|Progressive Calendar 12.12.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 05:20:45 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.12.09 1. Peace walk 12.12 9am Cambridge MN 2. Anti-mall/RNC 8 12.12 10am 3. Palestine 12.12 10am 4. Mizna sale 12.12 12:30pm 5. CUAPB 12.12 1:30pm 6. Northtown vigil 12.12 2pm 7. Words/play 12.12 2pm 8. Climate action 12.12 3pm 9. Hallie Q Brown 12.12 5pm 10. Mayday party 12.12 7pm 11. Stillwater vigil 12.12 1pm 12. Arctic refuge 12.12 1pm 13. Peace walk 12.12 6pm RiverFalls WI 14. Matt Reichel - A plea to Generation Screwed: take on the banks 15. Joseph Shansky - Latin America in the Age of Obama 16. David Macaray - We need to embarrass ourselves: re Cindy Sheehan 17. Kip Sullivan - 2/3 of Americans support Medicare-for-all 1/6 18. ed - Limerick --------1 of 18-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 12.12 9am Cambridge MN every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------2 of 18-------- From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Anti-mall/RNC 8 12.12 10am Come to the "Anti-Mall" Benefit Craft Sale at Walker Church on December 12 Dread holiday shopping? Skip the mall and come buy locally made clothing, gifts and art at the sale to benefit the RNC 8 and Isis Rising, Saturday December 12. Artists/crafters have been asked to pay a minimum 30% commission to the organizers, with many contributing more. All the proceeds benefit the RNC8 Legal Defense Fund (www.rnc8.org <http://rnc8.org/> ) and Isis Rising, a project of Everyday Miracles that provides birth and post-partum support to incarcerated women (www.everyday-miracles.org <http://www.everyday-miracles.org/> ). Saturday, December 12 10am-5pm Walker Community Church 3104 16th Ave. S., Minneapolis For more information or to sign up now as an crafter, email craftsale2009 [at] gmail.com or call Emily at (651) 280-0889. (You can also drop items off before 10am the day of the sale.) If you're interested in buying local, handmade holiday gifts while putting your money somewhere worthwhile, mark your calendars and we'll see you on the 12th! (We'll be having a bake sale, too.) If you can't make it, you can still help out by downloading <http://rnc8.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/craft-sale-poster-112009.pdf> the flyer and posting it around town. http://rnc8.org/2009/11/craft-sale-for-the-rnc-8-december-12-minneapolis/ --------3 of 18-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Palestine 12.12 10am Niveen Sarras: "Seeking Holy Land Peace: The Role of Palestinian Christians" Saturday, December 12, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments); 10:00 a.m. (Presentation and Discussion) Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer, 5440 Penn Avenue South, Minneapolis. Niveen Sarras is a member of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, where she is involved in Christian Education with a special focus on children and youth. She was a speaker at the ELCA Youth of Color Discuss Racism, Celebrate Diversity conference in New Orleans, July 2009. Niveen is currently a Ph.D. student at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She received the Kathryn Sehy Endowed Scholarship for 2008-09, a newly-established fellowship fund that supports a student in the area of interfaith studies. She is particularly interested in interfaith efforts in Israel/Palestine and hopes to return to Palestine in some role within academia. Niveen will also share observations on "Bethlehem Then and Now." Sponsored by: Middle East Peace Now (MEPN). Endorsed by: the WAMM Middle East Committee. FFI: Call 651-696-1642 or email mepn [at] mepn.org . --------4 of 18-------- From: Mizna <mizna-announce [at] mizna.org> Subject: Mizna holiday sale 12.12 12:30pm Mizna Holiday Sale Mizna is excited to hold a sale just in time for the holidays! There are over a dozen different works of original art as well as jewelry, Arabic films, books, crafts and more. Come check it out on SECOND SATURDAYS at the California Building on December 12! Saturday, December 12, 2009 12:30pm - 4:00pm 2205 California Street NE #109a Minneapolis, MN 55418 Mizna is a forum for Arab American arts. Visit our website at http://www.mizna.org --------5 of 18-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB 12.12 1:30pm Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South http://www.CUAPB.org Communities United Against Police Brutality 3100 16th Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55407 Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867) --------6 of 18-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 12.12 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------7 of 18-------- From: UMN Human Rights Center <humanrts [at] umn.edu> Subject: Words/play 12.12 2pm December 12, 2009 - Advocating Change Together sponsors The United We Stand Players performance of WORDS! Time: 2:00 pm. Cost: $10 per person. You can purchase tickets by calling Kathy at ACT (651) 641-0297 or tickets will be available at the event. Location: Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront Hotel, 11 E Kellogg Blvd in St. Paul, MN People First of New Ulm's, The United We Stand Players presents an original play, WORDS! This play focuses on the use of hurtful words in society and what one group of people decided to do about it. The performance features the short film, Offense Taken , showing the efforts that Minnesota self-advocates have led to educate people about words that hurt. You will laugh, you will cry and you will not want to miss it! Call Kathy at ACT (651) 641-0297 or via email act [at] selfadvocacy.org -------8 of 18-------- From: Oxfam Action Corps - MN <minnesota [at] oxfamactioncorps.org> Subject: Climate action 12.12 3pm Saturday is the Global Day of Climate Action. Millions of people from around the world will gather at thousands of events to call on world leaders to "Sign a Real Deal" at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, now underway in Copenhagen. Join us this Saturday, December 12th at the Minneapolis Central Library starting at 3pm. The program is fun and free. Get live updates from Denmark. Watch the film 'The Age of Stupid.' Sign the giant Sign a Real Deal petition. Enjoy snacks and Peace Coffee. Walk Nicollet Mall with a candle and message of climate justice. Attend all or part of the program. 