|Progressive Calendar 05.10.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sun, 11 May 2008 00:00:06 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 05.10.08 1. Stillwater vigil 5.11 1pm 2. MomDay/peace 5.11 1pm 3. Nader: Si? No? 5.11 2pm 4. Vets for peace 5.11 6pm 5. Pray for peace 5.11 6:30pm 6. Venezuela 5.12 9:30am 7. Choice/phone 5.12-15 5:30pm 8. Peace walk 5.12 6pm RiverFalls WI 9. Peace church 5.12 6:30pm 10. Sprogs 5.12 7pm 11. Online tools 5.12 7pm 12. Sami Rasouli 5.12 7:30pm 13. RNC action 5.12 14. Dakota people - Circle the wagons 15. Matt Kosko - McCain, Clinton, Obama & the wages of lesser-evilism 16. Dave Lindorff - Team Clinton: going down ugly 17. Patrick Irelan - Defending Bolivia; Morales and the Red Ponchos 18. Nikolas Kozloff - El Salvador 2009; yet another win for Hugo Chavez? 19. Marco Dávila - Salvador/FMLN de Minnesota --------1 of 19-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 5.11 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------2 of 19-------- From: Jane Powers janepow [at] earthlink.net Subject: MomDay/peace 5.11 1pm The second annual Mother's Day event at the Lyndale Park Peace Garden near Lake Harriet featuring live music, crane-folding, and cookies and lemonade, will be held on Sunday, May 11, from 1 to 4 p.m. Mayor R. T. Rybak and his wife, Megan O'Hara, will host this free event. Guests of honor are the designer and architect of the new Peace Bridge, McKnight Artist of the Year Kinji Akagawa and Jerry Allan, both of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. The vocal ensemble, CARPE DIEM, will perform show tunes and similar music throughout the afternoon. Sponsored by the Peace Garden Project Committee, the event will also serve as a fundraiser for the new Peace Bridge at the Garden. The original bridge has been torn down as it was deemed unsafe by the park engineer. The new bridge is in the similar yatsu-hashi design as the original bridge but is enhanced with black and white marble inlays from Minnesota and copper blocks, called sasi, in the bridge railing. For more information: www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=815 --------3 of 19-------- From: TDunnwald <tom [at] dunnwald.com> Subject: Nader: Si? or No? 5.11 2pm PintCounterPint, Nader: Si? or No? or whose franchise is it anyway? Join those of us not fishing or otherwise engaged with their moms at the 331 Club at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 11, when we will get down to the pint on the franchise to vote and third parties in a two party world - all by way of a debate on Ralph. This is debate not idle argument. Our rules allow for one walk on on each side and questions from the audience so come early and prepared. Just remember that a battle of wits can be dangerous so come fully armed. [Most of us will come half-armed -ed] Questions: Tom 612-245-9048 --------4 of 19-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Vets for peace 5.11 6pm Sunday, 5/11, 6 to 8:30 pm, Veterans for Peace chapter 27 meets, St Stephens Church, 2123 Clinton Ave S, Mpls. (Ring bell on north door.) John Varone 952-2665. --------5 of 19-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Pray for peace 5.11 6:30pm Sunday, May 11: Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates 11th Day Prayer for Peace. Honoring Mother's Day. 6:30-7:15 PM at Presentation of Our Lady Chapel, Saint Paul. --------6 of 19-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Venezuela 5.12 9:30am Monday, May 12: American Association of University Women Minneapolis Chapter. 9:30 AM: Venezuela: The Land and the People. 10:45 AM: Chavez-conomics: The Economics of Venezuela in the Context of the Economics of the Possible in Latin America. Noon: Lunch. 1:15 PM: Hugo Chavez, Venezuela, and the New Left in Latin America. --------7 of 19-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Choice/phone 5.12-15 5:30pm May 12-15: NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. Phone Bank to thank legislators for all their work during the 2008 legislative session. 5:30-8:30 PM at SEIU Headquarters in the Wright Building, Saint Paul. More info or to RSVP: Dan. --------8 of 19-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 5.12 6pm RiverFalls WI River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from "Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact: d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls, Wisconsin 54022 --------9 of 19-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Peace church 5.12 6:30pm Monday, 5/12, 6:30 pm, bimonthly potluck meeting of Every Church a Peace Church featuring theme "How Do You Raise Compassionate, Peace-Seeking Children?," Basilica of St Mary, 88 N 17th St, Mpls. rolsen6376 [at] visi.com --------10 of 19-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Sprogs 5.12 7pm Monday, 5/12, 6:30 coffee, 7 pm program, Network of Spiritual Progressives meets at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet, Mpls. --------11 of 19-------- From: Jonathan Barrentine <jonathan [at] e-democracy.org> Subject: Online tools 5.12 7pm Our May 12 workshop is Online Tools for Group Collaboration, which will introduce participants to a variety of free and easy-to-use tools that enable and enhance collaboration within both small and large groups. Online Tools for Group Collaboration FREE WORKSHOP Monday, May 12th 7:00 - 8:30 PM Rondo Community Outreach Library 461 North Dale University & Dale, St. Paul As always, the workshop is free and all are welcome to attend. --------12 of 19-------- From: Molly and Steve <msring [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Sami Rasouli 5.12 7:30pm Sami Rasouli on what's really happening in Iraq? Come to Macalester Plymouth United Church on Monday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. to hear Sami Rasouli give you the update of life in Iraq that the news stories omit. Mr. Rasouli, born in Iraq, is a long-time U.S. citizen and Minnesota businessman. He returned to Iraq after the war started to form the Muslim PeaceKeeper Team, a non-profit, non-sectarian organization that teaches non-violence and human rights, and brings Iraqis from all backgrounds together to work for the good of the country. He comes back to Minnesota annually to give updates about the situation behind the news headlines about life in Iraq. There is no charge for this program, though a free-will offering will be accepted. Macalester Plymouth Church is at 1658 Lincoln Street in St. Paul (corner of Macalester & Lincoln Streets). This event is cosponsored by the Macalester Plymouth United Church PeaceMakers, and Pilgrim Lutheran Church. To find out more about what Mr. Rasouli and other Iraquis encounter, see these brief articles he filed in February: --Freezing in Iraq: http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/article/2008/02/16/freezing-iraq.html --Food and water in Iraq: http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/node/9621 --Making a living in Iraq: http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/article/2008/02/28/making-living-iraq.html --------13 of 19-------- From: Welfare Rights Committee - Alt Email <welfarerights [at] qwest.net> Subject: RNC action 5.12 Starting May 12, Tell Saint Paul Mayor Coleman and Twin Cities newspapers: Anti-war protesters have a right to demonstrate at the RNC. Then join us on Friday, May 16th: Rally at 1pm in front of the federal court building in Mpls. then join us inside and pack the hearing room at 2pm Sisters and Brothers, On May 16 the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War will be in Federal Court. We are seeking an injunction that forces the City of Saint Paul to issue permits for our anti-war march on Republican National Convention September 1. We need your help. Contact Saint Paul's mayor and send letters to the Twin Cities press. Starting May 12, we need our supporters and fellow protesters to contact Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. Urge him to deliver a final permit to the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, for us to march from the State Capitol to the Xcel Center on September 1, 2008. Email Mayor Coleman at mayor [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us or call him at 651-266-8510. Feel free to use the talking points mentioned below. We began seeking permits for this demonstration days after the Republicans announced they would hold their national convention in Minnesota. While we have a permit to assemble and rally at the State Capitol, the City of Saint Paul continues to withhold a permit for a march on the Xcel Center, where the convention will be held. Saint Paul city government is now saying "wait and see what we give you on May 31." This is unacceptable. No important social question is ever settled in the courtroom. Issues that matter are settled in the streets and in the court of public opinion. We need folks across the U.S to demand that we get a permit to go to the Xcel Center - the site of the RNC. The eyes of the world will be focused there September 1. In addition to calling and emailing the Saint Paul mayor's office with the demand to issue the permits, writing letters to the local newspapers would really help. We want to make it known that people from all around the country are coming here and insist that Saint Paul city officials give permits for our anti-war protest. The two main local 'mainstream' newspapers are the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) and the Pioneer Press St Paul). Here is the information on sending letters.: Star Tribune (250 word maximum) Submit from their website [http://mpls.startribune.com/dynamic/feedback/form.php?opinion=1] OR... Fax to 612-673-4359 OR... Mail to Editorial Department, Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Pioneer Press (150 word maximum) Please send your letters in the body of an e-mail, not as an attachment, to letters [at] pioneerpress.com. Include your full name and your city of residence for publication. For verification purposes only, and not for publication, include your street address and daytime telephone number. Please keep you letters short and concise. If you only send a letter to one paper, the Star Tribune is the more important of the two. If you send the same letter to both, send separate emails. We recommend a few talking points for your letters: 1) Denounce the war. The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War is planning a major anti-war demonstration and the city of Saint Paul is refusing to grant a permit to go to the site of the RNC - the Xcel Center. 2) We are planning to march on the RNC. We expect / demand to be at the Xcel Center September 1. 3) The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War is getting the runaround from the city of Saint Paul. Permit applications have been in since days after the convention was announced. We have a right to protest the war. We need the permits now. You efforts will help to create the political climate where we get the permits we need. Sincerely, The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War Lastly, don't join us on Friday, May 16th: Rally at 1pm in front of the federal court building in Mpls. then join us inside and pack the hearing room at 2pm Welfare Rights Committee PO Box 7266, Mpls MN 55407 (3104 16th Ave S) pho: 612-822-8020 main email: welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com alt email: welfarerights [at] qwest.net --------14 of 19-------- From: "DeMuth, Scott R." <SRDEMUTH [at] stthomas.edu> Circle the Wagons St. Paul, MN, May 10, 2008 - The sesquicentennial wagon train wending towards the state capital for tomorrow's celebration of Minnesota statehood, came to an unexpected standstill this morning entering Fort Snelling when a group of Dakota people gathered in the road to dispel a few of their cherished myths. "This is a place of genocide, our ancestors were force marched here in 1862 and interned in the concentration camp for an entire winter. So many of our people died here, women and children, so much of our history is ignored and suppressed. We are here to tell the truth about this history and challenge the Sesquicentennial celebration," said Chris Mato Nunpa, Ph.D.. "All we're asking is to be heard," said Ben Yahola, amidst protestors holding signs with "We are not invisible," "1862," "Site of Dakota Genocide," and "My grandmother died here." The travelers looked on or away as Dakota speakers addressed them and a gathering group of other protestors, onlookers, and, soon, many police officers from the city of Minneapolis. They stood by, some perched atop horses, for about fifteen minutes before the tensions increased. Two skittish horses were steered by their mounted officers through the protestors, endangering everyone in their path, including several small children. Unsure of what to do, one officer radioed for backup. As reinforcements arrived, one officer said, "I thought we came down to do some thumping." A sheriff's SUV tried to force its way through the crowd of protestors to clear a path for the wagon train. Then, two kids and two women laid down in front of the SUV. For twenty minutes while protestors smudged, prayer drums sounded, and speakers addressed their message about the past's atrocities, officers conferred, debating how best to remove the blockade. Dakota protestors cried the history of the atrocities committed, including land theft, ethnic cleansing, bounties placed on Dakota scalps (up to $200 dollars), the largest mass hanging in US history, the horrors of the concentration camp at Fort Snelling, and the brutalities of the war of 