Progressive Calendar 05.23.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 23 May 2008 02:51:25 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.23.08

1. Moyers/chem-food 5.23 9pm

2. Peace walk       5.24 9am Cambridge MN
3. Walk v weapons   5.24 10:30am
4. NWN4P Mtka       5.24 11am
5. Mini garden      5.24 11:30am
6. Northtown vigil  5.24 2pm
7. Jesus/Gitmo/play 5.24 7pm
8. Iran/CTV         5.24 9pm

9. Sami/Iraq        5.25 9/11am
10. Prison book     5.25 9am
11. Iraq vet v war  5.25 9:30am
12. StillwaterVigil 5.25 1pm
13. Peace/KFAI      5.25 6pm
14. Make banners    5.25-26

15. Peace walk      5.26 6pm RiverFalls WI
16. Amnesty Intl    5.26 7pm

17. Jeffrey StClair - Courting Jim Crow/gothic politics of Hillary Clinton
18. Vijay Prashad   - The revelation of Bill Clinton
19. Vijay Prashad   - Southern strategy redux/racist grammar
20. John Kelley     - Why our national denial is killing us

--------1 of 20--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at]>
Subject: Moyers/chem-food 5.23 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | Chemicals in Food

"Bill Moyers Journal and Expose: America's Investigative Reports examine
why, even though studies show that the chemical Bisphenol A can cause
cancer and other health problems in lab animals, the manufacturers, their
lobbyists, and US regulators say it's safe."

--------2 of 20--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 5.24 9am Cambridge MN

5.24 and every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street

--------3 of 20--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Walk v weapons 5.24 10:30am

ACTION: WAMM Walk Against Weapons
Saturday, May 24, 10:30 a.m. Meet at Alliant Techsystems (ATK) Old
Corporate Headquarters, 5050 Lincoln Drive, Edina.

Participate in the WAMM Walk Against Weapons, a 5.5 mile walk replacing
the discontinued Headwaters Walk for Justice. The walk is a protest as
well as a fundraiser for WAMM and is in collaboration with AlliantACTION,
a local group that holds weekly vigils at ATK, the largest Minnesota-based
military contractor. The walk will start at ATK's old corporate
headquarters and will end at ATK's new corporate headquarters. Support
cars will accompany to provide lifts along the way for those who don't
wish to walk the entire route and to provide rides back to the starting
location. Last chance to raise funds! Those who are unable to participate
in the Walk Against Weapons, can still support the event by sending a
check to WAMM at 310 East 38th Street, Suite 222, Minneapolis, MN 55409
(please note Walk Against Weapons in the memo line). FFI and Pledge Forms:
Call 612-827-5364 or visit <>.

--------4 of 20--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 5.24 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the
fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.

--------5 of 20--------

From: Do it Green! <Do_it_Green [at]>
Subject: Mini garden 5.24 11:30am

Green-It-Yourself: Plant Your Own Mini Garden
Sat, May 24th  Stop in anytime between 11:30am-2pm
Do It Green! Resource Center located inside Twin Cities Green (2405
Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls)

Stop by Twin Cities Green anytime during our Green-It-Yourself event and
get your hands dirty! Plant your own mini garden using seeds and supplies
donated by Mother Earth Gardens, a sustainable, organic plant center in
South Minneapolis. The Do It Green! Team will be available to answer
questions about organic gardening, container gardening and more.

A suggested donation of $5 can be made online or at each workshop. Do It
Green! is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization, so we greatly appreciate
your support!

Sign up online, email ami [at] or call 612-345-7973 to
reserve your spot at the workshops!
See website for more details and to sign up for the workshops!

--------6 of 20--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.24 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

--------7 of 20--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Jesus/Gitmo/play 5.24 7pm

written & performed by MATHEW VAKEY
at the SPIRIT IN THE HOUSE festival
Jesus is waiting for you at Guantanamo Bay.

