Progressive Calendar 08.22.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 04:33:14 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    08.22.08

1. Palestine vigil   8.22 4:15pm
2. Copwatch          8.22 6pm
3. Social change     8.22 7pm
4. Steal votes/f     8.22 7pm
5. RNC training      8.22 7pm
6. RNC vigil StCap   8.22 7pm
7. Moyers/DNC/China  8.22 9pm

8. Peace walk        8.23 9am Cambridge MN
9. NWN4P Mtka        8.23 11am
10. RNC training     8.23 12noon 8.24 1pm
11. CUAPB/copwatch   8.23 1:30pm
12. Northtown vigil  8.23 2pm
13. Women's vote     8.23 2pm Duluth MN
14. RNC marshall     8.23 2pm
15. Hour/$ potluck   8.23 3pm
16. Spaghetti/Xwar   8.23 7pm
17. JFK assasination 8.23 7pm
18. Explicit Ills/f  8.23 7pm

19. Dave Lindorff     - Loserville: how Obama blew it
20. Joel S Hirschhorn - Obama loses; bye bye Barry
21. Theda Skocpol     - Wake up, Obama camp
22. Greg Guma         - Vermont: breaking out of the empire box
23. ed                - bumpersticker

--------1 of 23--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 8.22 4:15pm

Friday, 8/22, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St

--------2 of 23--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: Copwatch 8.22 6pm

we're at the shelters, outside the clubs during closing time or out at
Critical Mass or other protest events, we've shown time and again that
copwatch is a valuable service that helps to prevent police brutality and
that provides important case documentation for people who are brutalized
or falsely arrested.  In the run up to the RNC, we've seen increased
attacks on homeless people in an effort to shove them out of sight.  Now
that the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington city councils have given
free reign to their police to abuse protesters, we know copwatch will be
even more important when the elephant show finally arrives.

WE NEED LOTS OF TRAINED COPWATCHERS!  Come to a copwatch training to learn
about your rights in general and about your rights while documenting
in the streets and how to work with our technology.  We'll spend some time
together in a classroom then go out into the streets to practice your new

Please attend one of these dates:

Friday, August 22, 6:00 PM
Thursday, August 28, 6:00 PM
Both trainings will be held at Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis.

Depending on demand, we may add other dates.  If a group is interested in
setting up a separate date, please let us know.

--------3 of 23--------

From: Anya Achtenberg <aachtenberg [at]>
Subject: Social change 8.22 7pm

Anya Achtenberg and Sherry Quan Lee will read from their recently
published books:  Friday, August 22, 2008, at 7:00 pm at Amazon Bookstore
Cooperative, 4755 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55407.  (612)
821-9630 or

The Stories of Devil-Girl by Anya Achtenberg

"Achtenberg is a cutting-edge voice in the literature of the
post-globalization age, an era in which we are uprooted geographically and
spiritually, and redefining what it means to be home. What a superbly
written book! Read it and be changed....Achtenberg's visionary workshops
on Writing for Social Change: Re-Dream a Just World have received national
acclaim." Demetria Martinez, author of Mother Tongue, Confessions of a
Berlitz Tape Chicana, and others.
How to Write a Suicide Note serial essays that saved a woman's life by
Sherry Quan Lee

"Quan Lee breaks the rules and finds her genius. This is a passionate,
risk-taking, outrageous, life-affirming book and love letter." Sharon
Doubiago, author of Hard Country, Body and Soul, and others.

"...a haunting portrait of the daughter of a Black mother and a Chinese
father....her story relies on a contextual view...the intersectionality of
race, class, age, gender, and sexuality." Beth Kyong Lo, M.A.,

Reflections of America Series imprint of Modern History Press

The writers' websites:

--------4 of 23-------

From: Laurie Hilty <lhilty [at]>
From: Jennifer J. Thomas
Subject: Stealing votes/f  8.22 7pm

Please join me for the Minneapolis premier of the powerful new
documentary, "STEALING AMERICA: Vote by Vote".  It will be shown at the
Oak Street Cinema at 309 Oak Street in Minneapolis at 7:00pm every day,
Friday, Aug 22 through Monday, Aug 25.  The Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated
filmmaker, Dorothy Fadiman, will host a discussion immediately following
the Screenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Others will also
participate in a post-film discussion each day with information on how you
can help.

For those of you who have seen the 2006 version of this film on DVD, you
will be impressed with this finished work that now includes coverage of
the 2006 election, issues for 2008, more history, new interviews,
compelling graphs, narration, music - and shown on a big screen!  Timed
just before both conventions, its' a great opportunity to introduce this
NON-PARTISAN issue to a broader audience.  Building awareness of the
problems with our nation's current elections systems can help create the
pressure to pass meaningful reforms.

Please join us and bring your friends.

