|Progressive Calendar 09.16.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 01:52:49 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 09.16.10 1. Eagan peace vigil 9.16 4:30pm 2. Northtown vigil 9.16 5pm 3. First amendment 9.16 5:30pm Bemidji MN 4. Community garden 9.16 6:15pm 5. Women's rights 9.16 7pm 6. AntiWarMN new mem 9.16 7pm 7. Amnesty Intl 9.16 7:15pm 8. Palestine vigil 9.17 4:15pm 9. Manning/war 9.17 4:30pm 10. Venezuela 9.17 6:30pm 11. Merriam potluck 9.17 6:30pm 12. Eclipsed/play 9.17 8pm 13. Tom Cleland - Farheen Hakeem radio ads 14. Shamus Cooke - A dead-end cycle when corporations own Congress 15. Denis Rancourt - 911 Truth as threat to the intelligentsia 16. Alan Nasser - Obama drives another nail into the New Deal 17. ed - Bumpersticker --------1 of 17-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 9.16 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. --------2 of 17-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 9.16 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. --------3 of 17-------- From: Audrey M.Thayer <athayer [at] paulbunyan.net> Subject: First amendment 9.16 5:30pm Bemidji MN ACLU-MN, GMRJP "Five Rights of Freedom, Our 1st Amendment" Event The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota and the Greater MN Racial Justice Project of Bemidji would like to invite you to join us for an evening of dinner and conversation, "Five Rights of Freedom, Our 1st Amendment", on Thursday, September 16th at Sparkling Waters Restaurant in Bemidji. Our featured guests are; Peter Erlinder, Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law, and a frequent litigator or consultant, often pro bono, in cases involving the death penalty, civil rights, claims of government and police misconduct, and criminal defense of political activists. Peter is the author of "The Anishinabe Nationā's 'Right to a Modest Living' From the Exercise of Off-Reservation Usufructuary Treaty Rights in All of Northern Minnesota", an analysis used as a basis for the recent 1855 Treaty discussions and demonstrations by the Leech Lake and White Earth Bands of Ojibwe. Peter was the lead Defense Counsel for the UN International Criminal tribunal for Rwanda and has represented several clients internationally, most notably several Rwandan opposition leaders, including his current client, Rwandan Presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire. He was arrested on May 28, 2010 in the Rwandin capital, charged with "speech critical of the official version of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide". Peter was released on bail on June 18th and joins us to speak about our "freedom of speech, and the right to petition the government". Brad Swenson, Opinion Page/Political Editor for the Bemidji Pioneer, Forum Communication Company, and a 2008 recipient of the Minnesota Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award. Brad joins us to speak about the "freedom of the press". Tim Faver, Beltrami County Attorney, the chief prosecutor for crimes committed in the county, has held this elected position since 1989. Tim has also engaged in the private practice of law and received his J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law in 1979. He will join us to speak about our "right to assemble". Chuck Samuelson, Executive Director, ACLU-MN, has 25 years experience in non-profit organization management. He has a degree in Medieval History and Political Science from Syracuse University. He studied at Freiburg University in Germany and pursued a doctorate in Medieval History at UW-Milwaukee. Chuck joins us to speak about our "freedom of religion". Introductions and moderating will be facilitated by Jim Allen of Leech Lake. The evening event, which begins at 5:30 pm, is limited to 50 reserved seats. Tickets are $35 per person. Dinner choices are walleye, prime rib, or vegetarian pasta. Please call our office, 218-444-2285, to make your reservation. We are requesting checks or arrangements prior to the event, if possible. Audrey Thayer Moved up in neighbourhoods!, Minnesota, Bemidji Info about Audrey M.Thayer: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/q4VaUbtt9IdwxpT2JhPhA --------4 of 17-------- From: Kathy Ahlers <kathyahlers [at] gmail.com> From: Kelsey Barale <kelsey.gardeningmatters [at] gmail.com> Subject: Community garden 9.16 6:15pm Fall is in the air... it's the perfect time to grab your friends and neighbors and beginning organizing your new community garden! How to Start a Community Garden Workshop Thursday, September 16 6:15-8:15pm (*note earlier than usual time) Wescott Library 1340 Wescott, Eagan Learn what is involved in starting and running a community garden, receive a Community Garden start-up guide, and learn about resources to help you with your new garden. Plus, meet other people who are interested in starting community gardens! Please RSVP if you plan to attend this workshop so we know how many materials to bring: kelsey.gardeningmatters [at] gmail.com or 612-492-8964. Feel free to invite others who might be interested - the workshop is free and open to all. See you in Eagan! Kelsey Kelsey Barale Gardening Matters/MN Greencorps kelsey.gardeningmatters [at] gmail.com office: 612-492-8964 www.gardeningmatters.org Get Connected! Visit the NEW Gardening Matters Events<http://www.gardeningmatters.org/events/calendar.html>Calendar for events, workshops, public meetings, and social gatherings related to community gardening. *COMGAR is for community gardeners in Minnesota to share timely information, seek advice from other gardeners, and learn about resources available to gardeners. **Send emails to comgar-l [at] lists.umn.edu. Questions and requests to remove or update subscriptions to info [at] gardeningmatters.org. Archived COMGAR postings available at http://lists.umn.edu/archives/comgar-l.html --------5 of 17-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Women's rights 9.16 7pm Thursday, September 16, 7:00-9:00 p.m. WOMEN'S RIGHTS: CEDAW AND RELATED ISSUES THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale and Hennepin). Park in church lot. Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is often described as "the international bill of rights for women." Ratifying States (not yet including the US) commit themselves to promoting the equality of women and men, to abolishing gender-based discriminatory laws, and to establishing public institutions to ensure the protection of women against discrimination. This presentation will consider the extent to which those goals are being met in this country and elsewhere in the world. Presenter: CHERYL THOMAS. Founder and Director of the Women's Human Rights Program of the Minnesota-based Advocates for Human Rights, Ms. Thomas has traveled widely in Central and Eastern Europe (including the former USSR), as well as in Morocco, to work with local groups and individual activists to promote women's rights. She has published extensively on violence against women and was one of 15 experts worldwide to participate in a UN Expert Group Meeting on violence- related legislation. An attorney and former partner in the firm, Briggs and Morgan, Ms. Thomas taught courses on women's human rights law at the University of Minnesota Law School from 1996 to 2002. Sponsoring Organizations: Minnesota Chapter, Citizens for Global Solutions, Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, United Nations association of Minnesota, Social Concerns Committee of Hennepin Ave. United Methodist Church. --------6 of 17-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: AntiWarMN new mem 9.16 7pm New Members Meeting Thursday, September 16th @ 7pm @ Diamond's Coffeeshop, 1618 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis Come help organize against the Afghanistan war & against U.S. intervention across the globe. We will discuss the news & outreach plans for the October 16th protest. Come to an AWC meeting designed for new people. --------7 of 17-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 9.16 7:15pm AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata/Western suburbs) meets on Thursday, September 16th, at 7:15 p.m. at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). --------8 of 17-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 9.17 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. --------9 of 17-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Manning/war 9.17 4:30pm Rally: Support Bradley Manning and the Nation's Right to Know What our Armies Do Friday, September 17, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. Mayday Plaza, 3rd Street and Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis. Local peace and justice groups will rally to urge the United States government to drop the charges against Bradley Manning. 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Mayday Bookstore, 301 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis. A public showing of the Wikileak's classic, "Collateral Murder" and short statements from local anti-war activists and groups. Bradley Manning, 23 has been held in solitary confinement since May. He has been charged with releasing classified documents, which includes "Collateral Murder" the video that shows American troops shooting and killing Reuters journalists in 2007. Hosted by: the Bradley Manning Support Network, Minneapolis Chapter. Endorsed by: WAMM. "Bradley Manning shouldn't be prosecuted - he should be celebrated as the American Hero that he is. When a nation's army runs amok, it is the DUTY of the army to inform the American people of its actions. When military leaders neglect this important part of their duty, it falls on the general ranks to inform the people of atrocities and war crimes. In regimes where dictators have absolute power, the control of its armies lies completely with one man. The beauty of the United States Government is that the power over its armies lies ultimately with the people. This includes the power to inform its citizenry of any illegal actions. Our government was set up carefully with a system of checks and balances to protect the American people against such atrocities, and to retain control. Now, more than ever before in our history, we must protect this system or the time may be upon us when power no longer lies with the people." - Kim Doss-Smith, Director, Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) Background: Bradley Manning, 23 has been held in solitary confinement since May. He has been charged with releasing classified documents, which includes "Collateral Murder" the video that shows American troops shooting and killing Reuters journalists in 2007. This is a part of the Global Days of Action hosted by the Bradley Manning Support Network, Minneapolis Chapter and endorsed by the Anti-War Committee, and WAMM. Michael Moore campaigns to free Bradley Manning in war logs case Documentary maker joins Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon papers fame to head worldwide protests over WikiLeaks prosecution. The Vietnam war whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and the film-maker Michael Moore have launched an international campaign to demand the release of Bradley Manning, the American soldier charged with passing classified information in WikiLeaks. Demonstrations are planned in the US, Canada and Australia over the next three days in support of Manning, an army intelligence analyst who is being held at a military prison in Virginia. The leaks include a cache of documents - published in the Guardian as the Afghan war logs - drawn from 76,000 pages of military records made public by WikiLeaks to challenge the US government's assertion that the fight against the Taliban is being won. WikiLeaks says it will release thousands more pages of similar documents soon. Manning, 23, is also accused of involvement in WikiLeaks' exposure of a video of a US helicopterattack on apparently unarmed Iraqis in a Baghdad street. Two Reuters employees were among those killed. Manning was arrested in May after apparently boasting in instant messages and emails to a high-profile former hacker, Adrian Lamo, that he passed on the video and documents. Lamo said he turned in the soldier out of concern for national security. Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon papers to the New York Times that laid bare the extent of US government duplicity in its claims to be winning the Vietnam war, said Manning was defending the constitution in revealing the truth about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Soldiers' sworn oath is to defend and support the constitution. Bradley Manning has been defending and supporting our constitution," he said. FFI: Visit www.BradleyManning.org. --------10 of 17-------- From: Hands Off Venezuela <jp [at] handsoffvenezuela.org> Subject: Venezuela 9.17 6:30pm With the September 26th legislative elections in Venezuela fast-approaching, the media is again bombarding us with a barrage of misinformation and distortions about the Venezuelan Revolution. Hands Off Venezuela is therefore launching a coordinated international campaign to defend the Venezuelan people's right to determine their own destiny without foreign interference. Here in the Twin Cities, we will be hosting a discussion and analysis of the upcoming Venezuelan Elections at Mayday Books* on September 17th at 6:30 pm. Please join us to learn more and exchange ideas about what is at stake and what we can expect in the elections, the challenges facing the Bolivarian movement, what the expanded US bases in Colombia mean and more. Then, on the election night itself, September 26th, we will host a fundraiser house party with food and drinks to monitor the elections, socialize, and discuss informally. More details on that will be available soon. Please contact us if you would like more information or want to help us prepare and build for these activities. We invite you to sign the online petition in support of the BolivarianRevolution: http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/on_september_26_we_support_the_boli varian_revolution.htm Now, more than ever, we must step up our efforts to build solidarity with the Venezuelan Revolution. We invite individuals and organizations to join us and help spread the word for our September 17th and September 26th events, and more generally, to help spread information about what is really going on in Venezuela and Latin America as a whole. For more information and to help us organize them, please contact John Peterson at 651-373-7609 or write jp [at] handsoffvenezuela.org. In solidarity, Twin Cities HOV www.handsoffvenezuela.org * Mayday Books on the West Bank in Minneapolis at 301 Cedar Avenue. --------11 of 17-------- From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at] MPPeace.org> Subject: Merriam potluck 9.17 6:30pm 2010 Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace Potlucks We hold a monthly potluck at a member's home or go out to dinner together - usually on a Friday at 6:30 p.m. Friday, September 17, 2010 Please e-mail info [at] mppeace.org or call Anne at (651) 647-0580 or Krista at (651) 641-7592 for more information. http://www.mppeace.org/events/ --------12 of 17dx-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Eclipsed/play 9.17 8pm Play: "Eclipsed" September 17 to October 10 (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.) Playwrights' Center, Frank Theatre, 2301 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis. "Eclipsed" centers on the lives of five women who are thrown together by the recent civil war in Liberia. Salvaged as chattel from wartime looting, these "wives" of the commanding officer form a hardscrabble alliance and develop their own hierarchy as they confront questions of survival within their compound. The arrival of a new girl who has learned to read, and the return of a former "wife" who has learned to kill, quickly transforms their possibilities. Surprisingly vivacious and often funnier than you would expect, Eclipsed raises thought-provoking questions about power and resistance, solidarity and complicity, as the women hold out for the hope of a brighter destiny. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI and Tickets: Call 612-724-3760 or visit www.franktheatre.org. --------13 of 17-------- From: Tom Cleland <tomcleland [at] comcast.net> Subject: Farheen Hakeem radio ads RADIO AD #2 Announcer: He voted to fund the Iraq War. He voted for the Patriot Act. He attended a June meeting of America's Pro-Israel Lobby. He voted to build a fence along the Mexican border, he helped retain capital gains tax cuts for the rich, and he voted to give billions to coal, oil, nuclear, and ethanol. This is what you'd expect from Tom Emmer, but it's what you got with Mark Dayton as Senator. FH: Hi, I'm Farheen Hakeem, your Green Party candidate for Governor. I will work to defend the rights of indigenous peoples and victims of free trade. Instead of a Dayton-style state-run casino, let's create a state-run bank similar to North Dakota, which happens to have the lowest unemployment in the nation. We can lend to small businesses and use the interest to build green infrastructure. We all know how awful the records of the Republicans are. But in so many ways, Democrats aren't too far off. This November 2nd, let's vote Green for real change. Please learn more at farheenhakeem.org. Announcer: Paid for by Hakeem for Governor. --- SOURCES Mark Dayton voted to fund the Iraq War. http://www.ontheissues.org/International/Mark_Dayton_War_+_Peace.htm http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=108&session=1&vote=00400 Mark Dayton voted for the Patriot Act. http://www.ontheissues.org/International/Mark_Dayton_Homeland_Security.htm http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00025 Mark Dayton attended a June meeting of America's Pro-Israel Lobby. http://www.fightbacknews.org/2010/7/3/minnesotans-protest-zionist-lobby-aipac-and-us-aid-israel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCBAcD_m8M4 (described in text by Craig Stellmacher) Supports Israel: http://www.ontheissues.org/International/Mark_Dayton_War_+_Peace.htm Mark Dayton voted to build a fence along the Mexican border. http://www.ontheissues.org/International/Mark_Dayton_Immigration.htm http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00262 Tom Emmer on Immigration: "Illegal immigration is, in fact, illegal. That is why I support Arizona in its efforts to reign in the unchecked flow of illegal immigrants, and that is why I support the implementation of measures to ensure that immigration to Minnesota is both legal and orderly." http://www.emmerforgovernor.com/issues/immigration/ Mark Dayton voted to retain capital gains tax cuts for the rich. http://www.ontheissues.org/Economic/Mark_Dayton_Tax_Reform.htm http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00010 "Last year, when