3PM - Updates from Will Steger and Q&A with Youth Delegates of Expedition Copenhagen, live by video from Denmark. 3:25PM - Screening of the new British film, "The Age of Stupid" Post-Film Discussion 5:45PM - Candlelight Vigil begins outside the Library. We'll walk the sidewalks of Nicollet Mall with signs calling for action on climate change. The Holidazzle Parade begins shortly afterward, so the Mall will be bustling. Please bring a candle and candle holder. Signs will be provided. Learn more at http://minnesota.oxfamactioncorps.org --------9 of 18-------- From: Jhpalmerjp [at] aol.com Subject: Hallie Q Brown 12.12 5pm The Hallie Q. Brown Community Center Board of Directors & Staff cordially invite you to join us as we celebrate eighty years of service to the Community with the Hallie Q. Brown Eightieth Anniversary Gala: Honoring the Past, Serving the Present, Inspiring the Future. This is going to be a very exciting event with the exhibition of nationally renowned local artist Donald Walker's new series, "Negasso", a re-envisioning of the works of Pablo Picasso through an African American perspective. The event will also have signed, commemorative limited edition prints of "All Eyes on Hallie" available for purchase as well other works of Mr. Walker. The music of Wenso Ashby, Contemporary Jazz with Soul, will also be featured. In addition, there will be a silent and live auction, hors d'oeuvres and most importantly views of Hallie's impact and history over the past 80 years including historical interviews, pictures, documents and more. Event start is five o'clock, program to begin at six o'clock. Semi-formal or Business attire For more information on Hallie Q. Brown or to RSVP & Purchase tickets please visit our website at www.hallieqbrown.org. We look forward to seeing you all on December 12th to celebrate 80 years. --------10 of 18-------- From: Tom Dooley <fellowcommoditydooley [at] gmail.com> Subject: Mayday party 12.12 7pm Party at Mayday Bookstore 7 pm Sat Dec 12 good food - raffle or quiz for prizes - one or 2 very brief comedic videos NO SPEECHES (unless you must) food and beer and wine provided --------11 of 18-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 00.00 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 --------12 of 18-------- From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at] visi.com> Subject: Arctic refuge 12.12 1pm Dear Friend of the Alaska Wilderness, Reminder - Join us this Sunday Dec 13! This important event will be leading us into an amazing year for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Consider joining us Sunday Dec 13th - learn more about the year ahead, take an Action for the polar bear Critical Habitat designation (comment period is open now), and maybe do some Holiday shopping! Come Celebrate Our Kick-Off: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is Turning 50 in 2010! Join us on December 13 for a silent auction and to learn more about activities coming in the year ahead - we can all have a part in ensuring the Arctic Refuge remains wild and pristine Sunday, December 13, 1:00 to 3:00 pm Macalester Campus - Weyerhaeuser Hall MACARES and Alaska Wilderness League. Weyerhaeuser Hall is at the Macalester Campus - 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul MN 55105 --------13 of 18-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 12.12 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 --------14 of 18-------- A Plea to Generation Screwed: Let us Take on the Banks by Matt Reichel December 11th, 2009 Dissident Voice In the wreckage of the once vibrant American anti-war movement lies a hodge-podge of activists ranging from anarchists to paleo-conservatives, wondering "What the hell do we do now!?" To be an anti-war activist at this moment in American history is to be at an all time low. Never did genuine activists for non-violence have it so bad. Never has a progressive movement ever neutered itself so thoroughly, severed its own fuel source, and engineered its own irrelevance as much as the American anti-war movement between 2003 and now. The success of the movement in early 2003 seemed destined to significantly alter the course of history. Bush and the neo-con puppeteers faced certain domestic turmoil in the "other superpower": the dynamic grassroots movements whose lineage ran through Seattle and Chiapas, and now descended upon New York, Chicago and small towns throughout the heartland. Meanwhile, we had Lula in Brazil (before Lula became synonymous with traitor), Chavez in Venezuela, and millions of people emptying out into the streets throughout the world. American social movements were uniting with international grassroots forces to upend the heinous American Empire. Or so I thought as I finished my undergrad at the University of Illinois-Urbana in 2003. Upon graduation I warily took a position at Peace Action as a "Field Outreach Coordinator" (if you have never worked at a non-profit before, the name of your position means practically nothing). My duties included, among other things, delegitimizing the genuine grassroots elements of the anti-war movement in favor of a bureaucratic, compromised, legislative/electoral approach to "fighting the man". While Peace Action takes more principled stands than, say, Moveon.org, it is governed by the same logic that sank the whole ship in 2004. However, most of the blame needs to be placed squarely on two men, whose "movements" completely demobilized this nation's last great grassroots movement: John Kerry and Barack Obama. The ascent of these two overlapped. Obama rose from his position in an obscure state congressional seat to become U.S. Senator at the same time that Mr. Kerry swift-boated the anti-war movement into oblivion. Obama was young, articulate, handsome, well-composed, charming: all of those things we aren't accustomed to in Chicago. Meanwhile, the rest of the country was equally overwhelmed. We had grown so used to our male specimen being overweight slobs that just the site of Obama made us believe that yes, we could join the civilized world. Unfortunately, the route to the Promised Land doth not lie through the ballot box. I am not entirely negating the importance of casting a vote, but merely stating that genuinely progressive candidates don't just pop out of the ether and get elected. Instead, they spring forth from grassroots movements and thus represent the collective consciousness. In 2004 and 2008, the American liberal left repeated the same mistake by going the easy route of standing on the sidelines and "hoping". This was an incredible phenomenon: a people, which are willing to be slave-driven in the workplace more so than any other in the Western World, lazed out on their civic responsibility. Instead of maintaining the requisite pressure and momentum, the American progressive fizzled out into irrelevance. Even in its darkest hour, the American conservative doesn't dare fizzle. They stick to their guns. So what is wrong with the American progressive? My answer is that the baby boomers still control too much of the movement. I repeat: the progressive left is STILL organized and orchestrated by cliche P.C., baby booming liberals. They are the enablers of defeatism in American progressivism: those that seek to compromise war with peace, commercialism with socialism, liberty with tyranny. Their over-arching logic is that the status quo is too ingrained to budge. They enter the negotiation process under the precept that victory is unfeasible, and compromise is inevitable. As such, mainstream progressives believe that we must begin with a compromise, and continue to perpetually, until our vaunted "change" is even worse than the status quo. I am on a few health care reform (single-payer) lists where people have been arguing over whether we should advocate defeat of the current bill in the Congress. I am unable to see how there is any question that we should. People are so steeped in the defeatist logic of unending compromises that they can't see this ploy for what it is: a bailout of the insurance companies masquerading as "health care reform". All of this comes after the President and several high ranking congresspersons admitted "Single Payer is probably the best solution, but" - But what!? We Americans are so used to failure, we may as well just keep failing!? Why be as good as the rest of the civilized world!? Let's just continue to suck ass! And to keep American minds off of the fact that our shitty health system will continue unabated and freshly charged, Obama announced his long-held plans to deepen our imperial adventure in Afghanistan. Progressives responded with mighty protests: in Chicago, a whole 150 people showed up last Wednesday to stick it to the commander-in-chief. Another rally was held on Saturday, which fared slightly better: that one may have attracted around 200. And it is the same damn 150-200 people that show up to everything. The rest of the city is still hanging out in the trenches, "hoping" for something to go right. I am sure this is repeated verbatim throughout the country. The anti-war movement is down to its nuts and bolts: just the hard-core activists. So how do we energize the grassroots again? How do we turn the clock back to 2003, while this country is so devastated and demoralized? My answer is that the focus needs to shift to the banks: those insidious institutions of avidity and fraud that created our economic recession and then ran away with trillions of dollars in bailout guarantees. The big, corporate banks finance wars and war-makers, steal from working communities, prey on vulnerable members of the working and middle-classes, and have no sense of social responsibility or civic duty. Socialism for the rich, Capitalism for the poor. The CEO's get their bonuses, the working people get ATM fees and overdraft fees. The billionaire swindlers get TARP funds, the working men and women get bad mortgages, a dissolution of their retirement portfolios, decreasing medical coverage and increasing education costs. Meanwhile, my generation, the baby boomers' children of 30 years or younger, have seen their unemployment rate rise to nearly 25%. This rate is much higher if you count those who have ceased looking for work, or those that are partially employed or perpetually stuck in a temp agency. I had the latter problem while in Seattle last year. I was hired by Nintendo of America as a French Customer Service rep through an intermediary known as Parker Services. These are the same bastards that run the "temp agency" racket at Microsoft, down the street in Redmond (suburb of Seattle). The idea is that you will never work directly for the company you pretend to represent on the phone, unless you gleefully slave away under precarious conditions for a few years with no benefits, leave time or health insurance. I couldn't even realistically take a sick day without putting my job in jeopardy, and eventually stormed out in an angry rampage when told that I had to work with a 102 degree fever. A majority of under 30 year olds are living in a state of utter despair: the baby boomers left us no health care, no decent employment, no living wage, no comprehensive system of free higher education, no ethic of brotherhood and sisterhood: a country in absolute ruin. Our older siblings and cousins were labeled "Generation X," us "Generation Y" or "Generation ADHD," but it may as well be "Generation Screwed". Socialism for the rich, Capitalism for the poor. Handouts, big trillion dollar handouts for the criminal business elite, and savage, barbaric Capitalism for the rest of us. We battle over scarce resources, and play trivial, insipid games so as to obtain frivolous employment, with no guarantees of security and health coverage. Our grandparents had good union jobs, and provided our parents with high quality education and health care at