|Progressive Calendar 06.18.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2008 13:49:06 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 06.18.08 1. TC poverty 6.19 4pm 2. McCain invasion 6.19 4:30pm 3. New Hope demo 6.19 4:30pm 4. Eagan vigil 6.19 4:30pm 5. Northtown vigil 6.19 5pm 6. Cuba/food 6.19 6pm 7. Amnesty Intl 6.19 7:15pm 8. Film festival 6.19-21 9. Free speech 6.20 10. Peace walk 6.21 9am Cambridge MN 11. Carter/Hamas/f 6.21 9:30am 12. Work justice 6.21 10am 13. NWN4P Mtka 6.21 11am 14. EXCO/RNC 6.21 1pm 15. Ntown vigil 6.21 2pm 16. Vs empire/CTV 6.21 9pm 17. Ralph Nader - Plutocracy Inc. 18. Jan Baughman - Who's party are we spoiling? 19. Joel Hirschhorn - Fighting resistance to voting for Ralph Nader 20. John Pilger - In the great tradition, Obama is a hawk 21. Charles Marowitz - Spoils of war 22. Robert Jensen - Diversity & the incoherence of journalism ideology 23. ed - What makes Bush laugh? w(haiku) --------1 of 23-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: TC poverty 6.19 4pm Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign Gathering Thursday, June 19, 4:00 p.m. Peavey Park, 730 22nd Street, Minneapolis. Gather to hear exciting speakers on poverty in the Twin Cities and the upcoming March for Our Lives. Sponsored by: Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHC). FFI: Call PPEHC, 612-821-2364 or 612-821-2358. --------2 of 23-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: McCain invasion 6.19 4:30pm McCain Says 100 Years: We Say OUT NOW! THURS, 6/19 @ 4:30 @ Minneapolis Hilton, 1001 Marquette Ave (Marquette & 10th Street) Give John McCain a sample of what his reception will be like at the Republican National Convention! Let's demonstrate that Minnesota does not support the Republican pro-war agenda. Organized by the Anti-War Committee. - From: rnc08 [at] riseup.net On June 19th, John McCain will be hosting a private dinner and fundraiser at the Downtown Minneapolis Hilton (1001 Marquette Avenue). Amongst the people dining with McCain will be Governor Tim Pawlenty, Senator Norm Coleman, and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. For only $50,000/couple, you can have the thrilling opportunity to have your picture taken with this (in)famous bunch of stinking rich old white men! However, while these creeps wine and dine, foreclosures mount, ice caps melt, and the slaughter of Iraqis rages on as criminal amounts of money are funneled into electoral spectacles. The RNC Welcoming Committee calls on those of us who survive on less than $50,000 a year to do something constructive on June 19. Don't only create your own photo-ops (although Lordisa knows the McCain Girls* provide plenty of ideas - Hallelujah!), but find a way to effect positive, radical change where you live. Let McCain and his cohorts count their bloodmoney for the night. We'll take care of them in September, when the convention-crashing festivities and subsequent photo opportunities will be open to all! The RNC Welcoming Committee rncwelcomingcommittee.org *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaP9eiWuX3s --------3 of 23-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: New Hope demo 6.19 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. --------4 of 23-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 6.19 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. --------5 of 23-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 6.19 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. --------6 of 23-------- From: Mike Whelan <mpw4883 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Cuba/food 6.19 6pm The 19th U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment caravan sponsored by Pastors for Peace will be in the Twin Cities on June 19, 6:00 PM Along with other organizations, the Minnesota Cuba Committee will be sponsoring a send-off dinner and program at St. Albert the Great Church, 2836 33rd Avenue South, Minneapolis. $10.00 admission will include a Cuban plate by Victor Valens (no one turned away for lack of funds. The program will include speakers from past caravans, Cuban music and the best mojitos in town. --------7 of 23-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 6.19 7:15pm AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, June 19th, at 7:15 p.m. St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com. --------8 of 23-------- From: Jay Gabler <jay [at] tcdailyplanet.net> Subject: Film festival 6.19-21 Solstice Film Festival: The comedy! The horror! The birdwatching! http://tcdailyplanet.net/node/12104 by Jim Brunzell III, TC Daily Planet The Third Annual Solstice Film Festival starts June 19th and runs through June 21st at Galtier Plaza in downtown St. Paul. Executive Director Devin Halder has found over 25 feature films ranging from fiction to documentary, as well as a dozen short films‚^ņ^‘most of them Minnesota premieres. --------9 of 23-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: Free speech 6.20 FAMINE! PESTILENCE! PLAGUE!...AND THE RNC Excuses Used by Ostrow, Samuels to Clamp Down on Free Speech Sounding much like John Ashcroft pushing his Patriot Act (and we all know what a disaster that was), Minneapolis city council members Paul Ostrow and Don Samuels spent much of the time during the May 21 public hearing on the so-called free speech proposal rationalizing their reasons behind it. [Reason to toss Ostrow and Samuels out next election. They call themselves Dems but they are still tools of the powers that be. The local ruling class knew what they were doing when they redestricted out Green Party Natalie Johnson-Lee and put in word-bender Don Samuels in her place. -ed] Ostrow kept wringing his hands and explaining that "we've never had anything that big here before," referring to the RNC. However, he could not explain why he wants the free speech restrictions to be permanent. After going around and around with Cam Gordon and Gary Schiff, who tried in vain to improve his flawed proposal, Ostrow was helped out by fellow free speech hater Samuels (recall that Samuels and Ostrow were successfully sued by Al Flowers for kicking him off public access TV after he criticized Samuels). In what will likely be among the most bizarre