|Progressive Calendar 11.05.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 5 Nov 2010 01:03:50 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 11.05.10 1. Vote FFUNCH!! 11.05 11:30am 2. Palestine vigil 11.05 4:15pm 3. Hawkinson 11.05 4:30pm 4. Cuban 5 exhibit 11.05 6pm 5. Cointelpro 101 11.05 6:30pm 6. RCTA 27th Bday 11.05 7pm 7. PC Roberts - Growing anger/ the impotence of elections 8. Dave Lindorff - Later never came/ take that you smug bastards! 9. Joel Hirschhorn - Despair follows delusion 10. John Walsh - The collapse of the Dems continues 11. Doug Page - Private banking, capitalism the core of our collapse 12. ed - Free freeze (haiku) --------1 of 12-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Vote FFUNCH!! 11.05 11:30am Ffunch 11.05 11:30am Meet the FFUNCH BUNCH! 11:30am-1pm First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for progressives. Informal political talk and hanging out. Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul. Meet on the far south side. Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines --------2 of 12-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 11.05 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. --------3 of 12-------- From: WAMM <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Hawkinson 11.05 4:30pm 2010 Hawkinson Peace and Justice Awards: Carol and Ken Masters Friday, November 5, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. (Peacemakers Fair) 7:30 p.m. (Program) Centennial Methodist Church, 1524 West County Road C2, Roseville. WAMM members Carol and Ken Masters of Minneapolis are recipients of the 2010 Honorary Award of The Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice. Members of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Carol and Ken Masters have been peace activists for many years, with a focus on the arms trade and its connections to worldwide violence and poverty. They have taken part in numerous nonviolent protests, marches and vigils as part of the Honeywell Project and Women Against Military Madness (WAMM). As members of the Community of St. Martin, they have participated in vigils at the School of Americas in Fort Benning, GA for many years. An author of two books on peace-related topics, Carol is currently co-chair of the board of directors of WAMM. Also receiving 2010 Honorary Awards are Reverend Dr. James Siefkes and Mary Lou Nelson of Minneapolis and Reverend Verlyn Smith of St. Paul. Selected annually by the Foundation, the honorary awards and Hawkinson scholarships are aimed at furthering the commitment to peace and justice of the late Reverend Vincent L. Hawkinson, who served as pastor of Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis for 30 years. The presentation is open to the public. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: 612-331-8125. --------4 of 12-------- From: Anya Achtenberg <aachtenberg [at] gmail.com> Subject: Cuban 5 exhibit 11.05 6pm The opening reception for the exhibition of the prison paintings of Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5, will be held on Friday, November 5, from 6 to 9 pm at Homewood Studios in Minneapolis. George Roberts, owner of the studio will introduce writer and poet Louis Alemayehu, and dancer and community organizer Hannah Garcia, who will read selections of Antonio's poetry in Spanish and English. Hand-set broadsides, suitable for framing, of Antonio's poems will be available for sale. Complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres will be available. The exhibition, entitled, From my Altitude, will continue through November 30. The schedule is set out below. The exhibit was most recently shown in New York City and at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit. Friday, November 5, 6p to 9p Opening reception Tuesday, November 9, 7p The paintings, their content, technique and meaning Friday, November 19, 7p A conversation on the politics of freedom in Cuba and the United States The gallery is open Tuesday, 5p to 9p; Wednesday and Friday, 1p to 6p; Saturday, 1p to 4p. Viewing is also available by appointment; contact 612-721-8440 or MNCuba [at] gmail.com. The exhibition will run November 4 - 30. Homewood Studios, 2400 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis, 612-587-0230 A brief history of the Cuban Five September 12, 1998 - the beginning of the unjust imprisonment of the the "Cuban Five." On that date, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labańino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, and René González were arrested by the FBI and framed up on federal charges in Miami, Florida. They were charged with conspiracy to commit espionage against the United States, and were tried in the highly-charged anti-Cuba atmosphere of Miami. They were convicted in 2001. The Cuban Five never committed espionage nor did they conspire to do so. Their actions were not directed against the U.S. or its government. Instead, their mission was to fight terrorism. The Cuban Five infiltrated Cuban-exile terrorist organizations in Miami, which have carried out attacks on Cuba for decades, in order to stop their plots. Since 1959, Miami has been a base of these operations against Cuba and its revolution. The attacks have devastated many lives. 3,478 Cubans have been killed by bombings, assassinations and biological warfare. Most of the attacks have been waged from Miami. Washington ignores Cuba's numerous appeals to stop the terrorists. This is why the Cuban Five came to Miami: to prevent terrorist crime. After their arrest, the Five were subjected to massive prejudicial news coverage in Miami; they were held in solitary confinement for 17 months, and the judge denied their requests to move the trial out of Miami. Convicted in 2001, they were sentenced from 15 years to double life. Although their convictions were overturned in federal appeals in 2005, the Bush administration appealed, and the verdicts were upheld. Appeals continue in the case and a worldwide campaign for their freedom is being conducted by hundreds of union, community and legal organizations and Latin American and European parliament members. October 13, 2010 - Amnesty International seeks review of case. In the latest breakthrough, Amnesty