Progressive Calendar 09.24.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 13:47:34 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   09.24.09

1. Zombie/health/Klob   9.24 3pm
2. Eagan peace vigil    9.24 4:30pm
3. Northtown vigil      9.24 5pm
4. Foodprint cookoff    9.24 5:30pm
5. Fed Writers Project  9.24 7pm
6. Arab night/Iraqi     9.24 7pm

7. Remember/homicides   9.25 11am
8. Lydia/KFAI           9.25 11am
9. Remember/homicides   9.25 3/5pm Duluth MN
10. Palestine vigil     9.25 4:15pm
11. Alt to violence     9.25 5:30pm
12. TakeBackNight       9.25 6:30pm StCloud MN
13. Antiracism/register 9.25

14. PC Roberts    - Even the part-time jobs are disappearing
15. Missy Beattie - Obama has already failed/The sound of money
16. Mark Weisbrot - How much repression will Hillary support in Honduras?
17. Hardy/ed      - News for Obama Lovers  (poem)

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

From: ty <tytymo [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Zombie/health/Klob 9.24 3pm

ZOMBIE MARCH for SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE

Over 22,000 people die every year for lack of health insurance. We are
marching to be their voice. The U.S. for-profit medical system "rations"
based on ability to pay, while costing more per capita for worse care than
any other industrialized nation. The medical corporations are a powerful
lobby and donate millions to both parties, snuffing out any hope for
genuine change from Washington. Only a movement from below can win a free,
universal, single-payer "Medicare for all" system like in Canada and
Europe, allowing policy and medical decisions to be made based on human
need, not corporate profits.

Thursday Sept. 24th
3:00 pm: Gather on Coffman Plaza, University of Minnesota
   for speakers, music, zombie make-up
4:00 pm: March to Sen. Klobuchar's office
4:30 pm: Community Rally for Single-Payer
   outside Klobuchar's office: 1200 Washington Avenue South, Suite 250
Demand Congress put people before profits and pass single-payer


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

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 9.24 4:30pm

PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of
Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and
candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south
of the river speaking out against war.


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

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 9.24 5pm

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

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

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


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

From: Do It Green! Minnesota <Do_It_Green_Minnesota [at] mail.vresp.com>
Subject: Foodprint cookoff 9.24 5:30pm

The Food Print Project Cook-Offs - Sept 24, Oct 3 & Nov 21

Do It Green! Minnesota is introducing our newest program called The Food
Print Project, funded by the City of Minneapolis Climate Change Grant
program. The Food Print Project's mission is to educate residents about
how the foods we choose impact climate change.

We are launching this project through a series of low carbon cook-offs,
featuring local chefs producing low carbon dishes and judges who will
choose the lowest carbon dish. At the cook offs you can taste test the
chefs creations and learn how your food choices can affect the
environment.

The cook offs will offer:
* Low carbon recipes to take home
* A display of local foods and resources to get you started
* A take home Food Print wallet card with tips and a seasonal foods
list
* A chance to play Eco Wiggle, a new version of Twister!
* The opportunity to take the Minnesota Energy Challenge to begin your
journey to reduce your impact!

Come visit one of these free and open to the public cook-offs!

-Tuesday, September 24th 5:30pm, Camden Farmers Market (4400 Osseo Rd).
Chef Jim Malinowski and Chef Mike Longville from Edinburgh U.S.A will be
joining us for our first cook off.

-Saturday, October 3rd 10:00am, Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market
(corner of 7th Ave NE and University Ave NE). Chef Heather Hartman at
SpoonRiver and Chef Philip Dorwart with CREATE Catering and Dining Studio
will be joining us.

-Saturday, November 21st 12:00pm, Green Gifts Fair at Midwest Global
Market (920 E Lake St). Chef Paul Lynch with Firelake and Chef Molly
Herrmann with Tastebud Tart will be joining us..

We will also be taping the cook offs and posting them as You Tube videos,
so even if you can't make it you won't miss out!

