Progressive Calendar 12.06.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sun, 6 Dec 2009 04:11:19 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   12.06.09

1. Stillwater vigil   12.06 1pm
2. Immigration reform 12.06 2:30pm
3. Marty/health/Gov   12.06 3pm
4. WILPF winter party 12.06 3pm
5. Occupation 101     12.06 4pm
6. Peace walk         12.06 6pm RiverFalls WI
7. Reparations        12.06 6pm
8. Ceili for RNC 8    12.06 6pm

9. Peace walk         12.07 6pm RiverFalls WI
10. Mpls budget vote  12.07 6:05pm
11. Resist grand jury 12.07 6:30pm
12. Music/poetry/etc  12.07 7pm
13. Uhcan-mn          12.07 7pm

14. Robert Halfhill - 3rd party necessary vs Dems & Gops
15. Josh Silver     - Mega-media era begins: GE-Vivendi/Comcast-NBC merger
16. Dan Meek        - For campaign $ reform, enlarge the Supreme Court
17. John Walsh      - War enabling politics of Norman Solomon and 'P'DA
18. Dave Lordan     - An Irishman's guide to surviving the recession
19. Bruce Levine    - Are Americans too broken for truth to set us free?
20. ed              - Who?  (haiku)

--------1 of 20--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 12.06 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560


--------2 of 20--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Immigration reform 12.06 2:30pm

December 6: Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates Justice
Commission Light in a Time of Darkness. Faith Action supporting immigrant
detainees, their families, elected officials, jail officials and workers,
and comprehensive immigration reform. 2:30 - 3 PM at Ramsey County Adult
Detention Center, 425 Grove St., St. Paul. More information.


--------3 of 20--------

From: "Of the People" <info [at] jamesmayer.org>
Subject: Marty/health/Gov 12.06 3pm

John Marty for Governor!

Encore Presentation.
Hear the only real Single Payer Health Care candidate for Governor, John Marty,
on Sunday, December 6th at 3PM. Find out why and how you can and should support
the one candidate who not only will not block the people's march toward real 
Single
Payer Health Care, but will lead the charge.

Find out why and how on:
Of the People
with James Mayer
this Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 3PM
AM950 KTNF or www.am950ktnf.com 
[http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102867640160&s=163&e=001lhRkRFr0JKrDimIScGbXLU0edmR1Dm9qPX0O8_p5_-lQhts3ANLR_6Y8d4TUVPFKOtcYyQ7ZWAy8irb4DqBZiBOwxd90kX0_fza54akxxxN-D9jCsS3Phg==]


--------4 of 20--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: WILPF winter party 12.06 3pm

December 6:  Women's International League for Peace & Freedom - MN Metro
Branch Winter Party: Sweet & Savory. Snacks and stories plus bargain book
sale. 3 - 5 PM at Riverview Tower, 1920 South 1st Street, Minneapolis.


--------5 of 20--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Occupation 101 12.06 4pm

Film Screening and Discussion: "Occupation 101"
Sunday December 6, 4:00 p.m. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511
Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis.

"Occupation 101" by Sufyan Omeish and Abdallah Omeish, is a
thought-provoking and powerful documentary film on the root causes of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Following the viewing of the film, there
will be a panel discussion with a question and answer session. Donations
to support the Gaza Freedom March and the marchers will be greatly
appreciated (FFI: Visit www.gazafreedommarch.org). Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI:
Call Ouahib Chalbi, 763-755-3365.


--------6 of 20--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 12.06 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022


--------7 of 20--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Reparations 12.06 6pm

Join Us For An Evening of Reparations

On the eve of Sunday, Dec 6th, local decolonization group Unsettling
Minnesota will host "An Evening of Reparations" at the Intermedia Arts
Center located at 2822 Lyndale Avenue South in Minneapolis. YOU are
invited to come!

"An Evening of Reparations" is a chance to come together and enjoy an
evening of entertainment, with a little dose of history.  Through genocide
and land theft, the Dakota Oyate currently control less than 1% of their
original landbase.  This event is a chance to help raise funds for ongoing
Dakota land reclamation and cultural projects, a chance to stand in
solidarity with the original people of this land, and to build a stronger
base for a local decolonization movement.

All funds raised will go directly towards a Dakota-organized land project
for a traditional maple sugar bush and wild rice camp. We are also holding
a silent auction, so come ready to bid on local artisan crafts and
services. If you would like to know more about Unsettling Minnesota, or if
you are unable to attend, but would still like to donate, please contact
us at our website, www.unsettlingminnesota.org.

Our doors will be open at 6:00pm, dinner and historical paper silhouette
puppet show till 8:30.  Stick around afterward for dancing and live music
at the masquerade ball beginning at 9:00! This event will be catered by
amazing local chefs (three work at Ecopolitan Restaurant). There will be
meat and vegan dinner options. Tickets are $25 for dinner. If you just
want to dance, the masquerade ball tickets are $10.

Please RSVP by emailing eveningofreparations [at] gmail.com with RSVP in the
subject line.  Also, tickets are available at:

Mayday Cafe (3440 Bloomington Ave)
Mayday Books (301 Cedar Avenue South, downstairs)
Arise Books (2441 Lyndale Avenue South)
Fast and Furless (2615 E Franklin Avenue)

In the spirit of justice, compassion, and solidarity!
Unsettling Minnesota

(Unsettling Minnesota is a collective consisting of settler-identified
folk interested in working in solidarity with Dakota communities and
Dakota decolonization efforts.  We formed in the spring of 2009.)