Saturday, May 24 at 7:00
Sunday, May 25 at 2:30 & 5:30

At the Hennipen Methodist Church (511 Lyndale Ave - big church across from
the Walker Art Ctr. in Minneapolis)

"A fresh view of Jesus - heart mixes with humor - to confront American
torture and restore us to our humanity. Don't miss this engaging play,
written and performed by an amazing actor!" Lydia Howell, PULSE Newspaper

I wrote this play 2 years ago thinking that it would have a very short
shelf life.  But Guantanamo is still open, OUR government of the people,
by the people, for the people has still not charged hundreds of prisoners,
has kept some of them prisoner for 6 YEARS without even an opportunity to
argue their innocence.

You have to see this play and bring a friend (or an enemy who disagrees
with you - healthy debate is good!!). Please come see this play and write
the congress.  Protest with WAMM, give money to the Center for Victims of

--------8 of 20--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Iran/CTV 5.24 9pm

Lovely Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!.  Households with basic cable may

Sat, 5/24, 9pm and Tues, 5/27, 8am "Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize
Laureate".  Iranian author, judge, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
Talk at Hamline U in April.

--------9 of 20--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Sami/Iraq 5.25 9/11am

Iraqi-American Sami Rasouli
Sunday, May 25, 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537
Third Avenue South, Minneapolis. Masses. FFI: Call 612-823-8205.

Thursday, May 29, 7:00 p.m. St. James Lutheran Church, 6700 46th Place
North (corner of Hampshire), Crystal. Northwest Neighbors for Peace

Sami Rasouli is an Iraqi-American who has spent the last three years
living in the city of Najaf, Iraq and traveling throughout Iraq in his
work with the Muslim Peacemakers Team (MPT). He will talk about "the
surge" and ongoing occupation, his work for peace and national
reconciliation, and the projects of the MPT. He will also share stories of
people he has met and give a first-hand account of conditions in Iraq
today. Hear about the situation on the ground from a true peacemaker. FFI:
Call 612-522-1861.

--------10 of 20--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Prison book 5.25 9am

Join the Women's Prison Book Project for a Marathon Mailing next
Sunday, May 25th, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.!!!

We're gearing up for summer and trying to catch up on all of our orders.
At last year's marathon mailing, we sent more than 500 packages to women
in prison. Come be part of the fun as we try to break that record! Feel
free to join us for all or part of this mailing extravaganza. If you've
always wanted to volunteer, this would be a great time to start. If you're
an experienced order filler or packer, we need your help, too.

Please feel free to contact us with questions at wpbp [at]

--------11 of 20--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: Iraq vet v war 5.25 9:30am

Sunday May 25th, Brandon Day at the First Unitarian Society
Brandon Day, leader of Iraq Vets Against War - Minnesota Chapter, will
share his experience as a recent participant in "Winter Soldier: Iraq and
Afghanistan" at the First Unitarian Society Forum, Sunday May 25th, 9:30
AM.  The Forum takes place in the Lower Auditorium , 900 Mt. Curve,
Minneapolis, 55408 (back entrance is just south of the Walker Art Center)

Brian was one of the hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who
traveled to the D.C. area in March to provide testimony of their military
experiences or support the testimony of others. He will share this with us
on May 25th; the is no charge and all are welcome. For information, Carole

--------12 of 20--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 5.25 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

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

--------13 of 20--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Peace/KFAI 5.25 6pm


Memorial Day should be a time to soberly remember the costs of war--NOT
romanitcize warfare and exploit the deaths of soldiers in order to get
more young people to join the military.

We dig deeply into the roots of war, asking questions rarely asked, with
voices excluded from corporate media. What role does racism play in
manufacturing public support to invade other countries? How does gender
and sex roles indoctrinate young people into becoming soldiers? What role
do conscientious objectors and those challenging military recruiters in
public schools have to play in ending war?

