Progressive Calendar 05.17.10
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Mon, 17 May 2010 06:09:23 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   05.17.10

1. Up Pawlenty's!   5.17 12noon
2. Peace walk       5.17 6pm RiverFalls WI
3. Be the media     5.17 6:30pm
4. 3CD Green Party  5.17 7pm

5. Eric Walberg - The American art of war/reviews of Boggs, Rogers, Atwood
6. ed           - Bumpersticker

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From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Up Pawlenty's! 5.17 12noon

Rally: Last Stand Against the Cuts!
Monday, May 17, Noon Minnesota State Capitol, Outside Governor Pawlenty's
Office, 75 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul.

Join others on the last day of the 2010 legislative session to sound off
against years of Pawlenty-driven budget cuts. Be present to send a message
to all the legislators that 2010 is the year for them to take a strong
final stand against continued cuts to low-income and working people in
Minnesota. No more cuts to education and health and human services!

Sponsored by: the Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout (MCPB). -
WAMM is a member on MCPB. FFI: Call 612-296-5649.

--
From: Steff Yorek <yosteff [at] gmail.com>

Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout
Deal or No Deal,
Pawlenty Must Pay.

On Monday, May 17, 12:00 noon, representatives from the Minnesota
Coalition for a People's Bailout will gather outside the Governor's office
at the Capitol.

The Coalition's call for the May 17 event notes, "Since 2003, Governor
Pawlenty has been systematically, irresponsibly and selfishly destroying
Minnesota. On the last day of the 2010 legislative session, we know that
we will be again staring into the face of another disaster, created by the
governor. We won't let him slink away from this session in silence."

The Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout formed on Oct. 29, 2008 and
has called for the state of MN to work on the real problems that face poor
and working people during this time of economic crisis: put a moratorium
on foreclosures, no cuts to programs that help people during hard times,
no layoffs, and, "jobs or income now."

While many legislators have supported those demands, most have declared
that their hands were tied because of the governor. Whether that is true
or not, it is clear that Pawlenty has imposed a reign of terror at the
capitol since he took office.

Cherrene Horazuk, member of AFSCME Local 3800, a Coalition member group,
states: "Every year Pawlenty has dug the hole deeper, expecting the people
to bail *him* out. This latest standoff is him denying medical to
thousands for his own political gain. "

The only logical way to pay for the measures that are desperately needed
by poor and working Minnesotans is to tax the rich.

"During all these years, the rich have not paid one dime to solve the
state budget deficits. In the big picture, they got richer by making us
poorer - by stealing our homes, laying us off, shredding the safety net
and by amassing wealth through their fat-cat tax breaks. It is long past
time for them to pay," said Deb Konechne of the Welfare Rights Committee,
another member group of the Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout.

[Amen. Pawlenty is the nasty SOB face of nasty SOB super-rich Minnesotans.
This is who the rich are, and why haven't we declared class war back on
these filthy bastards? Why wait? Tax the SOBs big and hard NOW! (If they
don't like it they can just damn well leave - and good riddance! Eat the
rich! Give Pawlenty and the rich the people's middle finger salute!)  -ed]


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From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 5.17 6pm RiverFalls WI

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


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From: Ann Alquist <aalquist [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Be the media 5.17 6:30pm

Items of interest going ignored in your community? Want to share your
community events? The Twin Cities Daily Planet has a roster of classes
designed to help you develop the skills to be a part of the media
landscape. A few samples:

Citizen Backpack Journalism with Sheila Regan and Ann Alquist (May 17)
Turn it On! Radio Narrative Storytelling (not a production class, this
involves a lot of listening and sharing ideas) (May 19)
Social Media Best Practices (June 7)
What's Your Story? Citizen Journalism 101

Classes are free and held at Rondo Community Library on University and
Dale, always starting at 6:30pm. More details at tcdailyplanet.net/classes

Ann Alquist Community Engagement Coordinator Twin Cities Daily Planet Ann
Alquist KFAI Radio, Minneapolis Info about Ann Alquist:
http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/annalquist


--------4 of 6--------

From: Allan Hancock <alforgreens [at] gmail.com>
Subject: 3CD Green Party 5.17 7pm

Monday, May 17 at 7PM Ridgedale Library Rm 172

Everyone is invited to the 3rd Congressional District Green Party Local
meeting at the Ridgedale Library Rm 172 located at: 12601 Ridgedale Dr.,
Minnetonka , 55305. Phone: 952-847-8800

Agenda: Talk by a board member of a local food Co-op on importance of
supporting food Co-ops and gaining independence from giant agri-business
run food operations.

