|Progressive Calendar 01.21.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 03:50:16 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 01.21.10 1. Write on radio 1.21 11am 2. MLK event 1.21 12noon 3. Rally v UofM 1.21 12noon 4. Eagan peace vigil 1.21 4:30pm 5. Northtown vigil 1.21 5pm 6. Life/earth 1.21 5pm 7. Choice 1.21 6pm 8. World parliament 1.21 7pm 9. Amnesty Intl 1.21 7:15pm 10. Anti-torture 1.22 10am 11. War protest/DC 1.22 11:30am 12. MLK event 1.22 12noon 13. Social justice 1.22 1pm 14. Palestine vigil 1.22 4:15pm 15. Haiti benefit 1.22 6pm 16. Daniel DeLeon 1.22 7pm 17. Alexander Cockburn - Coakley loses/ a richly deserved humiliation 18. Mary Lynn Cramer - Class/ which side of Mass were you on and why? 19. John V Walsh - Why I voted for the Republican in Massachusetts 20. Ron Jacobs - Massachusetts chooses Tweedledum over Tweedledee! 21. Kevin Zeese - Obama needs a major course change to excite voters 22. ed - Coakley or Poopsi? (haiku) --------1 of 22-------- From: Write On Radio <writeonradio [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Write on radio 1.21 11am Write On Radio! Thursday, January 21st on Write on Radio, Sadie Jones calls in to talk about her new book Small Wars, a critically acclaimed historical novel that examines love, duty, shame and violence in a British family against the backdrop of the 1950s military conflict in Cyprus. Sadie Jones is also the author of The Outcast. Also this week, we talk with Paul Zerby, author of The Grass, a novel, about a young man from Fargo, who is expelled from the University of Minnesota at the height of McCarthyism and joins the Army during the Korean War. Write on radio airs every THURSDAY 11 am - noon central time on 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul and live on the web at www.kfai.org. Shows are archived for two weeks on line. --------2 of 22-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> From: Minneapolis Community and Technical College Subject: MLK event 1.21 12noon Thursday, January 21st - 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. T Building, Gourmet Dining Room (T1000) Guest speaker, Col. Wally G. Vaughn, "Reflections on Our Pastor: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, 1954-1960" and "The Selma Campaign, 1963-1965: The Decisive Battle of the Civil Rights Movement." --------3 of 22-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: Rally v UofM 1.21 12noon Tell President Bruininks: Don't Balance the Budget on the Backs of Staff and Students Rally: Thursday Jan 21 @ Noon In Front of Morrill Hall, U of M, Minneapolis President Bruininks and senior administrators want to balance the budget on Furloughs President Bruininks told senior administrators that he intends to make staff take 10 furlough days (unpaid days off) over the next year. This is a pay cut for hourly staff at the university and we can't afford it. Pay and holidays are negotiated with the unions on campus, and cannot be unilaterally dictated. Layoffs Layoffs are already taking place at the U. Hundreds of frontline staff have been laid off since the hiring pause began, while over 250 administrators continue to make more than $200,000 per year. Layoffs mean that there are fewer staff to do the important work of helping students navigate the university system from admissions to graduation. The work is still there, and has increased as admissions have gone up. The remaining staff are forced to work harder and are working through breaks and lunches. This is not legal, nor sustainable and ultimately students will suffer as services and support decrease. Attacks on benefits University administrators are discussing ways to cut our hard-earned benefits. Their ideas include cutting pensions and cutting the tuition benefit for graduate teaching and research assistants. Making education unaffordable Between 2000-2007, undergraduate tuition went up over 68%. The administration wants to pit students against staff by telling us it's either tuition increases or layoffs. This is a false choice. As the university faces increasing budget cuts they are putting the burden on the backs of the lowest paid staff and students rather than those that can afford it - the administrators, of whom over 250 earn more than $200,000 each year. Join us as we rally the first week of the new semester to tell the administration that we've had enough, and it's time for the University's priorities to change - CHOP FROM THE TOP! No furloughs, no more layoffs of frontline staff, and no tuition hikes! Organized by AFSCME 3800 --------4 of 22-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 1.21 4:30pm PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------5 of 22-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 1.21 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------6 of 22-------- From: Sean Gosiewski <sean [at] afors.org> Subject: Life/earth 1.21 5pm Join us January 21 or 25 for Terry's Presentation Living a Good Life and Creating a Just, Healthy Earth: The Lens of Sustainability for Societal Wealth Presented by Terry Gips Choose Between One of Two Evenings Reserved For This Special Presentation Thursday, January 21st 5pm - 7:30pm - First Unitarian Society 900 Mount Curve Avenue; Minneapolis, MN http://www.firstunitariansociety.org/directions/main.html or Monday, January 25th 5pm - 7:30pm - Episcopal Church of St. James on the Parkway 3225 East Minnehaha Pkwy; Minneapolis, MN www.stjamesotp.org Can we thrive during tough economic times? Can we save money while creating a sustainable future for us and our children? Does environmental responsibility have to cost more or mean a lesser lifestyle? Is there a way to engage business,schools, congregations, nonprofits and the entire community? Is it enough to just recycle? Can we really turn things around? Come find out at this inspiring, interactive introductory look at a powerful, proven educational approach to sustainability called the Natural Step Framework (NSF). You'll learn how sustainability and the NSF can benefit you at home, work and in the community, along with simple, practical steps you can take to save money,time, your health and the environment. Participants will gain a positive, new perspective and see how we can create a sustainable future. Presented by Terry Gips Author and nationally recognized sustainability leader A hot hearty soup & bread with refreshments will be available at 5pm The presentation will start at 5:30pm Space is Limited at Both Locations Please RSVP Jesse Eiynck at 651.338.1971 or jeiynck [at] fwg.com Accepting donations for a local non-profit, The Alliance for Sustainability www.afs.nonprofitoffice.com --------7 of 22-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Choice 1.21 6pm January 21: Join the Minnesota Choice Coalition to recognize the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It is a critical time for the pro-choice community to come together and show our support. 