Progressive Calendar 10.23.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 23:54:18 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    10.23.08

1. Nader youth/UofM  10.23 1pm
2. WalMart vs rights 10.23 4pm
3. Eagan peace vigil 10.23 4:30pm
4. New Hope demo     10.23 4:45pm
5. Northtown vigil   10.23 5pm
6. Oil/coal/NO       10.23 7:30pm

7. Nader/Clemente    10.24 11am
8. AfterRNC/planning 10.24 7pm

9. David Shove      - Single payer candidates DFL & Green
10. Jeremy Hammond  - How should you vote?
11. Swans           - Swans recommendations 2008 US elections
12. Robert Weitiel  - Why I'm voting for Nader
13. Pham Binh       - The Democrats: A Critical History
14. Rich Broderick  - Sale of the American Century! Everything must go!
15. Mumia Abu-Jamal - Three on economic crisis

--------1 of 15--------

From: PRO826 [at]
Subject: Nader youth/UofM 10.23 1pm

Come to a discussion with
Nader/Gonzalez '08  Youth Spokesperson

1pm, Thursday, October 23, 2008
325 Coffman  Memorial Union
University of Minnesota

She will speak on the issues that really matter this election, like living
wage jobs, opposing the Wall St. bailouts, investing in renewable energy,
ending the racist war on drugs, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
and breaking the corporate stranglehold over the political system. She'll
also be taking questions and leading a discussion on the elections. You
don't need to be a supporter to come!

See an awesome speech by Ashley Sanders on why she's supporting Nader:

Facebook  event:

Contact  info: 507-363-2413
_kschulz_14 [at] hotmail.com_ (mailto:kschulz_14 [at]

_www.votenader.org_ (

Rock the Vote by Rocking the Boat:  A Case for Ralph Nader
By Ashley Sanders

With less than two months before the election, Republicans and Democrats
are driving it home: this is the election of the century.

And they're right: there is a lot at stake this year. This could be the
year we change the lives of 47 million Americans by providing them with
decent health care and millions more with a living wage. It could be the
year that we listen to 68 percent of Americans and 84 percent of Iraqis
and withdraw occupying forces. It could be the year that we cut the
near-trillion dollar defense budget, repeal NAFTA, revoke the Patriot Act
and the illegal wiretapping FISA bill, build a green energy
infrastructure, discipline runaway corporations, and reign in the manic
speculation driving the current food and housing crises.

That is Ralph Nader's plan, anyway - to offer Americans what the polls
show they want.

So, while McCain sings about bombing Iran and Obama uses rhetoric about
'smart' and 'dumb' wars to stay in dumb wars and start new 'smart' ones,
Nader stands for strongly negotiated peace in Palestine, Iraq and
Afghanistan. While Obama dismisses his earlier commitments to fair trade
as "overheated," Nader would replace NAFTA with uniform environmental and
labor standards. And while McCain chants "drill, baby, drill" and Obama
prepares to replace Big Oil with Big Corn or Big Nukes, Nader calls for a
renewable infrastructure.

But the Democrats tell us that we cannot vote for Nader because there is
too much at stake this year. After eight years of Bush, the argument goes,
we cannot afford another Republican. We must rally behind the change
party. And for the most part, students are buying it. Emphatically
anybody-but-Bush and unfamiliar with the Democrats' duplicity, these
students mistakenly believe that ousting the current administration will
exorcise the demons of war, jingoism and economic imperialism they

History, unfortunately, tells a different story.

In 1992, Clinton ran an uncannily 'Obamaesque' campaign, branding himself
as a change candidate and peddling a vague but comforting populism.
Convinced, progressives rallied behind him.  Clinton won, but progressives
lost. Wage disparities between CEOs and workers ballooned from 113 - 1 in
1991 to 449 - 1 in ten years. Clinton pushed NAFTA, costing 525,000 US
jobs and devastating Mexican farmers. And, as a flourish on the way out,
Clinton repealed the Glass Steagall Act, allowing the mergers of banks and
investment companies that are at the heart of our current financial
crisis. In short, progressives got eight years of soft imperialism and a
corporate dream economy that Clinton admitted "helped the bond market and
hurt the people who voted us in." But that's not all. Progressives fell
for the same stuff in 2000 and then again in 2004, when anti-war Democrats
voted in droves for a candidate who had no intention to end the war - who,
rather, believed Bush was doing "too little" in the war on terror - and
lost both the election and the muscle of the peace movement.

It seems that pretty words do not make pretty presidents. Advisers and
financiers are the best indicators of the tone and direction of a future
presidency, and Obama's are sending clear signals that things will be
business as usual after election day.

Bewilderingly, Obama plans to solve the nation's problems by recycling the
architects of its moral and economic decline: Madeleine Albright, advocate
of unilateral aggression against Iraq, who said that US sanctions which
killed 500,000 Iraqi children were ­"worth it"; Warren Christopher,
who refused to use the word genocide during the Rwanda crisis because the
US had no "strategic interests"  there; Lee Hamilton, who stopped the Iran
Contra investigation before it could lead to the impeachment of Reagan;
Robert Gates, Saddam Hussein's chief weapons supplier and author of
violent intervention schemes in Libya and Nicaragua; and Jason Furman, who
favors decreasing corporate taxes, partial privatization of Social
Security and the so-called Wal-Mart model of 'prosperity.'

Unlike average Americans, corporations don't have to hope for change. They
can buy it, as long as the public remains too distracted by false promises
to demand the real stuff.

But we don't have to simply hope for change, either. If we did nothing
more than vote our own interests, we could win.

Will we vote in our interests, or will we refuse the easiest revolution -
the ballot box - because we don't know if others will join us?

Change has never been certain; it has always been a fight. We can start
now, or we can defer yet again, but the difference will be the difference
between real change and the chump change we'll get from selling the
movement to buy the machine.

