|Progressive Calendar 07.30.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 02:44:21 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.30.08 vote third party for president for congress now and forever 1. Radical democracy 7.30 11am 2. Young black men 7.30 11am 3. E-Participation 7.30 7pm 4. Vs RNC retreat 7.31 5pm 5. Human rights 7.31 3pm 6. New Hope demo 7.31 4:30pm 7. Eagan peace vigil 7.31 4:30pm 8. Northtown vigil 7.31 5pm 9. Choice 7.31 5:30pm 10. WAMM meet-up 7.31 6pm 11. 7 dirty words 7.31 6:30pm 12. AWC/bingo 7.31 7pm 13. Fringe festival 7.31-8.10 14. Ernest Partridge - Evil as the absence of empathy 15. John Ross - Fourth Fleet steams south; return of the gunboat 16. Anon? - The George W Bush presidential library --------1 of 16--------- From: Joan Vanhala <joan [at] metrostability.org> Subject: Radical democracy 7.30 11am Join the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability and Headwaters Foundation for Justice for a Social Justice Summer Book Club! Forget the light summer reading, our first book is Tools for Radical Democracy by Joan Minieri and Paul Getsos. 11 am - 1 pm Wednesday, July 30 - Discussion of parts 1 & 2: Building Power and Base Tuesday, August 26 - Discussion of parts 3 & 4: Campaigns and Strategy Green Institute rooftop garden, 2801 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis The book highlights tools from the authors' nationally recognized and award-winning work to build a community-led organization, train community leaders, conduct campaigns that changed public policy, and deliver concrete results to communities. It contains keen insights for how to use technology effectively, to build more powerful alliances and to engage in the social justice movement. Don't have a copy of the book? No worries. Stop by Headwaters and pick up a FREE copy (limited to two per organization please). Please RSVP and pick up your book with Jennifer Vogel. Participants are encouraged to bring lunch. Joan Vanhala Coalition Organizer Alliance for Metropolitan Stability 2525 E Franklin Ave, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-332-4471 --------2 of 16-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Young black men 7.30 11am TRUTH TO TELL Wednesday, July 30 -11:00AM: WHAT TO DO ABOUT OUR YOUNG BLACK MEN? We talk talking with terrified mothers of young St. Paul black men in trouble with the law as they watch their children die or go to prison in far too many numbers. One of those young sons facing prison for his role in a street killing will tell his story. Why cant so many of these young men leave the house without getting sucked into self-destruction? Why cant they carry the values their mothers taught them into the streets and classrooms and job sites and stay out of the traps that will surely imprison or kill them? How do issues of race, poverty, self-image, and a hostile criminal justice system play out in this daily drama? GUESTS: THREE MOTHERS, A SON and A VETERAN COMMUNITY ADVOCATE. FAYE MCCOY Healthcare Worker and mother of PIERRE, a son destined for prison CHAR LANKFARD Healthcare Worker and Mother #2 ROXANNE TISDALE Healthcare Worker and Mother #3 BOBBY HICKMAN Advocate for African-American young men, consultant, conflict resolution specialist & former head of Inner City Youth League KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis /106.7 St. Paul / Streamed [at] KFAI.org A CivicMedia/Minnesota production Podcasts are available for all Truth to Tell shows. --------3 of 16-------- From: Jonathan Barrentine <jonathan [at] e-democracy.org> Subject: E-Participation 7.30 7pm Free E-Democracy Presentation: E-PARTICIPATION AND REAL-WORLD POLITICS A brief survey of how online tools are changing the way public policy discussions take place, featuring examples from around the region and around the world. Featuring Steve Clift, founder of E-Democracy.org Wednesday, July 30, 7:00-8:30pm At the Rondo Library (Dale and University in St. Paul). Presented by St. Paul E-Democracy and Saint Paulitics. Refreshments will be provided. --------4 of 16-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Vs RNC retreat 7.31 5pm The RNC Welcoming Committee, UA-Midwest and the Seeds of Peace want to invite you and your friends to join us for four days to polish up on our Direct Action and Street Medic skills, or learn a whole new set of tools in a beautiful setting in Southern Minnesota. From Thursday, July 31st until Sunday, August 3, we'll rendezvous in southern Minnesota to practice and hone our organizing and action skills. Oh, yeah, and of course, to boogie down at the Anarchist Idol No Talent Show taking place Friday evening! Bring your banjos and harmonicas (or thrash gear) and come ready! We also have space available for those wanting to facilitate workshops or discussions during the camp. Let us know what you are interested in doing, and we'll fit it in. The camp/retreat is free, but we are encouraging a donation to help cover costs of equipment and the space. The owner has donated the land, but we would like the park to continue to operate, so we will hopefully be making a donation to him at the end of the camp. We are still working out the kinks for our exact training/skill-share/workshop schedule but here are things that will be included: Direct Action 101 Blockading 101 & 201 Urban Street Tactics 20 Hour Action Street Medic Training Strategic and Tactical Non-Violence Night Games Gender Dynamics And more! While all these skills can be taken back to our communities and campaigns, these workshops will be facilitated with the September 1 "Swarm,Seize,Stay: Crash the Convention" framework in mind. Bring your questions and ideas to hash them out and experiment with a little bit because... On Sunday morning we will have a 3 hour Mock Action to bring all the pieces together. Keep this in mind with your friends and affinity group, because after breakfast on we're gonna blockade the campground! The exact scenario will be announced on Friday at camp, but think outhouses as intersections, and the camp kitchen as a convention center in some Midwestern city. If you haven't already, please RSVP to rncactionretreat [at] riseup.net Get on the announcement list at action-camp2008-subscribe [at] lists.riseup.net When RSVP'ing please answer a few questions for us, k? 1. How many of you are there? 2. Do you need childcare? If so, how old are the young 'uns? 3. Do you have a workshop or skill-share you want to facilitate? If so, can you give us a description and needs (ie; if you want to lead a puppet workshop, tell us what supplies you need) 4. Are you planning to get yourself there? 