Progressive Calendar 04.14.11
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2011 12:25:09 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   04.14.11

1. Eagan peace vigil 4.14 4:30pm
2. Northtown vigil   4.14 5pm
3. 9/11 expert       4.14 7pm
4. Labor poetry      4.14 7pm
5. Johnny Howard     4.14 7:30pm
6. ArabAm theater    4.14 7:30pm

7. Oil/Iraq war      4.15 11:30am
8. Tax the damn rich 4.15 12noon
9. Palestine vigil   4.15 4:15pm
10. Honduras/labor   4.15 7pm

11. Jesse Ventura - Letter to the ruling class
12. Paul Street   - America's unelected dictatorship of money
13. ed            - Bumpersticker
14. ed            - Bumpersticker

--------1 of 14--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 4.14 4:30pm

PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of
Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and
candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south
of the river speaking out against war.


--------2 of 14--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 4.14 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com.


--------3 of 14--------

From: Minnesota Truth <mn911truth [at] gmail.com>
Subject: 9/11 expert 4.14 7pm

Dear fellow citizen,

As we approach the 10th Anniversary of the attacks on September 11, we ask
that you set aside the emotion and politics, and honor the 2,985 citizens
who died on 9/11/01, the 5,945 US Armed Service Personnel who have died,
and the 39,922 Service men and women who have had war-related injuries as
a result of this major national event.

Many citizens are unaware that *three* World Trade Center buildings
collapsed on September 11th despite happening on the same day, in the same
complex, and in the same manner as the twin towers.  The official
investigation determined fire was the cause of the collapse for WTC7. The
building was not hit by an airplane making it the first building ever to
collapse due to fire.  Other facts about this building include:

1)  World Trade Center #7 was not mentioned at all in the 500+ page 9/11
Commission investigation report.

2)  Both the BBC and CNN reported that it collapsed about 20 minutes
before it actually did collapse at 5:20 pm on 9/11/01.

3)  The building was 47 stories tall, about 9 stories shorter than the IDS
tower.

4)  Prior to September 11, 2001 and since that date, no building had ever
suffered complete collapse due to fire.

5)  World Trade Center #6 was in between the twin towers and WTC7.  WTC6
suffered extensive damage but did not collapse at free fall speed as did
WTC7.

 If you are unaware of this building, we encourage you to watch the
collapse of *World** **Trade** **Center** #7* and make your own
conclusions.  You can find it with a simple Google search.

We invite you to an evening in St. Paul, Minn. on April 14, 2011 with
Richard Gage, AIA, 20+ year architect, and founder of Architects and
Engineers for 9/11 Truth.  This presentation is a re-examination of the
destruction of the three skyscrapers, including World Trade Center #7.
Gage uses forensics, principles of physical sciences and conclusions from
the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) official
investigation in his presentation.  More than 1,400 registered architects
and engineers examined the destruction of all three World Trade Center
buildings on September 11, 2001 and agree that a new investigation is
needed.

The event is free and open to all.  Architects, engineers and those
unfamiliar with this issue are especially encouraged to attend to weigh
the evidence and decide for themselves.  There will be a Q & A following
the presentation.  Thank you, your participation is greatly respected and
appreciated.

Thursday, April 14th, 2011
7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)
University of Minnesota - St Paul Campus
Continuing Education and Conference Center
1890 Buford Ave.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108

Local contact: Bruce Stahlberg Mn911truth [at] gmail.com


--------4 of 14--------

From: Peter Rachleff <rachleff [at] macalester.edu>
Subject: Labor poetry 4.14 7pm

The 13th annual "Untold Stories" program of the Friends of the Saint Paul
Public Library will bring Motor City poet, editor, author, and all around
character M.L. Liebler to Macalester this Thursday evening, April 14, to
read from and discuss his new WORKING WORDS: PUNCHING THE CLOCK AND
KICKING OUT THE JAMS.  Liebler's new anthology of literature written by
and for workers includes fiction, memoir, poetry, rock lyrics, and
historical analysis that touches in all aspects of working class life.
It has just been published by our own Coffee House Press.  Please join us
in the Weyerhaeuser Chapel at 7 PM.  Free and open to the public. More
info: Peter Rachleff


--------5 of 14--------

From: Jesse Mortenson <jessemortenson [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Johnny Howard 4.14 7:30pm

Dear Green Party supporter:

A week ago, Greens in St. Paul endorsed Johnny Howard in his campaign
for city council in Ward 1 (http://www.johnnyhoward.org). I'm excited
to invite you to a fundraiser at classic Cathedral Hill restaurant
Fabulous Fern's:

    7:30 - 10 pm, Thursday, April 14
    at Fabulous Fern's
    400 Selby Ave, St. Paul
    (near Selby and Western)

I'm an enthusiastic supporter of Johnny's campaign, and I believe you
will be too after you get a chance to meet him and learn more about
his experience and concerns. He got his start fighting for
neighborhood improvements in Frogtown as founder of the Thomas Dale
Block Clubs. He was a key figure for almost two decades in a
well-known Ward One football/youth development program. He's a great
listener and a powerful advocate who will serve Ward One well. You can
learn much more about Johnny at his website,
http://www.johnnyhoward.org .

I hope you can join us on April 14. This is a great opportunity to
start making Ward One a better place to live, work and do business.

Sincerely, Jesse Mortenson 4CD Green Party Co-Chair 651-442-5734


--------6 of 14--------

From: Mizna <mizna [at] mizna.org>
Subject: ArabAm theater 4.14 7:30pm

April 14-May 1: Arab American Theater at Pangea

Mizna is pleased to cosponsor with Pangea World Theater a reading of
Kathryn Haddad's forthcoming play as well as a poetry-based multi-media
performance and eleven days of related events.