--------2 of 15--------

From: Human Rights Center/Lauren Merritt <humanrts [at]>
Subject: WalMart vs rights 10.23 4pm

The Human Rights Center works locally, nationally, and internationally to
provide training, education materials, and assistance to professionals,
students, and volunteers working to promote and protect human rights.

Discounting Worker's Rights in the US:
The Wal-Mart Effect
Thursday, October 23, 2008
4:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Presented by Carol Pier, Senior Labor Rights and Trade Researcher for Human
Rights Watch

Auerbach Commons
University of Minnesota Law School
Walter F. Mondale Hall
229 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis (U of M West Bank campus)
Free and Open to the Public
Hosted by The Institute for Global Studies and the University of
Minnesota's Human Rights Program

The right to organize and form trade unions has been recognized
internationally for almost 100 years as a fundamental human right. How are
US workers faring? Get a first hand account of the antiunion tactics
employed by retail giant Wal-Mart. In the context of weak US labor laws do
US workers stand a chance?

Carol Pier is the senior labor rights and trade researcher for Human
Rights Watch. In 2007 Human Rights Watch published an investigative
report, Discounting Rights: Wal-Mart's Violation of US Workers' Right to
the Freedom of Association, authored by Pier to illuminate the anti-union
tactics of Wal-Mart and the failings of the US labor law system. Pier will
speak on issues facing US labor law, including weak statues and inadequate

Hosted by the University of Minnesota's Human Rights Program and the
Institute for Global Studies. Co-sponsored by the University's Human
Rights Center, Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change, Labor Education
Service, Workers Rights Clinic and the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights.

--------3 of 15--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 10.23 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.

--------4 of 15--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: New Hope demo 10.23 4:45pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:45 to 5:45pm 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

--------5 of 15--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 10.23 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]

--------6 of 15--------

From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at]>
Subject: Oil/coal/NO 10.23 7:30pm

MAGERS AND QUINN PRESS RELEASE : For Immediate Distribution : Michael
Brune discusses his new book Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to
Oil and Coal - Thursday, October 23, 7:30pm at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

Personal friend and co-worker with Al Gore, Michael Brune has made green
living his personal goal in the face of global warming and our present
reliability on oil. According to recent polls, more than three-quarters of
Americans believe our nation should be energy-independent, and more than
70 percent believe our government should do more to help arrest climate
change. Yet Congress and the White House take only tiny steps toward these
goals, and large-scale investment in clean energy lags far behind the
urgent demand.

Why? And what can we do about it? In this timely book, Michael Brune,
executive director of Rainforest Action Network (RAN), shows us how we, as
motivated citizens, can engage in promoting solutions and collectively
pressure policymakers and corporations to change their energy priorities.
His vivid reports remind us of the economic, environmental, moral, and
public-health costs of fossil-fuel dependence, and how our government and
financial institutions are complicit.

Brune also describes the most promising developments in renewables,
biofuels, and efficient design, and outlines an inspiring vision of the
clean energy future within our reach. Under Brune's leadership, RAN has
had stunning success in getting corporations - including Home Depot, FedEx
Kinko's, Citigroup, and Bank of America - to green their business
practices, and his activist skills and passion are at the heart of this
book. Offering well-tested action strategies, *Coming Clean* is rooted in
the author's faith that Americans acting together can create profound

Michael Brune is the executive director of Rainforest Action Network (RAN)
and a founding board member of Oil Change International, an organization
dedicated to dissolving the political barriers to a clean energy
transition. At age 26, Brune joined RAN to direct its campaign to convince
Home Depot to stop selling wood from endangered forests. After a year of
creative protests, celebrity activism, and shareholder advocacy, Home
Depot agreed. Time magazine called it the top environmental story of 1999,
and the announcement led to the protection of 5 million acres in British
Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest.

Under Brune's leadership, RAN has successfully campaigned to change the
environmental policies and practices of some of America's largest
corporations. RAN has been referred to as "some of the savviest
environmental agitators in the business" by the *Wall Street Journal*, "a
lean, green, fighting machine" by the *San Francisco Chronicle*, and
"rainmakers" by the *Financial Times*. Brune lives in Alameda, California
with his wife and daughter.

For further information, contact: David Unowsky 612/822-4611
davidu [at]


--------7 of 15--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Nader/Clemente 10.24 11am


FRI.OCT.24,11am:Hear ideas that must be fought for AFTER the 2008 Election
- ideas excluded from the presidential debates - from 2 Third party
candidates: independent RALPH NADER & Green Party VP ROSA CLEMENTE
(running w/GP presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney)

--------8 of 15--------

Cc: Dori Ullman <doriandter [at]>
Subject: AfterRNC/planning 10.24 7pm

North East Suburban Greens (NESG) announce a panel forum "After the RNC:
Future Focus Planning".  It will be held at Walker Church, 31st Street and
16th Avenue in Minneapolis on this Friday, October 24 beginning at 7pm.

The panel will consist of participants in the RNC, including Michael
Cavlan who was a Street Medic during the RNC.

Michelle Gross is another member of the panel. She is the cofounder and
president of Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB), which
works to increase police accountability and reduce police misconduct while
advocating for people dealing with the effects of police brutality.  A
resident of Minneapolis, she helped to plan protest activities around the
RNC and documented police misconduct during the protests.

The others on the panel will be announced.  We hope to see many others
attend this forum, whether they participated in the RNC or not.  We are
counting on your many ideas of where we go from here.

