Progressive Calendar 01.14.11
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 14:13:21 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   01.14.11

1. Palestine vigil  1.14 4:15pm

2. Peace walk ENDS  1.15 9am Cambridge MN  ENDED
3. CUAPB            1.15 1:30pm
4. Northtown vigil  1.15 2pm
5. Gaza             1.15 6pm
6. Capism/Socialism 1.15 7pm

7. Palestine        1.16 9am
8. Atheist radio    1.16 9am
9. Stillwater vigil 1.16 1pm
10. Atheism/gays    1.16 2pm
11. AI              1.16 3pm

12. Gary Steven Corseri  - Predilections, 1/1/11   (poem)
13. Joel Olson           - What it's like to live in Arizona right now
14. Ernesto Peshkov-Chow - Careful what team you cheer for
15. Frank Scott          - Does "change" mean anything?
16. United/Fair Economy  - State of the dream 2011: austerity for whom?
17. John Pilger          - The war on Wikileaks

--------1 of 17--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 1.14 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

--------2 of 17--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 1.15 9am Cambridge MN  ENDED

[past message:]
every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street

Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2011 14:56:47 -0600
From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Sat AM Peace Walk

The Saturday Peace Walk in Cambridge has withered away. As in most of the
US peace is no longer a popular topic, as it does not support our economy


--------3 of 17--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB 1.15 1:30pm

Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

--------4 of 17--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 1.15 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

--------5 of 17--------

From: Charles & Hertha Lutz <chlutz1 [at]>
Subject: Gaza 1.15 6pm

Saturday, Jan. 15, 6-7:30pm, at Eagles Nest, 400 Tenth St. NE, New
Brighton: 2nd Annual Gaza Commemoration Event. Speakers: Laila Elhaddad,
Edward Peck, Sameh Shabaneh.

Directions: from 694 take Long Lake Rd., at the top of the exit go south
onto 10th St. NW, go straight through 2 stoplights, turn left into parking
lot. Co-sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine and Al-Aqsa Institute.
Entry is free. More info: 612-986-9982 or mn [at]

--------6 of 17--------

From: Tom Dooley <fellowcommoditydooley [at]>
Subject: Capitalism/Socialism 1.15 7pm

Saturday 1.15 7pm
David (Progressive Calendar guy) will do a comparison of
Mayday Bookstore - Cedar Av West Bank

Also we will have sandwich bar with egg salad dish and usual hot and cold

--------7 of 17--------

From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at]>
Subject: Palestine 1.16 9am

The Land Called Holy: Too Much Religion?
Too Much Promised?
Adult Forum

Come, listen and join the timely discussion on the Mid-East situation and
the U.S. policies.  Author, journalist and peace activist Charles P. Lutz
will speak.  Lutz is the Minnesota coordinator for Churches for Middle
East Peace and a member of Minnesota Advocates for Israeli-Palestinian
Peace Group.

Presbyterian Church of the Apostles
701 East 130th Street
Burnsville, MN 55337
9 a.m., Sunday, January 16, 2011
        Child care will be available.

--------8 of 17--------

From: Minnesota Atheists <web [at]>
Subject: Atheist radio 1.16 9am

Sunday, January 16, 9:00am-10:00am  "Atheists Talk" Radio
AM 950 KTNF in the Twin Cities or stream live at
Mike Haubrich ( hosts.
Contact us during the show with questions or comments at (952) 946-6205
or radio [at] ,

--------9 of 17--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 1.16 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

--------10 of 17--------

From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at]>
Subject: Atheism/gays 1.16 2pm

Sunday, January 16, 2011, 2:00-3:30 p.m.

Atheism and Gay Equality:
OutFront Minnesota Leader to Speak to Minnesota Atheists

On Sunday, January 16, 2011, 2:00-3:30 p.m., at the Roseville Public
Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. N., Roseville, Monica Meyer, the new executive
director of OutFront Minnesota, will speak at a Minnesota Atheists Public
Meeting on "Equal Protection Under the Law."  The event is free and open
to the public.

OutFront Minnesota (OFM) is our state's leading advocate for equal rights
for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people.  They welcome
allies regardless of sexual or religious orientation.

Ms. Meyer will address such issues as:
 The history of OutFront Minnesota.
 Her experiences as the new executive director.
 OutFront Minnesota's top priorities for 2011.
 Her view of the incoming Republican state legislature, especially their
ability to put constitutional amendments on the ballot without involving
the governor.
 The Catholic Church's recent anti-same-sex marriage DVD mailing.
 The seven Minnesota cities that offer domestic partner benefits.
 The lawsuit filed in Minnesota by three same-sex couples seeking legal
civil marriage.
 The Iowa Supreme Court's decision in support of marriage equality - and
the subsequent voter reaction against the judges.
 The recent repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
 How OFM discusses the issue of GLBT equality with religious groups when
it is often religious dogma that is the basis for anti-equality arguments.
 Recent violence against and suicides among GLBT youth and the "Safe
Schools in 2011" campaign.
 Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" YouTube campaign.

And finally, Ms. Meyer will be asked to what she attributes the growing
acceptance of GLBT people and whether there any lessons that atheists can
learn from the GLBT community.

Minnesota Atheists president August Berkshire stated, "Minnesota Atheists
supports equal rights for GLBT people based on the U.S. Constitution's
14th Amendment equal protection clause and the 1st Amendment principle of
separation of state and church."