Jennifer Jewell Thomas
 - Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance
 (, Co-Director Voting Rights Working Group
  Working to (1) Protect the right and access to voting for all citizens
and (2) Ensure that votes cast are counted and reported accurately.
jjthomas [at] Home: 612-920-4246 Mobile: 612-386-5724

--------5 of 23--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: RNC training 8.22 7pm

8/22 (7 to 9 pm) and 8/23 or 8/24 (8:30 to 5:30), Hennepin Avenue United
Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Ave, Mpls, intensive weekend trainings to
participate as peace team members during the Republican National
Convention. $35.  Send registrations to minnesotapeaceteam [at] or
Minnesota Peace Team/Wojtan, 13341 Everest Ave, Apple Valley 55124.
Questions?  612-483-6041

--------6 of 23--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: RNC vigil StCap  8.22 7pm

Friday, 8/22, 7 pm (and every Friday until the RNC convention), meditation
and vigil for peace at the RNC at the State Capitol lawn, St Paul. or 612-227-1817.

--------7 of 23--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at]>
Subject: Moyers/DNC/China 8.22 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | Middle Class Squeeze

Friday on Bill Moyers Journal: "With celebrations set to kick off in
Denver for the Democratic National Convention, Bill Moyers Journal travels
to Colorado where tough economic times are hitting suburban communities.
And, as the Olympics are set to close, Bill Moyers interviews Philip Pan,
foreign correspondent and former Beijing bureau chief for The Washington
Post, on how the emerging economic power of China looks from the ground."

---------8 of 23--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 8.23 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street

--------9 of 23--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 8.23 11am

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

--------10 of 23--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
From Jude Ortiz via Coldsnap Legal Collective <coldsnap [at]>
Subject: RNC training 8.23 12noon 8.24 1pm

Coldsnap Legal Collective will be doing two more *volunteer trainings*
this weekend to learn how to volunteer with us for the RNC!  If you missed
the trainings last weekend, show up *Saturday at Walker Library* in Mpls
or *Sunday at Merriam Park Library* in St. Paul to find out everything you
need to know about how to protect activists through legal support and

We will also be doing *Know Your Rights trainings* both days immediately
following each volunteer training.  These are for everyone who wants to
learn how to protect themselves and their communities when approached by the
cops, during the RNC or just out on the street! We will be ending the
sessions each with *legal support options trainings*, specifically for
people who want to learn about creating legal support structures for their
affinity groups and fostering jail and court solidarity.

Saturday, 8/23
Walker Library meeting room
2880 Hennepin Avenue, Mpls
12 - 2 p.m.: Volunteer training
2 - 3 p.m.: Know Your Rights training
3 - 4 p.m.: Learn about your legal support options

Sunday, 8/24
Merriam Park Library meeting room
1831 Marshall Avenue, St. Paul
1 - 3 p.m.: Volunteer training
3 - 4 p.m.: Know Your Rights training
4 - 4:45 p.m.: Learn about your legal support options

For more information, keep reading:

Want to get involved during the RNC?
Are you planning to be on the streets^×or not?
Do more than just exercise your rights^×
PROTECT THEM for yourself and your community!

Coldsnap Legal Collective is working to protect our communities up to,
during, and after the RNC.

You (yes, YOU!) can get involved by helping us:
  Coordinate a street team of legal support activists
  Answer phones for our 24-hour jail support hotline (651.356.8635)
  Staff our legal support office
  Facilitate jail and court solidarity as needed

That's right, you can do any or all of this! You don't need any special
skills or experience. You just need some dedication and a willingness to
help protect a few thousand of your closest friends. It's fun, you'll
learn important organizing skills, and you'll get to hang with some
awesome people.  Seriously, legal support folks are radtastic!

Trainings are free and open to everyone. All of our activities can be done
in conjunction with your other protest activities, or you can dedicate all
your protest energies to us. We'll welcome you either way

Here are the different roles you can take:


The street team will be made up of activists who are in the middle of the
action and can keep an eye on what the cops are doing, so they can help
protect people's rights in the moment. Distinct from both legal observers
and copwatchers, the street team will have a more interactive role of
being trained to provide ad hoc legal rights trainings as needed on the
street, serving as a vital part of the Coldsnap communications team, and
witnessing and reporting police actions.

Good for: For those of you who were planning on being on the streets
anyway, because all of this can be done while still participating in any
demonstrations you would like to be a part of.


Our hotline will be available 24-hours a day before, during, and after the
RNC. Protestors will be calling this hotline when they or people they know
are arrested. We'll take down their relevant info and facilitate getting
them the support they need as they are processed through the system ^Ċ
turning their one phone call from jail into many. We'll also be working
closely with the National Lawyers Guild to ensure people have access to
good lawyers while they're being held and when it comes time to fight the
charges levied against them.

Good for: People with good phone skills who work well in a high
excitement, high pressure environment.


We'll need a ton of help to manage our jail support database, make phone
calls on behalf of political prisoners, and coordinate our efforts with
other support groups.

Good for: People who are detail-oriented and good with big-picture stuff.