International has asked for a federal review of the fairness and impartiality of the trial in light of the "pervasive hostility to the Cuban government" in Miami. -- For more information about the Minnesota Cuba Committee and meeting times: www.minnesotacubacommittee.org --------5 of 12------- From: Mary Ellen Kaluza <mekaluza [at] gmail.com> Subject: Cointelpro 101 11.05 6:30pm COINTELPRO 101 A Video Documentary Discussion with former political prisoners Ricardo Jimenez & Claude Marks Friday, Nov. 5th Dinner at 6:30pm, Content at 7:00pm Waite House, 2529 13th Ave. S., Minneapolis $5-15 sliding scale, kids $2, childcare provided Sponsored by the RNC8 Defense Committee Proceeds benefit soon-to-be political prisoner Scott DeMuth's defense fund COINTELPRO may not be a well-understood acronym but its meaning and continuing impact are absolutely central to understanding the government's wars and repression against progressive movements. COINTELPRO represents the state's strategy to prevent movements and communities from overturning white supremacy and creating racial justice. COINTELPRO is both a formal program of the FBI and a term frequently used to describe a conspiracy among government agencies - local, state, and federal - to destroy movements for self-determination and liberation for Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous struggles, as well as mount an institutionalized attack against allies of these movements and other progressive organizations. http://rnc8.org/events/ www.freedomarchives.org --------6 of 12--------- From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at] yahoo.com> Subject: RCTA 27th Bday 11.05 7pm On Sale Now - Resource Center's 27th Anniversary Celebration 11/5/10 Buy Tickets (http://www.sagepayments.net/eftcart/products.asp?Dept_ID=11180_id=585844113358) Last year our 150 guests were disappointed to call it a night so early, so this year Rumba Eterna will keep us going 'til midnight! Join Mark Ritchie, Resource Center board, staff, teachers, volunteers, and friends for a great night! Friday, November 5 from 7pm - Midnight At Plaza Verde on E. Lake St. With Special Guest Mark Ritchie Music by Rumba Eterna (http://www.myspace.com/rumbaeterna) Free salsa lesson by Social Dance Studio (http://www.socialdancestudio.com/) Art auction to benefit Haiti development via Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (http://ijdh.org/) Food, drinks, music, dancing, silent auction, and more! --------7 of 12-------- Growing Anger The Impotence of Elections By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS November 4, 2010 CounterPunch In his historical novel, The Leopard, Giuseppe di Lampedusa writes that things have to change in order to remain the same. That is what happened in the US congressional elections on November 2. Jobs offshoring, which began on a large scale with the collapse of the Soviet Union, has merged the Democrats and Republicans into one party with two names. The Soviet collapse changed attitudes in socialist India and communist China and opened those countries, with their large excess supplies of labor, to Western capital. Pushed by Wall Street and Wal-Mart, American manufacturers moved production for US markets offshore to boost profits and shareholder earnings by utilizing cheap labor. The decline of the US manufacturing work force reduced the political power of unions and the ability of unions to finance the Democratic Party. The end result was to make the Democrats dependent on the same sources of financing as Republicans. Prior to this development, the two parties, despite their similarities, represented different interests and served as a check on one another. The Democrats represented labor and focused on providing a social safety net. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, housing subsidies, education, and civil rights were Democratic issues. Democrats were committed to a full employment policy and would accept some inflation to secure more employment. The Republicans represented business. The Republicans focused on curtailing big government in all its manifestations from social welfare spending to regulation. The Republicans' economic policy consisted of opposing federal budget deficits. These differences resulted in political competition. Today both parties are dependent for campaign finance on Wall Street, the military/security complex, AIPAC, the oil industry, agri-business, pharmaceuticals, and the insurance industry. Campaigns no longer consist of debates over issues. They are mud-slinging contests. Angry voters take their anger out on incumbents, and that is what we saw in the election. Tea Party candidates defeated Republican incumbents in primaries, and Republicans defeated Democrats in the congressional elections. Policies, however, will not change qualitatively. Quantitatively, Republicans will be more inclined to more rapidly dismantle more of the social safety net than Democrats and more inclined to finish off the remnants of civil liberties. But the powerful private oligarchs will continue to write the legislation that Congress passes and the President signs. New members of Congress will quickly discover that achieving re-election requires bending to the oligarchs' will. This might sound harsh and pessimistic. But look at the factual record. In his campaign for the presidency, George W. Bush criticized President Clinton's foreign adventures and vowed to curtail America's role as the policeman of the world. Once in office, Bush pursued the neoconservatives' policy of US world hegemony via military means, occupation of countries, setting up puppet governments, and financial intervention in other countries' elections. Obama promised change. He vowed to close Guantanamo prison and to bring the troops home. Instead, he restarted the war in Afghanistan and started new wars in Pakistan and Yemen, while continuing Bush's policy of threatening Iran and encircling Russia with military bases. Americans out of work, out of income, out of homes and prospects, and out of hope for their children's careers are angry. But the political system offers them no way of bringing about change. They can change the elected servants of the oligarchs, but they cannot change the policies or the