--------8 of 20--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Ceili for RNC 8 12.06 6pm

Ceili Dance Benefit for the RNC 8
Sunday, December 6, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. Bedlam Theatre, 1501 South 6th
Street, Minneapolis.

Join other at a ceili dance benefit for the RNC 8. Suggested Donation:
$5.00 to $15.00. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Visit www.rnc8.org .


--------9 of 20--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 12.07 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022


--------10 of 20--------

From: Mike Tupper <miketupperforcitycouncil [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Mpls budget vote 12.07 6:05pm

City holding two public hearings on the proposed 2010 budget

State law requires the City to hold a budget hearing on the same day
the City Council scheduled to adopt it (which will be Dec. 7 this year).

Public hearing on tax levy and 2010 City budget
Monday, Dec. 7, 6:05 p.m.
City Hall, 350 South 5th Street, room 317

The Mayor's proposed City budget for 2010 focuses on jobs, while
preserving public safety gains and continuing to invest in infrastructure.
It includes expanding a program that offers low interest loans and
financing tools to small businesses, and $1.2 million to help more people
find and get jobs through the City's Workforce Centers.

Minneapolis is facing a number of serious fiscal challenges that affect
the City's bottom line. This includes State cuts to Minneapolis of more
than $40 million during 2009-2010 and escalating health care and pension
costs. To balance the budget, the Mayor's proposal includes a mix of
budget cuts, reforms and a new revenue policy.

For more information on the proposed 2010 budget, visit the Mayor's
Office Web page at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mayor.


--------11 of 20--------

From: luce <luce [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Resist grand jury 12.07 6:30pm

Grand Jury Resistance
a talk with radical attorney Stu Sugarman and grand jury resister Gina Lynn

When: Monday, Dec. 7th, potluck at 6:30, talk at 7pm
Where: Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Suggested donation: $5-15, no one turned away for lack of funds

On the fourth anniversary of the Green Scare, join EWOK! to learn about
grand jury resistance and celebrate those among us who have refused to
cooperate with these abusive prosecutorial tools. All proceeds from the
event will go to defend Carrie Feldman and Scott DeMuth, local activists
incarcerated for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury in Iowa.
Scott has been indicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and
Carrie remains jailed on civil contempt.

Flyer + info on Stu, Gina, and EWOK! at http://www.midwestgreenscare.org
More info on Carrie and Scott at http://davenportgrandjury.wordpress.com


--------12 of 20--------

From: Richard Broderick <richb [at] lakecast.com>
Subject: Music/poetry/prose 12.07 7pm

This is going to be a fun evening. Hope some of you can make it.
Rich

December Reading Jam: The Many Voices of Saint Paul
Monday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m.
Black Dog Café, 308 Prince Street (by the Farmer's Market)

December Lowertown Reading Jam curated by Richard Broderick. Scheduled
readers include 2010Almanac contributors, Kathryn Kysar, Aleli Balagtas
and Rich Broderick; Mike Finley, author of numerous collections of poetry
and a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize for poetry; and Wendy
Brown-Baez, poet, teacher, spoken word artist and author of a new
collection of poems entitledCeremonies of the Spirit.  Wendy established
"In The Shelter of Words," a very special and powerfully revealing writing
project at Face to Face Academy and SafeZone - a resource center for
homeless, run-away, and low-income youth in Saint Paul.

Also reading this evening will be Marie Weber, a recent graduate of Face
to Face Academy whose work is included on a CD produced by "In the Shelter
of Words." Music will be provided by Nathan Hanson, saxophonist from The
Fantastic Merlins, and Toni Adedeji, singer, songwriter, keyboard artist,
guitarist and lead singer of Wednesday's Bliss.

The monthly Lowertown Reading Jams run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black
Dog Café, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. The series continues at the
Black Dog on the first Monday of every month through July 2010.  Each Jam
is produced and hosted by a well-known writer or spoken word artist. Saint
Paul "performance drawing" artist Lara Hanson interprets the readings
using Japanese ink brushes. Free hors d'oeuvres are served, and the Black
Dog Café offers its "Monday Madness" special featuring a large pizza and
bottle of wine or a large pizza and four Summit beer taps for just $20.
All Reading Jams are American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted.

[A harbor for pearls of prose
 A night that will live in famy. -ed]


--------13 of 20--------

From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org>
Subject: Uhcan-mn 12.07 7pm

Next Universal Health Care Action Network of MN Meeting is:
Monday, Dec 7, 7pm, Walker Church, lower level. 3104 16th ave s.,
Mpls, Mpls (near Lake str and Bloomington ave).

-Reportback on UHCAN-MN Network-building Retreat from Nov., f/u on
Network-building
-National HC Debate:Planning action for Dec 10, National Day of Action at
senators offices for Sanders single-payer amendment.
-Workshop, Art and Protest: TBA. How to paint banners, art
cars,beautification of city walls, murals, puppet-making etc.
-other items ? save GAMC, upcoming state legislative session.

hot tea, snacks provided


--------14 of 20------

From: Robert Halfhill <roberthalfhill [at] gmail.com>
Subject: [Discuss] Walz calls for repeal of Nuclear Moratorium; Looks
    Like we Need to Run Someone in the 1st District! This should not go without
    challenge.

