|Progressive Calendar 01.29.11||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2011 12:27:57 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 01.29.11 1. Home energy 1.29 12noon 2. EcoDemocracy 1.29 1pm 3. CUAPB 1.29 1:30pm 4. Northtown vigil 1.29 2pm 5. Evil capitalism 1.29 7pm 6. TransistionTowns 1.29 7pm 7. Palestine/FBI 1.30 9:55am 8. Food/genocide 1.30 1pm 9. Stillwater vigil 1.30 1pm 10. Money/Pentel 1.30 1pm 11. John V Walsh - Obama's chokehold on left antiwar activists 12. Alexander Cockburn - President Gasbag 13. Quigley & Spees - Honduras rights abuses soar a year after coup 14. Gary Leupp - The Egyptian revolution: a very fine thing --------1 of 14-------- From: Mary Morse <marym [at] thenec.org> Subject: Home energy 1.29 12noon The nonprofit Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC) continues its quest to engage all Saint Paul households in money-saving, comfort-boosting, and planet-protecting actions with the HOME ENERGY FUNFEST, a FREE, family-friendly event featuring games, rides, prizes, fresh hot popcorn and the world premiere of Attack of the Phantom Load. Noon to 4 p.m. January 29 at Saint Paul's North End Elementary School, 27 East Geranium Avenue. Expert home energy information, resources for home improvements and safety, low-income programs, PLUS treats and fun for the entire family. Participation qualifies Saint Paul households for a $30 Home Energy Squad visit, plus great financing and rebates. --------2 of 14-------- From: PRO826 [at] AOL.com Subject: EcoDemocracy 1.29 1pm Learn About the New Ecology Democracy Party Saturday, January 29th The Hennepin County Downtown Library, 300 Nicollet, Minneapolis 55401 Room, N-202 1-3pm We will discuss the Party: * Platform and party documents * Organizing Vision * Volunteer Opportunities Please RSVP due to limited space. 612/387-0601 Ken Pentel --------3 of 14-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB 1.29 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 14-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 1.29 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------5 of 14-------- From: Tom Dooley <fellowcommoditydooley [at] gmail.com> Subject: Evil capitalism 1.29 7pm [ed head] The owner/employers of U.S. corporations and businesses have moved factories off-shore, have used illegal tactics to stop unions from organizing, have cut wages, and taken away health care and retirement monies. Are they bad people or ordinary people who do bad things? [Or, as ed would have it - BOTH - an evil system maintained and expanded by evil people. Yes capitalism is EVIL EVIL EVIL and needs to be spat upon and run off the planet. Patooey! But that does not let the evil DOERs off the hook. Yes, so long as EVIL CAPITALISM is there, men will be found to run it even though we kick each group of evildoers into the middle of next week. The evil system finds and/or creates evil men to do its evil deeds. But the evil men do them, and work to make the evil system even more insideously evil. So, BOTH. Don't let the evil men off the hook just because the system is EVIL and needs to be IMMEIATELY REPLACED. The system is not able to act, only men act; if they all left, capitalism would die a well-deserved death. Patooey! -ed] Join the group Sat eve, share food and drink and have your say. --------6 of 14-------- From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at] hammclinic.org> Subject: TransistionTowns 1.29 7pm Our first book club meeting of the year is this Saturday, 1/29/11! We meet at 7:00 p.m. in the community room between 161 and 163 on Erie Street in St. Paul. We are reading "The Transition Handbook" by Rob Hopkins. What a great book! What a great movement the Transition Movement is! This book is a how to guide on how local food and local energy is way to deal with peak oil and climate change. Many towns in England have started successful transition town movements. Rob Hopkins talks about how they did it. "One of the key areas of Transition Falmouth's (TF) work has been in building partnerships. They have made strategic partnerships with Friends of the Earth, the Town Centre Forum, the Town Council…The Transition approach of embedding peak oil and climate change and looking for common ground managed to draw together previously disparate groups to produce important local action. Some of the practical projects that have emerged from TF include: * "Darnit" - an arts and rafts group which brings people together to learn/share knitting, sewing and other craft skills * The beginnings of a move to make Falmouth plastic-bag free * A food group, whose first event was Seedy Saturday – a seed-exchange day * Supporting Falmouth School to become an "Eco-School" "The Transition Handbook" by Rob Hopkins, page 204 See everybody this Saturday, I will bake cookies, Peace, Amber --------7 of 14-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Palestine/FBI 1.30 9:55am Panel Discussion: "Constitutional Rights / International Relations" Sunday, January 30, 9:55 a.m. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Library, 2730 East 31st Street, Minneapolis. Sarah Martin and other subpoenaed peace activists will be ordered to answer questions before a grand jury about travels to Palestine. Sarah will update us on her case and its ramifications. Ted Dooley will help us understand grand jury proceedings. Dale Stuepfert, an ELCA past visitor to a solidarity group in Palestine, will describe the harassment they have experienced in Israel. Sponsored by: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. FFI: Call 612-729-8358. --------8 of 14-------- From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Food/genocide 1.30 1pm "Food Fuel Water: Resource Scarcity and Genocide" 01/30/11 Sunday, January 30, 2011 "Food Fuel Water: Resource Scarcity and Genocide" Join us on January 30, 2011 for a symposium on how the lack of food, fuel, water and other resources helped drive the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. Symposium speakers will include Dr Charlie Clements, Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University, Jim Harkness, President of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and Dr. Eric James, Program Director of the American Refugee Committee. The event is being hosted at William Mitchell College of Law, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN from 1:00-4:00pm. 3 CLE credits offered; 3 continuing education units for educators. Event is open to the public, fee $10; $25 for CLE. --------9 of 14-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 1.30 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 14-------- From: lydiahowell [at] comcast.net Subject: Money/Pentel 1.30 1pm SUN.JAN..30:Ecology Democracy Network Workshop/post SUN.JAN.30:Ecology Democracy Network hosts Rich Kotlarz & John Stirling Walker for a Conversation on "Money, Society & the Spirit" The Ecology Democracy Network continues to explore new and emerging ideas with monetary theorist Rich Kotlarz , director of the "Council on Money and Society" for Third Threshold Ministering of Cheyenne, Wyoming, with special guest, poet and minister John Stirling Walker (chairman of Third Threshold Ministering's Governance Board), on the subject of Money, Society and the Spirit : Sunday, January 30 Hennepin County Central Library, 300 Nicollet, Minneapolis, MN 55401 Room N-202. 1:00-4:30pm Rich and John will explore, from a spiritual/economic perspective, the concerns of those who hold a heartfelt commitment to bring about a better world. (Rich was my teacher and inspiration for the Minnesota Currency .) Please RSVP due to limited space . Ken Pentel Director of the Ecology Democracy Network P.O. Box 3872 Minneapolis, MN 55403 www.ecologydemocracynetwork.org kenpentel [at] yahoo.com (612) 387-0601 --------11 of 14-------- Obama's Chokehold on Left Antiwar Activists The Disillusioned Vacillate by John V. Walsh January 28th, 2011 Dissident Voice [No matter how bad it gets, millions of culpable lesser-evil liberals will vote yet again for Obama and regression. Thank them if a final coup comes. If Tunisia and Egypt etc were full of lesser-evillers, there would be only mass acceptance of despotism. As here. -ed] An anti-Obama manifesto of sorts, in the form of a petition, was issued this week, signed by over 150 Left antiwar activists. As I read the first paragraph, eager to sign, my hopes were quickly dashed. It reads: We the undersigned share with nearly two-thirds of our fellow Americans the conviction that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced. This has been our position for years and will continue to be, and we take it seriously. So far, so good, even admirable - although some of the signers backed Obama even as he promised more war in 2008. But perhaps disillusionment had finally taken hold. So what is to be done, according to the petitioners? That comes in the next sentence. We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination (emphasis, j.w.) for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them. "Renomination"? Many of these very people were calling for George W. Bush's impeachment for doing what Obama is doing now, although Obama is doing more of it, as the rest of the petition makes clear. "Renomination"? Does anyone think that the Democratic Party machine will deny Obama the nomination in 2012? And is there even the faintest suggestion here that the petitioners will try to field another candidate, a genuine peace candidate? "Renomination"? Does that mean that the signatories will vote for Obama once he has been nominated out of fear of the Republican "fascists," as the Republican opposition, not much different from Obama himself, is so often and so glibly labeled. As we all know, politicians in general and Obama in particular care not one whit about petitions such as these. They care only about a threat to being