After activists are arrested, they often need people on the outside to put
pressure on the jails and courts to ensure they are treated fairly, are
not being abused, and are receiving the care they need. And they always
need to know their communities support them! Coldsnap can help affinity
groups learn their options for creating jail and court solidarity
strategies, mobilize the community to call in to the jails to demand fair
treatment, stage rallies outside the jails and courthouses, pack the
courts during hearings, and bring media attention to the way political
prisoners are being treated.

Good for: People with experience (or want to get experience) coordinating
logistics, events, media, etc.

In Solidarity, Coldsnap Legal Collective

Please note that use of the Minneapolis Public Library System and Saint
Paul Public Library System meeting facilities does not constitute
endorsement of the beliefs, viewpoints, policies or affiliations of the user
by the library board or staff.

--------11 of 23--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB/copwatch 8.23 1:30pm


During the Republican Convention, CUAPB will play a number of important
roles.  Along with copwatch as noted above, we'll be involved in jail
medical support, jail exit support, documentation of cases through our
hotline, court watch/court support, and even assisting homeless people
being swept aside in both downtown Minneapolis and St.  Paul.  It will
take a lot of hands and we really need your help.  You can plug in by
coming to one of the copwatch trainings listed above or coming to our
volunteer meeting on Saturday, August 23 at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church. If
you can't make it to the trainings or meeting, please email us back with
your contact phone number and how you'd like to be involved.

First event on the list will be the Critical Mass on August 29th.  This
will be the one year anniversary of the attack on Critical Mass that
resulted in many injuries and 19 arrests.  It will also be a kind of kick
off event for protests against the RNC.  As such, we think the MPD may
have "special plans" for this event and we need all copwatchers out with
us that day.

Copwatch at Critical Mass
Friday, August 29
Meet 4:30 p.m.
Loring Park, Harmon Place side near the dandelion fountain

--------12 of 23--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.23 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

--------13 of 23--------

From: Debbie <ddo [at]>
Subject: Women's vote 8.23 2pm Duluth MN

LWV Duluth Daughters Tea
Saturday, August 23
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Duluth Woman's Club
2400 E. Superior St.

Ages 4 to 104 are welcome at this event to celebrate the anniversary of
the ratification of the 19th Amendment (guaranteeing women's right to
vote) and to learn more about women's suffrage in the company of some
wonderful women.

Enjoy an afternoon of tasty treats, entertainment, summer flowers and

Bring your daughter, mother, granddaughter, grandmother, best friend,
neighbor, first cousin once removed - - ALL women are daughters!! Special
prizes for groups with the most generations of women represented.

Tickets are $15.00 per person, $10.00 for children 4-6. Funds raised will
benefit LWV Duluth.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact Bryce Nixon at
464-0623 or Sally Munger at 728-0711.

--------14 of 23--------

From: braun044 <braun044 [at]>
Subject: RNC marshall 8.23 2pm

As you probably know, the Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq has
been very involved in the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War.

Peacekeeper/Marshall and Volunteer Trainings for September 1 March on the

Interested in volunteering at the biggest march in MN history? We could
use your help. Please come to one of our 3 marshalling and volunteer
trainings so that you can help us have an amazing demonstration on
September 1. Organized by the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the
War. For more information: info [at], 612-379-3584.

SAT, 8/23 @ 2pm @ Walker Methodist Church, 3104 16th Ave. S.
SUN, 8/31 @ 2pm @ Hubert Humphrey Building Room 30 (301 19th Avenue
S, U of MN, West Bank, Minneapolis

All peacekeeper/marshal volunteers must attend one of these meetings.

--------15 of 23--------

From: Diane J. Peterson <birch7 [at]>
Subject: Hour$ potluck 8.23 3pm

Some of you may have been present about 2 or 3 years ago when the time
barter network folks in St. Paul, Hour Dollars, presented an explanation
of their operations.  I have been participating in this organization for
years, and I feel it is beneficial to to become involved.

Below is a notice of a social event which is open to people interested in
exploring whether Hour Dollars is appropriate to join. I hear that
participation in the network has been very high lately, in part due to the
bad economy.  Hour Dollars is a way to get tasks accomplished without
shelling out money.  I have gotten professional flyer design for a health
care forum done, for free, by using an Hour Dollars worker.

To: info [at]

Hour Dollars Potluck - 8/23/08  3 - 6 PM
Newell Park in St Paul, MN At Fairview and Pierce Butler. Drinks & paper
products provided It's our 10th-year anniversary. Look for the signs.
info [at]

--------16 of 23--------

From: Project to Stop the War Industry <projectatk [at]>
Subject: Spaghetti/stop war 8.23 7pm

Dinner: Stop the War Industry, 8/23 7:00pm

On July 2nd, 8 activists who identified themselves as "Project to Stop the
War Industry" were arrested in Anoka, MN for locking down and blocking the
entrance of an ATK weapons manufacturing plant. They are now facing charges
and legal fees.

