Progressive Calendar 08.13.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 08:04:17 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    08.13.08

1. RNC media/KFAI   8.13 11am
2. RNC/CD/action    8.13 7pm
3. Civic engagement 8.13

4. New Hope demo    8.14 4:30pm
5. Eagan vigil      8.14 4:30pm
6. Northtown vigil  8.14 5pm

7. Jodin Morey  - RNC organizers sued by impeachment group
8. Kip Sullivan - New state health "reform" law destroys patient privacy
9. Ralph Nader  - Message to friends and supporters
10. Jerry Rose  - How Obama/Dems may grab defeat from the jaws of victory
11. Mumia Abu-Jamal - Beyond politics
12. Joel Hirschhorn - Misplaced blame undermines democracy
13. Peter Marsh     - China to overtake US as largest manufacturer
14. Democracy Now   - Bolivian prez Evo Morales wins critical referendum
15. ed              - Corporate lunch  (poem)
16. ed              - The calculus of evil  (poem)

--------1 of 16--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com>
Subject: RNC media/KFAI 8.13 11am

TRUTH TO TELL
Wednesday, August 13  11:00AM: COVERING THE COVERAGE OF THE GOP CONVENTION
What will what can happen when 15,000 fawning and cynical reporters,
pundits, satirists, analysts, columnists and their editors, producers,
camera people, assistants and what-not from every media outlet in the
world converge on little St. Paul and its Xcel Circus in September? TTTs
ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN try to avoid insider baseball as we
ask a few locals who work here, but will look in on this stuff to talk
about expectations.

GUESTS:
 JASON BARNETT  Executive Director, The Uptake online video journal
 DAVID BRAUER, Media critic and News Digester- The Daily Glean,
MinnPost.com
 JIM LEINFELDER, Free-lance Reporter/Producer, MSNBC, CNN, ABC
 ERIC PUSEY, The Big E of MNBlue Blog

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.


--------2 of 16--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com>
Subject: RNC/CD/action 8.13 7pm

Civil Disobedience and Direct Action Training
WED, 8/13 @ 7pm @ May Day Books, 301 Cedar Ave. (below Midwest
Mountaineering)

Come learn how to use these important tactics at upcoming demonstrations.
Organized by the Anti-War Committee, 612.379.3899, info [at] 
antiwarcommittee.org


--------3 of 16--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Civic engagement 8.13

August 13 - 15: Family and Children's Service will co-host the 2008 Civic
Engagement Training Institute from August 13 - 15, 2008. The institute is
designed to train human service professionals to better infuse civic
engagement practices into a more normalized process that can stimulate
community activism, which lifts up the authentic voices of disenfranchised
constituencies. The Institute will be held at Family & Children's Service,
4123 East Lake Street, Minneapolis. More info.


--------4 of 16--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: New Hope demo 8.14 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.


--------5 of 16--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.14 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.


--------6 of 16--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.14 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.


--------7 of 16--------

From: Jodin Morey <organize [at] impeachforpeace.org>
Subject: RNC Organizers Sued by Impeachment Group

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
Jodin Morey
Cofounder: Impeach for Peace
1111 Elway St. Suite 505
St. Paul, MN 55116
Phone: 612-328-1451
jodin [at] beingism.org
http://ImpeachforPeace.org

Impeach for Peace Sues For Free Speech at Republican Natl Convention

St. Paul, Minnesota ­ August 12, 2008 ­ Impeach for Peace (IfP), along
with others looking to demonstrate at the Republican National Convention
(RNC), filed a lawsuit Friday with the help of the ACLU of Minnesota in
Ramsey County District Court demanding our right to free speech.
Plaintiffs include: Jodin Morey and Mikael Rudolph of Impeach for Peace,
Colleen and Ross Rowley, and Ron Deharporte.

Impeach for Peace is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization based in
Minnesota with chapters in twelve states throughout the country working to
achieve the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President
Dick Cheney and holding them and future elected officials fully
accountable under the Rule of Law.

The RNC is having their election year convention in St. Paul, Minnesota at
the Xcel Energy Center.  During this event, the St. Paul Police have
decided to relegate most speech activities in what they call the "Primary
Event Area" to an inadequate "Designated Public Assembly Area" or free
speech zone. The "Primary Event Area" remains to be fully defined by the
police, making it impossible for people to know where in St. Paul they can
exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.  At the
convention, members of congress, mayors, governors, the President and
Vice-President of the United States are expected to be in attendance. This
provides IfP and other potential demonstrators with a unique opportunity
to express their political messages to these governmental officials.

The lawsuit alleges that the St. Paul City Council and police have created
guidelines for the RNC which restrict free speech to areas that are
"inadequate and unacceptably small."