oligarchs. The American situation is dire. As a result of the high speed Internet, the loss of manufacturing jobs was followed by the loss of professional service jobs, such as software engineering, that were career ladders for American university graduates. The middle class has no prospects. Already, the American labor force and income distribution mimics that of a third world country, with income and wealth concentrated in a few hands at the top and most of the rest of the population employed in domestic services jobs. In recent years net new job creation has been concentrated in lowly paid occupations, such as waitresses and bartenders, ambulatory health care services, and retail clerks. The population and new entrants into the work force continue to grow more rapidly than job opportunities. Turning this around would require more realization than exists among policymakers and a deeper crisis. Possibly it could be done by using taxation to encourage US corporations to manufacture domestically the goods and services that they sell in US markets. However, the global corporations and Wall Street would oppose this change. The tax revenue loss from job losses, bank bailouts, stimulus programs, and the wars have caused a three-to-four-fold jump in the US budget deficit. The deficit is now too large to be financed by the trade surpluses of China, Japan, and OPEC. Consequently, the Federal Reserve is making massive purchases of Treasury and other debt. The continuation of these purchases threatens the dollar's value and its role as reserve currency. If the dollar is perceived as losing that role, flight from dollars will devastate the remnants of Americans' retirement incomes and the ability of the US government to finance itself. Yet, the destructive policies continue. There is no re-regulation of the financial industry, because the financial industry will not allow it. The unaffordable wars continue, because they serve the profits of the military/security complex and promote military officers into higher ranks with more retirement pay. Elements within the government want to send US troops into Pakistan and into Yemen. War with Iran is still on the table. And China is being demonized as the cause of US economic difficulties. Whistleblowers and critics are being suppressed. Military personnel who leak evidence of military crimes are arrested. Congressmen call for their execution. Wikileaks' founder is in hiding, and neoconservatives write articles calling for his elimination by CIA assassination teams. Media outlets that report the leaks apparently have been threatened by Pentagon chief Robert Gates. According to Antiwar.com, on July 29 Gates "insisted that he would not rule out targeting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange or any of the myriad media outlets which reported on the leaks". The control of the oligarchs extends to the media. The Clinton administration permitted a small number of mega-corporations to concentrate the US media in a few hands. Corporate advertising executives, not journalists, control the new American media, and the value of the mega-companies depends on government broadcast licenses. The media's interest is now united with that of the government and the oligarchs. On top of all the other factors that have made American elections meaningless, voters cannot even get correct information from the media about the problems that they and the country face. As the economic situation is likely to continue deteriorating, the anger will grow. But the oligarchs will direct the anger away from themselves and toward the vulnerable elements of the domestic population and "foreign enemies". Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com --------8 of 12-------- Later Never Came Take That You Smug Bastards! By DAVE LINDORFF November 4, 2010 CounterPunch Maple Glen, Penn. The Democrats were blown out of the water on Nov. 2. But it's not because of the Tea Party, or because of a resurgent Republican majority. The Democrats deserved to lose because they have long since abandoned whatever principles they had, and more important, they've pissed on their most important supporters - the left, real liberals, African Americans, women, unionized workers, and workers in general. So I say hooray, all those groups have struck back! Barack Obama set this disaster for the party and his presidency in motion before he was even sworn in as president, by choosing Wall Street hacks as his economic advisers in the midst of the worst economic crisis in 75 years, and by choosing as his key political adviser Rahm Emanuel, who famously called progressive critics "fucking retarded," and who, when warned that the GM bailout plan would hurt the United Autoworkers members who worked there, also famously said "Fuck the UAW!" [I have a suggestion for Rahm Emanuel. -ed] Emanuel never, at least in public, ever said "Screw the Schwarzes!," but he and Obama might as well have, for all the help they've offered to a population that is suffering with twice the unemployment rate of whites, and that is being imprisoned at a rate that is virtually re-enslaving the nation's young male African-American population. Those progressives and liberals and minorities and workers that Emanuel and Obama, and most of the Democrats in Congress have dissed and pissed on have now returned the favor. When you have a state like mine, Pennsylvania, where Democrats have a one million advantage in voter registration, to lose both the governor's race and the Senate race to Republicans, takes some serious screwing up. And that's what happened. Both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature went from Democratic to Republican, the outgoing and popular Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, whose two terms were over, was replaced by the Republican attorney general, Tom Corbett, and the Senate seat held by Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter, who was defeated in a primary by Rep. Joe Sestak, went narrowly to a right-wing Republican, former Rep. Pat Toomey. Looking at the Democratic Party debacle in Pennsylvania gives a worm's eye view of what the national party did to itself. Pennsylvania is often said to be a deep south state with two or three liberal