|Progressive Calendar 07.15.12 /2||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001umn.edu)|
|Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2012 12:48:19 -0700 (PDT)|
* P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.15.12* 1. CUAPB office 7.15 10am+ 2. Office details 3. AI 7.15 3pm 4. Roy Bourgeois 7.15 4pm 5. Borowitz Rpt - Romney receives standing ovations from National Association of Rich White People 6. Peter Breschard - How stupid is the current Democratic Party? 7. Jack A. Smith - Election reflects Americaâs conservative era --------1 of 7-------- From: CUAPB CUAPB office 7.15 10am+ HELP US GET SETTLED: VOLUNTEER WORK DAY AT OUR NEW OFFICE Sunday, July 15 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 4200 Cedar Ave South, Minneapolis The groups whose offices were burned at the Walker Community Church are now moving to a new location, 4200 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls (the old Danish American Hall). We need your help to prepare our new offices. The three groups, MN Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc), Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB), and Welfare Rights Committee, will be joined in the new building by the Anti War Committee, the National Lawyers Guild, and most likely Women Against Military Madness (WAMM). ' The biggest project will be building partitions for the large basement room that will be separated into three offices for CUAPB, MIRAc, and NLG. We will be constructing our own partitions out of plywood and framing. We will also be replacing a door, and re-hanging the other doors and putting in good locks. People will also be dropping off donations of furniture, equipment, etc., during the day, so unloading those will be helpful. Lunch will be provided. Please come for whatever time you can. All lumber and supplies will be there. Please bring whatever relevant tools you may have, in particular, hammers, wood chisels, circular saws, saw horses, power screwdrivers, extension cords, etc. It would also be helpful to have drop cloths and/or large sheets of cardboard to protect the floor. Thanks! --------2 of 7-------- Dave Bicking davebicking [at] gmail.com Office details Forwarded from the three important groups who lost their offices and all their possessions when the Walker Church burned down. "Leftovers" will benefit other groups as well. A MESSAGE OF APPEAL TO OUR FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS -- FROM: COMMUNITIES UNITED AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY (CUAPB) MINNESOTA IMMIGRANTS RIGHTS ACTION COMMITTEE (MIRAc) WELFARE RIGHTS COMMITTEE We are the three organizations who had offices in Walker Community Church which burned to the ground on the night of May 27-28 and was then completely demolished on the morning of May 28, Memorial Day. We all lost everything our organizations owned at that time. However, we have now found a wonderful new home in the building at 4200 Cedar Ave. S. in Minneapolis, We are happy that all three groups can move together into the old Danish American Hall, which has just been converted into a home for offices, meetings, and events for local peace and justice groups. We all intend to go on carrying out our missions. In fact, we've been active during the past six weeks since the fire. We are so grateful to all our supporters and friends for the gathering around all of us, giving huge moral support at a time when it is so needed. We are once again coming to you to help us in fulfilling our purpose. Our bare offices need many things as we are truly starting all over again -- from scratch. Look over the list below and if you find an item(s) that you have and would like to contribute please consider doing so. Please bring your donations to 4200 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls. The building will be open, and someone will be there to help you unload, at the following times: Sunday, July 15, 10am - 5pm (a "work day" to prepare our new offices) Wednesday, July 18, 5 - 10pm Saturday, July 21, 11am - 4pm If you need to drop off items at another time, call Dave at 612-276-1213, and we will try to arrange for that. If your items are too large or heavy for you to transport, call the same number, and we'll try to find someone with a truck to pick them up. The plan: We are working together because it is so much more efficient than each group trying to find the particular items they need. When the items have been collected, our three groups, who lost our things in the fire, will have first pick. After that, the donated items will go to other groups who are re-locating in the same building, or for common use in the building. (We will have a common child care area and a common workroom for printing, copying, sign painting, banner making, etc.) Anything still left over will go to whatever like-minded groups that can use them, with any remainder sold at a garage sale to make money for our three groups. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The Members of Communities United Against Police Brutality, The Members of Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, and The Members of the Welfare Rights Committee OUR WISH LIST: General note: all items should be fully functional, though not necessarily cosmetically perfect. Electronic items should be quite recent vintage suitable for current technology. Office furniture: Desks with drawers Computer desks and computer workstations Office chairs Folding chairs Partitions (stationary, folding, or rolling - please call before bringing) File cabinets Lateral file cabinets particularly desirable Bookshelves Storage cabinets and storage lockers Large plastic storage bins Office equipment: Computers (not over 5 years old) Laptop computers Flat screen monitors Computer peripherals - keyboards, mice, speakers, etc. TV with DVD / VCR player Printers, especially high speed laser printers (ink jet printers not needed) Copy machines Scanner / fax Paper cutters 3-hole punches Tape dispensers Scissors Heavy duty or long-throat staplers Projectors / projectors for laptops White boards Easels Waste baskets Office supplies: Reams of paper Pads of large paper (for meetings) Envelopes Labels File folders Hanging files and racks Tape Pens, pencils, markers, dry erase markers Sign painting and banner making materials Printer cartridges Miscellaneous: Children's toys, books, movies, and drawing supplies Books for lending library, relating to issues which groups are working on. (Reasonably current or of historical interest) Videos and DVD's for lending library (same as above) Kitchen equipment Microwave Freezer Pictures / decorations Particular requests from CUAPB: Two corner work stations and a connecting table Small conference table and chairs High-end computer or laptop Fireproof cabinet or safe Video cameras - digital, with zoom & night vision Particular requests from Welfare Rights Committee: Small refrigerator Coffee maker - regular 10 cup and 30 cup maker Small TV / DVD player --------3 of 7-------- FrRom: AI AI 7.15 3pm Our next meeting will be on Sunday, July 15th, 3:00 to 5:00 PM. Meeting Location - First Congregational Church in Minneapolis. The church is located at 500 8th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414-1910. The July meeting will occur at the usual time and place. The speaker will be Matt Ehling. "Government power and transparency in the War on Terror". Filmmaker and writer Matt Ehling will discuss civil liberties and government accountability in post-9/11 America. Ehling is the recipient of the 2012 Finnegan Freedom of Information Award, presented by the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information for his work on government transparency issues. His organization Public Record Media is currently suing the Justice Department for access to legal memos that describe issues involving lethal force and unmanned drones. He also produced a documentary on the Patriot Act. --------4 of 7-------- MnSOAW mnsoaw [at] circlevision.org via riseup.net Roy Bourgeois 7.15 4pm The founder of SOAWatch, Father Roy Bourgeois is in Minnesota this weekend! He would love to visit with his friends and supporters and friends of his friends and supporters. If you did not get a chance to hear him speak at PEACESTOCK (Saturday click for more info) or you did and want to chat some more...... Come to a Potluck Sunday 4 - 6 pm Spirit of St Stephen's Catholic Community 2201 First Ave S, (not far from the Minneapolis Institute of Art) Minneapolis Please bring a dish to pass! While Roy may say a few words, such as on the Ecuadoran agreement, there is not a formal presentation planned. Pepperwolf on behalf of MNSOAW 612.701.6963 --------5 of 7-------- Romney Receives Standing Ovations from National Association of Rich White People Candidate Wows NARWP Annual Meeting (The Borowitz Report) â What a difference a day makes. One day after being booed at the NAACP annual meeting in Houston, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney received multiple standing ovations at the meeting of the National Association of Rich White People. It was tough sledding for Mr. Romney the day before, when he struck the wrong chord by telling the NAACP members: âI love Black people. Iâm good friends with the bankers who foreclosed on your homes.â But the former Massachusetts governor seemed to regain his footing in front of the NARWP, who held their annual meeting on the island of Grand Cayman, home to much of Mr. Romneyâs money. âPeople who say the top 1% run America are dead wrong. Itâs the top .0001%,â Mr. Romney said, bringing the NARWP members to their feet. The Republicanâs speech, which was interrupted by twenty-seven standing ovations, featured proposals that were hugely popular with the NARWP faithful, as Mr. Romney favored legalizing marriage between a man and a corporation, as well as an extension of white truffle season. âMitt Romney is worth his weight in gold,â said billionaire David Koch, who attended the meeting, âand thatâs exactly what I paid for him.