an affordable rate. We were never so lucky. The war in the Middle East is the external manifestation of the war on young adults here at home. The relationship between the baby boomers and their children has always been antagonistic. The former has never wanted to grow up, while the latter has strived to mature. To quote the late George Carlin, the baby boomers "went from cocaine to Rogaine," refusing ever to age and seriously confront the great responsibility of running a country. Their record, across the political spectrum, has been disastrous. >From right wing zealots to imperialists posing as "peoples' candidates" to left-wing movements weighted down by the baggage of "cultural revolution". In the baby boomers world, "left" and "right" became inane cultural points of reference, as political discourse made like an Amtrak and de-railed. This unraveled as our presidents and congress-people drifted steadily rightward. There once was smattering of populists in the Congress, and the occasional bone thrown at progressives by even Republican presidents. However, our posture gradually descended to the point that "we" have the White House, "60 seats in the Senate," and a strong majority in the Congress, and right wing America still runs the damn country! This dire state is unsustainable. As such, I ask fellow members of Generation Screwed to join me in taking charge of the despair before us. Let us reconstruct an America that is built on the principles of brotherhood and sisterhood: an understanding that we have a debt to our fellow American. The creation of these monolithic criminal banks and their corporate doppelgangers is entirely the doing of the baby boomers, who supported the Reagans and Clintons that deregulated like mad animals. They took any progressive tendency in this country and demeaned and disparaged it, leaving us with Kennedys, Kerrys, and, at best, Kucinichs. We can do much better. We, the members of Generation Screwed, have no room for compromise. Our life depends on great progressive victory and it begins with taking the banks head on. Matt Reichel is a French teacher and the Green Party Candidate in Illinois's 5th Congressional District. He can be reached at: mereichel [at] gmail.com. --------15 of 18-------- A Regional Divide Latin America in the Age of Obama By JOSEPH SHANSKY CounterPunch December 11-13, 2009 "I hold the view that before Obama completes his term, there will be from six to eight right-wing governments in Latin America that will be allies of the empire." -- Fidel Castro. President Obama was elected partly because of his promise to a large Hispanic constituency to give both new attention and new respect to Latin America. Judging from the US role in the military coup in Honduras, he must think that one of the two is enough. For those who closely followed the coup and its aftermath, a tiny fear sat in the back of our minds. Eventually it was confirmed. As the State Department position shifted from condemning to condoning the illegal government, the outline of a bigger picture became clear. If this violent takeover were really to be approved by the US, it would mark a frightening new focus on the region. In late June, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped by the military and forced out of the country. For the next five months, an illegitimate government, headed by Congressional leader Roberto Micheletti, suppressed the outrage of many Honduran citizens against this regime through a number of violent means including murder, torture, and detention of citizens. Throughout this time, the US response to these allegations was silence. Even though it was impossible for a free or fair election to take place under these circumstances, the US endorsed what is internationally recognized as a fraud. After months of stumbling through embarrassing press conferences dominated by contradictory statements, doublespeak, and back-pedaling, the US appeared firmly committed to helping overthrow democratic order by blessing the Honduran elections as the way out. It has deliberately chosen sides in the battle between the popular struggle for social justice in Latin America and the assured continuation of its own economic interests with the election of coup-supporting conservatives like Porfirio Lobo. A REGIONAL DIVIDE Throughout the coup, Zelaya had overwhelming verbal support from the majority of his counterparts in the region. Upon his bold return to Honduras in late September, Brazil's President Lula opened the doors of his Tegucigalpa embassy to shelter the president, journalists, and supporters as his "guests". That was the moment that things might have turned around for those fighting for his restoration. The populace had grown weary of struggling since late June demanding Zelaya's reinstatement and protesting peacefully against the violations of so many basic rights. Zelaya's homecoming was a move which energized them once again. But thanks to endless delay tactics on the part of US officials, his position in the embassy soon grew to resemble less that of a president than a prisoner. Additionally, the US position may have drawn a line in the sand among other Latin American governments. Over the past 5 months, of all Latin American countries, only Columbia, Peru and Panama (all strong US allies and economic dependents) rejected Zelaya's status as the rightful leader of Honduras. But since the elections, others seem to be falling into line behind the US. El Salvador's newly-elected FMLN President Funes agreed with the US line, stating that the elections will "end the crisis and lead to a unity government, the restoration of constitutional order and reconciliation in the brother country". Now even Brazil appears to be adjusting its stance. "There is a new situation," Brazil's Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff said recently. "There was an election. That process will be taken into account. We cannot turn a blind eye to the coup, but we can also not turn a blind eye to the election". At a Special Meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) on