elected or re-elected. The time for begging or petitioning Obama to change is long since past. It is time to organize an alternative. If a serious challenge to Obama and indeed to both War Parties is to be mounted, it must begin soon. Unfortunately no such challenge has appeared on the horizon as yet. It certainly does not appear in this petition. Time is running out, and petitions like these can even forestall necessary action by giving people the false sense that they "have done something". The manifesto makes it clear that two thirds of Americans are now antiwar. And many of that two-thirds care little for the Democratic Party or for Obama. But the word "renomination" was chosen to keep the locus of antiwar activity within the Democratic Party. That is a losing strategy as we have learned over and over again. Such statements as this petition are not casually penned and their words not lightly chosen. Would it not be better to reach out to the Right, both Libertarians like Ron and Rand Paul and Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com and Paleos like Dan McCarthy at The American Conservative or Lew Rockwell or the Future of Freedom Foundation? Some functionary in the White House sub-basement assigned to keep watch on antiwar intellectuals must have breathed a sigh of relief that no mention was made of that. But how can one refuse to develop such alliances with the antiwar Right and others? To fail at that will only lead to a smaller antiwar movement and the probability that Obama's armies of Empire will continue to grind millions into the dust? Can that be justified morally? Most of the signatories are principled women and men disgusted with war. But the action against Obama they call for does not match the crimes they cite - it does not even come close. Electoral action, among other forms of activism, is needed, and the considerable prestige attached to some on this list of signatories can help to initiate such action. On the other hand, some among the signers have always come down on the side of the Dems in the end, no matter what they do. Let us hope that the latter are not in the driver's seat and that this manifesto is but one brief step on a determined and forceful march to field a badly needed alternative in 2012. The hour is late and lives by the score are lost every day at Obama's hand. John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.comw --------12 of 14-------- President Gasbag By ALEXANDER COCKBURN January 28 - 30, 2011 CounterPunch After watching President Obama's state of the union, plus the first Republican response to it by Rep Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and the second response by Rep Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, chair of the Tea Party caucus in Congress, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that if nations survive and prosper by realistic assessment of their problems, America really is finished. Obama surely instructed his speech writers to capitalize on his successful outing to the memorial in Tucson, where he gave a speech that essentially reprised the campaign rhetoric of 2008 that got him elected in the first place. The result in Congress Tuesday night was the quintessence of gasbaggery. The keynote was unity, symbolized by Democrats and Republicans eschewing their normal factional seating pattern in favor of interspecies mixing. Rep Joe Wilson, famous for having shouted "You lie" at Obama during his health care speech to a joint session of Congress in 2009, now sat demurely next to two lady Democrats. Supreme Court Justice Alito who mouthed a reproof at Obama at his last state of the union, didn't even show. Neither did the other two most conservative justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, (the latter now in hot water for failing to reveal on his financial disclosure forms the nearly $690,OOO paid to his wife Ginni by a right-wing lobby shop, the Heritage Foundation between 2003-2007.) The consequence was a markedly less spirited, partisan affair. Instead of bounding to their feet in raptures of applause or snarling in their chairs, the nation's legislators sat demure and glassy eyed as Obama gave a pep rally on America's crisis. It was all very, very familiar. America has lost its technological dominance. Solution: Kennedy's New Frontier, when the shocking challenge of the Russian sputnik, launched into space in 1957, led to the US moon shot - which in turn "unleashed an age of innovation". (Actually it led to the bogus "missile gap" and the building of 2000 ICBMs, a giant leap forward for the arms race.) America now faces another "sputnik moment". The challenge: to "out-innovate, out-educate and outbuild the rest of the world" . This is to be achieved by a green revolution in energy, better schools and teachers, efficient government subservient to the needs of business, less debt. >From the 1970s we got a reprise of President Nixon and President Carter's