For More Information Contact:

Dori  Ullman   612-414-9528   dorijj [at]
David  Shove  651-636-5672    shove001 [at]

--------9 of 15--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Single payer candidates DFL & Green

           S I N G L E   P A Y E R   C A N D I D A T E S
                         DFL & GREEN
posts from:
1. Kip Sullivan
2. Farheen Hakeem
3. Allan Hancock
4. Rhoda Gilman
5. Diane Peterson
6. Rhoda Gilman
7. Amber Garlan
8. David Shove


Kip Sullivan provided the following list of leading DFL single payer
candidates, all but one of them incumbents.

Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 18:38:16 -0500
From: Kip Sullivan <kiprs [at]>
Subject: Single-payer candidates

             Minnesota Health Reform Caucus leaders

The Minnesota Health Reform Caucus is a group of approximately 20 state
legislators who are leading the campaign for the Minnesota Health Act (the
single-payer bill in the Minnesota Legislature). The MHRC was founded in
July 2007.

Sixty of Minnesota's 201 legislators (all DFLers) are coauthors of the
Minnesota Health Act. So there are, on paper, at least 60 single-payer
supporters in the Legislature. But the leaders of the campaign for the MHA
are the ones who need recognition and support.

 Rep. David Bly, Northfield (cofounder of the Mn Health Reform Caucus with
Reps. Madore and Laine, co-chair of the MHRC; first-term, swing district)

 Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes, Winona (first-term, swing district; co-chair
of the MHRC)

 Rep. Carolyn Laine, Columbia Heights (first term; cofounder)

 Rep. Shelley Madore, Apple Valley (first term; cofounder; swing district)

 Rep. Ken Tschumper, Caledonia (first term; swing district; chief author
of the single-payer bill [the Minnesota Health Act] in the House)

 Rep. Tina Leibling, Rochester (swing district)

 Rep. Alice Hausman, St. Paul

 Sen. John Marty, Roseville (chief author of the Minnesota Health Act in
the Senate)

 Sen. John Doll, Burnsville (first term; swing district)

 Sen. Mary Olson, Bemidji (first term; swing district)
 Jeff Hayden, DFL nominee for 61B

--end Kip--

                      GREEN PARTY CANDIDATES

From: farheen [at]

I publicly commit to Single Payer Universal Health Care and I am from a
party that is part of MN Universal Health Care Coalition.

Farheen Hakeem District 61B Green Party endorsed


From: Allan Hancock < [at]>

I have already submitted my name to this question in the past.  I am
committed to a single payer health care.  We should state it as a publicly
paid, privately run health care plan.

Allan Hancock, Candidate
State Representative District 46B


From: Rhoda Gilman <rhodagilman [at]>

All of the Green Party legislative candidates endorse single-payer and the
Marty bill. (Farheen Hakeem, 61B; Allan Hancock, 46B; Colin Lee, 36A)

FYI, I have raised a ruckus about MUHCC [MN Universal Health Care
Coalition] appearing to endorse Jeff Hayden.  Lisa Nilles agreed to speak
as an individual and did not realize that she would be billed as a
representative of MUHCC.  She has promised to announce that the coalition
is nonpartisan and that Farheen Hakeem also supports the Minnesota Health
Plan.  That, of course, doesn't counter the flyers that have gone out all
over the district.

I attended the candidates' debate on Saturday at Sabathani Center. There
was no question about the winner.  Farheen is vigorous and brimming with
ideas; Jeff is a nice, friendly guy, obese, and neither energetic nor very
articulate. The Republican didn't bother to show up.  The audience was
small, but it included some interesting people.  One of them was Linda


From: Diane J. Peterson <birch7 [at]>

Linda Berglin!  The main opposition to comprehensive health care reform
attended the Hakeem/Hayden forum on Saturday!  Did she express anything,
either verbally or nonverbally?  It doesn't matter if the audience was small
if it contained this most important Legislator whose influence over our
health care slavery to the "insurers" is enormous.

What was the flavor of her presence?  Can it be supposed she was checking
out how formidable Farheen will be pushing the progressive envelope when she
wins the 61B seat?

Diane J. Peterson White Bear Lake, Minnesota birch7 [at]


From: Rhoda Gilman <rhodagilman [at]>

She came and went very quietly.  It is, after all, her Senate district,
and she obviously knew a number of people in the audience.  The whole
program was based on questions from the audience, but they were submitted
in writing beforehand. No one spoke from the floor.  Farheen acknowledged
Linda's presence, however.

In 1972 Linda and Phyllis Kahn were among the handful of radical young women
carried into the legislature by the growing wave of feminist revolt.  They
are both still there, 36 years later.  They have been leaders on a number of
issues, and they deserve respect, but they are also remnants of an earlier
time, and I wish they would retire gracefully.


From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at]>

I am the write-in candidate against Rep. Betty McCollum for single payer
health care.  Rep. Betty McCollum is in a very safe seat, and she is very
complacent.  Rep. Betty McCollum is not listening to her constituents when
they ask her to endorse H.R. 676, the single payer bill written by Rep.
Dennis Kucinich.

We are trying to get her attention.

Peace, Amber


From: David Shove

   Amber Alert!

 Don't Vote Betty
   Vote Amber!

 Set a RED light to stop HMO swindles!
 Set a GREEN light for Single Payer Health Care NOW!
 Vote AMBER to bring about these signal changes!

--------10 of 15--------

How Should You Vote?
by Jeremy R. Hammond
October 21st, 2008
Dissident Voice

With the U.S. presidential election fast approaching, Americans are
settling on their decision for who would best take their country in the
right direction and serve their interests. Most view the political system
with cynicism. Most see the two dominant political parties, Democratic and
Republican, as serving the interests of corporations and the financial
elite but not their own. Many feel disenfranchised. Many feel that to
participate in a system that merely perpetuates the status quo without
offering any hope for real change is to grant it legitimacy when it
deserves none. And if past trends are any indication, most won't vote.