6 - 8 PM at Azia Restaurant in the Caterpillar Lounge at 2550 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis. --------8 of 22-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu> Subject: World parliament 1.21 7pm THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale & Hennepin). Park in church lot. Thursday, January 21, 7-9pm. A WORLD PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY Although its Charter begins with the words "WE THE PEOPLES," the UN is an organization of states. It suffers from a profound democratic deficit and ignores Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares, "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government." Recent years have witnessed a growing chorus of calls to democratize the UN by means of a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). Endorsers of this proposal include former UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali; the Parliaments of both the European Union and the African Union; both houses of the Argentine Congress; and more than 700 parliamentarians from more than 90 countries (though none from the USA); This presentation will indicate what form a UNPA might take, how it might function, and how it might be established. Presenter: JOSEPH SCHWARTZBERG. A prolific writer on issues of global governance, Joe is well along on a book to be entitled Designs for a Workable World. He is also a member of two think tanks and of the international Councils of the World Federalist Movement and the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. He served 11 years as President of the Minnesota Chapter of the World Federalist Association and its successor organization, CGS, and is active in the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, the UNA, and several other peace and justice organizations. The University of Minnesota, where he taught for 36 years, selected him as its "Distinguished International Emeritus Professor" for the year 2009. Sponsors: MN Chapter, Citizens for Global Solutions: United Nations Association of Minnesota, Social Concerns Committee of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers. --------9 of 22-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 1.21 7:15pm AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, January 21st, at 7:15 p.m. St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com. --------10 of 22-------- From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at] EARTHLINK.NET> Subject: Anti-torture 1.22 10am Human Rights and Anti-Torture Vigil at the University of St. Thomas Law School 11th Street and LaSalle (1000 LaSalle Ave.) on Friday January 22 from 10 a.m. to noon. Please join us this Friday morning, Jan. 22 on the public sidewalk in front of St. Thomas Law to help demonstrate our concerns about the use of torture (encompassing waterboarding and other "harsh interrogation tactics") which UST Law Professor Robert Delahunty and others in the Bush Administration attempted to legalize. "Tackling Torture at the Top" (Tacklingtorture [at] gmail.com <mailto:%20Tacklingtorture [at] gmail.com> ) is also seeking volunteers to help us vigil every day in front of the U.S. Courthouse at in Minneapolis. The one hour vigil is during the noon hour (from about noon to 1 pm) but you can pick any convenient time during working hours. Orange "Close Gitmo" jumpsuits and hoods are available by contacting tacklingtorture [at] gmail.com. --------11 of 22-------- From: braun044 <braun044 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: War protest/DC 1.22 11:30am A group of twenty-five Minnesotans have decided that "it is time to go to Washington" to press for a complete end to the U.S. wars and military presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and an end to U.S. support for Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories. They will be holding a press conference on Friday, January 22, at 11:30 am at Mayday Bookstore, and we hope that you will come to the press conference as a show of support. Press Conference Friday, January 22, 11:30 am Mayday Bookstore 301 Cedar Avenue South, Mpls The group, composed of members of local peace groups, including Women Against Military Madness, Veterans for Peace, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Pax Christi Twin Cities, the Community of St. Martin, and AlliantAction, and delegates of groups from Le Sueur, Grand Rapids, Center City, and Red Wing, will join others from around the country to participate in the Days of Nonviolent Resistance in Washington DC organized by Voices for Creative Nonviolence. The delegation believes the Days of Nonviolent Resistance, which extend from January 19 through February 2, come at an opportune time to speak out against the Iraq and Afghan wars and occupations and their continued funding, because it is during this time that the President will give his first State of the Union address, and he will submit his budget for FY2011. The Minnesotan delegation chose January 26 and 27 as the dates they will participate in lobbying, legal protest and nonviolent civil disobedience. The delegation believes that it is imperative that Americans speak out about the issue of "unending wars" at this time. Each day there are new reports of soldiers and civilians being killed, terrorist attacks, drone attacks, people fleeing their homes, increasing numbers of widows and orphans, cancer, high infant mortality, and the lack of adequate health care, food, and clean water in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are reports of corruption in the U.S. backed governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, and reports that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan strongly oppose the occupations and that a vast majority of the people in Pakistan are opposed to U.S. involvement in their country. Yet, our government has chosen to ignore all of this. Instead, our President talks the talk of other war presidents, defending