Click here to start your food print journey - take the Minnesota
Energy Challenge and sign up for the Do It Green! Minnesota Team
http://cts.vresp.com/c/?twincitiesgreenguide/de54f7fd5a/8acadfd1b4/9bd3c2d257


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

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Fed Writers Project 9.24 7pm

On Thursday, September 24, 7 p.m., at the Rondo Community Outreach
Library, 461 N. Dale St., Saint Paul, watch /Soul of a People: Writing
America's Story/, a major documentary about the FWP produced by Spark
Media and broadcast by Smithsonian Channel HD.  Professor Peter Rachleff,
of Macalester College, leads a discussion on the film and the broader
aspects of the New Deal's WPA programs following the film.


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

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Arab night/Iraqi 9.24 7pm

Arab Night with Visiting Iraqi Delegation
Thursday, September 24, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537
Third Avenue South, Minneapolis.

A festive Arab Night will be jointly hosted by the Iraqi delegation, who
are leaders in their communities, and sponsoring groups. Live music, Iraqi
food and display of joint projects between Sister Cities Minneapolis and
Najaf, Iraq, including water-filter photos, Iraqi art, and an opportunity
for local children to write to children in Iraqi, as part of the Letters
for Peace project. This evening is open to the public and part of the
first official exchange between the two cities. The Iraqi delegates come
as peacemakers and guests and will help set a foundation for future years
of visits and sharing between Minneapolis and Najaf. Come participate,
help our Iraqi guests enjoy their time here and provide them with an
opportunity to meet peace-loving Americans, share their culture and build
relationships.

Sponsored by: the Iraqi Delegation, Iraq American Reconciliation Project
(IARP), the Minneapolis City Council, the University of Minnesota, Friends
for a Nonviolent World (FNVW), and Big Marina Grill and Deli.  WAMM is a
member of IARP. FFI: Visit http://reconciliationproject.org .


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

From: "Heather Martens, Protect Minnesota, Citizens for a Safer Minnesota"
    <csm [at] endgunviolence.com>
Subject: Remember/homicides 9.25 11am

Friday, September 25 is the Day of Remembrance for Victims of Homicide.
Join us in these events for Awareness, Empowerment, and Hope.

St. Paul, 11 a.m. Memorial and Call to Action, Capitol Rotunda

Memorialize those who are lost but never forgotten.
Renew our commitment to change.
Gather together in strength.
Please reply to this email to RSVP for the Twin Cities memorial event. For
more information and to donate, visit www.endgunviolence.com.

Heather Martens Executive Director Citizens for a Safer Minnesota


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

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Lydia/KFAI 9.25 11am

FRI.OCT. 2/9, 11 am:KFAI Radio FALL PLEDGE DRIVE on CATALYST
Pledge line: 612-375-9030

TUNE in for interviews with MATHEW ROTHSCHILD, editor of THE PROGRESSIVE
magazine, based in Madison, Wisconsin, celebrating 100 years of social
justice and anti-war journalism!
 Hear from U of MN alum, now teaching at U of Texas in Austin, radical
writer ROBERT JENSEN, talking about his newest book ALL MY BONES SHAKE:
his journey to Christianity, as a leftist who critiques what he calls "the
four fundamentalisms" of the society we live in.
 Hear great music from ANNE FEENEY and MICHAEL FRANTI.
 Hear Pennyslvania Death Row dissident journalist MUMIA ABU-JAMAL on the
media.

There are premiums related to all these amazing people when you pledge at
the $75 level to KFAI on CATALYST. (But, EVERYONE who pledges on Catalyst
will get some sort of premium sent to them by me!)

****PREMIUMS on CATALYST:politics& culture:
CDs:
FRANTI, MICHAEL "Yell Fire!"
FEENEY, ANNE "Have You Been To Jail For Justice?"