Among those who will cast their ballot, most, even those who will vote
along party lines, view both Barack Obama and John McCain with skepticism.
They are both seen negatively, both representing the established order.
But one or the other of them is viewed as the lesser evil. To keep the
greater evil out of power, a vote for the lesser one becomes necessary.

This remains true even when there are alternatives to the Democratic and
Republican candidates, and even when the alternative candidates are seen
far more as representing American interests and far less as being
corrupted. A great many voters will vote for who they see as a lesser evil
rather than who they see as actually being a good candidate because they
so greatly fear the possibility of the greater evil gaining power.

This voting strategy is deeply ingrained. During the 2000 election, Ralph
Nader was an extraordinarily popular candidate, particularly among the
left. He was seen as far more worthy than the Democratic candidate Al
Gore. And yet many liberals who shared that view chastised their fellow
leftists for casting their vote for Nader, particularly when it came down
to the Florida election.

The reasoning is straightforward: voting for Nader meant not voting for
Gore, which meant George W. Bush, the Republican candidate, had a better
chance of winning. Voting for Nader helped ensure a Bush win, the argument
goes, because liberals might swing their vote away from Gore, but
conservatives were less likely to do so. Nader didn't have nearly as good
a chance as winning as Gore, and so the strategic goal of keeping Bush
from power meant voting for Gore even if Nader was the better candidate.

While this appears to be a perfectly logical argument and pragmatic voting
strategy, it is rooted upon a number of fallacies. First and foremost is
the deeply ingrained belief that alternative candidates don.t have a
chance of winning, and so to vote for one would mean "wasting" your vote.

This year, the most extraordinary candidate was, hands down, Ron Paul. He
was extremely popular, and remains so after having withdrawn his
candidacy. He made waves in America, and, despite being old enough to be
their grandfather, spoke to a whole new generation of voters that are
disillusioned with business as usual in Washington. His position on the
issues make sense and Americans recognized that he represented real
change. The fact that he was even in the running gave hope to many that
the U.S. political system might actually be able to function as the
founding fathers intended, that a restoration of the American Republic
based upon the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land might be

Still, one could turn on the TV and watch news reports where people on the
street are interviewed about their preference of candidates and see people
saying things like "I really like Ron Paul. I think he's the best
candidate. I like his position on the issues, and he makes sense. But he
doesn't have much chance of winning, so I'm probably going to vote for
Barack Obama".

Therein lies another fallacy. People don't vote for who they actually like
for the presidency based upon their opinion of whether or not they think
it is likely that they will win. The "we have to ensure the greater evil
doesn't gain power" mindset wins out over "we have to ensure the best
candidate wins". But, of course, strict adherence to this electoral
strategy can only result in the self-perpetuation of the same political
process they are so disillusioned with in the first place.

The truth is that the only reason a candidate like Ron Paul is "unlikely"
to win an election is because people won't vote for him. And they won't
vote for him because they think he's unlikely to win, which of course
results in the self-fulfillment of that reality.

The American people need to recognize that an alternate reality exists,
and that the way to bring it about requires merely a shift in paradigm.
American voters should shift their electoral strategy from seeking to put
the lesser of evils into power to seeking to elect the force for the
greatest good.

There are, of course, those who already adhere to this alternative
framework. If there were a few more among their numbers, alternative
candidates like Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Ralph Nader would gain more
votes. They might still lose. But does voting for a losing candidate mean
one's vote has been wasted? How much more wasted is a vote that goes
towards the lesser evil? You've still voted for the perpetuation of evil.

Far more worthy alternative candidates might still lose, but it wouldn't
mean votes were wasted. The increased percentage of the votes that went
towards them would send a powerful message to Washington. It would
encourage more people in the next election to do the same and vote their
conscience, rather than adhering to a voting strategy that virtually
guarantees nothing will ever substantially change.

Eventually, the number of votes being cast towards alternative candidates
would be enough that the message from the American public could no longer
be ignored. Even if still resulting in a loss for the worthiest candidate
it would remain a win for the American public, because whichever evil from
whichever party did win the election would be under far greater pressure
to implement real reform.

And for Americans who don't believe their voice is heard in Washington or
that public pressure has any effect, a simple refresher course in history
could remind them that advancements in society are not made at the behest
of government or the ruling class, but only by pressure from the masses
reaching a tipping point. Politicians don't go out on a limb to promote
radical change on their own accord. They have to be pushed out there under
massive public pressure and under the fear that one's constituency might
very well vote one out of power if one doesn't do precisely what they are
publicly demanding.

One of the most effective means by which the American people could send a
message to Washington would be by voting. There's every reason to be
cynical of the political system in the U.S. But there'.s no reason for
despair. There is hope. And there are individuals working within the
system representing real hope and real change. More Americans need to take
the time to stay informed and get engaged in the political process. And of
those Americans who do vote each election, more need to recognize that the
"lesser of evil" strategy only perpetuates the framework wherein it
remains a choice between evils.

The only real voting strategy that can offer real hope for change is the
one wherein Americans vote their conscience and cast their ballot for the
candidate they think is truly the most worthy to be called by the title of
President of the United States of America.

Until Americans realize this then there will indeed remain little hope for
the future.

Jeremy R. Hammond is an independent researcher and writer who examines the
facts and myths of US foreign policy, particularly with regard to the US
"war on terrorism." He currently lives with his wife in Taipei, Taiwan and
can be reached at: jeremy [at] Read other articles by
Jeremy, or visit Jeremy's website.

This article was posted on Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 at 8:02am and is
filed under "Third" Party, Activism, Democracy, Democrats, Elections,
Right Wing Jerks.