moments at city hall this year, Samuels began wailing about how this is a fundamentally different time we're living in. Citing war, abortion and a host of other social and political issues (and sounding like a fire and brimstone minister or a head case who forgot to take his meds), Samuels expressed the view that we're on the eve of societal destruction unless we control the possibility of demonstrations by people on both sides of the issues. A crazy thought, really, when you realize the First Amendment is about making space for all views to be heard. In the end, Gordon and Schiff did their level best but could not talk sense into Ostrow and Samuels, who were joined by Ralph Remington (shame on you, Ralph!) and by Diane Hofstede, who awoke periodically from her stupor to vote (we're not kidding about this - she kept voting the "wrong" way until Ostrow told her how to vote! It looked like an old rerun of George Burns and Gracie Allen). The anti-free speech fress speech proposal was send forward to the full city council. The city council took up this proposal at their June 6th meeting. We assumed it would be a slam dunk and that we would just have to sue the city to get rid of this bad idea. But, alas, the council gave us a bit of a surprise. Apparently, a few people think more highly of the First Amendment than we suspected. The issue became so contentious that it has been held over to the next council meeting on June 20th. We will have a full report on the last council meeting by a guest columnist in the next newsletter and we'll continue to follow the story as it develops. Stay tuned. --------10 of 23-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 6.21 9am Cambridge MN Every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------11 of 23-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Carter/Hamas/f 6.21 9:30am Videotape Showing: "Jimmy Carter Talks to Hamas" Saturday, June 21, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments), 10:00 a.m. to Noon (Program and Discussion) Southdale Library, 7001 York Avenue, Edina In April former President Carter went on a well-planned odyssey to the Middle East. Who came from Gaza to meet him in Cairo? To whom did he talk in Damascus? What commitments did the Hamas leaders make to him? What does he think was accomplished? How could the next president change our U.S. image in 10 minutes? Join us in watching a videotape of President Carter answering these questions. Sponsored by: Middle East Peace Now (MEPN). FFI: Call Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642 or email <steichenfm [at] usfamily.net>. --------12 of 23-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Work justice 6.21 10am Saturday, June 21: Workplace Justice. Support/Networking Meeting. 10 AM-Noon. Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul. 952/996-9291. --------13 of 23-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P Mtka 6.21 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. --------14 of 23-------- From: *Brian Hokanson* <bjhokanson [at] gmail.com Subject: EXCO/RNC 6.21 1pm so below is the info about the rnc-related exco class jane and i are facilitating at arise! as we've talked about it so far, our dueling goals are to provide a space to engage people who perhaps haven't thought about diversity of tactics before (hence using the peter gelderloos book about nonviolence, blah blah blah), as well as providing a space to talk about this stuff in which a Big Important Decision doesn't have to come out of it. (if anyone's wondering, she's providing the structure, and i'm providing the "hey exco give us money already!") we'd like this to be made up of folks who are organizing/interested in organizing, rather than only random folks signing up on the exco website... so please forward this to other activists and groups you're a part of that have some sort of interest in the rnc in particular. and sign up yerself! -- http://excotc.org/node/184 (visit that link to register) Name of facilitators: Brian Hokanson and Jane Franklin E-mail: jfranklin008 [at] yahoo.com <mailto:jfranklin008 [at] yahoo.com>, hokan051 [at] umn.edu <mailto:hokan051 [at] umn.edu> Course description: (to be adjusted to fit participants desires) This class will explore questions of violence, nonviolence and effectiveness in relation to resisting the Republican National Convention Sept. 1-4 in the Twin Cities. Using Peter Gelderloos' book How Nonviolence Protects the State as a focal point, in addition to other resources, we'll critically examine the idea of nonviolence as practiced on the U.S. left. How did the state acquire a monopoly on violence? What is "violence" in the context of a political action? What are the unexamined premises behind a policy of "nonviolence"? How does a diversity of tactics framework incorporate different types of actions? We'll ask each other what victory means to us, both at the RNC and in a larger sense, and imagine scenarios that may take place during the RNC. By the end of the class we'll be better equipped to talk about tactics and strategy with our communities, and to concretely crash the convention in September! This participatory, relaxed, radicool class will be inclusive and open to all regardless of identity or political beliefs about nonviolence. Pacifists, insurrectionists, and all in between are welcome to join! The only requirement is a desire to make the Republicans' experience in the Twin Cities an unforgettable one, and a refusal to assist law enforcement actions against activists or others. Also, no specific illegal actions will be discussed in this class. Please email the facilitators with any questions or concerns. Class Time: Saturdays 1-3pm Class Dates: June 21, June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19, July 26 (dates and times can deviate upon consensus of participants) Place: Arise! Bookstore, 2441 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis Class size: Minimum 5 Maximum 25 What experience do you bring to this class? The facilitators are both community activists currently engaged in anti-RNC organizing. --------15 of 23-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 6.21 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------16 