Support PSWI in their endeavors to stop the war industry by joining us for
a benefit Spaghetti Dinner with live music on this Saturday, August 23rd
at 7pm. There will be vegan options, and childcare is provided.

The dinner will be at the Smith Theater, 627 Smith Avenue, St. Paul (space
provided by the RNC Welcoming Committee). Suggested sliding-scale donation
of $5-$50 RSVP or contribute online: projectatk [at]

--------17 of 23--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: JFK assasination 8.23 7pm

Noted author and theologian, Jim Douglas, will speak at St Frances
Cabrini Church on Saturday August 23 at 7 PM.  His new book, JFK and
the Unspeakable, presents a compelling and persuasive account of why
President Kennedy was assassinated and why the unmasking of this truth
remains crucial for the future of our country and the world.
St Frances Cabrini is located in Mpls at 1500 Franklin Ave. SE.

--------18 of 23--------

From: Ted Dooley <614grand [at]>
Subject: Explicit Ills/f 8.23 7pm


Minneapolis-born Mark Webber's Directorial Debut Timed to Coincide
with Republican National Convention

Explicit Ills, a timely new film that explores issues of poverty, health
care, and drug addiction in Philadelphia, will premier in Minneapolis on
Saturday, August 23 at 7:00pm at Pepito's Parkway Theater in Minneapolis.

The film, which stars Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) and Rosario Dawson
(Rent) is the directional debut of actor turned filmmaker, Mark Webber
(Snow Days and The Hottest State) and recently took home the Audience
Award for a Narrative Feature at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

Webber was born in Minneapolis and raised in the poor urban neighbourhood
of North Philadelphia by his mother, Cheri Honkala, who battled poverty
and homelessness after being abandoned by Webber's father, a drug addict.
Honkala, who is the National Organizer of the Poor People's Economic Human
Rights Campaign (PPEHRC), and Webber were both homeless while living in
Minneapolis and are now outspoken advocates on homelessness and poverty.
PPEHRC will also be participating in several events in Minneapolis during
the Republican National Convention (RNC) to draw attention to poverty in

Mark Webber, Writer and Director of Explicit Ills
Cheri Honkala, National Organizer for PPEHRC
Actors from the film expected to attend

Minneapolis premier of Explicit Ills
Pepito's Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55417
Saturday,  August 23, 2008 at 7:00pm

--------19 of 23--------

How Obama Blew It
August 21, 2008

Well, it's happened, and it's no surprise.

Barack Obama, the prospective Democratic presidential candidate, has
managed to turn a 5-8 point lead over prospective Republican opponent John
McCain into a 7-point deficit - a double-digit slide - in just two and a
half months following a campaign that had voters really excited over his

How did he manage this feat (which is documented in the latest latest
Reuters/Zogby poll)?

Simple: he followed the tried-and-true strategy of Democratic centrist
advisers who have increasingly dominated his campaign since the end of the
primaries, and who have a proven track record of producing Democratic
electoral disasters now for several decades.

Like John Kerry and Al Gore before him, Obama, who ran his primary
campaign as a liberal, staking out an anti-war position, has morphed over
recent weeks into a Republican-lite candidate, calling for a hard line
against Palestinian rights, threatening to attack Iran, calling for an
expansion of the disastrous war in Afghanistan, and backing away from
genuine health care reform and other important progressive goals here at

One might think that after watching Democratic candidates lose the last
two presidential elections by following exactly this kind of "strategy,"
if it can be called that, Obama and his campaign managers would have
decided to try something different, but it appears that the Democratic
Party at the top is hopelessly in the grip of corporate interests that
favor war, free-market nostrums and corporate welfare. (Okay, I know Gore
really won the 2000 election, but he should have won it so convincingly -
for example taking New Hampshire and his home state of Tennessee - that
the election couldn't have been stolen. And Kerry, similarly, should not
have had his race determined by a close vote in economically distressed
Ohio, which should have been his by a blowout.)

Obama got where he is - the first African-American major party nominee and
the first black candidate with a real shot at winning the White House - by
appealing to the Democratic Party's liberal base. Now Zogby reports that
Obama's support among liberals has plunged 12 percent. That's liberals

I count myself among those on the left who have turned away from this
fast-talking eel of a candidate.

It's not a matter of turning to McCain, who is if anything more dangerous
than President Bush because of his fondness for war and his evident lack
of any kind of principles, not to mention his personal greed.

But how can I or any progressive vote for a presidential candidate who
goes from opposing a war to saying he not only supports the idea of
keeping troops in Iraq for another five years - the length of the entire
WWII! - but who further says he won't rule out attacking Iran, even if
that country poses no imminent threat to the US, simply because it
develops nuclear weapons - the same weapons that our putative friends,
Pakistan and India, have? How can I vote for a candidate who wants to
expand the military (by 65,000 troops) instead of shrinking this huge,
bloodsucking parasite of an organization which is costing as much as the
rest of the world spends on its armies?