Zafira (Warrior Princess of the World) Written by Kathryn Haddad, directed
by Dipankar Mukherjee. It is the not-so-distant future and suicide bombers
have hit simultaneous cities across the United States. Arab and Muslim
Americans are official enemies of the state and have been ordered into
internment camps. Zafira (Warrior Princess of the World) tells the story
of one Arab American woman&#x02bc;s experience leading up to, during, and
after her internment.

April 14, 2011, 7:30 p.m.
$5  Buy tickets now 
[http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=w7zk9dfab&et=1105136502314&s=659&e=001kMbgUcMaiuLQ9a2Fi3JaTiqJD-UFQOhBAtI-GvQNi45KRlQravz3isOegdCQZRZDSpMPq7xUjuy4z3fIpVK_NYK7EZE8px6Q-nNqe75cVkeG-6ahAe2R981mcodnNwr1l340gsvfnVrv9KxnNtK-Hg==]
At Pangea World Theater 
711 West Lake Street, Minneapolis, 55408


--------7 of 14--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Oil/Iraq war 4.15 11:30am

A Dialogue on the Current Uprising in the Middle East: "The Oily Origins
of the War in Iraq"
Friday, April 15, 11:30 to 12:30 p.m Hamline University, Giddens
Learning Center, Room 100, 1536 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul.

Professor Michael Schwartz teaches sociology at Stony Brook University and
has published numerous books and articles and has lectured extensively on
Middle East history. Join the dialogue on "the Oily Origins of the War in
Iraq." Free and open to the public. Sponsored by: Hamline University.
FFI: Call 651-523-2223.

[All's well that ends wells. -ed]


--------8 of 14--------

From: Meredith Aby <riot369 [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Tax the damn rich 4.15 12noon    [ed head]

TAX the RICH PROTEST:  Stop Republicans' Gutting of Poor and Working
Minnesotans!
Friday April 15, 12 noon-1pm @ MN State Capitol, St. Paul

At tax time, join others at the State Capitol to tell politicians TAX the
RICH! Make the RICH PAY and STOP All Attacks on Working and Poor
Minnesotans!

Over the past years of budget deficits, the wealthiest Minnesotans have
not paid even one dime out of their gold-lined pockets. Meanwhile working
and poor Minnesotans have been forced to pay with our lives, our health,
our schools, our jobs, and our blood.

The Republicans are taking their message of hate and loathing of working
and poor people to new lows! They are trying to gut the last few benefits
that exist for those of us who do not belong to the wealthy class. They
are forcing workers, poor people and people with illness or disability to
pay for the entire deficit.

The Republicans refuse to raise taxes on those with the ability to pay,
and in fact would decrease the rich's taxes if they could! If the
wealthiest in Minnesota paid their share of taxes, and paid back all the
wealth they gained through tax breaks and loopholes over the past decade,
there would be no deficit in Minnesota - now or for the foreseeable
future.  The choice is clear: TAX the RICH, or make the rest of us pay.
Organized by the Welfare Rights Committee and MN Coalition for a People's
Bailout.  Endorsed by the AWC.  FFI:  612-822-8020
WelfareRightsMN [at] yahoo.com http://welfarerightsmn.wordpress.com

[As "Yankee" is pronounced "damn yankee", so "rich" is pronounced either
"damn rich" or, preferably, "god damn rich". Ditto with "elite" and
"ruling class" and "top 1%". -ed]


--------9 of 14--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Palestine vigil 4.15 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.


--------10 of 14--------

From: Joseph Callahan <joepfaucal [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Honduras/labor 4.15 7pm

Gerardo Torres, Leader of the Honduran National Front of Popular
Resistance (FNRP) Coordinator, U.S. and Canada relations
Friday, April 15, 7:00 pm, UFCW 1189 Hall, 266 Hardman, South St. Paul
Hosted by Bernie Hesse, Director of Special Projects, UFCW 1189

Honduran workers are still under attack following the 2009 U.S.-backed
coup.  Hear a leader of the resistance movement describe the continuing
repression against teachers and campesinos as they ffight back against the
oligarchy and its military, police and shadowy death squads.

Gerardo will also be speaking at:
Macalester College, Thursday, April 14, 4:30pm
Harmon Reading Room (Library)

Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Friday, April 25, 1:00pm, Science Building, Room 1120
1501 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis

All events are free and open to the public:
for more information : 612-702-5637
handsoffhonduras [at] gmail.com
HondurasFreedom.blogspot.com


--------11 of 14--------

Jesse Ventura
Letter to the Ruling Class
Apr 1, 2011

You control our world. You've poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated
the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your
wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you.
You've liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our
tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your
corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You've
stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic
rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and
shredded our unions. You've profited off of disaster, destabilized our
currencies, and raised our cost of living. You've monopolized our freedom,
stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We
are hit - we are bleeding - but we ain't got time to bleed. We will bring
the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution!

