|Progressive Calendar 01.12.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 06:56:15 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 01.12.09 1. Court/AWC 1.12 9am 2. Peace walk 1.12 6pm RiverFalls WI 3. Online tools 1.12 6:30pm 4. Xcel substations 1.12 6:30pm 5. Peace church 1.12 6:30pm 6. Sprogs 1.12 6:30pm 7. Vs anti-immigrant 1.12 6:30pm 8. Social justice 1.13 1pm 9. Stop dirty coal 1.13 1pm 10. Arabic classes 1.13 6pm 11. RNC court watch 1.13 6pm 12. Anti-war film 1.13 6:30pm 13. Kip Sullivan - Another warning about the Minnesota Health Security Act 14. Andy Birkey - Hey gays! Do Campbell's soup, piss off religious right! 15. John Pilger - Holocaust denied: the lying silence of those who know 16. Naomi Klein - Israel: boycott, divest, sanction 17. Matt Reichel - Stop American aid to Israel --------1 of 17-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: Court/AWC 1.12 9am Court Solidarity: Support the "Recruiter 7" arrested at a 5-year anniversary protest against the Iraq war Monday, Jan 12 @ 9:00am (expected to continue all day and into Tuesday) @ Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. 6th St, Mpls On March 27, 2008, the Anti-War Committee marked the five-year anniversary of the war and the occupation of Iraq, with a protest at an Army National Guard recruiting office in Minneapolis. Many of national guard troops have been sent to fight, and sometimes die, in Iraq, including those from Minnesota. Military recruitment of our sons and daughters fuels the war in Iraq, risking their lives as well as the Iraqi people. Our young people should not have to join the military to fund their educations or out of economic need. These are the issues we brought to light with our protests, and those of the students we allied with that day. Television, radio and print media all covered our demonstrations, spreading the word that opposition to the Iraq war continues. Our protest led to the arrests of 16 people, and on Monday, 7 of us are going to court to fight the charges against us. We need your support. Please come to show the prosecutor, judge and jury that the war in Iraq is the real crime, and our community supports those who take a stand against it. Be visible - wear an AWC or other anti-war shirt. (Buttons won't be allowed, and you will pass through a metal detector, so don't bring anything else with you that won't make it through security.) While we can't know for certain, we expect the trial to continue to Tuesday. If you can, please be there Monday morning at 9am at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. 6th St, Mpls. We'll try to have someone to direct you from the main floor, but you can also ask at the information desk by the name of Jessica Sundin, or one of the other defendants. Thank you for your solidarity. We will post updates as they become available. Meredith Aby antiwarcommittee.org colombiasolidarity.org --------2 of 17-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 1.12 6pm RiverFalls WI River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from "Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact: d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls, Wisconsin 54022 --------3 of 17-------- From: Timothy Erickson <tim [at] politalk.org> Subject: Online tools 1.12 6:30pm As part of our ongoing E-Tools for all workshop series, St. Paul E- Democracy Outreach Committee is offering the following (NEW) 4 week introductory class on social media and social networking tools. The class is free, however pre-registration is required and space is limited. There are currently a number of spaces available, please contact me ASAP if you are interested in participating in this NEW class. This is an introductory class, no experience or prior knowledge is necessary. FREE CLASS at Rondo Community Outreach Library - Introduction to Social Media: Online Tools for Community Involvement Mondays - Jan 12, Jan 26, Feb 2, and Feb 9 - 2009 6:30 - 8:30 PM Rondo Community Outreach Library University & Dale, St. Paul (FREE indoor parking) Cost / Registration: Class is FREE Pre-registration is REQUIRED (see below for contact info) Limited to 15 Participants This is an introductory class, no experience or prior knowledge is required. Short Description: This class will offer participants a hands-on opportunity to explore some of the powerful social networking and online media sharing sites, with a special focus on how to use these sites as tools for community involvement. How the class will work: The class is designed to use a combination of demonstrations, small group discussions, and hands-on exercises - to lead participants through a series of tasks that will familiarize them with a number of popular social networking and media sharing sites and offer concrete examples of how those sites might be useful in their everyday lives. Each student will be given the opportunity to: 1) Set-up and edit their own blog 2) Edit a wiki 3) Subscribe to an RSS feed (and understand what it is) 4) Create an audio or video commentary and post it to a popular media sharing site 5) Familiarize themselves with micro-blogging sites such as Twitter or Plurk 6) Experiment with social bookmarking site - de.licio.us 7) And much, much, more......... Contact Info: To register, email me your: Name, Email, and Phone: tim [at] politalk.org For additional information, contact: Tim Erickson tim [at] politalk.org 651-246-5045 --------4 of 17-------- From: Julia Eagles <jeagles [at] phillipsenergycoop.com> Subject: Xcel substations 1.12 6:30pm Xcel Substations Community Forum Plaza Verde (3rd Floor), 1516 E Lake Street Monday, January 12th 6:30-8:30 p.m. Xcel Energy is proposing to build two new substations in the Phillips community, one near Hiawatha Avenue and another near I-35W, connected by high voltage transmission lines. The Phillips Community Energy Cooperative (PCEC) would like to invite its members and friends to a community meeting about the project on Monday, January 12th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the 3rd floor of Plaza Verde, 1516 East Lake Street. Free childcare as well as Spanish and Somali interpretation will be provided. --------5 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Peace church 1.12 6:30pm Monday, 1/12, 6:30 pm, Every Church a Peace Church bimonthly potluck supper meeting, with a presentation by Nils Dybvig and Michele Braley on "Christian Peacemaker Teams in Colombia," Northeast Community Lutheran Church, 724 Lowry Ave NE, Mpls. 