|Progressive Calendar 04.10.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 14:19:52 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 04.10.09 1. Demo for choice 4.10 8am 2. Ramona Africa 4.10 11am 3. Facilitation 4.10 4pm 4. Cuba embargo/film 4.10 7pm 5. Moyers/elite 4.10 9pm 6. Peace walk 4.11 9am Cambridge MN 7. Rights/kids books 4.11 10am 8. Iran/Beeman 4.11 10:30am 9. Socialism/Capitalism 4.11 12noon 10. AWC volunteer day 4.11 1pm 11. Northtown vigil 4.11 2pm 12. KFAI/meal/movie 4.11 6pm 13. Salvador elections 4.11 7pm 14. Mahmoud Darwish 4.11 7pm 15. Chris Floyd - Obama hopeless; move on 16. William Blum - The New Centrism: the ideology of Barack Obama 17. Dave Lindorff - America's imperial wars: we meed to see the horrors 18. Harvey Wasserman - Another $50 billion for rust bucket nukes? 19. Craig Brown - Poll: just 53% favor capitalism over socialism 20. Alan Maki - Socialism/capitalism: A very very important poll 21. ed - What capitalism tells us (poem) 22. ed - Two to tango (bumpersticker) --------1 of 22-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Demo for choice 4.10 8am April 10: Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Solidarity Event. Every year, hundreds of protesters rally in front of Planned Parenthood on Good Friday. Join Planned Parenthood and others in front of the Highland Park Planned Parenthood to show your support for the staff and patients. 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM at Planned Parenthood, 1965 Ford Parkway in St. Paul. Registration is required. --------2 of 22-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Ramona Africa 4.10 11am Friday,April 10.11am KFAI Radio "Catalyst:politics & culture: host/producer Lydia Howell 90.3fm Mpls/106,7fm St.Paul All shows live-streaming& archived for 2 weeks after broadcast at "Catalyst" page at: http://www.kfai.org Hear a conversation with lifelong activist RAMONA AFRICA, of the MOVE organization of Philadelphia who will be in the Twin Cities APRIL 18-19 (see EVENT info below). She is most known for her work on the international defense committee to free Pennsylvania death row dissident journalist MUMIA ABU-JAMAL. In 1979, Ramona Africa joined MOVE, a multi-racial group begun by John Africa (who was later murdered by police). The organization combined anti-raicsm, anti-imperialism with a precient environmental perspective. Vegetarians and animal rights oriented, MOVE practiced their principles on a daily basis, living communally - and in the process alienating some of their neighbors. What amounted to various petty misdemeanors about "noise" and the state of their house was used as reasons for police attacks that ultimately resulted in the May 13, 1985 bomb resulting in a block of destroyed homes and bombing of the MOVE home. The military style bombing of a residential neighborhood almost a several adults and five children being burned to death in the MOVE house. As is the pattern with police brutality and violence against civillians, as one of the victims of that violence, Ramona Africa was a survivor of that bombing who was charged with felonies and served 7 years in prison. Since her release, she also works to expose and challenge what Angela Davis has termed the prison-industrial complex - one of the few "growth" industries in the U.S., which has resulted in the highest prison population on Earth - with one in 99 AMreicans (a majority of them people of color) behind bars. EVENT INFO: Ramona Africa, International Spokesperson for the MOVE Organization April 18 11:30 AM Hamline School of Law Room 105 The MOVE 9 have been in prison since 1978 serving 30-100 year sentences following a massive police assault on their home in Powelton Village, Philadelphia where a police officer was killed by an unidentified bullet. MOVE supporter Mumia Abu-Jamal, a journalist and former Black Panther, is a political prisoner known worldwide as the "voice of the voiceless." Abu-Jamal was sentenced to Pennsylvania's death row in 1982 for the killing of a Philadelphia police officer. Ramona Africa is the only adult survivor of the May 13th, 1985 bombing of the MOVE family by Philadelphia police and city officials which resulted in the death of 11 people, 5 of whom were children, and the destruction of 60 homes on Osage Avenue. Ramona was immediately taken into custody and eventually convicted of riot and conspiracy. She spent the next seven years in prison. Immediately upon her release in 1992, she rejoined her family's struggle to free the MOVE 9 and Mumia Abu-Jamal. In April of 1996 Ramona headed a civil lawsuit against the City and its officials for the May 13th bombing. On June 24th of the same year, the jury rendered a verdict in her favor. She has spoke at numerous colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and abroad. This event is to demonstrate support and raise awareness, for the MOVE 9, Mumia Abu Jamal, all Political Prisoners in the U.S., and show the need for reform to the U.S. Prison Industrial Complex which currently encompasses over 7.3 million people. AND A SECOND EVENT!!! Also Join us for a second event hosted by the Prison Reform Project, Communities United Against Police Brutality and the RNC 8 Defense Committee Repression and Resistance, Then and Now April 19, 2009 2:00 p.m. Hallie Q Brown/Martin Luther King Community Center 270 N Kent Street, St. Paul Ramona will speak about the nature of political repression and resistance as experienced by members of the MOVE family, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, and how these threads run to the prosecution of the RNC 8 and others. A reception will follow. --------3 of 22-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> From: Jonathan Bucki Subject: Facilitation 4.10 4pm Participatory Facilitation Skills In the next couple days you can register at www.excotc.org. Until then, if you want to reserve a spot, sent a note to ravi [at] dendros.com or call him at 651 298 1343. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. Since the sessions build on one another, it's important to take them in order. I'll be offering the series again in the summer, if you can't make these dates. If you have to choose only one now, pick the Meta Method & Focused Conversation. The details for each of the sessions are below my signature. ALL SESSIONS ARE FREE. Friday April 10, 4-8pm Macalester College, Carnegie 204 Participatory Facilitation Skills: Consensus Workshop Friday April 17, 4-8pm Macalester College, Carnegie 204 Participatory Facilitation Skills: Application Lab Friday April 24, 4-8pm Macalester College, Carnegie 204 Participatory Facilitation Skills: Meta Method & Focused Conversation Friday April 10, 4-8pm Macalester College, Carnegie 204 Participants will explore how to lead a Focused Conversation and how to use the Meta Method to design and facilitate those conversations. These two tools will help leaders and facilitators engage a group in genuine reflection and help prevent “dead end” conversations. The Focused Conversation method is action-oriented, helping a group move from taking in data, understanding it’s significance and moving into action. This session is intended for community activists and leaders seeking to build their capacity to authentically engage their stakeholders in developing community solutions to our community’s most pressing problems. Although these methods are applicable in all human endeavors, we will focus on community-based applications. Participants will need to download a free copy of the Participatory Skills Manual from GoodWorkTools.com prior to the session. Potluck! Please bring something to share, and your own utensils. This session is a prerequisite for the Consensus Workshop and the Application Lab. Jonathan Bucki is a partner at the Dendros Group, LLC, author of the Participatory Skills Manual, a professional facilitator and trainer that has worked in all sectors in many different kinds of businesses and communities. His bio can be found at www.dendros.com. This session is offered through the generous support of GoodWorkIncubator.org Participatory Facilitation Skills: Consensus Workshop Friday April 17, 4-8pm Macalester College, Carnegie 204 Participants will explore how to apply the Meta Method in facilitating a Consenus Workshop. The Consensus Workshop method is useful for helping a group develop a common vision or probe their insights for building shared understanding. Participatory Facilitation Skills: Meta Method & Focused Conversation is a prerequisite for this course. This session is intended for community activists and leaders seeking to build their capacity to authentically engage their stakeholders in developing community solutions to our community’s most pressing problems. Although these methods are applicable in all human endeavors, we will focus on community-based applications. Participants will need to download a free copy of the Participatory Skills Manual from GoodWorkTools.com prior to the session. Potluck! Please bring something to share, and your own utensils. Jonathan Bucki is a partner at the Dendros Group, LLC, author of the Participatory Skills Manual, a professional facilitator and trainer that has worked in all sectors in many different kinds of businesses and communities. His bio can be found at www.dendros.com. This session is offered through the generous support of GoodWorkIncubator.org Participatory Facilitation Skills: Application Lab Friday April 24, 4-8pm Macalester College, Carnegie 204 Participants will bring ideas for real-life applications of the skills learned in the previous two sessions. Participants must come with a particular situation or group in mind. We’ll use the meta method to design the process and specific applications of the tools. Participatory Facilitation Skills: Meta Method & Focused Conversation and Participatory Facilitation Skills: Consensus Workshop, or their equivalent are prerequisites for this course. This session is intended for community activists and leaders seeking to build their capacity to authentically engage their stakeholders in developing community solutions to our community’s most pressing problems. Although these methods are applicable in all human endeavors, we will focus on community-based applications. Participants will need to download a free copy of the Participatory Skills Manual from GoodWorkTools.com prior to the session. Potluck! Please bring something to share, and your own utensils. Jonathan Bucki is a partner at the Dendros Group, LLC, author of the Participatory Skills Manual, a professional facilitator and trainer that has worked in all sectors in many different kinds of businesses and communities. His bio can be found at www.dendros.com. This session is offered through the generous support of GoodWorkIncubator.org --------4 of 22-------- From: Stephanie Bates <Stephanie.Bates [at] americas.org> Subject: Cuba embargo/film 4.10 7pm Join us for a pre-movie Happy Hour at Glaciers Cafe (above the Resource Center) from 5:30-7pm hosted by Board Chair Sarah Humpage Friday, April 10th 7pm Bloqueo Bloqueo examines the more than forty year U.S embargo on Cuba. Discussion with John Waller, national coordinator of IFCO/Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan will follow the film Program Coordinator Resource Center of the Americas 612-276-0788 www.americas.org --------5 of 22-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: Moyers/elite 4.10 9pm [Ruling class crime families] Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Truthout: "A cartoon in the Sunday comics shows that mustachioed fellow with monocle and top hat from the Monopoly game - 'Rich Uncle Pennybags,' he used to be called - standing along the roadside, destitute, holding a sign: 'Will blame poor people for food.' Time to move the blame to where it really belongs. That means no more coddling banks with bailout billions marked 'secret.' No more allowing their executives lavish bonuses and new corporate jets as if they've won the mega-lottery and not sent the economy down the tubes. And no more apostles of Wall Street calling the shots." --------6 of 22-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 4.11 9am Cambridge MN every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------7 of 22-------- From: Doris Marquit <marqu001 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Rights/kids books 4.11 10am WILPF "Coffee With" Discussion Van Cleve Community Center, 901 15th Ave. SE, Minneapolis Saturday, April 11, 10 am-noon. FREE! Everyone welcome. "HUMAN RIGHTS HISTORY THROUGH CHILDREN'S BOOKS" Presenter: Jo Montie Join Jo Montie to look at ways to bring peacemaker and human rights history alive by using powerful children's books. Teach the young-the best way to spread the word! Here's a chance to examine award-winning books and get ideas for your favorite young readers. This is an interactive presentation about inspiring literature and social justice. An active WILPF member, Jo served for five years on the national Jane Addams Children's Book Award Committee. She is also an educational consultant with Doors to Useful Learning. Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, Minnesota Metro Branch Ffi: 612-922-7993. Web site: www.wilpfmn.org --------8 of 22-------- From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at] mppeace.org> Subject: Iran/Beeman 4.11 10:30am Dr. William O. Beeman: Iran, the U.S. and the Potential for Peace in the Mideast Saturday, April 11, 2009 10:30 a.m. Hamline Midway Library, 1558 West Minnehaha Avenue, St. Paul, MN (Access the auditorium through the door on the west side of the library.) Dr. Beeman will speak on the status of U.S. & Iran relations, the current political situation in Iran, and the potential for peace in the Middle East. William O. Beeman is professor and chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of Minnesota. He was previously professor of anthropology and director of Middle East studies at Brown University. He has lived and conducted research for over thirty years in all areas of the Middle East. He had served as a consultant to the U.S. State Department and the Department of Defense, and has testified before Congress on Middle East affairs. He is president of the Middle East section of the American Anthropological Association. Dr. Beeman is the author of The Great Satan vs. the Mad Mullahs: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other. This book, and others by Dr. Beeman, will be available for sale at the event. Sponsors W.A.M.M. Book Club, W.A.M.M. Middle East Committee, and Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace. More Information http://www.worldwidewamm.org/calendar.html -------9 of 22-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Socialism/capitalism 4.11 12noon Socialist Minnesota: A Conference to Confront Capitalism Saturday, April 11, Noon to 6:00 p.m. University of Minnesota, Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis. Noon (Forum) "Bailout Workers, Not Wall Street! What strategy to confront the economic crisis?" Speakers: Dean Gunderson, State bargaining committee representative for the Minneapolis Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) Local 501; Brett Hoven, St. Paul Ford Assembly Plant worker-activist, United Auto Workers Local 879; Angel Gardner, Barista-organizer with the Starbucks Workers' Union drive; Alec Johnson, Metro Transit worker-activist with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005. 2:30 p.m. (Workshops) "Climate in Crisis: Is there a solution under capitalism?"; "The End of Empire?: Will Obama transform U.S. foreign policy?"; "The Struggle for Marriage Equality: GLBT politics in the era of Republican decline." 4:00 p.m. (Forum) "The S- Word Re-Emerges: What Socialism Really Means" Speakers: WAMM member, April Knutson, Professor of Marxism at the University of Minnesota, contributor to the journal, Science, Nature, and Society; David Riehle, Social activist, historian of 1934 Minneapolis Truckers strike, United Transportation Union Local 650; Tyron Moore, editorial committee member for Justice newspaper, organizer for Socialist Alternative. Sponsored by: Socialist Alternative. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call 612-760-1980, email mn [at] socialistalternative.org or visit www.socialistminnesota.org . --------10 of 22-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: AWC volunteer day 4.11 1pm Volunteer Day: Get Ready for Zero Recruitment Day! Saturday April 11th @ 1 pm @ the AWC office 1313 5th St. SE, Mpls, room 112C Help the Anti-War Committee make signs, banners and props for Zero Recruitment Day. Artistic skills are welcome, but not required. Please bring friends and folks who are interested in stopping US war and military recruitment. Organized by the Anti-War Committee. --------11 of 22-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 4.11 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------12 of 22-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: KFAI/meal/movie 4.11 6pm SAT. APRIL 11, 6pm MEAL & a MOVIE @ MAY DAY BOOKS International Buffet BENEFIT for KFAI Radio hosted by KFAI's "Catalyst" host,Lydia Howell Donation $7-10 Hard times for everyone is also hitting non-profits. Now, more than ever independent media, like KFAI RADIO is essential for a Main Street being ripped off by Wall Street. Enjoy a homemade international buffet of delights from VEGETARIAN CURRY to a CHICKEN dish (TBA) with snacks like GUACAMOLE with tortilla chips & HUMMUS with pita bread. Homemade deserts,too. See the 1941 satire by SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS directed by Preston Sturges. A rich Hollywood director (Joel McCrea) who's made his wealth on popular,but, shallow comedies, decides that in the midst of the Great Depression he wants his next film to be "a great human drama" to be titled "Oh, Brother Where Art Thou, Now?" Going on the road as a "penniless hobo", to "research poverty" has comic and moving results. Behind the scenes, his business associates try to protect him from any hardship. An out-of-work actress (Veronica Lake) joins him in his travels and gives the director a reality-check. Moments of real drama are punctuated by plenty of laughs. This classic is entertainment with substance perfect for our own hard times. MAY DAY BOOKS, 301 Cedar Ave. S. (basement of HUB Bicycle(, West Bank, Minneapolis (612)333-4719 May Day Books is a non-profit, volunteer-run progressive bookstore. --------13 of 22-------- From: "[ISO-8859-1] Marco Dávila" <maidaca85 [at] gmail.com> Subject: Salvador elections 4.11 7pm Saturday April 11th, 2009 at Pillsbury House Theater One Struggle One Star One country Elections in EL Salvador 2009 A report back from Legal Observers and Salvadorian Community in Minnesota E Salvador 200Program 7:00PM Social Time- Music & Wine -Suggested donation for drinks- 8-10PM Panel Presentation & dialog Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 Take Action Minnesota Voices on the Border Members of the Salvadorian Comm. 11:00PM Adjourn Sponsors FMLN-Minnesota CISPES St.Paul-CiudadRomeroSisterCityProject Salvadorian Community --------14 of 22-------- To: David E Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Honoring Mahmoud Darwish 4.11 7pm Mizna presents: Unfortunately It Was Paradise: A Celebration of the Life of Mahmoud Darwish Saturday, April 11, 2009 7 pm $5 suggested donation Open Book 1011 Washington Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415 Featuring: Fady Joudah with David Mura, Anya Achtenberg, Raed Abughazalah Music by Salah Abdelfattah and Tarek Hamila Food by Shish Restaurant Mizna pays tribute to the life and work of Palestine's national poet with "Unfortunately It Was Paradise: A Celebration of the Life of Mahmoud Darwish" as part of its Mideast in the Midwest Series. Mahmoud Darwish, who died last August at age 67, was not only the national poet of the Palestinian people, but a world poet with more than 20 books of poetry, essays, and memoirs. Headlining the event is Fady Joudah, a Palestinian-American poet, translator, physician and member of Doctors Without Borders. Joudeh is the winner of the 2007 Yale Younger Poets Competition for his collection The Earth in the Attic, and translator of The Butterfly's Burden from Cooper Canyon Press, a bilingual edition of several of Darwish's most recent collections. Joining him are Minnesota poets David Mura, Anya Achtenberg, and Raed Abughazaleh. The event also features a