of 23-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Vs empire/CTV 6.21 9pm Magnificent 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 watch. Sat, 6/21, 9pm and Tues, 6/24, 8am Phyllis Bennis. Pt 1 of talk "Challenging Empire" given at Mac-Plymouth Church in St. Paul. April 24. --------17 of 23-------- Plutocracy Inc. by Ralph Nader June 18th, 2008 Dissident Voice Here is a counter-intuitive story for you. Why don't organized corporate interests challenge damage or risks to their clear economic interests? Think about oil prices for big consumers, not just your pocketbook. Airlines are groaning, limiting flights, and laying off employees because of the skyrocketing price for aviation fuel. Executives in that industry say that fuel costs are close to 40 percent of the cost of flying you to your destination. The powerful chemical industry is under pressure from the prices they're paying for petroleum - probably their main raw material. The powerful trucking industry is beside itself with diesel fuel going to $5 per gallon. You can add your own examples - cab companies, tourist industry, auto companies, etc. Why aren't these very influential lobbies throwing their weight around Washington to get something done about the speculators on Wall Street determining what is paid for gasoline and related petroleum products? It is in their own economic interests. To do what? Well, for starters, push Congress to legislate higher margin requirements for the speculators at the New York Mercantile Exchange.the same fellows who, based on rumors, took the price of a barrel of oil up another $10 in one day. Higher margin requirements (and wider disclosure rules) result in dampening speculation by reducing the amount of borrowed money these traders can use in their gigantic commodities casino. Long-time member of the New York Stock Exchange, Michael Robbins - an astute and fair analyst - says margin rules have historically been used to dampen speculation on stock exchanges. He mentioned a time years ago when the Federal Reserve raised the margin requirement to ninety percent - meaning the traders had to put up 90% of their own money on trades. There are other moves that can be made by Washington to ease the oil price crisis that is fueling inflation throughout the economy and shocking consumers. Suffice it to say that ExxonMobile testified earlier this month in Congress that absent the speculators, the price of a barrel of crude oil would be half what it is today. That would mean about $65 a barrel instead of $130 a barrel. What else do these big corporate buyers of oil need? Another area of major business firms not acting in their own interests involves the proposal in Congress (HR 676) to establish a single-payer health insurance system. That would mean government health insurance, private delivery of health care, free choice of doctor and hospital and saving about half a trillion dollars in insurance company administrative expenses and computerized billing overcharges a year. Presently, tens of millions of workers have employer-based health insurance. For years, CEOs have complained that this cost puts them at a competitive disadvantage with their corporate competitors abroad and in Canada where there is universal government health insurance. Former General Motors CEO, Jack Smith, publicly approved of the Canadian Medicare system, which he had experienced when he was head of GM Canada. Under full Medicare, these companies will pay less even with an assessment. So, what's up here? We don't see these weighty corporate lobbies on Capitol Hill supporting the 91 House members who have endorsed HR 676. Then there is the small business lobby ostensibly represented by the large National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Small business is regularly subject to government policies and market discriminations that put them at a disadvantage with their large competitors. Presently, for example, a Small Business Administration report concludes the following: "Small businesses in their commercial sector faced a 30 percent price differential for electricity and a 20 percent price differential for natural gas. In the manufacturing sector, small businesses faced a 28 percent price differential for distillate fuel oil, a 27 percent price differential for natural gas, and a 14 percent price differential for coal". Are these volume discounts all fair for the Big Boys? Doubtful. Don't count on the NFIB to protest. More often than not, the NFIB talks small business but walks the walk of the National Chamber of Commerce, which primarily lobbies for the interests of large companies. So, why the overall reticence to fight for their own economic interests? First, corporations do not like to fight each other because they may need each other on other matters. Second, they also have exposable skeletons in their own closets. Third, they do not have to initiate a business war of retaliation. Fourth, they do not want to give their traditional labor, environmental and consumer adversaries cause to strengthen their own power by, in effect, siding with these groups' traditional causes. If investors in this country had any power over the companies they own - as individuals, or through mutual funds and pension trusts - an inquiring process could open up on this fascinating question. But as Robert Monks - a leading shareholder activist and writer - has said many times, those same CEOs have their own economic interests - think CEO compensation - in keeping investors powerless. Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions. Read other articles by Ralph. This article was posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 at 9:28 am and is filed under Capitalism, Corporate Globalization, Economy/Economics, Energy, Finance, Health/Medical, Oil. Send to a friend. --------18 of 23-------- Who's Party Are We Spoiling? by Jan Baughman (Swans - June 16, 2008) As the 2008 presidential election antics evolve, the third-party candidates (Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Bob Barr, and others) remain virtually nonexistent as far as the mainstream media coverage is concerned. However, the visceral reaction to Nader's presence, in those rare mentions, remains strong. That he has no right to run, his time has passed, he's an egomaniac, he ruined it for the Democrats in 2000 and 2004, is repeated time and again. And yet, what exactly is he - and the other forgotten candidates - spoiling? The reign of the two-party system, which is steadily moving us ever farther away from true democracy; and the further degradation of free speech, which at last check still covered the right to run for office, and the right to vote. We have strayed so far beyond the American childhood legend that anyone can become president - a notion that on the surface was strengthened by this years' barrier-breaking candidacies of both a woman and a non-white male - and yet, we've confirmed that anyone with such aspirations must be a progenitor of, and subscribe to the doctrines of, the moneyed elite or the Ivy League curricula. Others need not apply. They can't even afford to. That Ralph Nader is a Princeton and Harvard graduate perhaps serves to increase his "spoiler" status, since he has fought his entire career against the corrupt system created and perpetuated to the benefit of the elite on the backs of the majority non-Ivy-Leaguers. It is not a democratic system he is working within, but a corporate-controlled machine he has to battle every step of the way, from an ever-increasing distance. While we - Swans editors, contributors, readers - are generally in the company of like-minded individuals on political and social matters, with similar stances on foreign policy, health care, taxes, civil rights, abortion, the environment, and the like, opinions immediately digress when the mention of voting for a non-Democrat arises, something we've confronted since this publication began. One is suddenly an outcast set to ruin the election and therefore the hopes of this country. And yet, why should I, in this democracy, not have the unfettered right to vote for a candidate who represents my vision? When was the Constitution amended to state that only a Republican or a Democrat has access to the office of president? I recently asked a colleague if, as a Democrat, she was proud that her party used all legal means to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in 2004, or that the two parties control the debates and keep other parties' candidates out? How will you feel when only one party controls the country? The answers were a sheepish no and no, and a confident that will never happen... And yet, recall the televised presidential debates of yore, sponsored by the League of Women Voters. To their acclaim, in 1987 the LWV withdrew its sponsorship in protest of the restrictive conditions placed on them by the two main parties; to our detriment, the Republican and Democratic Party leaders usurped the debates and formed a corporate-funded "Commission on Presidential Debates" headed by Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., former chair of the Republican Party and Paul Cook, Jr., former chair of the Democratic Party, guaranteed to keep all "fringe" candidates out of the public eye so that they cannot raise issues contrary to the elites' agenda and have the opportunity to increase their popular support through exposure in the mainstream media. Ross Perot was the last Independent candidate included in the debates (1992). In 2000 the two main parties set rules that would limit access to the debates to candidates with greater than 15% support, a number that is intentionally daunting to achieve without press coverage. You see the patterns that connect. So why do they, Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Bob Barr, and others, run for the office of president against these odds, knowing they cannot win? Because they are fighting for ideals that have nothing to do with the pursuit of power. They seek to serve on our behalf, for the betterment of society as a whole, and we should embrace their passion and encourage their efforts. Third-party candidates have been instrumental in pushing the envelope to achieve great strides in American history without winning major elections, from ending slavery to gaining women's rights. See Sam Smith's insightful analysis of the role of third parties throughout history. As Smith observes, "change often comes not from the top or the center but from the edges." Without the likes of individuals willing to sacrifice for the common good, we the People are sure to find ourselves increasingly powerless with no hope of influencing change. If we continue to turn a blind eye to these visionaries, it will be a great discredit to their efforts, those of their forbearers, and those who await us in the future. We need to take control of the political agenda and make it our own, not what corporate marketing departments determine we need. If Eugene Debs were to make a magical reappearance on the political scene would you rebuke him, tell him to keep quiet, not to spoil the party? To channel Voltaire, I do not agree with who you are voting for, but I will fight to the end so that you might cast that vote. Please do the same for those of us on the edges. votenader.org - votenader.org - votenader.org --------19 of 23-------- Fighting Resistance To Voting for Ralph Nader by Joel S. Hirschhorn (Swans - June 16, 2008) In so many ways Ralph Nader deserves to be president of the U.S. more than any Republican or Democratic candidate. For anyone that understands the need to overturn the two-party plutocracy and the corporate money that supports both major parties, Nader is the only credible candidate. He is also the most honest one and the only one that has the best interests of ordinary Americans as his highest priority. Yet most of the millions of independents and progressives that are disillusioned with the two major parties will probably not vote for him in November. Here is the case why the two most prevalent reasons they will use are without merit. First, there is the classic view that Nader cannot win and therefore that voting for him is just a wasted vote. On this point the wisdom of I.F. Stone has kept me committed to always voting for Nader: The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to win an important, major fight 100 years hence, a lot of other people have got