612-788-2444 or http://www.neclchurch.org --------6 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Sprogs 1.12 6:30pm Monday, 1/12, 7 pm (social time as 6:30), Network of Spiritual Progressives meets to develop techniques of Spiritual Activism Training including elevator speeches and canvassing, Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave S (enter through canopy off Franklin parking lot), Mpls. --------7 of 17-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Vs anti-immigrant 1.12 6:30pm Lets get some pro-immigrant voices there! Suggested talking points below. -amalia Monday, January 12 - 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Sen. Ron Latz & Rep. Ryan Winkler Golden Valley Library - Community Room 830 Winnetka Avenue N., Golden Valley, MN 55427 Monday, January 26 - 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Sen. Ron Latz & Rep. Steve Simon The Depot Coffee House 9451 Excelsior Blvd., Hopkins, MN Minnesota Anti-Immigrant Group Targets Lawmakers to Push Immoral Political Agenda Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform (MINN-SIR, see attachment for biography) is asking their anti-immigrant base to attend three different town hall meetings scheduled in January by Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party members, Sen. Ron Latz <http://www.ronlatz.org/ <http://www.ronlatz.org/>> , Rep. Ryan Winkle, and Rep. Steve Simon. The DFL Party currently supports a pathway tocitizenship, family reunification; legalizing future migration flows,protects due process and human rights, and protects U.S. workers andemployers. However, sometimes party members don't always support their party's positions. Instead, party members will support the constituents with the loudest voice, even if it's anti-immigrant. Let your voice be heard. Push your local lawmakers to support immigrant rights by attending one of the town hall meetings. Five things to say to your Elected Officials: . While some individuals may be arguing an extremists anti- immigrant position, the majority of Americans are welcoming to all walks of life and do not support an anti-immigrant. . Immigrants are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends. Reactionary policies that force them into the shadows haven't worked, and are not consistent with our values. Those policies hurt all of us by encouraging exploitation by unscrupulous employers and landlords. We support policies that help immigrants contribute and participate fully in our society. . Some propose that we disregard the importance of family unity in our immigration system. But Americans agree that honoring family is a core value, and one of the values that we most respect in others. Welcoming newcomers but separating and splitting their families is contrary to who we are as a nation. . Anti-immigrant extremists are preventing a legal immigration system that works and distracting us from addressing our real challenges on education, health care and employment. . We've tried the policies of isolation and division, and they don't work for anybody. We need workable, inclusive policies that serve our entire state, even as we push the federal government to fix our broken immigration system. Monday, January 12 - 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Sen. Ron Latz & Rep. Ryan Winkler Golden Valley Library - Community Room 830 Winnetka Avenue N., Golden Valley, MN 55427 Monday, January 26 - 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Sen. Ron Latz & Rep. Steve Simon The Depot Coffee House 9451 Excelsior Blvd., Hopkins, MN --------8 of 17-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Social justice 1.13 1pm January 13: American Association of University Women St. Paul Branch Meeting. 10:30 AM: Meeting. 11 AM: Angie Eilers, Investing in Students. Noon: Luncheon. 1 PM: Teaching Social Justice. 990 Summit Ave, St. Paul. --------9 of 17-------- From: Cesia Kearns <cesia.kearns [at] sierraclub.org> Subject: Stop dirty coal 1.13 1pm Last Chance to Stop Dirty Coal in MN - Pull the Plug on Big Stone II! We know there's no hope of solving global warming if we build new coal-fired power plants. After three years of delay due to our organizing and our allies' efforts, Minnesota decision-makers will determine the future - or finality- of Big Stone II, a dirty coal-fired power plant proposed near the South Dakota border. This week the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will vote on the certificate of need for Big Stone II, and it's critical to have a strong public presence. Can you join us for one of these important meetings to show the PUC that Minnesotans want to pull the plug on Big Stone II - once and for all? WHEN: January 13th 1:00pm - Oral arguments - the lawyers from both sides of the issue will make their final statements to the PUC Commissioners January 15th at 9:30am - deliberations and decision- the Commissioners will discuss the project and then vote. A strong public presence is important at both meetings, but the priority is Thursday morning, as this is when the commissioners will actually vote. Attend both, or one, and stay as long as you can - the entire time, or a half hour. WHERE: The Public Utilities Commission, downtown Saint Paul at 121 7th Place East, 3rd floor of the Metro Square Building on the corner of Jackson and 7th Streets. It will be in the large hearing room. For directions to the PUC visit http://www.puc.state.mn.us/PUC/aboutus/contactus/index.html CONTACT: To RSVP, for questions, or to volunteer, contact Cesia at 612-659-9124 ext. 310 or email cesia.kearns [at] sierraclub.org Visit www.northstar.sierraclub.org --------10 of 17-------- From: Mizna <mizna-announce [at] mizna.org> Subject: Arabic classes 1.13 6pm Mizna's Arabic Classes will start the second week of January. All classes held in Mizna's office in Northeast Minneapolis, Minnesota. Register now. Go here to register, or for more information: http://mizna.org/classes/index.html Arabic Language for Beginners Instructor: Antoine Mefleh Tuesdays, January 13 - March 31, 2009 (10 weeks) 6 - 7:30 pm The beginning Arabic class focuses on developing basic communication skills in Arabic. Students will learn Classic Fousha Arabic, standard vocabulary and grammar, and colloquial dialect. Although all four areas of language learning will be covered in class (i.e. speaking, listening, reading and writing), the focus of the Arabic class will center on developing speaking and listening abilities with the purpose