Progressive Calendar 03.09.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2010 04:57:17 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   03.09.10

1. Digital inclusion  3.09 8am
2. Propaganda 2010    3.09 5pm
3. Conversation       3.09 6:30pm
4. Amnesty Intl       3.09 7pm
5. Rainforest film    3.09 7pm
6. Philippines 2010   3.09 7pm
7. Drinking Greenly   3.09 7pm

8. Alliant vigil      3.10 7am
9. Anthropocene       3.10 12noon
10. Women/water/poems 3.10 5:30pm

11. Shamus Cooke - The fight to save public education
12. Chris Floyd  - Breaking the fever of militarism
13. Bill Quigley - 15 reasons for a revolution/ When silence is betrayal
14. Chris Hedges - Calling all rebels
15. - Dem party's plan to THROW the next couple elections

--------1 of 15--------

From: wassenaar [at]
Subject: Digital inclusion 3.09 8am

Saint Paul will be represented at this event in DC with an Alex Kurt, an
AmeriCorps member who works at Rondo Library making a presentation to
Congress and the FCC!  It would be great for people in Saint Paul who care
about equity, economic development and education to come to this event in

America's Digital Inclusion Summit
Working Together To Expand Opportunity
 Through Universal Broadband Access
Tuesday, March 9th from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Please join us for a Webcast followed by a Community Conversation at the
Maplewood Performing Arts Theatre, 2100 White Bear Avenue, Maplewood, MN

Join the Federal Communications Commission and the John S. and James L.
Knight Foundation for an overview of the recommendations in the FCC's
National Broadband Plan meant to ensure that all Americans are included in
the broadband era. As the FCC prepares to deliver the Plan to Congress on
March 17th, hear perspectives from Chairman Genachowski, members of
Congress, Knight Foundation President & CEO Alberto Ibarg├╝en and people
from across the country that have benefited from broadband. Help create
solutions that drive broadband adoption for all Americans.

Live at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC
Videocast at the FCC Commission Room, 445 12th SW, Washington DC
Webcast at the Maplewood Performing Arts Theatre, 2100 White Bear Avenue,
Maplewood, MN

Please register for the event at:

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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Propaganda 2010 3.09 5pm

Lovely St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 3/9 @ 5pm & midnight + Wed, 3/10, 10am
"21st Century Propaganda"

Longtime writer and media analyst Jeff Nygaard ( and Our
World in Depth co-producer Eric Angell discuss the history of propaganda
and analyze how it is being used in the United States.  Also: the crisis
in American journalism.  Hosted by Karen Redleaf.

--------3 of 15--------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Conversation 3.09 6:30pm

This Tuesday is just conversation.  I bet ya'all have some slant on
certain subjects in the world.  So, come and share or just to listen to

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

--------4 of 15--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 3.09 7pm

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

For a map, directions, and more info on Common Roots Cafe, visit their web

--------5 of 15--------

From: Madeline Gardner <maddyjean [at]>
Subject: Rainforest film 3.09 7pm

Film Showing at St. Thomas - Students for Justice and Peace present
"GREEN" <>

"Her name is Green, she is alone in a world that doesn't belong to her. She
is a female orang-utan, victim of deforestation and resource exploitation.

This film is an emotional journey with Green's final days. It is a visual
ride presenting the treasures of rainforest biodiversity and the devastating
impacts of logging and land clearing for palm oil plantations"

Watch the film and learn how you can get involved in RAN's campaign to hold
General Mills accountable to sustainable palm oil!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
7:00pm - 9:00pm
University of St. Thomas: Owen Science Hall (OWS) Lecture Room 150
2115 Summit Avenue, St. Paul

Madeline Gardner skype: madeline.gardner (612) 807-0981

--------6 of 15--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Philippines 2010 3.09 7pm

Walden Bello: "A Constitutional Crisis in the Making: the Philippines and
the 2010 Elections"
Tuesday, March 9, 7:00 p.m. United Theological Seminary of the Twin
Cities, Room 209, 3000 Fifth Street Northwest, New Brighton.

Walden Bello is a human rights and peace activist, author, academic,
political analyst, and recently a politician. He is the Akbayan
representative in the 14th Congress of the Philippines; professor of
sociology at the University of the Philippines; co-founder and executive
director of the Global South (a policy research institute based in
Bangkok). He is a board member of Food First, The International Forum on
Globalization, Transnational Institute, etc. Free and open to the public.
Light refreshments provided.

Sponsored by: Philippine Study Group of Minnesota (PSGM). Endorsed by: the
WAMM Middle East Committee. FFI: Call Meg Layese/Paul Bloom, 651-646-1985
or Jo Fernandez/Ely Fernandez, 763-780-9020.

--------7 of 15--------

From: "aleric [at]" <aleric [at]>
Subject: Drinking Greenly 3.09 7pm

The inaugural Eastside Minneapolis (to keep it within biking distance
of my house) Drinking Verdantly (the Green Version of 'Drinking
Liberally') will be on Tuesday March 9th, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at
Diamond's Coffee Shoppe (which also has a good selection of bottled

Please get the word out, and feel free to invite anyone interested in
discussing Eastside issues (North and South) and Green Politicks (and
possibly a better name for the event).

- Eric Gilbertson Northeast Minneapolis

--------8 of 15--------

From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at]>
Subject: Alliant vigil 3.10 7am

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

--------9 of 15--------

From: Institute on the Environment <danie419 [at]>
Subject: Anthropocene 3.10 12noon

The Institute on the Environment's spring 2010 Frontiers lecture series is
now underway. Join us each Wednesday for a presentation and Q&A session,
followed by a casual get-together in the IonE Commons. The lectures also
air live on the Web.

