nominating contests of the two main American political parties during 2007 and 2008, but the dynastic "competition" between the Bush and Clinton families from 1988 to 2008 is equally relevant. It should be noted that between a half and two-thirds of qualified voters have recently failed to vote, thus making the management of the active electorate far easier. Wolin comments, "Every apathetic citizen is a silent enlistee in the cause of inverted totalitarianism." It remains to be seen whether an Obama candidacy can reawaken these apathetic voters, but I suspect that Wolin would predict a barrage of corporate media character assassination that would end this possibility. Managed democracy is a powerful solvent for any vestiges of democracy left in the American political system, but its powers are weak in comparison with those of Superpower. Superpower is the sponsor, defender and manager of American imperialism and militarism, aspects of American government that have always been dominated by elites, enveloped in executive-branch secrecy, and allegedly beyond the ken of ordinary citizens to understand or oversee. Superpower is preoccupied with weapons of mass destruction, clandestine manipulation of foreign policy (sometimes domestic policy, too), military operations, and the fantastic sums of money demanded from the public by the military-industrial complex. (The U.S. military spends more than all other militaries on Earth combined. The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion; the next closest national military budget is China's at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.) Foreign military operations literally force democracy to change its nature: "In order to cope with the imperial contingencies of foreign war and occupation," according to Wolin, "democracy will alter its character, not only by assuming new behaviors abroad (e.g., ruthlessness, indifference to suffering, disregard of local norms, the inequalities in ruling a subject population) but also by operating on revised, power-expansive assumptions at home. It will, more often than not, try to manipulate the public rather than engage its members in deliberation. It will demand greater powers and broader discretion in their use ('state secrets'), a tighter control over society's resources, more summary methods of justice, and less patience for legalities, opposition, and clamor for socioeconomic reforms." Imperialism and democracy are, in Wolin's terms, literally incompatible, and the ever greater resources devoted to imperialism mean that democracy will inevitably wither and die. He writes, "Imperial politics represents the conquest of domestic politics and the latter's conversion into a crucial element of inverted totalitarianism. It makes no sense to ask how the democratic citizen could 'participate' substantively in imperial politics; hence it is not surprising that the subject of empire is taboo in electoral debates. No major politician or party has so much as publicly remarked on the existence of an American empire." >From the time of the United States' founding, its citizens have had a long history of being complicit in the country's imperial ventures, including its transcontinental expansion at the expense of native Americans, Mexicans and Spanish imperialists. Theodore Roosevelt often commented that Americans were deeply opposed to imperialism because of their successful escape from the British empire but that "expansionism" was in their blood. Over the years, American political analysis has carefully tried to separate the military from imperialism, even though militarism is imperialism's inescapable accompaniment. The military creates the empire in the first place and is indispensable to its defense, policing and expansion. Wolin observes, "That the patriotic citizen unswervingly supports the military and its huge budgets means that conservatives have succeeded in persuading the public that the military is distinct from the government. Thus the most substantial element of state power is removed from public debate." It has taken a long time, but under George W. Bush's administration the United States has finally achieved an official ideology of imperial expansion comparable to those of Nazi and Soviet totalitarianisms. In accordance with the National Security Strategy of the United States (allegedly drafted by Condoleezza Rice and proclaimed on Sept. 9, 2002), the United States is now committed to what it calls "preemptive war." Wolin explains: "Preemptive war entails the projection of power abroad, usually against a far weaker country, comparable say, to the Nazi invasion of Belgium and Holland in 1940. It declares that the United States is justified in striking at another country because of a perceived threat that U.S. power will be weakened, severely damaged, unless it reacts to eliminate the danger before it materializes. Preemptive war is Lebensraum [Hitler's claim that his imperialism was justified by Germany's need for "living room"] for the age of terrorism." This was, of course, the official excuse for the American aggression against Iraq that began in 2003. Many analysts, myself included, would conclude that Wolin has made a close to airtight case that the American republic's days are numbered, but Wolin himself does not agree. Toward the end of his study he produces a wish list of things that should be done to ward off the disaster of inverted totalitarianism: "rolling back the empire, rolling back the practices of managed democracy; returning to the idea and practices of international cooperation rather than the dogmas of globalization and preemptive strikes; restoring and strengthening environmental protections; reinvigorating populist politics; undoing the damage to our system of individual rights; restoring the institutions of an independent judiciary, separation of powers, and checks and balances; reinstating the integrity of the independent regulatory agencies and of scientific advisory processes; reviving representative systems responsive to popular needs for health care, education, guaranteed pensions, and an honorable minimum wage; restoring governmental regulatory authority over the economy; and rolling back the distortions of a tax code that toadies to the wealthy and corporate power." Unfortunately, this is more a guide to what has gone wrong than a statement of how to fix it, particularly since Wolin believes that our political system is "shot through with corruption and awash in contributions primarily from wealthy and corporate donors." It is extremely unlikely that our party apparatus will work to bring the military-industrial complex and the 16 secret intelligence agencies under democratic control. Nonetheless, once the United States has followed the classical totalitarianisms into the dustbin of history, Wolin's analysis will stand as one of the best discourses on where we went wrong. Chalmers Johnson's latest book is "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic," now available in a Holt Paperback. It is the third volume of his Blowback Trilogy. --------24 of 24-------- -------------------- Guanotanamo where shit happens -------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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