â In other news, tensions between North Korea and the Walt Disney Company continued to mount, causing some to worry that the confrontation could soon become nuclear. One day after Disney accused North Korea of using many of the companyâs characters without licensing agreements, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed that some of the most famous Disney characters were actually stolen from North Korea. âThe character of the dwarf Grumpy was clearly based on my dad,â Mr. Kim said. --------6 of 7-------- How Stupid is the Current Democratic Party? [Dem bosses aren't stupid fools. They are complicit knaves. -ed] by Peter Breschard July 14th, 2012 Dissident Voice Following the strategy of Bill Clinton, the Democrats who came to power in 2008 have become the moderate Republicans of Bob Doleâs day. They believe that if they administer this country from the Republican middle ground, the opposition will be forced to the right wing extreme. Congratulations! The game plan works. The Republican Party is now run by nut job extremists; however, the Democratic Party has now become the Republican Party of the 1990s. [[Thans to lesser-evil Dems - ed] Whatâs in the air these days are the whines of Democrat apologists who respond to any legitimate liberal criticism of Obama by coming back with a knee-jerk threat scenario of how horrible the Romney administration will be. Hey, Democrats, did you learn anything from 2000? The reason real liberals voted Green in 2000 was because they thought the Clinton/Gore Democratic Party was too far to the right and in bed with too many corporate interests. So, what does todayâs Democratic Party do? They move further to the right and shovel so much money into Wall Street and the private health insurance industry that the mind boggles. And now they whine that folks are going to vote Green. Pitiful.If you want people to vote for you, you comport yourself in a way which will attract their votes, not the polar opposite. Romney doesnât deserve anyoneâs vote; neither does Obama.[Amen - ed] But the Supreme Court! Romney will appoint reactionary judges! Probably. But if anyone has been paying attention, Obama has recently tried to give himself the power to execute American citizens without recourse to due process, or any of the rights accumulated since the Magna Carta. Anyone who believes such a person will appoint liberal Supreme Court justices should talk to a mental health professional. Obamaâs judgment on this lethal power is so questionable that he should never be trusted again. One can only assume he would appoint judges who would agree that the President of the United States should have life and death authority over everyone on earth. Now, that is scary. Obama is one of the worst presidents to hold office in a very long time. Bush was worse. So what? Being better than Bush or Romney is no reason to vote for anyone. A wet bar rag is better than Bush but at least a wet bar rag doesnât believe it should be able to assassinate American citizens whenever it feels like it. Now that the Democratic Party has become the Republican Party of Bob Dole, there really isnât a dimeâs worth of difference between the two. The Democrats took the lessons of 2000 and moved to the right. Good luck with that. But donât think for a second of attracting any true liberals to vote for you. You went out of your way to disassociate yourself from voters who know that torturers must be prosecuted and punished. You went out of your way to keep Gitmo open. You went out of your way to deny Americans human rights by maintaining the for profit health system. You went out of your way to disassociate yourself from voters who donât believe children should be killed by drones because thatâs the cost effective way of waging war these days. Youâve gone out of your way to disassociate yourselves from voters who donât support more war-mongering. Youâve come down on the wrong side of virtually every major moral decision youâve had to make. Democrats, do you remember what morality is? I donât think you do. But there is hope. Nobody can speak for everybody, but there is a way the Democrats can pick up at least one vote. All Obama has to do is his job and enforce the law of the land. All Mr. Obama has to do is arrest a self-confessed war criminal. All Mr. Obama has to do is arrest George W. Bush for ordering the torture of defenseless prisoners and at least one more voter will pull the lever for him in November. Of course, if he doesnât enforce the law, his administration isnât worth more than half a glass of warmed over spit and all the whining from his supporters will remain as funny and pointless as it is now. Peter Breschard is the author of "Circus Rider" and other lesser works of fiction and history. --------7 of 7 -------- Election Reflects Americaâs Conservative Era by Jack A. Smith July 14th, 2012 Dissident Voice This yearâs presidential campaign is taking place within an extremely conservative era in American political history that will substantially influence the domestic and foreign priorities of the next administration, regardless of whether itâs headed by Democrat Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney. Romney and his party, of course, embrace rigid right wing politics influenced by Tea Party extremism, while Obama and the Democrats â campaign rhetoric aside â basically echo the now extinct âmoderate Republicansâ of a quarter-century ago in a number of particulars. A case in point about our decades-long conservative era is the Obama Administrationâs major âprogressiveâ achievement â the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance plan, which was upheld by the Supreme Court two weeks ago. The ACA, which congressional Republicans fought furiously to oppose when put forward by President Obama, was devised nearly 20 years ago by the conservative Heritage Foundation and implemented in Massachusetts by Romney when governor in 2006. In his column in the New York Times June 29, the liberal Keynesian economist Paul Krugman pointed out that the act, which he supports, is ânot perfect, by a long shot â it is, after all, originally a Republican plan, devised long ago as a way to forestall the obvious alternative of extending Medicare to cover everyone.