Progressive Calendar 12.18.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2008 11:22:31 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    12.18.08

1. Homeless hearing  12.18 12:30pm
2. Eagan peace vigil 12.18 4:30pm
3. Northtown vigil   12.18 5pm
4. AntiWarMN         12.18 7pm
5. TC cartoonist     12.18 7pm
6. Amnesty Intl      12.18 7:15pm
7. Antiwar play      12.18

8. Palestine vigil   12.19 4:15pm
9. Northern Sun fest 12.19 6pm
10. URGENT! Arts     12.19 6:30pm

11. John Pilger      - Beware of Obama's Groundhog Day
12. Greg Palast      - Obama slam-Duncans education
13. Patrick Cockburn - Each shoe was worth a thousand words
14. Vicente Navarro  - The case of Spain: a forgotten genocide
15. Mats Svensson    - Israel orders Palestinian homes destroyed
16. Howard Lisnoff   - Left control of academia?
17. ed               - Depleted uranium  (poem)

--------1 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Homeless hearing 12.18 12:30pm

Hearing on homelessness
Pack the Hearing Room!
!!! NOW IS THE TIME !!!
December 18, 2008
12:30PM - 2:30PM
Room 15 State Capitol

You and I know that we live in troubled times. Our economy is in its worst
shape since the Great Depression. We meet many of the people who have lost
their homes. We have witnessed an increase in the number of people
experiencing homelessness. Jobs, credit, healthcare, and affordable
housing have become more scarce.

Big problems require bold solutions. Now is the time when we need
collective solutions most. Now is the time to take action on all we can
accomplish together. Please join us at the State Capitol on December 18th
from 12:30 - 2:30 PM to show our lawmakers that the state too must take
action.

Now is the time to create affordable housing options for all households.

Our common goals to educate children and youth, maintain a strong
workforce, keep ourselves in good health, and end poverty will only
succeed when everyone in our community has the stability a home provides.

Now is the time to help households in crisis before they become homeless.

No community is made stronger or safer by allowing vulnerable people to
fall through the cracks. Allowing homelessness to become the natural
outcome of poverty, violence, or illness only allows those problems to
become worse and more costly to individuals and society.

Now is the time to provide immediate help to people who become homeless.

You and I know that homelessness hurts. The health of children and their
ability to learn are decreased when they are homeless.

Vulnerable people fall victim to violence and exploitation when they do
not have the safety of a home. Workers find it difficult to maintain their
jobs when their night&rsquo;s shelter is in question.

Now is the time to quickly connect people experiencing homelessness to
community resources and appropriate services.

You and I know that homeless services increase people&rsquo;s income,
housing stability, and self-reliance over time and assist them in
appropriately transitioning into conventional housing and, if needed,
services.

Now is the time to strengthen our communities. Now is the time to invest
in our families and our future. Now is the time to make sure nobody is
forgotten. Now is the time to make sure nobody is left behind.

Now is the time.
See you on the 18th!
For further information:
E-mail Mike Davey at
_davey [at] mnhomelesscoalition.org <mailto:davey [at] mnhomelesscoalition.org>_
or call him at  (651) 645-7332 , x3.


--------2 of 17--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 12.18 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.


--------3 of 17--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 12.18 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com.


--------4 of 17--------

From: Jess Sundin <jess [at] antiwarcommittee.org>
Subject: AntiWarMN 12.18 7pm

ORGANIZE WITH THE A.W.C.: The Anti-War Committee always need help
organizing protests and educational events. Join us at our weekly meetings
(Thursdays at 7pm, 1313 5th St SE #112C, Minneapolis).


--------5 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: TC cartoonist 12.18 7pm

Kirk Anderson is a political cartoonist and satirist whose new book,
"Banana Republic: Adventures in Amnesia," features a fictional Third World
backwater that sells its Senate seats on the open market and bails out its
corporations. He's scheduled to give a talk and sign books at 7 p.m.
Thursday at True Colors (formerly Amazon Bookstore) in Minneapolis and at
6 p.m. Saturday at Arise Books in Minneapolis. "Banana Republic" first
appeared on the opinion pages of the Star Tribune. Hear an interview with
Anderson online through DEC. 19th on the "Catlayst" page at
http://www.kfai.org


--------6 of 17--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 12.18 7:15pm

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, December 18th, at 7:15 p.m.
St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near
the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information,
contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com.


--------7 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Antiwar play 12.18

12/18 to 12/21, play "All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914," about a
real event during World War I when opposing forces lay down their arms in
a spontaneous truce, Pantages Theater, 710 Hennepin Ave, Mpls.
http://www.hennepintheatredistrict.org/


--------8 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Palestine vigil 12.19 4:15pm

Friday, 12/19, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St
Paul.


--------9 of 17--------

From: Scott Cramer <scott [at] northernsun.com>
Subject: Northern Sun fest 12.19 6pm

[Come extremely hungry - ed]
The Northern Sun Holiday party is fri Dec 19th 6-9 pm, good food, great
conversation, fun. Or great food, good conversation, puns. Or maybe cold
leftovers, ex convicts and guns. Hey itsa paarty


--------10 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: URGENT! Arts 12.19 6:30pm

FRI. DEC. 19, 6:30pm:Intermedia Arts' Community Townhall, 2822 Lyndale
Ave. S., Minneapolis. RALLY THE PEOPLE! We are asking you to make it a
priority to be here, in person. You are our community; we need you to
rally with us as we design our future together.

Dear Friends, Artists, Supporters,

Over the past several weeks, Intermedia Arts has experienced sharp
reductions and significant delays in funding. As a mid-sized arts
organization, we rely on foundations and funders for our general operating
support - foundations and funders who have lost enormous amounts of their
assets in our current economic crisis.