BOOKS:
Rothschild, Mathew 100 YEARS OF THE PROGRESSIVE
Jensen, Robert ALL MY BONES SHAKE
Phillips, Peter "Project Censored
Anderson, KIrk "Banana Republic"
Felien, Ed "Take The Streets!"
Ivins, Molly "Who Let The Dogs In?"


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

From: "Heather Martens, Protect Minnesota, Citizens for a Safer Minnesota"
Subject: Remember/homicides 9.25 3/5pm Duluth MN

Friday, September 25 is the Day of Remembrance for Victims of Homicide.
Join us in these events for Awareness, Empowerment, and Hope.

Duluth, 3 p.m. Bell Ringing, Memorial Bell Garden, Lake Place Park

Duluth, 5-6:30 p.m., Reception with book authors Dennis Henigan and Heidi
Yewman, Suites Hotel, 345 S. Lake Ave. Click here
<http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5610/c/237/t/5480/event/index.jsp?event_KEY=8536>
to RSVP and for more information on this fundraiser.

Memorialize those who are lost but never forgotten.
Renew our commitment to change.
Gather together in strength.

Heather Martens Executive Director Citizens for a Safer Minnesota


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

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Palestine vigil 9.25 4:15pm

the weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul.  the Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30.  there are usually extra signs
available.


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

From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Alt to violence 9.25 5:30pm

FNVW/AVP

Please join us in celebrating and supporting the Alternatives to Violence
Project Celebrate! of Friends for A Non-Violent World.
AVP-MN works in six of Minnesota's prisons and jails and in our
communities -- help us strengthen it!

Friday, September 25 * 5:30p.m. to 8:30p.m.
At the home of Gail Daneker and Ian Keith * 1791 Dayton Ave.,
Saint Paul, MN  55104 * Between Marshall and Selby/ Fairview and Wheeler

Program: People who's lives have been changed by AVP, inside prison and
out in the community, will share insights, lessons learned, and maybe a
miracle or two!  Demetria Carter and Erika Thorne of AVP-MN will set the
stage. Musical entertainment to be announced.

Donation: $25 (more if you can/less if you can't -all welcome)
If you can't make it, please consider a contribution--all amounts are
welcome and make a big difference.
For more info, please call Gail Daneker at 651/647-5798, or Erika Thorne
at 651/644-5851.


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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: TakeBackNight 9.25 6:30pm StCloud MN

September 25: Women's Center St. Cloud State University and a host of
other sponsors Take Back the Night Rally and March. The march reclaims the
rights to walk at night on the streets and to be safe in our own homes.
6:30 PM in St. Cloud's Barden Park.

The Great Phoenix will be fluttering its wings above the marchers to
commemorate St. Cloud's 20th annual march and rally. March through
downtown and the SCSU campus. The Clothesline Project will be on display.
Survivors will have the opportunity to create their own t-shirt for the
clothesline project. More information: 320-308-4958.


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

From: Margery Otto <motto [at] hobt.org>
Subject: Antiracism/register 9.25

Margery Otto Volunteer Coordinator In the Heart of the Beast Theatre 1500
East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55407 612-721-2535 x14, motto [at] hobt.org
www.hobt.org

Antiracism Circles  9.25 registration

From:  Margery Otto  motto [at] asdic-alliance.org
Subject:  Antiracism Circles  9.25 registration -- CORRECTED

ASDIC Antiracism Study-Dialogue Circles -- CORRECTED

Be part of the reflective and transformative work of Antiracism
Study-Dialogue Circles.  Together members of the Circle will create
supportive relationships as they explore the ways our social behaviors and
identities are formed in the context of ³race² and racism in the United
States.  Relationships are built on honest, informed and deep dialogue
that leads to formation of Action Plans.  Through the ASDIC experience we
create antiracist patterns of relationships in the settings of our own
lives and in the wider systems of our society.  Members of past ASDIC
Circles report the Circles to be highly transformative.