â A page one news analysis in the Times has referred to the measure as âthe most significant piece of social legislation since the New Deal,â ignoring Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and the civil rights achievements of the 1960s in order to embellish its significance. Doubtless, the new health measure contains several important new benefits, as well as several key shortcomings.1 Many liberals are now suggesting the ACA â which will still leave over 25 million people without insurance and may deprive millions more poor families of Medicaid as well (thanks to a ruling by arch-conservative Chief Justice John Roberts allowing states to reject enlarging the program) â is a first step toward the development of a truly inclusive national healthcare system. The second step, however, may be decades in coming, if ever, given probable conservative attempts to repeatedly weaken the ACA, much less allow an expansion. Another of President Obamaâs major first term âprogressiveâ initiatives was taken from the conservatives as well. This was his proposal for a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere, where they contribute to global warming. This flexible market-based program allowed high greenhouse gas emitters to buy the right to continue polluting the atmosphere from companies with low emissions. Cap-and-trade was a less stringent alternative to tougher regulations sought by environmentalists and it was supported by Republican Presidents Ronald President, George H.W. Bush (who adopted a similar measure in the early 1990s to curb acid rain), and by George W. Bush. By the time Obama took office, the Republicans had lurched further to the right and corporate interests, led by Big Oil and Dirty Coal, were campaigning passionately against cap and trade. Conservatives scuttled the legislation in the Senate. In both instances progressive legislation far more appropriate to healthcare and environmental needs was waiting in the wings but Obama â a champion of bipartisanship despite continual humiliating rebuffs â opted for the moderate Republican plans. When cap and trade failed, Obama in effect abandoned the fight against global warming rather than introduce progressive alternatives and fighting for them. [One of America's best known environmentalists and outspoken climate scientist, James Hansen, head the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has been leading a campaign against cap-and-trade for several years, charging it "does little to slow global warming or reduce our dependence on fossil fuels." Some groups fighting climate change support the measure as a first step.] The White House didnât even allow the labor movementâs most important legislative request â the Employee Free Choice Act that would have removed roadblocks to union organizing â to come to a vote in the first term when the Democrats controlled both congressional chambers. A probable reason is that Blue Dog conservative Democrats would have voted with the minority to quash the measure. Todayâs conservative era is the product of an unrelenting drive for strategic ideological dominance by the right wing and its big business and financial sector allies for almost four decades. It is a reaction to the liberal reforms of the post-World War II era and social advances from the mass popular struggles of the 1960s-early 70s period. As the Republicans moved ever further to the right in the intervening years, so too did the Democrats, now situated in the center right of the political spectrum. This leaves the U.S. as the worldâs only rich capitalist state without a mass party left of center to at least offer some protection to working families. The conservative assault accelerated with the implosion of the USSR and the dismantling of most socialist societies two decades ago. The existence of extensive social welfare programs, first in the Soviet Union and then in various socialist countries after World War II, obliged the capitalist âWestâ to implement reforms lest its own working classes be attracted to âthe communist menace.