1862. Then the arrests began. "You are benefiting from the same colonial practices which justified the genocide of the Dakota people," Waziyatawin stated as she was pressed against the hood of a patrol car before being led away. "This wagon train is a fantasy of manifest destiny, as some sort of righteous thing." Next to go were her two minor children, Talon and Autumn Cavender-Wilson. Anita Rae, Chris Mato Nunpa, Jim Anderson and Diane Elliot followed, before the officers ceased making arrests. By use of truncheon, officers pushed the protest aside, finally clearing the way for the wagon train to enter the camp. Imprisoned protestors were then released under charges of disorderly conduct. At least some of the wagon riders began conversing with protestors, agreeing to the need for truth telling. One young man softened his position and even apologized for his participation in the wagon train. The protestors will also be present tomorrow at the state capital, where the kick-off celebration for the Minnesota Sesquicentennial will begin. For additional information, Contact: Chris Mato Nupa, Ph.D. Oceti Sakowin Omniciya Tel: (320) 981-0206 matonunpa [at] earthlink.net <mailto:matonunpa [at] earthlink.net> Jim Anderson Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community (763) 753-2833 ander67 [at] netzero.com <mailto:ander67 [at] netzero.com> Waziyatawin Angela Wilson, Ph.D. Oceti Sakowin Omniciya Tel: (320) 564-4241 waziyatawin [at] gmail.com <mailto:waziyatawin [at] gmail.com> Scott DeMuth Oceti Sakowin Omniciya srdemuth [at] stthomas.edu <mailto:srdemuth [at] stthomas.edu> Diane Elliot hecetu1 [at] yahoo.com <mailto:hecetu1 [at] yahoo.com> Video and picture are available: http://www.alliesmediaart.com <http://www.alliesmediaart.com> http://gallery.mac.com/alliesms <http://gallery.mac.com/alliesms> --------15 of 19-------- Is That All There Is? McCain, Clinton, Obama and the Wages of Lesser-Evilism By MATT KOSKO CounterPunch May 9, 2008 Leftists both within and without the Democratic Party have been for years operating under the delusion that, in order to oppose Republican policies, they must work to help the cause of any candidate that has a "D" after his/her name, regardless of how personally distasteful the candidate is or how unappealing the rightward moving Democratic platform is. This "lesser of two evils" approach is dangerous, foolish, and damaging to leftist causes as it keeps many normally progressive people locked into a party that's tenants and leadership have long ago stopped representing progressive ideals and instead have furthered the interests of Republicans and large corporations. At first glance, "lesser of two evils" voting doesn't seem like such a bad idea. We support the candidate who is the "least worst" until such a time that we can run a real candidate who truly represents us. However, no one seems to be able to say who that candidate is and when we will ever see him or her. In fact, no one has ever even attempted to explain why a party that already is ensured the progressive vote under this "Republicans are worse" mentality will every seek to change, especially since a more centrist approach has given Democratic candidates a hell of a lot more financial support from various corporate interests. But fortunately, in this election, we may be able to break free of this illusion, not only because it is logically unsound but because, this time, there truly is no lesser evil to speak of. Rank-and-file Democrats will surely be appalled at such a statement. "Obama/Clinton at all similar to John McCain? 100-year war McCain? Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran McCain? Surely, no comparison can be made!" Unfortunately, a comparison can be easily made. Stripped of rhetoric and pomp and laid bare, the political positions of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain on a number of issues are largely indistinguishable. On Iran, all three candidates have been firm in their support for the intimidation, bullying, and possible annihilation of this Middle Eastern country, with Clinton stating that she would be more than willing to "obliterate" Iran by raining nuclear destruction down upon it and its 65.9 million people. Clinton's language is barbarically savage and callous in its tone and genocidal in its intent. This is patently obvious to any observer and you would expect her opponent Obama to issue a harsh condemnation of recklessly calling for nuclear annihilation; instead, Obama meekly stated that it was "bluster" and "not the language we need right now". Not really that surprising, considering that all three candidates have insisted that "no option can be taken off the table" regarding Iran, the same warrior rhetoric used by George Bush. All candidates have also supported the demonization of Iran by urging the State Department to consider the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a "terrorist organization". The Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which McCain and Clinton voted for but Obama missed, wasn't the only bill that asked for the Guards to considered terrorists. S.970, the "Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007" co-sponsored by Obama, included a suggestion that the ".Secretary of State should designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a Foreign Terrorist Organization". Really, the only difference between the three is that neither Clinton nor Obama have put their plans for destruction in song form. McCain, Obama, and Clinton are also committed in their undying support for Israel by appearing at AIPAC conventions and forums and supporting all sorts of Israeli atrocities and aggression. We've all seen McCain and Clinton's fanatical dedication to Israel, a dedication that includes support for the "separation barrier" and the movement of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but Obama, a relative newcomer, has shown that he can pander to Israel with the pros. Obama supported Israel's 2006 war against Lebanon as a rational reaction and by doing so implicitly condoned what Amnesty International called the "widespread destruction of apartments, houses, electricity and water services" which amounted to an Israeli "policy of punishing both the Lebanese government and the civilian population". All the candidates have reiterated, time and time again, that Israel, the only country in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons, faces a perilous threat from Hamas, Hizbollah, and Iran, often repeating the lie that Iranian President Ahmadinejad threatened to "wipe Israel off the map". Not one of the candidates has ever criticized Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories, preferring instead to praise them as necessary defenses against terrorism. We must then conclude that all the