CHANTE WOLF, Veterans for Peace
Richard Broderick of MN POETS AGAINST WAR

Poetry & music by diverse artists

Produced & hosted by Lydia Howell, (who doez the CATALYST show on KFAI

KFAI Radio 90.3fm Mpls 106.7fm St.Paul
all shows archived for 2 weeks after broadcastat

--------14 of 20--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Make banners 5.25-26

The "If I Had a Banner" Project
Sunday, May 25 and Monday, May 26 Apple Valley. All Twin Cities peace
activists - the more creative the better - are invited to a major banner
painting and strategizing party in Ross and Coleen Rowley's driveway
(weather permitting) in Apple Valley over Memorial Day weekend). Hotdogs,
drinks and music provided. Please bring all the old thread-bare flat
sheets of any size that you can find (light or white flat sheets work
best). The hope is to produce 100 new colorful banners to be used to
launch new peace vigils from area footbridges by late August so our RNC
and media guests will literally be surrounded in the Twin Cities by
messages calling for an end to the war. FFI and Directions: Call Ross

--------15 of 20--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 5.26 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]

Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls, Wisconsin 54022

--------16 of 20--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 5.26 7pm

Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, May 26th, from 7:00 to 8:00
p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street,
Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at 612/378-1166 or
johns779 [at]

--------17 of 20--------

Courting Jim Crow
The Gothic Politics of Hillary Clinton
May 21, 2008

Hillary Clinton famously found her voice in New Hampshire, but it took the
senator until West Virginia to relocate her inner child. Yes, she's once
again embraced the Goldwater Girl of her youth.

Once upon a time while she was still the front-runner, Hillary chastised
Barack Obama for his nave pledge to take unilateral action to assassinate
by cruise missile Osama Bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda leadership if their
hideaway in the mountains of Pakistan could ever be located. She said such
a strike would be destabilizing and in contravention of international law.
Now Mrs. Clinton, following in the footsteps of her hero Goldwater, is
vowing to take unilateral nuclear action to obliterate an entire nation:

In Clinton's mind, this political regression has been validated by her
wins in the Wal-Mart Belt of Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, states
where her terms on the union-busting board of Wal-Mart are viewed as a
political asset.

Hillary's neo-populism seems to have been grafted from the virulent stock
of Orval Faubus and George Wallace, which fused anti-bank and
anti-corporate oratory with rancid segregationist rants. (For more on the
origins of the southern populist Dixiecrats read Robert Sherrill's The
Gothic Politics of the Deep South, one of the most instructive books ever
written on American politics.) But whereas Faubus and Wallace actually
delivered some economic crumbs to poor southern whites, Hillary offers
mainly hollow and strained rhetoric. Clinton is constitutionally wedded to
a stern neoliberalism, a disposition she can't fully camouflage.

Long ago, the states of Kentucky and West Virginia entered into an
economic suicide pact with Big Coal. The bill for this grim Faustian
bargain has finally come due with chronic unemployment, busted unions,
poisoned water, pulverized mountains, rampant environmental illnesses and
chronic privation. Yet, all Clinton had to offer this desolate region was
a vow to fund clean coal technologies. Clean coal is the biggest con job
since energy deregulation, another fraudulent scheme unleashed in Clinton
time. Low-sulfur coal isn't clean and the latest method for extracting
those black seams constitutes the most devastating form of mining yet
invented: mountaintop removal. Using this barbaric method, Big Coal is
steadily decapitating Appalachia and burying its valleys and hollows under
mounds of toxic detritus. Communities and watersheds be damned.

Another example. Hillary came to Oregon last week. She didn't draw 75,000
people for a speech on the banks of the Willamette River in Portland, as
Obama did. Instead she headed to Beaverton, the posh suburb of Portland
that is home to Nike, where she held a press conference in an empty
subdivision of new upscale homes that had sat unsold for the past year.
Most of the people who voted for her in West Virginia don't earn enough in
ten years of hard labor to pay for one of these houses. She communed with
the developer, commiserating over the hard times of the real estate

In recent weeks, the growing ranks of the homeless had camped out in front
of the Portland mayor Tom Potter's office, demanding more humane
treatment. It apparently didn't occur to Hillary to ask her developer pals
to open up those vacant houses to shelter the economic refugees of the
Bush era.

With his solid win in Oregon, Obama has now earned a majority of pledged
delegates. He has also surpassed Clinton in super delegates. But the
finality of this mathematical threshold hasn't deterred Hillary, who vows
to fight on until "we have a nominee - whoever she may be." Indeed,
Clinton is now claiming incredulously that she is the popular vote leader,
a number that can only be achieved if ballots cast by blacks only count as
half a vote. (Obama currently leads Clinton by nearly 500,000 votes.)