Intermedia Arts is in crisis. More importantly, small and mid-sized arts
organizations all around us are in crisis. But crisis does not equal
failure, and crisis does not mean collapse. It is our response to this
crisis that will determine our future.

This a call to action. For over 35 years, Intermedia Arts has served as a
resource for our community. The work that we do supports hundreds of
artists, arts participants and arts organizations each year. Intermedia
Arts is a vital part of our culture and our community: we cannot - we must
not - allow this work to disappear.

So, What Are We Going to Do About It?

We are going to act, and we need you to act with us. Intermedia Arts can
survive this economy. We can even come out on the other side stronger and
more sustainable than ever before. But in order to do that, we have to
make huge changes in the way we operate, and we have to make them
immediately:

In January 2009, Intermedia Arts will be moving five full-time staff
members to contract or hourly positions. The work that we do as an
organization will be done by our Executive/Artistic Director, Theresa
Sweetland; our board of directors; current staff members working as
independent contractors, and community volunteers.

As of January 9th, we will open only for scheduled events, mostly in the
evenings. We will be closing our gallery and eliminating our gallery and
poetry library hours but will be expanding our rental programming in our
theater, gallery and classrooms. Our building is a valuable asset to the
arts community, and we encourage you to look to us for your upcoming
rental needs.

We are currently working with other local arts groups and organizations to
discuss ideas for sharing resources and sustaining our programs. We will
also discuss the ways in which our building could be most valuable to the
arts community as Intermedia Arts re-structures our operations and
rebuilds our capacity.

Intermedia Arts has organized a meeting of small and mid-sized arts groups
- SOTA: State of the Arts. None of us can do this alone.

It's huge. It's fast. It's dramatic. But we - our staff, our board, our
artists, partners, and funders - all of us, are absolutely committed to
ensuring the future of Intermedia Arts. We know you are too.

Calling On Our Community

We can't do this without you. Really and truly, whether Intermedia Arts
closes its doors or not depends on you. This is what we're asking you to
do:

1. RSVP now. We need you here at Intermedia Arts' Community Townhall:
Rally the People! at 5:30PM on Friday, December 19th. We are asking you to
make it a priority to be here, in person. You are our community; we need
you to rally with us as we design our future together.

2. Make a donation. Supporting Intermedia Arts is critical right now, and
every dollar counts. We need your support to help us with our general
operating expenses as we implement our plan for long-term sustainability.
This isn't about keeping Intermedia Arts open for another month; this is
about keeping Intermedia Arts in our community for the long-term. Right
now, that future depends on you. We need you to make a donation today.

3: Email us. We need to hear your thoughts, your ideas, your commitment of
support, your encouragement, your suggestions and feelings. Send us your
questions, tell us what you think, and look to our website for updates,
responses, community FAQs, and news each and every step of the way.

You are our community. You are the reason we exist. In everything we do,
we work from the community up. We promise transparency, honesty and
integrity in every step of this process. You are our artists, our
audiences, our members, our friends, our fans, our volunteers, our
supporters, our program participants. You love the ArtCar Parade, and
B-Girl Be; you love to look at (and write on!) our walls. You sing karaoke
at our 55408 openings, you apply for our grants, you read our weekly email
and you visit our website to see what else you can do. You know that
Intermedia Arts believes, above all else, in you. We create a space for
you to tell your stories in your own words, in your own way.

With your support, we will meet this challenge and lead our community
forward. Now is time for each and every one of us to draw on our passion
and our conviction, and play our part. Because Intermedia Arts matters.
Because your voice matters. Because Intermedia Arts is YOU.

Sincerely,

Theresa Sweetland, Executive/Artistic Director
Julie Bates, Literary Programs Manager
Diana Domínguez, Production Manager
Marlina Gonzalez, Programs Manager
Lesmana Lim, Web Developer
Betsy McDermott Altheimer, Development Manager


--------11 of 17--------

Beware of Obama's Groundhog Day
by John Pilger
December 16th, 2008
Dissident Voice

One of the cleverest films I have seen is Groundhog Day, in which Bill
Murray plays a TV weatherman who finds himself stuck in time. At first he
deludes himself that the same day and the same people and the same
circumstances offer new opportunities. Finally, his naivety and false hope
desert him and he realizes the truth of his predicament and escapes. Is
this a parable for the age of Obama?

Having campaigned with "Change you can believe in," President-elect Barack
Obama has named his A-team. They include Hillary Clinton, who voted to
attack Iraq without reading the intelligence assessment and has since
threatened to "totally obliterate" Iran on behalf of a foreign power,
Israel. During his primary campaign, Obama referred repeatedly to
Clinton's lies about her political record. When he appointed her secretary
of state, he called her "my dear friend".

Obama's slogan is now "continuity". His secretary of defense will be
Robert Gates, who serves the lawless, blood-soaked Bush regime as
secretary of defense, which means secretary of war (America last had to
defend itself when the British invaded in 1812). Gates wants no date set
for an Iraq withdrawal and "well north of 20,000" troops to be sent to
Afghanistan. He also wants America to build a completely new nuclear
arsenal, including "tactical" nuclear weapons that blur the distinction
with conventional weapons.

Another product of "continuity" is Obama's first choice for CIA chief,
John Brennan, who shares responsibility for the systematic kidnapping and
torturing of people, known as "extraordinary rendition". Obama has
assigned Madeleine Albright to report on how to "strengthen US leadership
in responding to genocide". Albright, as secretary of state, was largely
responsible for the siege of Iraq in the 1990s, described by the UN's
Denis Halliday as genocide.

There is more continuity in Obama's appointment of officials who will deal
with the economic piracy that brought down Wall Street and impoverished
millions. As in Bill Murray's nightmare, they are the same officials who
caused it. For example, Lawrence Summers will run the National Economic
Council. As treasury secretary, according to the New York Times, he
"championed the law that deregulated derivatives, the . . . instruments .
aka toxic assets . that have spread financial losses [and] refused to heed
critics who warned of dangers to come".