The ACLU also alleges that the City Council/Police denied IfP their due
process rights as stipulated in the Minnesota State Constitution by
failing to give notice of their plans regarding free speech restrictions,
which would have allowed for public comment and a public hearing.

The ACLU also contends that the City Council/Police has also reserved the
right to modify the guidelines at any time in ways that the ACLU contends
are in violation of the Minnesota State Constitution.

The lawsuit seeks to have the guidelines declared by the court to be in
violation of IfPšs free speech rights, to have the Primary Event Area and
the Designated Public Assembly Area clearly defined and officially
released to the public, and to have the Designated Public Assembly Area
include additional areas that are within sight and sound of the
convention.

John Choi, the St. Paul city attorney has said "These two [lawsuits]
represent an attempt by the plaintiffs to get another bite at the apple in
state court." He continued that the city has afforded "unprecedented
access and accommodations for the protesters."

Mr. Choi is incorrect regarding IfPšs "bite at the apple," as the
plaintiffs on this lawsuit have not previously been a plaintiff in a
lawsuit regarding their free speech rights at the RNC.  There was a
previous lawsuit with different plaintiffs, but it dealt primarily with a
march planned, not the specifics of the Designated Public Assembly Area.

Secondly, while Mr. Choi and Impeach for Peace may differ as to what is an
acceptable amount of restriction on free speech, these differences could
have been worked out if the city had engaged in its constitutional due
process requirements.

Those interested in IfPšs plans for the RNC, are invited to attend a
meeting at Joešs Garage on the north side of Loring Park in Minneapolis on
Sunday, August 17, at 4 p.m.

For more information please contact Jodin Morey, Cofounder of Impeach for
Peace, at 612.328.1451.

Additional Contact Information: jodin [at] beingism.org
minneapolis [at] impeachforpeace.org http://impeachforpeace.org


--------8 of 16--------

From: Kip Sullivan <kiprs [at] usinternet.com>
Subject: New state health "reform" law destroys patient privacy

The article below appears in the August 2008 edition of Southside Pride, a
monthly newspaper published by Eddie Felien. It covers the senate
districts of Linda Berglin and Patricia Torres Ray. In this article, I
criticize the No Patient Left Behind report cards required by the law that
Sen. Linda Berglin and Rep. Tom Huntley authored and that Governor
Pawlenty signed on May 29.
 - Kip

New state health "reform" law destroys patient privacy in the name of
improving care
Southside Pride, August 2008
by Kip Sullivan

Should your medical records be protected from prying eyes? Huge majorities
of Americans think so. According to a Gallup Poll, 92 percent of Americans
oppose government agencies looking at their medical records without their
permission, and 82 percent oppose insurance companies pawing through their
records without their permission. Sixty-seven percent even oppose
researchers looking at their records without their consent.

We think of our medical records the way we think of our homes - unless
there is a compelling public interest at stake (such as solving a crime or
stopping an epidemic), we believe our homes and our medical records should
not be invaded by government officials or private parties unless we say
it's ok.

Until last spring, Minnesota law reflected the high value Minnesotans
place on medical privacy. Minnesota has long had a law that says your
medical records can't be shown to third parties without your written
consent. But the Minnesota Legislature ripped a huge hole in that law on
May 29. That was the day Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the health care
"reform" law that requires Minnesota's doctors and hospitals to turn over
any medical records the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) asks for if
MDH says they need them to measure quality of medical care.

Under the new law, MDH is authorized to issue report cards on the quality
of care offered by Minnesota's doctors and hospitals beginning July 1,
2010, and to start collecting data from providers (doctors and hospitals)
by January 1, 2010. The law sets no limits on the scope of the report
cards. It gives MDH the authority to issue report cards on each of the
state's 17,000 doctors and 131 hospitals, and for each of the 15,000
diseases and conditions known to Western medicine. The law implies that
MDH also has the authority to audit any data it receives.

Governor Pawlenty and legislators who support report cards say more
information on the quality and cost of care will lead to more competition
between clinics and hospitals, and this will bring costs down. Here is how
a task force co-chaired by Sen. Linda Berglin (DFL-Minneapolis) and Rep.
Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) put it in its final report published last
February: "Providers should . compete based on the cost and quality of
care they deliver.." They are saying the "market" for health care is just
like any other market, for example, the market for fast food or the market
for ceiling fans. If competition is tweaked a little bit with report
cards, it can force providers to improve quality and reduce costs.

Although this idea of Consumer-Reports-style report cards on providers may
sound good when you first hear it, the idea loses its appeal the more you
think about it. There are huge differences between doctors and nurses, on
the one hand, and vacuum cleaners, toasters, and the other products that
Consumer Reports typically evaluates. Doctors and nurses are far more
complex than vacuum cleaners and toasters. Similarly, patients are far
more complex than dusty floors and untoasted bread.