northern enclaves - Philadelphia in the southeast, the Pittsburg region in the far west, and the old industrial area of Scranton-Wilkes Barre in the northeast. Democrats typically win in statewide races by piling up huge majorities in those three regions - especially Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Those regions voted overwhelmingly for Onorato and Sestak, as usual, but not in the numbers necessary to overcome the enthusiastic turnout of conservative voters in the middle of the state. Looking at the vote in Philadelphia, which is roughly 50 per cent African American in demographics, even though the total voter turnout of 41 per cent was on the high side for an off-year election, the party split - 82 per cent Democrat and 18 per cent Republican - was not as lopsided as it was in 2008, when it was 90 per cent Democratic. That difference alone would have given Sestak, who lost his race by just 2 per cent, a victory. Worse yet, the black voter turnout was lower than expected. Again, had blacks turned out in better than historical numbers, as whites did in Philadelphia, Sestak, and probably Onorato, would have both won their state-wide races. The same argument can be made for several congressional races in the Philadelphia suburbs, where turnout was low, and Democrats, including several incumbents, lost. African-Americans didn't vote because they have been largely ignored by President Obama and Congressional Democrats over the past two years of economic disaster. Homes have continued to be foreclosed at a rapacious pace, no jobs programs have been created for people at the bottom (what good do funds for highway and bridge construction do for minorities or women or minority women, when most construction workers are continue to be white males?), the health care "reform" bill, if anything, has weakened Medicaid programs, which is how most poor people get what health care they can get, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are sucking up funds that could have been used to reduce class sizes in urban schools (In Philadelphia schools, kids sit on the floor in overcrowded classrooms with insufficient desks and still use battered textbooks that date from the 1970s, or if they're lucky, the '80s or '90s). Union households couldn't be roused to go out and do the door-to-door campaigning legwork or the evening phone-bank calling after having done so two years ago on the promise of passage of an Employee Free Choice Act to make union organizing fair, only to have the Obama administration and the Democratic Congressional leadership walk away from the issue, saying they'd save it for "later". "Later" never came, of course. Every progressive, every liberal, every union member, every African-American dissed by Obama and his potty-mouth advisers, or ignored by his Wall-Street enamored economic team, or his medical industry obsessed health bill advisers, was not just a vote lost. It was a persuasive vote-getter lost. That's why the Democratic Party was crushed on Tuesday. It was a fully deserved trouncing. I went to my polling station in the church one block from my house to cast a vote, and found my self in conversation with an ardent local Democrat who was handing out local Democratic sample ballots, and an equally ardent Tea Party guy advocating for a right-wing candidate running for the local congressional seat. I found myself agreeing much more with the Tea Partier. The Tea Partier said that the government had "lost touch" with ordinary people. I couldn't agree more. He said that the health bill was a costly and overly bureaucratic disaster. Again, I couldn't agree more. The Democratic activist countered that Obama and the Democrats in Congress weren't getting credit for any of the good things they had done in the past two years. I just don't see it. Judges? Obama named two very mediocre, middle-of-the-road jurists who may even side against liberal positions, like the death penalty, or presidential executive power. The wars? We still have 50,000 troops and an enormous army of mercenaries in Iraq, and a deepening quagmire in Afghanistan that is looking more like Vietnam every day. That's change? And education? Show me the money. All we're hearing is charter schools, and the studies show them to be costly failures that simply suck the life out of the rest of the schools in a district. Jobs? Right. Regulating the banks? There's a laugh! They are bigger, more concentrated, and more powerful than ever, and engaged in the same crooked behavior that caused the economic crisis. The good news is that the voters have told Obama, the Democrats, and their oh-so-smart political advisers, "Fuck you!" One would hope that we won't be hearing any more dissing of progressives from the White House or Congressional Democrats after this election, but then again, the Democratic Party long ago lost any pretense of being the party of the common person, so who knows? Never mind that of the 80 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, only 3 lost their seats, while the conservative/neoliberal Blue Dog Caucus, with 54 members, lost 26, or almost half of its ranks. Democratic leaders, including the president, may nonetheless come away from this election deciding once again that the answer is to become more like the Republicans. (Already the Democratic Leadership Council, that loathsome cesspool of conservative and Neoliberal Democrats like Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, is claiming that the reason Democrats got trounced is that they "lost the middle"!) And we have all seen how well that works. Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, collectively-owned, journalist-run online alternative newspaper. His work, and that of John Grant, Linn Washington and Charles Young, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net --------9 of 12-------- Despair Follows Delusion by Joel S. Hirschhorn November 4th, 2010 Dissident Voice Despite all the hype and rhetoric, only one impact of the mid-term elections is assured. Notwithstanding power shifts from Democrats to Republicans in Congress there will not be any deep, sorely needed true reforms of our corrupt, dysfunctional and inefficient government. The culture of corruption in Washington, DC will remain. Hundreds of millions of dollars from corporate and other special interests will assure that. Voters who think otherwise are either delusional or stupid. It will not matter whether you voted for Republicans because you wanted to defeat Democrats (or vice-versa), or whether you voted for Tea Party candidates, or whether you voted against incumbents, or whether you voted for what you believe are lesser-evil candidates. Americans lost however they voted, but it may take time for most to comprehend that. That is a terribly painful reality, which is why many who chose to vote will resist facing the ugly truth. When it comes to politics in America, delusion and stupidity are rampant, like a terrible epidemic that has killed brain cells. Several billion dollars were spent selling candidates this year. Who profited? The many media outlets that received the advertising bonanza and companies that supplied mailings, posters and automatic phone calls. At least all that spending was kept domestic. Yes, you are thinking that this is the most cynical view possible. Cynicism beats delusion. I recommend it. This is what American history tells us. Americans have been brainwashed and tricked into thinking that elections are crucial for maintaining American democracy. That is exactly what the two-party plutocracy needs to maintain their self-serving political system and that is also what the rich and powerful Upper Class wants to preserve their status. But voting in a corrupt political system no longer sustains democracy. It only sustains the corrupt political system that makes a mockery of American democracy. Think about it. In the months following this election, when unemployment and economic pain for all but the rich remain awful, anyone who pays attention and is able to face the truth will see that there is little chance of genuine government reforms. Nor will any of the nation's severe fiscal and spending problems be smartly attacked. The Republicans will blame the Democrats, the Democrats will blame the Republicans, the Tea Party winners will blame the system, the radio and cable pundits will blabber endlessly, and Jon Stewart and other comics will have an abundance of material to take jabs at. The two-party plutocracy will triumph. Every member of Congress will, as before, spend most of their time and energy doing what is necessary to win the next election. The army of lobbyists will be busier than ever legally bribing politicians to sustain the successful political strategy of the rich and business sector to make the rich and super-rich still richer at the expense of the middle class. Anyone who thinks that winner Republicans will work to overturn economic inequality is stupid or delusional. A disproportionate and ludicrous fraction of the nation's income and wealth will go to a tiny fraction of rich and super-rich Americans. Nothing that President Obama or the Democrats have done or championed was aimed squarely at reversing economic inequality and the death of the middle class, which by itself justified defeating them. President Obama, of course, will continue his self-serving rhetoric with the sole goal of winning reelection in 2012. The presidency just made him destructively delusional. Of course, he will speak about working with Republicans. Wait and see. Here is what non-delusional Americans can hope for: Maybe a decent third party presidential candidate will emerge. Maybe the Tea Party movement will wake up to the reality that electing Republicans is a terrible strategy for reforming the government and restoring the health of the nation and shift their interest to forming a third party. I doubt very much whether any of the Tea Party winners in Congress will stand up and aggressively work for and demand true reforms. The new Republican Speaker of the House is a classic establishment Republican. Maybe the greatly expanded calls for an Article V convention (mostly by Republicans and conservatives) as the constitutional path to reforms through constitutional amendments will gather more energy (especially from Tea Party people) and finally succeed. Welcome to the good old USA where citizens, unlike those in Europe, do not riot in the streets demanding justice but keep believing in the nonsense that voting for either Republicans or Democrats will work for them and the nation. Despair follows delusion. Despite the endless media hype, the political revolution of 2010 is like a badly made firecracker - a dud. President Obama, Republicans and Democrats will have learned nothing profound, not enough to dedicate themselves to real reforms. Along with economic pain, widespread anger will persist as nothing tangible results to make the lives of ordinary Americans a lot better. Will Americans demand smarter strategies than voting in regular elections with choices between Democrats and Republicans? What do you think? Joel S. Hirschhorn has a new book, Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, which supports constitutional conventions and other peaceful ways to restore American democracy. --------10 of 12-------- The Collapse of the Dems Continues Progressives Learned Nothing in the Elections of 2010 by John Walsh November 4th, 2010 Dissident Voice There are four things to recognize about the Democrats. well-deserved drubbing on Tuesday. First, the real news of the election was writ in the primaries weeks before. The voting there showed that the defeat of 2010 is part of a continuing and unremitting Democratic Party descent over decades. As I wrote two weeks before the election: Since 1970, the turnout in Democratic primaries has been dropping inexorably as the Democrats piled betrayal upon betrayal. And this year, according to data compiled by American University, the "average percentage of eligible citizens who voted in Democratic primaries was the lowest ever... Democratic turnout was 8.3 percent of the eligible electorate, lower than the 8.7 percent of the electorate who voted during this period in 2006 and continuing [an] almost linear descent in Democratic primary turnout since 20.7 percent voted in the party's primaries in 1966". Why? It is a simple reflection of reality. In his 2008 campaign, Ralph Nader patiently and exhaustively documented how the Democrats