A new ASDIC Circle will meet in the West Side neighborhood of Saint Paul
on Saturday mornings, starting September 26 and continuing through
December 12, from 8:30 ­ 11:30 a.m., with additional Circle gatherings on
Tuesdays November 3, November 17, and December 1 from 5:30 ­ 8:30 p.m.
No Circle meetings on October 24 or November 7.

Suggested donation is $150 which includes textbook, Manual and all meals.
Kindly pay what you can ­ all are welcome without regard to financial
circumstances.

To register or FFI: Tim Johnson, 651-227-4275 or cpuc [at] usfamily.net.
www.cherokeeparkunited.org <http://www.cherokeeparkunited.org> - ADSIC.
Although this ASDIC Circle will be held in a community church building,
ASDIC Circles are not based on any religious tradition and are
non-sectarian in nature.  Address:  371 West Baker St, Saint Paul 55107.

To register or FFI: Tim Johnson, 651-227-4275 or cpuc [at] usfamily.net.


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

Even the Part-Time Jobs are Disappearing
The Economy is a Lie, Too
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
September 23, 2009
CounterPunch

Americans cannot get any truth out of their government about anything, the
economy included. Americans are being driven into the ground economically,
with one million school children now homeless, while Federal Reserve
chairman Ben Bernanke announces that the recession is over.

The spin that masquerades as news is becoming more delusional. Consumer
spending is 70% of the US economy. It is the driving force, and it has
been shut down. Except for the super rich, there has been no growth in
consumer incomes in the 21st century. Statistician John Williams of
shadowstats.com reports that real household income has never recovered its
pre-2001 peak.

The US economy has been kept going by substituting growth in consumer debt
for growth in consumer income. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan
encouraged consumer debt with low interest rates. The low interest rates
pushed up home prices, enabling Americans to refinance their homes and
spend the equity. Credit cards were maxed out in expectations of rising
real estate and equity values to pay the accumulated debt. The binge was
halted when the real estate and equity bubbles burst.

As consumers no longer can expand their indebtedness and their incomes are
not rising, there is no basis for a growing consumer economy. Indeed,
statistics indicate that consumers are paying down debt in their efforts
to survive financially. In an economy in which the consumer is the driving
force, that is bad news.

The banks, now investment banks thanks to greed-driven deregulation that
repealed the learned lessons of the past, were even more reckless than
consumers and took speculative leverage to new heights. At the urging of
Larry Summers and Goldman Sachs. CEO Henry Paulson, the Securities and
Exchange Commission and the Bush administration went along with removing
restrictions on debt leverage.

When the bubble burst, the extraordinary leverage threatened the financial
system with collapse. The US Treasury and the Federal Reserve stepped
forward with no one knows how many trillions of dollars to "save the
financial system," which, of course, meant to save the greed-driven
financial institutions that had caused the economic crisis that
dispossessed ordinary Americans of half of their life savings.

The consumer has been chastened, but not the banks. Refreshed with the
TARP $700 billion and the Federal Reserve's expanded balance sheet, banks
are again behaving like hedge funds. Leveraged speculation is producing
another bubble with the current stock market rally, which is not a sign of
economic recovery but is the final savaging of Americans' wealth by a few
investment banks and their Washington friends. Goldman Sachs, rolling in
profits, announced six figure bonuses to employees.

The rest of America is suffering terribly.

The unemployment rate, as reported, is a fiction and has been since the
Clinton administration. The unemployment rate does not include jobless
Americans who have been unemployed for more than a year and have given up
on finding work. The reported 10% unemployment rate is understated by the
millions of Americans who are suffering long-term unemployment and are no
longer counted as unemployed. As each month passes, unemployed Americans
drop off the unemployment role due to nothing except the passing of time.

The inflation rate, especially "core inflation," is another fiction. "Core
inflation" does not include food and energy, two of Americans' biggest
budget items. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) assumes, ever since the
Boskin Commission during the Clinton administration, that if prices of
items go up consumers substitute cheaper items. This is certainly the
case, but this way of measuring inflation means that the CPI is no longer
comparable to past years, because the basket of goods in the index is
variable.

