Progressive Calendar 04.16.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 16:15:14 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    04.16.08

1. Mpls IRV          4.17 9:30am
2. US/rights         4.17 12noon
3. Muslims/aid       4.17 4pm
4. Eagan vigil       4.17 4:30pm
5. New Hope demo     4.17 4:30pm
6. Northtown vigil   4.17 5pm
7. Road to peace     4.17 7pm
8. Winter Soldier    4.17 7pm
9. Amnesty Intl      4.17 7:15pm
10. Outfront lobby   4.17
11. Red Elvis/film   4.17
12. MN film fest     4.17

13. Women/economy    4.18 7:30am
14. KFAI/Zinn        4.18 11am
15. MidEast life/pol 4.18-19 1:30pm
16. Gitmo poems      4.18 3:30pm
17. Palestine        4.18 4:15pm
18. Animal rights    4.18 5pm
19. Guatemala/rights 4.18 6pm
20. Global poetry    4.18 7pm
21. NOW/tax/poor     4.18 8:30pm
22. Bogota/art       4.18

23. Gary Leupp   - Electoral revolution in Nepal: a Maoist sweep
24. Ralph Nader  - Politics of distraction / an age of gotcha capitalism
25. Joe Bageant  - Obama, bitterness, fundamentalists and guns
26. Stacey Warde - Fascism is creepy

--------1 of 26--------

From: info [at]
Subject: Mpls IRV 4.17 9:30am

Minneapolis IRV Implementation Update

In November 2006, 65 percent of Minneapolis voters said YES to Instant
Runoff Voting (IRV) and are expecting to use it in the November 2009

Implementation is behind schedule and the City of Minneapolis must
expedite the implementation process to meet the 2009 timeline.

[You don't suppose the unpopular hacks who fear an IRV election are
stalling this? That they see themselves as more important than democracy
or the citizens or the popular will or a referendem? Well of course they
do! We, chopped liver all, are supposed to serve them! It's one thing to
vote for IRV. Then we have to drag them, like two-year old brats, kicking
and screaming to do what we voted for. -ed]

If the City misses the 2009 goal, it'll have to delay implementation until
2013. A special election before then may provide an opportunity for
earlier use, but if not, IRV will not be used until a full seven years
after the citizens voted overwhelmingly for IRV!

FairVote Minnesota is concerned about the delay in implementation and
public statements by the Minneapolis Elections Department that IRV is
unlikely to be implemented in 2009. We are advocating that the City
Council uphold the will of the voters and implement IRV in 2009.

In a February 21st Action Alert [2] supporters were asked to contact
council members and urge them to expedite the Request for Proposals (RFP)
to secure voting equipment for the 2009 election. The voices of
Minneapolis voters were heard! The RFP is expected to be ready for council
approval at the upcoming April 17th Elections Committee meeting of the
City Council. Let's keep the process moving!

If you live in Minneapolis, please attend the April 17th Elections
Committee meeting [3] (9:30 am) to show your support for IRV
implementation in 2009.

See Minneapolis Implementation FAQ [4] for details on implementation and
how you can help make IRV possible in 2009.

St. Paul Better Ballot Campaign Update

The Saint Paul IRV campaign is ramping up the petition drive for a final
round of signature collection before submitting the signatures in early
June.  The campaign must secure 5,100 valid signatures to earn a spot for
IRV on the 2008 November ballot. It has collected over 6,000 and aims to
collect 7,000 to ensure that it has sufficient signatures to compensate
for any outdated or invalid signatures.

A strong endorsement of IRV by former Saint Paul Mayor George Latimer and
Ramsey County Commissioner Ruby Hunt in a recent Pioneer Press Op-ed has
lent a boost to the signature gathering effort.

With support from the Saint Paul Foundation, Bigelow Foundation and other
resources, FairVote Minnesota has hired a campaign organizer, Dakotah
Johnson [5], to help finish the petition drive and coordinate voter
education for the general election campaign.

Stay on top of the latest campaign news at [6]

If you live in Saint Paul - or close by - help the campaign finish the
petition drive. Contact Dakotah Johnson at
Dakotah [at] [12].

--------2 of 26--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: US/rights 4.17 12noon

Thursday, 4/17, noon to 1 pm, U of M Human Rights Program director Barbara
Frey and trial lawyer James Dorsey speak on "U.S. Exceptionalism Regarding
Human Rights and Humanitarian Norms," Fredrickson & Byron PA, U.S. Bank
Plaza, 200 6th St, Suite 4000, Mpls.  One CLE credit.

--------3 of 26--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Muslims/aid 4.17 4pm

Thursday, 4/17, 4 pm, Islamic Relief president Hany El-Banna speaks on
"The Global Role of Muslims in Humanitarian Aid," Humphrey Institute's
Cowles Auditorium, 301 - 19th Ave S, West Bank U of M, Mpls.

--------4 of 26--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan vigil 4.17 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT 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.

--------5 of 28--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: New Hope demo 4.17 4:30pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner
of Winnetka and 42nd.  You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot
near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners.  Bring your own or use
our signs.

--------6 of 26--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 4.17 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]

--------7 of 26--------

From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at]>
Subject: Road to peace 4.17 7pm

Free and open to the public.
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church
511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale &
Hennepin) Park in church lot.
Thursday, April 17, 7:00-9:00 p.m.