Increasingly, Clinton is operating in a virtual reality programmed by her
pollster Mark Penn during his downtime from working for the butchers of
Colombia.  Adhering to Penn's fatal calculus, Clinton has endeavored to
re-segregate the Democratic Party electorate into demographic segments and
then pitted them against each other. The Clinton campaign has
intentionally inflamed these simmering antagonisms: black versus Hispanic,
black versus white, black versus older women, white collar versus blue
collar, young versus old, under-educated versus college grad.

Back in the 1980s, Lee Atwater constructed an illusory Big Tent for
Republicans, welcoming inside the Reagan Democrats - if only to soon
betray their core interests.  This was called the politics of expansion.
In contrast, Clinton and Penn are cynically attempting to contract the
Democratic base by provoking an internal Hobbesian free-for-all - total
warfare of the factions.

What was once coded is now explicit. Clinton openly talks about her appeal
among "working, hard working, white voters". The implication here is that
blacks are lazy, shiftless and on the welfare dole and that perhaps only
half of their votes should count. But shouldn't someone remind her that
her husband dismantled welfare? Perhaps her former mentor Marian Wright
Edelman should make the call.

Coming from a Wellesley grad who just loaned her own campaign nearly $12
million, Hillary's attempts to peg Obama as an elitist requires a degree
of chutzpah that might make Alan Dershowitz tingle with envy. But when the
Clintons tag Obama as an elitist, they don't mean primarily that he is
rich (which he is) but that he's an "uppity nigger".

The Clinton camp has become so entrenched in their racial rhetoric that
I've begun to wonder if they begin their morning strategy sessions with a
screening of the Rodney King beating tape as a motivational tool.

For the dull-witted, Clinton's surrogates are sent out spell it out in
capital letters. Obama used cocaine (Bob Johnson). Obama's middle name is
"Hussein" (Bob Kerrey).  Obama is a master of "shuck and jive" (Andrew
Cuomo). Obama is another Jesse Jackson (Bill Clinton). Obama's story is a
fairy tale (ditto). And, most recently, Geraldine Ferraro told the Los
Angeles Times that Obama is a "sexist" (most black men are, right?) and
she won't vote for him if he is the nominee.

To sum up: Obama is a drug abuser, a huckster, a secret Muslim, a con
artist and a misogynist. And that's without dragging Jeremiah Wright into
the scenario.

Numerically, Obama sewed up the nomination back in March. Since then the
Clinton campaign has been running largely on the fumes of her own ego, at
a cost of a million dollars a day.  How then can she justify persisting,
especially with a campiagn freighted with such malignant themes?

Her campaign now resembles a political neutron bomb that wipes out all
living contenders and leaves only the super-structure of her own
aspiration standing.  Apparently, the idea is to crush the interloper
Obama, either in Denver, through some deus ex machina of spineless
super-delegates stampeding her way, or to have McCain do her work for her
so that she can challenge the septuagenarian in 2012. If so, her motto
will be the familiar taunt of the schoolhouse tattletale: "I told you so".

If Obama survives the primaries and falls to McCain in November, Hillary
will attempt to remake the Democratic Party in her own image. It will
replay of the origin of the conservative DLC, designed by her husband and
Lieberman to keep the party from falling into the hands of Jesse Jackson
and the Rainbow Coalition. This time the C will stand for Clinton.

The Clintons have always been graceless and petulant in defeat. They seek
to destroy any defectors from their camp (c.f., Bill "Judas" Richardson).
Now that NARAL has jilted Clinton for Obama, Hillary is probably
contemplating coming out in favor parental notification for teenage
abortions and joining the next senate filibuster against stem cell

Meanwhile, Obama is daily being drained of any vestigial progressive
instinct. In order to prove he's not an appeaser of Hezbollah, Obama is
pledging to beef up funding of the Lebanese army and paramilitaries, a
disastrous scheme that will only exacerbate a fractious situation. If this
keeps up, there will soon be demands that Obama annul his marriage to the
seditious Michelle, the last affirmative reason to vote for him in my