Jesse Ventura
http://weaintgottimetobleed.com/

[Mike Malloy read this several times on his Wednesday night radio show,
with stong approval. The kind of thing I wish I'd written, he said. It
should go viral. -ed]


--------12 of 14--------

America's Unelected Dictatorship of Money
Dark Reflections on the Need for Real Change at Home, Not Just in the
Middle East
By Paul Street

Source: The Empire and Inequality ReportThursday, April 14, 2011
Join ZSpace

Imagine if the reigning American media-politics culture approached U.S.
policy and society with the same criteria it applies to other countries
and governments.  Dominant American media regularly evokes moral outrage
in response to crimes perpetrated by official enemies like Iran, Syria,
Hamas, and Libya. By contrast, it has little to say about Washington's
mass-murderous bombing and drone-missile demolition of wedding parties,
schools, and hospitals in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, or about the fact
that three million Iraqis died prematurely because of the United States
criminal invasion and occupation of their country (2003-present) - an ugly
little detail deemed unfit to print in the New York Times' recent
front-page reporting of the following remarkable comment from Barack
Obama's "defense" secretary Robert Gates: "Iraq has been an extraordinary
success story for the United States military".1 The torture and murder of
democracy and social justice activists continues free of significant or
outraged comment from North American media and political elites in
Honduras, site of a vicious right wing coup that the Barack Obama
administration briefly pretended to oppose and then sharply supported.2

"The People Need Real Change"

Double standards are also clear in how the dominant media describes the
internal politics of different nations. Here is a passage on the struggle
for democracy in Egypt on the front page of the Times last Friday:

"The people need change, real change,' Mr. [Sherif] Nafie [a teaching
assistant in Cairo University.s journalism department] said'. 'People are
anxious that this post-revolutionary moment will end without them gaining
their rights,' said Ehab al-Kharat, a psychiatrist organizing a new party,
the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.

"'It is the first time in Egyptian history that people are taking part in
running their own institutions and organizations,' he said. 'Democracy is
not just about electoral ballots and politics at the national level - it
is about how you run your organization, how you run your small
neighborhood, it is about having a say in every aspect of your life. . .

"The problem, as both he and Mr. Nafie noted, is that Egyptians lack
experience in the give and take of democracy, so the push for change is
marked by accentuated hostility and mistrust".3

"The Wealthy Call the Tune"

Poor Egypt - its struggle to achieve "American-style democracy" will be
long and hard! The Times had nothing to say about the critical role that
U.S. foreign military and economic "assistance" has long played (to this
day) in deterring democracy in Egypt, across the Middle East, and indeed
throughout the world. At the same time, the Times report reflected the
deeply entrenched and reflexively expressed assumption that American
citizens (very few of whom have ever been consulted about U.S. sponsorship
of authoritarian regimes in Egypt and elsewhere) enjoy functioning
democracy. But do they?

Contrary to the dominant notion of U.S. as a center right country,
Americans hold a slew of progressive and democratic opinions. A vast
amount of polling data contradicts the widespread assumption and dominant
media trope that the United States is a "center-right nation" - even a
conservative country.  National opinion polls suggest that Tea Partiers
are clearly projecting their values upon a largely reluctant public, which
views the lack of government support for progressive policies, rather than
"big government" itself, as the major problem plaguing the political
system. Public opinion is quite progressive in terms of majority support
for social democracy and the left hand of the liberal state [4]:

* Sixty-nine percent of U.S. voters agree that "government should care for
those who cannot care for themselves" (Pew Research, 2007).

* Fifty-four percent of voters agree that "government should help the
needy even if it means greater debt" (Pew Research, 2007

* Fifty-eight percent believe the U.S. government should be doing more for
its citizens, not less (National Elections Survey, 2004).

*  Twice as many Americans back more government services and spending
(even if this means a tax increase) as do those who support fewer services
and reduced spending (National Elections Survey, 2004).

* Sixty-four percent of Americans would pay higher taxes to guarantee
health care for all U.S. citizens (CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll,
May 2007).

* Sixty-nine percent think it is the responsibility of the federal
government to provide health coverage to all U.S. citizens (Gallup Poll,
2006).

* Eighty percent support a government-mandated increase in the minimum
wage (Associated Press/AOL Poll, December 2006).

*  Eighty-six percent want Congress to pass legislation to raise the
federal minimum wage (CNN, August 2006).

* Seventy-one percent think that taxes on corporations are too low (Gallup
Poll, April 2007).

* Sixty-six percent think that taxes on upper-income people are too low
(Gallup Poll, April 2007).

* Fifty-nine percent are favorable toward unions, with just 29 percent
unfavorable (Gallup Poll, 2006).

* 61 percent of Americans support the right of public sector unions to
exist and collectively bargain on behalf of government workers (USA
Today-Gallup, 2011).

* Fifty-two percent generally side with unions in labor disputes, whereas
just 34 percent side with management (Gallup Poll, 2006).

* A strong majority of American voters think that the nation's "most
urgent moral question" is either "greed and materialism" (33 percent) or
"poverty and economic injustice" (31 percent). Just 16 percent identify
abortion and 12 percent pick gay marriage as the nation's "most urgent
moral question. (Zogby, 2004). Thus, 64 percent of the population thinks
that injustice and inequality are the nation's leading "moral issues".

* Just 29 percent of Americans support the expansion of government
spending on "defense" (a curious term for the Pentagon, which accounts for
nearly half of the human race's military spending and maintains more than
1000 military bases spread across more the 120 nations the world over). By
contrast, 79 percent support increased spending on health care, 69 percent
support increased spending on education, and 69 percent support increased
spending on Social Security (Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, "Global
Views," 2004)

* Seventy-eight percent of Americans support using "tax dollars to help
pay for food stamps and other assistance to the poor," while 80 percent
support appropriating tax funding for "retraining programs for people
whose jobs have been eliminated" (National Inequality Survey, 2007).

* 67 percent of adult Americans support "having a third political party
that would run candidates or President, Congress, and state offices
against the Republicans and Democrats" (CNN/Gallup/USA Today 1999).