December 4, conflicting views were clear. US Ambassador Carmen Lomellin confirmed the US position to recognize the election results regardless: "The TSE and the Honduran people conducted remarkably free, fair and transparent elections". Costa Rican Ambassador Jose Enrique Castillo Barientes concurred: "Any position against the elections means crushing the solution". However, Bolivian Ambassador Jose Pinelo vehemently disagreed: "Under no circumstances will my government accept this objective. Recognizing a government formed like this means recognizing coup plotters". ELECTION DAY- VIOLENCE AND ABSTENTION The Nov. 29 election passed with predictable results. For most Hondurans, Election Day in Honduras was never seen as a turning point. Rather, it followed a familiar rhetoric that democracy can be always gained, or restored, in the ballot box. That this simple action could clean up the violent elimination of democratic order is a profound lie. On the contrary, it provided opportunity for an escalation of abuse under the guise of protection. This is nothing new for Honduran citizens. Armed forces dispersed throughout the country to ensure a climate of fear and intimidation leading up to and especially on Election Day. As of Nov. 29, not only were national independent media banned from the airwaves, but as Laura Carlsen, the director of the Americas Program, recently reported, even international journalists became subject to vicious harassment and threatening to the point of fearing for their lives. Most of the violence was kept out outside of the capital on election day, but the repression was intense in smaller towns and especially in the second largest city, San Pedro Sula. Micheletti's claim that an additional 30,000 armed forces for this particular week was for the citizens' "protection" is absurd. Reports of all kinds of abuses by police and military poured in from human rights delegations and journalists stationed all around Honduras that day. A Real News video clearly shows police officers deliberately smashing windows of cars, beating protesters with batons in the street, and hitting journalists who dared to do their job. Again, these tactics were for the most part not unique to that day. They were consistent with the regime's behavior throughout the coup and represented the usual degree of violence against its own citizens. Amnesty International has now called for an independent investigation into all human rights violations since the coup, including "killings following excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests of demonstrators by police and military, indiscriminate and unnecessary use of tear gas, ill treatment of detainees in custody, violence against women, and harassment of activists, journalists, lawyers and judges". Porfirio Lobo has announced that he wants political amnesty for all parties involved in the coup, effectively requesting that all of the above violations, still unacknowledged, now also go unpunished by their perpetrators. If this was to happen, it would represent the final elimination of almost all legal processes in Honduras since Zelaya's ousting. While the coup government claims to have seen the highest electoral turnout in Honduran history, the National Front against the Coup (or Frente) claims the lowest. They cite an enormous victory in their much-promoted nonparticipation, claiming that 65-70 percent stayed away from the polls. On the other hand, the coup government claimed a 62 percent turnout. However, a new investigation by Jesse Freeston of the Real News has revealed that this figure, which was distributed and repeated by almost every major media outlet in the world, appears to have been an arbitrary creation by one of the heads of the Supreme Tribunal Electoral (TSE). According to TSE's own numbers, in reality less than half of the country voted that day. Both the regime and the Resistance know the importance of keeping their supporters energized beyond the elections. Some of the international community (led by CNN headlines that evening boasting "high turnout" and saying the day was "calm and without incident") are inclined to accept the idea that the elections are a healthy step forward. To believe that they are a clean break from the recent troubles is a convenient but dangerous assertion. A NEW PRECEDENT By most accounts, the coup was a surprising success for its leaders and backers. It now sets an alarming example that military coups can be sustained with backing of the world's leading power. But many Latin American leaders are warning of a dangerous model. "What is at stake is whether we validate or not a new methodology of coups d'etat," said Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana at the recent Ibero-American Summit. His Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, agreed: "To recognize the spurious government emerging from these illegitimate elections will betray principles of peace, democracy and justice". Fidel Castro wrote in a recent editorial: "I hold the view that before Obama completes his term, there will be from six to eight right-wing governments in Latin America that will be allies of the empire." It's not an outrageous prediction. Threatening signs are appearing all over the region. In Columbia, the United States just signed an agreement to expand its military presence by building new bases, igniting a feud between the US ally and Venezuela. In Paraguay, coup rumors were stirred when leftist president Fernando Lugo fired top military officials last month. In Guatemala, Obama's fellow Nobel Peace laureate, indigenous activist Rigoberta Menchu, warned of plans amongst the Bolivian oligarchy against President Evo Morales. However, on the same day of the fraudulent Honduran elections, Uruguayans selected Jos Mujica, a leftist and former guerilla, as president. And in Bolivia, Evo Morales just won another term in a landslide victory. The tide has not yet turned. Most disturbing is that even amongst US officials there is now no dispute that what happened in Honduras was a military coup d.tat. When