this body passed a version of this legislation, I voted for it, principally because it included my amendment requiring corporate executives to pay their fair share of taxes when they use their company planes for their personal useā. My amendment would have raised $44 million in Federal revenues during the next 10 years" [Mark Dayton, Congressional Record, 5/11/2006] "Internal Revenue Service data show taxpayers who earned at least $1 million reaped 43 percent of all savings from reduced rates on dividends and capital gains. The Joint Committee on Taxation, a bipartisan congressional panel, estimates that renewing the investment tax breaks will cost the government $50 billion in revenue it otherwise would have received." http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aUuyWDCDyRIk Tom Emmer on Taxes: "Businesses should be rewarded for creating jobs, not saddled with more mandates and higher taxes. High tax rates ultimately harm those they are intended to help by driving prosperous businesses and individuals away. The top 10% of income earners pay more than half of Minnesota's income taxes - the top 1% of income earners pay over 25%, while earning only 15.6% of total income. Raising income taxes will only result in high-income earners leaving the state." http://www.emmerforgovernor.com/issues/taxes/ Mark Dayton voted to give billions to coal, oil, nuclear, and ethanol. http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00213 http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/06/oil_timeline.html http://www.citizen.org/cmep/article_redirect.cfm?ID=13980 http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:h6enr.txt.pdf Tom Emmer on the Environment: "Radical activists are trying to convince us that everyday nutrients are causing cancer, that cows are causing 'global warming' and that hogs are getting people sick." http://www.emmerforgovernor.com/issues/agriculture/ Tom Emmer on Ethanol: "Today the issue ensnared - sort of - Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, when his opponents said he voted against a biofuels mandate in the state. Emmer said he thought he voted for the mandate, adding he supports alternative fuels. The old MPR Votetracker (bless its now-dead heart) reveals that on April 27, 2005, Emmer voted for a bill that increased the ethanol content in a gallon of gasoline in Minnesota to 20 percent. The vote came after five hours of debate. A conference committee worked out a deal which doubled the percentage of ethanol beginning in 2013, if a separate renewable fuel goal is not met. When that bill went back to the House for a vote, Emmer voted against it, according to Votetracker." http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/news_cut/archive/2010/08/fact_check_emmer_on_ethanol.shtml Mark Dayton supports a state-run casino. http://www.minnpost.com/braublog/2010/01/26/15328/mark_dayton_casino_support_should_surprise_no_one http://www.startribune.com/politics/state/82654562.html http://mendotadakota.com/mn/2010/01/26/non-indian-state-run-casino-in-mn-could-be-coming-sooner-than-you-think/ Tom Emmer on Gambling: "I do not like the negative impact gambling has on our communities and families. Those who support any and all gambling will insist that our communities benefit greatly from tribally owned casinos. That is not true." http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/pressreleasels85.asp?district=19B&pressid=1566&party=2 North Dakota has a state-run bank. http://www.banknd.nd.gov/ http://motherjones.com/mojo/2009/03/how-nation%e2%80%99s-only-state-owned-bank-became-envy-wall-street http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/reviving-the-local-economy-with-publicly-owned-banks North Dakota has the lowest unemployment in the nation. http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm --- RADIO AD #1 FH: Hi, I'm Farheen Hakeem, your Green Party candidate for Governor. DD: And I'm Dan Dittmann, your Green Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor. We hear you, and we share your disappointment with our elected officials. We refuse to ignore the problems and we have the courage to bring the solutions. FH: For years, the Green Party has raised issues like single payer, IRV, funding peace, not war, and wind and solar, much safer alternatives to oil. At the state level, I will put people before stadiums, make sure Arizona's racist immigration policies never become law in Minnesota, and I will be the pro-equality Governor who will sign same sex marriage into law. DD: Unallotment shows Democrats and Republicans are only playing political games. We cannot expect the people who got us into this mess to get us out. FH: Our strategy for victory is simple. You send money, and we keep running ads. DD: Visit farheenhakeem.org to learn more. FH: My name is Farheen Hakeem. DD: And my name is Dan Dittmann. FH: And we need your vote November 2nd. DB: Paid for by Hakeem for Governor. --- STATUS UPDATE Radio ad #1 aired on AM950 in July and August. Radio ad #2 is ready to roll as soon as Farheen gives the go-ahead. Personally, I would have set aside more for radio ads. We had $11,000, more than enough to run a total of 3 ads at $2,000 each. I can see that buttons, T-shirts, literature, and bumper magnets boost name recognition, but the progressive base is hungry for substance, and the Green Party role is to raise issues each election cycle. AM950's market share might only be about 1%, but the audience is likely opinion leaders who can propagate our message through word of mouth. If we can keep sawing at the base, then perhaps the DFL edifice will fall. I feel that sometimes progressive candidates are reluctant to say anything negative, because they associate it with personal attacks, when really it's just respectful differentiation. Dayton is vulnerable because he's too conservative, and we just need to put the hammer down. http://tomstream.blogspot.com/2010/09/farheen-hakeem-radio-ad-2.html Tom Cleland Golden Valley Tom Cleland Golden Valley About Tom Cleland: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/3KpUpKCIX1WY4ctmtm5Zck --------14 of 17-------- A Dead-End Cycle When Corporations Own Congress By SHAMUS COOKE September 15, 2010 CounterPunch With the November elections quickly approaching, the majority of Americans will be