past military actions and supporting military action in the future. In reality, President Obama has gone beyond the Bush administration in Afghanistan by increasing troop levels and ordering air strikes that continue to kill innocent people. And, immediately after taking office, he sent unmanned drones across the border into Pakistan, causing hundreds of casualties and terrorizing the people. Many in the peace community are disappointed with the direction the President has taken; however, Howard Zinn, noted historian, reminds us that we should not be surprised by President Obama's decision. "He stands at the apex of a pyramid of power that has layer after layer of corporatists and militarists," and not only has he not tried to dismantle it, he has been responsible for maintaining the pyramid of power. So we are reminded once again that we cannot look to those in high political office to change the power structure. We are the ones who will have to challenge this pyramid of power if our nation is ever to live in peace with other peoples of the world. For more information on the Days of Nonviolent Resistance, email braun044 [at] umn.edu, call 612-522-1861, or visit Voices online at www.vcnv.org. Hope you can come to the press conference to support those who are going to Washington, DC to speak out on these important issues. Peace in the struggle, Marie Braun for Twin Cities Peace Campaign 612-522-1861 --------12 of 22-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: MLK event 1.22 12noon Friday, January 22nd - 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Helland Student Center Open Mic - Students will share and perform pieces that speak to what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy means to them. --------13 of 22-------- From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Social justice 1.22 1pm University-Community Partnerships for Social Justice January 22, 2010 1-4pm St. Paul Student Center Theatre - University of Minnesota, Saint Paul Campus - 2017 Buford Ave - St. Paul, MN 55108 This forum, led by two accomplished Latino scholars working at the University of Miami and Georgia State University, will focus on their efforts to use the talents and resources of their institutions to promote the human rights and well being of underserved ethnic minorities in their communities. They will discuss the social justice foundations of their work and present examples of partnerships with immigrant Latino communities affected by issues of domestic violence, structural poverty, and immigration. Featuring: Immigrant Children Affirmative Network (ICAN) - Promoting the Well Being of Unaccompanied Immigrant MinorsUniversity-Community Partnerships for Social Justice Etiony Aldarondo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, University of Miami Caminar Latino, Inc. - A University-Community Partnership for Social Justice - Julia L. Perilla, Ph.D., Associate Research Professor, Department of Psychology at Georgia State University Plus - Panel Discussion with other noted members the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Latino social service community. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. For more information and to register, CONTACT Lynne Matthews LPMatthews [at] idvaac.org 410.365.2751 Sponsored by: Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community University of Minnesota - School of Social Work Casa de Esperanza --------14 of 22-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 1.22 4:15pm The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs available. --------15 of 22-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Haiti benefit 1.22 6pm Solidarité avec Haiti: Earthquake Relief Fundraise FRI. JAN. 22 - 6:00pm Doors Open: 6pm @ THE CEDAR,415 Cedar Ave. S, WEST BANK, Mpls Solidarité avec HaitiA group of local musicians, dancers and visual artists have banded together to host a fundraiser for the victims of the recent earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The event will begin at 6pm on Friday, January 22nd, at The Cedar Cultural Center. Food will be catered by *Victor's 1959 Café* and *The French Meadow*, among others. There will be an art auction with work by Víctor Yépez and Bernardo Guzmán. All door, art and food sale proceeds will go directly to Doctors Without Borders / Medicins Sans Frontieres Emergency Relief Fund. --------16 of 22-------- From: jtmiller jtmiller <jtmiller [at] minn.net> Subject: Daniel DeLeon 1.22 7pm Friday, Jan. 22, 7:00 pm Working Democracy Meetup Group Book Club: "What Means This Strike?" by Daniel De Leon MayDay Bookstore --------17 of 22-------- A Richly Deserved Humiliation Coakley Loses and a Good Job Too By ALEXANDER COCKBURN CounterPunch January 20, 2010 Republican Scott Brown takes over a seat held by the Kennedy family for over half a century and the dark cloud already hovering over Obama's White House thickens. By any measure the energetic Brown's emphatic defeat of Martha Coakley, believed only a month ago to be a sure thing as Ted Kennedy's replacement, is a disaster for the Democratic Party and for President Obama. Coakley, a former prosecutor and attorney general of Massachusetts, ran a dumb, complacent campaign, allowing Brown, a state senator, to charge that she seemed to believe she had an inherent right to the seat. Coakley ladled out platitudes; Brown, pelting about the Commonwealth in a manly GMC truck, made the Democrats' health reform bill his prime issue, which was scarcely rocket science, since people of moderate income accurately believe that "reform" is going to cost them money, with zero improvement in overall service. A year after his inauguration Obama has disappointed so many constituencies that a rebuke by the voters was inevitable. Yesterday it came in Massachusetts, often categorized as the most liberal in the union. This is entirely untrue. It's a disgusting sinkhole of racism and vulgar prejudice, as five minutes in any taxi in the state, listening to Talk Radio or reading the local newspaper, will attest. Brown's achievement is not novel. His type of Republican has been elected governor in Massachusetts three or four times in the last 18 years by the real "majority party" - which is the "unenrolled" independents who are 1 and 1/2 times the size of Democrats in number among registered voters and tower over the Republicans of whom less than 12 per cent are registered as such. CounterPuncher Steve Early, a labor organizer