to be willing - for the sheer fun and joy of it - to go right ahead and fight, knowing you're going to lose. You mustn't feel like a martyr. You've got to enjoy it. In other words, when voting for an independent like Nader it is psychologically necessary to consciously accept the fact that the fight is not about electing Nader president. We need a long view of history and revolution. No, a vote for Nader is a most effective way to participate in the corrupt political system by expressing utter disdain for the two-party plutocracy. A vote for Nader is all about overthrowing the power structure that is killing the middle class and fostering rising economic inequality. The misplaced zeal for candidates like Ron Paul, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama is based on a short-term embrace of a particular candidate, rather than devotion to the battle to destroy the two-party plutocracy. When Nader runs and loses we the people are not losing, we are stubbornly still fighting for what must ultimately be victorious - restoration of American democracy by overturning the two-party plutocracy. Specific policy positions are largely distractions from what should be seen as the central battle to restore American democracy. But even when it comes to specific policy positions it is amazing that so many change-driven Americans will not fully understand how Nader's positions on major issues are so much better than those of Obama, Clinton, and McCain. On the health care issue alone, only Nader supports what every American should embrace: a single payer insurance system. This is the only position that can remove the obscene profit-loving power of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. That every Democratic and Republican candidate refuses to embrace the single payer system is proof positive of their commitment to keep corporate money and power happy, because that sustains the two-party status quo. Second, there is a persistent view among voters unenthusiastic about the two-party system that Nader is a spoiler and that voting for him imposes guilt for electing a terrible president. Should you have any negative thoughts about Nader because of the 2000 election, the facts refute blaming him for the Bush victory, including more than 200,000 registered Democrats in Florida who voted for Bush (compared to 97,000 votes for Nader, only 25 percent of which would have voted for Gore) and over half of the registered Democrats that did not vote at all because Gore ran a terrible campaign. It is simply illogical and moronic to blame Nader and the people who voted for him. This year, Democrats will undoubtedly work hard to create a guilt atmosphere so that people who might be inclined to vote for Nader are made to fear that doing so could elect McCain president. The people who should bear primary responsibility for electing McCain president are those who vote for him. And possibly those who truly believe that Obama should be president but do not vote at all. But millions of Americans that see Obama mostly as the lesser evil candidate should vote for Nader. They must trust their instincts and knowledge that Obama is simply another two-party plutocracy candidate that used slick rhetoric to con the public. Making Obama president is not winning the battle against the two-party and corporatist tyranny. If Obama had any shred of true democracy-decency he would be advocating for allowing third party and independent candidates to participate in the televised presidential debates. But nothing about Obama and his positions has anything to do with restoring American democracy. If he truly wanted to get corporate and other special interest money out of politics he would also support a constitutional amendment that replaced all private money in campaigns with total public financing. If he truly wanted to deliver universal health care he would be supporting a single payer system. And on and on. I see Nader as the only candidate who has key characteristics of our Founders, because he is the only one willing to explicitly fight domestic tyranny and the only one that understands we need a Second American Revolution. Indeed, this is what he recently said: "We need a Jeffersonian revolution. If it doesn't happen, our democracy will continue to weaken and things will get worse. Right now, we have a two-party electoral dictatorship with each party looking for the highest corporate bidder." Amen. Work for Nader, contribute to his campaign and vote for him. And enjoy the fight. --------20 of 23-------- In the Great Tradition, Obama is a Hawk by John Pilger June 16th, 2008 In 1941, the editor Edward Dowling wrote: "The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it". What has changed? The terror of the rich is greater than ever, and the poor have passed on their delusion to those who believe that when George W. Bush finally steps down next January, his numerous threats to the rest of humanity will diminish. The foregone nomination of Barack Obama, which, according to one breathless commentator, "marks a truly exciting and historic moment in US history," is a product of the new delusion. Actually, it just seems new. Truly exciting and historic moments have been fabricated around US presidential campaigns for as long as I can recall, generating what can only be described as bullshit on a grand scale. Race, gender, appearance, body language, rictal spouses and offspring, even bursts of tragic grandeur, are all subsumed by marketing and "image-making", now magnified by "virtual" technology. Thanks to an undemocratic Electoral College system (or, in Bush's case, tampered voting machines) only those who both control and obey the system can win. This has been the case since the truly historic and exciting victory of Harry Truman, the liberal Democrat said to be a humble man of the people, who went on to show how tough he was by obliterating two cities with the atomic bomb. Understanding Obama as a likely president of the United States is not possible without understanding the demands of an essentially unchanged system of power: in effect a great media game. For example, since I compared Obama with Robert Kennedy in these pages, he has made two important statements, the