But so what?  In the U.S. today, politics often seems to be little more
than how it was described by the Progressive Age American philosopher John
Dewey: "the shadow cast on society by business". Actual public policy
moves in very different, often enough diametrically opposed directions
from mere public opinion in "the world's greatest democracy". Contrary to
democratic theory's identification of government with the people (the
popular majority), none of the opinions bullet-pointed above seem to
matter all that much when it comes to policy. As the former Times
columnist Bob Herbert recently and quietly noted in his very last column
for the nation's "newspaper of record," the nation's "levers of real power
have been all but completely commandeered by the financial and corporate
elite. It doesn't really matter what ordinary people want" in the U.S.,
Herbert candidly acknowledged - a remarkable statement. "The wealthy call
the tune, and the politicians dance. Ordinary Americans have no real
access to the corridors of power, but you can bet your last Lotto ticket
that your elected officials are listening when the corporate money
speaks".

That is a remarkable statement nearly two-and-a-half years after a
presidential election that Herbert and many other establishment liberals
hailed as a victory for progressive transformation.  The American people
in 2008, like the Egyptian people today, wanted "change, real change" -
something that Obama's advisors anticipated well in advance as a problem
requiring the proper elitist "expectation management" and "expectation
calibration" - tasks that Obama's advisor Samantha Powers called
"essential at home and internationally" in February of 2008.5

The Obama administration quickly and boldly became a great monument to the
old French saying plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose (the more things
change the more they stay the same).  With its monumental bailout of
hyper-opulent financial overlords, its refusal to nationalize and cut down
the parasitic too-big (too powerful)-to-fail financial institutions that
have paralyzed the economy, its passage of a health reform bill that only
the big insurance and drug companies could love (consistent with Rahm
Emmanuel's advice to the president: "ignore the progressives"), its
cutting of an auto bailout deal that rewarded capital flight, its epic
undermining of serious global carbon emission reduction efforts at
Copenhagen, its refusal to advance serious public works programs (green or
otherwise), its disregarding of promises to labor and other popular
constituencies, and other betrayals of its "progressive base" (the other
side of the coin of promises kept to its corporate sponsors), the "change"
and "hope" (corporatist Bill Clinton's campaign keywords in 1992)
presidency of Barack Obama has brilliantly demonstrated the stealth power
of what Edward S. Herman and David Peterson call "the unelected
dictatorship of money". [5A] As Bill Greider noted in The Washington Post
early in the Obama presidency, "People everywhere [have] learned a blunt
lesson about power, who has it and who doesn't.  They [have] watched
Washington run to rescue the very financial interests that caused the
catastrophe.  They [have] learned that government has plenty of money to
spend when the right people want it".[5B] The "right people" are found
among an elite segment within the top 1 percent that owns roughly 40
percent of America's wealth and a probably larger share of its
"democratically elected officials," making the U.S. by far and away the
industrialized/post-industrialized world's most unequal, wealth-top-heavy,
and (even before the Supreme Court's much progressive-bemoaned Citizen
United decision) openly plutocratic society.

"If it Were Only Republicans Out to Destroy Us"

At least now Americans get to learn Greider's "blunt lesson" with
Democrats at the nominal helm of the corporate-managed fake democracy.
It's an essential tutorial on the richly bipartisan nature of
state-capitalist rule that holds special for "millennial" (18-29 year old)
voters and citizens, for whom the election of John McCain would have
reinforced the notion that American empire and inequality is just all
about Republicans being in power.

The lesson has been deepening this year. Claiming falsely that the
American people spoke in the Republicans' electoral triumph of November
2010, the ever more right-wing Obama has made a number of moves calculated
to win the more heartfelt allegiance of top business players. He has
continued his pattern of coldly disrespecting his liberal and progressive
"base' (comprised of people that Obama's initial chief of staff Rahm
Emmanuel called "fucking retard[s]") by agreeing to sustain George W.
Bush's deficit-fueling tax cuts for the rich beyond their original sunset
date of 2010.  Accepting the false business and Republican Tea Party claim
that "overpaid" public sector workers are a leading force behind rising
government deficits and economic stagnation, Obama ordered a two-year
freeze on federal worker salaries and benefits. He published an Op-Ed in
the plutocratic editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal - an essay that
praised "free market capitalism" as "the greatest force for prosperity the
world has ever known") and said that government often places "unreasonable
burdens on business" that have a "chilling effect on growth and jobs". The
tone of his editorial suggested that it wasn't neoliberal deregulation
that sparked the financial collapse of 2008, but all those nasty little
government rules and guidelines that stifle innovation and growth. 6

Obama signed an executive order calling for a government-wide review of
regulations to remove or revise those that supposedly inhibited business.
He appointed JPMorgan Chase's William Daley - a leading agent of the
corporate-globalist North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) under Bill
Clinton - as his chief of staff. He put Goldman Sachs' Gene Sperling
(another legendary neoliberal) at the head of the National Economic
Council.  He tapped General Electric (GE) CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head his
new "President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness". The new council's
title referred to specifically American jobs and competitiveness -
something that made Immelt's appointment more than a little darkly ironic:
with fewer than half its workers employed in the United States and less
than half its profits coming from U.S. activities, New York Times
columnist and Princeton economist Paul Krugman noted, "G.E's fortunes have
very little to do with U.S. prosperity". 7

Consistent with these rightward moves, Obama's late January 2011 State of
the Union Address (SOTUA) claimed that American business was plagued by
the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Obama opened the door to
lowering that rate, cautioning - in language that seemed previously
approved by the American Enterprise Institute - that he hoped to slash it
"without adding to our deficit". He offered no bold, large-scale economic
stimulus, antipoverty or public works programs to address the mass
unemployment and economic destitution still stalking the land two years
into his presidency. Whether out of political necessity, ideological
preference or both, Obama appeared to have pinned his hopes for an
expanded economic recovery (vital for his chances of re-election) on
appeasing the right and the business class. The former high profile
left-liberal Obama supporter (an early member of "Progressives for Obama")
and Princeton professor Cornel West has now quite belatedly acknowledged
that the president is "in the process of becoming, very sadly, a pawn of
big finance, and a puppet of big business".7A