How can I or any progressive vote for a presidential candidate who cannot
state categorically that he will defend the Constitution by reversing all
of President Bush's abuses of power and who will not promise to prosecute
the president and members of his administration for any crimes committed
while in office?

If you look at Obama's vaunted website, and check out his positions on the
big issues of healthcare, education, the economy, labor, social security,
etc., you can see he's pretty good on most things (okay, his health care
"reform" is a loser and will never fly. He should be calling for a
nationally-run insurance system modeled on Medicare and paid for by the
government). The problem is that there has been a deliberate effort to
soft-pedal all of it, while backpedaling on his position on the Iraq War.
It's almost as if he and his campaign think the "smart" progressives will
go to his website and be satisfied with his online positions, while the
"dumb" unaffiliated voters will not go there and will just base their
votes on his gauzy image TV ads.  (More importantly, if he can go from
anti-war to pro-war, what's to say he won't backpedal in office on the
rest of his positions, especially if he won't highlight and defend them
vigorously on the campaign trail?)

There has clearly been a decision made in the Obama campaign to soft-pedal
liberal positions and to make Obama appear "safe' and uncontroversial.

The result has been his precipitous slide in the polls.

That's not the worst of it, either. Obama is not just losing liberals in
droves. Many liberals, after all, will in the end return and vote for
grudgingly for Obama, though they probably won't volunteer to do any of
the critical campaign work registering voters, promoting his candidacy or
getting people to the polls. The worst part is that by becoming just
another middle-of-the-road, namby-pamby, Republican-lite clone of Kerry
circa 2004 and Gore circa 2000, Obama is losing the young and also the
disaffected, unaffiliated voters who were flocking to his campaign during
the primaries. This group of erstwhile enthusiasts is down 12 percent,
too. And it's those people - particularly the unaffiliated voters - who
are raising McCain's numbers. The Zogby poll reports that McCain's support
among younger voters has reached 40 percent - not that much below Obama's
52 percent.

There is probably still time to turn this electoral debacle in the making
around. Obama needs to come out unambiguously for a quick end to the war
in Iraq. He needs to do an about face on his call for an expansion of the
war in Afghanistan. He needs to flatly rule out preemptive war as a policy
for the United States of America, unless the country is in danger of
imminent attack. He needs to scotch plans for expanding the military, and
instead to start talking about how to reduce military spending, so that
those funds can be shifted to domestic priorities like improving education
and dramatically increasing research into carbon-free energy production.
He needs to call for a national healthcare system that will provide
quality, affordable medical care for all, and he needs to call for an
aggressive campaign to combat joblessness and to reduce income disparity
within the US.

Do that, and we will see an Obama presidency and a Democratic sweep of
both houses of Congress.

Continue with the present losing strategy, and we will see John McCain as
president, and the continuation of a weak, compromised, sell-out
Democratic Congress for at least the next four years.

Now as sympathetic as I am to the politics espoused by Ralph Nader and by
the Green Party, I'm well aware of the futility of Third Party campaigns.
Even so, count me as one progressive who at this point has stopped
supporting Obama.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest
book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). His work is
available at

[This is just what Democrats for high office do. If they don't do it, they
are not supported by big money and are not endorsed. They all know that,
even if we don't. Dems lose office and issues on purpose; it's part of the
game plan to fool us while making the elite eliter. If you're in office
and you stop playing their game, no more money for you, big money against
you (bye bye office), and maybe your small plane goes down. Our elite:
Harvard on the outside, Mafia on the inside. They're the ones who have
every reason to hate democracy, and do. -ed]

--------20 of 23--------

Bye Bye Barry
by Joel S. Hirschhorn
August 20th, 2008
Dissident Voice

The final results are in on this historic November day. Despite the
hundreds of millions of dollars he raised, Barack Obama has lost the 2008
presidential election. American voters have boldly spoken truth to
arrogance. Turned out that all those pre-election opinion polls that
showed Obama's inability to get over 50 percent support were prescient.
Much of the public was never comfortable with Obama, though he clearly was
so comfortable acting like he already was president.

Hillary and Bill Clinton are probably drinking champagne and having the
sweetest time since Bill won his first presidential election. Hillary must
now bite her lip repeatedly and resist saying publicly that "I told you
so!" Hillary in 2012 will reveal that she learned her lessons well.

All that Obama audacity of arrogance from the smiling, glib politician
finally died the death it so richly deserved. Too many pundits will blame
his loss on his blackness and racist voters. But the larger truth is that
sufficient voters saw through the many lies and deceptions. Obama always
had a hard time giving a simple, short straight answer to tough questions.
He was always mentally calculating exactly how to game his answers so that
he would achieve all the benefits he had his eyes on. He was simply too
damn presumptuous and too smart for his own good. In the end, Americans do
not want the smartest person in the presidency or endless nuancing. They
want someone they can easily understand and trust, despite their
skepticism. There were many reasons not to trust the calculating Obama to
do anything he promised to do or, for some people, to fear he might.

