|Progressive Calendar 03.17.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 06:10:26 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.17.09 1. Vs foreclosure 3.17 4pm 2. RNC aftermath/CTV 3.17 5pm 3. RNC court watch 3.17 6pm 4. KFAI/MN Muslims 3.17 6pm 5. Salon/St Paddy's 3.17 6:30pm 6. StPat dance/CSPS 3.17 7pm 7. StPat dance/Frnds 3.17 7pm 8. Frontline 3.17 9pm 9. Bridge vigil 3.18 5pm 10. Robert Freeman - The US is facing a Weimar moment 11. Ben Ehrenreich - Zionism is the problem 12. Death By Guiness 13. The Accident 14. Lost At Sea 15. St Patrick --------1 of 15-------- From: Todd Heintz <proud2liveinjordan [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Vs foreclosure 3.17 4pm Meet Tuesday 3/17 and/or Wednesday 3/18 at 4pm at the Mpls Urban League and you'll be paired with another volunteer, given a brief training and materials, and then you'll knock on some doors and make sure that residents know about free, HUD-certified foreclosure prevention counseling that could help them stay in their homes! This is our third time and we always have many good interactions with people who appreciate the info. Host: Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition Start Time: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:00pm End Time: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 6:00pm Location: Minneapolis Urban League Van White Room Street: 2100 Plymouth Ave N. City/Town: Minneapolis, MN For information: Phone: 6128677118 Email: david [at] jewishcommunityaction.org --------2 of 15-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: RNC aftermath/CTV 3.17 5pm Significant St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow! All households with basic cable may watch. Tues, 3/17, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 3/18, 10am Solidarity: First the Streets, Then the Courts Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure (C*R*A*S*S) activists Joe Robinhood and Melissa speak about the aftermath of arrests made during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Although the RNC is history, there are several outstanding cases that are still proceeding through the system including the high profile case of the RNC 8. Hosted by Eric Angell. --------3 of 15-------- From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com> Subject: RNC court watch 3.17 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! --------4 of 15-------- From: "Ahndi Fridell" <ahndifridell [at] kfai.org> Subject: KFAI/MN Muslims 3.17 6pm Subject: [Kfai-forum] KFAI News Presents Muslims in Minnesota Radio Series KFAI News launches a month-long series Tuesday, March 10, 2009, exploring what it means to be Muslim in Minnesota. This series compiles stories ranging from controversial to inspiring. Listeners will hear how a Muslim immigrant struggles with questions of identity, law and faith after getting arrested for a crime and facing possible deportation. One story shows how some women are creating their own definition of feminism. Still another story asks what drives Minnesota Hip Hop artists who intertwine their faith with the pounding beats and steady rhythms of their art form. Some of the stories are produced by Muslim reporters who bring their own perspectives and insights to their work. "Muslims in Minnesota" began March 10, and will continue every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6pm during the KFAI Evening News, 90.3FM, Minneapolis and 106.7FM, St. Paul. The stories along with pictures, additional insights and links to helpful information will be found online at www.kfai.org/MinnesotaMuslims. Muslims in Minnesota series on KFAI March 17 - Empowered Muslim Women March 18 - In Search of the Minnesotan Muslim March 19 - Muslim Immigrants Learn English March 24 - Music and Sufi Islam in the Twin Cities March 25 - Muslim Burial Traditions March 26 - The Line Between Mosque and State The Muslims in Minnesota series is produced in cooperation with the University of Minnesota's Institute for Global Studies. www.mmm.umn.edu KFAI Radio broadcasts on 90.3 FM in Minneapolis and 106.7 FM in Saint Paul. --------5 of 15-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Salon/St Paddy's 3.17 6:30pm Since the salon is on St Paddy's Day, we will celebrate w/stories, poems, songs, green beer (kiddin') and what else you want. If you have poems, music or food you want to share, bring it and we'll just celebrate being Irish or wannabe Irish. 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. --------6 of 15-------- From: mnfolkfestival [at] aol.com Subject: StPat dance/CSPS 3.17 7pm St. Patrick's Day Irish Ceili Dance Tuesday, March 17 19th Annual Irish Ceili Dance CSPS Hall - St. Paul, MN 383 Michigan Avenue, St. Paul, MN (near St. Clair Avenue just off of West 7th Street) Music: Barra (www.barraband.com) Dance Instruction: Ann Wiberg 7 p.m. - $9.50 at the door. Seniors, 62+, and children 6 to 16 are $4.75, children under 5 are free. (near St. Clair Avenue just off of West 7th Street) All the dances are taught and beginners are welcome. Beverages (soda, water, beer) and desserts will be available. annual Irish dance for St. Patrick's Day. This is probably the largest Irish dance that takes place all year and it's at the CSPS Hall, a historic vaudeville hall built around the turn of the century with a wonderful wood dance floor. CSPS stands for Czeck-Slovakian?Preservation Society and they've done a?wonderful job of taking care of this great building.? Sponsored by the Minnesota Folk Arts Alliance For more info:? 