Minnesota Atheists is our state's oldest, largest, and most active atheist
organization.  We have the only live atheist radio talk show in the state:
"Atheists Talk," Sundays, 9:00-10:00 a.m., on KTNF AM 950 in the Twin
Cities.  Our website is

--------11 of 17--------

From: Amnesty International group 37 <lundx061 [at]>
Subject: AI 1.16 3pm

Our next meeting is next Sunday, Jan 16, 3 to 5 PM.
The new site is the First Congregational Church UCC, 500 8th Ave SE,
Minneapolis, MN 55414-1910_

This is a link to a map of the new location.

It is about one block north, and one block West of 35W and 4'h St, about
one mile away from Dinkytown.  There are various sizes and types of rooms
there, and many chances to do events.

Let us bring HR news to share, and our pens!  I'll try to bring an AI
video, and means to show it.  There is news especially on the 9th
anniversary of Gitmo, several of the prisoners there, AI proposed actions,
and the continued lack of US government action on past torture.  In can
share some human rights items from my Turkey trip.

Welcome to a New Year! Gary King 763-571-7696

--------12 of 17--------

Predilections, 1/1/11
by Gary Steven Corseri
January 13th, 2011
Dissident Voice

 Predilections, 1/1/11

 Half of what I know, I do not know.
 And half the time I don't know
 Which is which.

 Truth is a bandit, Truth is a screech-owl
 And the polar winds are howling.

 Solar flares and the weather vane cuckoo,
 We click out a mordant Morse Code
 About Liberty, and God, and our free will.

 Baby boomers are booming out;
 We'll peter away with a whimper.

 With money to burn, we burned it all
 While California-dreaming.
 Now we're beggars in our children's houses.

 (Except for the rapists selected to lead us,
 Grinning from ear to ear,
 Serrating our warbling throats.)

 70 million in two world wars
 Went to their graves mis-believing.

 They died for rumors of rumors of war,
 Allegations of allegations,
 Cloth banners in the charnel house of hate,
 While the power and glory mongers
 Pulled the grenade pins, raked in the dough,
 Built bone temples of severed limbs
 In which we continue to worship.

 A savage race, a servile kind,
 Shaken by hysterias.

 The barn is on fire.
 The horses are screaming.

Gary Steven Corseri's articles, poems, fiction, and dramas have appeared
in hundreds of online and hard-copy venues, including Dissident Voice,
CounterPunch, New York Times, Village Voice, Redbook Magazine, and
CommonDreams. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library
and Museum. He has published two novels (Holy Grail, Holy Grail and A Fine
Excess), a literary anthology (Manifestations, edited), two collections of
poems, and his dramas have been on Atlanta-PBS and elsewhere. He can be
reached at: gary_corseri [at]

--------13 of 17--------

Corruption and Class Struggle
What It's Like to Live in Arizona Right Now
January 13, 2011

With the passage of the notorious anti-immigrant bill SB 1070 last spring,
the outlawing of ethnic studies as of January 1, the gutting of the school
and university systems, the collapsed housing market, the high
unemployment rates, and now the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle
Giffords, you might be wondering what it's like to live in Arizona right
about now.

It ain't easy.

But it helps to put Giffords's shooting in historical perspective, which
is defined by two things in Arizona: corruption and class struggle. And
ironically, this perspective gives me hope about the radically democratic
future of my home state.

Arizona's economy was founded on the "Five C's:" copper, cotton, cattle,
citrus, and climate (tourism). These C's were controlled by big mining and
agricultural interests and real estate developers. Corruption was
commonplace as they manipulated the political system for their benefit. A
group of these capitalists, called the Phoenix 40, controlled state
politics until the 1970s, when the political establishment opened up some.
But even after their rule, the state capitol has always been a place to
lie, bribe, and scam your way to what you want. If the names Don Bowles,
Evan Mecham, AZ scam, Fife Symington, or the Keating 5 (which included
Senator John McCain) mean anything to you, then you know that corruption
is as plentiful as the parking here. And I haven't even mentioned Maricopa
County Sheriff Joe Arpaio or State Senator Russell Pearce, the tweedle-dee
and tweedle-dum of racist nativism.*

SB 1070 and Giffords's shooting, in other words, are but the latest of a
storied history of corrupt cowboy capitalism.

Such tomfoolery is part of the class struggle in the Grand Canyon State.
Three classes matter in Arizona: elites, the white middle class, and the
working class. The elites come mainly from the agriculture/mining,
tourism, and construction/real estate sectors (with an emerging tech
sector). They are the masters of the corruption I described. But in a
system of majority rule, elites need a junior partner to dominate. This is
where the white middle class steps in.

The white middle class is the engine of suburban development here. The new
housing developments, strip malls, and big box stores that pop up almost
daily (until the recession, at least) are built for and fueled by this
class. Many in this class run small businesses related to the main sectors
of the economy, such as ranching, construction, landscaping, and pool
maintenance. Many are retirees who used to manage businesses in other
states. This small business atmosphere contributes to the libertarian,
Barry Goldwater-style political culture of the state.

For years, this relationship has been mutually beneficial. While legal
segregation never took deep root in this state (most of Arizona's
explosive growth took place after Brown v. Board of Education was decided
in 1954), unofficial practices have kept many neighborhoods and schools
comfortably white for decades, and the best jobs have been traditionally
denied to Chicanos and Natives. (With a Black population of just three
percent, the racially "out" groups in this state have historically been
Chicanos, Mexicans, and indigenous peoples.) Politicians have successfully
tied these practices to the laissez-faire economic policies of the elites,
giving whites the sense that their success is due strictly to their own
work ethic rather than being facilitated by white privilege. As a result,
many white middle and working class Arizonans identify with the
success - and conservative politics - of the elites.