musical performance by Salah Abdelfattah and Tarek Hamila and a sampling of Middle Eastern food provided by Shish of St. Paul. Mizna is a forum for Arab American art. Mizna produces the only journal of Arab American Literature in the United States and presents local, national and international Arab artists. Other activities include the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, Cultural Classes, and an Artist regranting program. Cosponsored by the Loft, Meeting Minnesota's Muslims, and Shish Cafe. www.Mizna.org --------15 of 22-------- Obama Protects CIA Torture Memos Hope Abandoned By CHRIS FLOYD CounterPunch April 10 / 12, 2009 It was obvious from the moment that Barack Obama appointed Leon Panetta to head the CIA that there was going to be no serious investigation - much less prosecution - of the high crimes of torture committed by the agency at the order of the Bush White House. Panetta, a Clinton retread (who actually began his career in the Nixon administration), has always been a bland, feckless, obedient servant of the Establishment; he has no outside power base, no pull, no heft, no popularity - nothing that would enable him to grab hold of the CIA with both hands and clean that fetid, blood-encrusted house. And of course, it was precisely this kind of powerless figure that Barack Obama wanted in the post. The appointment was very typical of the Obama operation. Panetta had made a few very mild statements over the years that would allow him to be passed off as some kind of "progressive" in the witless, substanceless "process stories" that the corporate media do for new government appointees. This would be enough to keep the progressive "base" - which was overwhelmingly inclined to give Obama every benefit of every doubt - lulled long enough to get the patsy into the job. Of course, to actually get the job, Panetta had to make it clear to Congress that he wasn't going to stir up any trouble on the torture front, and was willing to play along with anything the Unitary Executive might order him to do. But the corp-media made little of this, concentrating instead on Panetta's rote assertions that "America doesn't torture," and his embrace of the Army Field Manual as the standard for CIA interrogation. (Of course, the vaunted manual also allows practices that any rational human being would consider torture, but that's another story.) Once Panetta was confirmed in his figurehead director's role, the Obama White House then confirmed its true intentions regarding the rogue agency. It has put the actual running of the CIA into the hands of one of the top figures involved in the Bush torture program. Scott Horton at Harper's points us to the remarkable story by investigator John Sifton, detailing Obama's retention - and promotion - of Bush's willing torturers. From Sifton, at The Daily Beast: "On Monday night the confidential report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the CIA's secret detention and interrogation program was published on the website of the New York Review of Books. The report confirms previous allegations about CIA abuses against detainees. Unlike earlier reporting, however, the document is based on irrefutable first hand information: interviews with detainees and U.S. officials. The document describes in stark detail the CIA's use of forced standing, sleep deprivation, prolonged isolation, assaults, and waterboarding. It also discloses the participation of CIA medical personnel in torture.... "The New York Times reported that Leon Panetta, the current CIA director, has taken the position that 'no one who took actions based on legal guidance from the Department of Justice at the time should be investigated, let alone punished'. Yet a number of CIA officials implicated in the torture program not only remain at the highest levels of the agency, but are also advising Panetta. Panetta's attempt to suppress the issue is making Bush's policy into the Obama administration's dirty laundry. "Take Stephen Kappes. At the time of the worst torture sessions outlined in the ICRC report, Kappes served as a senior official in the Directorate of Operations - the operational part of the CIA that oversees paramilitary operations as well as the high-value detention program. (The directorate of operations is now known as the National Clandestine Service.) Panetta has kept Kappes as deputy director of the CIA - the number two official in the agency. One of Kappes' deputies from 2002-2004, Michael Sulick, is now director of the National Clandestine Service - the de facto number three in the agency. Panetta's refusal to investigate may be intended to protect his deputies. Since the basic facts about their involvement in the CIA interrogation program are now known, Panetta's actions are increasingly looking like a cover-up." Sifton also makes a very important point about the Red Cross report on torture that has been almost entirely ignored (which is not surprising, given that the Red Cross report itself has been almost entirely ignored by the corporate media that gives us the "news" of the day): "Another overlooked fact is this: the ICRC report is an important legal document that contains well-sustained allegations of criminal conduct with legal significance. Unlike earlier claims in books, magazines, and newspapers, the ICRC's allegations are official notices from a legally recognized entity. The ICRC, after all, is not Human Rights Watch, the Washington Post, or The New Yorker, all of which have reported on the CIA's secret prison program. The ICRC is an official entity recognized under the Geneva Conventions and various other earlier international treaties relating to armed conflict and prisoners of war. The ICRC is specifically tasked under the Geneva Conventions to visit prisoners and communicate with detaining powers to uphold the conventions' spirit and purpose. Its interpretations and statements on matters of international law are held as legally authoritative. As such, the ICRC's allegations have legal significance beyond previous disclosures. In effect, the document itself is evidence in a criminal case. "Note in particular the report's date, February 14, 2007 - Valentine's Day. On that date, the U.S. government was put on notice about the allegations of CIA torture. (The ICRC also wrote to the U.S. governments about the issue of disappearances at several points in 2003-2006.) "Under international law - the Geneva Conventions, the Convention against Torture, and basic precepts of customary international law - the United States has a positive obligation to investigate and prosecute persons alleged to have committed torture and other violations of the laws of war. As of Valentine's Day 2007, and possibly earlier, the U.S. government was obligated to investigate and prosecute the abuses detailed in the report. The