thinking one thing: "Who cares?" This apathy isn't due to ignorance, as some accuse. Rather, working people's disinterest in the two party system implies intelligence: millions of people understand that both the Democrats and Republicans will not represent their interests in Congress. This begs the question: Whom does the two party system work for? The answer was recently given by the mainstream The New York Times, who gave the nation an insiders peek on how corporations "lobby" (buy) congressmen. The article explains how giant corporations - from Wall-mart to weapons manufacturers - are planning on shifting their hiring practices for lobbyists, from Democratic to Republican ex-congressmen in preparation for the Republicans gaining seats in the upcoming November elections: "Lobbyists, political consultants and recruiters all say that the going rate for Republicans - particularly current and former House staff members - has risen significantly in just the last few weeks, with salaries beginning at $300,000 and going as high as $1million for private sector [corporate lobbyist] positions." (September 9, 2010) Congressmen who have recently retired make the perfect lobbyists: they still have good friends in Congress, with many of these friends owing them political favors; they have connections to foreign Presidents and Kings; and they also have celebrity status that gives good PR to the corporations. Often, these congressmen have done favors for the corporation that is now hiring them, meaning, that the corporations are rewarding the congressmen for services rendered while in office, offering them million dollar lobbyist jobs (or seats on the corporate board of directors) that requires little to no work. The same New York Times article revealed that the pay for 13,000 lobbyists [!] currently bribing Congress is a combined $3.5 billion. It was also explained how some lobbying firms keep an equal amount of Democrats and Republicans on hand, so they can be prepared for any eventuality in the elections. This phenomenon is more than a little un-democratic: when millions of people vote for a candidate, the outcomes are quickly manipulated and controlled before the election even happens. Interestingly, the corporate-directed Wall Street Journal wrote a similar article in 2008, as the Democrats had begun to dominate politics in Washington: "Washington's $3 billion lobbying industry has begun shedding Republican staffers [politicians], snapping up Democratic operatives [politicians] and entire firms, a shift that started even before Tuesday's ballots were counted and Democrat Barack Obama captured the presidency." (November 5, 2008) This article was appropriately titled "Lobbyists Put Democrats Out Front as Winds Shift". The corporate money flows from party to party, so that the same goals are achieved: higher profits for corporations. The sums thrown at these politicians are mind boggling: the Associated Press reported that the corporate-orientated Chamber of Commerce spent "... nearly $190 million since Barack Obama became president in January 2009." (August 21, 2010) These numbers explain the "deeper" differences between Democrats and Republicans - money. Each party is a machine that vies for power because this power carries with it vast sums of corporate money. The longer a party is in office and the more connections it makes, the more its net worth to corporations, the more that these rewards can be spread to the different layers of the party. There is indeed a real-life, nasty fight between the Republican and Democratic Parties to dominate this corporate money. One "interest group" that ex-Congressmen don't work for is labor unions. Unions spend millions of dollars to help get Democrats elected, and millions more is spent trying to get their ear while they're in office. But unions cannot out-spend the banks; and they can't offer millionaire retirement packages to retired Senators. The corporate retirement plans of Congressmen prove where their minds are while in office, and whose interests are being looked after. Unions cannot continue to pretend that the Democrats are their "friends". Labor has very little to show for this dysfunctional, decades-long friendship: union membership continues to shrivel as do jobs, wages and benefits for workers - a losing strategy if ever there was one. A "lesser of two evils" approach to politics equals evil politicians for labor, no matter who wins. In fact, the lesser-evil Democrats have become increasingly evil over the years, to the point where the party as a whole is more Conservative than the Nixon-era Republicans. The point has been reached where - in various states - Democratic governors are being endorsed by unions after promising to attack the wages and benefits of public workers! To get out of this vicious, dead-end cycle, unions could unite their strength to form coalitions that promote independent labor candidates: 100 percent funded by labor to govern 100 percent in the interest of working people. All other roads lead back to the corporate lobbyists. Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscook [at] yahoo.com --------15 of 17-------- Why We Love to Hate Conspiracy Theories: 911 Truth as Threat to the Intelligentsia by Denis Rancourt / September 13th, 2010 Dissident Voice Especially left and liberal professionals and service intellectuals but also right-wing members of the intelligentsia vehemently attack and ridicule "conspiracy theories" such as the present 911 Truth movement. Why? It's as though power did not covertly orchestrate its predation of us? Is that not the modus operandi of power? Is it so difficult to believe that the complex and highly successful military attack on US soil that was 911 (levelling three gigantic sky scrapers, blasting a hole into the Pentagon, and destroying four commercial jets and their passengers) was not orchestrated by a religious zealot from a cave in Afghanistan and executed by failed Cessna pilot trainees with box cutters? Or that those who measurably benefited in the trillions had nothing to do with it? What the hell? Not even (admittedly rare) authoritative mainstream reports seem to matter.1 What ever happened to "war is a racket" and "follow the money"? In rigorous compliance with the true meanings of academic freedom2 and freedom