This collusion has created an anything-goes capitalism mixed with a
suburban consciousness. Call my state the Wild West or suburban
hell - they're both accurate to a large degree.

But the partnership has been fraying in the last two decades. Pressures to
diversify corporations, universities, and governments have led elites to
support various multicultural initiatives, which middle class whites
resent. (Arizona voters in November voted to outlaw affirmative action by
a wide margin.) The state's Latino population has outpaced white growth,
and the state is now nearly one-third Latino. Areas that were once
comfortably white now have Spanish-language business signs. More and more
schoolchildren have brown faces - even in the "good" schools. Cars roll
down formerly white streets bumping music whose percussion comes from a

Further, middle class whites increasingly see elites in collusion with the
Brown working classes rather than them. They have reasons for believing
this. Agriculture, construction, and tourism all depend on a highly
exploitable, low-paid working class, which makes migrant labor desirable.
Undocumented labor makes up 27% of all construction workers, 60% of
agricultural workers, 25% of restaurants workers, and 51% of all
landscaping workers in Arizona. This sets small business interests - who
usually can't take advantage of such labor - into a tizzy. It sets off
many other middle and working class whites as well, who feel that "they"
are stealing "our" jobs. This is the political power behind SB 1070 - a
law that Arizona's elites largely oppose.

The frayed alliance between these two classes has created the political
mess this state is in today. It is the story behind SB 1070, HB2281 (the
anti-ethnic studies law), the elimination of affirmative action, the
attack on the public education system, the attack on public workers for
enjoying "Cadillac" pension plans, and Giffords's shooting. The alleged
shooter, Jared Loughner, is not only of the white middle/working class,
his addled mind is a gross exaggeration of its contradictions and
confusions. Of course Loughner is probably crazy, but his mental health -
and even his ideology - are not the point. What matters is that the
conflict over this frayed class alliance - and all the political vitriol
it has generated by Tea Partiers and others - pointed his illness toward
Gabrielle Giffords.

In the face of this mess, it is the working class - largely Brown, largely
poor, largely poorly educated, largely ignored - that represents the best
hope to build a new Arizona within the corrupted shell of the old.
Exploited by the elite, despised by many whites, and largely shut out of
the political system, this class has had to make its own way through the
state's crazy political landscape.

With a weak Democratic Party, a labor movement crippled by "right to work"
laws, a small civil rights contingent, few political nonprofits, and
almost no organized left, Arizona's working class is turning to grassroots
democracy, operating outside the "official" political channels and
fearlessly making political demands that challenge the pillars of
laissez-faire capitalism itself. This path they are carving is quite
possibly a model for working class struggles throughout the nation.

Take the grassroots fight against SB 1070, for example. The Tierra y
Libertad Organization in Tucson has been a leader in opposing SB 1070. But
it is also creating a new model of democracy. Declining to become a
501(c)3 nonprofit organization, they raise funds through the community,
which they use support their struggle for the self-determination of its
base communities. In Phoenix, Puente has organized the major immigrant
rights demonstrations in Arizona, but they are also organizing
neighborhood meetings throughout the Valley of the Sun. In Phoenix and
Flagstaff, the Repeal Coalition (I'm a member of this group) demands that
all persons in a global economy be free to live, love, and work wherever
they please, and they demand that ordinary people have a full say in those
affairs that affect their daily lives. The undocumented workers, moms, and
college students who make up the group don't seem to worry that these
demands are deeply radical and disrupt the very functioning of Arizona
politics as it currently operates. These groups work with others, such as
Border Action Network, No More Deaths, and Arizona Interfaith, that are
organized in a traditional nonprofit format but nevertheless encourage
face-to-face democracy and are courageously fighting 1070 and myriad other

These working-class struggles suggest a new Arizona. They suggest a world
in which working people decide the fate of the community, not the rich.
They suggest a world in which democracy rather than white privilege
decides how to allocate resources. They suggest a world in which borders
are tools of the bosses rather than walls that "defend sovereignty" or
"prevent terrorism."

This class will not win for a while. The elites and the white middle
classes are yet too powerful. This coming year, Arizona politicians will
gut the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship, defund
public education until it barely operates, and do many more stupid things.
But as elites and the white middle class continue to bicker, the Arizona
working class continues to learn lessons, develop leadership, practice
grassroots democracy, and make demands that seem "unreasonable" today but
might tomorrow become as obvious as the multiplication table.

Corruption, elite domination, and white favoritism are the most important
factors in understanding Arizona's strange political history, including
this latest episode. But class struggle against it is key to understanding
why the nation's strangest state may soon be in the vanguard of struggles
for real freedom. Those involved in such struggles stand like saguaros in
this beautiful state, even as the snakes and scorpions scurry about us.

Joel Olson has lived in Arizona for over 25 years. He is a member of the
Flagstaff Repeal Coalition and teaches political science at Northern
Arizona University.