of engaging in a basic conversation in Arabic. By the end of the course students will have the confidence to greet people, describe and discuss their environment, communicate emotions and feelings, and talk about general situations. Instructor will provide all class materials. Register now. Go here to register, or for more information: http://mizna.org/classes/index.html --- Arabic Language II Instructor: Antoine Mefleh Tuesdays, January 13 - March 31, 2009 (10 weeks) 7:30 - 9 pm Arabic Language II is for students with a basic introductory knowledge of Arabic and designed to continue to develop skills in spoken and written language. Students will work with the instructor and other classmates in practicing their knowledge of both spoken and written Arabic through in class exercises as well as written materials. All materials provided by instructor. Register now. Go here to register, or for more information: http://mizna.org/classes/index.html --- Arabic Language III Instructor: Antoine Mefleh Thursdays, January 15 - April 2, 2009 (10 weeks) 6 - 7:30 pm Arabic Language III is designed for those students who have had background in Arabic language study and would like to continue to develop their skills in reading, writing and speaking. Students will work with instructor in intense study to develop their language abilities. Instructor will provide all class materials. Register now. Go here to register, or for more information: http://mizna.org/classes/index.html --- Arabic Language IV Instructor: Antoine Mefleh Max Class Size: 12 Teenagers - Adult Thursdays, January 15 - April 2, 2009 (10 weeks) 7:30 - 9 pm Cost: $200.00 Arabic Language IV is a continued advance course for students who want to further develop their skills in the written and spoken language. Register now. Go here to register, or for more information: http://mizna.org/classes/index.html --- Mizna is a forum for Arab American art. Visit our website at http://www.mizna.org. --------11 of 17-------- From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com> Subject: RNC court watch 1.13 6pm RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing court information, documentation and etc. RNC Court Watchers Meetings are every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our meetings. Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this intimidation, harassment and abuse! Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent people. Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55405 Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M participate and help organize RNC court solidarity. For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at] gmail.com THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED! --------12 of 17-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Anti-war film 1.13 6:30pm This Tuesday, Jan. 13, we will show the film called Soldiers of Conscience. It was shown on TV recently and i ordered it as i thought it was a very important film. To Kill or Not to Kill! For some the war is within. The message: Every soldier wrestles w/his/her conscience over killing. Most decide it is ok to kill, but some refuse. The story centers around some of the soldiers of the Iraq war who have decided to be CO's. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------13 of 17-------- Date: Sun, 11 Jan 2009 18:32:23 -0600 From: Kip Sullivan <kiprs [at] usinternet.com> Another warning about the Minnesota Health Security Act by Kip Sullivan Friday's New York Times carried a front-page story about an Alabama sheriff who got rich at the expense of prisoners he was responsible for. This story should be instructive to all those who advocate paying doctors by a method known as "capitation." The Minnesota Health Security Act, a bill advocated by Take Action Minnesota, the Children's Defense Fund, and six other groups, calls for paying doctors who treat Minnesota children by capitation. According to the Times, Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett made $212,000 over a three-year period by denying food to Morgan County Jail inmates. Alabama gives county sheriffs $1.75 a day per inmate to pay for food. According to an old Alabama law, sheriffs are allowed to keep whatever portion of the $1.75 they don't spend. The Times (and the next day CNN) reported that inmates were always hungry (Adam Nossiter, "As his inmates grew thinner, a sheriff's wallet grew fatter," January 9, 2009, A1). If the sheriff were a doctor, his method of payment would be called capitation. "Capitation" is the name given to a fee paid per time period (usually a year) per patient. Just as the payment Sheriff Bartlett got was always $1.75 per inmate per day regardless of how much food the inmate needed, so capitation payments to doctors don't change just because the patient in question gets sick and needs lots of medical attention. Just as Sheriff Bartlett got to keep whatever he didn't spend on the inmates, so capitated doctors get to keep whatever they don't spend on patients. I don't believe every sheriff would cave into the capitation incentive the way Bartlett did, and I don't believe every doctor would cave into capitation and harm patients. But we know some human beings in all walks of life will cave to incentives like those created by capitation. We know, in other words, that some patients will be harmed by capitation. The Minnesota Health Security Act (MHSA), which was announced at a press conference at the Capitol by the "Make Health Happen" coalition on January 8, calls for insuring all kids by July 2010 and paying their doctors by capitation. The cover-all-kids program would be run by the Department of Human Services (DHS), the agency which now administers Minnesota's big health insurance programs (MinnesotaCare, Medical Assistance, and General Assistance Medical Care). The MHSA says all "eligible entities" who contract with DHS to treat children under the new law must accept capitation. Here is the actual language from Section 9, subd. 2 of the bill: "Eligible entities under contract: ... shall accept prospective, per capita payment from the commissioner [of DHS] in return for the provision of comprehensive and coordinated health care services for enrollees...." The phrase "prospective, per capita payment" is synonymous with "capitation." (The MHSA is not yet available on the Legislature's Web site. The copy I am relying on was sent to me by a legislator.) The MHSA doesn't define "eligible entities," but it's clear