As political scientist Michael David Green recently wrote in an epic and
jaundiced rant on CommonDreams.org, "we'd be in bad enough shape if it
were only Republicans out to destroy us". Green elaborated:

"Then there's the 'Democrats,' including the 'socialist' leader of the
party, Barack Obama...today's Obama, the former anti-war community
organizer, is to the ideological right of yesterday's Dwight Eisenhower,
former five-star general, leader of the Normandy invasion, commander of
NATO and head of the Republican Party.  As today's worst elements of the
Republican Party (that is, almost all of them) seek to do exactly the
things that Eisenhower called 'stupid', there is Obama, facilitating their
efforts..

"There are the Democrats, continually adding to the pile of tax giveaways
for the rich, and therefore adding to the pile of debt which is now being
used as a cudgel to force cuts on essential government services, programs
despised by the oligarchy since the beginning.  There are the Democrats,
continually adding to the pile of stupid Middle Eastern wars being fought
using resources so scarce that medical care must now be cut for the poor
and elderly.  There are the Democrats going even further than Republicans
in smashing civil liberties and shredding the Bill of Rights.  There are
the Democrats, as absolutely unwilling as Republicans to remotely face the
very real planetary peril of global warming.  There are the Democrats,
continuing to promulgate the failed Bush education policy of No Child Left
Behind.  There are the Democrats, turning yet again to corporate
"solutions" to health care, which enrich parasitical insurance companies
but do nothing for sick people other than to deny them care.  There are
the Democrats (led by a black man, no less!), joining the chorus of Jesus
Freak freaks in denying civil rights to gays. I think the conservative
Eisenhower would sooner have become a German storm trooper than a modern
Democrat, let alone a Republican - and on far too many days I'm not sure I
can see the difference".8

The recent weekend budget showdown and "deal" (resulting in the
right-leaning meat-axing of $38 billion dollars from the 2011 federal
outlay - corporate welfare survived intact) defies majority progressive
public opinion by slashing social expenditures for working people and the
disadvantaged while sustaining plutocratic tax cuts for the wealthy.  The
"government shutdown" extravaganza's theatrical display of partisan rancor
disguises Obama and the corporate-captive political class's  forthcoming,
bipartisan assault on senior citizens' medical benefits and other
dastardly social "entitlements" that are supposedly bankrupting America -
this is as the media refuses to seriously cover the disturbing fact that a
large number of leading American corporations (including GE) manage to pay
no federal taxes at all.[9] The Times led off the week with a story on
Obama's plan to reduce the deficit by making unspecified "changes" to
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - changes the moneyed elites can
believe in, no doubt.  Change the rest of can bereave in.

"The Pentagon is Never Threatened With 'Insolvency'"

Funny how we never hear ominous warning about the terrible possibility
that the "defense" department might go bankrupt because of its egregious
waste and inefficiency in the use of taxpayer dollars.  As Edward S.
Herman noted in July of 2009: "The Pentagon has regular gigantic overruns
in its payments for weapons systems and fraud and waste are endemic. But
the Pentagon is never threatened with 'insolvency'. Its overruns and waste
are simply passed on to taxpayers - the taxpayer funds the Pentagon on an
open-ended basis without any trust funds or limits beyond what logrolling
can produce. After all, it is protecting our "national security," using
the phrase with its usual infinite elasticity to cover anything the
Pentagon, its contractors, their lobbyists, and the congressional servants
of the military-industrial complex want".[10] The "right people" (Greider)
include the top military contractors and the Pentagon, of course. The
"new" White House has escalated Superpower violence in South Asia, passed
a record-setting "defense" (Empire) budget, rolled over George W. Bush's
not-so counter-terrorist assault on human rights (in the name of
"freedom"), extended the imperial terror war to Yemen and Somalia,
disguised escalated U.S. occupation of Haiti as humanitarian relief, aided
and abetted a thuggish right wing coup in Honduras, expanded the
Pentagon's reach in Columbia/Latin America, and now we have Obama's
fake-humanitarian missile intervention in Libya, costing U.S. taxpayers
$100 million a day in cruise missile costs alone in the early days, much
to the cost-plus profit of the owners of Raytheon - this in a nation (the
U.S.) where 19 million citizens (6.3 percent of Americans) live in extreme
poverty, with cash incomes of less than half of the federal government's
notoriously inadequate poverty level - at less than roughly $11,000 for a
family of four.

The irrelevance of the citizenry is especially pronounced at the level of
foreign policy. In an uncommonly candid and comprehensive survey of the
domestic interests the shape U.S. foreign policy, the elite political
scientists Lawrence Jacobs (Northwestern) and Benjamin Page (same school)
found that public opinion has "little or no significant effect on
government officials" and that the primary influence on policy is
"internationally oriented business corporations" (American Political
Science Review 99, no.1, February 2005).