candidates support brutalization, occupation, murder, torture, arrest, arbitrary detention, home demolition, humiliation, degradation, property confiscation, and economic strangulation. The candidates don't do much better with regards to Iraq. Both McCain and Clinton voted for the 2003 Authorization for Use of Military Force and Obama, while initially opposing the war, stated in 2004 that he was "unsure" of how he would have voted had he been in the Senate at the time. Clinton has never apologized for her war vote and, like Obama and McCain, has refused to promise to end the occupation and completely remove all U.S. troops from Iraq, despite the fact that the occupation is opposed by an overwhelming majority of Iraqis and is the main fomenter of violence in the country. Not only that, Obama has called Bush's intentions in starting the war "sincere" but "misguided". Neither McCain, Clinton, nor Obama considers the war to be a grandiose atrocity that has resulted in the deaths of one million people and the displacement of millions more nor do they acknowledge their own culpability by either authorizing the war or refusing to stop funding it; no candidate suggests the possibility of war crimes trials, impeachment of the criminals, or the fact that war had nothing to do with sincerity or heroic intentions on the part of the Bush government but was instead a quasi-imperial crusade to preserve American power and hegemony in the Middle East. On the domestic front as well, the Democrats fail to distinguish themselves from McCain in any reasonable way. Both Clinton and McCain voted for the assault on American civil liberties through the PATRIOT Act in 2001 and all three voted for the "improvement and reauthorization" in 2006. All three candidates also oppose truly universal health care, preferring instead to involved greedy insurance corporations that wield life and death over the insured by denying customers critical care and treatment in order to maximize profits and enrich stockholders and CEOs. Clinton and Obama claim to have plans for universal health care but in reality, their plans basically boil down to subsidizing enormous insurance premiums, something not substantially different from John McCain. They claim that there plans will keep premiums low, force insurance companies to take those with pre-existing conditions, and keep these companies from dropping customers. They don't say how they'll do these things; they just say that they will. Maybe their opposition to a single payer health system is what garnered Obama and Clinton combined more than $600,000 from the healthcare industry in 2008 alone, more than five times the amount that John McCain received. Oh, sure, you might quibble, there are minute differences between the candidates when it comes to social issues like abortion, but these differences really pale in comparison to the disastrous confluence of their psychotic foreign policy plans. And isn't galvanizing the electorate to vote for a particular political party based entirely on that party's particular perspective on social issues a trait of the Republicans? Instead of voting for Clinton because she supports abortion rights and then hoping that she doesn't obliterate Iran or voting for Obama because he is more for gay rights than John McCain and then praying that he doesn't invade Pakistan, how about we endorse a candidate that supports abortion rights, civil rights for gays, true universal healthcare through a single payer system, and doesn't want to export American power and aggression abroad? If we don't cease this destructive "lesser of two evils" approach, we will never see a truly progressive candidate in the White House. [Amen -ed] Matt Kosko can be reached at: mdk31+ [at] pitt.edu --------16 of 19-------- The View from Pennsylvania Team Clinton: Going Down Ugly By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch May 9, 2008 The results in Tuesday's twin primaries - Barack Obama by 14 percent in North Carolina and Hillary Clinton by less than 2 percent in Indiana - confirmed that Clinton is finished as a contender. Barack Obama will be the Democratic candidate for president this fall. Clinton, the private-schooled, Wellesley and Yale-educated millionaire lawyer from Chicago, first tried to present herself as a White House veteran, and then, in recent weeks, as a NASCAR mom on Food Stamps, and in Pennsylvania resorted to cheap race-baiting and red-baiting in an effort to derail her opponent, has failed. Barack Obama, another private-schooled Harvard and Yale-educated lawyer, but one who actually did have to work his way up the economic ladder, won decisively in North Carolina, even drawing a significant number of working-class white voters in a state where white voters have not traditionally voted for candidates with dark skin. As a resident of Pennsylvania, I can only express a sense of shame for the large number of white voters here who bought Clinton's subtle racist message. North Carolina, my mother's home state, proved to be more resistant to the Clintons' toxic campaign than my adopted state. Exit polls suggest that as more than one in five Pennsylvanians voted in the primary on the basis of race. Now, if half of the 14 percent of the voters who were black voted for Obama for racial reasons, this still means that perhaps 14 percent of the state's white voters, or about one in seven, voted for Hillary simply because her oppponent was black. I would argue that for a black person to vote for a black candidate because he is black is qualitatively different from a white person voting for a white candidate because the other candidate is black. First of all, blacks have not had the opportunity, ever, to vote for a candidate of their race who has a real chance at winning the nomination. It is a historic first. They are not saying they would not vote for a white candidate, and indeed, if they voted in the past, they probably did vote for white candidates, since that's all there were on offer. It's akin to women (and men) voting for Clinton because she is a woman. Obviously they are not saying they won't vote for men, just that they want a chance to vote for a woman. A white candidate voting for a white candidate because they won't vote for a black candidate is simply being racist, just as a person voting for Obama because Clinton is a woman would be a sexist. What we had in Pennsvlvania - indeed, accounting for more than Clinton's entire 9 percent victory margin - was white racists voting against a black candidate. Part of the problem for Obama in Pennsylvania, too, was the self-serving decision by Philadelphia's new African-American mayor, Michael Nutter, to endorse Clinton instead of Obama. Nutter, clearly looking ahead to statewide office, when he will need white votes, opted for a candidate who, with her