When you turn on a vacuum cleaner or pop bread into a toaster, the
appliance mindlessly does the same thing every time - the vacuum cleaner
sucks debris down a tube regardless of whether the debris is cat fur or
toenail clippings, and the wires in the toaster heat up regardless of
whether you put bread, pita bread, or a frozen waffle in the toaster.

But doctors and other health care professionals do not mindlessly do the
same thing every time, and patients vary tremendously in their health care
needs and their ability and desire to follow their doctor's
recommendations. The complexity of medical decision-making, and the
complexity of patients and the great variety among patients, means that
making apples-to-apples comparisons of health care providers is far more
difficult than making apples-to-apples comparisons of vacuum cleaners and
toasters.

To take a hypothetical example, let's say the rate at which heart surgery
patients die is 2 percent at Fairview Southdale Hospital and 6 percent at
Abbott Northwestern. Would it be accurate to say heart surgery is better
at Fairview Southdale? Of course not. Unless you know something about the
patients who were operated on at the two hospitals, you're in no position
to declare one hospital better than the other. It's entirely possible the
patients at Abbott were at much higher risk of dying when they entered
that hospital. They might have been older, had more severe coronary artery
disease, or had other diseases that affected their ability to survive
surgery (such as cancer or diabetes). If their surgery was being done on
an emergency basis because they were having a heart attack rather than on
an elective basis to prevent a heart attack, their odds of dying would be
considerably higher. It's entirely possible that once these other risk
factors are taken into account that Abbott, with its (hypothetical) 6
percent mortality rate, would turn out to be the superior hospital.

For many legislators of both parties, the report card proposition reminds
them of President George W. Bush's controversial No Child Left Behind
report cards on schools. Just as Bush assumes that the problems afflicting
our schools are primarily caused by incompetent teachers, so Sen. Berglin
and Rep. Huntley (the chief authors of the new law) and Pawlenty and other
medical report card advocates assume the health care crisis is caused
primarily by incompetent doctors. Just as Bush assumes the solution to
problems with our schools is report cards on schools, so Berglin and
Huntley assume report cards on clinics and hospitals will somehow address
the health care crisis.

Not surprisingly, several of the legislators who led the fight against the
report card provisions in the new law, including Reps. David Bly
(DFL-Northfield) and Carolyn Laine (DFL-Columbia Heights), are teachers.
"I know that report cards on schools distract teachers and cause schools
to spend money in ways that do not improve teaching or learning," said
Bly, who voted against the final bill. "There are methods of
accountability that can help teachers improve what they are doing, but
these report cards cause schools to focus on getting rid of problem
learners rather than working to solve their problems. I don't see how the
end result can be different for health providers. It will force providers
to think about how they can improve how they look [on report cards] rather
than improving the quality of their care."

"I don't want to see the same thing happen to doctors and nurses that has
happened to teachers," said Rep. Laine.

Problems analogous to those identified by critics of No Child Left Behind
report cards - teachers devoting more time to subjects that will be tested
and less time to subjects that won't be tested, and schools getting rid of
problem kids - have already been shown to be problems for medical report
cards. One of the oldest and most highly respected report cards in the
country is the one on New York heart surgeons issued annually by the New
York Department of Health since 1991. This is a widely respected report
card because the Department of Health "risk adjusts" the quality score
(mortality rate within 30 days of surgery) with at least 72 measures of
patient health (for example, blood pressure at the time surgery begins).
The data collection and number-crunching required for this one annual
report card requires five full-time employees at the Department of Health
and one employee at each of the 36 hospitals in New York where heart
surgery is done.

But despite the effort and expense devoted to making this heart surgery
report card accurate, studies have shown that the report card is harming
sicker patients. Here is what a 2003 study reported: "[O]ur results show
that report cards [on heart surgeons] led to . marginal health benefits
for healthy patients, and major adverse health consequences for sicker
patients. . [M]andatory reporting mechanisms inevitably give providers the
incentive to decline to treat more difficult and complicated patients ..
[M]ore severely ill . patients experienced dramatically worsened health
outcomes."

[When will the bad guys stop winning 95% of the time? And why do we
vote for their enablers? How unwise can we be? -ed]


--------9 of 16--------

Message To Friends And Supporters
by Ralph Nader

[[some other]ed. This is a letter that we have received from Ralph Nader's
HQ. His campaign needs financial help and increased support and
volunteers. Please do your part.]

Nader-Gonzalez '08

To know and not to do is not to know.
-Ancient Chinese proverb

Dear Friend and Supporter:

(Swans - August 11, 2008)  I've just returned from a Nader/Gonzalez 2008
campaign demonstration in front of the downtown headquarters of the
Nuclear Energy Institute - the lobbying arm of the taxpayer subsidized
atomic power industry.

We oppose the resurgence of unsafe, uneconomic, uninsurable and
unnecessary new atomic plants.