3/10 - Engaging Audiences in the Anthropocene

Speaker: Patrick Hamilton, Director of Environmental Sciences and
Earth-System Science, Science Museum of Minnesota

We live in a world being thoroughly reconfigured by human activity. Humans
cumulatively have set in motion global changes that will reverberate for
millennia. The term Anthropocene is being used to describe this new
geologic epoch in Earth history, where humans are the dominant agents of
planetary change. Global change scientific research is evolving rapidly,
but the U.S. public's awareness of and concern about global environmental
issues has not kept pace, hindering the formulation of corrective societal
actions. How might scientific and informal education institutions work
together to help advance how solutions to pressing environmental problems
are communicated and discussed by citizens and decision makers?

Lectures take place Wednesdays, noon to 1 p.m, in IonE Seminar Room 380,
VoTech Bldg., St. Paul campus. All lectures are free, no registration
required, and also air live on the Web.

See the Frontiers page
( for more
details, including links to the live broadcast and archived presentations.

--------10 of 15--------

From: Doris Marquit <marqu001 [at]>
Subject: Women/water/poems 3.10 5:30pm

This Wednesday, at the Nash Gallery (East Bank, U of M, 405 21st Ave. S.)
Minnesota women poets will read their original poems inspired by water.
This promises to be an unusual & delightful event in the series of
successful programs associated with the record-breaking Exhibit: "Women &
Water Rights: Rivers of Regeneration" now ongoing. See for other related programs & events.

Wednesday March 10, 5:30-8 pm.
Katherine E. Nash Gallery
Poets reading include well-known (Carol Connolly, Maureen Skelly, Susu
Jeffrey, and others) and new talents.

Sponsors of the Exhibition and Related Events, running until March 25, are
The Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, the Women's Caucus
for Art, and the U of M Department of Art.

--------11 of 15--------

The Bad Teacher Ruse
The Fight to Save Public Education
March 8, 2010

March 4 was historic. It will be remembered as the day that people began
to fight back against the destruction of public education. The student and
teacher led offensive took place in cities across the country; teachers,
students and school workers demonstrated and marched, showcasing the
aggressive methods of the struggle. San Francisco led the way with the
biggest numbers. As many as 15,000 people, mostly students, teachers and
social service workers attended a Civic Center rally organized by the
three teachers unions and the San Francisco Labor Council.

This can only be the beginning. The war on public education has been
carefully planned for years, orchestrated by corporate interests and
implemented by Republicans and Democrats alike.

The first battle tactic against public education was to starve it.
Politicians have consistently lowered taxes on corporations and the rich
for the past three decades, thereby lowering state revenues that have
created the budget crises in nearly every state. Consequently, public
education is in a state of shell shock.

After being under nourished for years, public education is now under full
attack, and the blue prints for this "shock and awe"" campaign have
changed only slightly, from Bush's No Child Left Behind to Obama's more
savage Race to the Top (both plans badly misuse the English language).

Bush's plan further undermined public education: schools were labeled as
"failures" and teachers were targeted as "incompetent". Obama's plan
knocks down the pins set up by Bush; Race to the Top rewards states for
shutting down public schools and opening up charter schools, many of which
are private, and by firing teachers en masse.
 Both these steps are considered "progress" by
anti-public education advocates (arch-conservative Newt Gingrich is on a
national tour to promote the plan).

Race to the Top is a competition between states to kill public education:
the states that massacre schools and teacher unions most efficiently and
ruthlessly are given desperately needed federal funding, while the losers
are given sadistic examples of how to earn the President's praise. Obama
spoke highly of the recent mass firing of every teacher in a Rhode Island
school, an incident that other school districts will be pressured to
imitate if they want Race to the Top money. When this happens - and it
will - a fundamental question must be answered: do the union contracts of
teachers mean anything to the President? And if teachers cannot be
protected by their contracts, cannot this be extended to other fields of
labor? These questions answer themselves, and have gigantic implications
for the U.S. labor movement.  [Oh no! Not our dear divine hope and change
angel! Oh oh how *could* he? There must be some mistake... -ed]

It is no coincidence that the "finalists" for the Race to the Top are
states that have the most brutal anti-union records: most of the finalists
are from the anti-union South. Louisiana and Illinois are finalists - two
states that have made the most "progress" in shutting down public schools
and replacing them with private charter schools - while having fired
teachers en masse.

Who are replacing these fired teachers in the newly opened charter
schools? Not qualified or certified teachers. Companies like Teach for
America are springing up to fill the demand of low cost, non-union
teachers. Teach for America is a "non-profit" company - with an operating
budget of over $73.5 million - that offers only five weeks of training
before one becomes a teacher. No background in teaching is necessary.

Although companies like these are touted as "elite" institutions, The New
York Times admits that "so far, both merit-pay efforts and programs that
recruit a more-elite teaching corps, like Teach for America, have thin
records of reliably improving student learning". (March 2, 2010).

In Chicago, charter schools need only 50 percent of their teachers to be
certified, while no charter school teacher is allowed to belong to the
Chicago Teachers Union.

Drill sergeants are also replacing certified teachers. In Chicago, shut
down public schools have been re-opened as military recruiting centers;
five military high schools and 21 military middle schools are now in
operation. This was done under the watchful eye of Obama's Secretary of
Education, Arne Duncan - no doubt achieved in anticipation of the
expanding wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the need to fulfill
recruiters' quotas.

Oddly, the national discussion over why students are testing poorly has
been ridiculously crude, if not outright dumb. Both politicians and the
media have focused the blame exclusively on teachers. No attention is
given to the fact that so-called failing schools have been bled dry of
funding. It is impossible for a teacher to succeed when there is not
enough money to buy books for all the students or when classes are
overcrowded, especially in schools that have students with special needs.