Allan Hancock, Chair 3rd Congressional District, Green Party Minnesota
763-561-9758


--------5 of 6--------

The American Art of War
Reviews of Boggs, Rogers, Atwood
by Eric Walberg
May 15th, 2010
Dissident Voice

Carl Boggs, The Crimes of Empire: Rogue Superpower and World Domination
Paul Rogers, Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st century
Paul Atwood, War and Empire: The American Way of Life (Pluto Press 2010)

Three new publications from the leading radical British press are the tip
of a growing iceberg of passionate pleas for sanity in international
affairs. Most of us prefer to stick our heads in the sand as the world
goes to hell in a hand-basket, but there are works that can fascinate and
uplift, perhaps even inspire us to do something before it is too late.

If what you need is a reference book for your own writing, with all the
gory details of just how disreputable the world's hegemon is, The Crimes
of Empire: Rogue Superpower and World Domination by Carl Boggs is what you
pull down from your shelf. He has slogged through all the filth of
"collateral damage", "humanitarian warfare", "client-state outlawry",
"perpetual war", "biowarfare", "space imperialism", Guantanamo . the
Orwellian list is seemingly endless - to provide a litany of horrors that
will convince even the most sceptical of observers as to who is the real
problem in the world.

Not a pretty read, but a commendable labour on the author's part.

More rivetting than Boggs's list of the empire's sins is the justification
for them, as revealed by such neocons as Robert Kagan, who sees American
force as necessary "to restrain the chaotic tendencies of a Hobbesian
world", and who thus rejects any global restraints on US flexibility.
"Human rights intervention", the latest buzzword to condone imperial
ventures - it once was called the "white man's burden" - is for use by the
big guns against the little ones. But Boggs's list of crimes is proof in
itself that the imperial project actually creates "a comprehensive lawless
whole".

This belies the Dawkinsian claim of evolutionary improvement in society's
"moral zeitgeist", which sees an upward trajectory from the slavery of
yore to racial, gender and political correctness today, as "proved" by
post-WWII multilateral treaties signed at the New York UN HQs or in
Geneva. The New World Order is based on "sovereignty of nations", though
Boggs points out that some nations are more sovereign than others,
undermining the whole farce. The Kagans justify this as "US
exceptionalism". But a sobre evaluation of today's world reveals that
Reagan's "peace through strength" is really nothing but medieval "might
makes right".

Anyone with even a smattering of US history can see that the Indian wars
and Manifest Destiny of the 18th and 19th centuries were based on the same
philosophy of "pre-emptive war" that solemn conferences on security today
spout in defence of the indefensible.

This makes for frustrating reading, though it pushes you to make sense of
the hypocrisy of world affairs, if nothing else. My own rule of thumb in
considering how to resolve social problems is that only when the
overwhelming majority wants something and are blessed with a charismatic
political leader (take your choice in today's world - they are there) does
a real change for the better have a chance. This has nothing in common
with a Darwin/Dawkins rational/natural evolutionary process. It is more
like a Kuhnian revolutionary paradigm change, a combination of force
majeure and luck, once a point-of-no-return is reached.

Corollary: No number of treaties will make for a just and equitable world
order if one country overpowers all the others and seeks to impose its
will. Another corollary is that the only evolutionary "moral zeitgeist" is
the historic-economic order itself - in our case, capitalism - no matter
how the dominant "culture" portrays itself for mass consumption. Hurt
Locker may be a clever and gripping film by a talented woman director, but
it is nonetheless a chauvinistic apologia for a criminal war, with the
real victims largely airbrushed out of the picture so as to concentrate on
the occupiers' angst. It does nothing to illuminate any possible "moral
zeitgeist"  - apart from the chilling reality of US imperialism itself.