--------11 of 15--------

Swans Recommendations
2008 US Elections

(Swans - October 20, 2008)  As in 2006, we do not have strong opinions or
knowledge on ALL the races in the country or for that matter in
California, our state of residence, though our focus is evidently on the
presidential elections and on California. Overall, our approach is to
select candidates that are proactive according to our choices and values,
without party affiliation. These recommendations once again reflect
primarily the opinions of Jan Baughman and Gilles d'Aymery, co-editors of
Swans. They should not be viewed as an endorsement from all the
contributors to Swans, though we think that they reflect the views of some
of them.

US Presidential Election

 President: RALPH NADER.

 Vice President: MATT GONZALEZ.

Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez are by far the most honest and ethical
candidates in this election, and in today's political environment. Not
only are they honest and ethical, they are the only ones with a
fully-fledged, fully-defined platform. We do not agree with everything
they propose (only 90 percent of it!), but we are realistic enough to
understand that these two men are the best hope the country has when
facing a very uncertain future for us and our descendents. Please vote for
the NADER-GONZALEZ ticket. Vote for sanity. Vote to keep third-party
candidates viable.

US Congressional Elections

Here is the simple rule: Do not vote for any incumbent with the exception
of the likes of Lynn Woolsley, Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, etc. Overall,
do NOT vote for incumbents, only independents and insurgents.

Two examples: In Northern California, do not vote for Mike Thompson, a
corrupted man to the core. Vote for CAROL WOLMAN. In San Francisco, do not
vote for Nancy Pelosi, vote for CINDY SHEEHAN -- even though Sheehan is
not our cup of tea. The issue here is to throw the bums out, or at least
let them know that the "party" is over. We are tired of being taken for a
ride, and seeing our tax dollars replenish their personal coffers.

That's all, folks. Time to awaken to the misery these people, with your
past votes, have bequeathed us all.

Vote for sanity, please.
Vote for Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez!

--------12 of 15--------

Wasting a Vote for Lincoln's Radical Ideal
Why I'm Voting for Nader
October 21, 2008

I had just pressed the "donate now" button on when my email
pinged. It was a rambling missive from Neil, a self-described "Grumpy Old
Son Of A Beach" who'd read an article I'd written for the American Atheist
magazine. Neil argued that atheists should vote against "Oduma" and for
the McCain/Palin ticket. I'll spare you the details . . . just imagine
Hannity and O'Reilly and Limbaugh joined at their bums flapping their

I wrote a short reply thanking him for sharing his views and telling him I
plan to vote for Nader. Ralph did, after all, send me a signed copy of his
book, "in pursuit of justice: collected writings 2000-2003" for my several
donations - and all I really wanted was a yard sign.

Faster than I thought an electron could make the round trip, Neil was
pinging again: "Well Bob, I'm sorry to read that. I guess you really have
NO 'F-ing clue as to what is at stake when you are going to waste your
vote on someone who will not even make a dent".

He added a postscript: "P.S. The Iraq war is FULLY Justified [sic] and I
have a minimum of 18 FACTS which prove it". Neil did not provide the
"FACTS," which is a real shame since my mood has plunged lower than the
Dow as the economic meltdown continues to add "miles" to my career path. I
could have used a chuckle.

However, the issue Neil raises about wasting a vote is nothing to chuckle
about. It is as serious as Mutley, my neighbor's Pit Bull.

Mutley, you should know, has been voted time and again the greatest threat
to the physical and psychological wellbeing of the neighborhood children.
Unfortunately, Mutley's human friend is a brute named Cliff who can beat
the crap out of the rest of us guys on the block. Talk about wasted votes.
Our only hope is that either a guy tougher than Cliff who hates dogs moves
in or Mutley - and/or Cliff -  DIE.

If you're fortunate enough not to have Mutley and Cliff in your
neighborhood, the best example I can give of wasted votes is to
continually vote for either the Democratic or Republican parties that are
continually getting us into foreign policy debacles such as the Vietnam
and Iraq wars, and whose hubris or stupidity or greed or [your best guess]
or all of the above has led the country and the world into the current
economic meltdown.

While a Democratic president lied to escalate the war in Vietnam, a
Republican president lied to take America to war in Iraq. With a few
notable exceptions, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle fell
into formation with their American flag lapel pins unfurled and
goose-stepped down Pennsylvania Avenue in time with President Bush's war

In 2006 the midterm vote gave Democrats a clear mandate to end the war and
hold the Bush administration accountable. Predictably, Democratic pols
stuck their mugs in front of the cameras and talked tough for a few days
and then did nothing - politics as usual . . . wasted votes as usual.

In 1933, the Glass-Steagall Act was intended to prevent the kind of
banking shenanigans that have helped to plunge the world into worst
economic disaster since the Great Depression. But legislation written by
Republicans Phil Gramm and James Leach and signed into law by Democratic
President Bill Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999.

To address the current economic crisis, the best a bipartisan effort can
come up with is a $700 billion-plus bailout for their Wall Street cronies
and ex-colleagues, which also includes over a billion dollars stuffed into
the pork barrel for themselves but no provisions to help millions of
homeowners renegotiate their mortgages, allowing them to remain in their
homes and afford their monthly payments.

There is nothing like Glass-Steagall in this golden rescue plan, nothing
to prevent Everyman (a.k.a. NASCAR dads and mall maven moms) from losing
another trillion in the value of their 401Ks, nothing to prevent the
privatized profits and socialized risks of corporate socialism from
becoming institutionalized . . . nothing in this plan but politics as

Neil is ranting about third party voters who "have NO 'F-ing clue" when
they waste their votes "on someone who will not even make a dent." And yet
the corporate-controlled political system in our country is supported by
an overwhelming majority of Americans who time and again waste their votes
on two parties with track records for little more than self-preservation,
corrupt-crony politics and for not making a "dent". . . . unless, of
course, it's to total the entire country.

The campaigns of Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney are not the acts of
spoilers or vanity candidates. They are the acts of third party candidates
struggling for the magical 15 percent that will allow them to challenge
the hegemony of the Democratic and Republican parties in televised debates
viewed by over 70 million voters. They are the acts of American citizens
who believe it is a constitution rather than a corporate charter that is
the governing document of our Republic.