Poverty, and the countless social ills born from it, are the obvious
reasons why students perform poorly (high income schools are never labeled
as "failures"). By ignoring this glaring fact, politicians reveal
themselves to have ulterior motives. And just like the "war on terror"
benefited profit-hungry oil and weapons companies, the war on education
has a host of corporations clamoring for an increase in hostilities.

To make clear that the war on education is just beginning, Obama revealed
that Race to the Top is only in its first stage: the schools that don't
win - by failing to close enough schools or firing enough teachers - will
have more chances in the future. Obama's Education Secretary explains: "We
want to come back round after round. We'd love to see this four, five, six
years out . just keep growing it.. (New York Times, (March 5, 2010).  Of
course, the more Race to the Top grows, the more that public education

Killing public education benefits corporations in two ways:

1) rich investors have new ways to make profitable investments (something
incredibly important to them during a recession).

2) Destroying public education allows for more public money to bail out
banks and expand war. The deficit created by pursuing these pro-corporate
policies is being paid for by cutting education, Social Security, and

These are the real reasons behind the attack on public education. All the
stupid hype behind "bad teachers" is a cheap ruse to obscure the debate.
But to achieve their plan, the corporate elite must remove a long-hated
obstacle: teachers' unions.

This makes the national protest day on March 4th all the more relevant.
Teachers' unions are waking up to the corporate-inspired attack. If
organized, teachers are an incredibly powerful social force: they are
highly respected by the community, have strong connections to parents, and
most importantly, if they do not work, neither do many parents.

Teachers perform a dual role of educating and daycare; their value to
society is incredibly high. March 4th was the first time teacher unions
organized with students, parents and public service workers to demand more
money for education and social services. If they continue to do this, the
larger community will support them unfailingly.

In San Francisco many of the demonstrators demanded: "Tax the rich to fund
public education". This is indeed a solution that needs to be adopted
nationally, before the economic crisis claims more public schools and
destroys more social services, eliminating even more jobs.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for
Workers Action (  He can be reached at
shamuscook [at]

--------12 of 15--------

Breaking the Fever of Militarism
Unnatural Acts
March 8, 2010

All who draw the sword will die by the sword.
-- Yeshua Ha-Notsri, Palestinian dissident, c. 33 CE.

As we all know - or rather, as everyone but those who climb and claw their
way to the top of power's greasy pole knows - the effects of war are vast,
unforeseeable, long-lasting - and uncontrollable. The far-reaching
ripples of the turbulence will churn against distant shores and hidden
corners, then roil back upon you in ways you could never imagine, for
generations, even centuries.

Nor is "victory" in war proof against these deleterious effects. For the
brutalization, moral coarsening, corruption and concentration of elite
power that attend every war do not simply disappear from a society when
the fighting stops. They persist, like microbes, in myriad forms, working
with slow, corrosive force to degrade and deform the victors. Indeed,
victory in battle often leads a society to enshrine war's most pernicious
attributes: violence is ennobled, and becomes entrenched as an ever-ready
instrument of national policy. Militarism is exalted, the way of peace
dishonored: cries of "Appeasers! Cowards! Traitors!" greet every approach
that fails to brandish the threat of extreme violence, that fails to "keep
all options on the table."

The apparent "lesson" of victory - that there can be no right without
armed might to win and safeguard it - quickly degenerates into the belief
that armed might is right. Military power becomes equated with moral
worth, and the ability to wreak savage, unimaginable destruction through
armed violence - via thoughtless obedience to the orders of "superiors" -
becomes a cherished attribute of society.

War is no longer seen as a vast, horrific failure of the human spirit, a
scandalous betrayal of our common humanity, a sickening tragedy of
irrevocable loss and inconsolable suffering - although this is its
inescapable reality, even in a "good" war, for a "just" cause. (And of
course no nation or faction has ever gone to war without declaring that
its cause is just.) Instead of lamenting war, and girding for it, if at
all, only in the most dire circumstances, with the most extreme
reluctance, the infected society celebrates it at every turn. No national
occasion - even a sporting event! - is complete without bristling displays
of military firepower, and pious tributes to those wreaking violence
around the world in blind obedience to their superiors.

Oddly enough, when a modern nation consciously adopts a "warrior ethos,"
it casts aside - openly, even gleefully - whatever virtue that ethos has
historically claimed for itself, such as courage in battle and honor
toward adversaries. In its place come the adulation of overwhelming
technological firepower and the rabid demonization of the enemy (or the
perceived enemy, or even the "suspected" enemy), who is stripped of all
rights, all human dignity, and subject to "whatever it takes" to break him
down or destroy him.

Thus our American militarists exult in the advanced hardware that allows
"soldiers" to slaughter people from thousands of miles away, with
missiles, bombs and bullets fired from lurking, unreachable drones high in
the sky. (A recent study shows that even by the most conservative
reckoning of who is or isn't a "militant," at least one third of the
hundreds killed in the Bush-Obama drone campaigns on the "Af-Pak" front
are clearly civilians.) The drone "warriors" - often living in complete
safety and comfort - see nothing but a bloodless image on a screen; they
face no physical threat at all. This is assassination, not combat; it
reeks of cowardice, and dehumanizes everyone it touches, the victims and
the button-pushers alike. Yet our militarists - most of whom, of course,
have somehow never found the time to fight the wars they cheer for - wax
orgasmic about this craven weaponry. In the transvaluation of values that
militarism produces, cowardice becomes a martial virtue.

Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Laureate, pushes forward with plans for the
"Prompt Global Strike" system of "conventional" super-missiles that can
rain down massive death - unstoppable, undeterrable, without warning -
anywhere on the planet within an hour. All this, while expanding
shorter-range missile "defense" systems that bristle with blatantly
offensive potential, and intent, all over the world. Plus spending
billions to "modernize" the nuclear arsenal, ensuring that it stays
effective enough to murder the entire earth, while weeding out some
"redundant" warheads as a PR gesture.