Finally, what the mass of horrors Boggs documents implies is that the only
measure of human rights is "How many died?" If that is your rule of thumb,
then there can be not one iota of doubt that, despite all the pious words
of its leaders, the US is one of the worst offenders that the world has
ever witnessed. And that its allies - accomplices - are no less to blame
for illegal wars, war crimes, genocides. Thus the so-called pariahs -
Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba - for better or worse, are direct
products of US imperial actions, lumped together because they oppose the
hegemon. Whatever crimes they may commit pale in comparison to the
nobler-than-thou US. This is not to defend mistreatment of people
anywhere, but to put things in a just light, so that we can navigate the
treacherous tunnel we find ourselves globally rushing down.


*****

Here in the Middle East, the US and its "client", spoiled offspring or
whatever you want to call Israel have done nothing to lessen the Hobbesian
chaos; on the contrary, they are the source of it. This is the message
that Paul Rogers sets out calmly and compellingly in the third edition of
Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st century, which has become a
popular text for those trying to chart a way through the darkness, and is
much more a book to be read and to inspire than Boggs, though it too has
lots of useful nitty-gritty for aspiring writers of contemporary politics
and economics.

As a veteran peacenik, I found eloquent confirmation for what I and
millions of others intuit about the deadend approach of writers who
function within the dominant paradigm of international relations.

People's eyes glaze over at the mention of "peace". It's a bit like
heaven: nice but boring. Rogers's argument, however, is compelling and his
book readable. In the first edition, before 9/11, he presciently argued
that US-NATO military posturing and war-mongering in the face of the
growing rich-poor divide, environmental constraints and asymmetrical
warfare was self-defeating and would only accelerate the collapse of the
comfortable elite Western order.

A widely accepted argument, considered a truism, is that the US "won" the
Cold War, that NATO helped the West survive through a "necessary and
essentially safe process of maintaining very large military forces", an
unpleasant but unavoidable balance of terror that ended with the collapse
of the "enemy". Rogers deconstructs this fallacy, arguing that the Cold
War was "highly dangerous and inordinately wasteful", that it created "a
momentum in the development of a range of military technologies that has
lasted well beyond the end of the Cold War itself", making present and
future conflicts exponentially more devastating for victims and
destabilising for the world as a whole.

This professor of peace studies at Bradford University provides telling
examples from the North Ireland insurgency, which like the 9/11 attacks
but for most of the 20th century penetrated to the very heart of the
nation - the nation in this case being Britain. Ireland is still divided,
but the insurgency did not fail. Even after the cease-fire collapsed in
1996 with the Canary Wharf bombing, "the British and Irish governments
commenced a new drive for peace within hours of the incident. A modern
urban-industrial state was certainly vulnerable to political violence,
even though most of the explosive devices used were home-made fertiliser
bombs".

Rogers appeals to progressive thinkers in Britain, hoping that the
Thatcher legacy of sabre-rattling elitism will eventually give way to an
enlightened policy of promoting real security, which means rejecting
military force and building a complex, multi-faceted foreign policy of
economic assistance to undermine the logic of insurgents and "terrorists".
It really boils down to rich countries voluntarily giving up their
(imperial) privileges in the present world order, and effectively
redistributing income through proactive trade policies benefitting poor
farmers and third world producers, clamping down on huge international
corporations, and controlling the excesses the "market" gives rise to.

He has little faith that this will happen soon, but his strategy is a
compelling one: for one or more "north" countries to take the initiative
to break with the status quo and lead the way, working with the more
enlightened "south" political and intellectual leaders. A bono fide truism
in human affairs is the parable of the 99 monkeys: that at some point -
the "tipping point" - the actions of the few will lead to rapid change,
the Kuhnian paradigm shift. Regarding the world's future, this is what
Rogers is staking his bets on.

Once we enter the shift period, the bits and pieces of peace-promotion of
the past - UN treaties, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the
anti-personnel landmine treaty, the Non-proliferation Treaty, various
STARTs - will gain a new lease on life, and lead to a truly multinational
drive towards a non-nuclear world and the conversion of arms industries
to environmental and other beneficial production, "part of a wider agenda
of actions to ensure a persistent programme of cooperative and sustainable
development".

Rogers provides a check-list of the essential steps, and argues
compellingly that "There Is No Alternative". When you are faced with the
daily horrors of the current world, in which the raging US bull flails
madly at one and all, dipping into Losing Control provides some solace.
Security can only mean common security, truly global security. It is an
elusive vision, but there are concrete steps we can take to work towards
it: TINA.