There is logic here. Contrary to myth, Obama's campaign was funded largely
by rapacious capital, such as Citigroup and others responsible for the
sub-prime mortgage scandal, whose victims were mostly African Americans
and other poor people.

Is this a grand betrayal? Obama has never hidden his record as a man of a
system described by Martin Luther King as "the greatest purveyor of
violence in the world today". Obama's dalliance as a soft critic of the
disaster in Iraq was in line with most Establishment opinion that it was
"dumb". His fans include the war criminals Tony Blair, who has "hailed"
his appointments, and Henry Kissinger, who describes the appointment of
Hillary Clinton as "outstanding". One of John McCain's principal advisers,
Max Boot, who is on the Republican Party's far right, said: "I am
gobsmacked by these appointments. [They] could just as easily have come
from a President McCain".

Obama's victory is historic, not only because he will be the first black
president, but because he tapped in to a great popular movement among
America's minorities and the young outside the Democratic Party. In 2006
Latinos, the country's largest minority, took America by surprise when
they poured into the cities to protest against George W Bush's draconian
immigration laws. They chanted: "Si, se puede!" ("Yes we can!"), a slogan
Obama later claimed as his own. His secretary for homeland security is
Janet Napolitano who, as governor of Arizona, made her name by stoking
hostility against Latino immigrants. She has militarized her state's
border with Mexico and supported the building of a hideous wall, similar
to the one dividing occupied Palestine.

On election eve, reported Gallup, most Obama supporters were "engaged" but
"deeply pessimistic about the country's future direction". My guess is
that many people knew what was coming, but hoped for the best. In
exploiting this hope, Obama has all but neutered the anti-war movement
that is historically allied to the Democrats. After all, who can argue
with the symbol of the first black president in this country of slavery,
regardless of whether he is a warmonger? As Noam Chomsky has pointed out,
Obama is a "brand" like none other, having won the highest advertising
campaign accolade and attracted unprecedented sums of money. The brand
will sell for a while. He will close Guantanamo Bay, whose inmates
represent less than one percent of America's 27,000 "ghost prisoners." He
will continue to make stirring, platitudinous speeches, but the tears will
dry as people understand that President Obama is the latest manager of an
ideological machine that transcends electoral power. Asked what his
supporters would do when reality intruded, Stephen Walt, an Obama adviser,
said: "They have nowhere else to go".

Not yet. If there is a happy ending to the Groundhog Day of repeated wars
and plunder, it may well be found in the very mass movement whose
enthusiasts registered voters and knocked on doors and brought Obama to
power. Will they now be satisfied as spectators to the cynicism of
"continuity"? In less than three months, millions of angry Americans have
been politicized by the spectacle of billions of dollars of handouts to
Wall Street as they struggle to save their jobs and homes. It as if seeds
have begun to sprout beneath the political snow. And history, like
Groundhog Day, can repeat itself. Few predicted the epoch-making events of
the 1960s and the speed with which they happened. As a beneficiary of that
time, Obama should know that when the blinkers are removed, anything is
possible.

John Pilger is an internationally renowned investigative journalist and
documentary filmmaker. His latest film is The War on Democracy. His most
recent book is Freedom Next Time (Bantam/Random House, 2006).


--------12 of 17--------

Obama Slam-Duncans Education
by Greg Palast
Published on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 by GregPalast.com

Hey, you Liberal Democrats. You may have won the election, but you're
getting CREAMED in the transition.

Today, President-elect Barack Obama stuck it to you. He's chosen Arne
Duncan as Secretary of Education.

Who? Duncan is most decidedly not an educator. He's a lawyer. But Duncan
has this extraordinary qualification: He's Obama's pick-up basketball
buddy from Hyde Park.

I can't make this up.

Not that Duncan hasn't mucked about in the educational system. Chicago
Boss Richie Daley put this guy in charge of the horror show called Chicago
Public Schools where Duncan turned a bad system into a REALLY bad system.

And Obama knows it. Indeed, although he plays roundball with Duncan (who
was captain of the Harvard basketball team), State Senator Obama was one
of the only local Chicago officials who refused to send his kids to
Duncan's public schools. (The Obamas sent Sasha and Malia to the
Laboratory School, where Duncan's methods are derided as dangerously
ludicrous.)

So, if The One won't trust his kids to Duncan, why is he handing Duncan
ours?

The answer: Duncan is supported by a coterie of teacher-union hating
Republicans. The vocal cheerleader for the Duncan appointment was David
Brooks, the New York Times columnist; the REPUBLICAN columnist.

Hey, didn't those guys LOSE?

The problem with Duncan is not party affiliation. The problem is education
philosophy. And Duncan is a Bush baby through and through, a card-carrying
supporter of the program best called, "No Child's Behind Left."

At the heart of the program is testing. And more testing. Testing instead
of teaching. When tests go badly, the solution is to push the
low-test-score kids to drop out of school. If triage isn't enough, then
attack their teachers.

Here's how Duncan operates this Bush program in Chicago at Collins High in
the Lawndale ghetto. Teachers there work with kids from homeless shelters
from an economically devastated neighborhood. Believe it or not, the kids
don't get high test scores. So Chicago fired the teachers, every one of
them. Then they brought in new teachers and fired THEM too when,
surprise!, test scores still didn't rise.

The reward for a teacher volunteering for a tough neighborhood is to get
harassed, blamed and fired. Now THAT'S a brilliant program, Mr. Duncan.
But Duncan's own failures have not gotten HIM fired. As long as his
20-foot jumpshot holds, he's Mr. Secretary.