Meanwhile, the drone programs - emblazoned with names that proudly
proclaim their savage nature: "Predators" and "Reapers," launching
"Hellfire" missiles into sleeping villages - keep expanding relentlessly.
As noted by Nick Turse - who is doing invaluable work detailing the
deadly nuts and bolts of the militarist empire and its profiteers - the
Pentagon is drooling over visions of vast robotic forces filling the
heavens and roaming the earth, even down to the smallest crevice. He
rightly notes the main purpose of this massively funded R&D: to make war
"easier," less deadly to "our side," and thus more palatable to the

"This means bigger, badder, faster drones - armed to the teeth - with
sensor systems to monitor wide swathes of territory and the ability to
loiter overhead for days on end waiting for human targets to appear and,
in due course, be vaporized by high-powered munitions. It's a future built
upon advanced technologies designed to make targeted killings -
remote-controlled assassinations - ever more effortless.

"... For the Air Force, such a prospect is the stuff of dreams, a bright
future for unmanned, hypersonic lethality; for the rest of the planet,
it's a potential nightmare from which there may be no waking."

But while Turse outlines this potential nightmare in grim detail, we are
of course beset by present nightmares in horrific plenty. And few are more
chilling than the ruling establishment's astonishingly swift acceptance of
outright torture as an open tool of national policy. This acceptance not
only includes the increasingly frenzied praise and championing of torture
by the circle of war criminals and accomplices led by Dick Cheney; in
slightly more restrained tones, it goes right across the board among the
political and media elite. Torture is now nothing more than a topic for
"debate" - debates which center largely on the relative "effectiveness"
of various torture techniques, or else on mindless (not to mention
heartless) hairsplitting over the meaning of the word "torture."

There is of course a myth that Barack Obama has "ended" the practice of
torture. This is not even remotely true. For one thing, the Army Field
Manual that Obama has adopted as his interrogation standard permits many
practices that any rational person would consider torture. For another, we
have no way of verifying what techniques are actually being used by the
government's innumerable "security" and intelligence agencies, by the
covert units of the military - and by other entities whose very existence
is still unknown. These agencies are almost entirely self-policed; they
investigate themselves, they report on themselves to the toothless
Congressional "oversight" committees; we simply have to take these
organizations - whose entire raison d'etre is deceit, deception,
lawlessness and subterfuge - at their word. And of course, we have no way
of knowing what is being done in the torture chambers of foreign lands
where the United States often "outsources" its captives.

Finally, even if the comforting bedtime story of Obama's ban of torture
techniques in interrogation were true, there remains his ardent
championing of the right to seize anyone on earth - without a warrant,
without producing any evidence whatsoever of wrongdoing - and hold them
indefinitely, often for years on end, in a legal limbo, with no inherent
rights whatsoever, beyond whatever narrowly constricted, ever-changing,
legally baseless and often farcical "hearings" and tribunals the captors
deign to allow them. Incarceration under these conditions is itself an
horrendous act of torture, no matter what else might happen to the
captive. Yet Obama has actively, avidly applied this torture, and has gone
to court numerous times to defend this torture, and to expand the use of
this torture.

Many thousands of innocent people have already been forced through the
meat grinder of this torture - at one point early in the Iraq War, the
Red Cross estimated that 70-90 percent of the more than 20,000 Iraqis
being held by the Americans as "suspected terrorists" were not guilty of
any crime whatsoever, much less 'terrorism'. And that is just a single
snapshot, at a single point in time, of the vast gulag that America has
wrapped around the earth - a gulag where many have been murdered
outright, not just tortured or unjustly imprisoned. And it is still going
on, with scarcely a demur across the bipartisan establishment. The heinous
and dishonorable practice of torture, physical and psychological, is now
an intrinsic, openly established element of American society.

Murder, cowardice, torture, dishonor: these are fruits - and the
distinguishing characteristics - of the militarized society. What
Americans once would not do even to Nazis with the blood of millions on
their hands, they now do routinely to weak and wretched captives seized on
little or no evidence of wrongdoing at all. We are deep in the darkness,
and hurtling deeper, headlong, all the time.


Let's not kid ourselves, however. The militarism that has now gained such
a strangulating ascendancy over American life did not drop down suddenly
from the sky (or arrive on the hijacked bus that Bush and Cheney drove to
the White House). Although this militarism has now reached unprecedented
levels of institutional and political dominance, there has always been a
strong warlike strain running through American history - indeed, through
its pre-history as well, as Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton demonstrate in
their book, Dominion of War, detailing the decisive influence of war and
imperialism on America's development over the past 500 years.

Nor is it a peculiarly American problem. As Caroline Alexander notes in
her excellent new work, The War That Killed Achilles:

"If we took any period of a hundred years in the last five thousand, it
has been calculated, we could expect, on average, 94 of those years to be
occupied with large-scale conflicts in one or more parts of the world.
This enduring, seemingly ineradicable fact of war is ... as intrinsic and
tragic a component of the human condition as our very mortality."

We human beings have been shaped by millions of years of genetic breakage
and mutation, all of which is still on-going. We are compounds of chaos,
ignorance and error. Our psyches are frail and variegated things,
isolated, with each individual consciousness formed from a unique and
ever-shifting coalescence of billions of brain cells firing (and
misfiring) in infinite, unrepeatable combinations. Beneath this electrical
superstructure lie mechanical rhythms and erratic surges of instinct and
impulse, dark, hormonal tides and drives that never reach the plane of

In the infancy of our species we began to cling - fiercely, in fear and
desire - to patterns of behavior, emotion and thought that seemed to
bring some sort of order, some containment of the whirlwind within us, and
some protection from the dangers, known and unknown, that lurked outside.
We began to do "whatever it takes" to preserve these patterns from the
ever-present threat of their dissolution in the whirlwind, to impose them,
by violence if necessary, on the recalcitrant material of reality -
including the always-unknowable, impenetrable reality of the Other, those
mysterious combinations outside our isolated consciousness.