This session will begin with an inspirational videotape produced by Beyond
War, an organization based in Eugene, Oregon. The video, which seeks to
provide a "road map for citizens," begins with scenes from Neve Shalom /
Wahat al-Salam / Oasis of Peace, a village in Israel where Arab and Jewish
children go to school together and learn one another's language and
culture and where their parents interact on a daily basis. This sets the
stage for exploring three fundamental ideas for the promotion of peace and
four complementary strategies for the prevention of war. Open discussion
will follow the presentation.

Moderator: POLLY MANN. A writer and poet, a pioneer of the peace movement
in Minnesota, and a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1988, Polly Mann is a
co-founder of WAMM (Women Against Military Madness), a charter member of
Every Church a Peace Church, and a member of Veterans for Peace. In 1989,
she and her WAMM colleague, Marianne Hamilton, were the second recipients
of the annual Hawkinson Peace Award; and, in 2003, Ms. Mann also received
the Headwaters Award, "honoring a lifetime commitment to social justice." 

Introductory remarks will be made by Beyond War members, Howard Haas and
Sook Holdridge.

Sponsor Organizations: Citizens for Global Solutions, Minnesota Chapter;
United Nations Association of Minnesota; Social Concerns Committee,
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church; and Minnesota Alliance of

--------8 of 26--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: Winter Soldier 4.17 7pm

Hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans traveled to the D.C. area
between March 13th and 16th to provide testimony of their experiences at
"Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan," along with supporting video and
photographic documentation. On Thursday April 17th, 7 PM, some of the
Winter Soldier participants from Minnesotan Iraq Vets Against War will
share their experiences with the public at Valley Community Presbyterian
Church, 3100 Lilac Drive. N, Golden Valley (follow signs south from Regent
N. and 36th Ave.)

The event was named Winter Soldier to honor a similar gathering 30 years
ago of veterans of the Vietnam War. Winter soldiers, according to founding
father Thomas Paine, are the people who stand up for the soul of their
country, even in its darkest hours. The program on April 17th is
cosponsored and hosted by the Peace Committee of Valley Community
Presbyterian Church and NW Neighbors for Peace. There is no charge and all
are welcome.  For more information, nwn4p [at] or Barbara Johnston,
763-549-5571 ext. 7872 *

--------9 of 26--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 4.17 7:15pm

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, April 17th, at 7:15 p.m.
St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near
the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information,
contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at]

--------10 of 26--------

From: David Strand <mncivil [at]>
Subject: Outfront lobby day 4.17

FYI- Registration for Outfront Lobby Day, Thursday April 17th is now open.
For more info visit:

--------11 of 26--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Red Elvis/film 4.17

Documentary: "Red Elvis"
April 17-May 3 Times and Locations: Visit <>. Back two
decades ago when the "powerline controversy" raged in Twin City's
political circles, singer/cowboy/political idealist and sometime filmmaker
Dean Reed spent ten days in Hennepin County jail with local activist Marv
Davidov on a hunger strike. Reed, who had defected to Communist East
Germany was admired by tens of thousands of East Bloc school children for
his "Elvis" manner and politics. FFI: Visit <>.

--------12 of 26--------

From: "" <info [at]>
Subject: MN film fest 4.17


As sure as the swallows return to Capistrano, the annual "Nightmare on Oak
Street" stories surfaced again this year in the papers, not long before we
launch the 26th Annual Mpls./St.Paul Int'l Film Fest Apr.17 - May 3, 2008

As per print, do we qualify for "arts whipping boy of the year" in this
self-congratulatory arts-lauded Twin Cities? (Yours truly, with a
near-50-year programming-track record, back in town for more than two
weeks before certain articles and blogs appeared, missed being quoted in
his own personal vernacular.)

Let me assure you faithful supporters and film friends, contrary to
impressions left, both the Oak St. Cinema and Bell Aud. will be (and are)
in business after the fest in May and who knows how long after?  Expect
programming to continue as before. Nothing is written in stone in this
current real estate market, as you well know. (Yes, the Oak will
eventually be sold. How else can we continue our mission given our current

To switch to a positive note, the website is carrying some fest info now.
We hope to have most of the program up around March 28, with more than l00
titles, over 40 countries. The venues include: Oak Street Cinema, St.
Anthony Main's five screens, (easy day-long & night parking for only 50
cents total), spot satellite screenings Kerasotes Block E, and the
possibility of a screen at the Riverview and AMC Roseville.

The Festival is set to include Oscar nominees (Katyn, Beaufort, others);
Sundance titles: (Nerakhoon, the Betrayal, an epic Hmong story, and more),
other top fest pics, expected visiting directors: China, Africa, Russia,
Canada, Czech Republic and U.S.
Al Milgrom,
MFA Artistic Director & one time east-city-editor, Washington Post

Thurs. Apr 17 - Sat. May 3, 2008
The 26th annual Minneapolis/St. Paul Int'l Film Festival
The 26th annual Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival
Thurs. April 17 - Sat. May 3, 2008

The 26th annual Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival will open
on Thurs. April 17 - Sat. May 3rd. This year's festival will include over
100 films from 40+ countries and an array of Minnesota Premieres and a few
World Premieres. This year's festival will also include 4-6 late-night
screenings and 1 "secret film" of the festival.  There will be national
and international directors, producers, and actors appearing at this
year's festival too.