husband, helped pull the rug out from under many Philadelphians, white and black, with the Clinton administration's ending of support for welfare programs on which many of the city's poor and minority families desperately rely. But at the same time, Obama himself contributed to his 9-point loss to Clinton in Pennsylvania by barely campaigning in Philadelphia, and by an over-reliance on television advertising - a mistake he did not repeat in Indiana and North Carolina. In the end, the Clinton end-game strategy of using the race card, and of trying to recast herself, absurdly, as a working-class hero, may end up being all to the good for Obama. Clearly it forced him to move away from his empty "change" and "hope" slogans and to address the issues of ordinary working-class Americans - something he had largely avoided doing earlier in the campaign. It also put the issue of race - which the Republicans can be expected to use even more blatantly in the general election - out front and center, where it could be exposed to the light of day. What seems to be happening is that racist Democrats, those who cannot vote for a black candidate, are rejecting Obama, and will probably either skip voting in November, or swing over to McCain, just as they swung over to Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon before, on different but related issues. The difference is that Obama seems to be able to reach independent white voters and even liberal and libertarian Republican voters who are turned off by the Republicans' overt racism, as well as by many of the Republicans' so-called "social policy" positions, such as abortion bans, opposition to gay rights, denial of global warming, etc. >From here in Pennsylvania, I'd say the outlook for the fall is likely to be a strong win for Obama in a McCain/Obama match-up. In a funny way, he will have Pennsylvania, and Hillary's sewer campaign, to thank. DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening --------17 of 19-------- Defending Bolivia Morales and the Red Ponchos By PATRICK IRELAN CounterPunch May 10 / 11, 2008 The Bolivian oligarchy has initiated its plan to balkanize the country. Traditionally, the oligarchy controlled the oil, natural gas, and the best farmland in Bolivia; and, for the most part, it has never indicated a desire to share the wealth with the nation's indigenous majority. That majority, 60 percent of the population, lives primarily in the Andean highlands of western Bolivia, although in recent decades, the Indians of those areas have begun moving down to the cities in search of jobs. With their diseases, their firepower, and their greed, the Euro-Americans have enjoyed their country's wealth since the founding of Bolivia, and the Indians think it's about time for a more-equitable division of the proceeds. They've been waiting half a millennium, and their patience has begun to drift off somewhere over the Andes, from whence it is unlikely to return. Evo Morales is an Aymara Indian. In 2005, he became the first indigenous president in Bolivia's history, collecting 54 percent of the vote. He inherited a land-locked and underdeveloped country, the poorest in South America. But the provinces of the eastern lowlands are blessed with large reserves of oil and natural gas. They also possess good farmland, although much of it lies unused by its wealthy owners. The richest province of the lowlands is Santa Cruz. The light-skinned elite of Santa Cruz has benefited from the prosperity generated by the sale of oil and natural gas to foreign petroleum companies, and it fears any real or imagined threat to that prosperity. Bolivia has a population of over 9.2 million people, and about 2 million of them live in Santa Cruz, where the Euro-Americans greatly outnumber the Indians. Since his election in 2005, President Morales has begun implementing a plan that he thinks will improve the lives of the poor while ensuring the well-being of everyone. In 2006, he nationalized Bolivia's oil and natural gas reserves. This amounted, for the most part, to negotiating a larger financial return to the country from various foreign oil companies. Although some members of the oligarchy predicted doom, the opposite occurred. The portion of oil and gas revenue in Bolivia's GDP grew from 5 percent in 2004 to 13.3 percent in 2006. (New York Times, September 18, 2007) Suddenly, President Morales's political party, the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), became a great success story. Investors began putting up new apartment buildings in the capital city of La Paz. Someone erected a new Cineplex. The members of the president's cabinet argued about whether to spend some of the country's $4 billion in foreign currency reserves. (They decided to hold on to it for the present. These socialists are so conservative.) Simultaneously, the state's social programs went into overdrive. Teachers from Cuba arrived to teach the poor people how to read and write. Cuban doctors arrived to heal their ailments. New construction created new jobs. And the nation began planning to redistribute unused farmland to the indigenous majority. To fund additional social programs, the government recently announced plans to nationalize four more energy companies and Entel, Bolivia's major telecommunications company. And all this has taken place peacefully, lawfully, and democratically. No one has evicted the rich from their mansions or ordered them to hand over their expensive toys. Who could complain about all this peace and love? No one, of course, but the North American empire. Who else? On December 14, 2007, the Washington Post led the frightened reactionaries out of the starting gate. In one of its hysterical editorials, the Post shrieked that Morales wanted to make himself "president-for-life". Both he and President Rafael Correa of Ecuador were planning "constitutional coups". And Morales, with his "radical proposals," was about to start a civil war. There"s nothing like peaceful change to bring on a mountain of criticism. The Post and the Bolivian oligarchy didn't like Morales's brand of success. The oligarchy didn't want to help the poor. It wanted to continue helping itself. And George Bush wanted to help them continue to let the good times roll. Bush had already revealed his plans in 2006 by appointing Philip Goldberg as the U.S. ambassador to the unfortunate people of Bolivia. Philip Goldberg, in case it slipped your mind, previously worked for the U.S. State Department in Yugoslavia during Bill Clinton's administration. We won't need anyone in Yugoslavia anytime soon, because Goldberg energetically helped pull the country apart. Then he stepped out onto the veranda and watched the U.S. Air Force blow the hell out of anyone who might choose to object. What do you suppose Goldberg plans to do next? Was it an accident that, on May 4, Santa Cruz held its referendum to empower its oligarchy to seek "autonomy" for its juicy province? The elites of three other wealthy lowland provinces - Tarija, Pando, and Beni - have already indicated their interest in acquiring autonomy, too. Autonomy looks like the latest craze. It may soon reach Utah. U.S.