The patterns become ingrained, they sink into the substrate where they
operate unquestioned and unseen, they become "natural," the way that
things must be. Domination and obedience are among the strongest, and most
enduring, of these patterns, taking multitudinous forms - a "local
habitation and a name" - in the ever-changing circumstances of existence.
War is their expression writ large. It is in us, it comes from us.

But to acknowledge war's intrinsic, universal character does not absolve
us of the need to resist it. To say, "Oh, that's just human nature; it's
always been this way and always will be this way," is not only a lazy,
timorous acquiescence to base instinct, it also posits a settled, even
eternal quality to human nature and human consciousness that simply does
not and cannot exist. To go against war, to step outside the ingrained
behavioral patterns of domination and obedience is indeed an "unnatural"
act - and it feels unnatural, it feels strange, and raw, and frightening.
But the deeper fear - of psychic and physical dissolution - that lies at
the foundation of these ever-more destructive patterns can only be faced
down, changed, and wrenched into some more benevolent pattern by embracing
the risk and discomfort of stepping forth, of stepping beyond -
literally, "transgressing" - the boundaries of a wholly imaginary (or
even hallucinatory) "human nature."

The whirlwind that characterizes the imperfect, breaking, misfiring,
evolving reality of human consciousness is not only a producer of (very
understandable) deep-seated fears; it is also a force for liberation.
Because our nature is not ultimately fixed, we can, literally and
figuratively, burn new connections in our brains, we can enlarge our
consciousness and extend our empathetic understanding of those strange
Others. And we have been doing this, in fits and starts, in lurches and
staggers, with much backsliding and many wrong turns - indeed, in
ignorance and error - for as long as we have been creatures cursed and
gifted with self-awareness. We do have the capacity, the space, to resist
the patterns of domination and obedience, to seek out new ways of seeing
the world, of being in the world, of communing with others.

This seems, to me, a worthwhile thing to be getting on with during our
painfully brief time on the earth, during our infinitesimal window of
opportunity to make some small contribution toward pushing the project of
being human - or rather, becoming human - down the road, at least a few
more steps, in the direction of a better understanding, a broader
consciousness, a greater enlightenment.

Chris Floyd is an American writer and frequent contributor to
CounterPunch. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at

--------13 of 15--------

15 Reasons for a Revolution
When Silence is Betrayal
March 8, 2010

It is time for a revolution.  Government does not work for regular people.
It appears to work quite well for big corporations, banks, insurance
companies, military contractors, lobbyists, and for the rich and powerful.
But it does not work for people.

The 1776 Declaration of Independence stated that when a long train of
abuses by those in power evidence a design to reduce the rights of people
to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is the peoples right, in
fact their duty to engage in a revolution.

Martin Luther King, Jr., said forty three years ago next month that it was
time for a radical revolution of values in the United States.  He preached
"a true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness
and justice of many of our past and present policies".  It is clearer than
ever that now is the time for radical change.

Look at what our current system has brought us and ask if it is time for a

Over 2.8 million people lost their homes in 2009 to foreclosure or bank
repossessions - nearly 8000 each day - higher numbers than the last two
years when millions of others also lost their homes.

At the same time, the government bailed out Bank of America, Citigroup,
AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the auto industry and enacted
the troubled asset (TARP) program with $1.7 trillion of our money.

Wall Street then awarded itself over $20 billion in bonuses in 2009 alone,
an average bonus on top of pay of $123,000.

At the same time, over 17 million people are jobless right now.  Millions
more are working part-time when they want and need to be working

Yet the current system allows one single U.S. Senator to stop unemployment
and Medicare benefits being paid to millions.

There are now 35 registered lobbyists in Washington DC for every single
member of the Senate and House of Representatives, at last count 13,739 in
2009.  There are eight lobbyists for every member of Congress working on
the health care fiasco alone.

At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations now
have a constitutional right to interfere with elections by pouring money
into races.

The Department of Justice gave a get out of jail free card to its own
lawyers who authorized illegal torture.

At the same time another department of government, the Pentagon, is
prosecuting Navy SEALS for punching an Iraqi suspect.

The US is not only involved in senseless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and
Pakistan, the U.S. now maintains 700 military bases world-wide and another
6000 in the US and our territories.  Young men and women join the military
to protect the U.S. and to get college tuition and healthcare coverage and
killed and maimed in elective wars and being the world's police. Wonder
whose assets they are protecting and serving?

In fact, the U.S. spends $700 billion directly on military per year, half
the military spending of the entire world - much more than Europe, China,
Russia, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, and Venezuela - combined.

The government and private companies have dramatically increased
surveillance of people through cameras on public streets and private
places, airport searches, phone intercepts, access to personal computers,
and compilation of records from credit card purchases, computer views of
sites, and travel.

The number of people in jails and prisons in the U.S. has risen sevenfold
since 1970 to over 2.3 million.  The US puts a higher percentage of our
people in jail than any other country in the world.

The tea party people are mad at the Republicans, who they accuse of
selling them out to big businesses.

Democrats are working their way past depression to anger because their
party, despite majorities in the House and Senate, has not made
significant advances for immigrants, or women, or unions, or African
Americans, or environmentalists, or gays and lesbians, or civil
libertarians, or people dedicated to health care, or human rights, or jobs
or housing or economic justice.  Democrats also think their party is
selling out to big business.

