Progressive Calendar 01.24.11
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2011 15:23:26 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   01.24.11

1. Peace walk       1.24 6pm RiverFalls WI
2. Gasland/fracking 1.14 7pm

3. Chris Hedges - Where liberals go to feel good

--------1 of 3--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 1.24 6pm RiverFalls WI

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

--------2 of 3--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
From:    "Christine Frank" <christinefrank [at]>
Subject: Gasland/fracking 1.24 7pm

tonight's showing of "Gasland" should be good... if you have the time, i
recommend your attendance :)  eric

tonight's 3ctc environmental forum
a free screening of:
gasland - can you light your water on fire?
documents the environmental & health hazards of the hydraulic fracturing
of natural gas & the domestic boom in its drilling

written & directed by josh fox
premiered on hbo in 2010

monday, january 24, 7:00 pm
mayday books
301 cedar avenue south
west bank, minneapolis
sponsored by the climate crisis coalition of the twin cities

Thousands of Pennsylvania & New York state residents are saying, "NO
FRACKIN' WAY!" to natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale Formation of
the Eastern United States.  They don't want the toxic chemicals injected
into the wells that pollute their ground and surface water or the ill
health effects that are rampant elsewhere in 34 states.  Plus, natural gas
is not the "clean" fossil fuel it's purported to be by any stretch of the
imagination, neither when it's extracted nor when it's burned.  Natural
gas combustion still produces 117 pounds of carbon dioxide per each
million British Thermal Unit equivalent.  Yes, that is somewhat less than
the 200 lbs. of CO2/Mn BTUe of coal burned and 160 lbs. of CO2/Mn BTUe of
oil. However, it is significant since it still generates 55% & 43% of the
greenhouse gases that coal & oil do respectively.  It's time to leave it
in the ground and convert entirely to clean, renewable wind & solar power
that do not pollute our air, soil and water or radically alter the

[If only the frackers would go frack themselves! -ed]

--------3 of 3--------

Where Liberals Go to Feel Good
by Chris Hedges
Monday, January 24, 2011 by
Common Dreams

Barack Obama is another stock character in the cyclical political theater
embraced by the liberal class. Act I is the burst of enthusiasm for a
Democratic candidate who, through clever branding and public relations,
appears finally to stand up for the interests of citizens rather than
corporations. Act II is the flurry of euphoria and excitement. Act III
begins with befuddled confusion and gnawing disappointment, humiliating
appeals to the elected official to correct "mistakes," and pleading with
the officeholder to return to his or her true self. Act IV is the thunder
and lightning scene. Liberals strut across the stage in faux moral
outrage, delivering empty threats of vengeance. And then there is Act V.
This act is the most pathetic. It is as much farce as tragedy.
Liberals - frightened back into submission by the lunatic fringe of the
Republican Party or the call to be practical - begin the drama all over

We are now in Act IV, the one where the liberal class postures like the
cowardly policemen in "The Pirates of Penzance." Liberals promise battle.
They talk of glory and honor. They vow not to abandon their core liberal
values. They rouse themselves, like the terrified policemen who have no
intention of fighting the pirates, with the bugle call of "Tarantara!"
This scene is the most painful to watch. It is a window into how hollow,
vacuous and powerless liberals and liberal institutions including labor,
the liberal church, the press, the arts, universities and the Democratic
Party have become. They fight for nothing. They stand for nothing. And at
a moment when we desperately need citizens and institutions willing to
stand up against corporate forces for the core liberal values, values that
make a democracy possible, we get the ridiculous chatter and noise of the
liberal class.

The moral outrage of the liberal class, a specialty of MSNBC, groups such
as Progressives for Obama and, is built around the absurd
language of personal narrative - as if Barack Obama ever wanted to or
defy the interests of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase or General Electric.
The liberal class refuses to directly confront the dead hand of corporate
power that is rapidly transforming America into a brutal feudal state. To
name this power, to admit that it has a death grip on our political
process, our systems of information, our artistic and religious
expression, our education, and has successfully emasculated popular
movements, including labor, is to admit that the only weapons we have left
are acts of civil disobedience. And civil disobedience is difficult,
uncomfortable and lonely. It requires us to step outside the formal
systems of power and trust in acts that are marginal, often unrecognized
and have no hope of immediate success.

