Progressive Calendar 10.12.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 17:45:07 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   10.12.09

1. Ritchie/sprog     10.12 7pm

2. Social change     10.13 10:15am
3. NWN4P vigil       10.13 4:45pm
4. Burma book        10.13 5:30pm
5. Planned parents   10.13 6pm
6. Immigration       10.13 6:30pm
7. Ward 5 CC forum   10.13 6:30pm
8. Amnesty meetup    10.13 7pm

9. AlliantACTION     10.14 7am
10. Mpls elections   10.14 11am
11. Signs/pizza      10.14 6pm
12. Immigrant health 10.14 7pm
13. Amnesty Intl     10.14 7:30pm
14. Rethink Afghan/f 10.14 8pm

15. Jessica Arents - Our arrest at the White House/The price of peace
16. N Ramakrishnan - Obama/Nobel: The siren song of world praise
17. Iyad Burnat    - Why does Obama get a prize and Bush got shoes?
18. Gilad Atzmon   - The Nobel Prize, the Brand, and the President
19. Greg Grandin   - Honduran coup regime in crisis
20. James Keye     - A veil of strangeness
21. ed             - Ding dong  (haiku)

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From: Phyllis Stenerson <phyllis [at] progressivevalues.org>
Subject: Ritchie/sprog 10.12 7pm

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie will be the guest speaker at
the Network of Spiritual Progressives-Minnesota meeting on Monday,
October 12, at 7pm.

Ritchie will give us his perspective on the message of NSP-MN's poster:
Principles of Spiritual Politics - Leading from the heart, Recognizing our
oneness, Serving with generosity. A question/answer session will follow.

The meeting is at Plymouth Congregational Church, Franklin and Nicollet,
Minneapolis. Enter through the door on the southwest corner off the
parking lot. All are welcome. (Doors will be locked sometime after 7pm so
latecomers may not have access.)

You may contact me at phyllis [at] progressivevalues.org


--------2 of 21--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Social change 10.13 10:15am

A Tool for Social Change: Envisioning Hope for the Future
Tuesday, October 13, 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Hennepin Methodist Church, 511
Groveland Avenue (at Lyndale Avenue), Minneapolis.

Whether you are a dedicated activist or new to activism, this is for you.
In this hour-long workshop, we will explore the powers within to envision
the future that we want. World events are coming so fast and furiously
that it's difficult to see beyond the immediate need to react. Social
activists have good skill sets for "holding the line" and "speaking truth
to power." Add to them by spelling out our visions for a promising future
so compellingly that people will lay down their distractions and come with
us. This workshop is crafted to support you in touching this vision and
bringing it forward so that it can be articulated and transmitted in new
messages and methods.

Presentation, small group discussion, experiments in imagination.
Presenter Kaia Svien, M.S. is a mindfulness instructor, a writer, and a
social activist. Having studied with Joanna Macy of The Great Turning
Work, Kaia enjoys dialogues and practices that help us to awaken more
fully to our potential as change agents. Sponsored by: Minnesota Alliance
of Peacemakers (MAP). WAMM is a member of MAP.


--------3 of 21--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P vigil 10.13 4:45pm

NWN4P vigil every Tuesday.
Corner of Winnetka and 42nd Avenues in New Hope. 4:45 to 5:45 PM.
All welcome; bring your own or use our signs.


--------4 of 21--------

From: Dara Syrkin <dsyrkin [at] loft.org>
Subject: Burma book 10.13 5:30pm

Tuesday, October 13, 5:30 p.m.
RAKING THROUGH BOOKS
HAPPY HOUR BOOK CLUB
Bernice Koehler Johnson
The Shan: Refugees without a Camp
At Kieran's Irish Pub, 330 2nd Avenue South, Minneapolis
Free

A mix of memoir, travelogue, and history, The Shan: Refugees without a
Camp recounts the trials and triumphs of Shan youth, who have escaped slow
genocide in Burma by fleeing to Thailand. There they study English and
tell stories about life in Burma, where Shan men serve as human
minesweepers for Burmese soldiers searching for insurgents. They talk
about the danger of death by starvation, beating, or bullets in a country
where poor Shan women often become prostitutes and young Shan girls are
raped by Burmese soldiers.

The refugees' stories are interspersed with reminiscences about the
author's own life. Under the eye of the military, she travels in Burma to
see the persecution students experienced, but finds that "trouble" areas
are off limits to tourists and that the peaceful fašade of cities is
maintained by polite, helpful, and poverty-stricken people. They are
stories of tragedy, hope, and love.

Raking Through Books is a happy hour book club that takes place on the
second Tuesday of most months of the year. The book club connects readers
and writers in a casual setting with plenty of time for questions,
comments, profundity, and laughter. Cosponsored by The Loft Literary
Center, Secrets of the City, Kieran's Irish Pub, U of M Bookstores, and
KFAI.


--------5 of 21--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Planned Parenthood 10.13 6pm

October 13:
Celebrate Planned Parenthood: A Year of Making Headlines. Keynote speaker:
Dan Rather. 6 PM: Silent Auction and Reception. 7 PM: Dinner. 7:30 PM:
Program. Individual tickets start at $150. All new and increased donations
will be matched by a generous challenge grant of $25,000 by the Roger and
Nancy McCabe Foundation. Register. [Where not given in plain text. -ed]


--------6 of 21--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Immigration 10.13 6:30pm

Kick-Off Information Meeting: Just and Humane Immigration Reform
Tuesday, October 13, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Lutheran Social Services, Center
For Changing Lives, 2400 Park Avenue, Minneapolis.