Nader and McKinney are not naive enough to think they'll need to keep
millions of donors' dollars in reserve for their inaugural balls. They are
campaigning for something more important than the presidency. They are
campaigning to bring about systemic changes in the "politics as usual" in
America. They are campaigning to redeem Abraham Lincoln's "radical" ideal
of an American "government of the people, by the people, and for [ALL] the

If the "Grumpy Old Son Of A Beach" is right and voters continue wasting
their votes on two corporate-vetted political parties "who will not even
make a dent," in the domestic woes of "soccer moms" and "Joe the plumber"
and whose foreign policy in the "war on terror" is dictated by the
American representatives of a miniscule country on the shores of the
Mediterranean Sea, they should not be at all surprised to look out their
window one morning to see Cliff taking Mutley for a stroll . . . and piles
of dog pooh on their lawn.

Robert Weitzel is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. He can
be contacted at: robertweitzel [at]

>From shove001 [at] Thu Oct 23 01:01:26 2008
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 06:41:48 -0500 (CDT)
From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
To: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Critical Reading . The Democrats: A Critical Historyby Pham Binh /
    October 21st, 2008 (fwd)

--------13 of 15--------

Critical Reading - The Democrats: A Critical History
by Pham Binh
October 21st, 2008
Dissident Voice

With less than a month to go before the election and Obama's inauguration
a mere three months away, Lance Selfa's The Democrats: A Critical History
is critical reading for anyone interested in real change we can believe in
i.e. not the kind Obama will bring.

For the American working class movement and the organized left, the
Democratic Party has been a key stumbling block since the Populist
Movement shook the country back in the 1890s. The Democratic Party has
managed, contained, controlled, co-opted, rolled back and eventually
destroyed every social movement that has arisen since then.

Selfa begins the book by looking at the Obama's ascension to the throne of
the American Empire in the wake of 9/11, eight years of Bush, and the
collapse of the Republican Party after three decades of political
dominance. In the second chapter, he analyzes the class nature of the
Democratic Party, and points out that the Democrats are unlike most other
parties in the world in that individual candidates, rather than the party
platform, dictate their policies. He argues convincingly that the
Democratic Party is a capitalist party and cites as evidence where their
politicians get money from, which think-tanks they take advice from, who
they staff their campaigns with, their record on legislation, and their
record on foreign policy. He devotes an entire chapter to explaining how
and why the Democrats are just as imperialist as their counterparts across
the aisle, and points out that all the major wars of the 20th century were
launched by Democratic politicians who claimed to want peace while they
prepared for war. The fact that the party that jumped into two world wars,
used nuclear weapons, designed the Cold War, and started "small" wars in
Korea and Vietnam is seen as being less pro-war than the Republicans is a
feat that would impress Karl Rove.

Unlike the Republican party, the Democrats incorporate representatives of
the oppressed and exploited (women, blacks, gays, unions) within the party
as a subordinate component, to give them a meaningless "seat at the
table". Doing so helps the Democrats maintain the fiction that they are
the "party of the people," or that they're "friends of labor," as opposed
to the bad big business-backed Republicans. The third chapter is dedicated
to looking at the rise of the "New Democrats," i.e. Bill Clinton and the
unapologetically pro-business GOP-lite Democratic Leadership Council that
has controlled the party since the 1990s.

In the remaining chapters of the book, Selfa turns his attention from the
nature of the party and its current trajectory to focusing on the
Democratic Party's (abusive) relationship with social movements, unions,
and the organized left. He starts with the Populist movement that united
black and white sharecroppers in the rural West and South(!) against the
growing power of the robber barons but which made the fatal mistake of
entering into an alliance with the Democrats. Next, he shows how the
tremendous working-class rebellion in the 1930s that won Social Security
and made the American Dream possible was blocked from creating a
European-style Labor Party, the parties that created the universal health
care systems that Michael Moore envied in Sicko. Lastly, he looks at the
rise and fall of the civil rights, anti-war, women's rights, and gay
liberation movements of the 60s and 70s.

In each case, the Democrats resisted these movements but eventually
granted meaningful reforms because these movements became too powerful to
crush. These movements ignored pleas by Democratic politicians to moderate
their demands, to shut up and wait, and to stop organizing (Attorney
General Robert Kennedy, the darling of liberals to this day, told civil
rights organizers: "If you stop all this sitting-ins - and concentrate on
voter registration, I'll get you a tax-exemption".) At the same time, the
Democrats worked hard to incorporate and co-opt movement leaders into the
machinery of government, to transform organizers into party/government
bureaucrats sitting behind desks by offering them jobs.

Sadly, in many cases, the strategy worked. Jesse Jackson, for example,
agreed to endorse conservative Democratic loser Michael Dukakis and give
him the Rainbow Coalition's delegates in exchange for putting several
Jackson staffers (including Jackson's son) on the Democratic National
Committee. While big business-friendly candidates kept its hands firmly on
the wheel of the Democratic Party, progressives and their issues took
their seats at the back of the bus. The book is rife with examples of
movement leaders that decide a seat at the Democratic table is more
important than changing the menu, the portions, or who gets what in this

The last few chapters of the book are devoted to whether or not the left
can take over or use the party as a vehicle for social change. He uses
Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition in the 1980s and today's Progressive
Democrats of America as examples of how activists who set out to change
and takeover the Democratic party end up changing, getting co-opted and
neutered by the very forces they sought to challenge.