And now the bloviating pundits will also blame third party presidential
candidates for siphoning votes from Obama, as if Americans have no right
to exercise their political freedom and vote for someone they honestly
think has the best policy positions and would most help restore American

Jon Stewart and other late-night comics will feast on these election
results, as they should. I can't wait to hear jokes about Obama's wife
becoming a more vocal and militant critic of the good old USA, now that
she has proof positive that so many Americans are stupid white racists.

Of course, now the nation must suffer through the ineptness, confusion and
dementia-like dullness of the living-in-the-past John McCain,
tough-talking but brain dead. Will the McCain presidency look like an
extension of the incredible terrible George W. Bush White House? Of

Still living off a once-true characterization as a maverick, McCain must
now surround himself with people who actually are smart and knowledgeable
about myriad issues. Should be no problem finding enough lobbyists.
Pundits will start speculating that McCain will be lucky just to stay
alive for four years, but thankfully his vice-president seems more
capable. One thing for sure: the power plutocracy that really runs the
country will have little trouble pulling the strings behind the scenes and
keep the puppet McCain dancing to tunes written by corporate interests.

Ralph Nader summed up this way: "A large fraction of Americans know that
we need a Jeffersonian political revolution to fix our corrupt system.
They were not fooled by the Obama rhetoric about change, not from someone
that has been a product of and servant for the two-party plutocracy. Yes,
all the votes for me and the other third-party presidential candidates
spelled the difference between Obama winning and losing. Our voters
correctly protested against the corrupt two-party system. They did not
elect McCain. Only those who voted for McCain elected him, and that is
something they must live with as they watch a McCain administration
continue dismantling American democracy and budget-busting global

Cynthia McKinney wisely noted that "It is time to stop saying God bless
America, and begin repeating God save America. The good news is that we
will build even greater public support for a true political revolution
during the McCain presidency. All too often things must get much worse
before they can get better. They will get worse".

As to Obama, half-jokingly he said: "I may come back as a third-party
candidate". Or did that reflect a calculation that Democrats had learned
their lesson? As to all the screaming from the left that the Republicans
stole this election also, Obama immediately said: "John won it fair and
square". Thanks Barry, exactly what I expected from a phony change agent.

Joel S. Hirschhorn has a new book, Delusional Democracy: Fixing the
Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, which supports
constitutional conventions and other peaceful ways to restore American
democracy. To join the pro-convention effort or discuss issues write the
author: articlev [at] Read other articles by Joel, or visit Joel's

This article was posted on Wednesday, August 20th, 2008 at 6:00 am and is
filed under "Third" Party, Corruption, Democracy, Democrats, Elections.

--------21 of 23--------

Wake Up, Obama Camp
by Theda Skocpol
Published on Thursday, August 21, 2008 by TPMCafe
Common Dreams

The last month has been excruciating for Obama supporters, watching him
and his campaign squander so many hopes and resources on an utterly wimpy
campaign. For me, the last straw was yesterday - in the VFW speech when
supposedly Obama was gettting tough against McCain's character
assassination strategy - to watch him speak like a soporific college
professor, repeating McCain's charges at length, flattering McCain as
honorable and patriotic, and then, finally, sort of begging McCain to take
it back! Josh Marshall is totally right to call Obama out on this.

What are they thinking in Chicago? Why would they ever imagine that
Americans will vote to make President a candidate who evades and begs?
This is like football. If you are hit hard in the pile, you hit back, you
don't run to the refs. If the refs (media in this context) make a bad or
missed call, you just get up and play harder, hit back harder, throw
passes. You never expect the other side to play nice, you never beg for
that; and you take for granted that the refs will overlook a lot of stuff.

On evasion: A national, turning-point campaign is not an academic
discussion of the issues! You don't go into Saddleback and give a
ridiculous, distanced, abstract, evasive, talmudic answer to the abortion
question you knew was coming! You look the television camera/voters in the
eye and crisply explain your own personal moral perspective in clear,
plain language - acknowledging AFTER you state your views that other
moral people can have different views and underlining that you will always
respect them, listen to them, and look for common ground. This is not
rocket science!

On fighting back: For weeks, Obama has ignored or wheedled when McCain and
Lieberman attacked his patriotism and judgement. He has repeatedly begged
them to stop because, supposedly, they are more honorable than that. He
has asked them to discuss the issues dispassionately. What an insipid
approach! McCain has NOT been honorable or honest, and Obama and his
surrogates need to hammer on that incessantly. Use words like "lying" and
"losing himself" or " (better) "forgetting what he is supposed to stand
for." Stop focusing on decades ago in the POW camp. Talk about now, about
the last years and months. Make the really obvious point that no candidate
for President at this time can really be putting country first if he runs
a dirty, lying campaign of false smears. That betrays the public trust.
Tell it like it is, Obama!