If you care about immigration and want to see a common-sense solution to
our broken system, come to a kick-off meeting to build support for
workable comprehensive immigration reform. Come and learn how you can
expand the energy of groups working on immigration reform. Hear updates
from legislators State Senator Patricia Torres-Ray and State Senator Mee
Moua. Share your concerns. Add your voice to a growing cry for just and
humane immigration laws. Free and open to the public. Note: WAMM is
forming a new committee on immigration issues and this event would provide
good information for anyone interested. FFI for this event and/or to join
the committee: Email r.grengs [at] comcast.net.


--------7 of 21--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Ward 5 CC forum 10.13 6:30pm

October 13:
League of Women Voters Minneapolis Candidate Forum. Ward 5 City Council
candidates. 6:30 - 8 PM at Capri Theatre.

[According to the local progressive group New Broom, incumbent Don Samuels
is the worst council member of all. Replace him. -ed]


--------8 of 21--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: Amnesty Intl meetup 10.13 7pm

JOIN US FOR OUR MINNEAPOLIS AMNESTY MEETUP: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13 - 7 P.M.

Join other Amnesty members and friends for a casual, agenda-free social
meetup on the second Tuesday of each month. Free flowing conversation
about our shared interests. Common Roots Cafe, 2558 Lyndale Ave S.,
Minneapolis MN 55405. Beer, wine, coffee, and food available. If the
weather cooperates, we'll be outside on the deck. Look for an Amnesty logo
or ask for Gabe.

For a map, directions, and more info on Common Roots Cafe, visit their web
site: http://www.commonrootscafe.com/


--------9 of 21--------

From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at] circlevision.org>
Subject: AlliantACTION 10.14 7am

Join us Wednesday morning, 7-8 am
Now in our 14th year of consecutive Wednesday
morning vigils outside Alliant Techsystems,
7480 Flying Cloud Drive Eden Prairie.
We ask Who Profit$? Who Dies?
directions and lots of info: alliantACTION.org


--------10 of 21--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com>
Subject: Mpls elections/KFAI 10.14 11am

TRUTH TO TELL KFAI-11AM-OCT 14
CITY ELECTIONS 2009 I: Minneapolis RCV Primer and the BET Question

2009 is the year of Minnesota municipal elections, and among the most
interesting of them are those in Minneapolis and St. Paul. This week and
October 28th, we talk about Minneapolis election processes, candidates and
the two ballot issues. (We will talk about St. Paul's election issues
October 21st.)

Part One: Minneapolis implements its new system called Ranked Choice
Voting (aka Instant Run-off Voting), passed by voters two years ago and
eliminating the primary election in the process. How will this work? How
about multiple seat boards and commissions? How to make sure you get your
vote counted? Our guests explain it all Wonder where you vote? Find your
PRECINCT.

SAMPLE BALLOT (Ward 2 in this case)
PART ONE GUESTS:
 PAT O'CONNOR - Interim City Elections Director, Minneapolis
 ONA ABDERHOLDEN KELLER - RCV Outreach Coordinator, Common Cause/
Minnesota

Part Two: Minneapolis voters will decide whether or not to retain its
unique Board of Estimate and Taxation.

The Question: "Should the City of Minneapolis adopt a change in its
charter to the composition of the Board of Estimate and Taxation so that
the Board's membership consists of the members of the City Council, with
the actions of the Board subject to the powers and duties of the Mayor?"

PART TWO GUESTS:
 DON FRASER - former Mayor of Minneapolis, former US Representative
(against BET abolition)
 JOAN NIEMIEC - former Minneapolis City Councilmember; Chair, Minneapolis
League of Women Voters City Governance Study Committee;  Access League
Reports and Positions on City Governance Issues HERE (for BET abolition)
 AND YOU! CALL 612-341-0980 and Talk to Us! Can't get us on the
radio? *Stream us LIVE and LATER at KFAI.org


--------11 of 21--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Signs/pizza 10.14 6pm

Sign Painting & Pizza Party
Wednesday, October 14 @ 6pm @ Anti War Committee Office, 1313
5thSt. SE, Mpls, room 112c

Come help us make signs for the big anti-war march on 10/17. If you are an
artist, a clever wordsmith, or if you can write, please come help us out!
Organized by the Anti-War Committee


--------12 of 21--------

From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at] mppeace.org>
Subject: Health/immigrants 10.14 7pm

HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH
A Series on Equality In Access to Health Care

Immigrant Perspective:  October 14, 2009

Monthly forums will be held at 7pm on Wednesday evenings at Jeanne d'Arc
Auditorium, Whitby Hall, Saint Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave.,
St. Paul, MN 55105

<http://www.stkate.edu/pages/aboutstkates/pdf/collegeofstacatherinemap.pdf>Directions
and maps
Presented by <http://www.stkate.edu/>St. Catherine University and
<http://www.pnhpminnesota.org/>Physicians for a National Health Program,
Minnesota.
Produced by <http://www.queenanproductions.com/>Queenan Productions
www.pnhpminnesota.org


--------13 of 21--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 10.14 7:30pm

AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, October 14th, at 7:30 p.m.
Mad Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul.