in the state wrote to us on Monday that Brown is in the mould of two recent Republican governors of Massachusetts, William Weld, and Paul Celluci, the latter two actually being backed by later Change to Win local affiliates like HERE Local 26 and the Teamsters. These were genial, likeable, clean-cut jocks, presenting themselves to independent voters as a much needed public rebuke to "an increasingly corrupt, arrogant or personally screwed up Beacon Hill clique of Democrats (see recent spate of House and Senate member/leader indictments, jailings, and/or resignations pending trial). A lot of folks, at the moment, are again just plain pissed about the self-serving political class of Democratic Donkeys who run our one-party state, including the now unpopular Obama pre-cursor, Deval Patrick." Because the Democratic majority in the US senate is now reduced to 59, the common prediction is that the Democrats' health reform bill is doomed, since it takes 60 votes to override a filibuster, which the Republicans would mount to kill the bill. More likely is that the insurance companies, (which dictated the basic terms of the "reform" and stands to gain millions of new customers who will be forced by law to take out health insurance), will be loath to throw away months of successful lobbying and will dictate some new "compromise" that will allow both Republicans and Democrats to claim victory. Obama will delightedly sign any insurance bill landing on his desk bearing the necessary label, "reform". Certainly Coakley's resounding defeat is grim news for Democratic politicians limbering up for the midterm elections this coming fall. The parallel is with the midterms of 1994, when voters, furious at the bumbling failures of Clinton's first to years, handed both the senate and the house to Republicans for the first time in decades. Obama has caused fury and disillusion across the spectrum. The nutball right bizarrely portrays him as a mutant offspring of the Prophet Mohammed and Karl Marx, demonstrating that cretinism flows more strongly than ever in Uncle Sam's bloodstream. The Republican small business crowd tremble at the huge deficits. The independents see no trace of the invigorating change pledged by Obama. Working people in the labor unions who supplied the footsoldiers for Obama's campaign see no improvement in their economic condition. Everyone knows that Obama is the champion of bankers, not bankrupts. The liberals morosely list twelve months of disasters, from a wider war in Afghanistan, to major betrayals of pledges to restore constitutional restrains after eight years of abuse by Bush and Cheney. Obama richly deserves the rebuke from Massachusetts. Armed with a nation's fervent hopes a year ago, he spurned the unrivalled opportunity offered by economic crisis to do what he pledged: usher in substantive change. He's done exactly the opposite - Wall Street has been given the green light to continue with business as usual. The stimulus package was far too weak. The opportunity for financial reform has passed. Trillions will be wasted in Afghanistan. A final note on Coakley. She rose to political prominence by peculiarly vicious grandstanding as a prosecutor, winning a conviction of 19-year old child minder Louise Woodward for shaking a baby to death. An outraged judge later freed Woodward, reducing her sentence to less than a year of time served. Then Coakley went after headlines in child abuse cases. Innocent people are still rotting in prison as a consequence of Coakley's misuse of her office. For this alone, regardless of the setback the Democrats richly deserved, I rejoice in her humiliation. --------18 of 22-------- Which Side of Massachusetts Were You On and Why? Class and Party Differences By MARY LYNN CRAMER CounterPunch January 20, 2010 While I was in the shower last night, I heard on my portable radio that Martha Coakley called Scott Brown to congratulate him on winning the Massachusetts Senate race. The right-wing talk shows I dropped in on were the first to announce it, and were madly celebrating while the "progressive" pundits on WBUR were still arguing over whether Martha or the White House should be blamed if she lost. (Coakley reportedly "leaked" a memo to Politico yesterday blaming Obama). The only similarity between the liberal and the conservative radio commentators was their ignoring the fact that this was a referendum on the Democrats' health insurance reform, as much as it was a referendum on Obama's trail of broken promises, and billionaire bailouts, and unemployment. I don't think the outcome of this election had much to do with who Martha Coakley is or what she believes. Most of those Brown supporters who called into local conservative talk shows said she was probably a "nice woman". But, when Scott Brown said he'd trash the current health insurance reform proposal and start all over with a real health care reform plan, many people, regardless of party affiliation, thought that sounded great even though they were not thrilled with the fact that he supports expanding the slaughter in Afghanistan, fewer taxes on the rich, unregulated financial markets, and still others are afraid of what he really thinks about women's right to abortion. Election day, local news announcers also agreed that Massachusetts had remarkable voter turnout. It was raining and sleeting; snow drifts several feet high, slush and black ice covered the sidewalks and streets of my town. People who would usually not venture out on a day like this - like the elderly women in my housing project - were on their way to the polls. There was a remarkable difference I noticed in the appearance of the Brown and Coakley supporters lining the streets near town hall and other polling stations. On one side of the avenue were the Coakley supporters: mostly middle-aged; well-dressed in attractive winter coats, boots and hats; supporting enormous and colorful "Martha" signs, smiling and chatting with passers by. On the other side of the avenue, were the Brown supporters, mostly older women (some elderly from the subsidized housing project now facing hugh increases in their 2010 Medicare premiums and drug costs), wearing headscarves and old coats or jackets, determinedly wading out into the slushy street with little, often homemade, "Scott" signs. Further down, at the major traffic intersection, there were two young men in denim jackets and blue jeans holding relatively small "Scott" signs on one corner, while their