651-357-0400 --------7 of 15-------- From: Mike Whelan <mpw4883 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: StPat dance/Friends 3.17 7pm Saint Patrick's Day Ceili Dance Presented by Lóma mór Irish Dance Club Tuesday, March 17, 7 to 10 PM Twin Cities Friends Meeting Hall 1729 Grand Avenue in Saint Paul Music by: Paddy O'Brien and Dáithí Sproule Two of the world's most renowned Irish traditional musicians Dances taught and called by Paul McCluskey of Lóma mór Irish Dance Club Admission: $8 per person, $4 seniors (62+) and students, children 5 and under free. Refreshments and snacks available for sale. Come to dance. Come to listen. Come to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day at a family-friendly, alcohol-free beautiful gathering place. --------8 of 15-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Frontline 3.17 9pm RONTLINE Bulletin wrote: FRONTLINE http://www.pbs.org/frontline/ - This Week: "Living Old" (60 minutes), March 17th at 9pm on PBS (Check local listings) This week, as President Obama attempts to move forward with major health care reform, and increasing numbers of Americans struggle to provide for their aging relatives in a down economy, FRONTLINE is rebroadcasting "Living Old" - a poignant exploration into the lives of the elderly. For the first time in our history, "the old old" - those over 85 - are now the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. "We're on the threshold of the first-ever mass geriatric society," warns Dr. Leon Kass, the former chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics. "The bad news is that the price that many people are going to be paying for [an] extra decade of healthy longevity is up to another decade of anything but healthy longevity. ... We've not yet begun to face up to what this means in human terms." Reckoning with the staggering impact of prolonged life is exactly what producers Miri Navasky and Karen O'Connor attempt in this film: Through an intimate examination of the modern realities of aging - from the perspectives of the elderly, their families, and the doctors and nurses caring for them - they paint a picture of a world that will ultimately touch us all. We hope you'll join us for the broadcast Tuesday night. In the meantime, visit our Web site to sample the full program streamed online, read the press reaction, and also sample some of the hundreds of letters we've received about this film. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/livingold/ --------9 of 15-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: Bridge vigil 3.18 5pm This week marks the 6 year anniversary of the war on the people of Iraq. Peace Vigil: Protest Against 6 Years of War on Iraq Wednesday, March 18 @ 5pm @ Lake/Marshall Bridge Stand with other people committed to peace in Iraq. This is the new time for the vigil until the fall. Organized by the Twin Cities Peace Campaign. -------10 of 15-------- The US Is Facing a Weimar Moment by Robert Freeman Published on Sunday, March 15, 2009 by CommonDreams.org In early 1919, Germany put in place a new government to begin rebuilding the country after its crushing defeat in World War I. But the right-wing forces that had led the country into the War and lost the War conspired even before it was over to destroy the new government, the "Weimar Republic." They succeeded. The U.S. faces a similar "Weimar Moment." The devastating collapse of the economy after eight years of Republican rule has left the leadership, policies, and ideology of the right utterly discredited. But, as was the case with Germany in 1919, Republicans do not intend to allow the new government to succeed. They will do everything they can to undermine it. If they are successful, the U.S. may yet go the way of Weimar Germany. World War I left Germany utterly devastated. The landed aristocrats, industrial magnates, wealthy financiers, weapons makers, and the officer corps of the military that formed the locus of right wing power were completely discredited. Their failure in provoking and prosecuting the War was catastrophic, undeniable, and complete. The economy was destroyed. Prices were at 800% of pre-war levels and rising quickly. Agriculture, pillaged for the War, lay in ruins. Social insurance payments for the War's injured, to widows and orphans, and newly unemployed soldiers were astronomical. And all this was before the cost of rebuilding was even begun. At the same time, Germany faced massive reparations payments to the Allied victors, France and England. But Germany's foreign properties had been confiscated and its colonies turned over to the victors. The combination of these conditions, both domestic and international, made it extraordinarily difficult for the German economy to recover. As a result of the failure of the right, the German people elected a moderately leftist government to lead the nation's rebuilding. It was named the Weimar Republic for the city in which the new post-imperial constitution was written. The new government was led by Friedrich Ebert, head of the German Socialist Party. But the country's new parliamentary system had allowed dozens of