from the context that "entities" refers to the HMOs or clinics that persuade DHS to contract with them to serve the kids insured by the new program. The MHSA, then, is going to require that doctors work under the same incentives Sheriff Bartlett works under. DHS will figure out a set fee per child per year to pay doctors, and doctors will be free to pocket any portion of this payment they don't spend on medical care for children. As I have indicated in previous posts about the MHSA, the MHSA gives DHS the discretion to choose whether to contract with (and make payments directly to) doctors, clinics and hospitals, or to contract only with HMOs. Odds are very high that DHS will contract almost exclusively with HMOs. I have also reported that even if DHS wanted to contract with doctors and hospitals directly, it's unlikely most doctors and many small hospitals could afford to buy the electronic medical records hardware and software they'll need to comply with the information requirements imposed on doctors and hospitals by the MHSA. But, if by some remote chance DHS did want to contract with a few docs and hospitals directly, and if by some chance these doctors and hospitals could afford to meet the information requirements in the MHSA, they would face one last unpleasant choice: Do they want to be paid like Sheriff Bartlett? If their patients have any say about capitation, I'm sure they'd say, "No way." Not only does capitation expose patients to rationing they might not even be aware of, it forces them to designate one clinic as the only clinic they'll go to for an entire year. In other words, for capitation to work, patients have to accept restrictions on which doctor they'll see. It is conceivable that the people who wrote the MHSA mistakenly used sloppy language and didn't intend to expose individual doctors or small clinics, and their patients, to the risks of capitation. It is possible they intended capitation to be used only with HMOs, which typically have tens or hundreds of thousands of enrollees, and multi-site clinics that see tens of thousands of patients. Capitation, when it is applied to very large groups, can work. Capitated payments to very large groups are identical to premiums. But we have good reason to think the "prospective, per capita payment" language in the MHSA is not a mistake, and that the authors of the MHSA, Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) and Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick), intended to require DHS to capitate even individual doctors and small clinics and hospitals. The health care "reform" bill introduced by DFL leaders in the 2008 session of the Legislature (SF 3099/HF 3391) contained provisions that would have imposed stringent capitation requirements on all Minnesota doctors and hospitals. These requirements were grandly referred to by proponents of the bill as "level 3 payment reform." Moreover, several members of the Take Action coalition, including Take Action, SEIU, AFSCME 5, and the Minnesota Nurses Association, lobbied for SF 3099/HF 3391. They had some dubious company. Governor Pawlenty, General Mills, the Chamber of Commerce, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medica, and HealthPartners also supported "level 3 payment reform." Thanks to resistance in both houses of the Legislature by small rural hospitals and doctors from all over the state, as well as legislators affiliated with the single-payer caucus (the Minnesota Health Reform Caucus), "level 3 reform" was defeated. Given this history, and given who is supporting the MHSA, it is reasonable to conclude that the capitation provision in the MHSA is not a mistake, it is intended to apply to all doctors, and it is a vehicle for enacting "level 3 payment reform" under a new label -- "prospective, per capita payment." I should note that the MHSA says DHS will adjust capitation payments to "eligible entities" (prior to the year in question) to reflect differences in the medical needs of the patients who get locked in with a particular "entity" for a year. This process is called "risk adjustment." In theory risk adjustment determines in advance the health status of patients who will visit a particular clinic, or who will enroll with a particular insurance company. In theory, it guarantees that doctors, for example, who treat sicker patients get bigger payments per patient per year, and, conversely, that doctors who treat healthier patients get lower payments. Unfortunately, the science of risk adjustment is in a very primitive state and has been for decades. The best risk-adjustment methods now predict somewhere between ten and 15 percent of the variation in expenditures on patients. This means, for example, that a clinic might incur expenses 100 percent above the average but receive payments that exceed the average by only ten to 15 percent. This is obviously way too low to remove from doctors the incentive to respond the way Sheriff Bartlett did -- by rationing. Risk-adjustment will never get much more accurate than it is now. If you aren't convinced at this point that capitation is a bad idea, let me try one last argument. Richard Nixon and John Ehrlichman were big proponents of capititation. We know this thanks to research done by Michael Moore's staff in the course of producing the movie "Sicko." Moore's staff discovered a discussion between Nixon and Ehrlichman recorded on the Watergate tapes. It's 1971. Ehrlichman is talking to Nixon about the pros and cons of endorsing a new-fangled insurance company called the "health maintenance organization" modeled on an HMO called Kaiser Permanente headquartered in California (Kaiser Permanente is the largest HMO in America today). One of the primary characteristics of the Kaiser Permanente HMO model under disscussion back in 1971 (and still to some degree today) was capitation payments to doctors. Here is how Ehrlichman made the case for capitation to Nixon: Ehrlichman: "Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. [Strictly speaking, Kaiser Permanente has never been for-profit, but it doesn't matter. Non-profit HMOs operate under the same incentives as for-profit insurance companies.] And the reason that he can ... do it... I had Edgar Kaiser come in ... talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because ... the less care they give them the more money they make." Nixon: "Fine." Ehrlichman: "... and the incentives run the right way." Nixon: "Not bad." --------14 of 17-------- Hey