well shod opposition on the other corner struggled to keep extremely large "Martha" posters from carrying them off the curb. I wondered how two young guys got the afternoon off from work; but maybe they were unemployed. As I walked around my town ("best place to live in Massachusetts" if you are "rich and single" according to one survey), it appeared to me that the class distinctions between the opposing campaigners were visible. This election was a referendum that brought out people who would normally ignore an off-term election. Was it, as the media has speculated, anger that warmed them up and motivated them to weather the icy rain and sleet? Were those who would usually have stayed home, so fed up they just wanted to let others know that they did not like being ignored and pushed around by politicians who took them for granted in this bluest of the blue states? Eavesdropping on the late night AM talk shows, I have been impressed by the number of callers who said that they had been life-long Democrats, but this time they were voting Republican. In fact many said they didn't usually call up conservative radio show hosts. There is also a noticeable class and occupational difference in the audience of those who call up the late night AM radio shows (more truck drivers), and those who call into NPR talk shows, like "On Point" for example. Personally, I have no doubt that if the Republicans held power in the White House and were the majority in Congress, they would do much the same as the Democrats have done. (Comparing Obama and Bush policies makes that crystal clear.) After all, they are paid for by the same corporate interests, befriended by the same lobbyists, and both parties know who they need to represent to get re-elected - and it ain't the people I saw standing in the streets today. Clearly one has to have the big bucks to run for US Senate in the first place, and Scott Brown is no man of the people (or, at least, not of the people I know). In spite of his everyman's truck symbol, Brown is reported to own at least five different pieces of valuable real estate - and no one wins without the party's deep financial pockets and the party's friends who write the big checks. The Republicans would probably not have been able to bail out all their wealthy friends, expand the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, cut funding to Medicare (which has already happened), and facilitate elimination of jobs, wages and benefits from union contracts, etc., etc. in quite the same bold and audacious manner that our Irish-African American President has been able to pull off. People would have been on to them immediately and protesting loudly in much larger numbers than "progressives" have been able to mobilize. No, the very unique Obama magic would not have been available to disguise the loyal opposition's goals as it has for the current administration (even though their goals are identical to Obama's). Now we will see if Scott Brown remembers his threatened promise to dump the current health reform proposals and start from scratch. Or will he conveniently forget this idea when faced with the power of the largest health insurance and pharmaceutical industries in the world that strongly back that highly profitable health insurance mandate proposed? He would not be the first to go back on his word once victorious, right? Or will he have to face this test at all? Some predict swift passage of the health insurance overhaul plan that is on the Senate table right now, as the Dems will want to get Obama's health insurance legislation passed before Brown takes his seat. If, after Brown takes his seat, we see the inevitable process of business as usual (you know what I mean) the enforced health insurance rip-off goes through, more bail outs and less regulation for Wall Street, increased military spending; pollution and unemployment continue with no remedy; Guantanamo, military contractor crimes, and secret CIA prisons continue; civil rights and human rights are even more compromised, and Obama moves on to attack Social Security and bring it down in the same way he is cutting up Medicare - then will all those people who usually don't get involved come out onto the streets again? Will those from both sides of the avenue get together this time? Really, what will it take?! PS: The morning after: Independent pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that those who oppose Obama's health insurance proposal voted overwhelmingly for Scott Brown; those in favor of it, voted for Coakley (WBZ AM Radio, Boston). My town went 65 per cent for Coakley. Mary Lynn Cramer, MA, MSW, LICSW, has a background in history of economic thought and bilingual clinical social work, as well as personal experience dealing with Health Reform fallout and increased Medicare premiums. She can be reached at mllynn2 [at] yahoo.com --------19 of 22-------- Don't Waste Your Vote! Why I Voted for the Republican in Massachusetts By JOHN V. WALSH January 20, 2010 CounterPunch "Get off your butts," implored Boston Democrat Mayor "Mumbles" Menino. Thus spake the inarticulate mayor at the desperate rally featuring Barack Obama last Sunday before the special Senate election in Massachusetts. Mumbles was savvy enough to recognize that the Democratic base in Massachusetts, the only state to vote for George McGovern, was deeply disappointed in Obama and the Democrats. Why did I vote for Republican Scott Brown? It took some persuasion. In the end it was my Democratic Party friends and activists who convinced me. Let me explain. It was clear that the special Senate election in Massachusetts was a referendum on Obama and the Democrats who control the entire federal government - Congress and the Presidency. I must admit that my first instinct was to vote for a third Party candidate, a Libertarian. (There was no Green or other independent in this race.) After all, the Libertarian, a guy named Kennedy, agreed with me on opposition to wars and empire and in support of civil liberties. In contrast I knew damned well that when push came to shove the Republicrat candidates would be on the other side on all these issues - no matter what they said now in the heat of the campaign and desperate for votes. And of course all three candidates were against single-payer health care, a passion of this writer for twenty some years. So my first instinct was to vote for the Libertarian and get someone who agreed with me 70 per cent of the time