United States' failure to do so is a recurring breach of international law." The United States has formally adopted the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture; they are not some kind of "foreign devilment" messing with our sacred sovereignty: they are the law of the land. But it is clear that the Obama Administration does not have and never had the slightest intention of obeying the law and instigating the required investigations and prosecutions of the high crime - the capital crime - of ordering and committing torture. And the reason for this refusal is also clear: the Obama Administration wants to retain the power to torture, to conduct "paramilitary operations" with secret armies and single assassins, to carry out mass, illegal surveillance of the population with no legal accountability, to do "whatever it takes" to keep the machine of war and domination churning at full strength. That is why they have retained apparatchiks like Kappes and Sulick; that is why they are not only defending the Bush gang's egregious assertions of authoritarian power, but are actually seeking to expand them, as Glenn Greenwald and others have detailed. It is understandable that people hunger desperately for change after the open, scalding evils of the Bush years. It is understandable that they would seize on an attractively packaged figure who made a few progressive noises, carried a great deal of genuinely symbolic weight due to his race, and was more personable, cool and articulate than his god-awful predecessor. It is understandable that many people would want to give this figure the benefit of the doubt, to turn a blind eye to the many warning signs that emerged during the campaign, and hope for the best. After all, who would not rather live in hope? But hope must be grounded in reality; and it must be invested in the right place. When reality gives it the lie, then it must be abandoned. There is no hope to be found in the Obama Administration: no hope for genuine change, no hope for a clean break (or any kind of break) from the relentless and ruthless promotion of empire, oligarchy and militarism. By his own choices - his appointments, his policies, his court actions, his rhetoric - Barack Obama has demonstrated beyond all doubt his sincere and abiding commitment to "continuity" in the most pernicious and corrosive elements of America's lawless hyper-state. To place one's hope in such a figure is a crippling, disastrous folly. The only hope that can be associated with the Obama Administration is the long-shot, rapidly fading, outside chance that they could be forced - very much against their will - into at least slowing the militarist-oligarchic juggernaut by strong, sustained, massive, informed political opposition from the public. (And no, not the "tea-bag" fantasies of the fascistic Right, whose only real complaint about Obama - aside from the unspoken one about his skin color - is that he is not militarist and oligarchic enough.) I don't believe this will happen, that this kind of genuine and fruitful dissent will arise on a scale large enough to pressure the administration into making changes in order to save its own political skin. Nor do I, as some do, place any "hopes" - if that's the word - that some outside power (or combination of powers) or calamitous event (or combination of calamitous events) will force the juggernaut onto another course. As in the case of the present global financial collapse, the reaction of the elite to such circumstances will be to do more of the same, to try more and more desperately to return to the status quo - or, as today, to exploit the panic and chaos of disaster to extend their own power and privilege even further. And with a militarist elite that possesses an arsenal capable of bringing the world down with them if they can't hold on to power, I can't contemplate such a Gtterdmmerung of suffering and death with anything like "hope." But I also know that I don't know what the future might bring. So whatever small hope I still have resides in the flickering possibility of engendering the kind of large-scale, genuine, fruitful dissent described above. I realize that this is a rather slim reed to hang on to; yet it is a mighty oak when compared to a hope invested in leaders who protect and promote torturers, who perpetuate - and laud - mass war crimes, who expand tyrannical powers, and who sell their children's birthrights to a keep a tiny, rapacious elite in ascendancy. I will take my slim reed over such brutal delusions any day. Chris Floyd is an American writer and frequent contributor to Counterpunch. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at www.chris-floyd.com. --------16 of 22-------- The New Centrism The Ideology of Barack Obama By WILLIAM BLUM April 10 / 12, 2009 CounterPunch In the past two months: US Vice President Joe Biden was asked by reporters at a summit in Chile if Washington plans to put an end to the near-50-year-old economic embargo against Cuba. He replied "No." Israeli authorities broke up a series of Palestinian cultural events in Jerusalem, disrupting a children's march and bursting balloons at a schoolyard celebration.11 There has not been, nor will there be, any embargo of any kind by the United States against Israel. Nor will President Obama make any comment about what he really feels about invading a children's party and bursting their balloons. The White House and the Pentagon appear to be having a competition over who can announce the most troops being sent to Afghanistan. Is anyone keeping a body count? US drones continue to drop bombs on people's homes and wedding parties in Pakistan. No one in Washington publicly admits to this or comments in any way about the legality or morality of it all. Bolivia and Ecuador have expelled American diplomats for what their hosts saw as conspiring to undermine the government. Any number of other examples can be given of how alike the foreign policies of the Bush and Obama administrations are, how little, if any, change has occurred; certainly nothing of any significance. Yet, my saying such a thing is precisely what most often bothers Obama supporters who read or hear my comments. They're in love with the man with the toothpaste-advertisement smile, who's "smart" (whatever that means), who plays basketball, and is not George W. Bush, and his wife who puts her arm around the queen of England. Obama's popularity around the world is enhanced, to an important extent, by the fact that he has endeavored to conceal or obscure his real ideology. As an example, in early March, in an interview with the New York Times, he was asked: "Is there a one word name for your philosophy? If you're not a socialist, are you a liberal? Are you progressive? One word?" "No, I'm not going to engage in that," replied the president. The next