In no other cabinet department is the lack of expertise, lack of
accomplishment, lack of a degree in the field found acceptable but in
Education.

But what horrifies me more than Duncan's lack of credentials is Obama's
kowtowing to the right-wing clique crusading against the teachers' union
and progressive education. The ill philosophy behind the Bush-brand
education theories Duncan promotes, "Teach-to-the-Test," forces teachers
to limit classroom time to pounding in rote low-end skills, easily
measured on standardized tests. The transparent purpose is to create a
future class of worker-drones. Add in some computer training and - voila!
- millions of lower-income kids are trained on the cheap to function, not
think.

Analytical thinking skills, creative skills, questioning skills are left
exclusively to privileged little Bushes at Phillips Andover Academy or
privileged little Obamas at the Laboratory School.

For the rest of America's children, instead of hope, we'll have hoops.
 2008 Greg Palast

[So much for "hope". -ed]


--------13 of 17--------

A Message for Foreign Leaders
Each Shoe Was Worth a Thousand Words
By PATRICK COCKBURN
December 16, 2008
CounterPunch

The sight of the Iraqi reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi hurling his shoes at
President Bush at a press conference in Baghdad will gladden the heart of
any journalist forced to attend these tedious, useless, and almost
invariably obsequious, events. "This is a farewell kiss," shouted Mr
Zaidi. "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in
Iraq."

Official press conferences of any kind seldom produce real news, but the
worst are usually those given by foreign leaders on trips abroad in which
they and their local ally suggest that they are in control of events and
all is going according to plan.

One of the many infuriating, though also ludicrous, events in Iraq since
the invasion of 2003 has been American and British leaders, arriving in
secret at the enormous US base at Baghdad airport and travelling,
accompanied by numerous armed guards, by helicopter to the
heavily-fortified Green Zone. After a few hours there they would give
upbeat press conferences, sitting alongside the Iraqi leader of the day,
claiming significant improvements in security and chiding the assembled
journalists for ignoring such clear signs of success.

Periodically reality would break in, such as the time a mortar bomb
exploded nearby the press conference hall at the very moment when UN
Secretary General Ban ki-Moon was lauding security improvements,
compelling him to cower down behind a display of artificial flowers.

Visiting US politicians during the presidential election sought
determinedly to manicure what American television viewers would see.
Diplomats at the US embassy complained that staffers of Republican
candidate Senator John McCain had asked them not to wear helmets and body
armour when standing next to him in case these protective measures might
appear to contradict his claim that the US military was close to military
victory. For similar reasons staffers of the Vice President Dick Cheney
demanded that the siren giving a seven or eight second warning of incoming
rockets or mortar rounds to people in the Green Zone be turned off during
his visits.

I used to comfort myself with the thought that these official visits did
little harm even if they did no good. Iraqis were all too aware of the
grim reality of their lives to be taken in by official posturing. After
five years of war, American voters have seen too many claims of success in
Iraq deflated by news of fresh slaughter to be deceived into thinking that
the war was being won.

In retrospect I think I was over-optimistic: the foreign leaders who
visited the Green Zone or other US or British military camps came away
with the dangerous idea that they knew something about Iraq. They would
depart not realizing that the most important political fact was that the
majority of Iraqis detested the US-led occupation whatever they thought of
Saddam Hussein. Even the foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari, widely seen as
pro-American called the occupation "the mother of all mistakes". This
explains the popular enthusiasm for Mr Zaidi on display in Baghdad
yesterday.

The history of the Iraqi occupation is now beginning to feel like ancient
history but it is relevant because the US and Britain are committing
elsewhere so many of the same mistakes as they did in Iraq. Just at the
moment when Mr Bush was dodging footwear in Baghdad, accompanied by the
Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, Gordan Brown was appearing with the
Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad.

Mr Zardari is seen as a weak leader, uncertain of what he should do and
with limited authority over the military. But, as in Iraq in the past, his
constant appearance besides visiting foreign dignitaries convinces
Pakistanis that he is a US puppet. The constant finger-wagging against
Pakistan by Mr Brown, the US secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and
others may do something to encourage the Pakistani government to act
against organizations like Lashkar-e-Toiba and its civilian arm
Jamaat-ud-Dawa. But it also encourages a sense in Pakistan that it is
being besieged, encircled by India to the east and a pro-Indian Afghan
government to the west. The US drone attacks on Pakistani territory
increase this fear of military encirclement.

One does not have to spend long in Pakistan to discover that many
Pakistanis, perhaps a majority, dislike the US more than they do India. It
is all very well for Mr Brown to call for "action not words" against
terrorists in Pakistan but this is a truly impossible task even if
President Zardari were a leader of real authority. The US and the Iraqi
government, with vast resources at their disposal, have failed to
eliminate al-Qa'ida in the heart of Baghdad where there are regular
suicide bomb attacks and assassinations.

I visited the Jamaat-ud-Dawa headquarters in Lahore just before it was
closed last week and its members exuded confidence that nobody was going
to put them permanently out of business. State authority in Pakistan is
eroding by the day. In Peshawar, the city at the mouth of the Khyber pass
through which flow 75 per cent of supplies to western forces in
Afghanistan, several hundred well-armed gunmen have calmly taken over
depots filled with US military vehicles and burned them to the ground.

At this point somebody is bound to suggest that Pakistan is a failed state
without realising that they are entering dangerous ground. Foreign Policy
magazine in Washington does an annual survey of supposedly failed states
in which Pakistan is ranked number nine in 2008. But a failed state does
not necessarily a mean a weak country or a society unable to defend
itself. It is precisely in such allegedly failed states as Lebanon,
Somalia and Iraq that the US has suffered its greatest foreign policy
disasters over the past quarter century.