[A previous poster] points to the temptation confronting both progressive
and people further to the left when he argues that we shouldn't run
against a Democrat who wants to repeal the moratorium on nuclear power
plants because he is better than the Republican.  The ruling class in this
country has quite cleverly arranged to have two ruling class parties one
of which is slightly better, or not quite as bad, as the other.

That just the point.  The differance in evil between the Democrats and
Republicans is too slight to justify all the time, effort, and money
progressives and people further to the left expend on electing
Democrats.  If we had devoted the same amount of time, effort, and
money on building an independent third party, we would be much nearer
to accomplishing our goals.  Certainly, its hard to see how an
alterative to the lesser evil strategy could have failed as abjecrtly.

If we are so ensnared by the lesser evil temptation that we can't even
run against a Democrat who supports the repeal of the moratorium on
building new nuclear power plants, it is clear that we will never
abandon the strategy of supporting the Democrats as the lesser evil.
We will always put off any attempt to build an independent third
party.  In fact, it would be hard to see why we even have a third
party at all since the Democrats will always be able to threaten us
with the big bad greater evil.

Obama and his escalation of the war in Afghanistan is the latest
example of how the lesser evil strategy always leads to
disappointment.  If we even only want to make progress towards the
goal of substantive reforms, let alone a revolutionary transformation
of this society, we will have to screw up our resolution, bite the
bullet, and begin the hard work of building an independent third party
by running candidates against both the Democrats and Republicans.
 -Robert Halfhill


--------15 of 20--------

Mega-Media Era Begins: GE-Vivendi Deal Clears Way for Comcast-NBC Merger
by Josh Silver
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Huffington Post
Common Dreams

On Monday night, French media giant Vivendi and NBC parent company General
Electric agreed to terms that clear the way for US cable giant Comcast to
take a controlling stake in NBC Universal. An announcement from Comcast is
expected within days. The proposed merger would create a media behemoth,
and clear the way for an unprecedented era of media consolidation across
cable, the Internet and broadcast television.

Be afraid. Comcast is both the largest cable company and the largest
residential broadband provider in the United States: a $34-billion
business with 24 million subscribers, reaching nearly one out of every
four homes in the country. NBCU owns NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Universal Studios,
27 television stations, and a host of other properties.

President Obama has promised that his administration would finally begin
enforcing antitrust laws to prevent unreasonable consolidation of market
power. If ever a media deal posed such a threat, this is it. The merged
Comcast would be to media what Goldman Sachs is to Wall Street: "a great
vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming
its blood funnel into anything that smells like money," as Rolling Stone's
Matt Taibbi once described the latter.

It should come as no surprise that Wall Street and Washington are saying
this is already a done deal: The media and telecommunications industry is
second only to drug companies in how much it spends lobbying Washington.
Its army of PR firms, lobbyists and sock-puppet think tanks is already
blitzing the press corps and Capitol Hill. It's readying Comcast CEO Brian
Roberts for his close-up as a new media mogul and neglecting to mention
the impact of this deal on everyday people.

Comcast has raised cable rates for years while raking in record profits
nearly every quarter. It is anti-union. It cares nothing for independent,
alternative programming. And if you're a startup television channel, you
can forget about getting a spot in Comcast's lineup. Comcast will charge
you far more for space on its lineup than you could possibly pay. Just ask
Al Gore about his failed effort to get his Current TV a reasonable
position in the cable lineup.

Let's not forget that Comcast is the company that was caught illegally
blocking peer-to-peer Internet downloads and then lying about it - earning
a smack-down from the FCC for breaking Net Neutrality rules. And the
company is known for blocking TV ads it didn't like. The company's track
record of protecting the public's interest isn't exactly stellar.

And now, Comcast is set to control media across all distribution
platforms. The company is threatened by the increasing amount of free
content on the Net, and a public who is both watching entertainment on the
Internet, and creating their own. NBC owns a major stake in Hulu, and
Comcast likely wants to put the video service and all NBC content behind a
paywall. Comcast and other cable companies are already putting the final
touches on "TV Everywhere," a paywall that requires a traditional cable
subscription to watch online content owned by these companies. Comcast's
very survival depends on remaining the gatekeeper between you and the
programs you want to watch, and it wants as little competition as
possible.

Worse still, if the Comcast-NBC merger is allowed to go through, it will
be the start of a catastrophic storm: a tidal wave of mega-deals by other
content giants like News Corp. and Disney merging with distribution
behemoths like Time Warner Cable and AT&T. In a nation where 98 percent of
Internet users have only one or two choices of Internet service providers,
we could witness a future in which a handful of phone and cable companies,
merged with a handful of content companies, will put all premium content
behind a paywall and make all other content hard or impossible to find.

ISPs' content and applications - and those of their partner companies -
will move at light-speed, while the rest of the Internet will seem like
it's still on dial-up. The result: homogenized corporate content, higher
prices and fewer real alternatives so that distributors can prevent the
"market fragmentation" that advertisers loathe. Sound familiar? The
Internet will become the cable service of the 21st century - instead of
the free and open arena for economic innovation, democratic participation
and free speech that it's been.

Some say that companies like Comcast are simply doing what they must to
prosper. But we need to ask whether boosting Comcast's bottom line is
worth the cost to the rest of us. Such market power could destroy the
promise of an open Internet and its unprecedented ability to amplify
independent voices, reinvent journalism, and inspire new forms of
entertainment.