implications of which have not been allowed to intrude on the celebrations. The first was at the conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Zionist lobby, which, as Ian Williams has pointed out, "will get you accused of anti-Semitism if you quote its own website about its power". Obama had already offered his genuflection, but on 4 June went further. He promised to support an "undivided Jerusalem" as Israel's capital. Not a single government on earth supports the Israeli annexation of all of Jerusalem, including the Bush regime, which recognizes the UN resolution designating Jerusalem an international city. His second statement, largely ignored, was made in Miami on 23 May. Speaking to the expatriate Cuban community - which over the years has faithfully produced terrorists, assassins and drug runners for US administrations - Obama promised to continue a 47-year crippling embargo on Cuba that has been declared illegal by the UN year after year. Again, Obama went further than Bush. He said the United States had "lost Latin America". He described the democratically elected governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua as a "vacuum" to be filled. He raised the nonsense of Iranian influence in Latin America, and he endorsed Colombia's "right to strike terrorists who seek safe-havens across its borders". Translated, this means the "right" of a regime, whose president and leading politicians are linked to death squads, to invade its neighbors on behalf of Washington. He also endorsed the so-called Merida Initiative, which Amnesty International and others have condemned as the US bringing the "Colombian solution" to Mexico. He did not stop there. "We must press further south as well," he said. Not even Bush has said that. It is time the wishful-thinkers grew up politically and debated the world of great power as it is, not as they hope it will be. Like all serious presidential candidates, past and present, Obama is a hawk and an expansionist. He comes from an unbroken Democratic tradition, as the war making of presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton demonstrates. Obama's difference may be that he feels an even greater need to show how tough he is. However much the color of his skin draws out both racists and supporters, it is otherwise irrelevant to the great power game. The "truly exciting and historic moment in US history" will only occur when the game itself is challenged. John Pilger is an internationally renowned investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker. His latest film is The War on Democracy. His most recent book is Freedom Next Time (Bantam/Random House, 2006). Read other articles by John, or visit John's website. This article was posted on Monday, June 16th, 2008 at 9:00 am and is filed under Anti-war, Caribbean, Democrats, Elections, Empire. --------21 of 23-------- Spoils Of War by Charles Marowitz Swans Commentary swans.com June 16, 2008 (Swans - June 16, 2008) Some years back, before coverage of the Iraq war had become routinized and redundant, I wrote a column in which I suggested that one of the most painful legacies of that war would be the moral corruption that would seep into American society due to the traumas suffered by returning servicemen. These young men, many of them just out of school and at the threshold of their maturity, would return to civilian life psychologically disturbed and morally confused; that we would be creating a league of men and women who, coarsened by their wartime experiences, would return to America with a criminal consciousness. It gives me no satisfaction to discover that prophecy has been fulfilled. The Rand Corporation study recently concluded that one in five troops with service in Iraq or Afghanistan reveal symptoms of major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans by the score have returned to civilian life broken, guilt-ridden, disorientated, and socially marginalized. Over 400,000 of returning vets are in a VA queue waiting to be treated by a dwindling number of psychiatrists. Thousands, possibly tens of thousands, are unable to reconcile their former selves with the warped and troubled young men they have become due to their battle experience. These are the men who, in irrepressible fits of rage, shoot their wives, abuse their children, hit the bottle, sleep in cardboard boxes under bridges, and often wind up taking their own lives. You can't be brought up on American pie, David Letterman and Jay Leno, the moral dictates of baseball, football, locker-room jollity and conventional domesticity and calmly assimilate the ravages to which servicemen are regularly exposed in the Middle East. It is like Jekyll, no longer seeing his own face reflected in the mirror, shuddering at the bestiality of Hyde staring back at him. The corruption of hundreds of thousands of American youths, exposed to the daily strain of wanton murder and mayhem, cannot return to their mundane hometowns and simply flush away the atrocities they have witnessed or committed. The turbulent effect of this moral dichotomy seeps into every part of American life. It changes attitudes to sickness, death, families, and friendship. It breeds young men and women who come to believe that life is not priceless and full of promise, but treacherous and full of landmines. It cheapens the very notion of goodness and permits cynicism to destroy hope. It shakes people's faith in God and whittles away any sense of empathy they might have had before their spirits were shattered by warfare. It silently argues that life is cheap, torture commonplace, and murder mundane. A few weeks back at a hearing of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a number of Iraq Vets Against The War were offered an opportunity to describe the atrocities they had witnessed and participated in; young men whose lives were radically changed by the bloody-minded immorality of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld punishment of duty in Iraq. It was a riveting piece of C-SPAN coverage more frightening than a horror film and, at the same time, more uplifting than the Sermon on the Mount. The testimonials of these returning-vets described how military superiors ordered