The book closes by examining the missed opportunities to create
broad-based third parties free of corporate domination, opportunities
which the Democratic party sabotaged, more often than not with help from
forces within social movements. The most ugly example is the American
Communist Party during the 1930s and 40s. No matter how many strikes the
Democrats broke, or how many working-class radicals were victimized by
McCarthyism, the CP toed a pro-FDR line even though there was a
groundswell of support for a Labor Party independent caused by repeated
Democratic betrayals of the working class. To read more about that, check
out Sharon Smith's excellent book on U.S. labor history Subterranean Fire.

Two themes run throughout the book and form Selfa's conclusion: 1) the
Democratic Party is part of the problem, not part of the solution if you
want real, meaningful change in this country and 2) change comes from
grassroots movements independent of (and in opposition to) the Republican
and Democratic parties. The lesser-evil strategy has been and will always
be a complete disaster, allowing both parties the freedom to become more
and more "evil" as time goes on so long as they don't become equally

The only shortcoming of this book is that Selfa neglects to mention the
fact that the Democratic Party is itself a misnomer. Forty percent of the
votes that a nominee needs to win at the Democratic Convention are
controlled by "super-delegates,' current and former elected officials, who
can vote however they want, regardless of how people in their districts or
state vote. This system was instituted after George McGovern lost in 1972
to Nixon for the explicit purpose of blocking candidates that were deemed
by party bosses as "too left-wing". This voting bloc exists to put a check
on democracy within the party. Furthermore, there's the fact that the road
to the nomination begins in rural conservative states (Iowa, New
Hampshire) and continues through a gauntlet of the other 49 states, each
of which have different and complicated formulas for awarding delegates, a
system whose lunacy was on full display in the Clinton-Obama death march
to the nomination that lasted twice as long as the general election. The
system is rigged to ensure that only conservative candidates with millions
of dollars to burn can win the nomination.

This book is essential reading for any activist who wants to understand
how to win change in this country and anyone who thinks we need an
alternative to the two party state we live in now.

Pham Binh is an activist and recent graduate of Hunter College in NYC. His
articles have been published at Znet, Asia Times Online, Dissident Voice,
and Monthly Review Online. He can be reached at: anita_job [at] Read
other articles by Pham, or visit Pham's website.

This article was posted on Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 at 8:03am and is
filed under "Third" Party, Activism, Capitalism, Democracy, Democrats,

--------14 of 15--------

Sale of the American Century! Everything must go!
by Rich Broderick
Daily Planet

A friend of mine - the editor of a business magazine - brought an
interesting fact to my attention. The Sovereign Fund of Dubai (I think it
was Dubai - I get my Arab emirates confused sometimes) has some $850
billion in its kitty. That's enough, my friend pointed out, for the tiny
sultanate to be able to purchase the 100 largest publicly traded companies
headquartered in Minnesota - and still have more than $250 billion left

And that was back in September, before the stock market crashed. Today,
the Dubai fund might have enough on hand to purchase the largest 100
publicly traded companies in the United States. I'm not sure - my
calculator's broken.

Myself, even with a small stock portfolio, I managed to lose the
equivalent of a year's worth of tuition to the University of Minnesota
(where my darling daughter is currently in her junior year) in the past
two months. Not much, but a significant amount in my household.

Which got me thinking. We've heard concerns about the Chinese or the
Saudis or the Japanese buying up America's commercial assets and real
estate. But the way things are going, in the not-too-distant future we may
be begging the Chinese and the Saudis and the Japanese to do the same in
exchange for a warm meal and a place to spend the night. So why not just
go whole hog and put the entire country into Chapter 13 receivership? With
our combined $50 trillion of public and private debt, America would be
worth a lot more if it were broken up and its assets sold off piecemeal
than if we try to keep the enterprise together and hope for a turnaround.

And I'm not just talking about putting our dwindling number of operational
factories on the block or the Sears Tower in Chicago or General Motors,
which we'd have to offer as a loss leader anyway. I'm talking all of our
assets. For example:

Yosemite National Park: Hey, the Japanese love it. How much do you think
that baby's worth? We could even break down the park into smaller pieces,
offering the waterfall separately from the rest of it.

The Presidential Seal: If Sarah Palin can auction off the Alaska's
gubernatorial Piper Cub, why can't we do the same with the PS? Of course,
it might be good to wait a few months for its value to recover after its
eight year association with George Bush.

The Electoral College: People have been arguing for years that we should
dump this anachronism and now is no time for sentimental attachments.
Surely this relic of the 18th century would find a ready market among
antiquarians. If nothing else, maybe we could sell it to the Iraqis. They
could use it to replace some of the priceless Sumerian artifacts that were
looted in 2003 while we were too busy guarding the entrance to the oil

The states of the Old Confederacy: I don't know about you, but I think we
should have gotten rid of these dogs back in 1861. Better late than never!

Autumn in New England: Act now and we'll throw in the other three seasons
as well, PLUS a set of Ginzo steak knives all for the same low price!

The original copies of the Constitution: Hell, we aren't using it anyway.

You get the picture. If we put a fraction of the creativity that went into
inventing "creative" investment instruments the past 10 years, we could
come up with the sale to end all sales .

Hurry! One week only! America's Going Out of Business Sale! Everything
Must Go! No reasonable offer refused!

(Sorry, cash only. No checks or credit cards. All sales final.)

Tags: Daily Planet Originals, Politics

--------15 of 15--------

Three on Economic Crisis
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
Oct 22, 2008

Behind the Money Crash
By Mumia Abu-Jamal

For millions of people, the economic crash and crisis seems almost

What happened? Why did it happen? How did it happen?

It seems more complex than it really is. That's because the corporate
media is, more often than not, a contributor to confusion, rather than a
source of clarity.

The media thrives on conflict, chaos and controversy.

That's why I found in the {British} left press what I've never seen in the
corporate media: the text of a 2002 open letter from U.S. financier,
Warren Buffett to his Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. Buffett, one of the
richest people in the U.S., warned his shareholders to avoid
'derivatives'. which he described as "time bombs, both for the parties
that deal in them, and the economic system."