â The ending of the Cold War also ended the adoption of significant social programs in America, and the weakening of existing benefits. Many conservative goals have already been attained since the mid-70s, and a number of them have taken place with partial or complete support of the Democratic party. They include: The severe weakening of the labor union movement; the redistribution of massive wealth to the already rich through individual and corporate tax cuts while the standard of living for most Americans is in decline; off-shoring of manufacturing to enhance corporate profits; increased wage exploitation; deregulation of the financial economy, enhancing its casino configuration; privatization of government services; the elimination of social programs for the multitudes; threatened cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are now âon the table,â says Obama; the fact that about half the American people receive low wages or live in poverty; inaction on needed tax increases for the wealthy; undermining the U.S. educational system; setbacks for civil liberties; and a massive increase in the prison population. The conservatives made considerable progress during the presidencies of Reagan (1981-89), Bush I (1989-93) and Bush II (2001-2009). But rightist policies also spread during the Democratic administrations of Bill Clinton (1993-2001) and incumbent Obama from 2009. Clintonâs two principal domestic achievements during eight years in office weakened two key Democratic reforms, much to the delight of the Republicans. In 1996 he conspired with conservatives to dismantle âwelfare as we know itâ by passing the âPersonal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.â In 1999, Clinton joined forces with the congressional right wing to repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act â a decision that in large part was responsible for the Great Recession and several more years of economic stagnation, unemployment and some six million home foreclosures. Obamaâs first term in office is most noteworthy for his continual concessions to the right wing and refusal to fight for progressive goals, leading his wavering centrist party to the right of center in the process. He demobilized his enthusiastic and massive 2008 constituency upon taking office, evidently because he didnât want a large activist organization in the streets pushing toward the liberalism many Democratic voters incorrectly believed he embodied. The conservative campaign for even more control of the political system was signaled by the emergence of the activist right wing populist Tea Party soon after Obama took power. The political impact of this nationwide organization of older white conservatives, libertarians, and the religious right â bankrolled in part by billionaires â has been considerable, not least because no mass activist liberal movement was available to challenge Tea Party activism or put forward a progressive counter-agenda. The liberal rank and file has been isolated by the party leadership, as have liberals in Congress. The few remaining center-left politicians have been objects of criticism from the White House and Democratic big wigs. The Tea Party added a new element to the decades-long conservative campaign for dominant power in the U.S. Now the GOP isnât just ideologically driven right wing politicians, their business backers and the wealthy 1% who finance their campaigns, but grass roots activists with their own selfish axes to grind. Some are fuming because their taxes help the âundeservingâ poor. Some think immigrants are âfreeloaders.â Some are racists who do not accept a black president in the White House. Some will not abide gays and lesbians. Some reject separation of church and state. Some want to subvert the hard-earned rights of American women. The conservatives rage against âbig governmentâ and âwasteful spending,â but this is demagogic rhetoric convincing or confusing a sector of the electorate largely ignorant of history and the details of current events. Both the Reagan and Bush II administrations â vocal proponents of a smaller state and lower spending â increased the size of government and created huge deficits. The real Republican objective isnât a âsmallerâ government per se but a government driven by free market laissez-faire capitalism and entirely controlled by monopoly corporations, Wall Street financiers and the 1% ruling class. In the process, most government regulation of the economy and financial system will be eliminated, social programs will wither along with collective bargaining and the trade union movement, and key services will be transferred to profit-driven corporations. Since the Affordable Care Act or cap-and-trade are conservative initiatives to begin with, why did congressional Republicans and the entire right wing, including arch opportunist Romney, fight against them? The conservative movement has gravitated further to the right than it was five years ago, and the Democrats have moved in tandem, perhaps a dozen steps behind and two or three to the left, but quite distant from the domestic liberalism of the 1960s and the 1930s. The last significant social programs took place during conservative Republican President Richard M. Nixonâs first term (1969-72) â a product of the still popular though fading liberal era of social reform that he could not ignore. The conservative era began soon afterward. Experience has taught the Republicans that the modern Democratic Party â particularly during the centrist Clinton and center right Obama incarnations â hastily retreats and offers remarkably big concessions when confronted with obdurate opposition