One small lesson of the debacle in Iraq might be to cut back on these
official visits such as those by Mr Bush and Mr Brown last Sunday. In
Islamabad Mr Brown's demand for a crack down on terrorism makes any action
taken by the host government look as if it is cravenly acquiescing to a
foreign power. In Baghdad Mr Bush could see for the first time in five
years, in the shape of pair of shoes hurtling towards him, what so many
Iraqis really think of him.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of 'The Occupation: War, resistance and
daily life in Iraq', a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle
Award for best non-fiction book of 2006. His new book 'Muqtada! Muqtada
al-Sadr, the Shia revival and the struggle for Iraq' is published by
Scribner.


--------14 of 17--------

The Case of Spain
A Forgotten Genocide
By VICENTE NAVARRO
CounterPunch
December 16, 2008

A social movement has been growing in Spain, breaking the 30-year pact of
silence on the enormous atrocities and genocide carried out during and
after the fascist coup led by General Franco. The coup took place in 1936
with the active support of the Catholic Church and the Spanish Army, and
made possible by the assistance of Hitler and Mussolini and the cowardice
of the western democracies, including the U.S., which at that time did not
dare to offend Hitler and Mussolini by sending arms to the democratically
elected Spanish government.

The coup was resisted, however, by the majority of Spain's population,
which is why it took three years for the fascists to succeed. They won by
imposing extremely repressive measures on the population. Terror became an
explicit policy of the new regime. General Franco and other generals spoke
frequently of the need to kill everyone who had supported the Popular
Front, the alliance of left-wing and center parties that had won by large
majorities in the last elections in Spain. As part of that repression,
more than 200,000 men and women were executed by the fascist regime, and
another 200,000 died in the Army's concentration camps and in the
villages, subjected to hunger, disease, and other circumstances. And
114,266 people simply disappeared. They were killed by the Army and the
fascist party, la Falange, and their bodies were abandoned or buried
without being identified. These bodies were never found.

When democracy returned in 1978, an informal pact of silence was made - an
agreement to cover over the enormous repression that had existed under the
fascist dictator. The democratic transition took place under conditions
that were highly favorable to the conservative forces that had controlled
Francoist Spain. It became obvious to the leadership of the former fascist
state, led by King Juan Carlos (appointed by General Franco), and Suarez,
the head of the fascist movement (Movimiento Nacional), that the fascist
regime could not continue as a dictatorship. It was a corrupt and highly
unpopular apparatus, facing the largest labor agitation in Europe. In
1976, a critical year after the death of the dictator (the day he died,
the country ran out of champagne), 2,085 workdays per 1,000 workers were
lost to strikes (the average in Europe was 595 days). The dictator died in
his bed, but the dictatorship died in the streets. The level of social
agitation reached such a point that Franco's appointed monarchy was in
trouble, and the state leadership was forced to open itself up and
establish a limited democracy, under the watchful eye of the Army (and the
Church). The left was strong enough to force that opening, but it was not
strong enough to break with the old state. The Amnesty Law was passed in
1977, which protected those who had committed politically motivated crimes
(a law that was of much greater benefit to the right-wing than to the
left-wing forces). The repression during the Franco years was enormous.
Even in his bed just before he died (1975), Franco was signing death
warrants for political prisoners.

This pact of silence continued until recently, when the grandchildren of
those who had disappeared wanted to find out where they were buried. The
young started asking questions. The right wing did not want people to ask
questions. The Church, the Army, the Royal House, the conservative media
(i.e., the majority of the media) said it was better for the country to
forget the past. To look at the past, they said, would simply open old
wounds - assuming, wrongly, that these wounds had ever closed. The
leadership of the left-wing parties - the socialist and communists - had
remained silent for all those years out of fear. They were afraid of
antagonizing powerful forces, including the King. The Queen had actually
defended Franco in a recent interview, denying that he was a bloody
dictator. He was, she said, a soft, authoritarian figure, like a father to
her husband, the King. And the King has repeatedly said that he would not
allow any criticism of General Franco among his entourage.

The grandchildren of the disappeared, however, did not feel any commitment
to this rule of silence. They started moving along the roadsides and
valleys looking for the bodies of their disappeared love ones. More and
more people joined them. And it soon became clear that there was an
enormous popular sympathy for them. People helped them find the
disappeared ones. Village by village, people began to speak about what
they had never dared say: where the disappeared had been buried and
abandoned. They even started identifying those who had done the killing.
It soon became a popular movement, known as the "families and the friends
of the disappeared ones," forcing the socialist government to pass the
Historical Memory Law. For the first time - 30 years after democracy was
reestablished in Spain - the silence was broken. The law offered
assistance to groups looking for the bodies of those who had disappeared.
But, it did not make the state responsible for finding and burying them,
as the U.N. Human Rights Commission repeatedly requested; the socialist
governments ignored these requests. Eventually, the case of the "Spanish
disappeared" gained international attention when several newspapers,
including the Guardian in the U.K. and the New York Times in the U.S.,
wrote articles about it.

Many international and Spanish commentators also criticized several
judges, including Judge Garzon, for trying to take the Argentinean and
Chilean dictators to court over the disappeared in those countries while
not doing anything about the disappeared at home, in Spain (where the
numbers and the cruelty were even greater). Judge Garzon was asked
repeatedly, why don't you judge the violations of human rights that took
place in your own country rather than in Argentina and Chile? The answer
he and others gave was that the Amnesty Law of 1977 had closed that
opportunity. But, the Spanish government has signed on to an international
law that makes "crimes against humanity" a type of violation for which the
opportunity for judgment in court cannot be closed. And the case of the
disappeared was clearly a crime against humanity, as the U.N. Human Rights
Commission had declared. The Amnesty Law was a poor excuse not to do
anything. Finally, Judge Garzon found enough courage to call for a trial
of the fascist leadership, instructing all the authorities to collaborate
in finding the disappeared ones.