As always, the highly anticipated MN Shorts, and MN Documentaries will be
screening at this year's festival with many emerging new talents and
well-known established directors returning to the festival with new
features and documentaries. The festival website The
festival hotline number is 612-331-7563. # Official Film Festival Web Site

--------13 of 26--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Women/economy 4.18 7:30am

April 18: Office on the Economic Status of Women & WomenVenture present
Economic Status of Women in the 21st Century: Policy Issues Affecting
Women. Four-part forum. Discussion of the ways in which our legislature &
individuals can work together to ensure that women's economic issues are
given high priority in Minnesota. Panelists include: Jennifer Kiel, Amy
Brenengen & Shelley Madore. 7:30 AM-9:30 AM in the basement of the State
Office Building. Free but registration required.

--------14 of 26--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: KFAI/Zinn 4.18 11am

Fri..April 18, 11am KFAI Radio

CATALYST:politics & culture producer/host Lydia Howell
Part of the KFAI HOUR OF PEOPLE POWER every Friday 11am to Noon (11:30am
Northern SUn News hosted/produced by Don Olson)

Tune in to hear this KFAI-exclusive interview with the beloved progressive
historian HOWARD ZINN with a new book out PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF AMERICAN

Also hear poems written & read by St.Paul poet-activist LEIGH HERRICK -
from the new anthology COST OF FREEDOM and tunes from Michael Franti and
Spearhead's cd YELL FIRE! (Zinn's book,the anthlogy COST OF FREEDOM &
Franti's cd are all pledge premiums).

This newest from Zinn is a coffee-table sized graphic novel-style look
at war, civil rights and labor. Informative and a must for anyone with
young people.

COST OF FREEDOM: another coffee-table sized book documenting the anti-war
movement of the last 6 years in art, poetry, essays and photography.
Inspring and beautifully done.

YELL FIRE! Michael Franti & Spearhead's great cd merging reggae,
contemporay soul, hip hop & rock with lyrics that confront war and
imaagine peace.

CONTRARY NOTIONS by Michael Parenti This BIG collection of essays by
working class political thinker is a wonderful introduction to a writer
who should be as well known as Chomsky or Zinn. Down-to-earth, insightful
and broad in its subject-matter.

Noam Chomsky: INTERVENTIONS A collection of foreign policies analysis by
the noted MIT activist-scholar.

For a pledge of $150 or more, the new book by AMY GOODMAN & DAVID
GOODMAN: Stop the Madness

Remeber YOU are the People-Power in our community radio station, KFAI!
Pledge: 612-375-9030 on-line:

--------15 of 26--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: MidEast life/pol 4.18-19 1:30pm

April 18 & 19: Women Against Military Madness. Middle East Critique: "Life
& Politics in the Middle East" Symposium.

April 18: 1:30-4 PM: "Orientalism in Literature" with Andrew Long of
Pomona College & Robert Myers of American University of Beirut.

April 19:
 9:30-Noon: "Re-Imagining U.S. Policy in the Middle East" with Ruhi
Ranazani & Scott Harrop of the University of Virginia.
 12:15-1:15 PM: Lunch & a movie.
 1:30-4:00 PM: "Gender & Religion in Iran" with Nesta Ramazania freelance
writer & lecturerer & Farhad Khosrokhaver of EHESS Paris & Yale
University. Hamline University, University Conference Center, St. Paul.
Free & open to the public. More info.

--------16 of 26--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Gitmo poems 4.18 3:30pm

Friday, 4/18, 3:30 to 5:30 pm, human rights lawyer Marc Falkoff speaks
about the book he edited called "Poems from Guantanamo: the Detainees
Speak," mostly written on styrofoam cups, room 125, Nolte Center for
Continuing Education, U of M Mpls Campus, 315 Pillsbury Dr SE, Mpls. or 612-626-5054.

--------17 of 26---------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine 4.18 4:15pm

Friday, 4/18, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St

--------18 of 26--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Animal rights 4.18 5pm

Former Political Prisoner Speaks: Going Underground for Animal Liberation?
Join the Twin Cities Eco-Prisoner support committee for two upcoming
events with animal rights activist Peter Young:
a Talk at Macalester College
Friday, April 18, 5pm
Carnegie 06
1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul

Dinner, Movie and Discussion with Peter Young
Monday, April 21, 6pm
the Future Pasture (for location, go to
the TCEPSC will be accepting donations to go towards prisoner support

flyer available here:

Recently released from his prison term for releasing thousands of mink in
2005, veteran activist Peter Young is an emerging voice of strength
through sacrifice in the struggle for animal liberation and all forms of
justice. After serving two years for his role in a two week campaign of
fur farm raids across the Midwest, Peter Young has recently returned to
the world on this side of the fence, and brings with him an inspiring
story of moving from mainstream activism to midnight raids, prison, FBI
?wanted? status, and beyond.

ffi on TCEPSC:

--------19 of 26--------

From: Hannah Hafter <hehafter [at]>
Subject: Guatemala/rights 4.18 6pm

Friday, April 18th!
Bi-lingual presentation/discussion and fundraiser
(There will be an opportunity to donate. Note: NISGUA is a non-profit
organization; all proceeds go to support grassroots organizations in
Guatemala and help cover costs of tour.)