--------14 of 21--------

From: Mark Wojahn <xlart [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Rethink Afghanistan 10.14 8pm
at Casket Cinema 10/14 8pm

To ponder the 8th anniversary of the Afghan war Wilbur Ince and I have
decided to show the new documentary RETHINK AFGHANISTAN by Bob Greenwald.
Isn't it hard to believe we been there eight years! Plus, Obama is at a
critical point on whether or not to send an additional 40,000 troops. We
are looking for any VETS FOR PEACE to be part of the after film Q&A, if
you know someone, please pass their info off to me. Online petitions we be
available to sign.

October 14th, 8pm (doors at 7:30pm)
Casket Cinema studio 145
681 17th Ave NE Mpls, MN 55413 s(612)781-5223
Enter Thru the door in the NE LOADING DOCK and under the big red arrow.
BYOB, after costs your $5 donation will be sent to a peaceful or antiwar
charity TBD.

thanks and we hope to see you, please RSVP at
http://rethink.bravenewtheaters.com/screening/show/13271-minneapolis
Mark Wojahn Filmmaker/Photographer http://www.trampolinethemovie.com


--------15 of 21--------

Our Arrest at the White House
The Price of Peace
By JESSICA ARENTS
October 12, 2009
CounterPunch

While waiting to be processed at the Anacostia Park Police Station, I was
drawn to a mounted post-9/11, Bush-era FBI reward poster. "The Cost of
Freedom is Eternal Vigilance", propagated the sign.  The unrestrained
madness is as prevalent today as it was eight years ago: Obama is
continuing Bush's war folly.

On October 5th, 2009, sixty-one anti-war activists were arrested in front
of the White House, calling on President Obama to end the war in Iraq, end
the occupation of Afghanistan, and end the drone bombings in Pakistan and
Afghanistan.  We also called for swift closure of Guantnamo and Bagram
military prisons.

An estimated 500 protesters watched as some of us, clad in orange
jumpsuits and black hoods, chained ourselves to the fence, while others
carried coffins, participated in a die-in, and wore shrouds bearing the
faces of Iraqi and Afghan war victims.  "Mourn the dead," the crowd
chanted. "Heal the wounded"  "End the wars".

Entering our ninth year of occupation, numerous Americans oppose the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan; 58% of the public is now against these U.S.-led
wars, while legislators across the House and Senate, from Rep. Barbara Lee
to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are calling Gen. McChrystal's request for
escalation in Afghanistan into question.

[8 years; 58%. The obvious answer is the US is NOT A DEMOCRACY but a
plutocracy run by a small group of sons of bitches who reveal their
morality - or lack of it - in the endless wars etc it conducts for profit.
And yet we retain - god knows why - some sort of deference to them, as
they urinate and defecate on everybody all over the world, including us at
home. Perhaps that's what we understand by the American Dream. O look here
comes some yellow rain "splash" - and something else..."thump-squish"...
-ed]

As empty political rhetoric circulates endlessly through the halls of
Congress, I try not to become desensitized by daily news about deaths of
U.S. soldiers and deaths of militants. Other tragic stories tell about the
torture and detention of prisoners without due process in the expanding
prison at the U.S. base in Bagram.  I hear about weapon proliferation and
seemingly endless war making, and I can't help but think of impoverished
people, vulnerable and voiceless, treated as though they are worth less
than the dust under our feet.

The cost of my freedom, I am told, is eternal vigilance.  I live in the
richest country in the world, the nation which monopolizes over a fourth
of the earth's resources, and am still imprisoned when exercising my
so-called freedom of speech.  I'm to believe, instead, that our freedom
depends on using the U.S. military and contracted mercenaries as
super-Vigilantes in Afghanistan's impoverished provinces, targeting the
loosely connected, oftentimes illiterate and highly unskilled network of
the Taliban.

U.S. military strategy commands soldiers to enter villages, raid homes,
take prisoners, maim, wound and kill targeted "bad guys", possibly along
with their families, and destroy all opportunity for a collective
livelihood and security in Afghanistan.  What's more, thousands of people
are stranded in IDP camps, homeless and barefoot and uncertain as to why
the U.S. ever invaded their land in the first place.  Is this the price of
my freedom?

The U.S. has been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan for over one third of my
life, a time fraught with unfulfilled promises to people in both of those
lands.  U.S. war and occupation has shattered the hopes and dreams of
millions.  I believe, deeply, that I am implicated in the crimes my
country is committing against our innocent sisters and brothers.  My daily
complicity only reinforces Obama's - and before, Bush's - paradigm of
occupation and militarism.  Both presidents have established patterns that
are culturally insensitive, increasingly expensive and massively
destructive.

Fifty one percent of my taxes (and yours) are spent on our country's
military machine.  In Afghanistan, over 90 percent of the current
administration's spending is on military operations - leaving a miniscule
amount to rebuild bombed schools, reconstruct neighborhoods of decimated
houses, provide even excruciatingly low levels of medical care, or attend
generally to the common stories of desperation.

So I did the only thing I could.