pledges of energy independence. Obama's version was spectacular in its divorce from reality. He set a "goal" - soothing word - that by 2035 -- five presidential terms after his last conceivable day in office in 2016 -- 80 per cent of America's energy "will come from clean energy sources". This being Obama, it turned out in the next sentence he was counting not only wind and solar but also coal, natural gas and nuclear power as "clean". Even so, without oil, the notion is ludicrous. Every president calls for Americans to do better at science. Clinton made a veritable industry out of it, also out of "reinventing government", which Obama also proposes to rehab in the form of a new onslaught on burdensome regulation, so crippling to the American entrepreneurial spirit, not to mention Justice Thomas's peace of mind. Like Clinton, Obama wants every American child to have the ability to log onto the internet, though presumably only to do home work and not read the sort of incendiary political and ethical tracts studied so keenly by that child of the internet and foe of schools, Jared Loughner of Tucson. "Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver," said Obama. "Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97 per cent of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school's transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said "Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing .. that we are smart and we can make it..". I asked Rob Prince, a CounterPuncher in Denver what the real story is on Bruce Randolph. Rob sent me back this comment from Phil Woods, a poet andretired teacher: "My take on Bruce Randolph, and I used to know the principal a little bit because she was an assistant at South when I first got there, is that it fits the Arnie Duncan model. You cherry pick minorities for college track, kick out all the other difficult kids, get the unions to give you a waiver so you work the teachers to death and call it progress. The point is, as with charter schools, this kind of stuff tends to be unsustainable because it causes teacher burn out. As with so much else, educational "reform" has to use market forces, etc. etc. All else is outside the pale". The deficit is to be fought by a freeze in annual domestic spending for the next five years, which will reduce the deficit by $400 billion and reduce discretionary spending, Obama vowed, to the level of the Eisenhower years. This pledge seems to undercut the government investment required for a green energy revolution, plus a high speed rail network, not to mention our old friend - probably the most realistic passage in the entire speech - a redoubling investment in road and bridge repair, the standard make-work ploy of every president trying to create jobs. The left got a vague pledge from Obama not to mess with Social Security plus a rhetorical kick at the oil companies. The right got substantive support for lowering corporate taxes plus all sorts of agreeable commitments about cutting Medicare and so forth. There was even a very vague hint, in a sentence ("I'm asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field") that Obama might head towards giving up the progressive tax system altogether and head towards the rightwingers' dream of a flat tax, which usually, in its habitual right-wing garb spells out as roughly an 18 per cent rate for poor and rich alike, a putative levy much appreciated by the rich, or at least those among them whose accountants aren't inventive to ensure that they pay no taxes at all. Success, the members of Congress learned from the President, is "a function of hard work and discipline", "the future is ours to win", "the changes we face are bigger.. than politics". Obama did not forget to reassure the US Congress that "America is a light to the world" (a steal from Woodrow Wilson), that "we do big things" and that "our destiny remains our choice". Obama's address was swiftly followed by official rebuttal from Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee, noted for calling for swift privatization of Social Security. Sensitive to the spirit of warmth and bipartisanship Ryan did not disclose to the national audience this ambition, but stressed the traditional fantasy message of small-town Republicanism: budgets have to be balanced, no matter how much blood - a word he did NOT use - might be left on the floor: "limited government, low taxes, reasonable regulations, and sound money/ Limited government and free enterprise have helped make America the greatest nation on earth. These are not easy times, but America is an exceptional nation". Then -- screened only by CNN, -- came the fiery Bachmann, fresh from an outing to Iowa last weekend where she claimed the Founding Fathers had been stalwart foes of slavery and had successfully labored to end it, which would have come as news to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. It's probably because