Imagine! For these to be built, the industry demands 100 percent loan
guarantees from Uncle Sam in the tens of billions of dollars. Far better
solutions are energy efficiency technologies and various kinds of solar
power. And we can get there faster.

A few days earlier our campaign demonstrated in front of the White House.
There I delivered a 45-minute declaration detailing the reasons George W.
Bush and Dick Cheney should be either impeached, resign (as Nixon and
Agnew did) or be prosecuted after leaving office. You can see this
singular event on C-Span in its "Road to the White House" series.

We are demonstrating regularly against corporate government in Washington,
D.C. - the government agencies and giant corporate trade associations
that control them. On our web site, - votenader.org - you can see these
demonstrations, which are linked to a map titled "Washington, D.C. -
Corporate Occupied Territory."

In a 1938 message to Congress, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined
"fascism" as "ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by
any other controlling private power." This control of the government shuts
out the people and their necessities.

Corporate rule - by the few against the many - blocks ready and
practical solutions to our energy, pollution, transportation, and housing
problems.

Corporate rule blocks solutions to major injustices such as the horrendous
waste of taxpayer dollars. Under corporate rule, money readily flows from
middle class taxpayers to large corporations in the form of subsidies,
handouts, giveaways and bailouts.

Governmental functions are contracted out to military corporations such as
Halliburton, KBR and Blackwater with massive waste, fraud and abuse.

Corporate rule imposes a grotesquely unfair tax system that enables many
corporations to escape federal income taxation or flee to tax shelters
overseas.

Corporate rule blocks the peoples' access to their full day in court if
they are wrongfully injured or defrauded.

Corporate rule assures that corporate crime is rarely prosecuted.

Corporate rule commercializes our elections, our politics, our
universities, and even childhood itself through the relentless direct
marketing of junk food, drink and violent programming that undermines
parental authority.

Corporate rule diverts federal money from people's needs to the greeds of
the global giants, including a huge, bloated wasteful military budget that
expands the "military-industrial complex" about which President Eisenhower
warned. Such diversions also militarize our foreign policy.

Corporate rule - led by Wal-Mart, McDonald's and other chains - has
blocked a living wage and labor rights for decades.

Corporate rule by the giant HMOs, hospital chains and drug industry has
blocked single payer health insurance - full Medicare for all giving
people free choice of hospital and physicians that would avoid half a
trillion dollars of annual corporate bureaucratic costs and billing
frauds.

A majority of Americans want the opposite of what corporate rule imposes.
So, why don't the people rule? Isn't that what the Constitution had in
mind when our founding fathers started the preamble with "We the People"
and not "We the corporations"? After all, only the people have the vote.

Corporations were never mentioned in the Constitution and were never given
by any Congress equal Constitutional rights (corporate personhood).

It was a silent coup d'tat pulled off by a rogue Supreme Court scribe in
Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886).

Recently, I've been calling dozens of our supporters and contributors.
I've noticed what they've noticed - that this country has many problems
it doesn't deserve and many solutions it doesn't apply.

Why? Because there is too much power and wealth in too few hands. Our
supporters know what the injustices are and what works to diminish them.
They know what needs to be done. They are impatient and have a sense of
urgency.

They want organized action, as reflected in the ancient Chinese proverb
quoted above.

They know that the Nader/Gonzalez campaign will stand up to the corporate
criminals, the corporate freeloaders, big oil, the unionbusters, the war
mongers and profiteers, the drug companies, the agribusiness giants, the
big banks, Wall Street, and their corporate Democrats and corporate
Republicans. In return, we ask that you stand strongly with us.

As we travel to every state - we've been to the West Coast and Atlantic
states lately - and connect with citizens fighting injustice, we want to
meet more of our supporters.

With them we are laying the groundwork for creating Congress watchdog
groups with full time staff, in Congressional districts, starting in 2009
- to end corporate rule.

For now, our valiant young roadtrippers are acquiring hundreds of
thousands of signatures in state after state to get us on the ballot. They
are working full time, day and night, learning skills that will help make
them the next generation of leaders.

To keep them on the road - meeting stringent ballot access deadlines -
we need your donations whatever you can afford. Each person can give up to
the legal limit of $4,600.

I am always touched by workers of modest means (a food warehouse worker, a
nurse, a man who quit his job and cared for his elderly parents for 13
years) who found our campaign - and our 40 years of fighting for the
people's health, safety, economic well-being and constitutional rights -
worthy of their generous contributions of $4,000, $1,500, and $1,300
respectively.

So please, [go to our Web site to make a donation] today.

Be as generous as possible. We must help each other in this historic fight
for democracy.

Americans are ready for action. Recent polls show that over eighty percent
believe our country is going in the wrong direction. About three out of
every four Americans believe that corporations have too much control over
their lives. And 61 percent believe that both major parties are failing.