of the press virtually no academics or mainstream journalists have made it their research to find truth or to radically (at the root) question the establishment version. Indeed, all the major and considered-radical academic pundits such as Noam Chomsky and Ward Churchill, have actively avoided the possibility that the 911 attacks could have been known or aided from within the finance-corporate-military complex. What keeps them from crossing that line? What makes them demean attempts to cross that line?3 Similarly, even outspoken dissident parliamentary politicians such as George Galloway have ridiculed the concerns of 911 truthers (at his last public talk in Ottawa). Is such self and projected censorship by star intellectuals only the result of the fear of being mobbed by ridicule? Is asking these questions in public fora so dangerous? When barred and suppressed Afghan Member of Parliament Malalai Joya was asked about 911 by a truther in Ottawa last year she replied that those who sought answers in this matter should address their questions to the occupiers of the White House. To this writer's knowledge, this is the furthest that any politician has gone in this direction, coming from "the bravest woman in Afghanistan" no less. But what shocked the present writer more is the derision to which was subjected the truther at the Malalai Joya Ottawa event, at the hands of an "activist" and "progressive" crowd. INTELLIGENTSIA SELF-DEFENCE The intelligentsia appears to be addicted to the illusion that it has a monopoly on valid analysis and understanding. In order to preserve this illusion and to protect its standing in providing interpretations of the World, the intelligentsia must limit the scope of all investigations to domains that fall within its self-established interpretational paradigms (right-left, power politics, geopolitical chess board, corporate motives, etc.) and self-established research protocols. Those paradigms and protocols, in turn, and the rigorously followed discipline of not supposing the worst in one's research stance, were established in academia at the time when "academic freedom" was being defined by the cornerstone nineteenth century US battles for professional independence in academia. The academics and society lost that battle: [T]he economists were the first professional analysts to be "broken in," in a battle that defined the limits of academic freedom in universities. The academic system would from that point on impose a strict operational separation between inquiry and theorizing as acceptable and social reform as unacceptable. Any academic wishing to preserve her position understood what this meant. As a side product, academics became virtuosos at nurturing a self-image of importance despite this fatal limitation on their societal relevance, with verbiage such as: The truth is our most powerful weapon, the pen is mightier than the sword, a good idea can change the world, reason will take us out of darkness, etc.2 Academics and "radical professors" train the intelligentsia. And power owns the media. TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH But much more importantly power owns us, owns our jobs, owns students at school and owns the homeless on the street, the First Peoples on the reserves and the prisoners in the jails. As long as we are owned, information about abuse of power is irrelevant for social change. This is the sociological fact that the 911 Truth movement has failed to recognize.4 Truth will not set us free. Truth and information do not lead to action. It's not a question of how many folks know the truth. It's only a question of what the truth means in real terms to however few individuals and will these individuals rebel, actually rebel and individually take back power over their lives. Contrary to the mantra of our left academic idols, truth and research are not threatening to power in a culture of subservience and obedience. In such a culture, radical-in-thought academics only stabilize the system by neutralizing the more action-minded youth.5 In such a culture, the only truth that is threatening to power is one that it perceives as an attack on its self-image.6 And, in such a culture, psychological self-image arising from power's connection to the broader society is the only force that can move power to constrain itself.6 In this measure, in the present culture, 911 Truth could have an impact. In this way, some of the low-level actual perpetrators and facilitators of 911 could eventually be sacrificed in show trials or in mainstream smear campaigns. In conclusion, the intelligentsia works at protecting itself (and by extension the system) and therefore will be a visceral opponent of 911 Truth until it can integrate 911 Truth and participate in neutralizing 911 Truth in order for power to save face. Or, some citizens might actually rebel? The extent and projection/potential of such pockets of rebellion is the only force capable of leveraging real concessions from power.7,8,9 .First published on the Activist Teacher blog. 1..Major media articles on 9-11 raise questions. by Fred Burks, 2010, Want to Know. [.] 2..Some big lies of science. by Denis G. Rancourt, 2010. [.] [.] 3..Questioning Foundations: An Interview with Denis Rancourt. by Michael Barker, 2010, Dissident Voice. [.] 4..911 Truth. by Denis G. Rancourt, 2010. [.] 5..Against Chomsky. by Denis G. Rancourt, 2008. [.] 6..Psycho-biological basis for image leverage and the case of Israel. by Denis G. Rancourt, 2010. [.] [.] 7..On the racism and pathology of left progressive First-World activism. by Denis G. Rancourt, 2010. [.] 8..Roundabout as conflict-avoidance versus Malcolm X.s psychology of liberation. by Denis G. Rancourt, 2010. [.] 