gays! Donate Campbell's soup and piss of the religious right! by Andy Birkey Campbell's soup is advertising in the Advocate, a LGBT publication, and the American Family Association is unhappy. One ad features a lesbian couple cooking with their kid and in another some gay chefs. Campbell's pretty much told the American Family Association that they will advertise to the LGBT community if they want to regardless of what AFA has to say about "homosexuals." Some folks have suggested that the LGBT community buy up Campbell's if they are looking to donate to food shelves this winter. And it sounds like a great idea. [Campbell's Hunky Soup? -ed] --------15 of 17-------- Holocaust Denied The Lying Silence of Those Who Know by John Pilger January 8th, 2009 Dissident Voice "When the truth is replaced by silence," the Soviet dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, "the silence is a lie". It may appear the silence is broken on Gaza. The cocoons of murdered children, wrapped in green, together with boxes containing their dismembered parents and the cries of grief and rage of everyone in that death camp by the sea, can be viewed on al-Jazeera and YouTube, even glimpsed on the BBC. But Russia's incorrigible poet was not referring to the ephemeral we call news; he was asking why those who knew the why never spoke it and so denied it. Among the Anglo-American intelligentsia, this is especially striking. It is they who hold the keys to the great storehouses of knowledge: the historiographies and archives that lead us to the why. They know that the horror now raining on Gaza has little to do with Hamas or, absurdly, "Israel;s right to exist". They know the opposite to be true: that Palestine's right to exist was canceled 61 years ago and the expulsion and, if necessary, extinction of the indigenous people was planned and executed by the founders of Israel. They know, for example, that the infamous "Plan D" resulted in the murderous de-population of 369 Palestinian towns and villages by the Haganah (Jewish army) and that massacre upon massacre of Palestinian civilians in such places as Deir Yassin, al-Dawayima, Eilaboun, Jish, Ramle and Lydda are referred to in official records as "ethnic cleansing". Arriving at a scene of this carnage, David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, was asked by a general, Yigal Allon, "What shall we do with the Arabs?" Ben-Gurion, reported the Israeli historian Benny Morris, "made a dismissive, energetic gesture with his hand and said, 'Expel them'". The order to expel an entire population "without attention to age" was signed by Yitzhak Rabin, a future prime minister promoted by the world's most efficient propaganda as a peacemaker. The terrible irony of this was addressed only in passing, such as when the Mapan Party co-leader Meir Ya'ari noted "how easily" Israel's leaders spoke of how it was "possible and permissible to take women, children and old men and to fill the roads with them because such is the imperative of strategy - who remembers who used this means against our people during the [Second World] war - we are appalled". Every subsequent "war" Israel has waged has had the same objective: the expulsion of the native people and the theft of more and more land. The lie of David and Goliath, of perennial victim, reached its apogee in 1967 when the propaganda became a righteous fury that claimed the Arab states had struck first. Since then, mostly Jewish truth-tellers such as Avi Schlaim, Noam Chomsky, the late Tanya Reinhart, Neve Gordon, Tom Segev, Yuri Avneri, Ilan Pappe and Norman Finkelstein have dispatched this and other myths and revealed a state shorn of the humane traditions of Judaism, whose unrelenting militarism is the sum of an expansionist, lawless and racist ideology called Zionism. "It seems," wrote the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe on 2 January, "that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as desperate events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system. Very much as the apartheid ideology explained the oppressive policies of the South African government, this ideology - in its most consensual and simplistic variety - has allowed all the Israeli governments in the past and the present to dehumanize the Palestinians wherever they are and strive to destroy them. The means altered from period to period, from location to location, as did the narrative covering up these atrocities. But there is a clear pattern [of genocide]". In Gaza, the enforced starvation and denial of humanitarian aid, the piracy of life-giving resources such as fuel and water, the denial of medicines and treatment, the systematic destruction of infrastructure and the killing and maiming of the civilian population, 50 percent of whom are children, meet the international standard of the Genocide Convention. "Is it an irresponsible overstatement," asked Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and international law authority at Princeton University, "to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not". In describing a "holocaust-in-the making", Falk was alluding to the Nazis' establishment of Jewish ghettos in Poland. For one month in 1943, the captive Polish Jews led by Mordechaj Anielewiz fought off the German army and the SS, but their resistance was finally crushed and the Nazis exacted their final revenge. Falk is also a Jew. Today's holocaust-in-the-making, which began with Ben-Gurion's Plan D, is in its final stages. The difference today is that it is a joint US-Israeli project. The F-16 jet fighters, the 250-pound "smart" GBU-39 bombs supplied on the eve of the attack on Gaza, having been approved by a Congress dominated by the Democratic Party, plus the annual $2.4 billion in war-making "aid", give Washington de facto control. It beggars belief that President-elect Obama was not informed. Outspoken on Russia's war in Georgia and the terrorism in Mumbai, Obama's silence on Palestine marks his approval, which is to be expected, given his obsequiousness to the Tel Aviv regime and its lobbyists during the presidential campaign and his appointment of Zionists as his secretary of state, chief of staff and principal Middle East advisers. When Aretha Franklin sings "Think", her wonderful 1960s anthem to freedom, at Obama's inauguration on 21 January, I trust someone with the brave heart of Muntadar al-Zaidi, the shoe-thrower, will shout: "Gaza!" The asymmetry of conquest and terror is clear. Plan D