The O'Shaughnessy Room (a.k.a the Leather Room) 1st floor of
O'Shaughessy-Frey Library, off Cleveland Ave (between Selby and Summit
Aves) University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN
6-7:30 pm Friday, April 18th
For more info, contact Niky: nmduxbury [at] 612-710-8248

Jerónimo Osorio Chen of the Ixcán Referendum Commission is a human rights
leader from rural Ixcán, Quiché, Guatemala. The Ixcán Referendum
Commission is a grassroots group that engages in education, organizing,
and legal strategies to ensure that the people of the Ixcán determine
their own resource use and development priorities. For over a decade, Mr.
Chen has worked to promote indigenous rights, cooperative economics, and
citizen participation in the face of threats from corporate-led
development schemes, including mega-projects and free trade. A former
elected official in the local government, Jerónimo has played a key role
in organizing and doing follow-up work on a 2007 referendum in which
almost 90% of the inhabitants of Ixcán voted against oil exploration in
the region and the Xalalá hydroelectric dam, which would displace
indigenous communities and damage the local and surrounding ecosystem.
Disregarding this overwhelming opposition, the Guatemalan government is
currently accepting bids from national and international investors
interested in the Xalalá dam.

Jerónimo is an Achi Maya from Río Negro, where the Guatemalan government
committed several massacres in the 1980s against communities that opposed
the building of the Chixoy dam on their lands. He will speak about
people's struggles to oppose the Xalalá Dam and the importance of avoiding
a repeat of the Chixoy tragedy, including the repression, loss of lands,
and damage to the ecosystem associated with massive dam projects.

--------20 of 26--------

From: Julie Bates <julie [at]>
Subject: Global poetry 4.18 7pm

Global Poetry: The Spoken Word
Friday, April 18, 2008; 7PM
Metro State University (St. Paul Campus), Founders Hall Auditorium
Curated and emceed by Ed Bok Lee
Featuring: Bao Phi, Robert Karimi, along with Lorena Duarte and special
guest Shá Cage
Free and Open to the Public

Followed by I.C.E. Open Mic hosted by Tou Saiko Lee
(*Sign-up by 6:45 pm*) In Celebration of National Poetry Month!
Co-sponsored by Metro State's Department of Communication, Writing, and
the Arts, Asian Student Association, Latino Student Association,
African American Student Association, and Intermedia Arts

--------21 of 26--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at]>
Subject: NOW/tax/poor 4.18 8:30pm

NOW | Taxing the Poor
NOW goes to Alabama "to document the personal impact of regressive tax
policies on three very different families. They include a working mom who
shows us how a ten percent sales tax on groceries makes a significant
difference in what her family eats; a couple living in a ramshackle house
in the backwoods, who've always held jobs but still face hunger, and a
well-to-do suburban couple who benefit from huge tax breaks."

--------22 of 26--------

From: Jeff Hartman <hartm152 [at]>
Subject: Bogota/art 4.18

Artists in Residence: "Mapa Teatro - Laboratory of Artists, Bogota,
Colombia, Testigo de las ruinas/Witness to the Ruins"
Friday, April 18 to Sunday, April 20
Franklin Art Works
1021 E Franklin Ave, Mpls

Neither documentary nor reportage, Testigo/Witness is a performance of
video, sound installation, theater and documents that explores the gradual
disappearance of El Cartucho, one of the oldest barrios in downtown
Bogotá. This place - where thousands of people survived for decades in
informal settlements - was demolished to make way for a modern urban park
in March 2005. MAPA Teatro was invited by the city to work with long-time
inhabitants of El Cartucho on a memorialization project, out of which
emerged a multi-disciplinary and collaborative artistic process that
culminated in Testigo de las ruinas.

The Concept of Time in Sustainability of Northeast Minnesota: Symposium
Tuesday, April 22 to Thursday, April 24 University of Minnesota, Duluth -
Library Rotunda 416 Library Drive, Duluth

Organized by Gilman D. Veith, Senior Research Associate, and Gerald J.
Niemi, Professor of Biology and Director, Center for Water and the
Environment, Natural Resources Research Institute, UM-Duluth, this
first-of-its-kind symposium will explore building a more sustainable
future. We will discuss critical issues facing regional economies in the
face of globalization and present a holistic framework for assessing
sociological, economic, and natural resource indicators at the regional
register by February 15, 2008 by contacting Katy Feldt:
kfeldt [at] or 218-720-4301.

--------23 of 26--------

A Maoist Sweep                [Huzzah!]
Electoral Revolution in Nepal
Apri1 16, 2008

It ought to be the ballot heard 'round the world. It ought to be front
page news. But chances are you haven't yet learned that the Maoists of
Nepal have apparently swept to power in an election that international
monitors acknowledge was free and fair. Having led a People's War from
1996 to 2006, having suspended the armed struggle and making a strategic
decision to seek power through electoral means, the Communist Party of
Nepal (Maoist) has apparently acquired an absolute majority in national
elections for a constitutional assembly.