-funded rightwing groups are already handing out propaganda by the bale in Bolivia. And there are persistent reports that Colombian paramilitary squads are conducting training operations in the four lowland provinces. On May 5, Fidel Castro reminded us in his Reflection for that day that the U.S. Fourth Fleet, mothballed since 1950, is now getting spiffed up to patrol the waters around Central and South America. "[I]s interventionist purposes do not need to be demonstrated," he wrote. (Granma, May 5, 2008) Bolivia has a long tradition in which military coups have occurred to solve domestic political disputes. Eduardo Dimas recently pointed out at Progresso Weekly that the present military high command was not trained in the United States and has demonstrated an unwillingness to conduct a coup every afternoon. A recent plot failed to gain the support of the officer corps. It will come as no surprise that President Morales declared the Santa Cruz referendum to be entirely illegal and of no official substance. Nonetheless, he has also said that he welcomes a vote of confidence by the whole country, which will take place within the next 90 days. Despite the fraudulent nature of the autonomy vote in Santa Cruz, on the night of May 4, I found myself searching for news about the event. The pro-Morales residents had announced a boycott, so I had no doubts regarding the outcome. I just wondered what else might have happened. If you live in the United States, it's more difficult to find late-night news from Bolivia than it is to find an honest voting machine in Florida. I eventually found someone awake at Al Jazerra. After she read a report about the vote in Santa Cruz, an announcer switched to a story about the Red Ponchos, an ancient military group among the indigenous peoples of the Andes. They include tens of thousands of warriors, and they have promised a fight to the death if anyone attacks Evo Morales. The Red Ponchos possess rifles and ammunition. I hope they never have to use them. Opposing forces would have the best weapons the empire could give them. Who knows what might happen? I believe in peaceful change. So does Evo Morales. So did Salvador Allende, the president of Chile during the Nixon administration. Allende had weapons available for the workers who elected him, but he had resisted the impulse to distribute those weapons. By contrast, Gen. Augusto Pinochet had soldiers, weapons, and Henry Kissinger. Salvador Allende died defending his country from the forces of darkness and greed. He believed that the military would not violate Chile's long history of civilian rule. What might have happened if he could have called in his own Red Ponchos? Patrick Irelan is a retired high-school teacher. He is the author of A Firefly in the Night (Ice Cube Press) and Central Standard: A Time, a Place, a Family (University of Iowa Press). You can contact him at pwirelan43 [at] yahoo.com. --------18 of 19-------- Yet Another Feather in the Cap of Hugo Chavez? El Salvador 2009 By NIKOLAS KOZLOFF CounterPunch May 10 / 11, 2008 An image flashes across the screen of pretty young women. They're dressed in red T-shirts, wave a red flag, and run towards the camera. A voice intones, "Let us all participate in the great party of hope! Change is coming!" The image then shifts to a dapper young man with glasses who is thronged by enthusiastic crowds. Meet Mauricio Funes, bane of the U.S. foreign policy establishment and the likely next President of El Salvador as of March, 2009. Funes'. party, the FMLN (or Farabundo Mart National Liberation Front), is running television ads such as these in an effort to appeal to the young generation and roll back the political right which has dominated the country's politics for decades. Funes is a former commentator for CNN International and for years had a popular daily show called The Interview with Mauricio Funes which wasbroadcast on national television. Well known amongst his compatriots, he is arguably El Salvador's most respected journalist. A frequent critic of government abuses, Funes quickly developed a reputation as a political crusader. As the so-called "Pink Tide" sweeps through South America 2009 is fast sizing up as a momentous political year for El Salvador, a Massachusetts sized nation of some six 6 million people. Like Barack Obama, Funes is poised, youthful and inspiring. He even has a similar campaign slogan: "Cambio" or "Change". Like the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, Funes is already drawing large crowds. He is currently leading in public opinion surveys against his main political rivals. The U.S. left doesn't know much about Funes, but that's hardly surprising given the political trends of the past fifteen years. During the 1980s, in the midst of the country's civil war, the FMLN was a cause clbre for the U.S. left. But once the U.S.-backed counter-insurgency war ended and FMLN guerrillas demobilized and formed their own political party, radicals focused their attention elsewhere. El Salvador dropped off the media horizon. The small Central American nation is about to leap back into the headlines, however. A victory for the FMLN would further embolden Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and continue Central America's drift towards the center left, already underway with the return of Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista Party in Nicaragua and the election of lvaro Colom Caballeros in Guatemala. If a solid pro-Chavez column of smaller nations emerges in the region this could prove to be a difficult pill for Washington to swallow. ARENA: "The Reds Will Die" When you consider just how entrenched the right wing has become in El Salvador, Funes' political rise is even more remarkable. Ever since 1992, the year El Salvador's horrific civil war ended, ARENA (or Nationalist Republican Alliance) has reigned supreme in election after election. The party was founded by right wing death squad leader Roberto D'Aubuisson, held to be one of the intellectual authors behind the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980. Many see ARENA, whose party colors are red, white and blue, as modeled on the U.S. Republican party but with even stronger nationalist overtones. The hymn of the party touts El Salvador as the tomb where "the Reds will die". By the early 1990s, with the international left now ignoring the political story in El Salvador, ARENA consolidated its control through the ballot box. Remaking