The Boskin Commission's CPI, by lowering the measured rate of inflation,
raises the real GDP growth rate. The result of the statistical
manipulation is an understated inflation rate, thus eroding the real value
of Social Security income, and an overstated growth rate. Statistical
manipulation cloaks a declining standard of living.

In bygone days of American prosperity, American incomes rose with
productivity. It was the real growth in American incomes that propelled
the US economy.

In today's America, the only incomes that rise are in the financial sector
that risks the country's future on excessive leverage and in the corporate
world that substitutes foreign for American labor. Under the compensation
rules and emphasis on shareholder earnings that hold sway in the US today,
corporate executives maximize earnings and their compensation by
minimizing the employment of Americans.

Try to find some acknowledgement of this in the "mainstream media,"  or
among economists, who suck up to the offshoring corporations for grants.

The worst part of the decline is yet to come. Bank failures and home
foreclosures are yet to peak. The commercial real estate bust is yet to
hit. The dollar crisis is building. When it hits, interest rates will rise
dramatically as the US struggles to finance its massive budget and trade
deficits while the rest of the world tries to escape a depreciating
dollar.

Since the spring of this year, the value of the US dollar has collapsed
against every currency except those pegged to it. The Swiss franc has
risen 14% against the dollar. Every hard currency from the Canadian dollar
to the Euro and UK pound has risen at least 13 % against the US dollar
since April 2009. The Japanese yen is not far behind, and the Brazilian
real has risen 25% against the almighty US dollar. Even the Russian ruble
has risen 13% against the US dollar.

What sort of recovery is it when the safest investment is to bet against
the US dollar?

The American household of my day, in which the husband worked and the wife
provided household services and raised the children, scarcely exists
today. Most, if not all, members of a household have to work in order to
pay the bills. However, the jobs are disappearing, even the part-time
ones.

If measured according to the methodology used when I was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury, the unemployment rate today in the US is above
20%. Moreover, there is no obvious way of reducing it. There are no
factories, with work forces temporarily laid off by high interest rates,
waiting for a lower interest rate policy to call their workforces back
into production.

The work has been moved abroad. In the bygone days of American prosperity,
CEOs were inculcated with the view that they had equal responsibilities to
customers, employees, and shareholders. This view has been exterminated.
Pushed by Wall Street and the threat of takeovers promising "enhanced
shareholder value," and incentivized by "performance pay," CEOs use every
means to substitute cheaper foreign employees for Americans. Despite 20%
unemployment and cum laude engineering graduates who cannot find jobs or
even job interviews, Congress continues to support 65,000 annual H-1B work
visas for foreigners.

In the midst of the highest unemployment since the Great Depression what
kind of a fool do you need to be to think that there is a shortage of
qualified US workers?

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. This
fall CounterPunch/AK Press will publish Robert's War of the Worlds: How
the Economy Was Lost. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com


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

Obama Has Already Failed
The Sound of Money
By MISSY BEATTIE
September 23, 2009
CounterPunch

Joe Biden has issued a warning ridiculously peculiar given a system in
which Republicans and Democrats are interchangeable. Biden's concern: if
Republicans, during the 2010 election cycle, gain the 35 House seats that
are in Republican districts, Barack Obama's agenda will wither. And die.

Biden said at a political fundraiser on Tuesday: "If they [Republicans]
take them back, this [is] the end of the road for what Barack and I are
trying to do".

A brief review of Obama-Biden's accomplishments is in order.