The deal is expected to take at least six months to finalize, and it will
possibly be more than a year for federal regulators to approve or reject
the deal. The warped Washington conventional wisdom says that the deal is
inevitable, but Free Press and our allies are rallying public opposition.
The Obama administration has sharply criticized the previous
administration's weak antitrust record and promised vigorous oversight of
anti-competitive deals - particularly those involving vertical mergers
(like joining content and distribution companies) and innovation-focused
industries like the Internet.

This merger is another major test of whether President Obama plans to
deliver on his promises.

 2009 Huffington Post
Josh Silver is the Executive Director of Free Press a national,
nonpartisan organization that he co-founded with Robert McChesney and John
Nichols in 2002 to engage citizens in media policy debates and create a
more democratic and diverse media system.


--------16 of 20--------

Time to Enlarge the Supreme Court
The Assault on Campaign Finance Reform
By DAN MEEK
CopunterPunch
December 4-6, 2009

The ability of the people to limit political campaign spending is now
under assault by both the Republicans and the Democrats.

Corporations have been banned from making any contributions to candidates
for federal office since 1907 and banned from making any "independent
expenditures" since 1947. Nor have unions since 1947 been allowed to make
contributions or independent expenditures for or against federal
candidates.

But the U.S. Supreme Court is probably going to change that, any day now.
Justices Roberts and Alito are leading the charge to declare
unconstitutional (under the First Amendment) the ban on using corporate
money for "independent expenditures" to support or oppose candidates. The
Court adopted a special rush schedule to decide the Citizens United, Inc.
case, so that the federal ban on corporate "independent expenditures" is
destroyed prior to the 2010 Congressional elections. This will enable
corporations to spend unlimited amounts to mislead voters, with massive
media campaigns, about the beliefs and policies of the candidates they
support (or oppose). It also sets the stage for the Court to then declare
that, since (1) independent expenditures must be unlimited and (2)
candidates themselves should be in control of their messages to voters,
there is no compelling reason to limit contributions to candidates by
anyone, including corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals. This
would destroy campaign finance reform in the United States for all
candidate races, including federal, state, and local.

On the Oregon level, the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, both
Democrats, continue to refuse to enforce any of Measure 47 of 2006,
enacted by Oregon voters three years ago as the most comprehensive and
strict campaign finance reform law in America. Instead, they continue to
allow unlimited political contributions and unlimited expenditures. Linda
Williams and I are representing citizens who are suing the Secretary of
State and Attorney General to require that they enforce the law. The case
is now in the Oregon Court of Appeals, where briefing was complete 7
months ago but there is no schedule for decision or even oral argument.
The Oregon Attorney General's Office has refused to agree even to expedite
the case to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Campaign corruption is not limited to one major party. The Democrats in
Congress now get more campaign money from corporate executives than the
Republicans, because the Democrats are in power. But watch out for 2010.
With unlimited corporate "independent" money, the Republicans could make a
striking comeback, which would then doom even the mild reforms proposed by
Obama.

In Oregon, the scene could get even worse. The Oregon Supreme Court is now
considering a challenge to the Oregon law, enacted by initiative over 100
years ago, that bans making campaign contributions in a false name. Hard
to believe, but the Oregon Court of Appeals earlier this year did not find
a majority of the 10 judges (en banc) in agreement on any single rationale
for upholding this law. Instead, a combination of two rationales were
cobbled together to uphold the law, on a 6-4 vote, and send it to the
Oregon Supreme Court, where a decision could issue any day. If prohibiting
campaign contributions in a false name is a violation of "free speech,"
then the government cannot require accurate reporting or disclosure of
campaign contributions at all. Candidates in Oregon should then expect to
receive massive contributions from "anonymous." They could reject the
anonymous contributions but place themselves at a huge disadvantage to the
candidates who accept them. And, if many Oregon politicians, from both
major parties, decide to take the anonymous money, it will not be a potent
campaign issue for their opponents to use against them.

What can we do? On the Oregon level, call or email Attorney General John
Kroger and tell him to enforce the law (503-378-4400;
john.kroger [at] doj.state.or.us) and Secretary of State Kate Brown
(503-986-1523; kate.brown [at] state.or.us) and ask them to enforce the law.

On the national level, the assault on campaign finance reform by the U.S.
Supreme Court can now be stopped only by changing the Court itself, under
the control of the appointees of Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. The current
5-4 majority against campaign finance reform will likely persist for many
years, as the youngest justices are generally the most hostile to limits
on campaign contributions and expenditures. The number of justices on the
Court is determined by Congress. Congress can enact a law to change the
number, which has been changed 8 times in the past and has ranged in size
from 5 to 10. A simple majority in the House and Senate, along with the
President's signature, could add two justices, allowing Obama to quickly
establish a majority that would uphold the campaign finance laws that are
critical to maintaining any semblance of democracy.

Will the Democrats in Congress, with their large majorities, do this?
Probably not, because releasing unlimited corporate money would benefit
them as well, protecting them against any populist challenges in their
primaries or the emergence of progressive minor party candidates. The same
Court decision would also unleash unlimited union spending to benefit
Democrats further.