You don't want to be taken for granted by the two-party dictatorship that
fronts for Big Business demands. Because you count, you matter, and you
will demand the fundamental change we seek - a power shift to the
citizenry.

Together, we, as alert and informed citizens, must reject the role of mere
spectators of a deteriorating government and a declining corporatized
country. Together, we must grow in numbers to become the difference that
restores the sovereignty of the people in a deliberative and justly
functioning democratic society.

Run with us in community after community and take this resurgence of the
people to a new level that meets your daily needs and fulfills human
possibilities.

Please make your contribution to Nader for President 2008, using [our Web
site].

Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Onward together,
          Ralph Nader
PS. If you have any ideas about how to expand our efforts, please give me
a call at 202-471-5833.
(ed. note: Contributions to Nader for President 2008 are not tax
deductible. The campaign's address is: P.O. Box 34103 . Washington, D.C.
20043 . votenader.org . contact [at] votenader.org . ph: 202-471-5833.)


--------10 of 16-------

How Obama and the Democrats May Grab Defeat from the Jaws of Victory
by Jerry D. Rose
August 11th, 2008
Dissident Voice

A recent article by Robert Parry in Consortium News argues that, contrary
to most expectations, John McCain "may well win" the election in November.
By way of explanation Parry places a great deal of responsibility on an
alleged news media bias against Obama and in favor of McCain. I beg to
disagree.

I've been saying for at least 6 months that we need to get used to saying
"President McCain" because I've thought and continue to think that,
unfortunately, this is going to happen - but not really for the reason of
media bias that Mr. Parry emphasizes. Rather, I've seen the demise of any
opportunity for a Democratic victory going back into the Democratic
primaries, when the party abandoned its supposed progressive "base" by
doing its quadrennial swan dive toward the political center, as Kucinich,
Gravel and even the semi-progressive Edwards were eliminated (albeit with
a lot of media-bias assistance) from contention and the primary became an
essentially issue-less contest of popularity and social identity between
the "woman" and the "black". With his nomination and subsequent panderings
toward a daunting line-up of conservative elements, Obama and the Party
have set themselves up for the very focus on "personal" questions of
patriotism, competence, etc. that are always the last refuge of campaigns
where there is no real substantive difference between the opponents. In
this contest McCain "may well" and probably will win. The GOP demonstrated
for all to see, by its efficient "swift boating" of John Kerry in the 2004
election, that the Democrats are no match for them in the game of personal
invective.

Is this contest salvageable for Obama? Yes, if he took the necessary route
for success, which is the essence of simplicity but is a route which he
and the party are apparently not willing or able to follow. He wins by
becoming the true champion of the interests of "the people" over those of
"the corporation," the proponent of peace and international harmony
advocates over those of war and empire. These are the issues of the
majority of the American people, and it should not take that much courage
to stand up to the power of AIPAC and Goldman Sachs and say: "This is
where I stand, with the people, and no amount of derision heaped on me as
a 'radical' or as 'un-patriotic' and no degree of threat of losing this
election is going to deter me, as "I'd rather be right than President"'".
By being willing to lose the election by standing on principle, he can
win. Given his and the party's long-time and immediate dependence on these
powers, I doubt this will happen, especially if people in the
peace/progressive movement join his ranks as the "best deal available"
among the only "viable" candidates.

Given the likelihood that Obama won't, or can't, make this trip back to
the political left from which the party of the people supposedly derived,
the people have no choice but to abandon the party that has abandoned them
and support a third party candidate like Nader or McKinney. I can even see
the possibility that Obama will reach such a degraded state of support
from the people that he will be the "unelectable" candidate and that we,
who support McKinney, would be able to say in truth that voting for Obama
rather than for her as President is tantamount to a "vote for McCain". How
about them particular apples?

Jerry D. Rose is a retired professor of sociology from State University of
New York at Fredonia, now living in Gainesville Florida. He may be
contacted at: jerrydrose11 [at] yahoo.com. Read other articles by Jerry, or
visit Jerry's website.

This article was posted on Monday, August 11th, 2008 at 6:00 am and is
filed under "Third" Party, Democrats, Elections. ShareThis


--------11 of 16--------

Beyond Politics
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
Aug 09, 2008
ZNet

If TV channels are any measure, the U.S. presidential elections, now less
than 4 months away, are the permanent stuff of headlines.

If candidate A sneezes, it's breaking news; if candidate B hiccups, it's
film at eleven.

It's hardly worthy of headlines, but the beast [the media] must be fed.

For far too many people this news overdose on the elections has bred a
kind of passivity among millions, as they wait in front of TV screens and
computers, like deer caught in headlights.

What happened to anti-war protests?

What happened to housing rights protestors?