Remembering the name and family of a Guantnamo detainee cleared for
release under the Bush administration and still being indefinitely
detained today, I secured a chain around my wrist and then locked it to
the White House fence.  Like those who have been held for eight long
years, like the Pakistani women mourning their dead children after an
unmanned aerial drone attack, like the Afghan villagers wanting
desperately to return to their fields, I am locked to the actions the
United States makes on my behalf.  We have the obligation to unchain
ourselves from these unjust and immoral wars.

Jerica Arents is a graduate student at Loyola University and a volunteer
intern with Voices for Creative Nonviolence.  She is also a member of the
Kairos Community in Chicago. She can be reached at:
jerica.arents [at] gmail.com


--------16 of 21--------

From Also Ran to Oslo Ran
The Siren Song of World Praise
By NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN
October 12, 2009
CounterPunch

What became of Mookerjee,
Soothly, who can say?
 -Rudyard Kipling, "What Happened?"

It was British Prime Minister Harold Wilson who observed that a week was a
long time in politics. How true. To Barack Obama, one week brought a
public rejection by an international awards committee at Copenhagen; the
next delivered the Nobel Peace Prize from another international awards,
committee, this one from Oslo. To his credit Obama seemed to take a page
out of Kipling's IF, not allowing himself to be knocked off-balance by
either impostor.

In what now seems long ago although it is within living memory, another
charismatic leader took the reins in another superpower, also following
predecessors with a long, bloody, and inept track record. As he assumed
power his country was engaged in a foreign war and involved in several
small conflicts. Its economy was foundering. And there was an incipient
unease among his people, who were beginning to wonder if many of their
long-held beliefs and worldviews were valid any longer.

This leader, though, was focused on impressing all his country's
international adversaries, many even before he had assumed power. He
succeeded splendidly. A modern style of leader had arrived, they chorused,
one who could speak and understand the language of a changed world, "We
can do business together", was Margaret Thatcher's benediction. His
frequent interactions with the press following his ascension only served
to reinforce this positive image.

This new leader brought too a new language, full of evocative themes like
hope and change. Except he used Russian, with the result that
"Perestroika" and "Glasnost" would soon become household terms across the
world. And Mikhail Gorbachev became an early globalist, a world celebrity,
a media darling whom broadcasters began hailing in little short of
superlative terms, lavishing praise on his intelligence, expressing their
awe at his naturally telegenic persona, his remarkable ability to
articulate.

They were not alone. He was the toast of the United Nations, an envoy
extraordinary from Moscow to the World, the new-generation of leader of a
behemoth long languishing behind the times. Vision, thy name was
Gorbachev. Aplomb, 'twas thou personified. Coolness, thy calling card.
World praise was deafening. The end, as John Kenneth Galbraith wrote of an
financial wizard at the height of his career, was very near.

What happened? It was some five years into his rule that the last Red Army
soldier finally exited Afghanistan. For this and for his non-action in the
unraveling of the Eastern bloc, in 1990 Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize. Less than year later he would be briefly deposed. When he was
restored to power he found himself, to borrow a phrase from Wodehouse, a
mere shadow of his former self. A few months later he awoke one morning
and found his country had disappeared. Strangely, he appeared unfazed that
his Western media friends were among the most avid revelers in the
celebration of the Soviet Union's demise. They did always praise Gorbachev
to the skies, though. A media doll to the end, he in turn would have ABC
News and Ted Koppel tag along with him to film his last day in power, "an
exclusive scoop of history". Recently Pat Buchanan wrote that Churchill
became a great man at the expense of his country's greatness. He could
have been writing of Gorbachev.

How did this happen? A man was so busy impressing the world that he forgot
his own country was coming apart right beneath him. The toast of the
world, but a much-despised man in his own land. Soon a brisk fire-sale of
his country would begin, as the more pragmatic elements of the very powers
whose media had lionized him all along pounced to get at its vast
resources and markets. In the words of journalist P. Sainath, "The former
USSR lost 42 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product in a spectacularly
short period. A remarkable achievement. No country has ever done that
without a famine or a war. Russia did it with just the help of Jeffrey
Sachs and the IMF. Poverty in Russia skyrocketed, accompanying a rise in
mortality rates and high levels of distress."

Back in the USA. For much of this year the USS Apology Express has been
crisscrossing the world, scattering beautiful words over the continents,
here a confession, there a mea culpa, and over there a pensive recounting
of past wrongs. At the same time, however, the USS Military Industrial
Complex has been on a high-protein diet, with no sign of any relenting
either in its appetite, or in the liberal (no pun intended) threats - and
use - of force.

Back in the USA too, the unemployment rate is something like 15% in real
terms, and there is a giant cultural unraveling (a "disassembling", as
George W. Bush might say) waiting in the wings, even as unabated free
trade, outsourcing and illegal immigration continue to bleed American
jobs. Obama's reign has made not a dent on this front.

"This man, comrades, has iron teeth", Andrei Gromyko once said of Mikhail
Gorbachev. But there was no iron, only irony, in the picture of Gorbachev
in the back seat of a limo, hawking some wares in a TV ad of recent
vintage. A decent respect for the opinion of mankind was deemed
appropriate by the Founders in the Declaration of Independence. They did
not say anything about being beholden to world acclaim; and certainly not
to media adoration. It is a difference Barack Obama will endeavor to
appreciate if he wishes to avoid what has befallen Mikhail Gorbachev, the
leader of a once-proud country reduced to a mass-marketing tool, a
real-life analog of Winston Smith in the last line of 1984, "He loved Big
Brother".

Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast. He can be
reached at njn_2003 [at] yahoo.com


--------17 of 21--------

Why Didn't the Nobel Committee Choose Quality?
Why Does Obama Get a Prize and Bush Got Shoes?
By IYAD BURNAT
October 12, 2009
CounterPunch

When I came home from our nonviolent demonstration in Bil'in, after the
soldiers shot tear gas and after seeing the violence of the Israeli
soldiers, I heard that President Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize. When I
heard this from the media I started to go crazy. I asked myself why. The
Americans are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Palestine is still
occupied. In the recent news I saw that the Israeli soldiers closed
Jerusalem, and I heard that many people were injured. We haven't seen
anything changed. Why didn't the committee give the prize to Bush? I
remember nine years ago Bush had a good speech about the establishment of
a Palestinian state in the year of 2005. We saw after the speech that
Sharon invaded Al Aqsa mosque, and the American army invaded Iraq. Why
didn't you give the prize to this man at that time, and he got shoes
instead? This is injustice!

I am so sorry Mr. Bush. You worked very hard, eight years with killing
children, starting wars and supporting the occupation, and they gave the
prize to another man.

I ask you our friends in the Nobel Committee, why  didn't you choose
quality? I think your prize makes the people more violent. Do you think
that Obama can make peace, and why didn't you wait until he actually made
the peace? Maybe he will invade another country. Sorry, but we are still
under occupation and it makes us very crazy because we see every day and
night the suffering of our children, and it's killing us. We hear in the
speeches that the president talks about peace, but nothing has changed. To
deserve a Nobel prize you need to work, not talk. We need the work to be
done now, not tomorrow. We need our land now, not tomorrow.

Iyad Burnat is Head of Popular Commitee in Bilin and co-founder  of
Friends of Freedom and Justice - Bilin.


--------18 of 21--------

The Nobel Prize, the Brand, and the President
by Gilad Atzmon
October 12th, 2009
Dissicent Voice

People out there are divided whether it was a right decision to award
Obama with a Nobel prize for peace. In fact, almost everyone around me is
outraged, what "peace" they ask, what about Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo
Bay, Palestine? We are tired of promises they insist. The Nobel Prize
committee on its part "highlighted Obama's effort to support international
bodies, build ties with the Muslim world, act in favour of nuclear
disproliferation and fight Climate change". Those who are unimpressed with
Obama stress that the above is just "empty rhetoric", nothing but "hot
air". "We want to see action, we demand facts on the ground".

While Obama's critics raise some valid points, they for some reason seem
to fail to grasp the distinction between ."Obama the Brand" and "Obama the
President". The "Brand" stands for hope and humanism. It tends to say the
right things on the right occasions. It is ethically aware. It employs
reason occasionally and it even manages to talk sense often enough. "Obama
the Brand" is, no doubt, a refreshing event in the Western political
arena.

"Obama the President" is a different story altogether: It struggles, it
fails to deliver, it fails to keep promises. It says things and does the
opposite. "Obama the President" is a politician and politicians are
conditionally untrustworthy.

The failure of Obama to merge the "Brand" and the "President" into a
continuous ethical reality is indeed a colossal tragedy. But it is not
just Obama's tragedy, it is actually our own disaster. As much as the
"Brand" manages to spread some cheering humanist and universal statements,
the "President" is actually imprisoned by some of the most dangerous
Zionist guards. "Obama the President" has a big open bill to pay to the
people who gave him the keys to his current white dwelling. In other
words, he has many Zionists to appease and another bunch of rabid Sayanim*
that have managed to invade his office. To a certain extent, Obama's
failure to establish an adequate continuum between the "brand" and the
"president" is due to the infeasibility of a continuum between humanism
and Zionism.

Unfortunately, Within the Western liberal discourse there is no obvious
political means to confront the Zionist lobbies, and its infiltrators
within the American administrations or any other Western democracy.
Catastrophically enough, there is no practical or political means to stop
the Wolfowitzes from taking us into another illegal genocidal war. Like in
America, no one in British politics or media is courageous enough to
elaborate on the close ties between Blair's cabinet and his party's
leading fund raisers at the time when Britain was taken into a Zionist
illegal war in Iraq. The West in general and the English Speaking Empire
in particular have lost their survival instinct. It would be right to
argue that within the post WWII Liberal discourse we lack the political
apparatus to defend ourselves from the infiltration of Zionist foreign
interests. By the time we are convinced that we have managed to silence
one Wolfowitz, five Emanuel Rahms pop out in the background.

This is exactly where the Nobel Peace Prize comes into play. Rather than
waiting for Obama to launch another Zionist war, rather than letting him
nuke Iran just to make the Jewish state a "safer place", they, the Nobel
Prize committee have hopefully pulled him in: they gave him their biggest
trophy in a very early stage of his presidential term. They basically
bounded him to his "Brand" - i.e., hope, humanism, harmony and
reconciliation. They told him, "listen to us Mr President, here is your
trophy, once you accept it you may have to say NO to your Ziocons at home,
for people with a peace medal cannot launch wars". Obama may have to find
some other policies to pursue peace rather than killing Muslims. Time will
tell whether the Nobel Committee gamble justified itself. For the mean
time we may have to agree that the Nobel Committee offered Obama an
opportunity to bond the "Brand" and the "President" into a unified,
dignified and ethical stand. Let's hope that he takes the challenge.