But aren't 60 votes needed to pass anything in the U.S. Senate, since
current Senate rules require 60 votes to stop a filibuster? Absolutely
not. Did the Republicans need 60 votes in order to confirm the opponents
of campaign finance reform to the U.S. Supreme Court? Clarence Thomas was
confirmed with only 52 votes by a Senate controlled by 57 Democrats, 11 of
whom voted to confirm Thomas, perhaps the most right-wing justice in
history. Samuel Alito was confirmed with only 58 votes. Apparently, 60
votes is needed only if the proposed action is in the public interest.
Anything in the corporate interest takes only 51 votes.

Some folks say this is because the Democrats lack courage or are "wimpy."
But that is not the problem. The Democrats and the Republicans are both
chosen for office by a somewhat restricted big money system. If they can
get campaign finance limits lifted without getting blamed for it by the
public, all the better for them. They can just blame the U.S. Supreme
Court, while happily taking hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign
contributions and benefiting from what will probably amount to over $1
billion in "independent expenditures" by corporations and unions, with
most of it going to the incumbents. The Democrats talk populist but don't
govern that way. Ralph Nader has said, "The major difference between the
Democratic and Republican parties, with a few exceptions, is the velocity
with which their knees hit the floor when big corporations knock on their
door."

Can enlarging the Court work? The mere public announcement by Franklin
Roosevelt (FDR) in 1937 of a bill to increase the number of justices (the
"court-packing plan") resulted in the famous "switch in time that saved
nine," when Justice Owen Roberts then suddenly reversed his anti-New Deal
stance so that Congress would be discouraged from adding more justices.
Taking the initiative to change the court worked for FDR, almost
immediately. Then, FDR in the next 6 years replaced 8 of the 9 justices,
who retired or died.

We need a national campaign to "enlarge the Court" now. Check out
www.packthecourt.com and get involved.

Dan Meek is a lawyer in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at:
dan [at] meek.net


--------17 of 20--------

The War Enabling Politics of Norman Solomon and "P"DA
by John Walsh
Dissident Voice
December 5th, 2009

The response of the Liberal commentariat to Obama's escalation of the
AfPak war has been one of acquiescence or downright hypocrisy as
documented by Justin Raimondo in Antiwar.com. It ranged from "Obama's
strategy will work," to "We support Obama but not his policy" (Whatever
that means.) to "Let us turn to Congress to stop the funding". (This last
is especially disturbing since turning to Congress was the argument that
"progressive" Dems advanced in 2006 to elect a Democrat Congress, an
effort which yielded nothing but a betrayal of the antiwar votes that
poured in for the Dems.)

Norman Solomon was first of this crowd out of the gate with a pre-emptive
strike on the eve of Obama's West Point speech. In this effort Solomon
excoriated politics that "enables" as practiced by some members of
Congress.1 But such politics is not confined to Congress, and Norman does
well to write about "enabling" politics, for he and his organization
"Progressive" Democrats of America, "P"DA, are shining examples of it.
Norman seems to have forgotten that Obama was his candidate and that of
"P"DA, that Obama was not just the Democrat Party candidate but the
candidate of the "left" wing of the Dems. Even as Obama was telling us in
2008 that he would escalate the war on Afghanistan, Norman was urging one
and all to vote for him. Solomon likes to say that things would be worse
if McCain were elected. But after Obama's West Point performance, one
wonders. Solomon likes to say that if Al Gore had been elected in 2000,
there would have been no war in the Middle East. But after the performance
of Obama, who is regarded as more progressive than Gore, one wonders. Of
course Solomon cannot say that war would have ended if Kerry, whom he
supported in 2004, were elected, since Kerry ran as a prowar candidate.

That record of endorsement makes Solomon and his ideological bedfellows
enablers without peer. Let us recall that many of these enablers heaped
abuse on a genuine antiwar candidate, Ralph Nader, refused to invite him
to speak at anti-war rallies and made sure that his words did not appear
in the "liberal" press like The Nation. These days the bumper stickers
that proclaim "Don't Blame Me; I voted for Ralph," should be flying off
the shelves.

In fact it goes beyond that. The enablers like Solomon and Medea Benjamin
and Katrina vanden Heuvel owe the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan an
apology, for their backing of Obama makes them complicit in the war and
killing that will soon intensify. They worked to get Obama elected rather
than to build a new political movement, which is necessary to end the
depredations of US Empire and which will never be organized if
anti-warriors keep following the Dems. In fact the enablers of war
consistently frustrate the building of such a movement. It is time to
recognize that the Democrat Party is one of the two parties of Empire, and
one of its functions is to contain the antiwar movement at which it does
splendidly, not least by permitting an impotent "progressive" wing to keep
keep hope alive. (Solomon and his buddies should simply stop offering
their opinions and go to work with the Red Cross in Afghanistan to relieve
some of the suffering they helped to cause.)

Some of the Democrat liberals are saying that somehow they got Obama wrong
- and they will not do that sort of thing again. There is only one problem
with that. They will do it again.

They do it over and over and should not be trusted or followed ever again.
They did it in 2004, endorsing the prowar John Kerry, in 2006 endorsing
Democrats for Congress with the promise they would act to end the war and
move to impeach Bush, and they did it in 2008 with their support of Obama
who promised escalation of the war in AfPak. They will get fooled again.
We should not allow ourselves to be fooled with them or by them. [Amen
squared. -ed]

1.In a lapse of its usual good judgment Antiwar.com ran Norman's article,
but even Homer nods. [.]
John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com. Read other articles
by John, or visit John's website.