parties to run, making it impossible for any one party to win an outright majority. Ebert's party had achieved the highest portion of votes, 38%, in the first post-War elections, held in January 1919. Ebert would have to govern by coalition. It was at this time that the right wing made its crucial decision. Despite its shocking, naked failure over the prior decade, despite the horrific devastation it had wrought on the German people, despite the discrediting of everything they had purported to stand for, they would fight Ebert, his new government, and its plans for recovery. They would do everything they could to make sure that the new government failed. Their strategy was two-fold: first, stoke the resentment of the population about the calamitous state of its living conditions - no matter that those conditions had been created by the very right-wing oligarchs who now pretended to befriend the little guy. Rage is rage. It is glandular and unseeing. Once catalyzed it is easy to turn on any subject. And stoking resentment was easy to do. Just before the War ended, the military concocted its most sensational lie: the German army hadn't actually been defeated. It had been "stabbed in the back" by communists, traitors, and Jews. It was an easy lie to sell. It entwined an attack on an alien political ideology - liberalism- with the latent, pervasive myth of German racial superiority. The second strategy of the right was to prevent the new government from succeeding. To begin with, success of the left would conspicuously advertise the failure of the right. Moreover, success by the left would legitimize republican government, so hated by the oligarchs of the right. Much better for the people to be ruled by the self-aggrandizing right-wing autocracy that had governed Germany for centuries. So the rightists set out to do everything they could to make it impossible for the leftists to govern. They would use parliamentary maneuver, shifting coalitions, domination of the new mass media, legislative obstruction, staged public relations spectacles, relentless pressure by narrow but powerful interests, judicial intimidation and, eventually, outright murder of their political opponents. Contrition for their abject failure, humility for their destructive hubris, compassion for their crippled country - those had nothing to do with it. All they possessed was a blinding, visceral hatred of the left and a masturbatory lust for the return to power. Eventually, they succeeded. Every setback in recovery - and there would inevitably be many - was met with hysterical demonizing of the left wing government. The lie was repeated relentlessly that the government was run by communists, traitors, and Jews - the same furtive cabal that had purportedly stabbed the country in the back at the end of the War. They steadily chipped away at the efficacy and, thereby, the legitimacy of successive republican governments. By the time of the Great Depression, Adolph Hitler's ironically named National Socialist Party had become the biggest vote getter in the nation. The Nazis had once been derided as the lunatic fringe of the far right. But the "respectable" right-wing power brokers who had started and lost the Great War anointed Hitler Chancellor in January, 1933. He immediately suspended the constitution, abolishing most civil liberties. He outlawed opposition parties, began a massive military build-up and a relentless propaganda campaign, and set Germany and the world onto the path of the greatest destruction it would ever know. America now faces its own "Weimar moment." The failure of right wing policy and leadership over the past eight years, especially in matters economic, is comparable to Germany's right-wing failure in World War I. It is catastrophic, undeniable, and complete. Consider: According to the World Economic Forum, forty percent of the entire world's wealth has been destroyed in the recent financial collapse. In the U.S. alone, between housing and the stock market, more than $18 trillion in wealth has already been destroyed. The private mega-banks that anchor the financial systems of the western world are bankrupt. This makes it all but impossible to jump-start the western world's economies which are heavily dependent on bank-system credit to operate. More than 10,000 homes go into foreclosure every day. More than 20,000 people lose their job every day. And the collapse is accelerating, developing its own self-reinforcing dynamic. Job losses breed foreclosures, reducing demand, leading to more job losses and further degradation of the financial system. None of the stopgaps designed to stanch the bleeding have yet worked. There is no bottom in sight. Meanwhile, debt has risen to astronomical levels. Reagan and Bush I quadrupled the national debt in only twelve years. Bush II doubled it again in only eight. It is now ten times higher than it was in 1980 when Reagan was elected. Total public and private debt exceeds 300% of GDP, half again higher than it was in 1929. The government's unfunded liabilities, promises it has made to the American people but for which no payment source can be identified, now exceed $60 trillion, a literally inconceivable sum that can never, will never, be paid. Federal Reserve economist Lawrence Kotlikoff has suggested that the U.S. government is "actuarially bankrupt." The