is now "Operation Cast Lead", which is the unfinished "Operation Justified Vengeance". The latter was launched by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 when, with Bush's approval, he used F-16s against Palestinian towns and villages for the first time. In the same year, the authoritative Jane's Foreign Report disclosed that the Blair government had given Israel the "green light" to attack the West Bank after it was shown Israel's secret designs for a bloodbath. It was typical of New Labour Party's enduring, cringing complicity in Palestine's agony. However, the 2001 Israeli plan, reported Jane's, needed the "trigger" of a suicide bombing which would cause "numerous deaths and injuries [because] the 'revenge' factor is crucial". This would "motivate Israeli soldiers to demolish the Palestinians". What alarmed Sharon and the author of the plan, General Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli Chief of Staff, was a secret agreement between Yasser Arafat and Hamas to ban suicide attacks. On 23 November, 2001, Israeli agents assassinated the Hamas leader, Mahmud Abu Hunud, and got their "trigger"; the suicide attacks resumed in response to his killing. Something uncannily similar happened on 5 November last, when Israeli special forces attacked Gaza, killing six people. Once again, they got their propaganda "trigger". A ceasefire initiated and sustained by the Hamas government - which had imprisoned its violators - was shattered by the Israeli attack and home-made rockets were fired into what used to be Palestine before its Arab occupants were "cleansed". The On 23 December, Hamas offered to renew the ceasefire, but Israel's charade was such that its all-out assault on Gaza had been planned six months earlier, according to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz. Behind this sordid game is the "Dagan Plan", named after General Meir Dagan, who served with Sharon in his bloody invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Now head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence organization, Dagan is the author of a "solution" that has seen the imprisonment of Palestinians behind a ghetto wall snaking across the West Bank and in Gaza, effectively a concentration camp. The establishment of a quisling government in Ramallah under Mohammed Abbas is Dagan's achievement, together with a hasbara (propaganda) campaign relayed through a mostly supine, if intimidated Western media, notably in America, that says Hamas is a terrorist organization devoted to Israel's destruction and to "blame" for the massacres and siege of its own people over two generations, long before its creation. "We have never had it so good," said the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir in 2006. "The hasbara effort is a well-oiled machine". In fact, Hamas's real threat is its example as the Arab world's only democratically elected government, drawing its popularity from its resistance to the Palestinians' oppressor and tormentor. This was demonstrated when Hamas foiled a CIA coup in 2007, an event ordained in the western media as "Hamas's seizure of power". Likewise, Hamas is never described as a government, let alone democratic. Neither is its proposal of a ten-year truce as a historic recognition of the "reality" of Israel and support for a two-state solution with just one condition: that the Israelis obey international law and end their illegal occupation beyond the 1967 borders. As every annual vote in the UN General Assembly demonstrates, 99 per cent of humanity concurs. On 4 January, the president of the General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto, described the Israeli attack on Gaza as a "monstrosity". When the monstrosity is done and the people of Gaza are even more stricken, the Dagan Plan foresees what Sharon called a "1948-style solution" - the destruction of all Palestinian leadership and authority followed by mass expulsions into smaller and smaller "cantonments" and perhaps finally into Jordan. This demolition of institutional and educational life in Gaza is designed to produce, wrote Karma Nabulsi, a Palestinian exile in Britain, "a Hobbesian vision of an anarchic society: truncated, violent, powerless, destroyed, cowed... Look to the Iraq of today: that is what [Sharon] had in store for us, and he has nearly achieved it". Dr. Dahlia Wasfi is an American writer on Palestine. She has a Jewish mother and an Iraqi Muslim father. "Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic," she wrote on 31 December. "But I'm not talking about World War Two, Mahmoud Ahmedinijad (the president of Iran) or Ashkenazi Jews. What I'm referring to is the holocaust we are all witnessing and responsible for in Gaza today and in Palestine over the past 60 years. Since Arabs are Semites, US-Israeli policy doesn't get more anti-Semitic than this". She quoted Rachel Corrie, the young American who went to Palestine to defend Palestinians and was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer. "I am in the midst of a genocide," wrote Corrie, "which I am also indirectly supporting and for which my government is largely responsible". Reading the words of both, I am struck by the use of "responsibility". Breaking the lie of silence is not an esoteric abstraction but an urgent responsibility that falls to those with the privilege of a platform. With the BBC cowed, so too is much of journalism, merely allowing vigorous debate within unmovable invisible boundaries, ever fearful of the smear of anti-Semitism. The unreported news, meanwhile, is that the death toll in Gaza is the equivalent of 18,000 dead in Britain. Imagine, if you can. Then there are the academics, the deans and teachers and researchers. Why are they silent as they watch a university bombed and hear the Association of University Teachers in Gaza plea for help? Are British universities now, as Terry Eagleton believes, no more than "intellectual Tescos, churning out a commodity known as graduates rather than greengroceries"? Then there are the writers. In the dark year of 1939, the Third Writers' Congress was held at Carnegie Hall in New York and the likes of Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein sent messages and spoke up to ensure the lie of silence was broken. By one account, 3,500 jammed the auditorium and a thousand were turned away. Today, this mighty voice of realism and morality is said to be obsolete; the literary review pages affect an ironic hauteur of