Prime Minister Girija Koirala, representing the Nepali Congress Party, has
congratulated CPI(M) leader on the success of his party. The Congress
Party, aligned with its Indian counterpart and traditionally supportive of
the Nepali monarchy and its Hindu religious trappings, seems to have come
in a distant third in the national vote, behind the Communist Party
(United Marxist-Leninist). The latter, having spurned Maoist overtures to
unite, is in crisis; its leader has resigned and declared it "morally
inappropriate" to continue to participate in the current coalition

It looks as though Maoist leader Prachanda will emerge as national leader
under the presidential system his party advocates. The constitutional
assembly will shape a new Nepal as a secular republic. Land reform, laws
against debt servitude and child marriage, laws liberating "outcastes"
will follow. The Maoists regard Nepal as a pre-capitalist country, which
requires a period of capitalist development before it can embark on
socialist construction. They say they welcome foreign investment and
tourism. They want friendly relations with neighboring China and India.
They want to build a railroad conveying Buddhist pilgrims from Tibet to
Nepali religious sites. They want, with some help from Jimmy Carter, to
persuade the U.S. State Department to remove their name fro the list of
"international terrorist organizations."

They also want to plant the Red Flag on Mt. Everest, big enough so it
might be seen from the moon, like the Great Wall of China. That's what
they've said.

Realism and poetry. A vision for today, and for tomorrow. The Maoists of
India (in particular, the Communist Party of India [Maoist]) continue
their People's War, creating the red corridor that extends from Andra
Pradesh up to the Nepali border. They have expressed doubts about the
Nepali comrades' strategy of participation in elections, and emphasized
their dedication to Mao's dictum that "political power grows out of the
barrel of the gun." But they will take heart in the Nepali Maoists'
victory. Unless the Nepali Army (formerly the Nepal Royal Army and still
led by pro-monarchist and anti-communist generals), or external forces
move to prevent the Maoists' rise to power, Nepal will emerge as the
base-area of global revolution. That's something else the Maoists have

On October 21, 2002, Counterpunch carried a column of mine on Nepal that
ended as follows:

Nepal is the world's only Hindu kingdom, but there is much Buddhist
influence as well. The historical Buddha was born on what is now the
Nepal-India border. (Both countries claim that Lumimbi, site of the
Buddha's birth, was within their present territory. This is an issue of
importance to historians, archeologists, and even more so to the tourist
industry catering to Japanese Buddhist pilgrims.) Two and a half millennia
ago, the Buddhist movement, destined to transform the world, emerged in
this region. Buddhism was at its inception not really a religion (as
westerners tend to conceptualize religion), rejecting belief in a Supreme
Being, immortal souls, and an afterlife. (Some Indian Marxist scholars
have suggested that Buddhism was initially a kind of philosophical
materialism, with a progressive social content.) The fundamental problem,
for the Buddhist, was and is that of suffering. (Recall how, many
centuries later, Marx identified religion as "the expression of real
suffering and at the same time the protest against real suffering.")
Buddhism offered no pie-in-the-sky solutions to human suffering, but a way
of life that steered between sensual indulgence and asceticism.

While focusing on the individual's path to enlightenment, Buddhism did not
ignore social reality. The early order of monks and nuns applied itself to
charitable work, such as the establishment of hospitals and shelters for
the homeless. In an extraordinary break with the social order, Siddhartha
Gautama (a.k.a Buddha) rejected the caste system, declared that those of
any background could be enlightened, and insisted on delivering his
sermons in the local dialects wherever he traveled. He was in that sense a
revolutionary. And a world-conqueror: the Buddha directed his followers to
spread the word throughout the world, and thus Buddhism gradually spread
from the Himalayan foothills to Sri Lanka, to northeastern Iran, to China
and Japan, to southeast Asia.

The Maoists' vision, like that of the Buddhist missionaries of old, is a
global one. "We insist," Prachanda told an American interviewer in 2000,
"that the Nepalese revolution is part of the world revolution and the
Nepalese people's army is a detachment of the whole international
proletarian army." BBC correspondent Daniel Lak, visiting Rolpa, in
western Nepal, last month, sat talking with one Comrade Bijaya, district
committee member and political instructor, who overlooking the
rice-paddies stated matter-of-factly, "We will win, not just in Nepal, but
around the world" (World Tribune, Sept 24). That requires a stretch of the
imagination, maybe, but world history is filled with twists and turns and
surprises. Sometimes, in humankind's endless quest to overcome suffering,
wildly ambitious enterprises actually succeed.

Five years later, no stretch of the imagination is necessary. It's
happening. A communist revolution, led by a party charting a new path
combining armed struggle and electoral politics, is sweeping the
Himalayas. World journalists, as though dizzied by the altitude, seem
unable to take up pen and report what they see. Maybe their editors are
withholding their copy, concerned lest they depict a designated
"terrorist" group in a positive or merely rational objective light.

But this moment may in the not distant future be seen as another 1917,
another 1949. I think of that Buffalo Springfield song "For What It's
Worth," written by Stephen Stills and released in 1967:

"There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear.

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down."

Yes. Everybody look what's going down. The revolution will not be
televised, but it's accessible online.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct
Professor of Comparative 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]

[While America is sinking into apathy and irrelevance, many other places
in the world are moving forward. Regress here, progress elsewhere. The
center has moved on. -ed]

--------24 of 26--------

Disintegration is Everywhere
The Politics of Distraction in an Age of Gotcha Capitalism
Apri1 15, 2008

In this year's presidential campaign, the major media want you to focus on
the candidates' gaffes, their tactics toward one another's gaffes, the
flows of political gossip and four second sound bytes.