What happened to anti-FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act)
activists?

People are dulled by the almost sure expectation that the Democrats will
prevail in the next election due to the low ratings of the Republican
Party, and its lame duck President George W. Bush.

And those dull expectations are based upon the totally unfounded faith
that a Democratic win of the White House really means an end to the war.
(We might ask, which war?)

Millions have apparently forgotten the bitter lessons from the 2006 mid
term election, when Democrats prevailed in congressional elections, formed
a slight majority in both houses, and proceeded to do - nothing.

Peace in Iraq? Off the table. Instead, like lemmings leaping off a cliff
they voted for more and more billions for war.

And what of the recently renewed FISA bill, which legalized the
law-breaking of the Bush Administration - and gave retroactive protection
to phone and communications companies which violated prior law?

FISA - signed, sealed and delivered: and even the Democratic candidate
(Sen. Barack Obama, D.IL), who blasted the measure, put his John Hancock
on it, voting 'yes.'

The great abolitionist (and women's right supporter), Frederick Douglass,
supported Abraham Lincoln, yet that didn't stop him from protesting
against him, when he moved too slowly, or not at all. Reading his
criticisms are still biting, even though over a century has passed. And
yet, his teaching remains just as relevant, for Douglass said, "Power
concedes nothing without demand."

If people demand nothing, that is precisely what they will get.

These lessons from history must teach us today, that protesters must
PROTEST.

Elections aren't endings - they are beginnings - and movements mustn't
stop moving; they should protest more!

###

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an acclaimed American journalist and author who has
been writing from Death Row for more than twenty-five years. Mumia was
sentenced to death after a trial that was so flagrantly racist that
Amnesty International dedicated an entire report to describing how the
trial "failed to meet minimum international standards safeguarding the
fairness of legal proceedings." The complete report is posted here:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/001/2000

Mumia is author of many books, including Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners
Defending Prisoners vs. The USA, forthcoming from City Lights Books.


--------12 of 16--------

Misplaced Blame Undermines Democracy
by Joel S. Hirschhorn

(Swans - August 11, 2008)  A lot of people that I describe as
neo-progressives have already started, nervously, to blame those of us who
totally reject lesser-evil voting and the two-party system (duopoly) and
plutocracy that Barack Obama supporters seem more than willing to sustain.

Neo-progressives are really nothing more than Democrats feeling too
ashamed to call themselves Democrats but, instead, rejoice in calling
themselves progressives, as if they buck the status quo political system.
They do not. They are not genuine political dissidents. They always find a
rationale to keep voting for Democrats and for not voting for any
third-party or independent candidate, especially in presidential
elections.

How do we best serve democracy? That is a central question for me. I
reject lesser-evil voting that allows people with an easy conscience to
vote for candidates that they know have very serious deficiencies, and not
vote for others that do not have much of a chance of winning, even though
they represent a more preferred set of policy positions and ideals.

Here is the central lesson I have come to: If democracy is to have real
meaning and if people recognize the critical importance of fostering
political competition, then clearly we must stop blaming some people for
who wins an election, even though they did not vote for that winner.

In other words, it is very damaging to democracy if the concept of a
spoiler is applied to some candidates (for taking votes away from some
preferred candidate) and if blame is also placed on those who follow their
conscience and do not vote for the candidate favored by the left
(neo-progressives, liberals, and Democrats).

This year, lesser-evil voters in the millions will vote for Obama. They
really do not agree with many of Obama's positions and views, nor do they
necessarily have much confidence that he will deliver true political
reforms. That they want change does not make their choice right, certainly
not in the long run if one agrees that we must put an end to the two-party
plutocracy run mostly to serve the corporate state and the wealthy.
Lesser-evil voting got us to where we are today and will not restore
American democracy.

I hope there are millions of astute Americans that conclude that neither
Obama nor McCain deserve their vote. If they decide not to vote at all or
if they vote for some third-party candidate, then they are not to be
blamed. They are to be respected as taking democracy seriously and making
freedom more than an empty symbolic concept.

If we have and respect political freedom, then we have a responsibility to
only vote for those whose policy positions, values, etc., are what we
truly admire and think are what is needed for the country.

The lesser-evil voters are the ones making a mockery of democracy. And the
people who blame all those not voting for Obama for electing McCain,
should that happen, are the ones defiling democracy.

True proponents for change will vote for Ralph Nader or one of the other
third-party candidates, if they find that candidate to really be what the
country needs. Winning is not the highest priority or the greatest need.
Getting votes counted for candidates outside the corrupt two-party system
is what is needed for the longer term and keeping hope alive for an
eventual political revolution - something that Obama shows no signs of
delivering. People who label themselves as independents should not succumb
to pressure to vote for Obama mainly because they fear McCain.