* For the uninitiated or un-Arizonan: Don Bowles was an Arizona Republic
reporter who was murdered by a car bomb in 1976 while investigating
connections between Arizona elites and the Mafia. Evan Mecham was a racist
governor (he was a John Birch Society supporter) from 1987-1988 who was
impeached for obstruction of justice and misuse of government funds. The
Keating 5 were five U.S. Senators, including Arizona Senators John McCain
and Dennis DeConcini, who were accused of corruption in 1989 for illegally
intervening on behalf of Charles Keating, whose Lincoln Savings and Loan
bank collapsed, causing thousands to lose their life savings. "AZ scam"
was a bribery and money laundering scandal that several state legislators
were convicted of in 1991. Fife Symington, the governor of Arizona from
1991-1996, was impeached and indicted for 23 counts of fraud and

--------14 of 17--------

Careful What Team You Cheer For
by Ernesto Raj Peshkov-Chow
January 14th, 2011
Dissident Voice

You know who makes me mad? Right-wingers who claim to be the worker.s

You know who really, really makes me mad? Workers who buy into the
bullshit that the right-wingers are selling. I mean smarten up, eh! Think.
Read a little history. Radio talk show hosts, newspaper columnists, TV
celebrity idiots, preachers and politicians who want to weaken or destroy
unions, get rid of minimum wages, cut public services, chop pensions,
encourage private schools, get rid of corporate regulation, say
government-paid healthcare is bad, start wars and promote hatred based on
skin colour or religion are not on our side.

They want to divide us. They are working for the rich folks who prefer a
world based on the principle of one dollar, one vote rather than one
person, one vote. They are our enemies, not our friends. They may claim to
be on our team, maybe stand behind our bench or even put on our jersey,
but as soon as we play the game the way they tell us, the puck ends up in
our net. It's like the Philadelphia Flyers hiring a general manager who is
really working for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In fact, following the advice of right-wingers pretending to be our
friends has led to decades of losing seasons for the working class. The
rich have gotten richer, the poor poorer, our kids have been sent off to
war, our jobs moved to places where fellow workers are screwed even worse
than we are and yet so many of us continue to believe these liars and
cheats that there's little hope for change anytime soon.

Why? Are we just plain stupid? Or are they so clever? I think the main
reason the working class gets screwed over and over is because of our
loyalty. We continue on the way we have because too many of us have been
brainwashed into believing that's the way our team plays the game. Too
many of us believe we play for the Capitalist Devils and that makes us
capitalists. Hurrah for my team!

Well, let me be the one who breaks the news to you. Workers and
capitalists have different interests. Always have and always will. We are
a cost to them. The more we get, the less they get; that's how they look
at it. Capitalists never gave workers anything good. We had to fight for
weekends, better pay, the eight-hour day, pensions, maternity leave and
every other benefit any of us get. And the only time capitalists ever gave
up any of this stuff without a whopping big battle was when they were
scared that the alternative was revolution. Scared that we'd get rid of
them, scared that workers would run the economy democratically by
ourselves. Only then were some capitalists willing to reform the system a
little in our favour.

And over the last few decades as fewer and fewer workers have talked about
getting rid of capitalism, what's happened? The rich have gotten greedier
and greedier. They've started taking back many of the reforms and laws
that made life better for us. They've chopped wages, pensions and other
benefits. Once they convinced most of us that there is no alternative to
capitalism, all of a sudden the system can no longer afford to give us
what it once promised.

And if we continue to play the game by their rules, we will continue to be
shut out. Our only hope is to rethink the game. The capitalists may act as
if they own the team we play for - the system may say they do - but we are
the players and without us the game does not exist. We have the power, if
we choose to use it, to change the rules and make the game fair for all.

Ernie Peshkov-Chow is the author of Great Multicultural North - A Canadian
Primer for Hosers, Immigrants and Socialists, recently released by
Fernwood Publishing. Peshkov-Chow is a left-wing, hockey-loving,
mongrel-Canadian, working-class activist in the tradition of Ginger
Goodwin or Joe Hill, who sometimes takes over the mind and body of
longtime Canadian journalist Gary Engler.

--------15 of 17--------

Does "Change" Mean Anything?
by Frank Scott
January 14th, 2011
Dissident Voice

What is government if words have no meaning?
 - Jared Loughner

Two years ago Americans voted for change. Two years later Americans again
voted for change. This voting ritual is generations old but the only
change we've seen is in the skin tone, ethnicity, gender or sexuality of
those selected by one minority to be elected by another. The word has no
meaning. Absolutely nothing has changed about the substance of our

A dysfunctional system is destroying democracy, faith, sanity, morality
and the natural environment in which they all exist.

The recent tragedy in Arizona was a direct result of that social
dysfunction but ignorance purveyors have used it to indict only that
state, or small groups, or individual personalities, finding them guilty
of creating a frustrating climate easily manipulated to bring angry
division to the American public, thereby making that public easier to

The people at the top of a political economy that exports costly jobs
while importing cheap labor remain secure while scapegoats are blamed for
being unemployed natives, employed illegals or overburdened taxpayers. The
wars that have cost thousands of lives, billions of dollars and created
threats to Americans that never existed before are expanding to new
nations. Those bloody actions are opposed by a majority, which also calls
for tax increases on the richest Americans, but government consistently
rules against them and for its minority owners.

The corporate state provides brainless entertainment to help control the
national consciousness, and news and political commentary that make the
entertainment seem brilliant by comparison. We are all but guaranteed
misguided reaction at best, and homicidal lunacy at worst. If the Arizona
terrorist had chosen broadcasting instead of violence, he might have had
his own show on Fox, CNN or MSNBC.