With the walls closing in around her, Hillary unveiled a final argument:
Karl Rove, the man John Conyers wants to put in leg-irons in the crypt of
the Capitol, says she's the better candidate against McCain. Rove also
swore there were weapons of mass destruction. Clinton fell for that one,

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green
to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book,
Born Under a Bad Sky, is just out from AK Press / CounterPunch books. He
can be reached at: sitka [at]

--------18 of 20--------

The Revelation of Bill Clinton
Vijay Prashad
May, 22 2008

When Bill Clinton ran for the White House in 1992, I was deeply annoyed.
He represented so much that we, on the left, despised: the reaction within
the ranks of the Democratic Party's elite that wanted to "save" the party
from what it saw as the excesses of a combination of the New Left, the
already declining trade unions, and, most importantly, the Rainbow
cultivated and mobilized by Jesse Jackson's two runs for the presidency
(1984 and 1988).

The Democratic Leadership Council, the "left-wing" of the Republican
Party, wanted to be able to rely upon the mass base of the unionists and
people of color, but it did not want the unions and the civil rights
organizations dictating its agenda. Clinton was the DLC in 1992. He was
despised by the rank and file trade unionists, most of whom turned out to
vote for Jerry Brown and Paul Tsongas (who had already left the race) in
the Connecticut primary. Brown opposed NAFTA and endorsed the concept of a
living wage, both positions anathema to Clinton. Few of us on the left
went into that general election, and into the Clinton years, with any

Indeed, Clinton was true to his word. On "free trade" (NAFTA), Clinton led
the way, pushed by the Wall Street moguls who ran his cabinet. His assault
on the working-class was brutal, with three bills in particular targeted
to hem in the "disposable Americans" from being too rowdy or having any
means to social democratic relief; the 1994 Crime Act, the 1996 Welfare
Reform Act and the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. The Crime bill
sent more police into the streets of a jobless urban America, and it sent
those who should have been in school and in jobs to a vastly expanded

The welfare reform bill threw families to the wolves, breaking down the
already modest social welfare system in place that helped, in particular,
single mothers. There was no compassionate liberalism for this section of
the working class. The Glass-Steagall bill was decimated in cahoots with
the repellent Phil Gramm; the walls that separated the divisions of
finance, real estate and insurance, and between commercial retail and
investment banks crumbled and set the stage for the current banking
crisis. The victims here are the working-class, who are going to pay the
largest share of the skyrocketing national debt.

Ralph Nader's run for the presidency in 1996 was perhaps his most
important gesture, although he did not earn even a million votes. Against
the dyspeptic Bob Dole, Clinton had to win (the only primary challenge,
briefly, came from the late Bob Casey of Pennsylvania). What protected
Clinton were two features: (1) he was an incredibly charismatic person. I
saw him in Hartford during his second term, and was surprised by his
ability to connect to people even in the superficial way of modern retail
politics. (2) the massive attack from the right over his sexual relations
with an intern had liberals, and even some on the left, circling the
wagons to defend him. The braying of the right was so abhorrent and
hypocritical that Clinton gained some measure of forgiveness from those
who were otherwise livid with him. It was in this context that Toni
Morrison said that he was being treated like a black man: given no
quarter, shown no mercy, but treated as guilty as charged without any
consideration or process (the O. J. Simpson affair ran from 1994 to 1997,
and is the fore-runner of the impeachment proceeding which began in 1998).

But now, finally, Clinton has given us some honesty. He has opened his
heart during this primary season, joining Hilary Clinton in pandering to
the Old South, the hard-core racist white bloc that was never reconciled
to Civil Rights, that continues to blame blacks for the vivisection of
their economic fortunes. It is this bloc that handed Hilary Clinton the
primaries of Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky. Knowing
full well that the world has changed, West Virginia's senator, Robert
Byrd, hastened to endorse Obama even as his state went to Clinton by 40
percentage points.