full measure of the nation's plight is revealed in Hillary Clinton's first trip as Secretary of State. It was to China, to beg them to fund Obama's new fiscal deficits. Without loans from China, the U.S. economy cannot be revived. The significance of this cannot be overstated: the U.S. no longer exercises sovereignty over its own economic affairs. That sovereignty now resides in the hands of China, the U.S.'s greatest long-term rival. Thanks to Republican policies of massive debt and shipping jobs abroad, the U.S. has technically become a colony of China. It exports raw materials and imports finished goods, together with the capital to make up the difference. Should the Chinese decide not to lend the trillions of dollars the U.S. is begging for, the U.S. economy will implode, plummeting onto itself in a World Trade Center-like collapse that will leave dust clouds circling the planet for decades. Notwithstanding the destruction inflicted on the economy by Republican policies, the most devastating breakdown is in the intellectual foundation on which right wing economic ideology itself is premised. Free market doctrine, the secular religion of right-wing America, is in utter, irretrievable shambles. One of the most lofty tenets on which free markets are premised is their claim for themselves that they are "efficient," that is, that market prices always reflect "fundamental values" of assets. But if that's true, how could the world's largest insurance company, AIG, have lost 99.5% of its market value in only 18 months? How could the world's largest bank, Citibank, have lost 98% of its value over the same period? How could the world's largest brokerage company, Merrill Lynch, have gone bankrupt and need to be bought by Bank of America? How could the world's largest car company, General Motors, have lost 95% of its value and stand on the threshold of extinction? How could the world's largest industrial conglomerate, General Electric, have lost 85% of its value in only 18 months? If the largest companies in the world, those at the very heart of the capitalist system itself, can lose virtually all of their value in only 18 months, what is the possible meaning of the phrases "efficient markets" and "fundamental value"? The other core tenets of free market ideology are equally compromised. Major actors are clearly not rational - a breakdown of theological proportions admitted by no less an avatar of the cult than its pope himself, Alan Greenspan. Free markets clearly cannot, will not, regulate themselves. It is precisely their innate, irrepressible propensity for sociopathic greed and predatory fraud that has brought the whole of the world's economy to the precipice of collapse. Free markets clearly do not align risk and reward, allocating capital to its most productive uses, as its promoters advertise. They clearly do not automatically return to equilibrium, but must be bailed out with trillions of dollars of injections from the shrinking coffers of the public to the ever-bulging coffers of a private priesthood of pillage and plunder. And in perhaps the greatest indictment of all, one going back to its primeval roots in Adam Smith's eighteenth century opus, The Wealth of Nations, the unrestrained behavior of self-interested individuals clearly, manifestly, does not "coalesce as if by an Invisible Hand to the greatest good for the greatest number." These are not peripheral premises that have failed. They are not tangential tenets. Efficient markets. Rational actors. Market equilibrium. Risk and reward. Self interest. These are the essential sacraments on which the entire free market system is founded. They are in tatters. And it isn't that any one of them has been discredited by the glaring, merciless force of events. All of them have been. All of them together. And all of them at the same time. Free markets have long been the basis for a legitimate - though rightly debated - economic policy framework. But they have become little more than a robotically-recited cultural catechism, a mindless mantra mumbled to mask the looting of the nation's resources that is the true purpose of Republican economic policy as demonstrated by the staggering upward transfers of wealth that inevitably occur under Republican regimes. A more complete, conspicuous, catastrophic, and irrefutable repudiation of right wing leaders, right wing policies, and right wing ideology could not possibly be contrived. So what is the right wing response? They have adopted the strategy and tactics of the failed right wing plotters in Weimar Germany. First, stoke the resentment of the population about the increasingly dire state of its living conditions - no matter that those conditions were created by the very right-wing oligarchs who now pretend to befriend the little guy. Rage is rage. It is glandular and unseeing. Once catalyzed it is easy to turn on any subject. Second, prevent the new government from succeeding in any meaningful endeavor. The Republicans have set all their efforts to doing everything they can to make sure the Obama administration fails. Rush Limbaugh's infamous, "I hope he fails" pronouncement is only the beginning of the fomenting of hatred from the right. As Limbaugh said, "Let's be honest. Every Republican in America is hoping for Obama's failure." The same malignant hope oozes unadulterated from