9..Murder and genocide are natural, therefore rebel!. by Denis G. Rancourt, 2010. [.] Denis G. Rancourt was a tenured and full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa in Canada. He practiced several areas of science which were funded by a national agency and ran an internationally recognized laboratory. He published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals. He developed popular activism courses and was an outspoken critic of the university administration and a defender of student and Palestinian rights. He was fired for his dissidence in 2009 by a president who is a staunch supporter of Israeli policy. --------16 of 17-------- Driving Another Nail Into the Coffin of the New Deal Obama's Latest Apologetics By ALAN NASSER September 15, 2010 CounterPunch In Cleveland, Ohio last Wednesday and a White House press conference two days later president Obama opted full throttle for Richard Nixon's Big Lie strategy: when you preside over a worsening disaster look your constituency straight in the eye and tell them that black is white. Don't flinch, don't shift your eyes. Just lie. Lie big. Then cross your fingers they won't believe you could have the audacity. All of the White House's current pronouncements aim to avert large Democratic losses in the November elections, and to cover the administration's ass in the face of economic conditions that are already worse and asymptotically approaching the worst. Wednesday's talk touted an allegedly new plan that would address more effectively the dreadful unemployment situation: 30 million workers either can't find jobs or are forced to accept part-time work. Friday's press conference restated the message with an added vigorous renunciation of capitalism-with-a-human-face politics. Obama acknowledged the train wreck but sought, as per liberal boilerplate, to shift blame to the Republicans, specifically to the " governing philosophy" of the Bush years, which Obama described as "Cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires. Cut regulations for special interests. The idea was that if we had blind faith in the market; if we let corporations play by their own rules; if we left everyone else to fend for themselves, America would grow and prosper". Well excuse us, but weren't these policies given their big pre-crisis push by the Republican Democrat, Bill Clinton? They exhibit one of the president's favorite ideals, bipartisanship. Both Parties had cut taxes for the rich and endorsed deregulation; Clinton merely baptized them and passed them on to Bush, who dutifully handed them over to Obama. And about leaving working people to "fend for themselves": is Obama's audience to have deluded itself that the 30 million under- and unemployed have somehow managed to miss out on the benefits that Obama, Summers, Bernanke and Geithner have lavished on working people? Back in Jesuit school we used to snickeringly refer to the medieval philosopher Robert Grosseteste as "Bobby BigBalls". The old scholastic had nothing on Obama. The president proposed $50 billion to fund transportation development, mainly for rail lines, roads and airports. This merely extends the February 2009 original stimulus package funding of $71.76 billion for construction projects, much of which has not yet been spent and which is scheduled to expire. All this comes to a very small fraction of the $2.2 trillion the American Society of Civil Engineers shows is required to rehabilitate the country's crumbling infrastructure. And the "infrastructure bank" Obama has concocted is yet another barely disguised subsidy to private companies; it is intended primarily as an inducement to private investment in public projects. Obama expects us to miss that the "new jobs plan" is nothing new. It's just a reaffirmation of Obama's trickle-down corporate tax breaks with added perks. Firms would now be allowed an additional deduction for the full value of new capital investments and for outlays for research and development. And the latter deductions are to be made permanent. As if firms are not adding to capacity because taxes are too high! They are not investing because consumption demand is at record lows, due to unemployment, flatlined-since-1973 wages, debt deleveraging and increased savings for the upcoming rainy days predicted by the administration itself to last at least until 2012. Only a fool or a liar could think that firms will invest or banks lend under these circumstances, and Obama is no fool. What is most significant about last Wednesday's speech is its reassertion of Obama's adamant rejection of New Deal liberalism. There was a flat-out dismissal of direct government creation of jobs: "I've never believed that government's role is to create jobs or prosperity. I believe it's the private sector that must be the main engine of our recovery". There will be no public works programs. Not because they haven't worked in the past; the WPA was a transcontinental project and employed vast numbers, and no one denies its success. Nor because of lack of need; we are in precisely the sort of situation which Keynes correctly identified as requiring government to take on the responsibility for creating useful employment. Such is the position of the most estimable of liberal economists, including Joseph Stiglitz, James Galbraith and Robert Kuttner. Obama sneeringly dismisses them as "the professional left". The deficit is the main pretext for the imposition of the new age of austerity, and Obama cites its threat as his reason for his ridiculous reliance on the market as savior of the "middle class". He insists that his proposal is not a "government stimulus" and promises that it will not add to the deficit: "I am absolutely committed to fiscal responsibility, which is why I've already proposed freezing all discretionary spending unrelated to national security for the next three years". He is here referring to "A New Era of Responsibility", the title of his long-term plan for cuts in Social Security and reductions in Medicare and Medicaid benefits, among other components of the social wage. Obama will not aver these Reaganite intentions, and he deliberately deceives on this issue in the course of... distinguishing himself from Republicans! He pledged to fight "the efforts of some in the other party to privatize Social Security, because as long as I'm president, no one is going to take the retirement savings of a generation of Americans and hand it over to Wall Street". The man knows full well that the present strategy for cutting Social Security is not privatization but reducing benefits, extending the retirement age and and offering "the opportunity to own a portion of your own Social Security retirement account", i.e. private "add-on retirement accounts". These aims will be recommended by his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which is of course not a Republican