the Party Fearing relatiation from Washington, Funes has bent over backwards to placate the U.S. He has, for example, met with State Department officials as well as members of Congress and reassured them that he is no radical. Meanwhile, Funes has declared that El Salvador should not scrap use of the dollar by returning to its previous currency, the coln. Funes says that "dollarization" and the adoption of the Central American Free Trade Agreement in 2006 have had negative effects, such as inflation and unfavorable competition for small-scale farmers, but that it is too late to scrap these policies. The former media commentator seeks to remake the FMLN into a pragmatic political party. At rallies, he doesn't sing the party's anthem or wear the traditional red colours, preferring to campaign in a crisp white guayabera shirt. It's a symbolic move designed to contrast himself with many in the party who still wear fatigues and brandish pictures of Che Guevara and Soviet flags at campaign rallies. ARENA President Antonio Saca, whose term ends next year, has questioned the FMLN's supposed moderation. "If it flies like a duck, swims like a duck and eats like a duck, it's a duck. The FMLN is a communist party. Its ideas haven't changed," he has remarked. Demonizing Funes by Linking Him to Chavez Despite such dismissive rhetoric, ARENA is fearful that Funes may not go down to electoral defeat like his FMLN predecessors. Facing a possible debacle in March, the Salvadoran right and Washington have gone into overdrive, trying to tarnish Funes by linking him to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. ARENA in fact has accused Funes of being a "little Chavez". Earlier this year, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell warned Congress that he expected Chavez to provide "generous campaign funding" to Funes. Similar U.S. national security reports, later exposed as false and comprised of politically-manipulated intelligence, were used by the Bush White House to justify its preemptive war against Iraq in 2003. Nevertheless, ARENA President Antonio Saca pounced on the report, remarking that this act of "interference" would be "unacceptable". He even ordered an investigation into the matter and, in another high profile move, recalled El Salvador's diplomatic envoy from Caracas. On the other hand, Saca apparently views electoral intervention by the United States government as not only acceptable, but welcomed. In a November 2007 press conference with President Bush, Saca stated that the U.S. "can help out a lot in preventing citizen support for certain proposals in the upcoming elections." Funes has denied any links to the Venezuelan government, and Chavez has scoffed at McConnell's accusations. The Venezuelan leader said the FMLN needed no extra financial support as it was a "solid" and "well-organized" party with popular backing. Chavez described the "gringo" allegations as just another U.S. attempt to discredit him and cause divisions in the region. "It's a lie," Chavez said. "We don't need to do that, and they don't need it". History Repeating Itself It's not the first time that Bush and the Salvadoran right have played the Chavez card. During the 2004 presidential election in El Salvador, the Bush administration was nervous the left might win as Schafik Handal, the FMLN candidate, opposed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and was threatening to withdraw El Salvador's troops from Iraq. As payback for U.S. support for the counter-insurgency war of the 1980s, ARENA sent 381 soldiers to Iraq in the early stages of the war. Salvadoran troops generally refrained from front-line fighting and were instead delegated to humanitarian and reconstruction efforts. In March, 2003 Special White House Assistant Otto Reich, an implacable Chavez foe who met with Dictator-For-a-Day Pedro Carmona in the run-up to the 2002 coup in Venezuela, declared that the United States would reevaluate its relationship with "an El Salvador led by a person who is an admirer of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez." The red-baiting tactics instilled fear in the Salvadoran electorate, which no doubt worried about a return to combative relations with the United States. Handal went down to crushing defeat, winning just 38% of the vote to ARENA candidate Saca's 58%. Entrenched Trade Relationship With a more charismatic, media-savvy candidate at the helm, 2009 could be different for the FMLN. But if Funes were to actually win, what might be the future of Salvadoran-U.S. relations? The FMLN leader would find it difficult, if not impossible, to take an antagonistic position towards the United States. The young politician would enter office with El Salvador's trade relations with the United States already well established: in 2006 the two countries signed a free trade agreement providing El Salvador with preferential access to U.S. markets. El Salvador exports everything from textiles to apparel to shoes and processed foods to the United States, and Funes certainly wouldn't want to jeopardize such a vital trade relationship. Indeed, right now the U.S. is El Salvador's most important market, purchasing 57.1% of the Central American nation's goods. El Salvador in turn receives more than 40% of its imports from the U.S. The Iraq-El Salvador Connection Nevertheless, Funes may take some punitive measures against Washington. He has stated for example that one of his first decisions as President would be to withdraw Salvadoran troops from Iraq. ARENA is now paying a high political price for its loyalty to Washington: polls have shown that a majority of the Salvadoran people oppose their country's troop presence in the Middle East. While other Central American countries such as Nicaragua and Honduras have long since withdrawn their forces, El Salvador is holding firm and is currently the only Latin American country with forces still deployed in Iraq. ARENA's position is that Salvadoran forces will continue their service in Iraq until they "finish what [they have] started". Were the Salvadoran troops to leave, such a development would prove insignificant from a military point of view. However, Funes would succeed in making a symbolic and political point: that El Salvador is no longer Washington's lackey in Central America. Chavez and FMLN: Furthering Ties through Oil In another worrying development for Washington, Funes has said that he would seek friendly ties to Venezuela. For the two Latin American nations, oil might prove to be highly instrumental in solidifying ties. Recently, Chavez has undertaken an alliance with Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega by agreeing to supply the Central American nation with discounted oil. El Salvador is not an oil producer and a Funes administration would no doubt welcome any