The present congress will be even worse than the previous group that was
of the ineffectual president's own party. He no longer has the majority
with which he did nothing but obey his corporate employers, so he can be
even more bipartisan and further enrich billionaires and their servants
who privately profit from all our public loss. No less a teacher of
capitalist economics than Bernie Madoff reminded his investors that a
profit on one side always means a loss on the other. He practiced what he
preached to create fabricated billions and was sent to prison, but those
who locked him up are still doing it to create fabricated trillions.
Instead of being in jail, they are running the global empire. Their
private profits are our social loss. Meanwhile, we are distracted by
self-serving and often near imbecilic ravings that pass for political
democracy as our society disintegrates while creating new billionaires. Is
it any wonder that some people seem to be losing their minds?

The minority leading us to social degradation will maintain control until
the majority creates a truly democratic state. In the short term that may
seem as likely as visits from extra terrestrials, but there may not be a
long term unless we transform the morally perverse and environmentally
poisoned corporate empire that threatens all life on earth.

Right now we're still attacking scapegoats within, or fighting outside
forces non-existent until we create them. Mind managers label our problems
as creeping socialism or stalking fascism, with little understanding of
what those words mean. The bitterness of language is countered by attempts
to make certain words criminal, with charges of "hate speech" leveled by
supporters of alleged "free speech". A nation committing hate crimes of
mass murder all over the globe has its citizens despising one another and
paying little attention to the systemic roots of their problem.

Just as corporate capital's White House cheerleader has done nothing to
change the economy, the new congress will do nothing to change the
relationship of the USA to Israel. That sordid union with a racial
supremacist nation held in contempt almost everywhere but in the American
government has billions of our dollars and thousands of our lives expended
in wars for its support. And the president and congress will continue
raising the budget for private banking by cutting the budgets for public
service. The problems that outrage millions are blamed on everything but
their source and so distressed Americans helped elect the new congress.
But the change they are offered by the right is as much language
distortion as the change previously offered by what passes for a left. The
problem is that politicians who supposedly represent competing parties are
united as employees in support of the minority-controlled system. That
system is what must be changed, not simply the hired hands administering
its needs at public expense.

The popular big government versus small government argument disguises the
reality of a corporate state owned by a tiny minority, with political
factions fighting to share in its wealth. The overwhelming majority of
Americans are not served at all but are, in fact, robbed in this false
debate that results in continued damage inflicted no matter which faction
operates on behalf of its wealthy minority controllers.

We suffer financial inequality so blatant it's a full time public
relations job for consciousness controllers to keep us dulled into
believing their tales of outside terror and inside socialism. Looking at
America objectively would make it easy to assume that most of us are
ignorant, stoned, drunk and homicidal. But majorities oppose the wars and
support taxing the rich, while a substantial minority is growing in
resistance to the uncritical relationship with Israel. As soon as we stop
blaming those below us and start dealing with those above us we may give
real meaning to the words government and democracy. We are slowly joining
the world in a global revolution to transform reality and not continue
endlessly re-branding failure. We're just not doing it fast enough to give
it meaning. We need to speed up the process.

Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in print in the
Coastal Post and The Independent Monitor and online at the blog
Legalienate. Read other articles by Frank.

--------16 of 17--------

Report: Austerity Policies Worsen Racial Economic Inequalities, Hit Blacks
and Latinos Hardest
United for a Fair Economy Releases State of the Dream 2011: Austerity for
Whom? for MLK Day
by United for a Fair Economy
Published on Friday, January 14, 2011 by

BOSTON - The official unemployment rate is 15.8 percent among Blacks and
13 percent among Latinos; Blacks earn only 57 cents for each dollar of
White family income, Latinos earn 59 cents; and Blacks have only 10 cents
of net wealth while Latinos have 12 cents to every dollar of net wealth
that Whites have. As documented in the "State of the Dream 2011: Austerity
for Whom?," this is the precarious state in which Blacks and Latinos find
themselves as the nation, still struggling amidst the Great Recession,
remembers the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was gunned down while
leading the Poor People's Campaign in 1968.

"Austerity measures based on the conservative tenets of less government
and lower taxes will ratchet down the standard of living for all
Americans, while simultaneously widening our nation's racial and economic
divide." said Brian Miller, Executive Director of United for a Fair
Economy and co-author of the report.

The 8th annual "State of the Dream" report from United for a Fair Economy
analyzes the policy positions of the new House majority - shrinking
government and cutting taxes for those at the top - and their
implications on communities of color. "Austerity measures based on the
conservative tenets of less government and lower taxes will ratchet down
the standard of living for all Americans, while simultaneously widening
our nation's racial and economic divide." said Brian Miller, Executive
Director of United for a Fair Economy and co-author of the report.

Original analyses in "State of the Dream 2011" show the clear
beneficiaries of the top-end tax cuts included in the December tax deal.
Whites are three times more likely than Blacks and 4.6 times more likely
than Latinos to have incomes of $250,000 or more, and thus receive a
disproportionate benefit from the extension of the Bush tax cuts for
top-tier earners. Special tax breaks for investment income flow
overwhelmingly to Whites as well. Blacks earn 13 cents and Latinos earn 8
cents to each dollar of White dividend income. Capital gains income shows
similar disparities as documented in the report.