irrelevance; false symbolism is all. As for the readers, their moral and political imagination is to be pacified, not primed. The anti-Muslim Martin Amis expressed this well in Visiting Mrs. Nabokov: "The dominance of the self is not a flaw, it is an evolutionary characteristic; it is just how things are". If that is how things are, we are diminished as a civilized society. For what happens in Gaza is the defining moment of our time, which either grants the impunity of war criminals the immunity of our silence, while we contort our own intellect and morality, or gives us the power to speak out. For the moment I prefer my own memory of Gaza: of the people's courage and resistance and their "luminous humanity", as Karma Nabulsi put it. On my last trip there, I was rewarded with a spectacle of Palestinian flags fluttering in unlikely places. It was dusk and children had done this. No one told them to do it. They made flagpoles out of sticks tied together, and a few of them climbed on to a wall and held the flag between them, some silently, others crying out. They do this every day when they know foreigners are leaving, believing the world will not forget them. 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). --------16 of 17-------- Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction By Naomi Klein January 09, 2009 The Nation ZNet It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era." The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions--BDS for short--was born. Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for "the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. "The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves.... This international backing must stop." Yet many still can't go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. And they simply aren't good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tools in the nonviolent arsenal. Surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counterarguments. 1. Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis. The world has tried what used to be called "constructive engagement." It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures--quite the opposite. The weapons and $3 billion in annual aid that the US sends to Israel is only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first non-Latin American country to sign a free-trade deal with Mercosur. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45 percent. A new trade deal with the European Union is set to double Israel's exports of processed food. And on December 8, European ministers "upgraded" the EU-Israel Association Agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem. It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's flagship index actually went up 10.7 percent. When carrots don't work, sticks are needed. 2. Israel is not South Africa. Of course it isn't. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves that BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, back-room lobbying) have failed. And there are indeed deeply distressing echoes: the color-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said that the architecture of segregation that he saw in the West Bank and Gaza in 2007 was "infinitely worse than apartheid." 3. Why single out Israel when the United States, Britain and other Western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan? Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the BDS strategy should be tried against Israel is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work. 4. Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less. This one I'll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus's work, and none to me. In other words, I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis. Coming up with this plan required dozens of phone calls, e-mails and instant messages, stretching from Tel Aviv to Ramallah to Paris to Toronto to Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start implementing a boycott strategy, dialogue increases dramatically. And why wouldn't it? Building a movement requires endless communicating, as many in the antiapartheid struggle well recall. The argument that supporting boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at one another across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us. Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don't I know that many of those very high-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel's Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, the managing director of a British telecom company, sent an e-mail to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax. "As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company." When contacted by The Nation, Ramsey said his decision wasn't political. "We can't afford to lose any of our clients, so it was purely commercially defensive." It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it's precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine. --------17 of 17-------- Stop American Aid to Israel: Crack the Mainstream Crooks by Matt Reichel January 10th, 2009 Dissident Voice Since I announced my election bid in Illinois's 5th Congressional District, former home of Rahmbo Emanuel, I have heard every brand of "you're insane" imaginable, often from my closest friends and confidants. People are curious as to why an "un-experienced" peace activist/ French teacher would find himself qualified to serve in the United States House of Representatives. The first and most cogent response is: We'd be better off with a 435-long pack of hounds than what we currently have. I am insulted that anyone would dare compare my moral fabric to the corrupt lawyers and businessmen who pretend to represent us in Washington. To even reduce my credentials to the point of uttering my name in the same breathe as these foul and disingenuous people is demeaning and unsettling. The "Other America" has been rapidly gravitating to my campaign: everyone from Progressives to Paleos knows that it's not worth a second of their time to consider the usual establishment crooks. When I challenged the other candidates to rise to a level of moral decency by refusing checks from corporate interests, they all sloughed me off as crazy. Luckily, from an early age, my dear parents prepared me for the plight faced by functioning minds in the United States, so I am quite used to being considered crazy for my rational pursuits. I thought I would at