--------18 of 20--------

[Anything by an Irishman is "funny".
This one is, in addition, funny.
(He must have had an Englishman help
him write it.) -ed]

An Irishman's Guide to Surviving the Recession
by Dave Lordan
December 5th, 2009
Dissident Voice

The best way of surviving the recession is coma. You can let the bills
stack up in the hallway while you're in a coma. You won't be charged for
coma services until you wake up. Otherwise, sleep long and hard using the
nod reaming technique. It's free and time passes. Make love slowly while
you're surviving the recession.

Be avant-garde. Treat house and car alarms and sirens and the screaming of
victims as music. WHEE-AWWW WHEE-AWWW WHEE-AWWW WHEE-AWWW beautiful
beautiful beautiful music.

Surviving uh, surviving uh, surviving the recession.

Here are some tried and tested methods of surviving the recession: long
term fasting, burglary, ransoms, priesthood, beating the living shit out
of the wife and kids, cough-bottles, valium, glue, smoke, firelighters,
Man Utd, caravans, turnips, pissing in bottles, catdoganddonkey-torture,
burning your furniture, Fianna Fail, fascism, world wars.

Marry the checkout boy. It helps with the shoplifting.

Timeshare your outside toilet for people to take their holidays in. But
don't ever cut your grass or do any weeding. That way you can lead
ant-hunting safaris into your back garden.

The totem animals of surviving the recession are the rat, the louse, the
pigeon, the hyena, the cockroach, the vulture and the politician. They are
all identifying very closely with us now. Study them. Ask yourself why
have they survived over so many others, perhaps more beautiful than they?

We are all of us together as one going forward sharing the pain knuckling
down wearing the jersey sporting the badge licking the whip sticking the
sticker shaking the sleeve drinking the milk patting the mascot sucking
the cloves rimming the bowl flying the flag of surviving uh surviving uh
surviving uh surviving the recession.

Business must go on. It can't stop itself. To see if you too can make a
profit, find yourself a niche perversion, some rarely explored lowland of
human degradation, then put it on the market.

It's even possible, if you are flexible enough, to find a new job while
you and all about you are surviving the recession. Study worms too. They
are very flexible. And not preoccupied about safety standards. Did you
ever hear a worm complain about limb loss?

Cheap Healthy Eating Tip: You can grow certain mushrooms on your toes.

Cheap creepy eating tip: Cannibalism

Cheap unhealthy eating Tip: Collect the tears of your neighbourhood and
extract the salt. This is sustainable. In famine you may use the salt to
preserve the dead. See above.

Cheap fun but bad for you drinking Tip. There will be plenty tears to
spare. Especially womens' and childrens'. These make a wonderul hooch when
distilled. Also piss whiskey is disgusting but effective.

The Patron Saint of FAS, employment agencies and surviving the recession
is St Anthony. Pray to him and he will immediately drop his attentions to
his billion other petitioners and rush down from the clouds to your aid,
scouring the industrial wastelands of the planet, looking for your lost
job.

Learn to speak Mycenean.

Stay respectable. Don't laze about at home. Slope out into the world with
your laziness. Become a sloth coach. Become the buddha of sloth. Teach an
evening course and give seminars in "surviving the recession".

Scan the nighttime skies for signs the galaxy is coming to our aid. You
could well be the one THEY choose to transmit the new religion, the new
freedoms.

YUK! HOW MY DOING MOM HOW MY DOING AM I OK OK AM I SURVIVING UH SURVIVING
UH SURVIVING THE RECESSION

Take take advantage advantage of of your your clone clone to to draw draw
double double dole dole.

Share the pain: hurt as many people as you can.

If you become homeless, join a library and order multiple copies of the
onionist's cookbook. And the onanist's cockbook. But don't confuse the
two. Don't cook your cock or slide a spring onion up your buttered arse,
expecting a burst of colonial joy.

Watch out for boredom, frustration, depression and tantrums. Keep smoking
drinking and eating crisps and biscuits. Keep the television on. Tie
yourself to the remote control. Hug your teddy bear in between fits. Be
like the moon, looking stupid happy and full upon your monthly outing,
showing everyone your brightside no matter what dark secret things are
following you around.

Time is change no matter how you spend it. This recession won't last
forever. Look at your mom and dad, your grandparents. Look at how they got
on at surviving uh surviving uh surviving uh surviving uh surviving uh
surviving their recessions. It didn't crush them, did it? Think of the
children.

Above all be smart. Be wide. Be hawkish. Be hip to how things are going to
pan out in the medium term. Use the spare time while surviving uh
surviving uh surviving uh the recession to prepare yourself for the coming
boom boom, when you will be doing a totally different kind of surviving.

Dave Lordan is an activist writer and performer whose debut poetry
collection The Boy in The Ring (Salmon, 2007), won the Patrick Kavanagh
Award, and The Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish writer.
His first play Jo Bangles will go into production in February 2010 in
Dublin. His second poetry collection You're Dead is due from Salmon in
2010.


--------19 of 20--------

In Search of Morale
Are Americans Too Broken for the Truth to Set Us Free?
By BRUCE E. LEVINE
December 4-6, 2009
CounterPunch

Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do
not "set them free" but instead further demoralize them? Has such a
demoralization happened in the United States? Do some totalitarians
actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that
humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us
even further? What forces have created a demoralized, passive, disCouraged
U.S. population? Can anything be done to turn this around?

Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do
not "set them free" but instead further demoralize them?