"The deficits that these tax cuts help create are being used to justify a
host of austerity measures that will harm Americans of all races, but will
hit Blacks and Latinos the hardest," adds Miller. "With 42 percent of
Blacks and 37 percent of Latinos lacking the funds to meet minimal
household expenses for even three months should they become unemployed,
cutting public assistance programs will have devastating impacts on Black
and Latino workers." The report documents the relative importance of
safety net programs under threat, such as Social Security, to Blacks and

"On the front line of the budget cuts are the state and federal workers
that police our streets, educate our children, and inspect our food
supplies," adds Miller. "Severe cuts to our public sector work force will
erode our nation's ability to meet the needs of all Americans regardless
of race. At the same time, the brunt of those layoffs will be felt by
African-Americans who are disproportionately employed in public sector
jobs for a host of historic reasons." Blacks are 30 percent more likely to
work in public sector jobs than the general work force and 70 percent more
likely to work for the federal government. The report also documents the
greater strides that Blacks and Latinos have made in achieving parity with
their White counterparts in the public administration jobs threatened by
budget cut proposals.

The report - which can be downloaded at
- calls on policy makers to reject austerity measures that will increase
economic inequality and worsen the racial divide. In light of the
startling facts of racial economic disparity documented in the report,
additional policy steps are called for, including: increased federal aids
to states and cities, effective jobs programs, restoring the progressive
tax system, redirecting unproductive federal spending, strengthening
workers rights, and protecting public sector jobs.

--------17 of 17--------

The War On Wikileaks
John Pilger's investigation and interview with Julian Assange
By John Pilger
Friday, January 14, 2011

The attacks on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are a response
to an information revolution that threatens old power orders, in politics
and journalism. The incitement to murder trumpeted by public figures in
the United States, together with attempts by the Obama administration to
corrupt the law and send Assange to a hell hole prison for the rest of his
life, are the reactions of a rapacious system exposed as never before.

In recent weeks, the US Justice Department has established a secret grand
jury just across the river from Washington in the eastern district of the
state of Virginia. The object is to indict Julian Assange under a
discredited espionage act used to arrest peace activists during the first
world war, or one of the "war on terror" conspiracy statutes that have
degraded American justice. Judicial experts describe the jury as a
"deliberate set up", pointing out that this corner of Virginia is home to
the employees and families of the Pentagon, CIA, Department of Homeland
Security and other pillars of American power.

"This is not good news," Assange told me when we spoke this past week, his
voice dark and concerned. He says he can have "bad days - but I recover".
When we met in London last year, I said, "You are making some very serious
enemies, not least of all the most powerful government engaged in two
wars. How do you deal with that sense of danger?" His reply was
characteristically analytical. "It's not that fear is absent. But courage
is really the intellectual mastery over fear - by an understanding of what
the risks are, and how to navigate a path through them".

Regardless of the threats to his freedom and safety, he says the US is not
WikiLeaks' main "technological enemy". "China is the worst offender. China
has aggressive, sophisticated interception technology that places itself
between every reader inside China and every information source outside
China. We've been fighting a running battle to make sure we can get
information through, and there are now all sorts of ways Chinese readers
can get on to our site".

It was in this spirit of "getting information through" that WikiLeaks was
founded in 2006, but with a moral dimension. "The goal is justice," wrote
Assange on the homepage, "the method is transparency". Contrary to a
current media mantra, WikiLeaks material is not "dumped". Less than one
per cent of the 251,000 US embassy cables have been released. As Assange
points out, the task of interpreting material and editing that which might
harm innocent individuals demands "standards [befitting] higher levels of
information and primary sources". To secretive power, this is journalism
at its most dangerous.

On 18 March 2008, a war on WikiLeaks was foretold in a secret Pentagon
document prepared by the "Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch".
US intelligence, it said, intended to destroy the feeling of "trust" which
is WikiLeaks' "centre of gravity". It planned to do this with threats of
"exposure [and] criminal prosecution". Silencing and criminalising this
rare source of independent journalism was the aim, smear the method. Hell
hath no fury like imperial mafiosi scorned.

Others, also scorned, have lately played a supporting part, intentionally
or not, in the hounding of Assange, some for reasons of petty jealousy.
Sordid and shabby describe their behaviour, which serves only to highlight
the injustice against a man who has courageously revealed what we have a
right to know.

As the US Justice Department, in its hunt for Assange, subpoenas the
Twitter and email accounts, banking and credit card records of people
around the world - as if we are all subjects of the United States - much
of the "free" media on both sides of the Atlantic direct their indignation
at the hunted.

"So, Julian, why won't you go back to Sweden now?" demanded the headline
over Catherine Bennett's Observer column on 19 December, which questioned
Assange's response to allegations of sexual misconduct with two women in
Stockholm last August. "To keep delaying the moment of truth, for this
champion of fearless disclosure and total openness," wrote Bennett, "could
soon begin to look pretty dishonest, as well as inconsistent". Not a word
in Bennett's vitriol considered the looming threats to Assange's basic
human rights and his physical safety, as described by Geoffrey Robertson
QC, in the extradition hearing in London on 11 January.

In response to Bennett, the editor of the online Nordic News Network in
Sweden, Al Burke, wrote to the Observer explaining that "plausible answers
to Catherine Bennett's tendentious question" were both critically
important and freely available. Assange had remained in Sweden for more
than five weeks after the rape allegation was made -- and subsequently
dismissed by the chief prosecutor in Stockholm - and that repeated
attempts by him and his Swedish lawyer to meet a second prosecutor, who
re-opened the case following the intervention of a government politician,
had failed. And yet, as Burke pointed out, this prosecutor had granted him
permission to fly to London where "he also offered to be interviewed - a
normal practice in such cases". So it seems odd, at the very least, that
the prosecutor then issued a European Arrest Warrant. The Observer did not
publish Burke's letter.