Over and over again this is the humdrum pattern. Is Obama an elitist
because of what he said about small towns in Pennsylvania? Why do Hillary
and Bill exaggerate? Will Bill's mouth drag Hillary down? Will Barack's
pastor drag him down? What about the gender factor? The race factor? Will
they figure?

Who has more experience on Day One? What is McCain's wizardry over the
reporters on the campaign trail? Can McCain project any human warmth?
Which state must Hillary win and by what margin to continue in the race?

On the Sunday talk shows, it is the same couple dozen members of the
opinion oligopoly. There is Bill Kristol bringing home the neocon bacon
with dreary frequency. There is the James Carville/Mary Matalin spouse
show featuring their squabbling over ideology.

Meanwhile the daily struggle of the American people, absorbing the results
of the power abuses by the rich, powerful and corporate, continues outside
this inbred force field of insipid coverage and commentary.

The people hear nothing regarding what McCain, Obama and Clinton will do
about runaway drug, gasoline, and heating oil prices, not to mention what
these Senators have already not done in these areas of public outcry.

Disintegration is everywhere. Public works are crumbling - schools,
clinics, public transit, libraries, drinking water and sewage-treatment
plants. Tax dollars are being used to destroy more of Iraq and to
subsidize or bail out companies recklessly run by obscenely overpaid CEOs.
Public deficits are soaring.

Corporate criminals laugh all the way to the bank and back. Eighty percent
of the workers have been falling behind while the growth of the economy,
until last October, made the rich richer and the hyper-rich go off the

One of three workers lives on Wal-Mart wage levels. Nearly fifty million
Americans are without health insurance. Eighteen thousand of these
Americans die each year because they cannot afford health care, according
to the Institute of Medicine. The recession deepens.

The corporate giants are abandoning millions of American workers as they
move whole industries to dictatorial regimes abroad where political elites
dictate wages, ban independent trade unions, and given sufficient grease,
reduce other costs for these companies. Only American CEOs are not
outsourced in this mad dash for greed and profits.

All our democratic institutions - courts, agencies, legislatures - are
bypassed by "pull-down" autocratic trade treaties like the secretive World
Trade Organization and NAFTA.

Wall Street operators seethe with reckless risks and then expect
Washington to bail them out. Sure, why not? Washington is run by Wall
Street executives on temporary job assignment in high government
positions. The big corporations are big government.

Consumers are facing rapidly rising food prices, more home foreclosures,
and rising rents. They have lost control over their money, as shown by the
daily gouging by credit card companies, cell phone operators and the
thousands of imposed fees, penalties, and charges, so well described in
the new book Gotcha Capitalism by MSNBC reporter Bob Sullivan. Poverty

Each year, about 58,000 Americans die from air pollution (EPA figures),
and 100,000 patients lose their lives from medical negligence in hospitals
and many more from hospital-induced infections. Have you heard any of the
major campaigns pay any attention to these grim casualty levels?

Anxious workers feel shut out - they are disrespected, denied claims,
arbitrarily laid off and just plain helpless on the shifting sands and
seas of corporate globalization.

Fully 81 percent believe the country is going in the wrong directions.
Almost as many believe corporations have too much control over their
lives. And 61 percent polled say the major parties are failing.

Now turn on the television and radio coverage of the presidential
campaign. How much of the above is reflected in the incessant distractions
about tactics, gaffes and the fervid money-raising race?

Can the press and pundits ever be serious if the people do not grab hold
of politics and make them become serious about their pleas, their plight
and their revulsions? If voters want a concise mission statement, read the
preamble to the Constitution, which starts "We the People" not "We the

There is a responsibility attached to those words.

Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions

--------25 of 26--------

Obama, Bitterness, Fundamentalists and Guns
Media Shit Storms and Heartland Reality
Apri1 15, 2008

There seems to be no end to the media mediocrity we must suffer in this
country. Now we have the Obama Guns, God and Bitterness shit storm, with
the shit pouring forth from the same media scuppers (scuppers are outlet
sewage blowholes on the sides of ships) as usual: The New York Times, The
Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post,, the Associated Press, Fox
News, Reuters, Politico, the Lou Dobbs Show, Hardball, Olbermann's
Countdown, The, The DailyKos, TalkingPointsMemo

And all because Obama mentioned something we've known for at least a
couple of decades now: That the government has been fucking over the
nation's heartland towns and the "little guy" Americans inhabiting them.

To quote Obama:

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small
towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and
nothing's replaced them. ... And they fell through the Clinton
administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive
administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna
regenerate and they have not."

So what the hell else is new?

Then Obama adds:

"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or
religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant
sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

While not precisely correct, it's a good enough generalization for an
American audience not really listening anyway. Obama's remarks were not in
the least controversial and just plain boring in terms of content.
Certainly not newsworthy.

Yet he had no sooner closed his mouth than this media manufactured hell
broke loose. "Oh my gawd," they screamed. This guy has the unmitigated
gall to suggest that there might be some bitterness out here in the lily
white realms of Grant Wood, grange halls and Methodist church suppers!
Right here in River City!" where the combination of God rhetoric and
Chamber of Commerce boosterism have managed to ban the word from public
discourse. Even the mention of it can be explosive, simply because there
is so much if it stuffed inside working folks, inside the lockbox of
denial that comes with being the citizen of a culture in collapse.