Forty three years ago next month, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in
Riverside Church in New York City that "a time comes when silence is
betrayal".  He went on to condemn the Vietnam War and the system which
created it and the other injustices clearly apparent.  "We as a nation
must undergo a radical revolution of values.  We must rapidly begin the
shift from a 'thing oriented' society to a 'person oriented' society.
When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are
considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism,
materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered".

Bill Quigley is legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and
a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He can be contacted at
quigley77 [at]

--------14 of 15--------

Calling All Rebels
by Chris Hedges
Monday, March 8, 2010

There are no constraints left to halt America's slide into a totalitarian
capitalism. Electoral politics are a sham. The media have been debased and
defanged by corporate owners. The working class has been impoverished and
is now being plunged into profound despair. The legal system has been
corrupted to serve corporate interests. Popular institutions, from labor
unions to political parties, have been destroyed or emasculated by
corporate power. And any form of protest, no matter how tepid, is blocked
by an internal security apparatus that is starting to rival that of the
East German secret police. The mounting anger and hatred, coursing through
the bloodstream of the body politic, make violence and counter-violence
inevitable. Brace yourself. The American empire is over. And the descent
is going to be horrifying.

Those singled out as internal enemies will include people of color,
immigrants, gays, intellectuals, feminists, Jews, Muslims, union leaders
and those defined as "liberals." They will be condemned as anti-American
and blamed for our decline. The economic collapse, which remains
mysterious and enigmatic to most Americans, will be pinned by demagogues
and hatemongers on these hapless scapegoats. And the random acts of
violence, which are already leaping up around the fringes of American
society, will justify harsh measures of internal control that will snuff
out the final vestiges of our democracy. The corporate forces that
destroyed the country will use the information systems they control to
mask their culpability. The old game of blaming the weak and the marginal,
a staple of despotic regimes, will empower the dark undercurrents of
sadism and violence within American society and deflect attention from the
corporate vampires that have drained the blood of the country.

"We are going to be poorer," David Cay Johnston told me. Johnston was the
tax reporter of The New York Times for 13 years and has written on how the
corporate state rigged the system against us. He is the author of "Free
Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government
Expense and Stick You With the Bill," a book about hidden subsidies,
rigged markets and corporate socialism. "Health care is going to eat up
more and more of our income. We are going to have less and less for other
things. We are going to have some huge disasters sooner or later caused by
our failure to invest. Dams and bridges will break. Buildings will
collapse. There are water mains that are 25 to 50 feet wide. There will be
huge infrastructure disasters. Our intellectual resources are in decline.
We are failing to educate young people and instill in them rigor. We are
going to continue to pour money into the military. I think it is possible,
I do not say it is probable, that we will have a revolution, a civil war
that will see the end of the United States of America."

"If we see the end of this country it will come from the right and our
failure to provide people with the basic necessities of life," said
Johnston. "Revolutions occur when young men see the present as worse than
the unknown future. We are not there. But it will not take a lot to get
there. The politicians running for office who are denigrating the
government, who are saying there are traitors in Congress, who say we do
not need the IRS, this when no government in the history of the world has
existed without a tax enforcement agency, are sowing the seeds for the
destruction of the country. A lot of the people on the right hate the
United States of America. They would say they hate the people they are
arrayed against. But the whole idea of the United States is that we
criticize the government. We remake it to serve our interests. They do not
want that kind of society. They reject, as Aristotle said, the idea that
democracy is to rule and to be ruled in turns. They see a world where they
are right and that is it. If we do not want to do it their way we should
be vanquished. This is not the idea on which the United States was

It is hard to see how this can be prevented. The engines of social reform
are dead. Liberal apologists, who long ago should have abandoned the
Democratic Party, continue to make pathetic appeals to a tone-deaf
corporate state and Barack Obama while the working and middle class are
ruthlessly stripped of rights, income and jobs. Liberals self-righteously
condemn imperial wars and the looting of the U.S. Treasury by Wall Street
but not the Democrats who are responsible. And the longer the liberal
class dithers and speaks in the bloodless language of policies and
programs, the more hated and irrelevant it becomes. No one has discredited
American liberalism more than liberals themselves. And I do not hold out
any hope for their reform. We have entered an age in which, as William
Butler Yeats wrote, "the best lack all conviction and the worst are full
of passionate intensity."

"If we end up with violence in the streets on a large scale, not random
riots, but insurrection and things break down, there will be a coup d'tat
from the right," Johnston said. "We have already had an economic coup
d'tat. It will not take much to go further."

How do we resist? How, if this descent is inevitable, as I believe it is,
do we fight back? Why should we resist at all? Why not give in to cynicism
and despair? Why not carve out as comfortable a niche as possible within
the embrace of the corporate state and spend our lives attempting to
satiate our private needs? The power elite, including most of those who
graduate from our top universities and our liberal and intellectual
classes, have sold out for personal comfort. Why not us?

The French moral philosopher Albert Camus argued that we are separated
from each other. Our lives are meaningless. We cannot influence fate. We
will all die and our individual being will be obliterated. And yet Camus
wrote that "one of the only coherent philosophical positions is revolt. It
is a constant confrontation between man and his obscurity. It is not
aspiration, for it is devoid of hope. That revolt is the certainty of a
crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it."

"A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an
object," Camus warned. "But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he
reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to
be classified as an object."

The rebel, for Camus, stands with the oppressed - the unemployed workers
being thrust into impoverishment and misery by the corporate state, the
Palestinians in Gaza, the civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the
disappeared who are held in our global black sites, the poor in our inner
cities and depressed rural communities, immigrants and those locked away
in our prison system. And to stand with them does not mean to collaborate
with parties, such as the Democrats, who can mouth the words of justice
while carrying out acts of oppression. It means open and direct defiance.