This record-straightening is crucial because it describes the perfidious
behaviour of the Swedish authorities - a bizarre sequence confirmed to me
by other journalists in Stockholm and by Assange's Swedish lawyer, Bjorn
Hurtig. Not only that; Burke catalogued the unforeseen danger Assange
faces should he be extradited to Sweden. "Documents released by Wikileaks
since Assange moved to England," he wrote, "clearly indicate that Sweden
has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters
relating to civil rights. There is ample reason for concern that if
Assange were to be taken into custody by Swedish authorities, he could be
turned over to the United States without due consideration of his legal

These documents have been virtually ignored in Britain. They show that the
Swedish political class has moved far from the perceived neutrality of a
generation ago and that the country's military and intelligence apparatus
is all but absorbed into Washington's matrix around NATO. In a 2007 cable,
the US embassy in Stockholm lauds the Swedish government dominated by the
conservative Moderate Party of prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt as coming
"from a new political generation and not bound by [anti-US] traditions
[and] in practice a pragmatic and strong partner with NATO, having troops
under NATO command in Kosovo and Afghanistan".

The cable reveals how foreign policy is largely controlled by Carl Bildt,
the current foreign minister, whose career has been based on a loyalty to
the United States that goes back to the Vietnam war when he attacked
Swedish public television for broadcasting evidence that the US was
bombing civilian targets. Bildt played a leading role in the Committee for
the Liberation of Iraq, a lobby group with close ties to the White House
of George W. Bush, the CIA and the far right of the Republican Party.

"The significance of all this for the Assange case," notes Burke in a
recent study, "is that it will be Carl Bildt and perhaps other members of
the Reinfeldt government who will decide - openly or, more likely,
furtively behind a faade of legal formality - on whether or not to approve
the anticipated US request for extradition. Everything in their past
clearly indicates that such a request will be granted".

For example, in December 2001, with the "war on terror" under way, the
Swedish government abruptly revoked the political refugee status of two
Egyptians, Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed al-Zari. They were handed to a CIA
kidnap squad at Stockholm airport and "rendered" to Egypt, where they were
tortured. When the Swedish Ombudsman for Justice investigated and found
that their human rights had been "seriously violated", it was too late.

The implications for the Assange case are clear. Both men were removed
without due process of law and before their lawyers could file appeals to
the European Human Rights Court, and in response to a US threat to impose
a trade embargo on Sweden. Last year, Assange applied for residency in
Sweden, hoping to base Wikileaks there. It is widely believed that
Washington warned Sweden through mutual intelligence contacts of the
potential consequences. In December, Prosecutor Marianne Ny, who
re-activated the Assange case, discussed the possibility of Assange's
extradition to the US on her website.

Almost six months after the sex allegations were first made public, Julian
Assange has been charged with no crime, but his right to a presumption of
innocence has been wilfully denied. The unfolding events in Sweden have
been farcical, at best. The Australian barrister James Catlin, who acted
for Assange in October, describes the Swedish justice system as "a
laughing stock ... There is no precedent for it. The Swedes are making it
up as they go along". He says that Assange, apart from noting
contradictions in the case, has not publicly criticised the women who made
the allegations against him. It was the police who tipped off the Swedish
equivalent of the Sun, Expressen, with defamatory material about them,
initiating a trial by media across the world.

In Britain, this trial has welcomed yet more eager prosecutors, with the
BBC to the fore. There was no presumption of innocence in Kirsty Wark's
Newsnight court in December. "Why don't you just apologise to the women?"
she demanded of Assange, followed by: "Do we have your word of honour that
you won't abscond?" On Radio 4's Today programme, John Humphrys, the
partner of Catherine Bennett, told Assange that he was obliged to go back
to Sweden "because the law says you must". The hectoring Humphrys,
however, had more pressing interests. "Are you a sexual predator?" he
asked. Assange replied that the suggestion was ridiculous, to which
Humphrys demanded to know how many women he had slept with.

"Would even Fox News have descended to that level?" wondered the American
historian William Blum. "I wish Assange had been raised in the streets of
Brooklyn, as I was. He then would have known precisely how to reply to
such a question: 'You mean including your mother?'".

What is most striking about these "interviews" is not so much their
arrogance and lack of intellectual and moral humility; it is their
indifference to fundamental issues of justice and freedom and their
imposition of narrow, prurient terms of reference. Fixing these boundaries
allows the interviewer to diminish the journalistic credibility of Assange
and WikliLeaks, whose remarkable achievements stand in vivid contrast to
their own. It is like watching the old and stale, guardians of the status
quo, struggling to prevent the emergence of the new.

In this media trial, there is a tragic dimension, obviously for Assange,
but also for the best of mainstream journalism. Having published a slew of
professionally brilliant editions with the Wikileaks disclosures, feted
all over the world, the Guardian recovered its establishment propriety on
17 December by turning on its besieged source. A major article by the
paper's senior correspondent Nick Davies claimed that he had been given
the "complete" Swedish police file with its "new" and "revealing"
salacious morsels.

Assange's Swedish lawyer Bjorn Hurtig says that crucial evidence is
missing from the file given to Davies, including "the fact that the women
were re-interviewed and given an opportunity to change their stories" and
the tweets and SMS messages between them, which are "critical to bringing
justice in this case". Vital exculpatory evidence is also omitted, such as
the statement by the original prosecutor, Eva Finne, that "Julian Assange
is not suspected of rape".