5. Will you be attending the Street Medic track? Location/Getting there: The Camp is being held at Harmony Park, a 200 acre music venue near Albert Lea MN. It is roughly 1 Â½ hours south of Minneapolis. For directions see http://www.harmonypark.com/directions.html If you are driving yourself, please try not to arrive to the site before 12 pm on Thursday July 31. If you need to arrive earlier than that, please contact us to arrange arrival. As of this writing, we plan to have a shuttle / car pool leave from the Seward Cafe in Minneapolis promptly at 12pm on Thursday July 31. We have a ride share section at our website: http://actioncamp08.wordpress.com/2008/07/11/ride-share/ Use the comment section to communicate ride-share information. Remember this is a semi-primitive camping situation. Come prepared with a tent, sleeping bag, water bottle, bug repellent, sunscreen, rain gear,condoms, sunscreen, and anything else you'd bring for a weekend in the woods. If you have a climbing harness and gear, bring it! We plan to have some ropes set up for the beginner and experienced folk. Plus, remember to bring your talent, or lack thereof. :) Please DON'T bring firewood. It will be available on site. We strive to be as inclusive as possible, so we will have a womyn and trans only space available for camping and some workshops. Please be respectful of this space. This is a sober event. That means no alcohol or drugs. We are unapologetic about this and will cite several factors for our decision to do this. One is the wishes of the land owner and to avoid police harassament. We also feel that a sober space will allow us to focus on the camp and not the party. We also feel that a truly safe, inclusive space includes recognizing and combating chemical dependency and abuse within our communities. It's on open event, but we reserve the right to kick you out if it becomes an issue. An on-site medic and mediation team will be available. Photography is a consent issue. Please don't take pictures without permission. There is always the possibility that media will show up at the camp, wanting to ask questions, film or take pictures. For the respect and safety of others, please do not communicate with the media in any way and contact the media liaison team ASAP to deal with the situation accordingly. Dogs are OK, but PLEASE watch them. We don't have dog care, and really don't want the land trampled by our four legged friends. If your dog gets out of hand, bites anyone, or is just a plain pain in the ass, we will ask you and them to leave. A kitchen (thank you Seeds of Peace!) with breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided, as will childcare. We are asking everyone to contribute at least one hour to on-site logistical stuff. We will have an emergency contact phone number. It will be announced in the days before camp to those who are RSVP'ed or on the camp specific announcement list at action-camp2008-subscribe [at] lists.riseup.net. Members of the Seeds of Peace Collective will be facilitating a number of the scheduled trainings, and will be assisted by Welcoming Committee members and others with experience in direct action and practical skill trainings. Thursday: Dinner 5PM 7PM fight the green scare/prisoner support letter writing. 7PM Open time: medic? Friday: Breakfast at 8AM 9-1PM street medic part 1 9-1PM: Direct Action 101 (intro, planning, scouting, etc) 9-1PM: Open time 1PM: Lunch 2-6PM: Street medic part 2 2-6PM: Blockading 101 2-4PM: Open time 4-6PM: Gender Dynamics Discussion 6PM Dinner 7PM: Medics ? 7PM: Open time? Prisoner letter writing. 9:30PM: No Idols, No Talent Show Saturday: Breakfast at 8AM 9-1PM street medic part 3 9-1PM: AP Blockading 201 9-1PM: Open time ? 1PM: Lunch 2-6PM: Street medic part 4 2-6PM: urban street tactics (de-arresting,movement,communications, etc) 2-4PM: Coldsnap Legal Collective Training 4-6pm Group Process Game/The Elephant Game 6PM: Dinner 7PM-9: 7PM-9:Open Time 9PM-10PM: Mock action spokes council 10PM: We may show a film. Sunday: Breakfast 8AM 9-noon: Camp Blockade noon: lunch 1PM: action discussion/closing circle --------5 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Human rights 7.31 3pm Thursday, 7/31, 3 to 8:30 pm, the Oromo-American Citizens Council sponsors an international conference on human rights "Can a Democratic Government Work in a Multicultural Society?" University of Minnesota Mayo Memorial Auditorium, 425 Deleware St SE, Mpls. $5 registration. http://www.oromoamerican.org or 651-917-0430. --------6 of 16-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: New Hope demo 7.31 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. --------7 of 16-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 7.31 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. --------8 of 16-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 7.31 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. --------9 of 16-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Choice 7.31 5:30pm Thursday, July 31: NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. Election Fund Event at the Home of Lisa McDonald on Lake Harriet in South Minneapolis. 5:30 - 7:30 PM. [Let us hope this is not just a lesser-evil blank check to Dems. -ed] --------10 of 16-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: WAMM meet-up 7.31 6pm WAMM New Member Meet-Up Thursday, July 31, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Fire Roast Mountain Café, 3800 37th Avenue South, Minneapolis. New, current and re-activating WAMM members welcome. Meet with Ann Galloway, an experienced WAMM member and peace activist who was once a part of Peace Fresno, the group featured in Michael Moore's and who began a Cindy Sheehan solidarity rally in St. Paul. Receive a WAMM packet with bumper sticker, button, activist info and hear about upcoming local opportunities to be involved. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364. --------11 of 16-------- From: ACLU of Minnesota <pubed [at] aclu-mn.org> Subject: 7 dirty words 7.31 6:30pm The ACLU of Minnesota Young Professionals Presents "Censorship Isn't Funny" In commemoration of the 30 year anniversary of the historic Supreme Court ruling on George Carlin's "7 Dirty Words" act, the ACLU of Minnesota invites 20 & 30 somethings to join us for an evening of comedy and discussion on freedom of speech. Thursday July 31st 6:30 p.m. 9:30 p.m. Featuring comedian Costaki Economopoulos (www.costaki.com) Acme Comedy Club (www.acmecomedycompany.com) 708 North First Street Minneapolis, MN 55401 $15/person or $5/with student ID --------12 of 16-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: AWC/bingo 7.31 7pm Bingo Fundraiser @ Pi (pibarandrestaurant.com) Thursday, 7/31, 7pm @ Pi, 2532 25th Ave. S. Mpls. A benefit for the AWC hosted by our favorite queer bar. Come out, have a drink, play some bingo, & support the AWC as we prepare for the RNC! --------13 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Fringe festival 7.31-8.10 7/31 to 8/10, Minnesota Fringe Festival featuring an eclectic mix of theater from life-changing to completely flushable. Searching the "genre" function by "political" yields such interesting titles as Post-911: Laughter in the Aftermath; All Rights Reserved: A Libertarian Rage; Antigone: a Riff on Sophoclese; an adaptation of Ionesco's Rhinoceros were we all turn into Texas longhorns, Catfight (Bachmann, Ted Haggard and Larry Craig), Lysistrata 2.0; Tzu's The Art of War; etc etc. You get the idea. Nothing is promised or guaranteed, except that you are unlikely to see one of those over-produced Guthrie blimps. Poke around at http://www.fringefestival.org/2008/ --------14 of 16-------- Evil as the Absence of Empathy by Ernest Partridge July 26th, 2008 We live in a world... hardened and distorted by hate. We communicate in the language of fear and violence. Human beings are no longer viewed as human beings. They are no longer endowed in our eyes, or the eyes of those who oppose us, with human qualities. They do not love, grieve, suffer, laugh or weep. They represent cold abstractions of evil. The death-for-death means we communicate by producing corpses. - Chris Hedges In 1946, Dr. Gustav M. Gilbert, a psychologist fluent in German, was assigned by the U.S. Army to study the minds and motivations of the Nazi defendants at the Nuremberg tribunals. The following year, his Nuremberg Diary was published, containing transcripts of his conversations with the prisoners. In words consistent with what I have read of, and about, Gustav Gilbert, he is portrayed in the 2000 TV film Nuremberg, as telling the Head Prosecutor Robert Jackson (Alex Baldwin): "I told you once that I was searching for the nature of evil. I think I've come close to defining it: a lack of empathy. It's the one characteristic that connects all the defendants: a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow man. Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy". "Absence of empathy" is likewise, I submit, "the one characteristic that connects" most of the immoral and misbegotten tenets of Bushism: that dogmatic mix of market absolutism, libertarianism, corporatism and simple greed that falsely describes itself as "conservatism," and which I choose to call "regressivism". "Absence of empathy" is the essence of evil which, if unchecked and unreversed, is certain to bring about the demise of the American republic as we know it, just as it led to the fall of the Third Reich. In contrast, empathy, the capacity to recognize and cherish in other persons, the experience, emotions and aspirations that one is aware of in oneself, is the moral cornerstone of progressive politics. It is a principle recognized and taught in all the great world religions, reiterated by numerous moral philosophers, and validated by the scientific study of human personality. Empathy is the foundation of the moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. In that most-quoted New Testament verse, the golden rule, Jesus said: "as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise". (Luke 6:31, also Matthew 7:2). Also, "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself". (Matthew 22:39, also Leviticus 19;18). Both commandments imply recognition in others of the human dignity and worth that one recognizes in oneself. In a word, empathy. The golden rule is echoed in the moral teachings of Islam: "None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself". And as Mohamed taught in his last sermon, "Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you". (Mohamed, last sermon). And Rabbi Hillel, a contemporary of Jesus, taught "What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your fellow man. That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary". And yet, how much empathy is to be found among self-proclaimed "Christian" end-times preachers, such as James Hagee and Tim LeHaye, who eagerly anticipate "the rapture" and the eternal torment and damnation that awaits virtually all of humanity, as punishment for the sin of failing to agree with the preachers' theology? How much empathy is evident in the late Jerry Falwell's on-air remark to Wolf Blitzer, about Islamic militants, "If it takes 10 years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord," and Ann Coulter's infamous outburst, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity". Because they explicitly renounce Jesus' injunction to "love thy enemies" these hate-mongers are, in a literal and moral sense, "anti-Christs". Regressivism and the Absence of Empathy Empathy is conspicuously absent in the off-hand remarks of George Bush, his family, and his political allies. For example, Bush himself, to an ordinary citizen after a campaign event: "Who cares what you think?" And to Bob Woodward: "History, we dont' know. We'll all be dead". The President's mother, Barbara Bush, on Good Morning America: "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths. Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?. (March 18, 2003). Dick Cheney, in an exchange with ABC reporter, Martha Raddatz: Raddatz: Two-third of Americans say [the Iraq War] is not worth fighting. Cheney: So? Raddatz: So? You don't care what the American people think? Cheney: No". John McCain: "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran". And in response to the news that cigarettes are a major US export to Iran, McCain remarked that it might be "a way of killing 'em". . Former Senator Phil Gramm, economic advisor to John McCain, in an interview with the Washington Times, remarked that the American economy is in "a mental recession": "We've sort of become a nation of whiners," he added. The foundational doctrines of regressivism are equally devoid of empathy. For example, Ayn Rand: "Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy... the process of setting man free from men". (The Fountainhead) And "Man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself". (The Virtue of Selfishness) Furthermore, Economic Man. (Homo economicus), a central concept of neo-classical economic theory favored by regressives, is an uncompromising egoist, whose sole motivation is to "maximize personal utility" or "preference satisfaction". A "perfect market" of fully informed, non-colluding, uncoerced "economic men," free of government interference, the theory tells us, will invariably produce better results for all than any governmental system yet devised. Never mind that "economic man" and "the perfect market" are fictions, that never have been and never can be realized in any human society. (For a defense of this claim, see my "Beautiful Theory vs. Baffling Reality"). The unfounded yet undiminished right-wing faith in the "wisdom" of the free-market and in the superiority of the pursuit of individual "utility maximization" as the engine of social progress, was starkly summed up by "Gordon Gekko" (Michael Douglas) in the 1987 movie, Wall Street: "Greed . is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms - greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind". In fact, history teaches us that greed is not good, and greed does not work. Homo economicus is, in fact, a moral monster, for he is a being devoid of empathy and even of conscience. A mere bundle of "consumer preferences" can not add up to personhood, much less moral agency. When greed (call it "the profit motive") reigns supreme, "others," be they employees or fellow citizens, are reduced to impersonal objects. If these "others" are employees, they are regarded as units of "human capital" to be replaced by less costly "units" (e.g. "outsourced") whenever possible. And if they are fellow citizens, they are prospective customers, to be relieved through "creative marketing" of their disposable wealth. Human, social, environmental "external costs" be damned. Witness the tobacco industry. A "society" of private, egoistic, "utility maximizers," devoid of empathy and unregulated by law and popular government, without shared values, loyalties and aspirations, is no society at all. It is a Hobbesian state of nature - a "war of all against all," wherein life becomes "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short".1 As we are now discovering, to our great regret and sorrow. Progressivism and Empathy In stark contrast, empathy - awareness of the needs, sufferings, aspirations, rights, and dignity of others - is the unifying theme of the progressive agenda, and of the history of political/economic liberalism (in the traditional sense of the word). The elite and wealthy delegates to the Continental Congress, when they demanded recognition of their rights, did not fail at that time to acknowledge the rights of all persons: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. True, at the outset the full "rights" of citizenship were restricted to white, male, landowners. But through time and constant struggle, those rights were extended to include all adult citizens, regardless of gender, race or creed. These struggles, which continue today, were led by "liberals," and resisted by self-described "conservatives". Joe Conason eloquently describes these struggles and achievements: If your workplace is safe; if your children go to school rather than being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if you enjoy a forty-hour week and you are allowed to join a union to protect your rights - you can thank liberals. If your food is not poisoned and your water is drinkable - you can thank liberals. If your parents are eligible for Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without bankrupting your family - you can thank liberals. If our rivers are getting cleaner and our air isn't black with pollution; if our wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green - you can thank liberals. If people of all races can share the same pubic facilities; if everyone has the right to vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race; if we have finally begun to transcend a segregated society - you can thank liberals. Progressive innovations like those and so many others were achieved by long, difficult struggles against entrenched power. What defined conservatism, and conservatives, was their opposition to every one of those advances. The country we know and love today was built by those victories for liberalism - with the support of the American people.2 That public support and the consequent liberal reforms issued from empathy: from the awareness throughout the general public that oppressed minorities and economically and educationally disadvantaged individuals, possess the same sentiments, needs, aspirations and rights that more fortunate citizens recognized in themselves. Regressivism as Psychopathology Empathy is never totally absent in any functioning human being. A recognition that other persons with whom one deals have functioning minds with ideas, emotions, and aspirations is implicit in game playing, in negotiations, and even ordinary conversation. Self awareness, even that of a thoroughly egoistic, narcissistic and sociopathic self, can only arise out of childhood interaction with others. The self is a social construct. Thus even such sociopaths as George Bush and Dick Cheney will acknowledge that the bombs dropped on Iraq cause "collateral damage" and thus profound suffering to innocent civilians. They likewise are aware of the suffering in New Orleans caused by the mismanagement of the Katrina disaster. They are, after all, at least minimally sane. Such an awareness of others that is also devoid of feeling we might call "abstract empathy". The misery to innocent others that they cause simply does not matter to the Busheviks. They do not care, unless these moral atrocities exact political costs to themselves. This "abstract empathy" is not the sort of "empathy" that Dr. Gustav Gilbert found absent among the Nuremberg defendants. The empathy that he had in mind combines awareness with feelings of concern and with respect for the rights and integrity of the other. In contrast, the regressivism of the Bush-Cheney administration would have us ignore the economic, social and environmental consequences of unregulated commerce, and also have us dismantle Social Security, impoverish public education, tolerate inadequate health care for millions of our fellow citizens, abolish fundamental constitutional