she gave up reading any history after her ugly uexperience with Gore Vidal's Aaron Burr: "He was kind of mocking the Founding Fathers and I just thought, 'I just remember reading the book, putting it in my lap, looking out the window and thinking, 'You know what? I don't think I am a Democrat. I must be a Republican.'" Bachmann's star is rising as the new Sarah Palin, the ur-model now a fading farce. She certainly gave the most spirited presentation of the evening in five short minutes, replete with the sort of charts Glenn Beck likes use. She dwelled on a fact omitted by Obama from the resume of his successes, namely that that unemployment rate is still at 9.4 per cent, despite a $3 trillion increase in the deficit: "Instead of a leaner, smarter government, we bought a bureaucracy that now tells us which lightbulbs to buy and which may put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama's health care bill". That's Tea Party talk which at least has the virtue of concreteness. Bachmann did not fail to note that "America is the indispensable nation of the world". As noted at the outset, the evening marked another downward swoop in the national fantasy. The rest of the world got only fleeting mention from Obama, nothing from Ryan and a brief allusion to Iwojima from Bachmann, who clearly did not know that the famous photo of the raising of the flag was a staged replay. The relationship of war - as currently waged in Afghanistan - to the national deficit was not mentioned by any of the speakers, even though Stewart Lawrence wrote here last week very interestingly about a Left-Tea Party alliance on Pentagon spending. Ryan and Bachmann made no mention of military spending. All three ignored the export of jobs and the destruction of American manufacturing and the pauperization of American families. Obama seemed to trying to stage a replay of his own, of the US economy in the 1950s. "We do big things". No we don't. We do Stupid Big Things, dating back to that last heyday of Stupid Big Thing Thinking - dam constructon in the 1930s, surging to the disaster of the Glen Canyon dam and Lake Powell in the 1950s, the same decade freeway construction - Big Concrete -- destroyed city after city the same way - albeit more permanently -- Big Bombing destroyed Germany and many countries thereafter. Mr President: Big Thingishess is past, like the new tunnel to Manhattan from New Jersey. It's an unfinished Tunnel to nowhere, like the Bridge to nowhere in Alaska; boondoggles so swollen in their porkerish immensity that even their boosters run out of hot air trying to justify them. Is it $350 billion for the F-35? Let's hear $400 billion. Give me $500 billion! Nothing about the costs of war in Iraq and Afghanistan - without which there would be no deficit right now. Nothing about the costs of that Big Thing - the American gulag and its three million unproductive denizens. It's not just that none of Tuesday night's speakers had any sort of a sane plan. None of them had a map of America's recent history, to help them figure out where the ship of state has drifted, sails in tatters and parrots perched on the yard arm, squawking about America's singular greatness. Alexander Cockburn can be reached at alexandercockburn [at] asis.com. --------13 of 14-------- Human Rights Abuses Soar a Year After Coup Seems Like Old Times in Honduras By BILL QUIGLEY and PAM SPEES CounterPunch January 28 - 30, 2011 [Obama brings "democracy" to Honduras. -ed] In recent remarks on U.S.-Latin American relations made at the Brookings Institute, Arturo Valenzuela, a State Department official with responsibility for the region, commented that Honduras, two years removed from a coup that U.S. officials on the ground called illegal, had "made significant progress in strengthening democratic governance [and] promoting national reconciliation..." Viewing the situation on the ground here in Honduras, one can only wonder where the Assistant Secretary is getting his information. In fact, as President Porfirio Lobo Sosa approaches the anniversary of his first year in office, the reverse is true. Gross violations of human rights directed against activists, opposition leaders and journalists reveal a government that is far removed from democracy and a nation that is far from reconciling. Only two days after Valenzuela's remarks, a resistance leader named Juan Chinchilla was abducted at gunpoint by masked men in police and military uniforms. After suffering two days of being burned, beaten and interrogated he was able to escape in the night. In an interview after his kidnapping, Chinchilla stated that his interrogators had numerous surveillance photos of himself and other resistance leaders. Indeed, reports of political murders, kidnappings and torture are common here and resistance leaders report constant surveillance. While there are no official counts, we have learned of 36 activists and leaders murdered since Lobo took office. At least 50 other people were killed in political violence for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In addition, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reports it received information that the children of anti-coup forces were being kidnapped, attacked and threatened as a strategy to silence the resistance. Unprecedented violence against journalists is not an indicator of democratic governance and reconciliation. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), eight journalists were killed in the first half of Lobo's first year in office, prompting Reporters Without Borders to name Honduras the most dangerous country in the world for journalists. Another disturbing development in the wake of the coup has been an increase of violence directed against LGBT activists, many of whom are associated with the opposition to the coup and have played a vital organizing role in the resistance. The pattern is continuing in 2011. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reported that since the beginning of January three transgendered people were murdered. Since Pam has been in Honduras two more murders of members of the LGBT community have been reported. In the midst of this escalating political violence, Assistant Secretary Valenzuela's blithe comment is disturbingly dissonant. Rather than provide cover for the regime the State Department should use its influence to consistently and publically denounce politically motivated violence and the systematic violation of human rights and, as thirty members of Congress requested of the administration last October, they must cut off U.S. assistance to Honduran authorities, particularly the police and military. Then, maybe, we can talk about "progress" in Honduras. Bill Quigley is Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. You can contact Bill at quigley77 [at] gmail.com Pam Spees is a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and is currently on a fact-finding mission in Honduras. --------14 of 14-------- A Very Fine Thing The Egyptian Revolution By GARY LEUPP CounterPunch January 28 - 30, 2011 January 28, 2011, Day of Rage. I'm watching live coverage of the Egyptian revolution on Al-Jazeera TV. Cairo is swarming with hundreds of thousands, defying the curfew, hurling stones at the police. The images recall the Palestinian youth waging their Intifadas. The National Democratic Party headquarters is in flames. Downtown Suez has been taken over by the people, two police stations torched. The security forces are out in strength and shooting into crowds. But the people have lost their fear. Reporters and commentators on Al-Jazeera and other channels have no choice but to note that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is widely hated, and that those in the street are seeking freedom from a dictatorship. But they also keep saying "The situation is getting worse". Worse? I think of Mao Zedong's response to critics of peasant rebellion in China in 1927. He noted that "even progressive people" saw uprisings as "terrible". "But it's not terrible," he declared. "It is anything but 'terrible'. It's fine!" Watching the live coverage, I see the people of Egypt, fed up with their oppression, and inspired by the revolution in Tunisia, doing something very, very fine. It is inspiring. It is profoundly hopeful. The Obama administration line (as summarized by Joe Biden, interviewed by Jim Lehrer on PBS), can be summarized as follows: Egyptians have the right to protest. Many are middle class folks, with legitimate concerns. But we should not refer to Mubarak as a dictator. It's not time for him to go. He has been a key ally of the U.S. and Israel, in the "Middle East peace process" and the War on Terror. Egypt is dissimilar to Tunisia, and it would be "a stretch" to suggest that a trend is underway. The U.S. should encourage those protesting and Mubarak to talk. Everyone should avoid violence. The mainstream infotainment media spin can be summarized like this: The "unrest" in Egypt puts the U.S. in a difficult position. On the one hand Mubarak has abetted U.S. "national interests" and been Israel's only Arab ally. (These two are always assumed to be closely linked; the notion that an Arab leader is a friend of the U.S. to the extent that he kisses Israel's ass is never questioned.) On the other hand, U.S. officials have been saying for years that the Middle East needs "democratic reform". This puts in the U.S. in a bind, we are told. The U.S. confronts a "dilemma". The talking heads depict the U.S. as somehow a victim in this situation. (Isn't it terrible, they're implying, that the Egyptian people by their militancy in favor of supposed U.S. ideals are trying to topple the USA's best friend in the Arab world? What a headache to have to deal with!) Seems to me however that this is another of those instances of chickens coming home to roost. The U.S. has supported Mubarak primarily in appreciation