Having reviewed the Davies article, Assange's former barrister James
Catlin wrote to me: "The complete absence of due process is the story and
Davies ignores it. Why does due process matter? Because the massive powers
of two arms of government are being brought to bear against the individual
whose liberty and reputation are at stake". I would add: so is his life.

The Guardian has profited hugely from the Wikileaks disclosures, in many
ways. On the other hand, WikiLeaks, which survives on mostly small
donations and can no longer receive funds through many banks and credit
companies thanks to the bullying of Washington, has received nothing from
the paper. In February, Random House will publish a Guardian book that is
sure to be a lucrative best-seller, which Amazon is advertising as The End
of Secrecy: the Rise and Fall of WikiLeaks. When I asked David Leigh, the
Guardian executive in charge of the book, what was meant by "fall", he
replied that Amazon was wrong and that the working title had been The Rise
(and Fall?) of WikiLeaks. "Note parenthesis and query," he wrote, "Not
meant for publication anyway". (The book is now described on the Guardian
website as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy). Still, with
all that duly noted, the sense is that "real" journalists are back in the
saddle. Too bad about the new boy, who never really belonged.

On 11 January, Assange's first extradition hearing was held at Belmarsh
Magistrates Court, an infamous address because it is here that people
were, before the advent of control orders, consigned to Britain's own
Guantanamo, Belmarsh prison. The change from ordinary Westminster
magistrates' court was due to a lack of press facilities, according to the
authorities. That they announced this on the day US Vice President Joe
Biden declared Assange a "high tech terrorist" was no doubt coincidental,
though the message was not.

For his part, Julian Assange is just as worried about what will happen to
Bradley Manning, the alleged whistleblower, being held in horrific
conditions which the US National Commission on Prisons calls "tortuous".
At 23, Private Manning is the world's pre-eminent prisoner of conscience,
having remained true to the Nuremberg Principle that every soldier has the
right to "a moral choice". His suffering mocks the notion of the land of
the free.

"Government whistleblowers", said Barack Obama, running for president in
2008, "are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from
reprisal". Obama has since pursued and prosecuted more whistleblowers than
any other president in American history.

"Cracking Bradley Manning is the first step," Assange told me. "The aim
clearly is to break him and force a confession that he somehow conspired
with me to harm the national security of the United States. In fact, I'd
never heard his name before it was published in the press. WikiLeaks
technology was designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never
knew the identities or names of people submitting material. We are as
untraceable as we are uncensorable. That's the only way to assure sources
they are protected".

He adds: "I think what's emerging in the mainstream media is the awareness
that if I can be indicted, other journalists can, too. Even the New York
Times is worried. This used not to be the case. If a whistleblower was
prosecuted, publishers and reporters were protected by the First Amendment
that journalists took for granted. That's being lost. The release of the
Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, with their evidence of the killing of
civilians, hasn't caused this - it's the exposure and embarrassment of the
political class: the truth of what governments say in secret, how they lie
in public; how wars are started. They don't want the public to know these
things and scapegoats must be found".

What about the allusions to the "fall" of Wikileaks? "There is no fall,"
he said. "We have never published as much as we are now. WikiLeaks is now
mirrored on more than 2,000 websites. I can't keep track of the of the
spin-off sites: those who are doing their own WikiLeaks ... If something
happens to me or to WikiLeaks, 'insurance' files will be released. They
speak more of the same truth to power, including the media. There are 504
US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on
Murdoch and Newscorp".

The latest propaganda about the "damage" caused by WikiLeaks is a warning
by the US State Department to "hundreds of human rights activists, foreign
government officials and business people identified in leaked diplomatic
cables of possible threats to their safety". This was how the New York
Times dutifully relayed it on 8 January, and it is bogus. In a letter to
Congress, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates has admitted that no sensitive
intelligence sources have been compromised. On 28 November, McClatchy
Newspapers reported that "US officials conceded they have no evidence to
date that the [prior] release of documents led to anyone's death". NATO in
Kabul told CNN it could not find a single person who needed protecting.

The great American playwright Arthur Miller wrote: "The thought that the
state .... is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the
evidence has to be internally denied". What WikiLeaks has given us is
truth, including rare and precious insight into how and why so many
innocent people have suffered in reigns of terror disguised as wars, and
executed in our name; and how the United States has secretly and wantonly
intervened in democratic governments from Latin America to its most loyal
ally in Britain.

Javier Moreno, the editor of El Pais, which published the WikiLeaks logs
in Spain, wrote, ."I believe that the global interest sparked by the
WikiLeaks papers is mainly due to the simple fact that they conclusively
reveal the extent to which politicians in the West have been lying to
their citizens".

Crushing individuals like Julian Assange and Bradley Manning is not
difficult for a great power, however craven. The point is, we should not
allow it to happen, which means those of us meant to keep the record
straight should not collaborate in any way. Transparency and information,
to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, are the "currency" of democratic freedom.
"Every news organisation," a leading American constitutional lawyer told
me, "should recognise that Julian Assange is one of them, and that his
prosecution will have a huge and chilling effect on journalism".

My favourite secret document -- leaked by WikiLeaks, of course - is from
the Ministry of Defence in London. It describes journalists who serve the
public without fear or favour as "subversive" and "threats". Such a badge
of honour.

John Pilger's new film, The War You Don't See, is available in the United
Kingdom on DVD.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
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