Politics is not just about issues, it is a metaphorical test of strength.
If a man will not get immediately - if quietly - angry and fight back
when his patriotism is attacked, why should we trust him to defend the
country? And if he won't punch back by explaining clearly why his approach
to foreign policy is actually tougher and smarter, why McCain's is
thoughtless and reckless, why would we think he is better to be Commander
in Chief?

And on issues like oil drilling, why not recognize that McCain has adopted
an ACTIVE metaphor that makes emotional sense to people? He is saying we
should act to tap U.S. resources, and people are not really concerned
about how many years it would take to tweak pump prices. They hear action
and will and resolve - and these are highly valued in a President! Obama
can certainly get a hearing for other active steps, but he and the Dems
should stop pretending that they can parry drilling with logic.

Obama is lucky he is not further behind already. And he is going to fade
fast if he just runs a feel-good, bland convention about abstract "hope"
and "change." In addition to getting gritty and colorfully clear about his
recipe for making Americans' lives better - AND about his approach to
make this nation safer and stronger in the world - Obama needs to signal
all the major speakers at next week's convention to go after McCain in a
key part of each speech. We need to hear why McCain is wrong and dangerous
and no longer so honest and honorable. It needs repeating with force and
humor and passion.

Otherwise, the Convention will be wasted, and this historic turning point
for our country will be lost.

And pick a FIGHTER for VP, please. Do it yesterday. Obama, you need
someone who will push hard at your side and make you better, too. And you
never should have gone on vacation (shades of Kerry) without a VP to carry
on. Biden will work, I think, but - and I never expected to believe this
- it might be time to turn to Hillary. She is at least a fighter, and
this election really matters to a lot more than you and her.

Copyright 2007 TPM Media LLC.
Theda Skocpol is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and
Sociology and former Dean of the Graduate School at Harvard University.

[I include Skocpol only to show how ballistic even core Dem theorists have
become. Maybe certain MN elected Dems should stop anticipating a call to
Washington in January. And as for the "hope" that some Dems like to
substitute for reality, after it falls to the ground, what new pleasing
fictions will they invent to keep a weak smile on their clouded faces?

--------22 of 23--------

Breaking Out of the Empire Box
By Greg Guma
August 21, 2008
Source: Maverick Media

Three days after the 2008 presidential election, no matter which political
party takes the White House, a convention will be held in Vermont's
Statehouse to consider more radical solutions to the problems facing the
nation. The organizing group is the Second Vermont Republic, a citizens'
network that aims to dissolve the United States and, in particular, return
Vermont "to its status as an independent republic."

This may sound unlikely, if not impossible. Yet a recent Zogby poll
commissioned by the Middlebury Institute, a think tank studying
"separatism, secession, and self-determination," indicates that that 20
percent of Americans think "any state or region has the right to peaceably
secede from the United States and become an independent republic." More
than 18 percent told pollsters that they "would support a secessionist
effort in my state."

Could it happen? Frank Bryan, a political scientist who co-authored a 1989
book that called for restructuring Vermont democracy along decentralist
lines, has argued that "the cachet of secession would make the new
republic a magnet" and "people would obviously relish coming to the
Republic of Vermont, the Switzerland of North America." For Thomas Naylor,
the former Duke University professor who launched the movement in 2003,
the question isn't "if" but "when."

"Lincoln persuaded the public that secession was unconstitutional and
immoral," Naylor has noted. "It's one of the few things that the left and
right agree on. We say it's constitutional - and ultimately it is a
question of political will: the will of the people of Vermont versus the
will of the government to stop us."

As you might guess, there's no shortage of skeptics. According to Vermont
attorney and historian Paul Gillies, "It doesn't make economic sense, it
doesn't make political sense, it doesn't make historical sense. Other than
that, it's a good idea." Vermont archivist Gregory Sanford even claims
that some of the arguments for secession, in Vermont at least, are based
on "historical facts of dubious reputation." The State Archives often gets
requests for copies of an "escape claus e" in the Vermont Constitution,
which supposedly allows Vermont to withdraw from the US. "The truth, drawn
from documents, is less satisfying; there is no, nor has there ever been,
such an escape clause," he says.

But the underlying issue isn't whether there is legal authority, but why
millions of people across the country think it's a reasonable and
attractive idea. An answer worth considering is provided by Rob Williams,
editor of Vermont Commons, a newspaper that covers secession and related
issues. "The argument for secession is that the US has become an empire
that is essentially ungovernable - it's too big, it's too corrupt and it
no longer serves the needs of its citizens," he explains. "Congress and
the executive branch are being run by the multinationals. We have
electoral fraud, rampant corporate corruption, a culture of militarism and
war. If you care about democracy and self-governance and any kind of
representative system, the only constitutional way to preserve what's left
of the Republic is to peaceably take apart the empire."