After campaigning with soaring rhetoric, promising change and the reversal
of many of the most craven Bush/Cheney programs and patterns, Obama, in
office, has simply renewed the George/Dick horror show. Sure, Barry was
never the antiwar candidate, although many voters hoped he would be. By
stating that Afghanistan was the "right war," Obama implied that the war
in Iraq was wrong - an implication leading many to believe that at least
one war would end. Wrong. Troops are now called trainers and a huge
mercenary army is enforcing war policy without accountability. Our
military still is threatened by insurgents who resent and violently
denounce the occupation of their country by killing as many Americans as
possible. These insurgents are not terrorists; they are protectors of
their country from U.S. militarism. Civilians, including children, are
dying - daily.

Back to that "right war" in Afghanistan. Seems Obama is unsure of a plan
and is considering and reconsidering his decision to send more troops to
this country, a sinkhole for empires - where coalition and civilian
casualties are climbing, corruption is rampant, women have fewer rights,
desolation persists, and the Stan McChrystals, in their medal-bedecked
costumes of mass egomania, strategize about what is required to win - a
huge delusion since our loss there began eight years ago.

And, recently, we learned that at least eight guards, all contractors
working for Wackenhut Services, have lost their jobs because of lewd
behavior. These guys were serving alcohol to each other from their ass
cracks, giving new meaning to the toast, "bottoms up". These aren't just
men being boys, partying nude, venting, drinking, and making merry. Their
weapons were nearby during the orgy, at the ready, in case the enemy
penetrated the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, which they were supposed to be
protecting. Oh, yes, Wackenhut retains its contract. Paid with our tax
dollars. Don't get me wrong. I'm no prude. I just like my wine from a
glass.

And the Patriot Act, which Obama promised to repeal because it grants the
government too much authority to intrude in the private lives of
Americans, is now valued by the former constitutional scholar as necessary
enough to be extended.

The failure of Barack Obama is not dependent on the 2010 election as Biden
would have us believe. Obama has already failed. With a continuation of
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the unmanned drone strikes in Pakistan
and Afghanistan, aggressive rhetoric to Iran, slaps on the wrists to
Israel for her ruthless disregard for Palestinian rights and life, Obama's
foreign policy is a threat to the safety of the world. Add to this a plan
for more drones in Pakistan. This translates to civilian death. And that
translates to failure.

Pile on the job losses here at home - last month 216,000 Americans lost
theirs. And benefits, including health care.

But it is not just the Obama/Biden agenda that's on death row. It's, also,
the American agenda. You know, the imperialistic, war-loving,
conquest-oriented, resource-raping trail of blood that is ravaging our
humanity here at home while savaging the lives of those who live in the
countries we invade.

What Joe and Barack are trying to accomplish is what most politicians in
our one-party system do so well. Pimping and prostitution - the oldest
professions. They pimp and prostitute whatever principles they once
embraced. They pimp and prostitute their constituents. Like the private
contractors who drank from each other's rear ends, most members of the
House and Senate say "bottoms up" or "have your way with me" to the big
corporate donors who host their fundraisers and finance their campaigns.
Shilling and swilling. Romping all the way to the bank.

Meanwhile, we the ordinary, the voters and hardworking citizens of this
country, have no voice. Our leadership listens only to the sound of money.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public
Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush
Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families
for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her
nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,'05, she
has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:
Missybeat [at] aol.com


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

Zelaya's Return
How Much Repression Will Hillary Clinton Support in Honduras?
By MARK WEISBROT

September 23, 2009
CounterPunch

Now that President Zelaya has returned to Honduras, the coup government -
after first denying that he was there - has unleashed a wave of repression
to prevent people from gathering support for their elected president. This
is how U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the first phase
of this new repression last night in a press conference:

"I think that the government imposed a curfew, we just learned, to try to
get people off the streets so that there couldn't be unforeseen
developments".

But the developments that this dictatorship is trying to repress are very
much foreseen. A completely peaceful crowd of thousands surrounded the
Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, where Zelaya has taken refuge, to greet
their president. The military then used the curfew as an excuse to
tear-gas, beat, and arrest the crowd until there was nothing left. There
are reports of scores wounded and three dead. The dictatorship has cut off
electricity and water to the embassy, and cut electricity to what little
is left of the independent media, as well as some neighborhoods. This is
how the dictatorship has been operating. It has a very brutal but simple
strategy.