have become more and more like the Republicans with each passing year, and so it is not strange that the response of the electorate to both parties has ranged from disinterest to disdain. And so the plunge continues. Every year fewer and fewer people participate in the Dem primaries. Second, Obama has quickly gone from Messiah to Pariah as far as the left-leaning segment of his base - or former base - is concerned. They elected him to deliver peace and he gave them more wars than Bush. They cried out for economic relief and he ignored them while giving munificent succur to the banksters. They elected him to cut military spending and they got a glut of military spending. They supported him in 2008 to end the assault on liberties at home and abroad, but the secret renditions and domestic spying and harassment of peace activists continue apace. They longed for single payer, and they got the stranglehold of the insurers on their health codified into law. And more - much more. Perfidy does not carry the weight of what was done to them by their Messiah. Third, the leaders of the progressive forces continued to pimp for the Dems right through the election. Unlike some on the Right who joined the Tea Party and ripped into the Republican establishment as best they could, the "leaders" of the liberal "Left" meekly followed Obama. These submissive sheep hardly let out a bleat of complaint as Obama betrayed them again and again while the rank and file Dems at least ran the other way. But neither had the ovaries of the conservatives who assailed the Republican bosses and attempted to organize an alternative. Fourth, these same pathetic leaders of the liberal "Leftists," best exemplified by the "Progressive" Democrats of American ("P"DA), continue their usual empty rhetoric today, the day after the election. They see nothing wrong with what they have been doing. Do not expect them to take action when Obama bombs Iran or expands the war on Pakistan. They will only talk but they will not punish him. As an example, Norman Solomon makes vague cries for "grassroots" organizing by which he certainly means supporting his organization "P"DA which is so pathetically loyal to Obama and Party over principle. The slogan of many in the Tea Party, "Principle over Party," is one that Solomon and company might cogitate upon. One of the candidates that Solomon offered up for our consideration in the weeks before the election was not even a single-payer advocate! And the Congressional "P"DA affiliates, like the forked tongue Rep. James McGovern routinely vote for war funding - as routinely, in fact, as "P"DA supports them, as it did this time around! In the same vein there is the call of a prominent pwog journal today to "stand and fight". For Dems, of course. The very cover of this same journal endorsed John Kerry in his prowar campaign for Pres in 2004; promised impeachment hearings from its poster boy for that, John Conyers, in 2006; backed the prowar, Wall St. funded Obama in 2008; and called for the election of Dems who voted for war funding in 2010. What does this journal want us to fight for? When will it stand and fight for principle rather than for Dems? The answer I fear is never. This rag is too far gone now. Equally tiring is to hear these pwogs complain that their Dems were defeated by big money. Look at Jerry Brown as a counter example. Money ain't everything. And in 2008 Barry and Joe had more money than John and Sarah. If there is a party or movement in whom the masses of people can trust, then they will surely put in the work and contribute the funds to guarantee victory. But the Dems are not that party. They long ago ceased to be anything even close it. They are not even a lesser evil - even when the standards for that are painfully low. It is good that Obama and the Dems were punished in the elections. They deserve worse. Now it is time to move on to something decent. John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com. -------11 of 12-------- Two Powerful Human Institutions at the Core of Our Collapse Have We Evolved Enough To Change Them? by Doug Page Dissident Voice July 11th, 2009 The recent cancellation of fireworks displays by insolvent American cities is an indicator of the total collapse of our political and economic institutions and the loss of the American Dream. We no longer remember nor do we celebrate what it is that made the US the hope of mankind. It is apparent that we have lost our effective voting power and that our local and national political institutions are in immobilized gridlock in so far as benefit to us is concerned. Our founding fathers were inspired in giving us the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Brilliant as they were, they could not have known and did not provide for control of emerging and rapidly growing economic dynamics of private banking and of capitalism. These two human institutions can be thought of as gigantic private tornado funnels that extract our wealth created by our work, for the benefit of the super rich. These two institutions are also parasitic in that in impoverishing their human hosts, they are also destroying themselves. These beneficiaries of the wealth and power generated by these two uncontrolled political- economic forces have now captured control of our governments, our military and intelligence forces, our media, our mainstream religions, our academic institutions, and what we study, what think and what we dream. Besides these two institutions, we civilized humans are confronted, with the coinciding problems of over-population, Global Warming and the end of the age of oil. We humans in the United States and the Western World must make very profound changes in our values, life styles, and institutions, if we are to maintain sustainable civilized life. Our challenge is: Have we humans have evolved enough to make these profound changes? Can we do this when we face the relentless opposition of the main stream media and we have no comparable way of communicating the truth among the millions of us? THE FIRST WEALTH EXTRACTING "FUNNEL TORNADO:" CREATION OF MONEY AND CREDIT BY PRIVATE BANKS Even during the times of our Founding Fathers, there was public controversy about whether money should be issued