versus 0 per cent. Would I not risk the failure of the Obama health care bill if the Democrat did not win? But I do not want the Obama health care bill to succeed. It is little other than a formula for permanently handing our entire health care system over to the sector of finance capital known as the insurance industry, for taxing decent health care plans and for putting off to the indefinite future comprehensive, egalitarian, universal health care. Dr. Marcia Angel, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and long-time crusader for single-payer, has taken the position that it would be far better to have no new law than the Obamanation known as the Democrat Party "health care reform". I agree with her on that, and so do many of my colleagues in Physicians for a National Health Program, although that is not our official position. So on the issue of health care, it made little difference which candidate I would vote for. But why then not stick with the Libertarian? Why vote Republican? This is where my Democrat Party friends came in. Whenever I went to vote for Nader or a Green, they would explain that I was wasting my vote on a third Party candidate. Was I not doing the same here by voting Libertarian? Suddenly I realized that the Democrats were right. If I wanted to protest the lies of the Obmacrats and "send a message" to the Democrat Party elite, I should not waste my vote on the Libertarian. And so they convinced me to vote Republican. And so Scott Brown, the Republican, won in Massachusetts with my vote and that of many others pissed off at the betrayal of the Democrats. Of course the Democratic operatives are now blaming the disconsolate and bewildered loser, Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley, for running a "poor campaign". But in what did the poverty of her effort consist? She merely assumed that the Democratic voters and the independents here in Mass who are by and large a pretty progressive lot had nowhere else to go. They had to vote for her, and so she did not need to campaign very hard after the primary. The Democrats were mightily surprised on this score. She is not to blame, but the Democrat Party assumption that they can take progressives for granted is very much to blame for this humiliating defeat. I began to understand that something was afoot in this campaign when I noticed many folks out in the traffic circles and on street corners in Central Massachusetts, in and about Worcester, holding signs for Brown, even in the snow and sleet. There was no such enthusiasm for Coakley - not a single sign holder did I see. Now let me explain the demographics a bit. Central Mass is blue collar country, suffering deeply from the unemployment of the current recession. It is not clueless about bailouts for the banksters but no job creation for the hoy polloi - the policy of Bush/Obama. And it was Central Mass that delivered a very big margin for Republican Brown who posed as a populist and captured their vote. I vote not in central Massachusetts but in overwhelmingly and conventionally liberal Cambridge, but even there little enthusiasm for Democrat Coakley was evident. She had only taken a position against the Obama wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan when forced to do so by a primary opponent. There were no signs for Coakley at my polling place very close to Harvard Square. The peace constituency of Cambridge, in the words of the venerable "Mumbles" Menino, was voting with its butt which remained quite inert. After voting Republican with some satisfaction at having not wasted my protest vote, I told a young student coming out of the polling place with me that I was so angry with the Democrats and Obama that I had voted Republican, remaining a bit unsure whether I should have gone the Libertarian route. He said that he felt the same way but voted Democrat anyway. He confessed that he was now having voter's remorse. So Massachusetts has delivered a warning to the Democrat Party. Do not take the peace vote or the jobless vote for granted. We want peace and we want jobs and we want decent affordable health care. If you do not deliver, we will go elsewhere. We will not vote for you. We will vote the other Party in protest. Or we will stay home and vote with our butts. John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com --------20 of 22-------- The Results Are in: Massachusetts Chooses Tweedledum over Tweedledee! by Ron Jacobs January 20th, 2010 Dissident Voice I live almost a thousand miles from Massachusetts, but watched the special election for Senate there with interest. It's not that I am convinced that the Democrats are better than the GOP. In fact, I actually believe that there is very little difference in the ultimate product either major party puts out there. No matter who wins, the result is more war, less money for most of us, and lots more money for the already wealthy. So, no, I don't think there is a lot of difference between the two parties. However, there does seem to be some difference between their backers. Besides their traditional base among the monied classes, the GOP tends to attract socially reactionary religious fundamentalists and angry middle class people who are responding to a perceived loss of entitlement. I say perceived not because many of these folks haven't lost their previously comfortable life, but because they honestly believed that they were entitled to it, when the fact is that version of the American Dream was never meant to last. Not to mention that for many of those folks it was built on debt encouraged by Madison Avenue and greedy banks. At any rate, this voting populace tends to consider themselves the majority in the United States. I don't have figures to prove whether or not this is true, but it is probably safe to say that they constitute a majority of those who consistently vote. Why? Probably because their vote actually means something to them, having been fundamental in electing a number of right wing politicians over the fast forty years. So, even if they do not constitute an actual majority, their voting practices have been crucial to the nation's recent history. Mainstream pundits write about the anger of the voter. They point to the over-hyped phenomenon of the Tea-Partiers as proof. Some left-oriented writers speculate about the possibility of organizing these Tea-Partiers, looking at them as somehow be crucial to the future. Here in North Carolina, these folks constitute