Buffett explained that derivatives are financial agreements for the
exchange of money at some future date, which can be 20 years or more. What
makes them dangerous is they're collateralized, or guaranteed, based on
often faulty reference points. For example, derivatives may be traded
saying in 10 years, GM stocks will double its 2004 value, and if it does
in 2014, the instrument buyer will receive say, $10 million. In many
cases, before the contract is ripe, not a penny has changed hands, yet
some companies assigned these instruments a value, recorded them on their
books as assets, when in fact, they had no real value.

Remember Enron? On paper, they were rolling in dough. In fact, however,
they were rolling in paper - for, at any time, if they hit a snag, they
had no real cash to cover corporate debts - it was on the books, but not
in the banks.

Again, Buffett explained six years ago why these instruments should be
avoided, writing to his shareholders:

The derivatives genie is now well out of the bottle, and these instruments
will almost certainly multiply in variety and number until some event
makes their toxicity clean. Knowledge of how dangerous they are has
already permeated the electricity and gas businesses, in which the
eruption of major troubles caused the use of derivatives to diminish
dramatically. Elsewhere, however, the derivatives business continues to
expand unchecked. Central banks and governments have so far found no
effective way to control, or even monitor, the risks posed by these

In closing, Buffett warned, "derivatives are financial weapons of mass
destruction, carrying dangers that......are potentially lethal."

{Source: Labour & Trade Union Review (No. 191: Oct. 2008), pp.16-18}

Scare Tactics
By Mumia Abu-Jamal

With the passage of the Wall St. bailout bill, a major line has been
crossed in U.S. economic and political history.

The rulers can do anything, as long as they leaven it with fear.

Just like the Iraq War authorization, with enough fear Congress will roll
over, and say, "Uncle."

And there was an avalanche of fear. The corporate media sold oceans of
fear and dread, just as it sold facile patriotism, the Iraq War and the
so-called "War on Terror."

Using individual tales of fallen 401(k)s, or of a few firings, they
successfully insinuated that unless the bailout passed, you might lose
your job, or your 401(k) might turn to dust.

They ran the banner headlines of the drop of the Dow Jones Industrial
Average, and scared legislators into flipping their prior no votes into
yea votes.

Here's the deal. What we've seen from both major political parties is the
greatest transfer of public wealth into private hands in history. Indeed,
it is privatization run amok.

It is a bailout, pure and simple, that the media and its masters want you
to call a 'rescue', but who is rescued?

You? C'mon.

Does a government that facilitated the loss of millions of jobs; that
scuttled public education; that gave away the public treasury to Wall St.
bankers; that sold a long war based on lies; that allowed millions of
homeowners to fall into foreclosures, give a damn about you?

A government that cared about its people wouldn't have led them to this

Think of it this way: the same government that fought for months to
privatize social security, or in other words, to invest peoples'
retirement funds into stocks, came up with this bailout plan.

If the government was successful, some 40 million people (those 65 and
over) would've been flat broke. What they couldn't do one way, they did
another, for the economic hole that another trillion dollars will blow
into the deficit spells danger to this project.

If you elect a government based on its rhetoric of anti-government, of
deregulation, of the 'blind hand of the market', you get economic carnage,
crony capitalism, and misery for millions.

Moreover, what you have is the privatization of the State, by its rental
by private capital.

For, in both houses of Congress, in both major parties, we find pols who
have received tens of thousands of dollars from Wall St. Can anyone deny
that this money donated to Congress was wasted? (By 'wasted', I mean to
those who made those donations - not to average Americans).

As the saying goes, 'you get what you pay for.'

It might also be said that you get what you vote for.

{Note: Check out for data on Congress for sale.}

Fall of the House of Capital?
By Mumia Abu-Jamal

By the time you read this the $700 billion bailout will have been old
news, one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history.

But it will not heal that which ails the nation as it trips and stumbles
like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

The reasons are simple.

For the problems are systemic, built into the rapacious nature of the
machinery humming all around us. The Rube Goldberg-like contraption of
democratic forms at the service of the financial services industry is a
bottomless maw, a gaping mouth that is never sated.

Why was there no alarm when millions of people lost their homes to
foreclosures made inevitable by variable mortgage rates? When millions
lost manufacturing jobs to low paying service gigs? When living standards
crumbled, and when take home pay fell to 1973 levels?

Where was the alarm?

There was no alarm - for this was the 'blind hand of the market' at work,
the leveling way of globalism, the new world order moving through,
preparing the way for the triumph of capitalism uber alles.

Few were the politicians who gave voice to this immense social suffering.
Fewer still used their power to try to assuage their pain, for they too
were drunk on the wine of globalism.

But when the ripples spread upwards, from the foreclosed homes to the
foreclosing banks - and from the banks to investment houses, Congress
stirred from their drunken stupor, and rang alarm bells loudest.

"It's an economic 9/11!", some bellowed; "It's a financial tsunami!",
yelled others.

When Americans were hoodwinked into ruinous sub-prime loans, and millions
were faced with foreclosures, where was the alarm?

More importantly, where was the help for those who were endangered?

Nowhere. Nowhere.

If they helped them the present economic crisis would've been mitigated.

Instead, we're in a situation where a scam artist sets up shop in a
street-corner, playing a fraudulent 3-card monty hustle, and along comes a
cop. The cop, instead of rousting the scam artist, rifles the pockets of
every passerby, and delivers the stolen loot to the scammer.

The scam artist, of course, is the financial investment houses; the cop,
of course, is Congress - and you are the passerby, hustled and robbed by
both of them.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote, 160 years ago, that the State was
but the executive for capitalism. After what we are all seeing, who can
doubt it?

The Empire is crumbling.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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