It was a bombshell! Within a few weeks, an enormous opposition had
mobilized against him and against the case. This mobilization was led by
Attorney General Zaragoza, appointed by the socialist government, who
wanted to stop Garzon on the spot. The Amnesty Law had to be respected, he
said, because it was the basis of "national reconciliation" between the
winners and losers in the civil war. "Reconciliation" was a farce,
however. It was not reconciliation but a forced acceptance by the losers
of the power held by the winners of the Spanish Civil War. And the
socialist government was still afraid to confront the Army and the Church
(among other powerful groups), which had played a key role in repressing
the democratic forces. The Church, for example, was responsible for taking
babies and children away from mothers ("red mothers," as they were called
by the fascist forces, including the religious orders) who were jailed,
exiled, or assassinated, and giving the children (without parents' or
families' permission) to families close to the fascist regime who wanted
children or to religious institutions as recruits for their orders. All of
these children were given new names and did not know their true ancestry.
As Dr. Vallejo Najera, the ideologue of the Spanish Army, indicated, this
state policy was "necessary to purify the Spanish race," stopping the
contamination of children with the pathological values of their red
parents. Many of these parents were in the Army's concentration camps,
where prisoners were the subjects of biological and psychological
experiments. These camps were supervised by the German Gestapo, which
later developed and expanded such studies in the Nazi concentration camps.

Two years ago, a Catalan public television channel produced a documentary
on children who had been stolen from their "red" mothers. It received a
number of international awards. In Spain, it has been shown only in
Catalonia, the Basque Country, and Andalusia (at 1 a.m. in the morning).
Aznar (Bush's friend) forbade its airing on Spanish television, and under
the Zapatero government, it has been shown only once (in a brief,
shortened version) on public television.

Fear continues to exist in Spain. And this fear explains why, two weeks
ago, Garzon, under enormous pressure, withdrew the case.  So, Spain
remains the only country where genocide and crimes against humanity remain
without sanction. The pact of silence continues. But for how long? At this
very moment, there are young people still trying to find their
grandparents and working to mobilize people. We will see who will win in
the movement to recover the bodies of the disappeared and the history of
Spain.

The Spanish establishment, including Zapatero's government, does not want
this public trial of General Franco and his comrades-in-arms in the
genocide. The trial would have had an enormous impact, threatening the
basis underlying the Monarchy and the way the transition from dictatorship
to democracy has taken place. This explains the huge mobilization to stop
any such trials. But the grandchildren of the disappeared have enormous
popular sympathy. Finally, people are losing their fear and are uncovering
and discovering the bodies of the disappeared ones, and in so doing they
are rediscovering their own history - buried, too, for so many years. We
will see what happens. The story has not ended yet.

Vicente Navarro is Professor of Policy Studies and Public Policy, The
Johns Hopkins University, USA and  Professor of Political Science, the
Pompeu Fabra University, Spain. He can be reached at vnavarro [at] jhsph.edu


--------15 of 17--------

More People Are About to Become Homeless
The Order to Destroy has been Given
By MATS SVENSSON
CounterPunch
December 16, 2008

It is Wednesday afternoon on the 5th November. I woke up this morning and
was happy. The man who repeatedly exclaimed "Change" and "Yes we can" had
done the impossible, had proven that change is possible. Now seven hours
have passed and I have gone to Silwan, south of Jerusalem's Old City. A
house is to be demolished and the morning and the happiness feel distant,
as if it had been a different time.

The questions aggregated this morning when I within myself still heard
Obama's voice and simultaneously at a distance saw the violence spreading
out before me.

Before I reach the house that is to be demolished, I stop for a while and
look up at all the windows, at all the balconies, at all the flat roofs.
People everywhere. Old, young, women, men. Everyone gazing in the same
direction. I am struck by the silence. It is as if someone had said,
"Silence, action".

Many spectators but very few who are moving. Women stand in the shade,
away from the sun. An old man behind the soldiers tries to shout something
but his cry gets caught behind the bars of despair. I see the desperation
in his eyes. I see how his back is bent. I see how the soldier, the
soldier who looks like a teenager, shoves him away. He cannot get through.
A young soldier carries water bottles, water for all the soldiers.

I turn to the shade and face the women. Contrary to the soldiers with
green clothes and heavy weapons I see dignity, no expressions of
hopelessness but not hope either. As if one right now is in an inferior
position but still have not lost. As if one has lost everything but still
has everything left.

I have still not reached the house but am stopped by soldiers on
horsebacks. Soldiers that shout at me. I am saved by a photographer from
Reuters who begins to speak with me, as if he recognized me. Together we
go on, past clusters of soldiers. Past men with combat equipment, men who
do not look proud, men who dodge my eyes, men who do not wish to be
photographed. There are only some older military men who express a feeling
of victory but without showing any joy.

When I reach the site, the film cameras have begun to register, second
upon second. The stage is bathing in a clear light as the sun is setting
high above us, over the rooftops. For the photographers, this is the best
lighting. It is light that creates contrasts, that creates depth against
the white limestone walls.

I think, this is not real. I must have walked in on a film set. As if the
director had moved from Far to Jerusalem. As if Ingemar Bergman was
adapting Selma Lagerlof's book Jerusalem for the screen. In front of me I
see how Sven Nykvist shapes his right hand, shapes a three-sided figure to
block out the unessential, concentrates and locks the gaze while the
director behind him quietly watches. How I wish that it was the case, that
in front of me I was watching a performance, acting. That it would have
been about a tragedy between father and son. Or that it would have been
about Swedish farmers who had left Nas for the holy city. But these
feelings subsist for only a short moment.