The power structure and its liberal apologists dismiss the rebel as
impractical and see the rebel's outsider stance as counterproductive. They
condemn the rebel for expressing anger at injustice. The elites and their
apologists call for calm and patience. They use the hypocritical language
of spirituality, compromise, generosity and compassion to argue that the
only alternative is to accept and work with the systems of power. The
rebel, however, is beholden to a moral commitment that makes it impossible
to stand with the power elite. The rebel refuses to be bought off with
foundation grants, invitations to the White House, television appearances,
book contracts, academic appointments or empty rhetoric. The rebel is not
concerned with self-promotion or public opinion. The rebel knows that, as
Augustine wrote, hope has two beautiful daughters, anger and courage -
anger at the way things are and the courage to see that they do not remain
the way they are. The rebel is aware that virtue is not rewarded. The act
of rebellion defines itself.

"You do not become a 'dissident' just because you decide one day to take
up this most unusual career," Vaclav Havel said when he battled the
communist regime in Czechoslovakia. "You are thrown into it by your
personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external
circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a
position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work
well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society. ... The dissident
does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking
power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not
attempt to charm the public. He offers nothing and promises nothing. He
can offer, if anything, only his own skin - and he offers it solely
because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His
actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the

Those in power have disarmed the liberal class. They do not argue that the
current system is just or good, because they cannot, but they have
convinced liberals that there is no alternative. But we are not slaves. We
have a choice. We can refuse to be either a victim or an executioner. We
have the moral capacity to say no, to refuse to cooperate. Any boycott or
demonstration, any occupation or sit-in, any strike, any act of
obstruction or sabotage, any refusal to pay taxes, any fast, any popular
movement and any act of civil disobedience ignites the soul of the rebel
and exposes the dead hand of authority. "There is beauty and there are the
humiliated," Camus wrote. "Whatever difficulties the enterprise may
present, I should like never to be unfaithful either to the second or the

"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious,
makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even
passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and
upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got
to make it stop," Mario Savio said in 1964. "And you've got to indicate to
the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free,
the machine will be prevented from working at all."

The capacity to exercise moral autonomy, the capacity to refuse to
cooperate, offers us the only route left to personal freedom and a life
with meaning. Rebellion is its own justification. Those of us who come out
of the religious left have no quarrel with Camus. Camus is right about the
absurdity of existence, right about finding worth in the act of rebellion
rather than some bizarre dream of an afterlife or Sunday School fantasy
that God rewards the just and the good. "Oh my soul," the ancient Greek
poet Pindar wrote, "do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits
of the possible." We differ with Camus only in that we have faith that
rebellion is not ultimately meaningless. Rebellion allows us to be free
and independent human beings, but rebellion also chips away, however
imperceptibly, at the edifice of the oppressor and sustains the dim flames
of hope and love. And in moments of profound human despair these flames
are never insignificant. They keep alive the capacity to be human. We must
become, as Camus said, so absolutely free that "existence is an act of
rebellion." Those who do not rebel in our age of totalitarian capitalism
and who convince themselves that there is no alternative to collaboration
are complicit in their own enslavement. They commit spiritual and moral

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated
from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign
correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books,
including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should
Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on
America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy
and the Triumph of Spectacle.

--------15 of 15--------

The Democratic Party's Plan To THROW The Next Couple Elections

Facing reality is a tough job but somebody's got to do it. And we
foretell for you the events of the future NOT because we want them to
happen, but to get you to act to keep them from happening. But to do
that you need an action page, so here it is.

Put The Public Option Up For A Vote:

And now we will explain why this action page is so critical. To
understand the current political dynamic, first you must understand
that the Democrats are PLANNING on losing the next couple election
cycles. UNTIL you understand that, the events to unfold in the next
couple years (unless you act to derail them) will make no sense to

You don't have to believe us. Just listen to the way the Democrats
themselves are talking. Nancy Pelosi concedes that they will likely
suffer substantial losses in the House come November, though she
still will not admit that they will lose their majority in the next
round. Barack Obama says doesn't "know" how his ever more determined
push of the universally despised Senate health care scam will play
politically. He doesn't know??? Was the loss of the eternally
Democratic senate seat in Massachusetts not enough of a wake up call?

Their original plan, which we told you about no later than last
September (and we can point you to our published article at the time
to prove it), was to lull the liberal/progressive base into thinking
a "public option" was some kind of mumbling substitute for a single
payer reform system (that would have represented REAL change), with
the INTENTION of throwing even that option over the side before final
passage. We saw it all coming, and we tried to warn you how important
it was to keep speaking out to demand better.

For the corporate special interests controlling the whole legislative
process (but only in the absence of your voices of course) this was a
heads they win, tails the people lose, proposition. By getting the
Democrats to squander their mandate and political capital for actual
change, by getting them to meekly abandon their professed principles
in favor of a bill that would benefit as a bottom line the insurance
corporations only, the people en masse would justifiably conclude
that the Democrats had completely betrayed them. And the Republicans,
who by the tactic of enfeeblement of government in fact just empower
the same ultimate corporate agenda, even as disliked as they are
themselves, would be swept back into office in the next election. Net
result ... reform and change discredited, hopes dashed, defeatism
rules, the corporations win again, one grand circular tag team.

That was the MASTER plan. But then it hit a bump in the road in
Massachusetts. For you see, Scott Brown was not SUPPOSED to win. What
he was supposed to do was to stir the pot of public anger as a
prelude to November, to build a record of opposition, to fire a shot
across the public bow of the Democrats, but he was not supposed to
actually hit anything. It was strategically premature. Because having
lost their shaky super majority, depending even as it was on
regressive bad cops like Nelson and Lieberman, the Democrats could
then no longer just waltz the fatally compromised health care bill
through with a unilateral conference committee.