I met with US Ambassador Hugo Llorens in Tegucigalpa in August, he was able to reluctantly confirm this when pressed. In his first State Department briefing on the day after the elections, Arturo Valenzuela, the new Assistant Secretary for the US Bureau of Hemispheric Affairs, described what took place as a "military coup" twice, marking the first time US officials have officially admitted this. THE CONSTITUYENTE AND THE FUTURE Those who've been fighting against the regime and against the elections have done so primarily for the return of legal order to Honduras. The Honduran Resistance, which formed in response to Zelaya's expulsion, became a social movement no one could have predicted. In many ways, the level of repression by the regime throughout the coup was a direct response to the surprising force of the Resistance movement. It is also a testament to the movement's strength. While some right-wing forces are doubtlessly watching to see how far Micheletti and his cohorts can get, others are taking notes from the Resistance in preparation for what comes next. The demands of the people are not limited to the restitution of President Zelaya. They want to ensure all Hondurans that the systemic injustices they've lived under for so long will be one day turned around. Their ultimate goal is a new Constitution for Honduras. The project they seek to implement is a large one, and is designed to follow a successful model already in place in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. It will not be easy. The constituyente (constituent assembly) is an effort to rewrite the outdated Honduran constitution with new cultural, economic, and social reforms. After Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proved it was possible to gain mass support for the idea in 1999, Bolivia adopted a new constitution in 2007. The following year, the people of Ecuador approved a draft constitution which guaranteed among other radical ideas, "free education through university and social security benefits for stay-at-home mothers" and "inalienable rights to nature". Likewise, Manuel Zelaya proposed reforms for Honduras which focused on land re-distribution, an increase in the minimum wage, and new rights for women and the poor. It was partly because these ideas were so popular with economically-disadvantaged Hondurans that he was overthrown. But his supporters are moving on with an eye to the future. Now Resistance leaders have called for the people of Honduras to "close that chapter" of their struggle. They are turning their focus to the constituyente and to the 2013 elections. It's uncertain what form their action will take. But they are still riding the momentum of their struggle. Emboldened by almost unanimous international support, Hondurans are now re-awakened to how just fragile a democracy can be. Joseph Shansky works with Democracy Now! en Espaol, He can be reached at fallow3 [at] gmail.com. This report also appears in Upsidedown World. [Thanks a bunch Obama you effing SOB. -ed] --------16 of 18-------- We Need to Embarrass Ourselves Cindy Sheehan's Lesson By DAVID MACARAY CounterPunch December 11-13, 2009 One of the most astonishing and demoralizing comments I ever heard was in response to Cindy Sheehan's August, 2005, anti-war demonstrations outside George W. Bush's Prarie Chapel Ranch (near Crawford, Texas). A commentator declared that, by protesting in so public and defiant a fashion, Sheehan had, in fact, "embarrassed" herself. Sheehan's son, Casey, joined the U.S. Marines because he was a patriot, because he wanted to do something meaningful in response to 9-11, because he believed the White House's accounts of WMD and Saddam Hussein's role in the attack, and because he believed that by enlisting in the military he'd be helping the fight against terrorism. He got sent to Iraq and, on April 4, 2004, was killed. After his death, Sheehan learned that WMD didn't exist, that Saddam Hussein had no role in 9-11 (and that the White House knew he didn't), that post-Saddam Iraq is a country defined by duplicity, confusion, blood feuds and corruption, and that, as American soldiers continued to die and American taxpayers continued to foot the bill, the contractors, private security firms and military ordnance corporations continued to rake in their blood money, hand over fist. Feeling betrayed and angry, Sheehan attempted to draw attention to the debacle by doing more than simply writing letters to the editor or starting her own vanity blog. She put herself on the line. And for this - for a mother's loss of a son and a woman's courage to defy authoritypeople - looked at her askance and accused her of embarrassing herself? Sweet Baby Jesus...how cynical and distracted have we become? Unfortunately, a similar sense of "embarrassment" infects America's working class. A century ago, workers weren't ashamed to hit the streets and take on those who ran the country's industry and financial institutions. We don't do that today because workers don't recognize the fundamental tension between the privileged rich and the lower class and the rapidly dwindling middle-class, and because workers have a negative self-image. Given that sports' metaphors have permeated virtually every aspect of our society, we now see things only in terms of winners and losers. As a consequence, working people have come to regard themselves as "losers". Who among them is willing to engage in civil disobedience? Who wants to publicly identify himself - to draw attention to himself by marching in the streets or occupying a building - as a loser? As the old adage goes, no parent hopes that their babies grow up to be forklift drivers. Broad generalization or not, it's a valid observation. Even if driving a forklift is a vocation you wind up doing your entire working life, it's still a "job," and not a "career". Realistically, it's something you fall into, not something you plan for or actively pursue from childhood. But the difference between the working class a century ago and workers today, is that the former hadn't yet been "domesticated". They hadn't yet been co-opted by the Establishment. They were still filled with a working man's piss and vinegar. Indeed, they believed you could bring self-respect to any task, even a mundane one, and that any job - no matter how crude or "low" - could be performed with pride and dignity. Accordingly, their socio-economic antennae were a mile long and hyper sensitive. Having not yet been brainwashed into denying the existence of class warfare, these workers had a healthy resentment for the fat cats - the ones who controlled the work, manipulated the system, reaped the profits, and were committed to keeping the workers down. But unlike the bulk of today's workers, they were willing to push back. Instead of seeing themselves as "losers," they saw themselves as "takers". Not only were they not embarrassed to hit the streets and demand their fair share, they were proud of it; they flaunted it, they rejoiced in it. They regarded the streets as their turf and themselves as the economy's foot soldiers - the one segment of society with the de facto power to equalize what needed equalizing. And they reveled in it. Losers? Never! And guess what happened when these people poured into the streets, stopped traffic, shut down businesses, and mixed it up with the police? They found that by making a goddamn bloody nuisance of themselves they got what they wanted. Only by "embarrassing" themselves were they reckoned with. Of course, those in authority will always tell you that ugly demonstrations don't work. They'll tell you that demonstrations are, in fact, counterproductive, that the only tactics that can be relied upon to get the dirty job done are rational discourse and the free but orderly exchange of ideas. This is a myth. The authorities tell workers that because they want to control them. They want workers to believe it because the bosses have no fear of rational discourse, and no dread of the free exchange of ideas. What they do fear are massive protests. What they do dread are ugly demonstrations. Which is why they work. David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright, is the author of .It.s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor. (available at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc.) He can be reached at dmacaray [at] earthlink.net --------17 of 18-------- Two-thirds of Americans support Medicare-for-all (#1 of 6) Introduction to a Six-part Series By Kip Sullivan, JD "Americans are scared to death of single payer". These words were not uttered by some foaming-at-the mouth wingnut. They were written by Bernie Horn, a Senior Fellow at the Campaign for America's Future, a member of Health Care for America Now, on June 8, 2009. Horn explained that he was moved to write this tripe because single-payer supporters were asking why Democrats had taken single-payer off the table to make room for the "public option": The question most frequently asked by progressive activists at last week's America's Future Now conference was this: We hear Obama and congressional Democrats talking about a public health insurance option, but why aren't they talking about a single-payer system like HR 676 sponsored by Rep. John Conyers? Why is single-payer "off the table"? Horn went on to assert that single-payer had been taken off the table because Americans want it off the table. He claimed polling data supported him, but he cited no particular poll. The truth is that the Campaign for America's Future (CAF) and other groups in Health Care for America Now (HCAN) had decided years earlier they would push Democratic candidates and officeholders to substitute the "option" for single-payer, and they would tell both Democrats and progressive activists that Americans "like the insurance they have" and that Americans oppose single-payer. The argument that single-payer is "politically infeasible" is not new. That argument is as old as the modern single-payer movement (which emerged in the late 1980s). It is an argument made exclusively by Democrats who don't want to support single-payer legislation - a group Merton Bernstein and Ted Marmor have called "yes buts". [butts? -ed] The traditional version of the "yes but" excuse has been that the insurance industry is too powerful to beat or, more simply, that "there just aren't 60 votes in the Senate for single-payer". But the leaders of the "option" movement felt they needed a more persuasive version of the traditional "yes but" excuse. The version they invented was much more insidious. They decided to say that American "values," not American insurance companies, are the major impediment to single-payer. How did the "option" movement's leaders know that Americans oppose single-payer? According to Jacob Hacker, the intellectual leader of the "option" movement, they knew it because existing polling data said so. According to people like Bernie Horn and Roger Hickey at CAF, they knew it because focus group "research" and a poll conducted by pollster Celinda Lake on behalf of the "option" movement said so. About this series This six-part series explores the research on American attitudes about a single-payer (or Medicare-for-all) system to evaluate the truth of the new version of the "yes but" argument. We will see that the research demonstrates that approximately two-thirds of Americans support a Medicare-for-all system despite constant attacks on Medicare and the systems of other countries by conservatives. The evidence supporting this statement is rock solid. The evidence against it - the focus group and polling "research" commissioned by the "option" movement's founders - is defective, misinterpreted, or both. In Part II of this series, I will describe two experiments with "citizen juries" which found that 60 to 80 percent of Americans support a Medicare-for-all or single-payer system. The citizen jury research is the most rigorous research available on the question of what Americans think about single-payer and other proposals to solve the health care crisis. It is the most rigorous because it exposes randomly selected Americans to a