all the other Dogpatch Demagogues that rent themselves out to the Republican party to foment resentment against anything liberal: Joe the "Plumber," Rick Santelli, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, and virtually every other wing-nut operative whose intellectual stock in trade has been vaporized by the collision of right-wing policies with objective reality. Equally so for the "respectable" members of the party, the all-but-three Republican members of Congress who refused to sign on to Obama's first stimulus package and continue to grandstand against every effort toward any form of progress. Contrition for their own abject failure, humility for their destructive hubris, compassion for their crippled country-those have nothing to do with it. All they possess is a blinding, visceral hatred of the left and a masturbatory lust for the return to power. And what else can they do? Bereft of ideas, bankrupt in ideology, architects of collapse, obstruction is all they have. If Obama is successful, it will not only advertise the full extent of their failure, it will provide a model of liberal governance that would render Republicans irrelevant for decades, much as FDR's success left them out in the political cold for an entire generation. Liberal failure is a matter of life and death for Republicans. And it's not at all clear that the liberals won't fail. No one should underestimate the task at hand. Never before - not even during the Great Depression - has the country inherited such a daunting, intractable set of economic problems: a debt burden so crushing; inequality so vast; a loss of financial sovereignty so constricting; an intellectual edifice so bankrupt; a private economy so uncompetitive; or an opposition so callously self interested in its own recovery and so cavalierly disinterested in the nation's. The economy has been so damaged, successful rescue requires threading a series of policy needles, each of them so complex in their own right that none could be solved by any administration of the past 50 years. This includes rehabilitating and re-regulating the nation's banking system, restructuring health care, reducing national dependence on oil, reviving manufacturing so as to reduce the trade deficit, rebuilding the nation's crumbling infrastructure, dealing with a soaring national debt, trying to resuscitate a collapsing housing market, and all the while maintaining the safety net under 77 million baby boomers entering retirement with a net worth 60% what it was only 18 months ago. Success will require much more than luck, hard work, brilliant policy, or soaring rhetoric. It will require cooperation and contribution from every American. It is those two offerings, cooperation and contribution, that Republicans are intent on withholding, the better to ensure Obama's failure. Simply put, the Republicans hate Democrats more than they love America. If they succeed in derailing Obama's efforts, the cost will be incalculable. After World War I, one of the consequences of the liberal government's failure was Adolph Hitler. Hitler had a genius for exploiting the resentment of the German people for their condition. More than 80% of the Nazi party's members were unemployed. It was these legions of idle thugs who made up the ranks of Hitler's brownshirt militia, the SA. The right wing oligarchy that had set out from the beginning to destroy the Weimar Republic recognized the potency of resentment and Hitler's genius at exploiting it. It was they who sponsored Hitler's ascension to Chancellor in 1933. Resentment and obstruction are all the right wing in America have to peddle. Their policies are utterly discredited. Their ideology - even by its own standards - is a sham. They are so bereft of leaders, their de facto leader is a former drug addicted, thrice-divorced radio talk show host. That is literally the best they can muster. But they have built a national franchise inciting the downwardly mobile to blame the government, not the right, for their problems, exactly as Hitler did in the 1920s. The Republican propensity for fascism must not be underestimated. Witness their phony justifications for the war in Iraq, fanning the flames of nationalistic aggression, just as Hitler did with Austria, the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, and Poland in the 1930s. Consider their symbiotic embrace of corporate interests in the oil, weapons, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, finance, and other industries - the same type of corporate interests that sponsored Hitler's ascent to power. Look at their efforts to dismantle civil liberties with the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. Or their relentless, pervasive propaganda laundered through their corporate-owned right-wing media machine. These are the classic hallmarks of fascism. The strategy is to obstruct recovery, facilitate collapse, and then incite the faux-populism of public resentment to re-install a corporatist oligarchy which has failed, but which will not abide a reduction of its privileges or a diminution of its control. It is a fetid, seditious agenda, awaiting only its own latter day mustachioed messiah for its final fulfillment. World War I was a once-in-a-millennium upset in the architecture of global power. In four years, it shifted the center of that power