rights, and engage in aggressive wars against unthreatening countries, all of this with minimal regard for the human misery caused by these policies. To do all this, requires a deliberate stifling of feelings of empathy, and what David Hume called the "natural moral sentiment" of benevolence: a genuine concern for the well-being of others. Regressives who support such policies are, at worst, simply amoral: without moral restraint, "rotten to the core". At best, they are profoundly mistaken: possibly fundamentally decent individuals, trustworthy, law-abiding, charming friends, devoted spouses and parents, but bewitched by false dogmas. The former are, by and large, beyond redemption and are best isolated from political influence and from positions of public responsibility. The latter might be amenable to evidence and rational persuasion. How can such an ideology captivate and take political control of a nation once renowned and admired for its generosity and compassion and for its devotion to democracy and human rights? In part, the rise and dominance of regressivism is the result of a deliberate and opulently funded public relations campaign, supported for the past forty years by wealthy individuals and corporations. This campaign included the establishment of ideological "think tanks" such as The American Enterprise Institute, The Heritage Foundation, and The Competitive Enterprise Institute, the abolition of The Fairness Doctrine and the consolidation of most of the mass media into six "conservative" mega-conglomerates, enormous expansion of corporate lobbying of Congress, and a vastly increased corporate involvement in campaign financing, of both major parties. With conservative Republicans in control of the White House for all but eight of the past twenty-eight years, the federal courts have become dominated by right-wing judges. With these formidable propaganda resources, the resurgent Right has exploited "natural sentiments" equally fundamental to human nature as empathy; namely, ethnocentrism (identification with and loyalty to "our group") and its negative complement, xenophobia (fear, distrust, and hatred of "outsiders"). The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 intensified these prejudices, objectifying and depersonalizing the new enemy (so-called "Islamo-Fascists") while, at the same time, neutralizing empathetic sentiments toward the residents of these "alien" nations. With the captive media exploiting and intensifying public fear of "terrorism," the Bush regime formulated, and the intimidated Congress readily assented to, assaults upon our traditional civil liberties such as the PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act, and now the revised FISA Act. Finally, regressivism feeds upon greed: the relentless corporate drive for still more profits and political control, and the perpetual cultivation of consumer demand by the multi-billion dollar advertising and public relations industries. But greed is pitiless and blind to the side effects ("externalities") of the unconstrained appetite for the consumption of consumer goods and for profit: effects such as poverty, pollution, disease, and the "collateral damage" of war upon innocent civilians. A political economy based upon unregulated greed has been tried numerous times in the past, and has failed in each and every occasion: the French and Russian Revolutions, the era of the robber barons in the late Nineteenth Century, the Great Depression of the Thirties. They failed because when greed rules, the nation's wealth inevitably flows from those who produce the wealth to those who own and control the wealth until, eventually, the toleration of the increasingly miserable masses for this economic injustice collapses, and the oligarchic regime is overthrown. Once again, regressivism is on the brink of collapse. Time magazine and the Rockefeller Foundation reported last week that 85% of US population is unhappy with the US economy. In April, 80% of Americans believed that the "country is moving in the wrong direction". "During the first six months of 2008, 343,159 Americans lost their homes, up 136% from 145,696 recorded during the same period in 2007". (CNNMoney.com). An alarming and under-reported increase in unemployment and inflation is underway. (US government cost of living statistics do not include food and fuel prices). The latest Gallup Poll reports that Democratic party affiliation leads Republican by ten points (47% to 37%). George Bush's approval ratings are at an all-time low at 28% (disapproval from 61%-69%). This public sentiment should suffice to overthrow any regime that maintains power "with the consent of the governed" and subject to recall by election. Under normal circumstances, these statistics would indicate a landslide repudiation of the regime in the coming national election. But these are not normal circumstances, for this regime is supported by a formidable array of resources: virtually unlimited financial support, a captive media including a cadre of right-wing pundits, a proven ability to rig elections along with a refusal of the media to investigate and report election fraud, oppressive laws, a ruthless GOP campaign organization unconstrained by facts, fair-play, or even on occasion, by the law. All these resource might once again overwhelm the "consent of the governed," and prolong the regressive regime for another four or even eight years. But eventually, it must fall. The longer it holds on, the greater the misery and repression that will ensue, and the more violent the eventual overthrow. Best to end it now. But it will take an extraordinary effort by an overwhelming number of ordinary citizens to bring it off. There are no guarantees. 1. Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathan # 2. Big Lies, p. 3. # Ernest Partridge is the co-editor of The Crisis Papers. Read other articles by Ernest, or visit Ernest's website. This article was posted on Saturday, July 26th, 2008 at 7:00 am and is filed under Philosophy. Send to a friend. comments on this article: so far ... -- Giorgio said on July 26th, 2008 at 5:39 pm # Excellent article! A valuable addition to other forerunners, like: 1) Beware the Psychopath, Son by Clinton Callahan 2) The trick of the Psychopath's trade by Silvia Cattori 3) Twilight of the Psychopaths by Kevin Barrett 4) Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil by Andrew Lobaczewski -- Richard W. Posner said on July 26th, 2008 at 11:22 pm # This is doubtless one of the finest essays I have read in a very long time. It does an amazing job of pulling together numerous aspects of the cycle which human history has followed since Cro-Magnon overwhelmed Neanderthal. The author recognizes the fact that those who obsessively seek unlimited wealth and power are without empathy, they simply do not care. This is so accurate and so clearly at the root of human suffering. It is almost as if there was a recessive but persistent gene, coded for evil, which evolution has been unable to select out in spite of its obvious negative implications for the survival of the human species. The responsibility for the catastrophic state we now face, which includes the climate induced extinction event we have triggered, is placed squarely where it belongs, in the lap of "that dogmatic mix of market absolutism, libertarianism, corporatism and simple greed that falsely describes itself as 'conservatism,' and which I choose to call 'regressivism'". These are the carriers of the recessive gene I imagined above and the author is absolutely correct to group these various disciplines together. I have come to think of them as the "Supremacists". Throughout history they have risen repeatedly and repeatedly been beaten down only to later rise again. Their goal is to live in a world with two races of people, the Master Race and the slaves. Their philosophy, taken to its logical extreme, is simply the last one alive is the winner. -- DavidG. said on July 27th, 2008 at 12:02 am # That greed is a moral cancer is beyond dispute. That we live in a fragmenting world that worships greed is beyond dispute. That the few control the many for their own ends is beyond dispute. That we humans will bring about our own demise is also beyond dispute. Hopefully it will come soon! --------15 of 16-------- Fourth Fleet Steams South Return of the Gunboat By JOHN ROSS CounterPunch July 29, 2008 Mexico City. The resurrection and imminent dispatch of the United States Fourth Fleet to patrol the coasts of Latin America invokes the bad old days of Monroe Doctrine impositions and gunboat diplomacy for many citizens of those southern latitudes. This April, the U.S. Navy announced the reactivation of the fleet that historically operated in the south Atlantic during World War II, dueling with Nazi U-boats. Activating the Fourth Fleet "demonstrates U.S. commitment to our global partners," Admiral Gary Roughead explained, adding a threatening fillip: "The Fourth Fleet will send a strong signal to all Navies operating in the region." Roughead maintains that the fleet's focus will be on drug interdiction and "conducting training exercises" and its activation is "non-hostile." Frank Mora, a professor at the U.S. War College in Leavenworth Kansas told the Miami Herald, he thought the Fleet could be used in "environmental emergencies" and to control "youth gangs." The reactivated flotilla will sail in the strategic area overseen by the U.S. Southern Command or SOUTHCOM based in Quarry Heights, Panama and is to be homeported at Mayport in Jacksonville Florida. The fleet is expected to group together 11 war ships homeported at Mayport, including an aircraft carrier (reportedly the soon-to-be commissioned "U.S.S. George H.W. Bush") and a nuclear submarine. To allay Latin leaders' fears, Undersecretary of State for Hemispheric Affairs Tom Shannon was deployed to South America during July. The Undersecretary's visit to Brazil proved abrasive. He was met by raucous demonstrators in Brazilia and closely questioned on the floor of the Brazilian Senate about the Fourth Fleet's revival - one lawmaker recalled how in 1964, U.S. ambassador Lincoln Gordon had threatened to land marines stationed right off the Brazilian coast if leftist president Joao Goulart did not resign. Ex-Brazilian president Jose Sarnay warned of U.S. Fourth Fleet designs on the enormous Tupi deep-water oil field that may hold as many as five to eight billion barrels and could turn Brazil into one of the top five petroleum producers on the planet. The U.S. Navy currently operates out of six Latin bases - Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Quarry Heights, Panama; Aruba, Curacao; Comalapa, El Salvador; Comayuga, Honduras; and Manta, Ecuador - the last-named about to be shut down by Ecuador. Incensed by Washington's participation in the March 1st bombing of a FARC guerrilla camp in the Ecuadoran jungle - Manta is believed to have provided logistical support for Colombian helicopters - President Raphael Correa has resolved not to renew the U.S. lease on that facility when it expires in 2009. An educated guess has the base being relocated to La Guajira, Colombia close to the Venezuelan border which will not make Hugo Chavez happy. Those attentive to Latin American history do not view the U.S. Fourth Fleet's intentions as "non-hostile." U.S. Naval blockades of Cuba in 1963 during the Soviet-American missile crisis and of revolutionary Mexico in 1914, stir bitter memories. The U.S. Navy turned the Caribbean into an "American lake" from 1914 through the late 1920s, parking its fleet in Santo Domingo and repeatedly invading Nicaragua. U.S. Navy flotillas land troops on sovereign soil, their long guns take out distant targets, and bombing raids and reconnaissance flights are launched from aircraft carriers. Just the presence of the Fourth Fleet in Latin American waters smacks of strategic intimidation. >From Brazilia, Undersecretary Shannon flew south to Buenos Aires to deliver the good news that the Fourth Fleet would not enter Argentina's territorial waters or inland rivers "without being invited." Shannon's timing was impeccable. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's six month-old regime, which has been roiled by months of mobilizations led by big soybean farmers, was on maximum alert - the "soyeros" have blocked the nation's highways since last January after Fernandez tacked a 15 per cent tax on exports in order to finance programs for the poor. Bi-lateral relations between Washington and Buenos Aires have been in the tank since the U.S. charged supposed bagmen for Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez with financing Fernandez's campaign. The so-called scandal of the "Maletas" ($800,000 USD was alleged to have been smuggled into Argentina in a suitcase or "maleta") is a scenario that Queen Cristina (as she is taunted by political opponents) labels "garbage." Writing in the Mexican daily La Jornada, left Latin American analyst Raul Zebichi concludes that Shannon's voyage to Buenos Aires to sell the Fourth Fleet to Fernandez during the soyero crisis amounted to "deliberate destabilization." The sailing of the Fourth Fleet is "naked aggression by Washington to regain its hegemony" on a continent where U.S. influence has been impressively diminished by the serial victories of the Latin American electoral left. Undersecretary Shannon then moved on to Bolivia where that majority indigenous Andean nation's president Evo Morales is viewed by Washington as one of the ringleaders of the anti-American wave sweeping the southern continent. Bolivia is not a target for the U.S. Fourth Fleet, having lost its access to the ocean in the Guano War of the late 19th century. Nonetheless, Morales denounced U.S. ambassador Phillip Goldberg's support of the right-wing "autonomy" movement that is promoting the secession of five Bolivian provinces, reading Shannon e-mails sent by U.S. AID officials to Bolivian citizens threatening aid cut-offs if they continued to support his government. Only in Colombia, the first stop of Shannon's checkered journey, did he find some satisfaction. Touching down soon after the immaculately scripted "rescue" of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 hostages held by the weakened FARC guerrilla army, Tom Shannon laid on the blarney. The Fourth Fleet's intentions were honorable and "non-hostile." The war ships will safeguard commercial shipping lanes and provide additional drug interdiction. It didn't take much effort to sell President Alvaro Uribe, George Bush's top flunky in Latin America, on the idea. Uribe even offered Barranquilla as a homeport away from home for U.S. war ships. Fourth Fleet deployment to Colombia will provide much needed backup for Washington's anti-drug, War on Terror Plan Colombia, a $6,000,000,000 boondoggle that has succeeded in expanding the nation's cocaine acreage by 27 per cent in 2007. If Uribe was supportive of the Fourth Fleet's reactivation, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez was decidedly not, declaring the move to be "an act of war" and fretting about Yanqui sabotage of offshore oilfields. In the Caribbean, Fidel Castro, an 82 year-old columnist for a Cuban communist youth paper, sneered that the Fourth Fleet is "the flotilla of intervention". Castro has had first hand experience with U.S. Naval blockades. One immediate response of Latin America's leftist leaders to Washington's unilateral revival of the fleet has been the formation of UNASUR, a 12-nation mutual security pact that pointedly excludes the U.S. Spearheaded by Brazil, the continent's economic powerhouse, UNASUR seems designed to boost Brazilian armament industry sales as much as to stave off U.S. stabs to reestablish its hegemony over Latin America. Mexico, which is banking on deep-water oilfields in the Gulf (an area under Fourth Fleet purview) to revive its sinking reserves, does not seem alarmed about the war ships on the eastern horizon - despite the rather touchy dispute over whether Mexico or the U.S. has title to those deep-water tracts. The U.S. Navy trains Mexico's Navy and supplies it with state-of-the-art weaponry. Under the Merida Initiative, sometimes tagged Plan Mexico, the Mexican Navy is slated to receive Orion tracking planes and souped-up interdiction craft, part of the $1,400.000,000 USD war chest to rearm Mexico's security apparatus - despite its reputation as one of the worst human rights abusers in the Americas. Equipment received via the Merida Initiative, actually a hefty subsidy to U.S. defense contractors, will forge what Uruguayan political writer Carlos Fazio dubs "the third link" by which the Mexican security apparatus is annexed to Washington. Indeed, just the need for spare parts will tie the Mexican military to the Pentagon for the life of the planes, helicopters, swift boats, and transport carriers Plan Mexico will buy. Actually, the Merida Initiative, born in the Yucatan city of that name in a surge of enthusiasm during Bush's first encounter with Mexico's Felipe Calderon in 2007, almost didn't make it to the wire. When the U.S. Senate, urged on by Vermont's Patrick Leahy, voted to impose human rights oversight on the package, Mexico almost backed out, accusing Washington of interfering in its domestic affairs. The Senate bill would have mandated civilian trials for Mexican military personnel accused of human rights violation and would have strengthened the hand of non-government human rights organizations to watchdog how Merida Initiative equipment was used. The measure would also have pressed for an investigation into the 2006 murder of independent U.S. journalist Brad Will by Oaxaca security forces - indeed, the human rights components of Plan Mexico were largely due to the persistence of Brad's friends who were sometimes escorted from congressional hearings for vehemently pushing their case. The bill's human rights provisions were rejected by all three sides of Mexico's political spectrum. Legislators compared the call for compliance with the odious "certification" process by which the U.S. Congress "certified" Mexico's cooperation in Washington's Drug War each year through the mid-1990s, a source of much distrust. But Mexican politicos were not alone in their contempt for the new Plan Mexico - Bush White House drug czar John Waters accused Leahy and his Democratic cohorts of "sabotaging" the agreement, and Homeland Security chieftain Michael Chertoff warned that the human rights provisions were "unacceptable." The Senate bill was sent back to Congress for rectification but reemerged with an almost identical text - even the call for resolving Brad's murder was left intact. Yet in the magic realist mindset that passes for politics here, President Calderon, his Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino, and Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa chose not to acknowledge the unreconstructed language and signed off on the grant. Espinosa made much of the affirmation that no U.S. soldier will set foot on Mexican soil as the result of the Merida Initiative - a phenomenon never contemplated by the agreement in the first place. George Bush signed the Merida Initiative into law June 30 and in mid-July Chertoff flew into Mexico City for discussions on implementation and to "evaluate eventual risks to mutual security." Oddly, the day the Homeland Security boss went home, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration leaked an