least convince one of the other minor candidates, or someone posturing as a progressive, to take up the cause. But, alas, it will be just Matt Reichel refusing those corporate donors. My next step is to make the other candidates, 19 and counting, commit to cutting off aid to Israel. Oops! Did I just say that? I should probably be sent off to the nearest nut house and loaded full of big pharma drugs, sucked of all ambition, and planted in front of a television. Maybe then, after a few months of visual bombardment by Murdoch's pawns, I'll come around to understanding why the American taxpayer need fund Israeli atrocities year in and year out. Instead, I gave AIPAC their couple hours of lobby action a few weeks before Christmas. I can imagine that it would be one hellish nightmare for the organization to go from Rahm Emanuel to me, so I at least wanted them to see that I am a real, breathing ambitious human being. We met at a Starbucks downstairs from their office on LaSalle St in Chicago, just upwind from the brooding Board of Trade. The place was packed with important looking people, as we sat there leisurely chatting about the recent history of Israeli murder and the military benefits brought thus to the United States. My rapidly moving eyeballs bounced back and forth between Vladimir's eyes and his lapel pin (the one with the Israeli and American flags in union). I pressed him on what he thought of the numerous UN resolutions condemning Israel that have been singly stamped out by American vetoes. Firstly, he explained, you have to understand that the United Nations General Assembly is made up of people who are a small step above pirates on the evolutionary latter. There is a reason that the Security Council exists, he assured me, and it is to give a heightened voice to the respectful people of the world. I responded: "I can't believe you think so highly of Stalin!" Vladimir continued (I paraphrase): "The other thing you have to remember is that France would veto those stupid resolutions as well, but they prefer to have the U.S. take the lead so as to not disturb their leverage in the Arab world". I couldn't come up with any quick witticism, because I had just heard one of the most ridiculous assertions ever from someone sitting in a Starbuck's next to a bunch of important looking people. We then stopped shootin' the bull and started moving on to business. Actually, I would have been content to continue chewin' the ol' rag all day, but AIPAC came to accomplish something. And that something, accompanied by an attractive glossy brochure, was convincing me of all of the benefits that come to Americans as a result of our investment in Israel. One example is the Bradley Reactive Armor Tile, currently being used by American tanks in Iraq. Unsurprisingly, Israel is at the forefront of the development of military hardware, and, thanks to their experience in bulldozing through civilian neighborhoods in the occupied territories, they have made it safer for American troops doing the same in Iraq. They are also particularly skilled in the domain of security and law enforcement, a fetish they hold in common with the United States. Increasingly since 9/11, various state, federal and municipal law enforcement bodies have regularly visited Israel to gain priceless tutelage on how to manage an Apartheid state. Among other things, this training has focused on "urban combat," which has paid enormous dividends in our efforts to target civilians in our convoluted Empire building in Iraq. American aid to Israel is an investment that just keeps paying off. Since they don't accept any of that wasteful, socialistic humanitarian aid, and instead take only military handouts, the money comes boomeranging back to Americans in the form of contracts for our wonderful merchants of death i.e. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Meanwhile, voting against aid to Israel is made purposely difficult by our friends in Washington. The Congress stuffs this figure into the larger foreign aid bill, so that you have to vote against real humanitarian aid in order to vote against military support to Israel. Even if you were a man or woman of principle on Capital Hill, the crooked lawyers and bankers who run the Big House would never make life simple on you. However, they prefer to not let you get there at all by rigging the electoral charade. The easiest and most time tested way to get elected is to convince all of your investment banker friends to shoot you a quick 2 g-notes, while your boys involved in the big media swindle trumpet your run as something monumental. So say you don't have any wealthy and powerful friends? Your interest is running a campaign rooted in principles of peace, internationalism and workers' rights. You seek to re-frame the nation's understanding of the American dream by re-focusing our cultural energies on communing with the world, re-committing ourselves to a liberal arts based education so as to re-invigorate the national discourse, while urging the citizenry to respect and live foreign cultures and languages. In this case, your only option is to challenge the other candidates on their moral credentials until they crack. Despite living in an era where our political system is in shambles due mostly to the disastrous effects of corporate lobbies, none of the other candidates in Illinois's 5th district are interested in raising the moral bar. Absolutely none of them expressed any readiness to pledge with me against the acceptance of corporate donations. And despite living through another humanitarian crisis brought on by an over-zealous outpost to the American empire, I'm sure that I will be the only candidate in this race ready to rise to the challenge of ending these crimes being committed in our names with our tax dollar. Anyone in the Congress with a moral backbone should be pledging to immediately cease American aid to Israel. Likewise, anyone running for federal office at this hour should do the same. You can call me insane all you want, but I call myself the only man running in this primary that is willing to question Israel and corporate financed elections. With a little luck and a lot of public pressure, we can get the mainstream crooks to crack. Matt Reichel is running for Congress in Illinois' 5th District. His website is www.mattreichel.us and he can be reached at: mereichel [at] gmail.com. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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