"CEOs Didn't Have to Cry Poor for Long"

The corporate masters, meanwhile, are doing very nicely for themselves, in
standard defiance of irrelevant majority popular opposition to excessive
and grotesque disparities of wealth and income. A recent article in USA
Today reports that, "CEOs didn't have to cry poor for long...At a time
most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median
CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives' compensation started working
its way back to pre-recession levels...The big increases in executive
compensation are difficult for workers to swallow, given that many
Americans are struggling just trying to find a job or make ends meet".
Here are some the most remarkable American 2010 CEO incomes reported on
USA Today's web version of its report: P. Daummon (Viacom) - $84,469, 515;
Ray Irani (Occidental Petroleum) - $76,107, 101; Michael White (DirectTV)
- $32,932, 618; John Lundgren (Stanley Black&Decker) - $32,570,596; Robert
Iger (Walt Disney)- $28,017, 414; Samuel Palmisano (IBM) - $25,180,681;
Howard Schultz (Starbucks) - $21,733,013.  How's that for ".executive
compensation"? These obscene "earnings" reflect the fact that the S&P
Fortune 500 enjoyed a stunning 47 percent profits increase last year [11].
They are certain to stir the entrepreneurial ambitions of the more than 50
million Americans who live in "food insecure" households (homes
experiencing recurrent and involuntary lack of access to sufficient food)
in the U.S. today - unworthy victims of an officially invisible top-down
class war.

Epidemic Depression: A "Not Unreasonable Response" to American
Authoritarianism

But let us turn from the commanding heights of national and global policy
to everyday institutions and organizations in American life. "Democracy,"
the New York Times reminds us with the words of a Cairo teaching assistant
in the Egyptian context, "is not just about electoral ballots and politics
at the national level - it is about how you run your organization, how you
run your small neighborhood, it is about having a say in every aspect of
your life". Indeed, and this is a big problem in the U.S., where citizens
ubiquitously report feeling powerless and isolated within and in relation
"their" workplaces, schools, local communities and state and local
governments. Everyday Americans widely sense that they what they think,
know, and feel is of no consequence in how and what decisions are made in
the institutions with which they are most directly and regularly (if often
passively and involuntarily) engaged. With good reason: those
organizations and the communities tend to be strictly hierarchical, with
unforgiving internal authority structures, and are often no less beholden
to the nation's "unelected dictatorship of money" than the nation's
dominant "two" parties.

That closet despotism crushes democracy and human vitality at the
individual, family, and community levels. It penetrates, destroys, and
limits the daily experience and consciousness of hundreds of millions of
Americans, creating artificial consumer "needs," and stealing the leisure
time, mental balance and material security that genuine popular governance
requires.  It forces us to spend the lion's share of our waking time in
the endless pursuit of currency and commodities and threatens us with the
loss of basic necessities including food, shelter and (to a distinctive
degree among industrialized states in the U.S.)health care if we dare to
question the authority of our bosses and others who have more money and
hence more power. The relentless neoliberal marketization and monetization
of the commons and daily life turns us into money and hence wage and
salary slaves, buried in debt and beholden to the insatiable and fickle
profit lust of amoral capital and its many hired servants and enforcers.

The rising mass of poor and deeply poor always are there, as George Carlin
used to say, to scare the shit out of working and middle class people: to
keep the employed trudging off to their often alienating and authoritarian
workplaces, and, also, it should be added, to reduce the fee that employed
people can charge capital for the privilege of renting out and distorting
their human productive capacity (labor power). This is all no small part
of why "the world's greatest democracy" the United States is plagued by an
ongoing epidemic of mass psychological depression, what the clinical
psychologist and social critic Bruce Levine portrays as a "not
unreasonable" response to the pressures of corporate authoritarianism in a
"market fundamentalist" state wherein government has merged in
totalitarian fashion with transnational corporations, breeding mass
feelings of hopelessness and helplessness among tens of millions of (ex-)
citizens[12]. Along with an endemic stealth societal racism that remains
deeply entrenched and more cloaked than ever in the time of the nation's
first black president, it is also part of why and how the United States is
the world's leading prison state, home to nearly two and half million
incarcerated persons. Another curious marker of greatness for the nation
that U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (in her speech in support of
George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq) once described as "the beacon to the
world of the way life should be". 13

"Put Down Those Posters and Pick Up Those Clipboards"

It is exciting that Wisconsin's messianic right-wing maximalist governor
Scott Walker's Koch brother-backed assault on public sector unions sparked
a massive outpouring of popular resistance in February and March of 2011.
But look how quickly the masses who poured into the streets - more than a
few of them carrying posters that likened "imperial Walker" to the
U.S.-backed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak (the Egyptian trade union
leader Kamal Abbas reciprocated by sending Wisconsin workers a statement
saying that "We Stand With You as you Stood With Us" [14]) - have been
de-mobilized by union officials eager to bid down the price of public
sectors' labor power as long as the governor can be forced to relent in
his assault on the labor bureaucrats' right to enjoy comfortable
coordinator class salaries on the basis of the automatic union dues
check-off. Labor "leadership" has succeeded in squelching talk of a
general strike, getting workers back on the job, and encouraging union
members and their supporters to focus their anger and energies on the
effort to recall Walker and return the other state-capitalist austerity
party (the Democrats, whose top official Obama actually opposed the
Wisconsin protests[15]) to nominal power. "Put down your posters and pick
up a clipboard" was the actual command issued by one state Democrat
speaking to tens of thousands of workers and their supporters outside the
Madison Capitol Rotunda last March 12th. Taking orders from one wing of
the unelected money dictatorship (the Koch brothers, the Bradley
Foundation and other of the hard right business class ilk) at the top, the
G/Tea.O.P. governor Walker has been counting on other expressions of that
dictatorship - capitalist media's limited toleration for labor rebellion
and the cash credit, and employment-based health care dependency of
working people, many of whom live one paycheck to the next - to combine
with the moral weakness and corruption of union leadership to tamp down
the Wisconsin protests. Meanwhile, the Republican governor and legislature
of Ohio have passed an even more vicious assault on public sector union
power that affects considerably more workers without meeting one tenth the
poplar protest seen in Wisconsin. Democratic governors across the nation
have joined their Republican counterparts in trying to balance state
budgets on the backs of the poor and working class and failing to try to
make the rich and powerful continue pay an adequate share[16].