YES. It is called the "abuse syndrome". How do abusive pimps, spouses,
bosses, corporations, and governments stay in control? They shove lies,
emotional and physical abuses, and injustices in their victims. faces, and
when victims are afraid to exit from these relationships, they get weaker;
and so the abuser then makes their victims eat even more lies, abuses, and
injustices, resulting in victims even weaker as they remain in these
relationships.

Does the truth of their abuse set people free when they are deep in these
abuse syndromes? NO. For victims of the abuse syndrome, the truth of their
passive submission to humiliating oppression is more than embarrassing --
it can feel shameful; and there is nothing more painful than shame. And
when one already feels beaten down and demoralized, the likely response to
the pain of shame is not constructive action but more attempts to shut
down or divert oneself from this pain. It is not likely that the truth of
one's humiliating oppression is going to energize one to constructive
actions.

Has such a demoralization happened in the U.S.?

In the United States, 47 million people are without health insurance and
many millions more are underinsured or a job layoff away from losing their
coverage. But despite the current sellout by their elected officials to
the insurance industry, there is no outpouring of millions of U.S.
citizens on the streets of Washington D.C. protesting this betrayal.

Polls show that the majority of Americans oppose U.S. wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq as well as the taxpayer bailout of the financial industry, yet
only a handful of U.S. citizens have protested any of this.

Remember the 2000 U.S. presidential election? That's the one in which Al
Gore received 500,000 more votes than George W. Bush. That's also the one
that the Florida Supreme Court's order for a recount of the disputed
Florida vote was over-ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in a politicized 5-4
decision, of which dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens remarked:
"Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the
winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is
perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an
impartial guardian of the rule of law". Yet, even all this provoked few
demonstrators.

When people become broken, they cannot act on truths of injustice.
Furthermore, when people have become broken, more truths about how they
have been victimized can lead to shame about how they have allowed it. And
shame, like fear, is one more psychological way we become even more
broken.

U.S. citizens do not actively protest obvious injustices for the same
reasons that people cannot leave their abusive spouses. They feel helpless
to effect change. The more we don't act, the weaker we get. And ultimately
to deal with the painful humiliation over inaction in the face of an
oppressor, we move to shutdown and escape strategies such as depression,
substance abuse, and other diversions, which further keep us from acting.
This is the vicious cycle of all abuse syndromes.

Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed
because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious
oppression will demoralize us even further?

Maybe.

Shortly before the 2000 U.S. presidential election, millions of Americans
saw a clip of George W. Bush joking to a wealthy group of people, "What a
crowd tonight: the haves and the haves more. Some people call you the
elite; I call you my base". Yet, even with these kind of inflammatory
remarks, the tens of millions of U.S. citizens who had come to despise
Bush and his arrogance remained passive in the face of the 2000
non-democratic presidential elections.

Perhaps the "political genius" of the Bush-Cheney regime was fully
realizing that Americans were so broken that they could get away with damn
near anything. And the more people did nothing about the boot slamming on
their faces, the weaker people became.

What forces have created a demoralized, passive, disCouraged U.S.
population?

The U.S. government-corporate partnership has used its share of guns and
terror to break Native Americans, labor union organizers, and other
dissidents and activists. But today, most U.S. citizens are broken by
financial fears. There is potential legal debt if we speak out against a
powerful authority, and all kinds of other debt if we do not comply on the
job. Young people are broken by college-loan debts and fear of having no
health insurance.

The U.S. population is increasingly broken by the social isolation created
by corporate-governmental policies. A 2006 American Sociological Review
study ("Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks
over Two Decades") reported that 25 percent of Americans did not have a
single confidant in 2004 (10 percent of Americans lacked a single
confidant in 1985). Sociologist Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone (2000)
describes how social connectedness is disappearing in virtually every
aspect of U.S. life. For example, there has been a significant decrease in
face-to-face contact with neighbors and friends due to suburbanization,
commuting, electronic entertainment, time and money pressures and other
variables created by governmental-corporate policies. And union activities
and other formal or informal ways that people give each other the support
necessary to resist oppression have also decreased.

We are also broken by a corporate-government partnership that has rendered
most of us out of control when it comes to the basic necessities of life,
including our food supply. And we, like many other people in the world,
are broken by socializing institutions that alienate us from our basic
humanity. A few examples:

Schools and Universities: Do most schools teach young people to be
action-oriented - or to be passive? Do most schools teach young people
that they can affect their surroundingsor - not to bother? Do schools
provide examples of democratic institutions - or examples of authoritarian
ones?

A long list of school critics from Henry David Thoreau to John Dewey, John
Holt, Paul Goodman, Jonathan Kozol, Alfie Kohn, Ivan Illich, and John
Taylor Gatto have pointed out that a school is nothing less than a
miniature society: what young people experience in schools is the chief
means of creating our future society. Schools are routinely places where
kids -- through fear -- learn to comply to authorities for whom they often
have no respect, and to regurgitate material they often find meaningless.
These are great ways of breaking someone.

Today, U.S. colleges and universities have increasingly become places
where young people are merely acquiring degree credentials -- badges of
compliance for corporate employers -- in exchange for learning to accept
bureaucratic domination and enslaving debt.

Mental Health Institutions: Aldous Huxley predicted, "And it seems to me
perfectly in the cards that there will be within the next generation or so
a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude". Today,
increasing numbers of people in the U.S. who do not comply with authority
are being diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric
drugs that make them less pained about their boredom, resentments, and
other negative emotions, thus rendering them more compliant and
manageable.