them to distort facts about the annihilation of innocent Iraqi citizens, how a warped sense of "brotherhood" enabled cold-blooded murder to be tucked away in false military reports so that no one back home would shudder at the wanton murder of civilians, women, children, and the elderly. They described the freedom from prosecution that non-commissioned officers and officers provided to protect them against indictment or disgrace; the conscious cultivation of rationalizations which sanctified the murder of non-combatants and the willful destruction of private property. In almost every case, the veterans testifying before the caucus declared that more innocent civilians were wantonly killed by US troops than Americans felled by insurgents. Centuries will have to pass before the common people of Iraq will be able to forgive America for its crimes. But even if they do, how will we ever manage to reconcile the entire population of the Middle East that will have turned these atrocities into a kind of harrowing folk legend which will be passed from father to son, from one generation to the next? This coarsening of the body politic is perhaps best exemplified by the Terrible Threesome - Bush, Cheney, & Rumsfeld - who were the chief architects of this Middle East tragedy. The belligerence commingled with paranoia that instigated the war was immune to the human cost of the conflict. Even when it was apparent to most observers that a fatal blunder had been made, the lurid spectacle of over 4000 deaths never inspired a reassessment or a change of policy. (How "surge" led to "scourge" and inevitably to "dirge.") The dead were somehow like pawns who were to be sacrificed so that more valuable chess figures could be preserved. While the president was sacrificing his beloved pursuit of golf, the vice president was taking potshots at old friends on shooting-parties, and Donald Rumsfeld was systematizing the brutality that simultaneously corrupted American servicemen and attracted more and more recruits into the armies of insurrection. It became "natural" not to prey on the number of the dead, to ignore "enemy combatants" divested of all rights, who were imprisoned or, via "rendition," transported into other countries where torture was commonplace. All of these actions added to the coarsening of the American psyche. Allowances were regularly made for the perpetration of evil deeds camouflaged with patriotic slogans and solemnly-folded American flags. When historians review the sorry history of the last eight years, what will capture their attention is the apathy of the American people to transgressions committed by the executive branch and the timidity of the media in confronting those glaring abuses of power. One of the sorriest chapters in American history whose dire after-effects we will be living with well into the next century. If it is a question of victory or defeat, the results are already in. When democratically-bred Americans can create a My Lai-styled slaughter amongst hundreds of thousands of noncombatants and force millions into exile, America has already been defeated. Of course, the victors will write the history books, but the shame will be passed by word of mouth (like the Turks' genocide of the Armenians) from one generation to the next memorializing these horrific truths. Forget about the guilt of slavery, the atrocities of the Civil War, the disgrace of Vietnam, or the injustices of McCarthyism, the slaughter of the innocent in a war that should never have been fought will haunt the national consciousness for centuries and the scars of that misadventure will darken the souls of average Americans forever after. A new and fashionable coarseness will have infected the population; a tacit tolerance towards brutality will adhere to Americans who will always remember this conflict, not in the way that the fraternal "Greatest Generation" remember World War II, but like the concentration camp survivors remember the Holocaust. [My intuition says this coarsening was intended from the beginning. The ruling elite benefits from millions of disposable psychopaths and sociopaths. Eg, right-wing talk radio, freed years ago from the Fairness Doctrine (ie balance), is a major aid to ethical coarsening. It would be interesting to be able to read the plans of the right-wing think tanks of the last 20 or 30 years. -ed] --------22 of 23-------- Diversity and the Incoherence of Journalism's Ideology by Robert Jensen June 16th, 2008 The ideology of contemporary corporate commercial journalism is incoherent, and one place to see clearly this confusion is the news media industry's approach to "diversity". Journalists, of course, commonly assert that they are non-ideological, that they approach their jobs as neutral professionals rather than as actors on the political stage. But mainstream news media, like all institutions, operate from a set of assumptions about how the world works and how it should work - in short, an ideology. There is no neutral ground on which to stand, no special journalistic existence outside ideology. At the core of journalism's rather peculiar ideology is the assertion of this illusory political neutrality, which serves mainly to paper over journalism's commitment to, and support for, existing systems and structures of power. Journalists typically do remain neutral while covering contests between Republicans and Democrats or the struggles of one group of capitalists against another. But through their definitions of what is newsworthy and who is a reputable source - which are rooted in reflexive acceptance of the existing political and economic systems - journalists routinely give aid and comfort to the powerful by helping to validate the hierarchy inherent in those systems. When it comes to racial/ethnic, gender and sexual diversity, the ideological nature of journalism - and the inadequacy of the analysis underlying the conventional point of view on these matters - is clear. When a group such as the American Society of Newspaper Editors makes a "commitment to racial parity in newsrooms," it is asserting a political position that implicitly acknowledges the racial inequality in U.S. society. There would be no need to achieve parity if not