lengthy debate between proponents of single-payer and other proposals. Of the two "juries" I report on, the one sponsored by the Jefferson Center in Washington DC in 1993 remains the most rigorous test of public support for single-payer legislation ever conducted. After taking testimony from 30 experts over the course of five days, a "jury" of 24 Americans, selected to be representative of the entire population, soundly rejected all proposals that relied on competition between insurance companies (including President Bill Clinton's "managed competition" bill) and endorsed Sen. Paul Wellstone's single-payer bill. These votes were by landslide majorities. Washington Post columnist William Raspberry accurately noted, "Perhaps most interesting about last week's verdict is its defiance of inside-the-Beltway wisdom that says a single-payer plan can't be passed. ("Citizens jury won over by merits of Wellstone's single-payer plan," Washington Post October 21, 1993, 23A). In Part III, I'll review polling data and explore the question, Why do some polls confirm the citizen jury research while other polls do not? We will discover an interesting pattern: The more poll respondents know about single-payer, the more they like it. We will see that polls that claim to find low support for single-payer provide little information about what a single-payer is (they fail to refer to Medicare or to another example of a single-payer system), they provide misleading information, or both. For example, when Americans are asked if they would support "a universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers," two-thirds say they would, but when they are asked, "Do you think the government would do a better or worse job than private insurance companies in providing medical coverage? - fewer than half say "government" would do a "better job". Although neither question provided anywhere near as much information as the citizen jury experiments did, it is obvious the former question was more informative than the latter. In Parts IV and V, I'll discuss the evidence that "option" advocates cite for their claim that single-payer is opposed by most Americans. Part IV will examine polling data that Jacob Hacker uses to justify his refusal to support single-payer and his decision to promote the notion of "public-private-plan choice". Part V will examine the survey and focus group "research" done by Celinda Lake for the Herndon Alliance and subsequently cited by leaders of HCAN, the two groups most responsible for bringing the "public option" into the current health care reform debate. We will see that Hacker's research relies on polls that pose such vague questions that the results resemble a Rorschach blot more than a guide to health care reform strategy. Would you make a decision about whether to abandon single-payer based on a poll that asked respondents to choose between these two statements: (1) "[I]t is the responsibility of the government in Washington to see to it that people have help in paying for doctors and hospital billAS"; - and (2) "these matters are not the responsibility of the federal government and people should take care of these things themselves"? I wouldn't, but Hacker did. If it turned out that about 50 percent of the respondents said it was the federal government's responsibility, 20 percent said it was the individual's responsibility, and the other 30 percent split their vote between government and individual responsibility, would you read those results to mean Americans "are stubbornly attached to employment-based health insurance"? I certainly wouldn't, but Hacker did. Would you use this poll as evidence that "American values [are] barriers to universal health insurance"? I wouldn't, but Hacker did. The "research" that Celinda Lake did for the Herndon Alliance used strange methods. For example, she selected her focus groups based on their answers to questions about "values" that had nothing to do with health care reform. The values included "brand apathy," "upscale consumerism," "meaningful moments," "mysterious forces",: and "sexual permissiveness". "Meaningful moments," for example, was described as, "The sense of impermanence that accompanies momentary connections with others does not diminish the value of the moment". Do you think it's important to ask Americans about their "sense of impermanence" before deciding whether you will support single-payer legislation? I don't, but Celinda Lake and the Herndon Alliance did. The "option" movement's "research" turns out to be no match for the more rigorous research which demonstrates two-thirds of Americans support Medicare-for-all. In Part VI I discuss the wisdom of allowing polls and focus group research to dictate policy and strategy, something the "option" movement's founders talked themselves into doing. Hacker has been especially vocal about this. He repeatedly urges his followers to think "politics, politics, politics," a squishy mantra that, in practice, translates into an exaltation of opportunism. The failure of Hacker and HCAN to object to the shrinkage of the "public option" by congressional Democrats, from a program covering half the population to one that might insure 1 or 2 percent of the population, documents that statement. The fact that two-thirds of the American public supports single-payer does not mean the enactment of a single-payer system will be easy. It won't be. But it does mean the new "yes but" justification for opposing single-payer, or indefinitely postponing active support for single-payer, is false and should be rejected. Stay tuned. PNHP welcomes comments on its blog by its physicians and medical student members, and other health professionals active in the movement for single payer national health insurance. --------18 of 18-------- There was a slick guy named Obama Who set up a fake-hope filled low drama When asked What you're doing It's us that you're screwing He just flipped us and whispered "Yo Mama!" -------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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