solely by the government, solely by private banks, or by a mixture of the two. Prior to our Revolution, the State of Pennsylvania had been especially successful in creating public money. This was well known to the Founding Fathers who had just won the Revolutionary War financed by publicly created money issued by the various Colonies. At that time, the private European banks had found it to be immensely profitable for private banks to be in control of the money supply. It is said that branches of the banks of the Rothschild family financed both sides of the Napoleon's Wars. Alexander Hamilton vigorously proposed private money creation. Benjamin Franklin and others wanted our new government to be the sole creator of money, public money. The resulting language of our Constitution was a compromise. The US Congress was given the power to create money, but it did not necessarily have to be the sole source of money-creation, and the Constitution left the private banks free to create money. The private banks seized the opportunity. Today, for practical purposes, all money is created by private banks. The actual workings of private banking and money creation are well documented,1 but are totally unknown by voters and even many elected officials. The facts and the dynamics of private banking are startling: .The Federal Reserve System is not a public institution. It is privately owned by the private banks. The Accounting and Auditing Act of 1950 section, 31 USC 714(b), dictated that congressional audits of the Federal Reserve may not include "deliberations, decisions and actions on monetary policy matters".2 .Our money is created by private banks out of nothing. NOTHING!!! .All money is debt!!! All money is created by private banks making loans to the government and to individuals and corporations. The private banks simply write a check for the requested loan, with no actual cash deposits to back up the loan. Banks do not ordinarily make loans from actual savings on deposit. .Each loan becomes an account receivable by the bank which is then used as a "reserve" to issue even more loans. .In the past, a ratio of 10 to 1 was common so that a bank with a loan, and thus an account receivable "reserve," of say, $10,000, could issue 9 more loans for total loans of $100,000. This is called "fractional reserve" banking. All this money is created out of nothing by the private banks. In recent years, the 10 to 1 traditional reserve requirement has been largely ignored, and loans were issued at will sometimes with very little "reserves". .All money being debt, and that money plus interest being owed to the private banks, the resulting annual private profit for them is huge. Total private and public debt is now said to be over $50 Trillion, ($50 Thousand Billion), all owed to private banks. Taking into account the 18-21% interest charged on credit cards, and the much lower interest on Government Bonds, the average rate of interest must be well over 3% per year. But even 3% x $50 Trillion results in annual profit to private banks and their owners of $1.5 Trillion per year. The private banks are owned by the wealthiest 1% of Americans and foreigners. This is one of the principal causes of the immense and ever increasing disparity of wealth between the rich and the non-rich. .We thus have a gigantic, fraudulent, secret, private banking system that is killing our civilized democracy and impoverishing us. Money is power, power with which the tiny numbers of people constituting the super rich finance candidates for public office, finance their re-elections, finance their opponents if they fail to do the donor's bidding, power finance lobbyists, think tanks, academic studies, and universities. George Washington's Blog on July 2 gave us the result: "Leading economist Dean Baker wrote today 'Banks Own the US Government'". The number two ranking Democrat in the Senate, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), said: "Frankly, banks own the place". Collin Peterson, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, said: "The banks run the place... I will tell you what the problem is - they give three times more money than the next biggest group. It's huge the amount of money they put into politics". This anti democratic private power and wealth could be curtailed if we caused the United States Congress to exercise its power to cause the United States to be the sole creator of our money. We then would not need to tax ourselves to pay off public and private loans. This public money could simply be issued to rebuild our infrastructure, provide universal medical care, and to provide free education through college. Public money could be loaned at controlled interest rates for private businesses.3 THE OTHER WEALTH EXTRACTING "FUNNEL TORNADO:" CAPITALISM The dynamics of capitalism, based solely on private greed, are more familiar than the workings of private banking, but still largely suppressed by the main stream media. The core dynamic is this: A person with money hires a person without money at the lowest possible wage, to produce as much profit as possible, for the man who already has money. In 1789, this core dynamic seemed harmless. Persons without money could always go "out West," or become self-employed. Our Founding Fathers did not and could not have anticipated how this private wealth creating institution standing parallel with a government "of, by and for the people" would capture control of the government. However, this core dynamic repeated by thousands of employers hiring millions of employees, over the past 230 years has caused what we have today: The employers and those who finance the employers have gotten very rich and powerful. We employees have had a stagnant standard of living since 1970. An immensely powerful private business system now controls the government with its wealth in the same way that the private banks do. We now experience the resulting disparity of poverty and wealth. We experience our own voting impotence. Even though 70% or more of us voters want Single Payer Health Coverage, so great is the power of privately owned insurance companies and HMOs, that this coverage is not even on the legislative table for consideration. The super rich will allow no