from the right. This is one reason why Republicans have adopted a policy of non-cooperation with Obama and Democrats in Congress. Even when the right wing political resistance doesnât get everything it seeks, it always seems to get something. For instance, to gain big business and conservative backing for the healthcare act, Obama first rejected the progressive option of a less expensive and far more inclusive universal Medicare (single payer) covering all Americans, then dropped the liberal halfway notion of a âpublic optionâ in favor of the Republican plan. He then privately reached agreements with the major pharmaceutical and health insurance companies and hospitals, assuring them of huge profits for many years to come. Lastly he made further concessions to Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats. The Republican leaders who demonize âObamacareâ are well aware of its limited nature but the absurdly characterized âsocialistâ ACA will remain a useful conservative target for years to come as long as the opposition party would rather compromise than fight for genuine progressive objectives. Had President Obama initiated a hard-fought populist educational campaign for single payer, he may have lost the vote but he could have won many additional supporters and tried again and again until victory. Medicare for all has important advantages in addition to covering everyone. Overhead is only 3% compared to about 30% for the profit making insurance companies. Single-payer type health coverage exists in virtually all the leading industrialized capitalist countries of the world but will remain ridiculously overdue in the U.S. until a mass progressive movement or party takes up the challenge. By not daring to struggle, the Democrats donât dare to win. One of the major conservative strengths, despite various internal factions, is that the Republicans entertain several concrete long range political and ideological goals and are willing to fight for them over the years. And their dishonest, obstructionist politics during Obamaâs tenure have paid conservative dividends, even at the expense of deepening the nationâs economic crisis and further burdening workers and the unemployed by refusing to finance recovery. The Democrats have no such long range progressive goals â or any serious progressive goals, for that matter â and the party seems to have forgotten how to fight. Even the staunchly pro-Democratic liberal magazine The Nation noted June 25 that aside from populist campaign speeches, Obama âwill offer no transformational agenda, no new foundation for an economy that works for working people, no plan for reviving the middle class. And no matter who wins, only sustained popular pressure will forestall a debilitating âgrand bargainâ that will further undermine the middle class and the poorâ. âAmericans understand that the system is broken â and rigged against them. They increasingly see both parties as compromised, and they have little sense of an alternative and even less of a sense that anyone is prepared to fight for them. Progressives must therefore be willing to expose the corruption and compromises of both parties. This requires not only detailing the threat posed by the right but honestly about the limits of the current choice.â These are extremely sharp words from a publication that virtually worshiped Obama during the last campaign and has often offered excuses for him since then. It is clear today that as a result of conservative gains in recent decades the United States has become much more of a plutocracy than a democracy, the electoral system is now utterly corrupted by big money, gross inequality is our capitalist systemâs norm, and civil liberties are being shredded. Public consciousness of this reality has been expanding in recent years, particularly since the onset of the Great Recession â an unusually severe periodic economic failing that âofficiallyâ ended three years ago but remains a disaster for the over 60% of the U.S. labor segment who constitute the working class. But the two mass ruling parties, each rejecting or ignoring progressive goals in favor of Republican âheavyâ or Democratic âliteâ conservative politics, cannot fight the plutocrats or urgently reconstruct what is left of American democracy. Only a left of center contending party or a truly mass and activist movement that puts forward a fighting progressive program has a chance of dumping the conservative era. The Democrats may be several political degrees better than the Republicans, but they have been gradually tilting toward the right without respite since the demise of the partyâs final center-left manifestation 44 years ago. They now appear to be hopelessly stagnant and ideologically ill-equipped to transform the conservative era they helped create, even if Obama is reelected in November. For details and analysis of the ACA by Physicians for a National Health Program. [â] Jack A. Smith is editor of the Activist Newsletter and a former editor of the Guardian (US) radical newsweekly. He may be reached at: jacdon [at] earthlink.net. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Shove Trove
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