As far as the Nobel Committee is concerned, this is probably the most
clever thing to do. The committee should have thought about it a long time
ago. Rather than waiting for too long, they should have awarded Blair and
Bush in the immediate beginning of their terms. This could have saved the
lives of millions of Iraqis and Afghans. They should also have considered
awarding Shimon Peres with a Nobel Prize already in the 1950's, this may
have prevented him from building the Dimona nuclear reactor and later
transforming it into a leading Zio-terminator. Henry Kissinger? Very much
the same, they should have award him the peace medal on his Brit Mila
(circumcision) ceremony when he was just 8 days old. This could have saved
the lives of millions.

Nobel Prize for Peace should be used as a preventative means. Rather than
wasting it on tedious humanists and boring peace lovers who do nothing but
making the world nicer, we should better employ it in a preventative
method. In current world affairs it should be used as an induced
commitment to peace so we can avert the risk of Zionist wars.

If I read it correctly, the Nobel Peace Prize is there to help "Obama the
Brand" withstand the pressure posed on "Obama the President" by his Ziocon
ring.

Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He
lives in London, and is the author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed
and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is also one of the
most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. He can be reached at:
atz [at] onetel.net.uk.


--------19 of 21--------

Honduran Coup Regime in Crisis
By Greg Grandin
Source: The Nation
ZMag
October 12, 2009

How long can the Honduran crisis drag on, with President Manuel Zelaya,
ousted in a military coup more than three months ago, trapped in
Tegucigalpa's Brazilian Embassy? Well, in early 1949 in Peru, Vctor Haya
de la Torre - one of last century's most important Latin American
politicians - sought asylum in the Colombian Embassy in Lima, also
following a military coup. There he remained for nearly six years, playing
chess, baking cakes for the embassy staff's children and writing books.
Soldiers surrounded the building for the duration, with Peru's
authoritarian regime ignoring calls from the international community to
end the siege, which was condemned by the Washington Post as a "canker in
hemisphere relations."

So far Roberto Micheletti, installed by the coup as president, is showing
the same obstinacy. Shortly after Zelaya's surprise appearance in the
Brazilian Embassy on September 21 after having entered the country
unnoticed, probably from El Salvador or Nicaragua, the de facto president
ordered troops to violently disperse a large crowd that had gathered
around the embassy, using tear gas, clubs and rubber bullets, killing a
number of protesters and wounding many. Amnesty International has
documented a "sharp rise in police beatings, mass arrests of
demonstrators, and intimidation of human rights defenders" since Zelaya's
return.

The government has suspended civil liberties and shut down independent
sources of news, including the TV station Cholusat Sur and Radio Globo. In
response to rolling protests throughout Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula,
security forces continue to round up demonstrators, holding some of the
detained in soccer stadiums - evoking Chile in 1973, after Augusto
Pinochet's junta overthrew Salvador Allende, when security forces turned
Santiago's National Stadium into a torture chamber. The Comit de
Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH) says Hondurans
are indeed being tortured, burned with cigarettes and sodomized by batons,
and that some of the torturers are veterans of Battalion 316, an infamous
Honduran death squad from the 1980s. Police and soldiers raided the
offices of the National Agrarian Institute, capturing dozens of peasant
activists who had been occupying the building. Police also fired tear gas
into COFADEH's office, which at the time was filled with about a hundred
people, many of them women and children, denouncing the repression that
had earlier taken place in front of the embassy. "Honduras risks spiraling
into a state of lawlessness, where police and military act with no regard
for human rights or the rule of law," said Susan Lee, Americas director at
Amnesty International.

Back at the embassy, Honduran troops have tormented Zelaya and his
accompaniers, including the Catholic priest Father Andres Tamayo, with
tear gas, other chemical weapons and sonic devices that emit high-pitched
and extreme-pain-inducing sounds. This high-tech assault has largely been
ignored by the international media, though George W. Bush's former
ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, told Fox News that Zelaya's
description of this harassment indicated "delusional behavior."

Fourteen people - all opposed to the coup - have been murdered since
Zelaya's overthrow, according to a tally released early last week by
COFADEH. Then on October 2 two more Zelaya supporters were executed.

Micheletti seems increasingly isolated, facing criticism from his own
supporters due to his heavy-handed response. Just a few days ago, a poll
revealed that a large majority of Hondurans oppose the coup and Micheletti
while favoring Zelaya's restoration. Prominent conservative businessmen,
religious and military leaders, and politicians are now offering their
services as mediators between Micheletti and Zelaya, an indication that
support for the coup may be evaporating, though their proposals so far
seem more like stalling tactics than serious attempts to open negotiation.
Industrialist Adolfo Facuss, for instance, proposed making Micheletti a
senator for life - similar to the honor bestowed on Pinochet when he
exited the Chilean presidency - while returning Zelaya to office under
conditions greatly more restricted than those laid out by Costa Rican
President Oscar Arias, who had previously been tapped by the US State
Department to arbitrate the crisis.