If McCain wins, then the only people deserving blame for what results are
those that voted for him. And make no mistake; I predict there would be
much to blame him and them for. Still, I would feel much joy in seeing
Obama with his audacity of arrogance lose. And if he wins, there will be,
eventually, much to blame him and his voters for. It is less important to
get the first black president than it is to strike a blow against the
two-party plutocracy. Anyway, if Obama was a true political messiah he
would have, from the very start, proclaimed he wanted to be considered an
American, not an African-American.

American democracy has become fake and delusional and our Constitution
shredded. And the only people to blame for both are all those who voted
for Democrats and Republicans. When will people learn?

Despite revolting conditions, most Americans remain unready to revolt,
even the working poor. And the longer that ugly truth remains, the more we
need what Thomas Jefferson knew was periodically required, a real
political revolution.

Millions of Obamatons would probably welcome putting this on all our
currency: "In God and Barack Obama We Trust." That's how insane things
seem these days, at least to those of us who have not succumbed to all his
smiles and empty rhetoric. As to those genuinely believing that McCain
would make a great president, being dumb is no better than being
delusional.


--------13 of 16--------

China to overtake US as largest manufacturer
By Peter Marsh in London
Financial Times -- August 10 2008
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2aa7a12e-6709-11dd-808f-0000779fd18c.html?nclick_check=1

China is set to overtake the US next year as the world's largest producer
of manufactured goods, four years earlier than expected, as a result of
the rapidly weakening US economy.

The great leap is revealed in forecasts for the Financial Times by Global
Insight, a US economics consultancy. According to the estimates, next year
China will account for 17 per cent of manufacturing value-added output of
$11,783bn and the US will make 16 per cent.

Last year the US was still easily in the top slot and accounted for a
fifth of the total. China was second with 13.2 per cent.

John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, a
Washington-based trade group, played down the effect of the projections.
It was "inevitable" that China would take over on account of its size, he
said. "This should be a wholesome development for the US, for it promises
both political stability for the world's largest country and continuing
opportunities for the US to export to, and invest in, the world's
fastest-growing economy."

As recently as last year, Global Insight economists predicted that the US
would retain the top position until 2013, but a large downward revision in
likely output this year and next is expected to cause the US to slip more
quickly than had been expected.

The data underline the surge of China's manufacturing-led economy in the
past 20 years. In 1990, before economic reforms began to work, it
accounted for a meagre 3 per cent of global manufacturing. Manufacturing
accounted for just 17.5 per cent of global gross domestic product in 2007,
but much activity in the considerably larger area of services, for
instance in retailing, distribution, transport and communications, depends
on it.

The expected change will end more than a 100 years of US dominance. It
returns China to a position it occupied, according to economic historians,
for some 1,800 years up to about 1840, when Britain became the world's
biggest manufacturer after its Industrial Revolution.

Global Insight counts manufacturing production for countries - including
the activity of foreign-owned companies and local ones - as value-added
output.

Value-added data are arrived at by subtracting "inputs" - such as
purchases of materials, parts and services - from raw "gross output" as
measured by the sales of individual companies. The data also use
current-year figures.

If inflation adjustments are used to put the numbers in constant prices,
the expected US position looks better, because its inflation over this
period is predicted to be lower than China's.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

[We jobless Americans can apply for work in China pulling rick-shas,
working on their railroads, or doing laundry (no tickee no washee). We can
appear in their movies like "The Insidious Dr Billy-Joe Scruggs" or
"Princess Kay: Opium Dem Mama"; I look forward to their opening nights
here in the hinterland. -ed]


--------14 of 16--------

Bolivian President Evo Morales Wins Critical Referendum
on His Presidency
Democracy Now!
ugust 12, 2008
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/8/12/bolivian_president_evo_morales_wins_critical

More than 63 percent voted to back Morales' government - nearly ten points
more than the 54 percent that elected him in December 2005. The recall
pitted Morales against governors who have pushed for autonomy for their
resource-rich provinces.

AMY GOODMAN: Bolivian President Evo Morales says he plans to pursue major
constitutional changes after winning a critical referendum on the fate of
his presidency. More than 63 percent voted to back Morales's government,
nearly ten points more than the 54 percent that elected him in December
2005. The recall pitted Morales against governors who have pushed for
autonomy for their resource-rich provinces.

Addressing supporters, Morales said he plans to proceed now with his
agenda of nationalizing Bolivia's energy resources and giving more power
to the poor.

      PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] What the Bolivian people have
      expressed today is the consolidation of change. We're here to move
      forward with the recovery of our natural resources, the
      consolidation of nationalization.

AMY GOODMAN: Morales will continue to face challenges from the wealthy
provinces. Four governors vocally opposed to Morales also handily won
their states' recall votes. Two Morales critics lost their states,
including the governor of Cochabamba, Manfred Reyes. There are fears of
violence as Reyes vows to fight any attempt to remove him from office.