*****

Paul Atwood's War and Empire: The American Way of Life is a stimulating
revisionist romp through American history, though I found the first two
chapters too depressing - the deception and betrayal of the innocent
natives and their ruthless massacre by greedy settlers is just too close
to the tragedy of the Palestinians for comfort. I got hooked with the
post-1776 integration of the "revolutionaries" into the corrupt world of
international intrigue, and became fascinated with how US history has been
a circus, if a nasty one, ever since, at times aping European
revolutionaries and at other times the glamorous aristocracy. The
hodge-podge that calls itself American culture today is a mix of all this,
and its shallowness is no surprise.

War and Empire is based on the author's history lectures at the University
of Massachusetts, Boston, where he regularly asks students why the US
entered any of its many wars and is greeted by quizzical looks and a
vacuous "Freedom? National security?", blissfully unaware of "the
centrality of war to the creation and evolution of the US". The decline in
literacy standards depresses Atwood; one of his students earnestly
explained to him that "communists employed 'Asian Orange' herbicides on
American troops" in Vietnam.

The author shows how in the 19th century the drive for suffrage was feared
by the Hamiltonian elite as a threat to the goal of creating "an
industrial society with centralised banking and control of money", and
made expansion necessary to Democrats and Federalists alike "to provide
the growing white population with at least a small stake of property in
the new system". When the shores of the Pacific were reached, this meant
building a navy to reach across the Pacific and later the Atlantic,
dabbling in Europe's follies, to feed the hungry capitalist beast and keep
the dogs of populism at bay. There is no room in this gruesome march of
death for the paper ideals that the "founding fathers" penned. The
"permanent war" of today has its genesis in the "permanent war" of
yesterday.

Atwood turns up many fascinating tidbits. Arab regimes beware: as early as
1805 the American consul in Tunis asked permission from the (supposedly
anti-imperialist) Jefferson to overthrow its ruler and replace him with
one more inclined to US interests, thereby out-Hamiltoning his elitist
federal rivals.

The presidency is a veritable rogues' gallery. Andrew Jackson, who killed
at least one adversary in his wild youth and was an unapologetic racist to
the end, is still unsurpassed as the most bellicose president in US
history, having made his name invading the Spanish colony of Florida in
pursuit of escaped slaves and pesky natives, doing President Monroe's
dirty work for him. He became Florida's first governor and went on to win
the presidency, benefiting from the extension of the vote to all white
males - an appropriate role model for Jeb and George Bush. To the horror
of the elite, he scuttled the central bank created by Madison, fighting
the bankers' plans for a centralised industrial state with them in
control, and allowed local and state banks to issue money, the last such
American-style Don Quixote.

The US has always enjoyed playing European rivals off against each other,
using the Napoleonic wars as an opportunity to snatch colonies from both
England and France, all the while smuggling goods to both sides. Finally
the US Congress declared war against England, the War of 1812, which
American history books insist - falsely - that they won. The attempts to
annex Canada and Florida failed and the White House was burned to the
ground. The most obvious results were the "Star-spangled banner" and the
unifying role the war played for the still anarchic settler-state.

No American hero emerges untarnished. Even the saintly Walt Whitman
cheer-led probably the most sordid of America's wars - Polk's invasion of
poor Mexico: "Yes! Mexico must be chastised. America knows how to crush
as well as expand!"

The hallowed Civil War was not at all about abolishing slavery, but a
direct result of the insatiable hunger for more land, about keeping the
increasingly unwieldy and fractious union together, about whether or not
the North or South should prevail in extending their economic systems
westward. Lincoln's famous emancipation proclamation was issued only in
1863, two years after the start of this suicidal conflagration, and only
because the North, despite its overwhelming advantages, was losing and
needed to inspire its own blacks to join in the slaughter. They did, and
they turned the tide, though there was no "emancipation" for them or their
southern brothers, but only the Ku Klux Klan, segregation, lynching, debt
servitude, and a legacy of racism still alive and well.