Confronted with growing opposition in and outside of Honduras, Micheletti
has restored some civil liberties - though violence against Zelaya
supporters and media censorship continues - and this week he allowed a
delegation from the Organization of American States to enter the country
to try to jump-start negotiations between the two sides. But after
promising to engage in a "new spirit" of dialogue, Micheletti lashed out
at the OAS delegates. "We are not afraid of the United States, nor of the
State Department, nor of Mexico or Brazil," he said defiantly.

With his coup coalition apparently unraveling, Micheletti has doubled down
on his bid to present himself as a backstop against Hugo Chavez-style
populism. He told an Argentine reporter that he led the overthrow of
Zelaya because the Honduran president "turned left." "He became friends,"
Micheletti said, "with Daniel Ortega, Chavez, Correa, Evo Morales" - that
is, with the internationally recognized leaders of Nicaragua, Venezuela,
Ecuador and Bolivia. And the day after Zelaya's return, perhaps fancying
himself a latter-day Garibaldi, Micheletti went on TV and called on
Venezuelans to rise up against the "dictator" Chavez.

Whatever the outcome of Zelaya's current situation - and let's hope it
won't last as long as Haya de la Torre's nearly six-year asylum - those
who carried out the coup have managed to achieve what they accuse Zelaya
of trying to do: they have polarized society, delegitimized political
institutions, bankrupted the treasury and empowered social movements. The
coalition of workers, peasants, progressive religious folk,
environmentalists, students, feminists and gay and lesbian activists that
has emerged to demand the restoration of democracy has so far not been
able to return Zelaya to the presidency, yet it has prevented the
consolidation of the coup regime.

In retrospect, it is hard to understand what Micheletti and his allies had
hoped to achieve with Zelaya's overthrow, which took place just five
months before regularly scheduled presidential elections, still set for
November 29. Before the coup, it was expected that a candidate from either
the Liberal or National Party - both conservative - would win the vote,
dousing whatever popular restlessness was unleashed by Zelaya's turn left.

But the coup - along with Zelaya's surprise return - has created a
lose-lose situation for Honduran elites. If they yield to international
pressure and negotiate Zelaya's symbolic restoration, it would legitimize
the November elections but would also embolden the left and discredit the
coup plotters - that is, nearly all of Honduras' governing class. If they
force Zelaya back into exile, arrest him or keep him holed up in the
Brazilian Embassy, then the popular movement that has gained momentum over
the past three months will demand a constitutional convention as the only
solution to re-establish legitimacy. In other words, the very issue that
served as the spark of the crisis - Zelaya's attempt to build support for
a constituent assembly to reform Honduras' notoriously undemocratic
charter - may be the only way to settle it.

Even Costa Rican President Ocar Arias has suggested as much. He recently
called the Honduran constitution the "worst in the entire world," an
"invitation to coups." "This is something that will have to be resolved,"
he said, "and the best way to do this is, if we can't have a
constitutional election, is to have certain reforms so this Honduran
constitution ceases to be the worst in the entire world."

Micheletti's crackdown reveals more than his own desperation. It suggests
the larger dilemma of Latin American conservatives. Over the past few
years, those opposed to the region's left turn, like Peru's Mario Vargas
Llosa and his son Alvaro Vargas Llosa, have tried to represent themselves
as democratic modernizers who have rejected the authoritarianism of the
region's old cold war right. This is exactly the image Micheletti's coup
hoped to project to the rest of the world - even hiring US lobbyists and
public relations firms to do so.

But in Honduras, as in most of Latin America, there is no social base to
create something along the lines of, say, Europe's new conservatism.
Clinging to a discredited free-market economic model, their political
program is based nearly exclusively on "anti-Chavismo." And in a country
as poor and economically stratified as Honduras, that means a reliance on
increasing doses of violence to maintain order and a resurrection of the
same revanchist sectors of the military, the Catholic and evangelical
churches, and the oligarchy that powered anticommunist authoritarianism.
Micheletti's government, after all, included Enrique Ortez as foreign
minister, who was barely installed in his new office when he called Barack
Obama a "negrito" who didn't "even know where Tegucigalpa was" - a
sentiment that wouldn't be out of place on some of the placards on display
at our own tea-party demonstrations. Given a chance to defend himself -
negrito in Spanish is not necessarily a derogatory term - Ortez, who has
since resigned, dug deeper: "I've negotiated with fags, prostitutes,
commies, blacks and whites.... I'm not racially prejudiced; I like the
plantation negro who is running the United States."

Honduras may very well be the "first reversal in the drive to spread '21st
Century Socialism' in the region," as Iran/Contra veteran Otto Reich, a
prominent US backer of the coup, recently wrote. Yet that reversal - if it
holds - comes at the cost of revealing the lie behind the idea that there
is a progressive alternative to the contemporary Latin American left.

Greg Grandin, a professor of history at New York University, is the
author, most recently, of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's
Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan). He serves on the editorial committee
of the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA).