Jim Shultz is executive director of the Democracy Center in Cochabamba,
Bolivia. He joins us on the phone from Cochabamba.

Jim, welcome to Democracy Now! Explain the significance of Morales winning
the vote and Reyes refusing to leave.

JIM SHULTZ: Good morning, Amy. Thanks for having me on the program.

What this vote Sunday was, it was a taking the temperature again of where
Morales's support is in the midst of a year of unbelievable conflict
between he and his opponent. And as you just said to your listeners, that
temperature says that Evo's support is not only what it was when he was
elected, but much stronger, ten points stronger. And it's all over the
country. I mean, even in Santa Cruz, where the most heated opposition to
Morales comes from, his vote went up by seven percent; he got 40 percent
of the vote. So, what it says is that, I think, is that, number one,
Morales's support among the poor and in rural communities is almost
unanimous and that in these regions where you see heated opposition, it's
really coming from the cities. And frankly, my read is that it's getting
amplified by the control that the elites in these cities have of the
media, that it looks - the opposition to Morales looks a lot stronger than
I think it actually is in these regions.

In terms of Cochabamba here with Manfred, I mean, this a guy who really
knows how to shoot himself in the foot. This revocatory election was his
idea to try to get Evo back in January of 2007, and he got creamed. I
mean, he lost - he got less than 40 percent of the vote. And now he's
saying, "Well, these elections weren't legitimate. They weren't legal. And
I'm not going to leave." So, the fear is that we could have a repeat here
in Cochabamba of the violence in January of 2007, in which three people
died in street conflicts over Manfred Reyes Villa and demands for his
resignation. But given the power of the vote -

AMY GOODMAN: But what about who would replace Reyes? I mean, he was
recalled, but wouldn't there have to be an election to vote for a new
governor?

JIM SHULTZ: Constitutionally, the President of the Republic, who's Evo
Morales, would be able to appoint a successor. There might be interim
elections, or that successor might serve until 2010, in which the next
national elections are scheduled.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain who was behind the recall. You say Reyes was one of
the governors, but can you talk about the area of Sucre and who is
supporting them?

JIM SHULTZ: Well, first of all, the recall really wasn't - in the end, the
recall wasn't a tool of the opposition. It was basically a poker bet, in
which the opposition challenged Evo to a recall, and Evo said, "OK, let's
do it." And I don't think they really anticipated he would do that.

So, who's behind the opposition in places like Sucre? First of all, let's
make a note that Sucre, which is where a lot of this opposition has also
come from, split fifty-fifty. So Evo got 50 percent of the vote in Sucre.
It comes from an elite that is, you know, as people know, whiter and more
wealthy than the majority in this country. But some of this division has
also become regional, especially in Sucre, where there's a very broad
public demand that the capital of the country be returned to Sucre, which
once was its historical capital, and that regional demand that Evo has
resisted has become such a heated point of opposition that if you travel
in the city of Sucre, as I did a week ago, I mean, you talk to people who
are taxi drivers, who are gum sellers, people who you would think that
ethnically and economically would be on Evo's side, are actually opposed
to Evo because of the specific regional issue involved.

AMY GOODMAN: What exactly is the president, is Evo Morales, going to do
right now? What is he talking about when he talks about nationalizing
resources?

JIM SHULTZ: Well, I mean, nationalization in Bolivia isn't really
nationalization. I mean, if you look at what Evo did on gas back in May of
2006, what he really - nationalization is where you confiscate the
property, and you take it over. What Evo has done is essentially raise the
taxes and renegotiated the contracts to bring in something on the order of
a billion dollars a year of new revenue into Bolivia's treasury. I think
he'll continue that kind of process.

The real question here is what he does with the constitution. That's
really the battle ahead. There's this constitution that is basically a MAS
- Evo Morales's political party - MAS-written constitution that opponents
vehemently object to. And he now has an option, and I think he'll probably
exercise it, to bring that constitution forward to a public vote in 2009,
because if he keeps the same vote he got on Sunday, he could probably win
ratification of that. That would make the opposition go absolutely
bananas. And the issue I think they object to more than anything else in
the constitution is it would allow for the president to be reelected.
Under current law, the current constitution, Evo can't run for reelection
in 2010. The new constitution would allow him to do that.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Jim Shultz, I want to thank you very much for being
with us, executive director of the Democracy Center in Cochabamba,
Bolivia. He writes a blog on the situation in Bolivia that can be found at
democracyctr.org.


--------15 of 16--------

 The corporations
 ate democracy for lunch.
 Now and then they burp.


--------16 of 16--------

   The Calculus of Evil

 Voting for the greater evil
  is the lesser evil.
 Voting for the lesser evil
  is the greater evil.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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