for racism and its consequences; in a non-racist world, the color of individual journalists would be irrelevant. ASNE's linking of that hiring goal to the journalistic goal of "full and accurate news coverage of our nation's diverse communities" shows that news managers see staffing as having an effect on news coverage. It's not simply an issue of the politics of internal employment practices but the political agenda of news coverage. To be clear: I'm glad ASNE, other journalism associations, and individual media companies have made such acknowledgements and commitments, even if they consistently promise more than they deliver. But whatever one's opinion about the question, any position taken is clearly political. For journalism to claim political neutrality is, frankly, a little silly. In defense, journalists might argue that the recognition of inequality and a commitment to coverage that celebrates the humanity of all people is no longer a contentious political issue but a widely accepted goal of the overwhelming majority in society. From this point of view, diversity could be seen as no more political than the common commitment to promoting the welfare of children, for example. But even if we accept that (which is highly contentious given how many white people believe we have achieved a "level playing field"), the way in which any person, organization or profession tries to address such issues will be inescapably political. Far from being radical, mainstream journalism's approach to diversity is centrist, rooted in the politics of a dominant culture that tends to focus on individual effort rather than structural change. Are the managers of news media companies interested in hiring more non-white people to work within the existing system or in challenging the white-supremacist system? If the latter, it's obvious that the problem is not just too few non-white people in the newsroom, but too many white people who are invested in maintaining that existing system premised on white supremacy. Are the predominantly male managers interested in programs to promote more women or in undermining the destructive hierarchy central to patriarchy? Are the top decision-makers in journalism interested in hiring more out lesbians and gay men or in a direct challenge to the paranoid heterosexism woven into the fabric of the culture? In my experience as both a working journalist and a journalism professor, the managers running the corporate commercial news media are committed to maintaining those systems - not challenging them - and pretending that this isn't a political project. I described the politics of contemporary corporate commercial journalism as centrist, but it may be more accurate to label mainstream journalism as conservative. If the core pathologies are white supremacy, patriarchy and heterosexism in a corporate capitalist system that valorizes the hierarchy that produces inequality, then any status quo/centrist politics are in reality conservative; they have the effect of helping to conserve the existing system, even when advocating minor modifications to make it appear more liberal and tolerant. This analysis should raise critical questions about an organization such as NLGJA, which describes its mission as working "within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues," language that is in sync with the illusory claims of neutrality of the industry. The questions include: * Does NLGJA believe that hiring more LGBT people who will work within the heterosexist system is adequate to the task of LGBT liberation? * Is NLGJA committed to ending the heterosexism that is an integral part of a patriarchal system based on hierarchy and men.s oppression of women? * Do the gay men in NLGJA share a commitment to such feminist politics? What conception of feminism do NLGJA members, male and female, endorse? * Do all the white members of NLGJA share a commitment to ending the racial hierarchies in a white-supremacist system? * If the group shares such commitments, why are they not articulated as part of the group's mission? Whatever one's views, they are fundamentally political questions. Ignoring them doesn't remove one from politics, but rather puts one on the political side of the status quo, of the existing distribution of power and resources. If journalism is to be a positive force in helping U.S. citizens come to terms with the unjust and unsustainable nature of these hierarchical systems, working journalists are going to have to reject the industry's naive claims of neutrality and work to help push the profession to more actively resist the powerful regressive forces that dominate society. The journalists organizations that, along with NLGJA, are rooted in a recognition of the pathology and cruelty of those hierarchies - the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, and Native American Journalists Association - offer some hope, but only if they can give voice to a different vision not only of journalism but of the world. Journalists from the dominant groups - heterosexuals, white people, men - should add their voices to this struggle as well. The goal should be not diversity within unjust and unsustainable hierarchies, but liberation. That term may seem awkward today, but we should remember that the movements in which these organizations are rooted spoke not of acceptance of the domination inherent in hierarchy but of real freedom and real justice. That, not diversity, is the dream of liberation. Robert Jensen is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Citizens of Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity. His latest book is Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007). He can be reached at: rjensen [at] uts.cc.utexas.edu. Read other articles by Robert, or visit Robert's website. This article was posted on Monday, June 16th, 2008 at 9:00 am and is filed under Media, Philosophy, Racism, Sexuality. --------23 of 23-------- What makes Bush laugh? The greatest pain and horror for the greatest number. Help help help help help Heh heh heh heh heh ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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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