intriguing story to the daily El Universal: Mexican drug war troops had discovered a car bomb factory in Culiacan, Sinaloa, where a bloody battle between cartels has taken over 500 lives since the first of the year. The DEA suspected that the Sinaloa cartels' hit men were being sent through Chavez's Venezuela (where else?) to Iran (where else?) for advanced terrorist training. Preposterous? Under current security arrangements, the Iran gambit could become a pretext for the U.S. military occupation of Mexico, which on the face of it is of course highly unlikely. But Plan Mexico folds into the ASPAN - the North American Agreement on Security and Prosperity, a sort of security and energy NAFTA. Much as NAFTA was aimed at integrating the economies of its three member nations, ASPAN proposes to integrate security and energy structures - a goal greatly advanced by Plan Mexico. In addition to ASPAN, Mexico has been designated the U.S.'s southern security perimeter by NORCOM, the United States Northern Command, which is responsible for keeping terrorists out of North America. The suggestion that Iran-trained terrorists are car-bombing a few hundred miles south of the border could have the stealth bombers on the runways at NORCOM headquarters in a hollowed-out mountain in Colorado in a jiffy. Foreign minister Espinosa's affirmation that Plan Mexico will not land U.S. troops on Mexican shores flies in the face of the facts. Since 2006, the Yanks have offered at least 60 training courses to Mexican army and navy troops inside Mexico - 700 Mexicans are trained in the United States at the Center for Strategic Forces in Fort Bragg North Carolina under the provisions of the IMET program. U.S. Naval trainers offer courses at Veracruz on the Gulf Coast and Manzanillo on the Pacific. But the physical presence of U.S. military personnel on the ground here is mooted by the Pentagon's reliance on civilian mercenaries. SY Coleman, which advertises itself as "a warrior in the global war on terror" on its web page, has been recruiting pilots "with experience in international military conflicts" to fly reconnaissance over Mexico's Caribbean off-shore platforms, an inviting terrorist target. Blackwater WorldWide just opened its western training facilities in a huge warehouse several hundred yards from the U.S. - Mexican border on the Otay Mesa in San Diego, and in July provided security for John McCain on a Mexico City campaign stopover according to knowledgeable sources, that notorious mercenary army's first known sighting inside Mexico. Blackwater has recently been awarded big boodle Department of Defense drug war contracts and appears to be bulking up to challenge DynCorps which holds the franchise on privatizing Washington's War on Drugs in Latin America. With the Yanquis' Fourth Fleet working Latin America's Atlantic coast, the United States Coast Guard patrols its Pacific flank. During the last week in July, the Coast Guard and the Mexican Navy found themselves under submarine attack - a 36-foot submergible with five tons of Colombian cocaine aboard was spotted by the Americanos' radar 100 miles off Oaxaca and towed to port where the crew was jailed. In addition to cocaine, Pacific shipping lanes are also important to liquid natural gas tankers, another inviting terrorist target, operating under contracts with Spanish energy titan REPSOL between Peru and LNG terminals in Manzanillo in southern Mexico and the Sempra Corporation's Ensenada facility hard by the U.S. border. In fact, the Ensenada terminal, which provides San Diego with energy, was to have been located in that U.S. port city but fears the plant could be taken out by terrorists moved it to Mexico. Deploying the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which is homeported in San Diego, to Latin America's west coast, is surely being weighed by Navy brass. What does presumptive President Barack Obama think about all this updated gunboat diplomacy? The only clue voters have as to Obama's Latin policies was a speech he delivered months ago to win the hearts and minds of the gusano-laced Cuban American National Foundation in Miami in which platitudes were a dime a dozen - no end to the Cuban embargo, Hugo Chavez was "dangerous", Colombia's Uribe a "democratic hero." Given this repertoire it doesn't sound like much is going to change when Obama takes the helm of state. All the pieces are in place - Plan Mexico, Plan Colombia, ASPAN, SOUTHCOM, NORCOM, and NAFTA - to keep the Consensus of Washington thriving during an Obama presidency. "What's good for Latin America is good for the United States of America" the presumptive president told the gusanos in Miami, failing to annunciate the other half of the equation: what's good for the United States is usually very bad for Latin America. John Ross is in the heat of the first draft of "El Monstruo - Tales of Dread & Redemption In The Most Monstrous Megalopolis On Planet Earth". Write johnross [at] igc.org --------16 of 16-------- Forwarded by Erin Betlock <ebetlock [at] yahoo.com> SUBJECT: The George W. Bush Presidential Library President George W. Bush's Presidential Library is now in the planning stages. The library will include: The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction. The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won't be able to remember anything. The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up. The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in. The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out. The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find. The National Debt room which is huge and has no ceiling. The Tax Cut Room with entry only to the wealthy. The Economy Room which is in the toilet. The Iraq War Room: After you complete your first tour, they make you to go back for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and sometimes 5th tour. The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery. The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty. The Supremes Gift Shop, where you can buy an election. The Airport Men's Room, where you can meet some of your favorite Republican Senators. The Decider Room complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, & straws. The museum will have an electron microscope to help you locate the President's accomplishments. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 vote third party for president for congress now and forever
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