The strategy goes like this: they control the national media, which has
been deployed to convince about 30-40 percent of the population that their
elected President is an agent of a foreign government and seeks to turn
the country into a socialist prison. However, that still leaves the
majority who have managed to find access to other information.

The strategy for dealing with them has been to try to render them
powerless: through thousands of arrests, beatings, and even some selective
killings. This has been documented, reported, and denounced by major human
rights organizations throughout the world: Amnesty International, the
Center for Justice and International Law, Human Rights Watch, the Inter
American Commission on Human Rights and others.

One important actor, the only major country to maintain an ambassador in
Honduras throughout the dictatorship, has maintained a deafening silence
about this repression: that is the United States government. The Obama
administration has not uttered one word about the massive human rights
violations in Honduras. This silence by itself tells you all that you need
to know about what this administration has really been trying to
accomplish in the 87 days since the Honduran military squelched democracy.
The Obama team understands exactly how the coup government is maintaining
its grip on power through violence and repression. And President Obama,
along with his Secretary of State, has shown no intention to undermine
this strategy.

In fact, President Zelaya has been to Washington six times since he was
overthrown, but not once did he get a meeting with President Obama. Why is
that? Most likely because Obama does not want to send the "wrong" signal
to the dictatorship, i.e. that the lip service that he has paid to
Zelaya's restoration should be taken seriously.

These signals are important because the Honduran dictatorship is digging
in its heels on the bet that they don't have to take any pressure from
Washington seriously. They have billions of dollars of assets in the
United States, which could be frozen or seized. But the dictatorship, for
now, trusts that the Obama team is not going to do anything to hurt their
allies.

The head of the Organization of American States' Inter-American Human
Rights Commission, Luz Mejias, had a different view of the dictatorship's
curfew from that of Hillary Clinton. She called it "a clear violation of
human rights and legal norms" and said that those who ordered these
measures should be charged under international criminal law.

What possible excuse can the military have for breaking up this peaceful
gathering, or can Ms. Clinton have for supporting the army's violence?
There was no way that this crowd was a threat to the Brazilian embassy -
quite the contrary, if anything it was protecting the embassy. That is one
reason why the military attacked the crowd.

On August 11, sixteen members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to
President Obama urging him to "publicly denounce the use of violence and
repression of peaceful protestors, the murder of peaceful political
organizers and all forms of censorship and intimidation directed at media
outlets".

They are still waiting for an answer.

Some might recall what happened to President Bill Clinton when his
administration sent mixed signals to the dictatorship in Haiti in 1994.
President Clinton had called for the dictator Raul Cedras to step down, so
that the democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide could be
restored. But Cedras was convinced - partly because of contradictory
statements from administration officials like Brian Latell of the CIA -
that Clinton was not serious. Even after Jimmy Carter, Colin Powell, and
then Senator Sam Nunn were sent to Haiti to try to persuade Cedras to
leave before a promised U.S. invasion - the dictator still did not believe
it. In September of 1994 President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to topple
the dictatorship and restore the elected president (who ironically was
overthrown again in 2004, in a U.S.-instigated coup).

By now, the coup government in Honduras has even less reason than the 1994
Haitian dictatorship to believe that the Obama team will do anything
serious to remove them from power.

What a horrible, ugly message the Obama administration is sending to the
democracies of Latin America, and to people that aspire to democracy
everywhere.

Mark Weisbrot is an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic
and Policy Research. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the
University of Michigan. He is co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social
Security: The Phony Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2000), and has
written numerous research papers on economic policy. He is also president
of Just Foreign Policy.

This column was originally published by The Guardian.


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

 News for Obama Lovers

 There is no hope. There's
 no hope there's hope. There's only
 hope there's hope there's hope.

 -Thomas Hardy, haikuized


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