Vermont has been fertile ground for such "outside the box" thinking in the
past. For example, the state didn't immediately join the new United States
after the War of Independence, remaining an independent state from 1 777
until 1791. Plus, half a century later it was the first state to elect an
Anti-Mason governor during a period when opposition to the secret society
was growing.

The Anti-Mason movement - which elected two governors and ran a candidate
for president in 1832 - lasted only a decade, and most of its political
leaders eventually joined either the short-lived Whig Party or the more
durable Republicans. Along the way, however, it pointed out the dangers of
elite groups and, on a practical level, initiated changes in the way
political parties operated. The Anti-Masonic Party wasn't only the first
third party in US national politics. It introduced the concept of
nominating conventions and the adoption of party platforms, reforms soon
embraced by the other parties.

This wasn't the only time a short-lived political movement produced
unexpected change. In 1912, the new Progressive Party, formed by Theodore
Roosevelt when he lost the Republican nomination to William Howard Taft,
led to the election of Woodrow Wilson. Roosevelt soon left the Party, but
its work continued under the leadership of Robert La Follette. Although La
Follette's run for president in 1924 netted only 17 percent of the vote,
he won in his home state of Wisconsin, and successful reforms were
implemented=2 0there.

So, what can a campaign for secession accomplish, even if the goal isn't
achieved? To answer that, consider the basic agenda underpinning the
Second Vermont Republic: political independence, human scale,
sustainability, economic solidarity, power sharing, equal access, tension
reduction, and mutuality. Running through it all is a strong decentralist
thrust. Secession advocate Kirkpatrick Sale describes decentralism as a
"third way," already evident in bioregional movements, cooperative and
worker-owned businesses, land trusts, farmers markets, and a wide variety
of grassroots initiatives.

In a recent article assessing whether Vermont could "go it alone," Bill
McKibben argues, "Functional independence would be the proper first step,
and useful in its own right." He also provides a list of practical
projects to help create more food self-sufficiency, energy independence,
and local economic power. Although he thinks "any political independence
movement is going nowhere now" - the main reasons given are the hope
offered by Barack Obama and problems requiring global action - McKibben's
advice is to build some affection and trust in the meantime by sharing
information and making small but effective moves in t he right direction.

Naylor aims for the fences, calling secession a rebellion against empire
designed to retake control from big institutions, and help people care for
themselves and others by "decentralizing, downsizing, localizing,
demilitarizing, simplifying, and humanizing our lives." In some ways, the
movement is reminiscent of an earlier effort in Vermont to reframe the

In 1976, dissidents from the Democratic and Republican Parties attempted
to create a "third way" called the Decentralist League of Vermont. The
group was convened by Bob O'Brien, who had just lost the Democratic
primary for governor, and John McClaughry, a Republican scornful of his
Party's leadership. Each invited allies for a series of meetings to define
a joint agenda. Contrary to some accounts, left-wing leaders such as
Murray Bookchin and Bernie Sanders weren't involved, finding an alliance
with people on the political Right unappealing at the time.

Although the Decentralist League lasted only a few years, ultimately
disbanding when its Left wing opted for electoral politics and Right
signed on for the Reagan "revolution," it pointed to what might unite
people who find the current national and global order unsustainable and
dangerous. Taking a im at all forms of centralized power and wealth, the
League asserted that decentralism is the best way to preserve diversity,
increase self-sufficiency, and satisfy human needs.

"Decentralists believe in the progressive dismantling of bureaucratic
structures which stifle creativity and spontaneity, and of economic and
political institutions which diminish individual and community power,"
said the group's Statement of Principles. The political platform included
support for local citizen alliances; widespread ownership of industry by
employees; a viable and diverse agricultural base; a decent level of
income for all; education that stresses self-reliance, creativity, and a
combination of learning and work; technologies that increase energy
self-sufficiency; and mediation of disputes rather than reliance on
regulations and adversary proceedings.

On the other hand, the League's demise underlines the fragility of a
left-right alliance, which also has recently created difficulties for the
Second Vermont Republic. The controversy began when the Southern Poverty
Law Center accused Naylor and the group of talking to an allegedly racist
group, the League of the South. Critics pounced, and Seven Days, a liberal
weekly in Vermont that was distributing Vermont Commons as an insert,
decided to end the arrangement. Labor groups soon demanded the removal of
offensive web links on Second Vermont Republic's website, disassociation
from certain groups or individuals, and the release of a statement clearly
opposing racism, fascism, bigotry, and discrimination. Although there is
no evidence that Vermont secessionists condone such things, they've been
pressured to prove it.

Whether Vermont's secession movement can recover and grow, especially in
the face of demands to break ties with groups that don't embrace all
progressive principles, remains to be seen. In the meantime, however, the
Decentralist League and McKibben's project list may point toward a
platform with practical, short-term benefits.

Greg Guma writes about media and politics on his website, Maverick Media
( The full text of the Decentralist
League's Statement of Principles can be found there.

--------23 of 23--------



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