Byrd is the arch segregationist [and former KKK member] who filibustered
the Civil Rights Act for fourteen hours. The New South, energized by the
enfranchised black vote, is in formation, but it has not yet made it to
West Virginia and Kentucky (black population is 3.3% and 7% respectively).
Bill Clinton strode through these white towns, which have voted Republican
in the general election since at least 2000. He used coded racist
language, that Obama does not speak for "people like you," and suggested
that Obama is defined by his race whereas Hilary Clinton is not. These
suggestions played well in the electorate, a substantial number of whom
said that they would never vote for a black man. This is Clinton's final
legacy: the intensified racism of his policies in office are now openly
declared in his gambit against Obama for Hilary Clinton. A man who lied
about and then admitted that he had betrayed the trust of a young intern
now says that Hilary Clinton has been a victim of "moments of gender
bias." Nothing said about his own sexist behavior with women like Paula
Jones or his racist and sexist policies while in office.

In the current issue of the "New Yorker," George Packer has a useful
article on the shambles that has befallen institutional conservatism. The
subtitle of the article asks, "Have the Republicans run out of ideas?"
Much the same kind of obituary is necessary for the DLC, which mirrored
the Republican idea machine. Packer does not raise this issue. The DLC is
equally marooned on ideas that are not so much anachronistic as failures
(they were bad ten years ago as well). The Republicans have begun a period
of rethinking, but most of their thinkers are allergic to revision. For
them it is encore un effort! Much the same for the DLC, whose people are
more interested, like Karl Rove, in winning elections than in the
importance of governing (Mark Penn is Rove's DLC doppelganger). Will there
be new ideas and policies to befit the structural problems that bedevil
the world population, or even just the US population? Will Barack Obama
revive a mild version of the New Deal, a green capitalism, or will he too
become entangled in yesterday's bad ideas? This is not on the table. What
we have is the enduring racism of the Clintons and their DLC legacy
shaping the next Democratic presidency.

If Obama has done one thing that is already monumental it is that his
campaign has brought out vast numbers of black voters, inspired by his
presence and his message of hope, and they, in their numbers, have offered
both a sterling critique of Diebold and a redemption of the hollowed
Voting Rights Act. Their numbers made the difference in the special
elections in Louisiana and in Mississippi, and it will make all the
difference in the general election. This black voting bloc is a standing
rebuke to Clinton's presidency and to the racism of the Clintons. Obama
has done this much. What more he can do is to be seen.

--------19 of 20--------

Southern Strategy Redux
Racist Grammar
May 22, 2008

The "race card" is out in full force. In Tupelo, Mississippi, the
birthplace of Elvis Presley, Republicans want to make their stand against
Democrats. The city is at the centre of the 1st Congressional District,
where a special election was held on May 13. Reliably conservative, the
Republican Party has held the seat for several decades. The seat was hard
fought between the Democrat Travis Childers and the Republican Greg Davis.
Both are white, and both are fairly conservative. They would have to be to
compete in a district that sent George Bush back to the White House in
2004 with a plurality.

The Republican Party sent out its heavy hitters (Vice-President Dick
Cheney among others) to prevent a Democratic victory in the Deep South.
They did not want the Democrats to use this victory as a harbinger of what
is to come this November: an across-the-board Democratic victory against a
party too closely identified with the Iraq debacle and the imploding
economy. For Republicans, it was far better to turn this election into a
mandate on race than to allow the real grievances of the population to
enter the ballot box.

One part of the onslaught against Childers, who eventually won the
election, was that he was in the same party as Barack Obama.
Advertisements using images of Obama with Childers, drawing on fears that
Childers is as liberal as Obama, flooded television channels. But this was
not just about politics. It was also about reviving fears that Childers
was too closely affiliated with a powerful black man.

This was the old Republican playbook, which was well crafted during the
Nixon years and named the "Southern Strategy". In 1964 and 1968, the
overtly racist George Wallace ran for President on his own party ticket.
Wallace's run created the basis for a racist coalition against the
victories of the civil rights movement. It was this coalition that was
adopted by Nixon into the Republican Party, and which became its base for
the next 30 years. A combination of poor whites, whose only claim to
dignity was that they were legally superior to blacks, and the big
business faction threw its support behind the racist populism of

When Ronald Reagan ran for office in 1980, he went to the town of
Philadelphia, Mississippi, just to the south of the 1st Congressional
District to announce his candidacy. In 1964, a group of white supremacists
killed three civil rights workers in this small town of several thousand.
Reagan chose it not for its numbers but as a symbol of the Republicans'
quiet solidarity with entrenched racism.

