|Progressive Calendar 01.14.11||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] riseup.net> 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 available. --------2 of 17-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> 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] umn.edu> 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 Ken --------3 of 17-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB 1.15 1:30pm Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South http://www.CUAPB.org Communities United Against Police Brutality 3100 16th Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55407 Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867) --------4 of 17-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 1.15 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------5 of 17-------- From: Charles & Hertha Lutz <chlutz1 [at] comcast.net> 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] ampalestine.org --------6 of 17-------- From: Tom Dooley <fellowcommoditydooley [at] gmail.com> Subject: Capitalism/Socialism 1.15 7pm Saturday 1.15 7pm David (Progressive Calendar guy) will do a comparison of Capitalism/Socialism. Mayday Bookstore - Cedar Av West Bank Also we will have sandwich bar with egg salad dish and usual hot and cold drinks. --------7 of 17-------- From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Palestine 1.16 9am The Land Called Holy: Too Much Religion? Too Much Promised? http://www.augsburgfortress.org/media/images/productsh/0800637844h.jpg 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 1-952-890-7877 9 a.m., Sunday, January 16, 2011 Child care will be available. church_map_jpeg.jpg --------8 of 17-------- From: Minnesota Atheists <web [at] mnatheists.org> 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 http://www.am950ktnf.com. Mike Haubrich (http://quichemoraine.com/category/mikehaubrich) hosts. Contact us during the show with questions or comments at (952) 946-6205 or radio [at] mnatheists.org. , --------9 of 17-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> 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 <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------10 of 17-------- From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at] gmail.com> 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 MinnesotaAtheists.org. --------11 of 17-------- From: Amnesty International group 37 <lundx061 [at] umn.edu> 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. _http://twincitiesamnesty.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=26f3c50d5f56be3cbf786ae88&id=d2ba2d8ae2&e=410bf8c894 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 1. 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. 2. 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.) 3. 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. 4. 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] comcast.net. --------13 of 17-------- Corruption and Class Struggle What It's Like to Live in Arizona Right Now By JOEL OLSON January 13, 2011 CounterPunch 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 tuba. 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 evils. 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 extortion. --------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 friend. 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 problem. 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 control. 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 CommonDreams.org 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 Latinos. "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 http://www.faireconomy.org/dream - 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 ZSpace 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 rights". 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] 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
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.