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is an increasingly popular diagnosis
for children and teenagers. The official symptoms of ODD include, "often
actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules," and
"often argues with adults". An even more common reaction to oppressive
authorities than the overt defiance of ODD is some type of passive
defiance -- for example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Studies show that virtually all children diagnosed with ADHD will pay
attention to activities that they actually enjoy or that they have chosen.
In other words, when ADHD-labeled kids are having a good time and in
control, the "disease" goes away.

When human beings feel too terrified and broken to actively protest, they
may stage a "passive-aggressive revolution" by simply getting depressed,
staying drunk, and not doing anything - this is one reason why the Soviet
Empire crumbled. However, the diseasing/medicalizing of rebellion and drug
"treatments" have weakened the power of even this passive-aggressive
revolution.

Television: In his book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
(1978), Jerry Mander (after reviewing totalitarian critics such as George
Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Jacques Ellul, and Ivan Illich) compiled a list of
the "Eight Ideal Conditions for the Flowering of Autocracy".

Television, Mander claimed, helps create all eight conditions for breaking
a population. Television: (1) occupies people so that they don't know
themselves - and what a human being is; (2) separates people from one
another; (3) creates sensory deprivation; (4) occupies the mind and fills
the brain with prearranged experience and thought; (5) encourages drug use
to dampen dissatisfaction (while TV itself produces a drug-like effect,
this was compounded in 1997 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relaxing
the rules of prescription-drug advertising); (6) centralizes knowledge and
information; (7) eliminates or "museumize" other cultures to eliminate
comparisons; and (8) redefines happiness and the meaning of life.

Commericalism of Damn Near Everything: While spirituality, music, and
cinema can be revolutionary forces, the gross commercialization of all of
these has deadened their capacity to energize rebellion. So now, damn near
everything - not just organized religion -- has become "opiates of the
masses".

The primary societal role of U.S. citizens is no longer that of "citizen"
but that of "consumer." While citizens know that buying and selling within
community strengthens that community and that this strengthens democracy,
consumers care only about the best deal. While citizens understand that
dependency on an impersonal creditor is a kind of slavery, consumers get
excited with credit cards that offer a temporarily low APR.

Consumerism breaks people by devaluing human connectedness, socializing
self-absorption, obliterating self-reliance, alienating people from normal
human emotional reactions, and by selling the idea that purchased products
-- not themselves and their community -- are their salvation.

Can anything be done to turn this around?

When people get caught up in humiliating abuse syndromes, more truths
about their oppressive humiliations don't set them free. What sets them
free is morale.

What gives people morale? Encouragement. Small victories. Models of
courageous behaviors. And anything that helps them break out of the
vicious cycle of pain, shut down, immobilization, shame over
immobilization, more pain, and more shut down.

The last people I would turn to for help in remobilizing a demoralized
population are mental health professionals - at least those who have not
rebelled against their professional socialization. Much of the craft of
relighting the pilot light requires talents that mental health
professionals simply are not selected for nor are they trained in.
Specifically, the talents required are a fearlessness around image,
spontaneity, and definitely anti-authoritarianism. But these are not the
traits that medical schools or graduate schools select for or encourage.

Mental health professionals. focus on symptoms and feelings often create
patients who take themselves and their moods far too seriously. In
contrast, people talented in the craft of maintaining morale resist this
kind of self-absorption. For example, in the Question & Answer session
that followed a Noam Chomsky talk (reported in Understanding Power: The
Indispensable Chomsky, 2002), a somewhat demoralized man in the audience
asked Chomsky if he too ever went through a phase of hopelessness. Chomsky
responded, ".Yeah, every evening . . ".

"If you want to feel hopeless, there are a lot of things you could feel
hopeless about. If you want to sort of work out objectively what's the
chance that the human species will survive for another century, probably
not very high. But I mean, what's the point? . . . First of all, those
predictions don't mean anything - they're more just a reflection of your
mood or your personality than anything else. And if you act on that
assumption, then you're guaranteeing that'll happen. If you act on the
assumption that things can change, well, maybe they will. Okay, the only
rational choice, given those alternatives, is to forget pessimism".

A major component of the craft of maintaining morale is not taking the
advertised reality too seriously. In the early 1960s, when the
overwhelming majority in the U.S. supported military intervention in
Vietnam, Chomsky was one of the few U.S. citizens actively opposing it.
Looking back at this era, Chomsky reflected, "When I got involved in the
anti-Vietnam War movement, it seemed to me impossible that we would ever
have any effect. . . . So looking back, I think my evaluation of the
'hope" was much too pessimistic: it was based on a complete
misunderstanding. I was sort of believing what I read".

An elitist assumption is that people don't change because they are either
ignorant of their problems or ignorant of solutions. Elitist "helpers"
think they have done something useful by informing overweight people that
they are obese and that they must reduce their caloric intake and increase
exercise. An elitist who has never been broken by his or her circumstances
does not know that people who have become demoralized do not need analyses
and pontifications.  Rather the immobilized need a shot of morale.

Bruce E. Levine is a clinical psychologist and his latest book is
Surviving America's Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and
Community in a World Gone Crazy (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007). His Web
site is www.brucelevine.net


--------20 of 20--------

 Barack Obama?
 I don't know of anyone
 with that name. Sorry.


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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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