Put more simply, the self-serving "blogger-reporters" and Hillary Clinton
media machine had managed to kick Obama in the balls from behind.

Along with the bitterness charges came the guns and God stuff. Well, we
Red State rubes out here in the working world do own a lot of guns, though
very few of us "cling" to them in the desperate sense the speech implied.
As to what Obama described as our clinging to religion, we do not so much
cling to it as it clings to us as a vestige of our heritage. It's neither
a good nor bad thing in and of itself, but mighty damned useful to fear
mongering politicians and the screen writers of television crime shows.
Hell, even I made a few bucks writing about its nastier side in my book
Deer Hunting With Jesus.

For me, listening to politicians talk, then listening to the media talk
about politicians talking, rates right up there with swapping spit with a
gingivitis victim. I do not like nor trust nor much listen to Hillary,
McCain or Obama. And I wouldn't vote for any of the three even if they
knocked on my door bearing a bucket of smoked pork ribs and a bottle of
Jack Daniels. However, after hearing Obama's March "race speech," in
Philadelphia, I can understand the Obama cult a little better. Although
his speech was full of national cliches and meaningless soaring rhetoric,
somehow it was still a goddamned good one, and right on in my opinion.
Maybe I liked it because, like the poverty victim he brought forth in
typical Democratic Pity Party fashion, I too have eaten mustard and relish
sandwiches growing up (or when lacking those condiments, plain sugar on
white bread.) I loved the speech. But I still ain't drinking the Kool-Aid.

In any case, Obama has proven you cannot even use the innocuous word
bitterness in conjunction with the national lie of white American culture.
In the officially sanctioned media lexicon, Blacks can be angry,
disillusioned and even bitter enough to burn down Watts. But the white
race, being blessed by a Christian god and divine providence, never harbor
bitterness in their hearts. The reason the word bitterness has caused such
horror is because what is really going on out there is the sprouting seeds
of class animosity. And no candidate or pontificating media mugwump dares
touch that one because they are in the class that benefits from our
classist society.

I'm from Winchester, Virginia, the very kind of place and people Obama was
talking about when the rotten tomatoes started hailing down. So allow me
to say this: we white members of the sweating class have been working
alongside laboring immigrants, legal and illegal, for decades and have not
been killing them with our personal arms in a rage of antipathy, in so far
as I know. The reason, near as I can tell, is that we do not give a happy
shit one way or another because most of us do not have interest or
knowledge enough to fester on the topic. Nor the time. When we fester on
stuff, it's about making car payments and trying not to default on our
mortgages. Working two and sometimes three jobs per household does not
leave much time to develop political opinions, much less informed ones.
I'd be willing to bet there is not a working class person within four
blocks of where I now sit who has even heard of this media manufactured
Obama fracas. Yesterday Smokey, the apartment maintenance man next door,
helped me haul a dead washing machine to the city dump. I asked him what
he thought about the Obama thing.

"Huh?" he said.

He spoke for millions.

Nobody out here that I know particularly "hates niggers", blames Mexicans
or is willing to use their personal firearms against any of those people,
unless they find one of them crack crazed and coming in through a bedroom
window at 2 AM, in which case there will be a loud boom, and the perp is
gonna look like a pizza splattered up against the wall. Otherwise we just
stand before the incompressible system that fucks us blind. And in that
there is certain bitterness.

Let's get to the nub of this thing here: Obama, Hillary and McCain are
farting through silk while playing out their roles in our theatrical
state's false drama called presidential elections, while smug and media
sanctioned pundits snark from the edge of the proscenium arc of politics,
each hoping to draw enough attention to have his or her own proscenium in
that national cathedral of the American consciousness - television.

Before too long this earth shaking "incident" will be drowned out by the
accumulating noise of the election year. Then even the election's hoopla
will all be wiped away when Oprah Winfrey, in one of her ever grander
spectacles of televised largess, gives away the city of Detroit to the
sixth grade author of the most heart rending essay on black poverty.

November is still seven months away. No normal person can stand, much less
relish, seven more months of all this. But we will wallow in it all for
the same reason a hog spends most of its life knee deep in shit. It has no
other choice, it has plenty of company, and doesn't know any other way of

One of these days, when it comes to the thundering non-controversy of
Obama's remarks, the blogosphere and the media may start asking the right
kinds of questions. The kind Smokey asked me after I explained the Obama
controversy to him:

"Who the fuck cares?"

Joe Bageant is the author of Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from
America's Class War, from Random House/Crown about working class America.
Bageant is also a contributor to Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots
Resistance in the Heartland edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank,
forthcoming this spring from AK Press. A complete archive of his online
work, along with the thoughts of many working Americans on the subject of
class may be found at: Feel free to contact him
at: joebageant [at]

--------26 of 26--------

Fascism Is Creepy
by Stacey Warde
Published on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 by

For nearly eight years, I've tried without success to describe the radical
shift that has taken place in our government.

Each time I've approached the task, I've had to throw up my hands in
frustration because the only model that makes sense to me is the one
called fascism.

But that word doesn't go over too well in polite conversation. It evokes
horrors too horrible to imagine. The reality, however, is that fascism
isn't just about jackbooted thugs and state-sponsored industry built on
slavery and death to one's enemies.