a vocal element of the populace. They make lots of noise, hold signs with veiled (and not so veiled) references to Barack Obama's skin tone and carry their guns. If they represent a potentially leftist upsurge, I'm not seeing it. What I see, instead, is an angry group of people whose understanding of the political system in the capitalist US fails to see the fundamental fact of that system: the government works for the corporations. Plain and simple. This is a fundamental economic base for fascism. This fact is underscored by the ever-expanding war budget in the United States and, most recently, by the mutation of the desire for universal health care into a government-enforced insurance system that funnels consumer money into the bank accounts of some of the largest financial institutions in the world - the insurance companies. Although Tea-Partiers do have it right when they oppose the current health care legislation, the fact is, they opposed any type of government involvement in health care. Their solution of completely private insurance is no solution at all. The fact that these are the two choices presented does makes my point. The government works for the corporations. No matter what happens - Obama's health care bill or the Tea-Partiers status quothe - insurance companies win. Do the voters of Massachusetts honestly believe electing Scott Brown will change the way the system is run? I am friends with a dozen or so folks who consider themselves part of this movement. Most of them are retired. Almost all of them are reasonably well off. They travel when they want and a couple of them own two homes. They all worked for what they have and were able to get where they are with that work and a little bit of luck. However, there are many more US residents who have worked just as hard that have not nearly as much to show for it. Their interests are not represented by the Tea-Partiers, the GOP, or the Democrats. Despite this, it's hard to convince most people that this is the case. Almost everyone seems to think that one of these groups represents them. Even if it's only the one that places itself opposite the one that doesn't. Is the tea-party movement as big as FoxNews would like us to believe? Is it capable of changing the face of Congress to reflect its anger and scapegoating? Is it a rising fascist movement? The answer to the first question seems to be a pretty firm no. The Tea Party rally held on November 12, 2009 in Washington, DC was originally reported to number between 500,000 and a million. Re-estimates by a number of partisan and non-partisan sources have reduced that number to 250,000 at most. While this is a substantial number, it is probably not enough to create any popular groundswell towards right wing populists taking over the Congress. The question as to whether it represents a rising fascist movement requires a more complex answer. Certain elements of this movement do share various racial and nativist prejudices with various neo-Nazi and other fascist movements. In fact, these latter groups make no bones about their attempts to attract attendees at these rallies to their organizations. However, like the fringe groups of the left that appear at antiwar and other protests organized by leftists, their appeal is quite limited. It seems safe to say that the largest beneficiary of the tea-party movement will be the GOP. Indeed, according to the Tea Party Patriot website, most Tea-Partiers have decided not to go the third party route, but will work to "revive" the GOP. Very important is the role of the tea-party's political, corporate and intellectual sponsors. FoxNews is foremost among these sponsors. If the antiwar movement had a media outlet with the reach of FoxNews hyping its cause, all of the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq would be home by now. This media source provides what is essentially free advertising for those politicians and groups going after the angry voter that leans right. The Tea-Party's corporate sponsors in the financial and insurance industry also help the Tea-Party organization function. Sure, there is a grassroots aspect to the movement, but it is the corporate money and FoxNews publicity that has made the movement most of what it is. Is there a possibility that some of the angry voters who voted for Republican Scott Brown would consider a progressive third party? Perhaps. More likely, however, is that these angry voters will merely vote for the party not in power, expressing their anger while ensuring more of the same. This is not so much the fault of the angry voters as it is the failure of the Left to organize a left opposition that does not include the Democrats. The only choice most voters see is Tweedledee and Tweedledum. So, the revolving door of rule by the wealthy continues. Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. His most recent novel Short Order Frame Up is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625 [at] charter.net. --------21 of 22-------- Obama Needs a Major Course Correction to Excite Voters by Kevin Zeese Dissident Voice January 20th, 2010 First Step: Re-make the White House to get on the right side of corporate elites vs. the people Second: Make challenging corporate power the 2010 election year issue The Democrats are on the wrong side of a battle between big business elites and voters. If they stay on the side of the elites Massachusetts will not be the final defeat they suffer. President Obama needs a rapid and major first-year course correction. He needs to learn from the Massachusetts senate race and two gubernatorial defeats in New Jersey and Virginia last year. The lessons: stop taking progressive voters for granted and make challenging corporate cronyism a top priority. Obama campaigned in all three states; the results three Democratic defeats. The magic has worn off Obama's elegant eloquence. People are seeing his policies are not "change" but a continuation of corporate domination. Rather than challenging the corporate cronies who pay off politicians with campaign donations, the Democrats are rewarding them. Corporate power dominates every issue whether it is war and militarism, Wall Street bailouts and health care, housing and jobs - corporate power rules in Washington, DC. The Democrats have turned off their voting base. In all three elections the reason for defeat was turnout. People who voted for Obama in 2008 stayed home in 2009 and 2010. Unlike Republicans, who