I am immediately thrown back to reality when the young soldier points with
his whole hand while he raises his automatic weapon ten degrees, aiming at
the man in the door who is carrying the red carpet, the one that had just
covered the floor. A small table had stood on the carpet. Around the
table, had been the couch, some armchairs and chairs. This is where they
had celebrated Eid and friends had come to visit last Friday. Children had
played on the floor and they had drunk strong Arabic coffee.

I have reached the center of the drama. Recently, this morning, I had been
sitting at home with tears of joy. As if the elections in the USA were
important for me, as if they touched me personally. A young man stood in
front of the world and exclaimed the words, "Yes we can". He had
personified that everything is possible, Yes we can, that everything can
be changed, Yes we can.

But now, a few hours later, the silence is almost palpable. The neighbor
has become an enemy. Hundreds of soldiers, many of them young, a moment
ago they were children, now they carry heavy weapons and combat equipment.
The order to destroy has been given. The young soldiers who this morning
listened to the election results now know that Yes we can, means something
different to what they had thought this morning. Now it means to destroy,
dominate, take over, demolish, create despair, humiliate, be in control,
be in the center.

In the periphery stands a lonely American diplomat. He registers and takes
notes. I am glad and impressed by his presence. When a house is
demolished, he is there; when a family is thrown out on the street, he is
present. And I begin to believe that something is happening. Someone far
away will tonight read what has been written, pass it through the system,
rework it, make lists and compilations. Destroyed house after house is put
into columns, today there were four houses, so far this year there have
been 86 houses destroyed. Someone is listing the number of women, the
number of men, the number of children, elderly, sick, the ones who have
lost, and by the end of January 2009 the compilation for 2008 will be
complete.

I want to believe that this document will be there when President Bush
leaves the Oval Office, when President Obama for the first time gets a
moment of privacy. I want to believe that Obama has a moment of calm to
read the report from East Jerusalem and that he then within himself again
will think and perhaps say to himself, Yes we can, Yes we can change.
Those words that have been exclaimed thousands of times and in which we
all today want to believe.

Then the silence is broken. The house is emptied. Everything has been
brought out and placed in a large pile. Toys, toothpaste, the sofa bed,
the yellow teddy bear, plastic flowers, tables, carpets, refrigerators
with photos of happy children. The men are forced away, the soldiers.
attentiveness is sharpened. Everyone's gaze is sharpened. Everyone is
looking at the yellow machine, the machine with the large axe, which
reminds us of a dentist's drill. But here there is no one drilling. Here
it is not about being careful, here something is to be axed, struck,
broken.

Everyone watches when the man in the machine from hell approaches the
house, lifts the large thorn and begins to axe through the roof. The
ground trembles. The man who earlier tried to cry raises his hands towards
the soldiers who prevented him from approaching the house and then he aims
his hands towards the sky, to the Almighty.

Hell is suddenly in front of me, clearly manifested. I stand beside the
family that has lost everything. In front of us we see the machine that
breaks into pieces, killing all hope. The young soldier who in a
democratic society should protect the weak was not allowed to do so. I see
spectators from near and far. Fellow beings, journalists, diplomats and
activists. Children who are scared of what they see and who wonder whose
house will be demolished tomorrow. I look around and see all the young,
all the boys. Boys standing on the roofs, on the balconies, who stand in
groups and who begin to talk, begin to point towards the house which is
soon a pile of rubble and towards the soldiers. I see young boys who
clench their fists in their pockets and who maybe think "Yes we can".

The young boys stood beside me. They saw a family removing all of their
belongings. They saw the family watching their house become crushed. I can
guess what images they will carry within themselves for the rest of their
lives.

I saw that too. Together we saw it on BBC and CNN. It is happening in the
middle of Jerusalem, a few hundred meters from Via Dolorosa. In the middle
of the hopelessness I begin to tell myself that this must be stopped, that
together we can stop the madness. We have to stop saying that it is
meaningless, stop all forms of the cynicism that has become part of
reality amongst foreigners among diplomats in Jerusalem. There must at the
end be some kind of damn law and order in this place.

Those of you who decide over your country's foreign policy in relation to
Palestine are really quite few. Few but powerful when you hold many
thousands of families' homes in your hands. Power must be managed well
when your decisions affect the young peoples' views on democracy and
arouse and extinguish dreams.

My mobile phone vibrates. The UN through OCHA writes that three more
houses are being demolished today, more people are about to become
homeless.

Mats Svensson, a former Swedish diplomat working on the staff of SIDA, the
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, is presently
following the ongoing occupation of Palestine.  He can be reached at
isbjorn2001 [at] hotmail.com.

[From holocausted to holocausters. -ed]


--------16 of 17-------

The Case of William Felkner
Left Control of Academia?
By HOWARD LISNOFF
CounterPunch
December 16, 2008

The issue of the influence of the left in the U.S. has come under sharp
scrutiny by the right again.  It is the same infamous battle that gripped
the U.S. during the infamous days of Joseph McCarthy. Higher education has
borne much of the brunt in the culture wars from the right for nearly
three decades.  The right's thinking goes something like this: many of the
generation who became professors and came of age during the 1960s are
ensconced in universities and colleges throughout the U.S., poisoning the
minds of college students. The case of a graduate student at Rhode Island
College's School of Social Work (RIC), William Felkner, typifies the
right's arguments.  That controversy has ended up in the courts of Rhode
Island. "As a newly enrolled student in 2004, Felkner, a free-market
conservative, says it became clear that he would have to transform himself
into a left-wing ideologue before he could get a master's degree". (The
Providence Journal, "Graduate student sues RIC over liberal views,"
December 14, 2008).

The article continued, "Felkner has filed a lawsuit against Rhode Island
College that revives arguments from conservatives who have assailed the
National Association of Social Workers. (NASW) code of ethics, the
profession of social work and the structure of academic programs in
schools of social work across the country".