What to do? What were the corporate fascists to do? Now keep in mind
that the EXCUSE the Democrats had been giving all along to their own
base, as to why not only single payer, but in the end even a feeble
public option, had to be taken off the table, was that they could not
muster a full 60 votes for that in the Senate, that they could only
manage something like 53-56. But now suddenly, the only way to force
this destined to be hated bill through was have the Democrats in the
House bend over for the worst case Senate bill as it was, and clench
their noses long enough to pull some kind of corrective
reconciliation shenanigans that would only require 51 votes. Why, the
people would ask themselves, can't we at least have a public option,
since we were trying to get Congress to use reconciliation to make
THAT happen all along?

And the inescapable answer is ... that was not the plan. Suddenly
people like Senator Rockefeller, who had PRETENDED to be for a public
option before, dramatically reversed their position. Suddenly people
like Senator Harkin, who declared himself to be at heart a "single
payer guy" live on TV with Ed Shultz just the other day, would in the
next breath not even ADMIT that he would support a public option IF a
vote for it came up. Suddenly, people who were all for the public
option when their vote did NOT count became equivocal, or against it,
when they COULD possibly cast the deciding vote.

No, the plan was for the Democrats to pass a bill that would be so
despised that they would be swept out of power again, that would cost
them even their simple majorities. That was the PLAN. That was the
plan of the corporations all along. There has never been any other
plan. And that REMAINS the corporate plan with what can only be
described as an obstinate and renewed determination.

Now, it would be one thing if Barack Obama and the Democratic party
"leadership" were going to the wall for what the PEOPLE want. But
they are not. They are bracing to go to the wall for what the
corporations want. As perverse as George Bush was, at least he always
had his most dedicated and delusional core base on his side when he
thumbed his nose at the rest of us. The exact opposite is the case
here. Barack Obama is standing in diametric opposition to his own
base, and willfully so, displaying all the leadership qualities of a
bull in a bull fight.

We can read from the last 25 messages function of our own action
pages, just as you can. It breaks our heart to read people talking
about how they worked so hard for Obama and now feel so betrayed. It
breaks our heart to read independents write that they were willing to
give the Democrats a chance, but will never vote for a Democrat
again. It breaks our heart to read people declaring that they will
never even turn out to vote again, for anyone. Because this is all
nothing but surrender talk. But we fight on undeterred, even with our
broken heart.

Put The Public Option Up For A Vote:

And we tell you now, that if this health care bill is rammed through
without at least a semblance of a public option in it, the one we
were promised at a MINIMUM, there will be massive hemorrhaging at the
polls come November. The American people are out there right now
asking themselves, "Was Massachusetts not enough ... how big a 2x4
will we have to hit these mules in the head with before they finally
get it?" The Republicans will not need to talk about any other issue
to campaign on. They will get a total pass on a secret agenda that
is, if anything, in every respect more hostile to the real public
policy interests of the people whose anger they will arouse.

And if the Democrats DON'T lose their majorities in a single
election, guess what? Same rallying war cry for 2012, "Got to vote
out more Democrats so we can repeal the hated bill, including getting
a getting a president who will sign the repeal bill." Try to tell us
you don't hear it happening already. Even if the Democrats don't lose
their majorities in 2010, they will be so reduced that they will not
be able to accomplish anything in the next two years, not that they
have been able to accomplish anything with the majorities they had,
meaning nothing to run on in 2012 either. Of course the latest
promise never meant to be honored is that the Democrats will fight
for a public option LATER. But if they can't muster the votes to do
it now, with the majorities they have now, only the most terminally
gullible would believe they could do it with fewer votes in the
future, even if they actually wanted to, which they do NOT!

And if there is a historic landslide in November and both houses of
Congress go Republican, guess what the first bill from the new
Congress will be ... repeal the health care bill. And guess what
happens if Obama tries to veto it, or the Democrats try to filibuster
(after passing it on 51 votes in the first place)? In short, Obama
becomes an instant lame duck, the people will be hell bent on getting
rid of him too, and the entire Democratic party is just a dead man
walking. Either way, pushing this bill now avails nothing, since it
WILL be repealed before it ever goes into meaningful effect.

And when the repeal bill does become law there will be people
celebrating and dancing in the streets, not even realizing that they
are just dancing on their own graves. No pack of lemmings have ever
hurtled so foolishly to their own demise as this Democratic Congress.
No pod of whales have ever beached themselves so senselessly. We are
talking about the biggest act of deliberate mass suicide in the
history of the animal kingdom.

UNLESS, and we would concede that this is a big unless, we can
somehow get enough people to speak out to DEMAND a vote on a public
option, and not just the weak public option passed by the House, but
instead the proposed Medicare expansion to 55 from December quashed
putatively by Lieberman alone, and additionally for an option for
ANYONE to buy in to Medicare, for the PURPOSE of calling the
Democrats out, to at least demand something better. Democratic
members of Congress are under corporate orders (including direct from
the White House and being cajoled) to take a dive. The only thing
that can countermand that order are your voices speaking out. Your
voices ... if you will use them while you still can. Please submit
the action page now.

Put The Public Option Up For A Vote:

Or folks can just keep lapping up the diminishingly persuasive happy
face emails from the Obama never-ending campaign machine with ever
more promises of ponies and rainbows, in which case all will
transpire just as we have revealed it.

And here is the Facebook links for the action page further above.

[Facebook] Public Option Vote Action:

And this is the Twitter reply for the Public Option Vote action

@cxs #p1038

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed
to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

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