work to excite their base with red meat, right wing issues, the Democrats take their base for granted assuming they have no where else to go. Now they are paying a price, but the price will get higher if they do not learn the obvious lessons from these three elections: excite your base, challenge big business and demonstrate the change in direction by re-making the White House. Where should Obama start? He should start with his first appointment, the White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel embodies corporate power; the former head of the corporate Democratic Leadership Council has been a corporate, militarist Democrat throughout his career and his politics have cost the Democratic Party repeatedly. He was the architect of NAFTA in 1993, resulting in unions staying home in 1994 and the Democrats losing 54 House seats. As anti-war sentiment raged in 2006, Emanuel, then head of the DCCC, recruited pro-war Democrats. The result, only nine of his hand picked 22 candidates won almost costing the Democrats the majority in a year they should have won a landslide. His unimpressive track record has continued with the Dems going 0 for 3 since Obama took office. Keep Emanuel in the leadership and 2010 will be a Democratic Party disaster. He is wrong on the issues because of his personal and corporate connections. Emanuel is the bankers lobby favorite. He was the top recipient of donations from hedge funds, private equity, investment and securities firms when he served in Congress. Personally, he earned $18 million in 2.5 years between government jobs at a hedge fund firm. He served on the board of Freddie Mac from 2000-2001 when its decision making helped bring on the housing crisis. It is no surprise that health care reform turned into an insurance company giveaway, while banking reform is giving Wall Street everything it wants and the foreclosure crisis continues unabated. Emanuel is also a hawk. His father was an Irgun terrorist for Zionists. Emanuel volunteered for the Israeli Defense Forces during the first Gulf War while serving in Congress. He endorsed Obama after the candidate gave a hawkish, pro-Israel speech before the right-wing Israeli lobby, AIPAC, and then introduced Obama to their executive board of major donors. In 2006, when the Democrats won with a mandate to end the war Emanuel made sure ending the war was off the table. It is not surprising he is chief of staff of a White House that has broken all war spending records and has escalated militarism around the globe. He gained notoriety during the health care debate when he essentially said - take liberal legislators for granted. Emanuel's strategy to get 60 votes in the Senate was bring the left of center Democrats on early to generate enthusiasm, then turn on them to woo conservatives in the end game. Newly elected Scott Brown began to overtake Coakley when he said he would be the vote that stopped health care. Opposing the Insurance Enrichment Act, aka health care reform, began to turn the election around for Brown. The White House took the most popular reform, single payer health care, Medicare for All, off the table and then proceeded to craft a bill that did more for insurance and pharmaceutical corporations then it did for reforming health care. In his book "The Plan," Emanuel urges Democrats not to pursue universal health care or real reform. He is so out of touch with the needs of Americans that he merely urged the expansion of the S-CHIP program. With Emanuel representing the White House in health care negotiations, and Obama holding press conferences with corporate interests, real reform was off the table. Removing Rahm would be a first step toward a much need re-making of the White House. The Obama national security and economic teams are filled with appointees who need to be replaced: General Petraeus, General Jones, General McChrystal, Bill Gates, Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geitner to name a few. It is time to clean house, re-start and set a new direction more consistent with Obama's promise to change the way Washington, DC does business, i.e. stop caving in to the corporate power that dominates the Democratic and Republican parties. It is time for the Democrats to put the people's necessities ahead of their donor's profits. Of course, the problem in the end is not Rahm Emanuel or the other Obama appointees, it is Obama himself. Obama has surrounded himself with corporatists so he needs to reach outside the White House to get a clear reading of the mood of the country. The White House became a corporate bubble in Obama's first year. Now it needs to be popped. From his appointees he will hear the corporate message - work with Republicans, support corporate solutions, don't rock the boat - the recipe that resulted in three Democratic losses, so far. Last year President Obama told a meeting of Blue Dogs that he is a New Democrat - this is the language for the discredited DLC. (As Black Agenda Report has written, Obama was listed as a member of the DLC but his name was removed from the roster as he began to run for office.) He consistently puts pleasing recalcitrant right-wing Republicans ahead of exciting his left of center base. If he wants to really bring hope and change to Washington he needs to put his voting base, not his donor base, first. He needs to become a progressive populist. Obama is going to have to make a decision to set a new direction for his presidency or be a weak and unsuccessful president. He needs to really challenge corporate power, rally the people and make real reform the 2010 election year issue. These three early elections should teach him that financial support from corporations is insufficient; indeed being tied to the dollars of corporate elites is a recipe for defeat. . Obama can change course to a successful presidency or continue on the failed path he is currently on. But to do so he needs to recognize the urgency of now within his own White House and get on the side of the people. Kevin Zeese is the executive director of the Campaign for Fresh Air & Clean Politics whose projects include VotersForPeace.US, ProsperityAgenda.US, GlobalClimateSecurity.org and TrueVote.US. He is also a member of the board of Velvet Revolution. --------22 of 22-------- The Challenge Coakley or Poopsi? Mass pissed on voters rightly preferred Poop to Coke. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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