for his stance towards Israel. (The mainstream media is referring to him as an "ally" of Israel.) It's not really because he's been a "partner in the peace process" - because there is no real peace process. Relentless Israeli settlement activity on Palestinian land supported by the Lobby in the U.S. has insured that. Wikileaks documents indicate that Mubarak has been content for the "process" to lag indefinitely so that he could represent himself as the vital Arab middleman while enjoying two billion in U.S. military aid per year. But Palestinians hate him for cooperating with the demonization of democratically elected Hamas and the embargo imposed on Gaza. And Egyptians hate him for, among many other things, betraying their Palestinian brothers and sisters. Rather, the U.S. has supported Mubarak because he's provided an Arab fig leaf for the unequivocal support for Israel that the U.S. has provided for decades. U.S. diplomats have, as Wikileaks reveal, at times expressed concern that the dictator might be causing some problems by his "heavy-handed" treatment of dissidents. But this is not a matter of moral indignation, or concern about the lives of Egyptians. It's nothing more than an expression of concern that his fascistic rule might jeopardize his ability to help U.S.-Israeli policy in the region and keep the Suez Canal open. And now that brutal rule has caused an explosion. The reaction from U.S. officials and political commentators is, "We never expected this". Well surprise, surprise! (These folks were dumbfounded by the Iranian Revolution of 1979 as well. Don't they understand that people eventually fight back?) I think of that old Langston Hughes poem: What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore - And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over - like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? Egypt is exploding. The deferred dreams of the Arab world are exploding. And even the corporate media acknowledges that the people are jubilant (while warning that none of this might be in "our interest"). But for people with some basic morals, concerned about the happiness of humanity in general, is this not totally fine? Al-Jazeera shows viewers how U.S. officials are changing the tone of their comments, backing off more and more each day from support of Mubarak. They're reiterating with increasing emphasis that the demonstrators indeed have legitimacy. (Did these people they just figure this out?) What sheer opportunism! Obama, always the centrist opportunist wanting to be everybody's friend, wants to be the Egyptian people's friend. He showed that in Cairo in 2009. In his celebrated speech to the Muslim world he on the one hand spouted platitudes about U.S. acceptance of Islam and on the other insulted everyone's intelligence by calling the invasion of Afghanistan a "war of necessity". He (accurately) described the vicious assault on Iraq as a "war of choice," but said anything about how those responsible for such a crime ought to be punished. He does not support any investigation that would show how neocon Zionists in his predecessor's administration faked a case for war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Arabs. His real message is: the U.S. can lie and kill, and then posture as the moral exemplar (maybe even apologizing slightly when crimes are embarrassingly exposed). Even so, the people of the world are supposed to understand that alignment with the U.S. is the best hope of their best hope. And now Obama wants the best of both worlds: an ongoing engagement with Mubarak (if he survives), and a hand outstretched to the people of Egypt, tainted by so many other handshakes with so many dictators so far. Demonstrators in Cairo note that tear gas canisters on the street are marked "Made in USA". What should they to make of that? Who's really encouraging their dreams? Who's caused them to defer them, decade upon decade? It's the same foe that has caused the deferment of dreams here in this country and around the world. I learned to say shukran in Cairo. To my friends there now, engaged in this fine, fine battle, I say that now. Shukran, shukran for inspiring the world, showing that another world might be possible. Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades. He can be reached at: gleupp [at] granite.tufts.edu [Lesser-evil liberals complain that "revolution is so (yuk) revolutionary. Why can't they just vote for the guy who's already there, shut up and suck it up, and wait for the pendulum of time to make teeny tiny changes that won't upset lesser-evil liberals, ie us? Meanwhile if a lot of people have to die, starve, be tortured, etc, etc, etc, well, too bad but so what? Our glorious tranquillity trumps their puny pissant troubles." -ed] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress for governor now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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