Draping itself hypocritically in anti-slavery rhetoric, Britain watched
smugly as its obstreperous ex-colony tore itself apart over which elite
would have its way. The weaker America was, the better for the British
empire. The tragedy is hard to fathom: the death toll is still unsurpassed
in (white) America's history at 600,000 dead vs WWII's 400,000, the South
was devastated, the phenomenon of "soldier's heart" (post-traumatic stress
disorder) was widespread, with tens of thousands of soldiers homeless and
psychologically or physically incapacitated, reduced to begging as there
was no social support system.

Atwood's diligent expose of the seamy side of America's past reveals
striking parallels between US and Israeli history - the importance of war
and expansion, the genocide of the native people justified by racism and a
chauvinistic religion, the playing off of European powers against each
other, the arrogant nationalism that characterises both states, unconcern
for the resentment and hatred that their bellicose behaviour inspires. The
Truman Doctrine of 1947 - the updated version of the Monroe Doctrine -
acted to extend US dominance over the world, including the Middle East,
and was closely followed by the creation of Israel in 1948, with strong
backing by the Truman administration. A telling coincidence.

We all know that the pretext for the entry of the US into WWI was the
sinking of the Lusitania. But I never knew that this ocean liner was
carrying war materiel to England, that the German government warned
secretary of state Bryan that it would be sunk, that Bryan's plea to
president Wilson to prevent Americans from embarking was overruled. Bryan
resigned and the rest is history - the terrible nightmare history of the
20th century.

My immediate thought was "Eureka!" This is exactly the way the US people
were tricked into entering WWII, with Pearl Harbour the perfect pretext.
Atwood hints at but demurs from exploring the willful refusal of the FDR
to nip this well-known plan in the bud - no doubt because his "Asian
Orange"-spouting students would denounce him as a mentally unbalanced
traitor. Nor does he venture into the 9/11 literature hypothesising US
(and other) government involvement in our current "Pearl Harbour".

But that is not to detract from his cogent reasoning that the entry of the
US into both wars was to prevent the rising German behemoth from
dominating Europe and posing a threat to US imperial interests around the
world. The consensus in ruling circles was "for a more rationalised world
system open to American economic penetration. American entry to [WWI]
would be sold as making the world "safe for democracy..". He understands
well that current US wars have a similar logic - to reinforce US hegemony
around the world.

For those who bemoan that a once pristine America is now descending into
an Orwellian dictatorship with its infringements of the Constitution and
illegal wars, it is at least some comfort to recall that such moments in
US history abound. The Sedition Act of 1918 made any speech against the
government's wartime policies illegal; the "Red Scare" following WWI led
to the creation of the FBI and allowed the deportation of thousands of
immigrants because of their political views. US troops assisted British,
Czech and Japanese in the invasion of Russia in 1917 to crush the
communist revolution, though Russia was already devastated, ensuring that
the revolution would be born in blood and war.

The Korean war was so unpopular that by the end 90 per cent of troops
hospitalised were from self-inflicted wounds. To soften up the Koreans,
the US Air Force carpet bombed the north's dams and dikes - a direct
violation of the new Geneva Convention - until two months before an
exhausted North Korea finally agreed to an armistice in 1953, pressured by
the new post-Stalin Soviet leadership anxious to reduce East-West
tensions, fearing a nuclear war. "The West can and does vilify communist
crimes. But there is nothing in the communist record not matched by
capitalist societies in terms of crimes against humanity".

For those who admire Jimmy Carter as the peacenik president, Atwood
reminds us that he extended the Monroe Doctrine with his own corollary:
"Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf
region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the US".
But, bless his heart, Carter fails to state the corollary to his
corollary: that the only threats to the Persian Gulf were and are the
Kissingers and Brzezinskis of US foreign policy. Atwood quotes Nixon and
Ford's witty secretary of state during the post-1973 oil embargo: "Pick
one of those sheikhdoms, any of them, and overthrow the government there,
as a lesson to the Saudis".

Atwood valiantly fights the "Disney version" of his nation.s past and his
work is to be commended. It's hard to imagine how anyone who acquaints
himself with the basic truths of US history can come away uncommitted to
fighting its trajectory today. The US was born in war and has thrived by
the sword. And its actions are more than adequate confirmation that, "War
has never made the world safe for peace but only for more war".

Eric Walberg is a journalist who worked in Uzbekistan and is now writing
for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo.


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                        ----------------------
                           UNIVERSE CLOSING
                          everything must go
                        ----------------------


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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