day he called the Times reporter, telling him: "It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question". Obama then gave the reporter several examples of why his policies show that he isn't a socialist. He didn't have to convince me. Obama's centrist bent is clear to anyone who bothers to look. But after the Times incident - which apparently bothered him - he may have felt the need to be more clear about his ideological leanings to avoid any further silly "socialist" episodes. The next day, meeting at the White House with members of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of centrist Democratic members of the House, Obama said at one point: "I am a New Democrat." Most conservatives will probably continue to see him as a dangerous leftist. They should be happy that Obama is the president and not any kind of real progressive or socialist or even a genuine liberal, but the right wing is greedy. William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir. He can be reached at: BBlum6 [at] aol.com --------17 of 22-------- America's Imperial Wars We Need to See the Horrors By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch April 10 / 12, 2009 When I was a 17-year-old kid in my senior year of high school, I didn't think much about Vietnam. It was 1967, the war was raging, but I didn't personally know anyone who was over there, Tet hadn't happened yet. If anything, the excitement of jungle warfare attracted my interest more than anything (I had a .22 cal rifle, and liked to go off in the woods and shoot at things, often, I'll admit, imagining it was an armed enemy.) But then I had to do a major project in my humanities program and I chose the Vietnam War. As I started researching this paper, which was supposed to be a multi-media presentation, I ran across a series of photos of civilian victims of American napalm bombing. These victims, often, were women and children - even babies. The project opened my eyes to something that had never occurred to me: my country's army was killing civilians. And it wasn't just killing them. It was killing them, and maiming them, in ways that were almost unimaginable in their horror: napalm, phosphorus, anti-personnel bombs that threw out spinning flechettes that ripped through the flesh like tiny buzz saws. I learned that scientists like what I at the time wanted to become were actually working on projects to make these weapons even more lethal, for example trying to make napalm more sticky so it would burn longer on exposed flesh. By the time I had finished my project, I had actively joined the anti-war movement, and later that year, when I turned 18 and had to register for the draft, I made the decision that no way was I going to allow myself to participate in that war. A key reason my - and millions of other Americans - eyes were opened to what the US was up to in Indochina was that the media at that time, at least by 1967, had begun to show Americans the reality of that war. I didn't have to look too hard to find the photos of napalm victims, or to read about the true nature of the weapons that our forces were using. Today, while the internet makes it possible to find similar information about the conflicts in the world in which the US is participating, either as primary combatant or as the chief provider of arms, as in Gaza, one actually has to make a concerted effort to look for them. The corporate media which provide the information that most Americans simply receive passively on the evening news or at breakfast over coffee carefully avoid showing us most of the graphic horror inflicted by our military machine. We may read the cold fact that the US military, after initial denials, admits that its forces killed not four enemy combatants in an assault on a house in Afghanistan, but rather five civilians - including a man, a female teacher, a 10-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy and a tiny baby. But we don't see pictures of their shattered bodies, no doubt shredded by the high-powered automatic rifles typically used by American forces. We may read about wedding parties that are bombed by American forces - something that has happened with some frequency in both Iraq and Afghanistan - where the death toll is tallied in dozens, but we are, as a rule, not provided with photos that would likely show bodies torn apart by anti-personnel bombs - a favored weapon for such attacks on groups of supposed enemy "fighters". (A giveaway that such weapons are being used is a typically high death count with only a few wounded.) Obviously one reason for this is that the US military no longer gives US journalists, including photo journalists, free reign on the battlefield. Those who travel with troops are under the control of those troops and generally aren't allowed to photograph the scenes of devastation, and sites of such "mishaps" are generally ruled off limits until the evidence has been cleared away. But another reason is that the media themselves sanitize their pages and their broadcasts. It isn't just American dead that we don't get to see. It's the civilian dead - at least if our guys do it. We are not spared gruesome images following attacks on civilians by Iraqi insurgent groups, or by Taliban forces in Afghanistan. But we don't get the same kind of photos when it's our forces doing the slaughtering. Because often the photos and video images do exist - taken by foreign reporters who take the risk of going where the US military doesn't want them. No wonder that even today, most Americans oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan not because of sympathy with the long-suffering peoples of those two lands, but because of the hardships faced by our own forces, and the financial cost of the two wars. For some real information on the horror that is being perpetrated on one of the poorest countries in the world by the greatest military power the world has ever known, check out the excellent work by Professor Marc Herold at the University of New Hampshire (http://cursor.org/ and http://www.rawa.org/). Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). He can be reached at dlindorff [at] mindspring.com --------18 of 22-------- They're Back! Another $50 Billion for Rust Bucket Nukes? By HARVEY WASSERMAN CounterPunch April 10 / 12, 2009 The nuke power industry is back at the public trough for the fourth time in two years demanding $50 billion in loan guarantees to build new reactors. Its rust-bucket poster child is now the ancient clunker at Oyster Creek, whose visible New Jersey rust and advanced radioactive decay are A-OK with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which just gave it a twenty-year license extension. The industry's savior may be France, whose taxpayer-funded EdF and Areva Corporations may be poised to build their own reactors on US soil using French and American taxpayer money. And President Obama's first big test on nuke power may be how he fills a vacancy - and the chair - at the NRC. The latest demand for a $50 billion taxpayer handout has been sleazed into the Senate budget bill. It has already been kicked out of the Stimulus Package, and George W. Bush's Energy Bills of 2007 and 2008. Bush did get $18.5 billion in guarantees into his 2005 Energy Bill, but that is being being challenged. This latest bailout incarnation has been widely tagged "nuclear pork" even in the right-wing Washington Times, which says the Senate accepted it "without debate, explanation or a recorded vote". The amendment came from Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID) with support from Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND). Crapo says the guarantees are part of a program created in the 2005 Bush Energy Bill is aimed at "clean energy" programs, not just "advanced" nuclear power. [Must he Crapo on us? -ed] But no Congressional experts take that disclaimer seriously. No independent financiers will take an un-subsidized flier on new reactors. Nuke operators can't get private insurance on a major melt-down. With the proposed Yucca Mountain dump all but dead, the industry - after fifty years - has no certified place to take its high-level radioactive waste. Guarantees are also part of a bill supported by Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) who chairs the appropriations subcommittee that oversees energy spending, and has been working with Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), a pro-nuke cabal of business and retired military leaders. Green energy groups such as Friends of the Earth, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, Beyond Nuclear, NukeFree.org, Greenpeace, Physicians for Social Responsibility and others are gearing up for yet another Congressional fight. If they win this time, they'll have to fight it out again and yet again as the industry gloms onto new bills on a "clean energy bank," global warming, reprocessing and more. "The $50 billion in nuke loan guarantees proposed in February's economic stimulus bill were taken out in House-Senate conference following a national outpouring of opposition," says Michael Mariotte of NIRS. "With a similar outpouring, we can defeat these again in the conference committee that will meet after the Easter recess". Mariotte says green energy groups are organizing a national write-in campaign to begin next week, and a call-in effort for April 27, the day after the anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. No one doubts the industry will pour on one legislative scam after another in its desperate attempt to get taxpayer money as it is being priced into oblivion by rapid advances in renewables and efficiency. Reports are also circulating that France's heavily subsidized reactor pushers, EdF and Areva, may use newly purchased stakes in Constellation and other US utilities to strongarm their way into the American electricity market. Among other things they may use French taxpayer money to build reactors on American soil. Their foreign ownership status may insulate them from even the infamously lax NRC regulation. The Atomic Energy Act prohibits "foreign ownership, control or domination" of a US reactor project, but the industry will try to work around that. As the over-priced, inefficient French fleet wobbles at home without meaningful regulation, and with no solution to its waste problems, the EdF/Areva reactor pushers apparently view the US as virgin territory. Indeed, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has just granted a 20-year license extension to America's oldest reactor. The Oyster Creek plant opened in December, 1969 with an expected design life of forty years. It now has visible rust around its core and has been constantly plagued by errant releases of hot water and lethal radiation. [As long as it doesn't go near the homes of the rich owners and major investors, whoe cares? Mere people are expendable. -ed] Perched 50 miles east of Philadelphia and 75 miles south of New York City, Oyster Creek could not be licensed at all by today's standards. Its reactor containment was never required to withstand a jet crash and is far flimsier than the lid that blew off Chernobyl Unit Four in the Ukraine in 1986, releasing massive quantities of radiation into the surrounding countryside. Because Oyster Creek's old core is laden with far more residual radiation, a breach could blanket the densely populated American northeast with an apocalyptic cloud of death and destruction. Owned by the Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, Oyster Creek has been bitterly opposed by area residents and nuclear experts who fear its vital internals are crumbling. The re-licensing process did not require a test of metals in the core, which can become dangerously embrittled after decades of exposure to super-hot water and intense radiation. In 1991, Massachusetts' elderly Yankee Rowe was shut by lightening. Congressional pressure then demanded an embrittlement inspection that the reactor's owners would not do. Parallel issues have been contested in bitter relicensing fights at Minnesota's Monticello, Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island Unit One, Vermont Yankee and Indian Point, 45 miles north of New York City. The first terror jet to hit the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 flew directly over Indian Point, whose elderly containments could not withstand an airplane's impact. But the NRC.s willingness to re-license the rickety, trouble-plagued Oyster Creek signals a willingness to ignore a wide range of serious health, safety and environmental concerns. Thus pushers of the "Peaceful Atom" are pumping hard for taxpayer handouts and against meaningful regulation, even for the oldest and most decrepit reactors still pumping radiation into the American landscape. Fittingly, there is now a vacancy on the five-member NRC that President Obama could fill. He could also appoint a new chair. The number of Commissioners over the past three decades who have been at all responsive to legitimate safety and health concerns has been miniscule. An independent-minded appointee would signal that the administration is serious about the health, safety and environmental issues that cut to the core of the "Peaceful Atom." But whomever Obama appoints, it's painfully clear that the world's most expensive failed technology is not going away without a long, hard fight. Harvey Wasserman has been writing about atomic energy and the green alternatives since 1973. His 1982 assertion to Bryant Gumbel on NBC's TODAY Show that people were killed at TMI sparked a national mailing from the reactor industry demanding a retraction. NBC was later bought by Westinghouse, still a major force pushing atomic power. He is the author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, is at www.solartopia.org. He can be reached at: Windhw [at] aol.com --------19 of 22-------- Poll: Just 53% Favor Capitalism Over Socialism by Craig Brown 04.09.09 Common Dreams Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better. Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better. Investors by a 5-to-1 margin choose capitalism. As for those who do not invest, 40% say capitalism is better while 25% prefer socialism. There is a partisan gap as well. Republicans - by an 11-to-1 margin - favor capitalism. Democrats are much more closely divided: Just 39% say capitalism is better while 30% prefer socialism. As for those not affiliated with either major political party, 48% say capitalism is best, and 21% opt for socialism. The question posed by Rasmussen Reports did not define either capitalism or socialism It is interesting to compare the new results to an earlier survey in which 70% of Americans prefer a free-market economy. The fact that a "free-market economy" attracts substantially more support than "capitalism" may suggest some skepticism about whether capitalism in the United States today relies on free markets. Other survey data supports that notion. Rather than seeing large corporations as committed to free markets, two-out-of-three Americans believe that big government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors. Fifteen percent (15%) of Americans say they prefer a government-managed economy, similar to the 20% support for socialism. Just 14% believe the federal government would do a better job running auto companies, and even fewer believe government would do a better job running financial firms. Most Americans today hold views that can generally be defined as populist while only seven percent (7%) share the elitist views of the Political Class. --------20 of 22-------- Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 14:35:56 -0500 From: Alan Maki <amaki000 [at] centurytel.net> Subject: Socialism/capitalism: A very very important poll This poll (see article below) is very important because it demonstrates there is a very large existing and even greater potential base for socialist activities ranging from initiating "socialist study/action clubs" of one kind or another to creating voting constituencies capable of determining the outcomes of elections to the possibility of electing socialists to public office to creating a widespread dialogue capable of setting our country on the road to socialism. With capitalism in deep crises and no end in sight, we are living in a "Marxist moment" and as socialists we have a responsibility to take full advantage of capitalism being on the skids to oblivion while dragging all of humanity down the rough, bumpy road to perdition. Now is the time like never before to start encouraging a we make a "left turn." This poll sheds a new light on the needed urgency to take advantage of the "moment" to advance a socialist agenda which includes real solutions to the problems of working people and the racially and nationally oppressed peoples who for the most part are working class and are suffering the greatest brunt of this crisis. This proves that "socialism is on the table;" not withstanding objections from the pseudo socialists who project socialism for consideration in the far distant future, or those who think that socialist ideas should be limited to discussions among those in the "ivory towers." Socialism is a working class idea that workers need to be talking about where they live, work, recreate and go to school. One only has to use the imagination to figure out how powerful a force might be developed should there be an organized campaign for socialism combined with socialist oriented alternatives together with a socialist critique of the Obama/Wall Street agenda. After years of lie after lie about socialism coming from the business, schools and the mainstream media, that there remains this kind of support for socialism proves we have been way too timid in advocating the socialist alternative. Now, more than ever, we need to find creative ways to get socialist ideas into the hands of working people. I find it interesting that the number of people who describe themselves as "Democrats" are for socialism when the Democratic Party is an anti-socialist, pro-capitalist party. This must cause the leaders and Democratic Party hacks reason to be worried should a socialist/socialist oriented, non-sectarian political party with a sensible program calling for radical reforms with an anti-capitalist, pro-socialist agenda enter the political scene as an alternative to the two-party trap. Keep in mind that where there might be three, four or five candidates in a race such as in many areas of Minneapolis; a socialist could win with 15% to 20% of the vote. In other areas, 15% to 20% of the vote would make socialist candidates "deal makers" to be contended with when it comes to struggling and fighting for reforms. The time has come for the Obama/Wall Street agenda to be critiqued and challenged by socialists. With a well-organized campaign networked in states like North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, socialism can make a big impact and become an integral part of the political process. People need to put their heads together to figure out how this can be done. Most important is to ignore that part of the sectarian left and those who try to manipulate and control, while taking a campaign for socialism and radical reforms directly into the workplaces, schools and working class communities. Obviously socialist ideas are more established and supported than what many on the left have thought. Once people start thinking more deeply about capitalism vs. socialism after reading socialist ideas there shouldn't be a problem with getting a solid one-third of the population talking knowledgeably about the need for socialism. I would encorage the widespread distribution of Albert Einstein's important essay: Why Socialism? http://socialismtheoryandpractice.blogspot.com/2009/04/why-socialism.html We need to boldly proclaim that capitalism is the bankers' system and socialism is the workers' system. People and Mother Nature before corporate profits. Is there some kind of socialist study/action club in your community? If not, now is the time to initiate one. Alan L. Maki --------21 of 22-------- Capitalism tells us the meaning of life is murder and death. --------22 of 22-------- -------------------------- Capitalism Loves Suckers. Suckers Love Capitalism. (It takes two to tango) -------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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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