--------20 of 21--------

A Veil of Strangeness
by James Keye
October 12th, 2009
Dissident Voice

A veil of strangeness is settling over our world; it is becoming more and
more a feature of every day. By the "strangeness" I mean incongruous
events, Orwellian language, dramatic disconnectedness: Examples: there is
great clarity that humans have a massive impact on the biospheric living
space, from physical occupation to changing the chemistry of life
sustaining biophysical cycles - and yet people who revel in the immediate
consequences of our powers often actively refuse to consider that they any
responsibility, at all; that the great middle has been, and continues to
be, robbed by the economic elite is transparent, yet is ignored by media
and government alike; and of course, there is the utter distortion of all
things war and peace.

I am not speaking of simple irrationality; although such strangeness rides
irrationality as a surfer might ride a wave. This is beyond irrationality:
this is the human capacity trying to work in a design and with
"responsibilities" well beyond its powers. We could think of movies where
a "primitive" is thrust into the present. We have, small step by small
step, made the details of our world in such a way that they integrate into
a whole that is beyond our comprehension and our powers of adaptation. We
are all "Encino Man".

Economists are struggling to understand and, in some way, control a global
process of exchange that has grown to become like the energy economy of a
rainforest in which only 5% of the species are even identified much less
known in any comprehensive way. These people are very smart and yet,
ultimately, they are seen to fall back on ideological prejudgments: the
conflicts and dueling pronouncements are really statements of largely
unfounded belief. Such situations lead only to the opportunism of personal
aggrandizement and gain, and not to rational options for whole communities
living more successfully in integration in an ecosystem.

I have long felt this strangeness because of training in the standards of
biological integration and adaptation. Actions that remove from the
universe thousands of species integrated into adapting ecosystems, remove
millions of biochemical systems that have evolved through the same
processes, over the same immense time, actions that remove these things
without the slightest awareness, are incomprehensible. They are
exceedingly strange. But there has been a quantum leap in the presentation
of strangeness; it requires no special sensitivity or training for its
recognition.

I spend a great deal of time with "children" (14 to 18) who are fighting
the strangeness, fighting the upsets and uncertainties of their days. The
strangeness has left them without a solid surface to build their lives on.

The transition years have always been difficult - the transition from
protected childhood to responsible adult. Our ancestors had a solution to
this change: a child observed, as he or she grew into pubescence, the
behaviors of adults and at a point, decided by tradition, was initiated
into the next stage with ceremonies and specific instruction. After such
an initiation the child was then a baby-adult, just as he or she had been,
at their beginning, a baby-child. A degree of certainty surrounded these
human lives like water surrounds a coral reef.

The children I spend time with, for the most part, are overwhelmed by the
strangeness and uncertainty that pervades their every moment. They don't
believe anyone or anything and thus contribute to another layer of
strangeness. Adaptation for them is an impermanent process of the moment
laid over a desperate desire for stability, safety and a future that they
can count on - precisely the qualities of life they are denied. And in a
dramatic act of strangeness they come to believe in commercial
advertising, celebrity and subculture reality.

That they select these things as a reliable source for reality is not in
itself strange at all: a large part of the economic world is devoting
considerable energy to create just such a platform from which to
communicate, sell to and control these children. What is exceedingly
strange is that the so-called adult world has allowed its children to be
stolen - Pied Piper fashion - from them. But these children are not
secreted away behind a cleft in a rock, but are there in front of us, just
beyond our comprehension; a condition, they have been told, that is good
for them. Our youth and what they will become, what they will do with the
increasingly complex world using their decreasingly effective education,
is another strange conundrum. It adds to the sense of weightlessness.

The adults, those grown into full size and needing some job to sustain
themselves, are barely adult-like in the sense of competent practitioners
of the human way. The strangeness settling over them leaves them angry and
frightened; uncertain and grasping for the hand-up offered by religion,
militancy or materialism, or by almost anything that will seem to let them
see a bit of acceptable future through the strangeness.

The world has grasped for Obama to clear away the uncertainty, the lies,
the terrible incomprehensibility; yet this only adds to the strangeness.
We want our leaders to make sensible decisions; we want them to make our
world safe and understandable. But leaders haven't done that since we
lived in small nomadic communities. Leaders have for thousands of years
struggled against the grounding reality; their power only comes from the
illusions of their followers. It is this that has finally resulted in
whole populations living in ungrounded strangeness. It is left to us to
find our way through the strangeness, to find the grounding structures in
our lives.

I seem always to find my way back to this place. Either I have little
imagination or this is, like the bottom of one of those spiraling coin
funnels used for charity donations, the final destination for our efforts.
We are turned back on our own resources, and they have to be enough.
Ultimately, we must accept that the strangeness is not a condition that we
can make sense of and thereby overcome or correct. It is the product of
billions of individual actions disconnected from reality coming more and
more each day into collision with each other and reality. The consequences
seem strange and overwhelming because they are; and they are not to be
made sense of. Sense is to be made of our own lives and our daily contact
with The Real. The trick is to discover what that is. It is a first step,
at least, to know what not to consider.

James Keye is the nom de plume of a biologist and psychologist who after
discovering a mismatch between academe and himself went into private
business for many years. His whole post-pubescent life has been focused on
understanding at both the intellectual and personal levels what it is to
be of the human species; he claims some success. Email him at:
jkeye1632 [at] gmail.com.


--------21 of 21--------


        Ding Dong

 Puuuww! The smell tells us
 capitalism (the wicked
 witch) is damned near dead.


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