from Europe to the United States. But failure now by the U.S. will shift that center once again, from the United States to China, out of the western world where it has resided for the past 500 years. The psychic shock to the billion-odd people living in western civilization, with its liberal democracies, capitalist economies, and Enlightenment ideals, will be incalculable, irretrievable. This shift may be inevitable and only a matter of time. It is quite possible that the damage inflicted on the western world's economy by rapacious Republicans is already beyond repair. But it will be tragedy beyond measure if such a shift is consummated by the very wrecking crew that took us down the road to ruin, all the while so unctuously proclaiming "patriotism" as its crowning ideal. They are not patriots and their goal is not the revival of American power. It is the revival of their own power, even at the expense of America's. They represent a very dangerous threat to the nation's future. Robert Freeman writes on history, economics and education. He can be reached at robertfreeman10 [at] yahoo.com. --------11 of 15-------- Zionism is the Problem The Zionist ideal of a Jewish state is keeping Israelis and Palestinians from living in peace. by Ben Ehrenreich Published on Monday, March 16, 2009 by The Los Angeles Times Common Dreams It's hard to imagine now, but in 1944, six years after Kristallnacht, Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, felt comfortable equating the Zionist ideal of Jewish statehood with "the concept of a racial state - the Hitlerian concept." For most of the last century, a principled opposition to Zionism was a mainstream stance within American Judaism. Even after the foundation of Israel, anti-Zionism was not a particularly heretical position. Assimilated Reform Jews like Rosenwald believed that Judaism should remain a matter of religious rather than political allegiance; the ultra-Orthodox saw Jewish statehood as an impious attempt to "push the hand of God"; and Marxist Jews - my grandparents among them - tended to see Zionism, and all nationalisms, as a distraction from the more essential struggle between classes. To be Jewish, I was raised to believe, meant understanding oneself as a member of a tribe that over and over had been cast out, mistreated, slaughtered. Millenniums of oppression that preceded it did not entitle us to a homeland or a right to self-defense that superseded anyone else's. If they offered us anything exceptional, it was a perspective on oppression and an obligation born of the prophetic tradition: to act on behalf of the oppressed and to cry out at the oppressor. For the last several decades, though, it has been all but impossible to cry out against the Israeli state without being smeared as an anti-Semite, or worse. To question not just Israel's actions, but the Zionist tenets on which the state is founded, has for too long been regarded an almost unspeakable blasphemy. Yet it is no longer possible to believe with an honest conscience that the deplorable conditions in which Palestinians live and die in Gaza and the West Bank come as the result of specific policies, leaders or parties on either side of the impasse. The problem is fundamental: Founding a modern state on a single ethnic or religious identity in a territory that is ethnically and religiously diverse leads inexorably either to politics of exclusion (think of the 139-square-mile prison camp that Gaza has become) or to wholesale ethnic cleansing. Put simply, the problem is Zionism. It has been argued that Zionism is an anachronism, a leftover ideology from the era of 19th century romantic nationalisms wedged uncomfortably into 21st century geopolitics. But Zionism is not merely outdated. Even before 1948, one of its basic oversights was readily apparent: the presence of Palestinians in Palestine. That led some of the most prominent Jewish thinkers of the last century, many of them Zionists, to balk at the idea of Jewish statehood. The Brit Shalom movement - founded in 1925 and supported at various times by Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem - argued for a secular, binational state in Palestine in which Jews and Arabs would be accorded equal status. Their concerns were both moral and pragmatic. The establishment of a Jewish state, Buber feared, would mean "premeditated national suicide." The fate Buber foresaw is upon us: a nation that has lived in a state of war for decades, a quarter-million Arab citizens with second-class status and more than 5 million Palestinians deprived of the most basic political and human rights. If two decades ago comparisons to the South African apartheid system felt like hyperbole, they now feel charitable. The white South African regime, for all its crimes, never attacked the Bantustans with anything like the destructive power Israel visited on Gaza in December and January, when nearly 1,300 Palestinians were killed, one-third of them children. Israeli policies have rendered the once apparently inevitable two-state solution less and less feasible. Years of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have methodically diminished the viability of a Palestinian state. Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has even refused to endorse the idea of an independent Palestinian state, which suggests an immediate future of more of the same: more settlements, more punitive assaults. All of this has led to a revival of the Brit Shalom idea of a single, secular binational state in which Jews and Arabs have equal political rights. The obstacles are, of course, enormous. They include not just a powerful Israeli attachment to the idea of an exclusively Jewish state, but its Palestinian analogue: Hamas' ideal of Islamic rule. Both sides would have to find assurance that their security was guaranteed. What precise shape such a state would take - a strict, vote-by-vote democracy or a more complex federalist system - would involve years of painful negotiation, wiser leaders than now exist and an uncompromising commitment from the rest of the world, particularly from the United States. Meanwhile, the characterization of anti-Zionism as an "epidemic" more dangerous than anti-Semitism reveals only the unsustainability of the position into which Israel's apologists have been forced. Faced with international condemnation, they seek to limit the discourse, to erect walls that delineate what can and can't be said. It's not working. Opposing Zionism is neither anti-Semitic nor particularly radical. It requires only that we take our own values seriously and no longer, as the book of Amos has it, "turn justice into wormwood and hurl righteousness to the ground." Establishing a secular, pluralist, democratic government in Israel and Palestine would of course mean the abandonment of the Zionist dream. It might also mean the only salvation for the Jewish ideals of justice that date back to Jeremiah. 2009 The Los Angeles Times Ben Ehrenreich is the author of the novel "The Suitors." --------12 of 15-------- From: Kenneth Kuller <kenneth.kuller [at] gmail.com> [Assisted by Patty O'Furniture] Subject: Death By Guiness (A St. Patrick's Day Joke) Katie O'Malley is home as usual, making dinner, when Tim Finnegan arrives at her door. "Katie, may I come in?" he asks. "I've somethin' to tell ya." "Of course, you can come in, you're always welcome, Tim. But where's my husband?" "That's what I'm here to be tellin' ya, Katie. There was an accident down at the Guinness Brewery. . . ." "Oh, God, no!" cries Katie. "Please, don't tell me. . . ." "I must, Katie. Your husband Sean is dead and gone. I'm so sorry." Katie reached a hand out to her side, found the arm of the rocking chair by the fireplace, pulled the chair to her and collapsed into it. She wept for many minutes. Finally she looked up at Tim. "How did it happen, Tim?" "It was terrible, Katie. He fell into a vat of Guinness Stout and drowned." "Oh my dear Jesus! But you must tell me true, Tim. Did he at least go quickly?" "Well, no, Katie . . . no." "No?" "Fact is . . . he got out three times to pee." --------13 of 15-------- Subject: The Accident (A St. Patrick's Day Joke) Murphy was staggering home with a pint of booze in his back pocket when he slipped and fell heavily. Struggling to his feet, he felt something wet running down his leg. "Please Lord," he implored, "let it be blood!" --------14 of 15-------- Subject: Lost At Sea (A St. Patrick's Day Joke) Two Irishmen, Patrick and Michael, were adrift in a lifeboat following a dramatic escape from a burning freighter. While rummaging through the boat's provisions, Patrick stumbled across an old lamp. Secretly hoping that a genie would appear, he rubbed the lamp vigorously. To the amazement of Patrick, a genie came forth. This particular genie, however, stated that he could only deliver one wish, not the standard three. Without giving much thought to the matter, Patrick blurted out, "Make the entire ocean into Guinness Beer!" The genie clapped his hands with a deafening crash, and immediately the entire sea turned into the finest brew ever sampled by mortals. Simultaneously, the genie vanished. Only the gentle lapping of Guinness on the hull broke the stillness as the two men considered their circumstances. Michael looked disgustedly at Patrick whose wish had been granted. After a long, tension-filled moment, he spoke: "Nice going Patrick! Now we're going to have to pee in the boat." ---------15 of 15-------- Subject: St. Patrick (A St. Patrick's Day Joke) Three Englishmen were in a bar and spotted an Irishman. They decided to have fun with the man. One of the Englishmen walked over to the Irishman, tapped him on the shoulder, and said, "Hey, I hear your St. Patrick was a girly-man." "Oh really, hmm, didn't know that," said the Irishman. Puzzled, the Englishman walked back to his buddies. "I told him St. Patrick was a girly-man, and he didn't care." The second Englishman remarked, "You just don't know how to set him off . . . watch and learn." So, the second Englishman walked over to the Irishman, tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Hey, I hear your St. Patrick was a transvestite!" "Oh really, hmm, didn't know that." Shocked beyond belief, the Englishman went back to his buddies. "You're right. He's unshakable!" The third Englishman remarked, "Boys, I'll really tick him off . . . just watch." So the third Englishman walked over to the Irishman, tapped him on the shoulder and said, "I hear St. Patrick was an Englishman!" "Yeah, that's what your buddies were trying to tell me." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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