The liberal class' solution to the bleak political landscape is the
conference. This, along with letters and cries of outrage circulated on
the Internet, is its preferred form of expression. Conferences, whether
organized by Left Forum, Rabbi Michael Lerner's Tikkun or figures such as
Ted Glick [a bad person -ed] - who is touting a plan to lure progressives,
including members
the Democratic Party, into something he calls a "third force" - are where
liberals go to feel good about themselves again. These conferences are not
fundamentally about change. They are designed to elevate self-appointed
liberal apologists who seek to become advisers and courtiers within the
Democratic Party. The conferences produce resolutions no one reads. They
build networks no one uses. But with each conference liberals get to do
what they do best - applaud their own moral probity. They make passionate
appeals to work within systems, such as electoral politics, that have been
gamed by the corporate state. And the result is to spur well-meaning
people toward useless and ultimately self-defeating activity.

"What we need is an alliance which consciously incorporates elected
Democrats as well as elected Greens and independents, as well as groups,
or individual leaders and members of groups, like Progressive Democrats of
America and the Green Party," Glick proposes. "More than that, this
alliance eventually needs to support and work to elect candidates running
both as Democrats and progressive independents, and maybe even an
occasional Republican."

The Tikkun Conference held in Washington last June was another pathetic
display of liberal apologists begging Obama to be Obama. The organizers
called on those participating to "Support Obama to BE the Obama We Voted
For - Not the Inside-the-Beltway Pragmatist/Realist whose compromises have
led to a decrease in his popularity and opened the door for a revival of
the just-recently-discredited Right wing."

Good luck.

The organizers of the Left Forum conference scheduled for this March at
Pace University in New York City also communicate in the amorphous,
high-blown moral rhetoric that is unmoored from the actual and real. The
upcoming Left Forum conference, which has the vacuous title "Towards a
Politics of Solidarity," promises to "focus on the age-old theme of
solidarity: the moral act of imagination underpinning working-class
victories everywhere. It will undertake to examine the new forms of
far-reaching solidarity that are both necessary and possible in an
increasingly global world." The organizers posit that "the potential for
transformative struggles in the 21st century depends on new chains of
solidarity - between workers in the rich world and workers in the global
south, indigenous peasants and more affluent consumers, students and
pensioners, villagers in the Niger Delta and environmental campaigners in
the Gulf of Mexico, marchers and rioters in Greece and Spain, and
unionists in the United States and China." The conference "will contribute
to the intellectual underpinnings of new and tighter forms of world-wide
solidarity upon which all successful emancipatory struggles of the future
will depend."

The conference agenda, which sounds like a parody of a course catalogue
description, includes the requisite academic jargon of "moral act of
imagination" and "chains of solidarity." This language gives to the
enterprise a lofty but undefined purpose. And this is a specialty of the
liberal class - to grandly say nothing. The last thing the liberal class
intends to do is fight back. [correct, alas - ed] Left Forum brings in a
few titans, including Noam Chomsky, who is always worth hearing, but it
contributes as well to the lethargy and turpitude that have made the
liberal class impotent.

The only gatherings worth attending from now on are acts that organize
civil disobedience, which is why I will be at Lafayette Park in
Washington, D.C., at noon March 19 to protest the eighth anniversary of
the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Veterans groups on March 19 will also
carry out street protests in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. You
can link to the protests here. Save your bus fare and your energy for
events like this one.

Either we begin to militantly stand against the coal, oil and natural gas
industry or we do not. Either we defy pre-emptive war and occupation or we
do not. Either we demand that the criminal class on Wall Street be held
accountable for the theft of billions of dollars from small shareholders
whose savings for retirement or college were wiped out or we do not.
Either we defend basic civil liberties, including habeas corpus and the
prosecution of torturers or we do not. Either we turn on liberal
institutions, including the Democratic Party, which collaborate with these
corporations or we do not. Either we accept that the age of political
compromise is dead, that the corporate systems of power are instruments of
death that can be fought only by physical acts of resistance or we do not.
If the liberal class remains gullible and weak, if it continues to speak
to itself and others in meaningless platitudes, it will remain as
responsible for our enslavement as those it pompously denounces. [Amen

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated
from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign
correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books,
including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should
Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on
America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy
and the Triumph of Spectacle.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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