creation. "Once the bipartisan fiscal commission finishes its work," Obama confessed, "I will spend the next year making the tough choices necessary to further reduce our deficit and lower our debt". It should be common knowledge that talk of "tough choices" is always doubletalk for unpopular measures which will make things even more "tough" on working people. The Washington Post's (September 9) comments on the speech cites several economists as estimating that Obama's proposal might create tens of thousands of jobs -and that's it- a year from now. The Post adds "This would be a drop in the bucket compared with the 7.6 million jobs lost during the recession that began in December 2007". No matter, professional liberals will swallow it whole. Their eyes ever on November, the Democratic leadership had little or nothing to say about the proposals. With negligible Democratic support and certain Republican opposition, they are not likely to pass. In that case, the Democratic response is predictable and robotic: House Dems will claim that it would be foolish to have supported the proposals without the likelihood of Senate support, which from the beginning was not forthcoming. They will fail to mention that the Democratic leadership in both houses uttered scarcely an encouraging word about the proposals. The Democrats will announce that the new jobs plan failed because the Republicans would not cooperate. The poor Democrats hanker after bipartisan niceness, but the mean old Republicans snub their overtures. We are supposed to forget that the Democrats hold large margins in both houses. Obama set the stage for invoking the Republican-obstructionist excuse by contrasting himself with the Republicans on whether to extend Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy. Obama would continue the cuts for 98 percent of all households, those earning less than $200,000 a year for an individual or $250,000 for a couple. These are allegedly not "wealthy". The remaining upper 2 percent don't get Obama's official blessing, but their incomes too will be Bush-breaks blessed if Senate majority leader Harry Reid and former Office of Management and Budget head Peter Orszag have their way. Both have indicated that they support the extensions for all households above the cut-off level. If they prevail, it will be the Republicans. fault. As if. David Broder's Thursday op-ed Washington Post piece described Obama's speech with uncommon candor: "What [Obama] said this week is that he is now prepared to adopt business' own favorite remedy, and subsidize private firms in hopes they will invest and hire more rapidly. The centerpiece is a classic bit of pro-business tax manipulation, allowing immediate expensing of equipment purchases and making permanent the research and development tax credit. This is the kind of tax reform Republicans can love, and it's now been placed on offer by a Democratic president, even before the election results are weighed". In his Friday press conference, Obama simply reiterated the content of the Cleveland speech, misdescribed the 9.6 percent unemployment rate as "9.5 percent" and restated more emphatically his antipathy to New Deal priorities. The hypocritical attempts to win support for his proposals by distinguishing himself from the Republicans were if anything more audacious than Wednesday's mendacities: "Prior to us getting here, as I indicated before, you had a set of policies that were skewed toward special interests, skewed toward the most powerful, and ordinary families out there were being left behind. And since we've gotten here - on a whole range of issues over the last 18 months, we've put in place policies that are going to help a middle class and lay the foundations for long-term economic growth". The ingenuity of the doublespeak is wondrous. Prior to Obama's tenure, policies were indeed "skewed toward special interests, skewed toward the most powerful, and ordinary families out there were being left behind". But Obama's words are entirely compatible with the fact that nothing has changed in the meantime. His administration is "going to" help "a (sic) middle class" and enable long-term growth. He's right about that: it hasn't happened yet. His reverse-Keynesian economic policies are in effect a promise that it won't happen at all. Obama showed his colors most brutally in his response to a reporter's question: "On the economy, could you discuss your efforts at reviewing history as it relates to the poverty agenda, meaning LBJ and Dr. King?" Obama's response was a paradigm of pre-Keynesian dogma: "Now, I think the history of anti-poverty efforts is that the most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there - single most important thing we can do. It's more important than any program we could set up. It's more important than any transfer payment we could have. If we can grow the economy faster and create more jobs, then everybody is swept up into that virtuous circle". That has been Obama's recurring theme, The Audacity of Nope. The rejuvenation of the private sector is the key to recovery. Any government enabling may only take the form of "transfer payments.." to the perps! There will be no such payments to the working majority. If we lavish a fortune on the windfall-takers, they will employ and lend to increasingly penurious debt peons. He's got to know that's pure horseshit. How long will it take the street liberals to wake up? [They seem to be permanently in never-never land, believing America at the top is "good" even though mountains of evidence show it has been evil for decades, centuries, and is now growing even more evil at an appalling rate. Hear no evil, see no evil, wear rose-colored glasses and honeyed earplugs. Like those with advanced Alzheimer's, they are beyond rational discussion. A small minority of citizens is left with the job of defending the rights of everybody else. -ed] Alan Nasser is professor emeritus of Political Economy at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He can be reached at nassera [at] evergreen.edu --------17 of 17-------- ------------------------- Deport the ruling class ------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 for governor 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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