The struggle against the U.S.-backed post-Mubarak military dictatorship
has continued in the streets and factories of Egypt[17] even as the
Wisconsin struggle has been significantly channeled safely back into that
timeworn "coffin of class consciousness" (to quote the late radical
American historian Alan Dawley) the American two party ballot box.  Along
with the suppression of popular democracy movements against U.S-supported
authoritarian regimes across the Middle East (most notably in Bahrain and
Yemen) and the horrors of nuclear power epitomized by the ongoing disaster
at Japan's Fukushima plant, both the ongoing Egyptian revolution and the
Wisconsin workers' struggle have been booted off prime time media coverage
by Obama and NATO's imperial adventure in Libya [18]and the kabuki theater
of imminent and averted "government shutdown" in Washington.

There should of course be political options beyond the narrow confines of
the corporatist "one and half party system" (Sheldon Wolin). That's how
most Americans have long felt about the slim range of electoral and policy
choices served up by the national political establishment. Too bad! The
Supreme Court, closely allied with unelected dictatorship, has spoken on
this matter more than once, saying in essence:  "no, subjects, you shall
have just two relevant [business] parties because we say so and what we
say goes".19

The Democratization of the United States?

A recent public opinion poll conducted by the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace
and Development and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA)
at the University of Maryland finds that a preponderant majority of
Americans think that "it would be positive for the United States if the
Middle East were to become more democratic and a solid majority would
favor this happening - even if this resulted in the region being more
likely to oppose US policies and .U.S. interests". The "American public,"
World Public Opinion.org reports in a recent headline, "sees [the]
democratization of [the] Middle East as positive for US" [20]. That's good
to know, but, of course, the American people have little to do with the
shaping of those policies and the definition of those interests. Americans
looking for democracies to create, support, protect, and repair would do
well to focus on "the homeland," the world's only superpower, where
domestic authoritarianism - potentially a new and dangerous form of
totalitarianism ("corporate-managed democracy")in the view of some dark
observers[21] - carries particularly grave consequences for democratic
possibilities the world over. The people need change, real change, at
home, no less than abroad. My sense is that the American public would see
the democratization of the United States as a very positive development
indeed.

Paul Street (www.paulstreet.org) is the author of many articles, chapters,
speeches, and books, including Empire and Inequality: America and the
World Since 9/11 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2008); Racial Oppression in the
Global Metropolis (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007; Segregated
Schools: Educational Apartheid in the Post-Civil Rights Era (New York:
Routledge, 2005); Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics
(Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2008); The Empire.s New Clothes: Barack Obama in
the Real World of Power (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2010); and (co-authored
with Anthony DiMaggio) Crashing the Tea Party: Mass Media and the Campaign
to Remake American Politics (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, May 2011).  Street can
be reached at paulstreet99 [at] yahoo.com

Selected NOTES *

* I have annotated as much as I can within time limits.  Readers with
source questions can write the author at the above e-mail address.

1 Elizabeth Bumiller, .Gates, In Iraq, Talks of Effects of Budget Fight,.
New York Times, April 8, 2011, A1.

2 For unpleasant details, see Noam Chomky, Hopes and Prospects (Chicago:
Haymarket, 2010), 66-68; Paul Street, The Empire.s New Clothes: Barack
Obama in the Real World of Power (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2010), 91-98.

3 Neil MacFarquhar, .Egypt Protests Go On, Seeking New Beginning,. New
York Times, April 8, 2011, A1.

4 For sources and details, see Paul Street, Barack Obama and the Future of
American Politics (Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2008), Appendix A;
and Katherine Adams and Charles Derber, The New Feminized Majority
(Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2008), 67.75. For additional opinion
data, see Benjamin Page and Lawrence Jacobs, Class War? What Americans
Really Think About Economic Inequality (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago
Press, 2009), which demonstrates broad public support for policies aimed
at narrowing the gap between rich and poor and creating genuine
opportunity for all. Page and Jacobs find that most Americans support
higher minimum wages, improved public education, wider access to universal
health insurance coverage, and the use of tax dollars to fund these
programs.

5 Paul Street, ..Calibrating. Hope in the Effort to .Patrol the Commons.:
Samantha Power and the Hidden Imperial Reality of Barack Obama,. ZNet
(February 25, 2008).

5A Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, .Riding the .Green Wave. at the
Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Beyond,. Electric Politics, July 22,
2009, read at http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2009/hp240709.html

5B William Greider, .Obama Asked Us to Speak but Is He Listening?.
Washington Post, March 22, 2009.

6 Barack Obama, .Toward a 21st-Centuryr Regulatory System;. Wall Street
Journal, January 18, 2011
athttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703396604576088272112103698.html

7 Paul Krugman, .The Competition Myth,. New York Times, January 24, 2011;
Paul Street, .State (of) Capitalist Absurdity: Reflections Before and
After Obama.s State of the Union Address,. ZNet (January 28, 2011)
athttp://www.zcommunications.org/state-of-capitalist-absurdity-reflections-before-and-after-obama-s-state-of-the-union-address-by-paul-street;
Patrick Martin, .Obama Outlines right-Wing, Pro-Corporate Agenda in State
of the Union Speech,. World Socialist Web Site, January 26, 2011); Glen
Ford, .Obama.s Comfort Zone: King of Collaboration,. Black Agenda Report,
January 12, 2011, at
http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/obama%E2%80%99s-comfort-zone-king-collaboration.
Some Obama fans applauded Immelt.s appointment because, they said, he
represents a company that actually produces goods rather than just being a
parasitic manipulator of paper, financial wealth. But this praise was
ridiculous, since, as Krugman noted, G.E, actually .derives more revenue
from its financial operations than it does from manufacturing..