government solution to any of our problems unless it provides a profit making opportunity for them. Hence the relentless pressure to "privatize" every human enterprise from health care to freeways to municipal water works, and to cut the taxes of the rich. So, our only hope is to seek sources of information and inspiration outside of these dominant mainstream institutions, from our own experience and observation, from our prophets and sages over the ages, and from our own sense of right and wrong. The current economic crisis provides a fertile opportunity, if only we had the wisdom courage to press our advantage. The Banks are bankrupt. We can use no more loans or "credit". We are maxed out on debt. Capitalism is in its terminal phase. Capitalism has extracted all that it possibly can from us. We are working harder and longer and for stagnant wages. Capitalism has extracted so much from us, that we can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that our labor provides. In extracting wealth from us, these two institutions, private banking and capitalism, are reducing us to feudal poverty and are killing themselves. As activist John Stoltenberg says: "American capitalism is confronted with the greatest economic/financial crisis in its over 230 year history. Meanwhile, the capitalist class, its corporate management and its political elite, i.e. the capitalist oligarchy which has the real economic and political power, do not have any real solutions for the economic/financial problems confronting American capitalism. Therefore, the capitalist oligarchy has created our de facto fascist state whose sole function is to preserve the economic and political power of the capitalist oligarchy in the face of its failure to solve the problems associated with their very mature, dysfunctional and failing capitalist economic system. Concurrently, people outside of the ruling capitalist oligarchy, people without much real economic or political power, people who do the grunt work to keep American capitalism functioning, who do the dirty work of fighting its wars, the expendable people who are unemployed, live on food stamps, have no health insurance, try to make capitalism work no matter how dysfunctional it is, no matter how badly it is failing as an economic system. It is these people who still believe the American republic with its democratic political process, our civil rights, the rule of law, and the separation of church and state still exists, and try to make our political system function as it was intended to function. Since we have no public "bull-horn" comparable to the mainstream media with which to communicate among ourselves and to organize, we still can do the following: .We can recognize our own denial that all of this is happening, our false belief that 'everything will turn out all right,' and our wish to die if we cannot keep our material goods. Guided by cutting edge people like Carolyn Baker, Ph.D., a Jungian psychologist, educator, and author of Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization's Collapse, we can adjust to our current reality and create the sustainable survival of our human civilized community. We can be comforted and enlightened by the book, The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins, Founder of the Transition Movement. .We can openly and honestly accept our impotence at the ballot box, and that we no longer have effective voting power. We can be aware of the immense private forces that control President Obama's actual acts, as contrasted with what he says in his moving speeches. .We can stop getting our information from the main stream media. We can "cut the cord". We can and we must rely on non-mainstream internet sources like World Socialist Web Site, MRzine, George Washington's Blog, Counterpunch, and Dissident Voice. We must become aware that even sources like Move On.org, NLPF, Huffington's Post, NPR, PBS, and The Nation are beholden to and influenced by private banks and the private business institutions. We must judge their proposals, "insights" and "information" accordingly, and we must become aware of what they simply leave out of their coverage. .We can use the internet to communicate and organize, perhaps using something like Face book. .We can have one day or many day "buyers" strikes. where we simply buy nothing, to demonstrate our power and our outrage, to mobilize ourselves, and to challenge the power of the super rich. .We can have one day "work stoppages" or "sick days" where we simply do not work. .We must be ever on guard that our use of the internet will be foreclosed or monitored by the powers that be. -- 1.See, for example, former Congressman Wright Patman.s report to the Congress and to the American people entitled .Money.; See also Paul Grignon.s eye opening 47 minute video, Money as Debt. [.] 2.. (b) Under regulations of the Comptroller General, the Comptroller General shall audit an agency, but may carry out an onsite examination of an open insured bank or bank holding company only if the appropriate agency has consented in writing. Audits of the Federal Reserve Board and Federal reserve banks may not include. (1) transactions for or with a foreign central bank, government of a foreign country, or nonprivate international financing organization; (2) deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy matters, including discount window operations, reserves of member banks, securities credit, interest on deposits, and open market operations; (3) transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee; or (4) a part of a discussion or communication among or between members of the Board of Governors and officers and employees of the Federal Reserve System related to clauses (1)-(3) of this subsection.. [emphasis added] [.] 3.See the draft of the proposed American Monetary Act drafted by Steven Zarlenga and others. [.] Doug Page is a retired lawyer for unions, a former Democratic politician, and a life long observer of government, unions and business. He can be reached at: dougpage2 [at] earthlink.net. --------12 of 12-------- Some day, doctors will fix criminals. Until then, freeze 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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