The danger of fascism is its seemingly benign mechanisms of control -
fear, conformity, the state's intermingling with religion and corporate
enterprise - for keeping a populace in check, for making its people feel
content with the way things are and never quick to protest occasional
violations of human rights and infringements on their or another's

The danger of fascism is its seemingly magical ability - through brilliant
propaganda outlets like Fox News - to keep a people resigned to whatever
the government does in their name, making them feel secure through its
adventures in endless wars and policing the globe and the homeland.

The other great thing about fascism is its capacity for supporting, even
indulging, denial on the most massive scale: "We don't torture.You can
trust us. .If you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to worry

Our phones are tapped, elections rigged, bogus wars planned and executed,
real and imagined enemies created, and police acquire more powers to
intimidate and harass while more rights are taken away from citizens.

Churches pray for the end of the world and offer their children as
sacrifices for the war machine, and collude with the government colluding
with the corporations and financial institutions - promising blood,
anything, for National Security.

Soon, we who protest have been silenced, or marginalized. The Supreme
Leader has the right to put anyone he considers a threat - U.S. citizens
included - into prison indefinitely, without access to an attorney, or the
right to confront his accusers, merely by declaring that person an "enemy

The whole drama and theater of the fascist play draws its action from the
government wedding itself to corporate interests - in the U.S., a
nationalist religious fervor is thrown into the mix to make it all

Eventually, we all do what we are told - or suffer the consequences. The
real danger of fascism is its creep factor. It creeps up on us, and before
we know it, we've become model citizens in the state that runs secret
prisons and gulags around the world. We accept, approve and justify
state-sponsored kidnapping, torture and preemptive war. Fascism is creepy.

Historically, by the time citizens realize what's happened to the country
they love, it's too late.

Like many others, I've known for a long time that America has changed. Its
legacy of freedom has morphed into something grossly distorted, something
the founders of this nation would not have recognized.

I believe they would have wanted us - those who came after them - to fight
just as hard for this legacy, which they bestowed upon us, trusting that
what they obtained through their own blood and sacrifice was worth the
cost, the promise of freedom, to live free from the tyranny and fear of
not just our enemies but our own government.

I used to nod with a smile at the pithy "I love my country but fear my
government," but now it's not so funny. Under the Bush administration, the
government has cynically debased rather than protected my rights as a
citizen, and I've got good reason to fear.

My eyes are wide open.

Still, it's hard for some citizens to acknowledge the plain and simple
fact that our liberties have diminished and not advanced under Bush's
leadership. It's been hard for many of us to draw a clear picture of our
predicament, to know just how much has actually been lost, and where that
leaves us as citizens.

How does anyone make sense of something as horrible as the loss of liberty
and the emergence of something darker and more sinister? What word or
words can possibly describe it?

The United States hasn't always lived up to its promise as a haven of
freedom, but it's come close, and has built an even greater legacy of
expanding and protecting those freedoms handed down to us from the
Revolution, giving people around the globe reason to hope.

Our government has at times acted criminally in the name of freedom,
justifying acts of terror and war. But I'd like to believe that the swing
has always been in the other direction, toward more human rights and

Yet, in the nearly eight years since Bush took office, U.S. foreign and
domestic policy has tilted away from not closer to its responsibility of
guaranteeing individual freedoms. Our government has done more during
Bush's tenure to jeopardize and infringe upon those rights than to protect

The world distrusts American interests precisely because we've failed to
honor and respect the codes of our own charters of freedom, let alone
those of the international community, neglecting human rights at home and

Consequently, repressive nations like China have no reason to fear
repercussions from the United States for abuse of citizens seeking
democratic reforms. They can continue to oppress their own people without
fear of reprisals because the United States is no longer the beacon or
protector of freedom that it once was.

How does the United States, given its own recent history of sanctioning
repressive tactics like waterboarding, hooding, and indefinite
imprisonment, claim higher ground and demand an end to repression and

As noted by historians of the fascist movements of the 20th century,
repression and human rights abuses like those practiced by China, and
recently the United States, can appear in waves, sweeping up state
governments around the globe in a frenzy of abuse against their own

Once again, fascism appears to be on the rise, in the West as well as in
fundamentalist Islamic nations that oppress women and nonbelievers.

I don't have any illusions regarding the threat of militant Islam, or its
own fascist turns against liberty, subjecting its enemies and its own
people to terror and inhumane treatment.

Sharia law, in which local Imams dictate morality, is no more appealing to
me than the White House dictating my responsibilities as a citizen.

I like the old biblical injunction of "set your own house in order" before
attempting to influence another's.

The time is ripe to turn the United States back to its original radical
design of guaranteeing the individual liberties of all its citizens,
including the right to speak out against the government and to turn
tyranny on its head.

It's time to reaffirm the right of the accused to confront their accusers,
to put teeth back into the force of law that protects our freedoms as
spelled out in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. It's time for a
refreshingly honest discussion of our rights as U.S. citizens in a nation
stifled by fear and ignorance.

If we can pool the talents and passions and resources of people whose
vision embraces the human spirit's quest for freedom, we might just stop
the frightening tilt toward fascism that has made the United States - a
nation founded on democratic ideals - a stranger to the world and to
itself. We might reawaken ourselves to the legacy of freedom that once
served as a bulwark against fascism.

Stacey Warde is editor of The Rogue Voice
( He can be reached at
swarde [at]


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