Felkner went as far as surreptitiously taping a conversation with a
professor to document his belief that social work professors at the
college hold left-wing views.  He posted an e-mail message from another
professor with whom he differed on a Web site. One professor of social
work at RIC defended his progressive views in one e-mail.  It is
interesting that professors have been put in a position of having to
defend both their professional training and personal beliefs by a
disgruntled student!

"Felkner's lawsuit says the RIC School of Social Work discriminated
against him by penalizing his grades, filing ethics charges against him,
delaying his graduation, and denying him the opportunity to work on
welfare reform in the governor's office -- all in retaliation for his
conservative views," according to the article in The Providence Journal.

"RIC argues that Felkner equates his right to free speech with 'a claim to
be able to create his own curriculum, something which is not
constitutionally guaranteed,'" according to the same article.
Despite an appeal by RIC, a superior court judge in Rhode Island has
refused to dismiss the lawsuit.

I interviewed a student in the graduate program in social work at Rhode
Island College for this article.  She wished to remain anonymous. She
reported, "The faculty of my program goes out of their way to assure
student success.  They constantly offer extra help, extensions,
personalized attention, and encouragement to students.  And in my policy
class this semester, on the first day our professor gave a little talk
about how you can be pro-life and be a social worker, you just can't let
your ideas interfere with client interactions, meaning you can't deny your
clients access to information on account of your own beliefs.  I think
they are, the faculty, all suffering from a mild case of PTSD because of
this guy Felkner.  Also, he is not that unusual of a student.  The goal
mentioned in the article (in The Providence Journal), to become a
therapist, is pretty common.  The profession is not what it used to be.
Lots of right-wingers have discovered the MSW (Master of Social Work) is
the fastest route to private practice as a therapist.  There is an
argument in the profession about this, whether or not it is social work at
all and should we be training people of this persuasion".

People For The American Way (PFTAW) lists the objectives of the right-wing
"watch group" Accuracy In Academia (AIA) that claims to monitor colleges
and universities throughout the U.S.  According to PFTAW, AIA's issues
are: "Combating Title IX, multicultural education, and abortion, and
fighting "liberal" ideas that are offensive to right-wing students" [The
AIA] [a]sserts that many colleges and universities are openly dedicated to
"indoctrinating' students with liberal or communist philosophy. AIA seeks
to expose "the exploitation of the classroom or university resources to
indoctrinate students; discrimination against students, faculty or
administrators based on political or academic beliefs; and campus
violations of free speech.."

"Spokeswomen for the NASW say that social justice can mean many things,
but a major component of social work is assisting those who have trouble
fending for themselves because of psychological problems. Both the code
and the RIC curriculum emphasize the role of social workers in pursuing
"social justice" for the "vulnerable and oppressed" members of society,"
according to the article in The Providence Journal.

The Random House Unabridged Dictionary (2006) defines social work as,
"Organized work directed toward the betterment of social condition in the
community, as by seeking to improve the condition of the poor, to promote
the welfare of children, etc". How a so-called "free-market conservative,"
"libertarian" philosophy fits into the profession of social work is a
mystery.

The major attack against the right of the poor to live with dignity in the
U.S. came from the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity
Act of 1996 that ended the government's mandate to help the poor conceived
during the New Deal. Though a product of the Clinton Administration, its
champion was the Republican and ultraconservative compact known as the
Contract With America, a successful right-wing attempt to roll back gains
made in social welfare during the Great Depression and beyond.

Rhode Island leads the nation along with Michigan according to the Bureau
of Labor Statistics with an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent (October
2008).  That kind of economic environment seems like the least likely
place to support initiatives that attack the right of the poor to survive
in a depressed economy!

For about six years I taught at a conservative private college in Rhode
Island as an adjunct professor.  I instructed students who were teachers,
or were training to become teachers, in how to teach literacy skills in
content subjects.  Teachers had to take the course I taught in order to
teach in the secondary schools of the state.  Since much of the textbook
material I used was dry, I included readings from other sources that would
illustrate how to use textbook techniques and strategies introduced in the
course.  Two of the readings I supplemented the course with were Professor
Howard Zinn's Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American
Ideology (1991), and A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present
(1980).

None of these materials seemed to be a problem until I used one of my own
articles from the Humanist, "Chance Encounters With The Moral Majority,"
(November-December 1994), to teach a particular learning strategy.  During
class instruction a student began screaming from her seat, accusing me of
being a "monster" for using an article that discussed abortion.  Within a
year of the incident in the classroom, I was informed by the school's
administration that I would not be rehired to teach this course that I had
taught for six years, and for which I had consistently earned "above
average" ratings from students.  The reason given was that regular,
full-time staff was being given the responsibility of teaching the course
and I would no longer be needed.

If elections can be used as a sort of rough gauge of the thinking of at
least those who  vote in the U.S., then the 2008 election is instructive.
According to the Indeypendent, not "even one percent of approximately 123
million votes cast on Tuesday" went to third-party candidates. (November
7, 2008).  Hardly a landslide of those bent on destroying the minds of
young and impressionable students in the U.S. with left-wing and
progressive thought.

The idea that the left has some sort of lock on academia is an utter lie,
slander, and libel by the right in the U.S.  It is rather the right, both
in and out of the public domain, that has shaped this country's policies
for more than six decades. What will happen to social policy with a new
administration in Washington, D.C., and in the larger society, now remains
to be seen.  I doubt very much that schools of social work will soon
preach the belief that theories of social Darwinism become enshrined in
social work curriculum after so many have been left on the streets by the
policies of the right!

Howard Lisnoff teaches writing and is a freelance writer.  He can be
reached at howielisnoff [at] gmail.com.


--------17 of 17--------

 [Hot meals for Iraqis]

 From our US shells
 depleted uranium
 makes hot fission chips.

 [Making fissures of men]


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