Venezuelan assistance to meet its energy needs. Indeed, the FMLN has been steadily building up its relationship with the Chavez government over the last several years. At the local level FMLN mayors set up ENEPASA, a joint venture energy company which signed an energy deal with Venezuela in 2006. The initiative is designed to provide less expensive fuel to El Salvador's drivers. Clearly there was more to the deal than just providing cheap gas. The FMLN seeks to rebuff ARENA President Saca and his neo-liberal economic approach by laying the groundwork for closer integration through ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative to the Americas. The plan, initiated by Chavez several years ago, seeks to counteract the corporately driven U.S. Free Trade Area of the Americas and promote barter trade and solidarity amongst left wing Latin American countries. When FMLN mayors signed the agreement in Caracas, Chavez suggested that money the Salvadoran municipalities saved on energy could be used to subsidize public transport and food prices. Under the terms of the agreement, cities pay 60% of their fuel bill within 90 days. The rest may be paid in barter for agricultural and other locally made products or in cash over a 25-year period. Chavez used the moment to criticize U.S. trade deals like the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). "They're making deals with the devil, the devil himself," Chavez said, in one of his typical rhetorical flourishes. Over the past two years, Venezuela has exported thousands of barrels of diesel to El Salvador under the new deal. The oil is sold by gas stations bearing a special non-corporate, "white flag" emblem. The Legacy of Neo-Liberalism: Organized Crime and Maquiladoras There is little doubt that under a Funes administration, much of the energy integration with Venezuela would continue. But how likely is a Pink Tide sweep in Central America in the first place and a decisive FMLN win in 2009? Judging from recent political trends, ARENA's political monopoly is jeopardized. The Salvadoran people are tired of the right's relentless charge towards neo-liberal policies including privatization and shredding of labor protections for public sector workers. In particular, ARENA's recent attempt to privatize the health care system proved deeply unpopular and was beaten back by the likes of doctors and nurses supported by the FMLN. Poverty is soaring and organized crime has reached epidemic proportions in the country. In response, the police and military have allegedly organized vigilante groups that orchestrate "social cleansing" of criminals. In a move to further emulate the Republican Party in the U.S., ARENA instituted draconian anti-terror legislation based on the USA Patriot Act in 2006. ARENA uses the anti-terror legislation to pick up and jail political activists who protest unpopular government moves such as the privatization of water resources. The agricultural sector meanwhile has been flooded by cheap goods from the U.S. and hasn't been able to compete; in desperation cooperative farmers have been selling off the land and sending their children to the U.S. to look for work. Remittances from Salvadorans working in the United States are an important source of income for many families and total almost $4 billion a year. According to the United Nations Development Agency, an estimated 22.3% of families receive such remittances. For those who don't receive money from their loved ones abroad in the U.S., one of the few options left is to seek work in the maquiladora sweat shops. These dismal sewing factories employ hundreds of thousands of workers and pay laborers a scant 80 cents an hour. Employees have been exposed to horrible conditions such as unhealthy air and water, large amounts of forced overtime and frequent dismissals for those who get the wrong idea and support labor unions. The Road to 2009 Because of ARENA's pursuit of such unpopular policies, the stage seems set for a big left win in March. What might we expect from a Funes administration? Though Funes has distanced himself somewhat from the party rank and file, there is a great ideological affinity between Venezuela and the FMLN. Funes would probably seek to put a break on the neo-liberal policies of the past, and has said that he supports the notion of government-funded social programs like those backed by Chavez and his allies. "Up until now, I haven't been the hunter being hunted," political novice Funes has said. "But if I myself say that public figures need to be scrutinized, how can I reject that same scrutiny?" Expect more than mere scrutiny in the following months. Having fought for twelve long years to defeat the FMLN militarily, Washington is not about to give up now. Count on ARENA and its U.S. patrons in the White House to launch an all out red-baiting assault to prevent the FMLN from coming to power through the ballot box and thereby halting the further spread of the Pink Tide which is sweeping through Central America. Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Hugo Chavez: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the U.S. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), and Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left (Palgrave Macmillan, April 2008). --------19 of 19-------- From: Marco Dávila Subject: Salvador/FMLN de Minnesota FMLN stands for Frente Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. FMLN is a revolutionary movement that formed after the peace agreements of 1992. It became a political party in order to fight and defend the rights of the Salvadoran working class (the majorities). FMLN de Minnesota has been working since November 10th, 2007. Our objective is to organize and inform the Salvadoran community and other communities in Minnesota. Our mission is to make Salvadorans aware of the neccesity of a change of government in our country. Our vision is fight for a more humane government. Our committee is actively participating in different struggles. We organize community events with the purpose of informing Salvadorans and others about what's going on in El Salvador. Here is the invitation we would like to make to your audience (English and Spanish) FMLN de Minnesota les invita a una recaudación de fondos en la casa del cubano el día Sábado 17 de Mayo del 2008. Para mas información mandanos un email: fmlnminnesota [at] gmail.com visita nuestro espacio de noticias: www.fmlnminnesota.blogspot.com FMLN de Minnesota invites you to a FUNDRAISING party in cubano's house. When: Saturday May 17th For more information send us an email: fmlnminnesota [at] gmail.com visit our blogspot: www.fmlnminnesota.blogspot.com In solidarity Marco of the FMLN ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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