7A Stephen C. Webster, .Cornel West: As Obama Becomes .A Puppet,. America
in the Midst of .a Radical Democratic Awakening,.. Raw Story (April 4,
2011) at
http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/04/cornel-west-as-obama-becomes-a-puppet-america-in-the-midst-of-a-radical-democratic-awakening/.
I see the .process. West describes happening with Obama much earlier: see
Paul Street, Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (Boulder,
CO: Paradigm, 2008), ix-58.

8 David Michael Green, .An Now, for the Kill,. Common Dreams, April 11,
2011 at http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/04/11-3

9 Johann Hari, .How to Build a Progressive Tea Party,. The Nation
(February 3, 2011)
athttp://www.thenation.com/article/158282/how-build-progressive-tea-party?page=full

10 Edward S. Herman, .John Yoo, Social Security an Korea Threat,. Z
Magazine (July 2009).

11 .CEO Pay Soars While Worker Pay Stalls,. USA Today, April 4, 2011 at

http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2011-03-31-ceo-pay-2010.htm

12 Bruce Levine, Surviving America.s Depression Epidemic (White River
Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2007).

13 United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Senate Floor Speech,
Congressional Record, Proceedings and Records of the 107th Congress,
Second Session (October 9, 2002).

14 .Egyptian Workers Unions Send Video Message of Solidarity to Wisconsin
Workers!,. DemocraticUnderground.com (February 20, 2011) at
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=439x476085


15 In early March, New York Times correspondent Jackie Calmes learned that
the White House actually intervened in anger against the national
Democratic Party.s initial efforts to support the labor rebellion, which
administration officials found as contrary to its happy neoliberal message
..the White House mostly has sought to stay out of the fray in Madison,
Wis., and other state capitals where Republican governors are battling
public employee unions and Democratic lawmakers over collective bargaining
rights. When West Wing officials discovered that the Democratic National
Committee had mobilized Mr. Obama.s national network to support the
protests, they angrily reined in the staff at the party
headquarters.Administration officials said they saw the events beyond
Washington as distractions from the optimistic .win the future. message
that Mr. Obama introduced in his State of the Union address, in which he
exhorted the country to increase spending for some programs even as it
cuts others so that America can .out-innovate and out-educate. its global
rivals..  Jackie Calmes, .Less Drama in White House After Staff Changes,.
New York Times, March 3, 2011
athttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/us/politics/04staff.html?_r=3.

16 For useful and deeply informed reflections, see Lee Sustar, .The Labor
Movement After Wisconsin,. Socialistworker.org (March 29, 20110 at
http://socialistworker.org/2011/03/29/labor-movement-after-wisconsin

17 MacFarquhar, .Egypt Protests Go On;. Socialistworker.org, .Egypt. at
http://socialistworker.org/topic/65

18 Please see my concerns stated near the end of a March 20th essay on
Obama.s Libya war
athttp://www.zcommunications.org/libya-the-left-and-losing-our-way-reflections-on-empire-inequality-and-operation-odyssey-dawn-by-paul-street:
.My desire to get into a finger-pointing match with progressives who
either eagerly support or stridently denounce (in often frenzied and
hysterical terms) Obama.s Libya policy is inhibited to no small degree by
my sense that the imperial extravaganza includes a standard .wag the dog.
aspect in the hands of America .s dominant Orwellian mass war and
entertainment media. OOD has helped divert public attention from at least
three critical and ongoing policy and political issues: (1)  the epic
state-capitalist assault on public sector workers, the poor, social
protection, organized labor, and working people more generally and the
remarkable popular rebellion against that assault within and beyond
Madison, Wisconsin; (2) the equally epic nuclear disaster in Japan and the
lethal implications of aging and revamped nuclear power operations
(horrifying epitomes of the underlying and very possibly exterminst
irrationality of the capitalist profits system) within and beyond the
United States, where an old, and accident-prone nuclear  plant (Indian
Point, home to 2 of the nation.s 105 currently operating nuclear power
reactors) is located just 30 miles north of the world.s financial capital,
New York City; (3) the counter-assault on democratic protests in U.S,
sponsored regimes like (to name just three)Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and
Bahrain. Even as they steal vast, desperately needed public resources away
from the real and potential meeting of social needs and help distribute
wealth upwards (to .defense. contractors like Boeing, Raytheon, and other
elite, high-tech corporate interests) at home  moreover, imperial military
campaigns and the bloodlust they reflect and promote are great
authoritarian populace-diverters and domestic democracy-destroyers...

19 For the  ugly details on the most relevant Supreme Court decisions,
relating chiefly to campaign finance, fusion/anti-fusion laws, ballot
access legislation,  see Jamin B. Raskin, Overruling Democracy: The
Supreme Court vs. The American People (New York: Routledge, 2004), 91-116.

20 .American Public Sees Democratization of Middle East as Positive for
U.S.,. World Public Opinion.org (April 11, 2011) at
http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brunitedstatescanadara/685.php?nid=&id=&pnt=685&lb=

21 Alex Carey, Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda
Versus Freedom and Liberty (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press,
1997), 133-139 and passim); Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed
Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (Princeton, NJ:
Princeton university Press, 2008).  The phrase (and specter of)
.corporate-managed democracy. appears in both books.


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  Ship the rich where they send our jobs
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  Amerika uber alles
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-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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