Reagan returned in 1984 and chanted "The South Will Rise Again", a
long-time favourite phrase of the racist Ku Klux Klan. Rather than
consider that it was his own policies of privatisation and deregulation
that threatened the livelihood and dignity of the white working class,
Reagan and Republicans put the onus on what they called "special
interests", whose main beneficiary, they pointed out, were blacks. Hatred
for the advancement of blacks and an irrational fear of "black domination"
allowed Republicans to package themselves as the defenders of "American
values" and "state's rights", code phrases for racism in a world that no
longer honours overt racism.

                          Coded language

Overwhelmed by the Obama phenomenon, Hillary Clinton and her team have
resorted to the kind of coded language that appeals to this racist voting
bloc. After her loss in the South Carolina primary, where the Democratic
electorate is substantially black, Hillary Clinton's husband, Bill, told
the press, "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in 1984 and 1988. Jackson ran
a good campaign and Obama ran a good campaign here".

On the surface, this is empirically true. However, a little beneath the
surface lies another reality. The reporters did not ask Bill Clinton about
Jackson, nor did they ask him if Obama ran a good campaign. His statement
was unsolicited. The point he seemed to be making is that Obama won in the
same way as Jackson won: as black men they appealed to the "black vote".
Obama is not a candidate for President, Bill Clinton seemed to suggest,
but a black man who would do well in South Carolina but cannot win the
majority of the votes in the country.

When he was roundly criticised for this remark, Clinton lost his temper
and suggested that he was being unfairly charged with racism and that the
Obama camp "played the race card on me". The Obama people disputed that
their campaign won only because Obama is black, but they did not say that
Clinton was being racist in his comments. He, however, took the occasion
to play the aggrieved white man unfairly called racist. In doing this,
Clinton appealed to those other white men who might find their privileges
threatened by the presence of non-white people in their workplaces and

The surreptitious use of this kind of highly charged race language
continued from South Carolina to Pennsylvania and onward. Eager to win the
"white vote", Hillary Clinton's campaign began to question the ability of
a black man to win over white voters. Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania,
a Clinton supporter, told the press, "Some white Pennsylvanians are likely
to vote against Barack Obama because he is black. You've got conservative
whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready
to vote for an African American candidate".

Bill Clinton went to small Pennsylvania towns, to rooms with all-white
audiences, to warn them that Obama did not represent "voters like you".
After her loss in North Carolina and slight win in Indiana, Hillary
Clinton told the press that Obama does not have the support of "working,
hardworking Americans, white Americans". The only hardworking Americans in
her scenario are white Americans, a view held precisely by those who
believe the racist dogma that non-whites leech the system.

Terms like "swing voters" and warnings about "electability" have swept the
punditocracy, which pretends to be neutral when discussing how the "white
working class" will vote, without a consideration of how the Clinton camp
has joined the Republicans to grow their constituencies on a racist soil.

When Obama's former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, became the focus of
a controversy about his comments on America, Hillary Clinton seized on
them to point out once more that Obama carries too much baggage to appeal
to these "white voters".

Clinton made no noise about the distasteful comments made by John McCain's
religious friend, John Hagee, who attacked the humanity of core Democratic
voters (gays and lesbians, Jews and African Americans).

Wright speaks the "truth to power", arguing that United States history is
filled with examples of the government being unjust to the people. Hagee,
on the other hand, speaks the truth to the powerless, claiming that events
such as Hurricane Katrina occurred because New Orleans is a city that
welcomes gays and lesbians.

Clinton saw the political opening against Obama and took it but did not go
after Hagee-McCain. Making common cause with McCain allowed Hillary
Clinton to appeal once more to that racist white bloc against Obama. But
this concern for working-class whites is shallow.

In 1995, Hillary Clinton told her husband at a strategy session that he
owed nothing to this demographic which failed to vote for his agenda in
the 1994 midterm election. "Screw 'em," she said. "You don't owe them a
thing, Bill". This section now allows Hillary Clinton a wedge against

                           Obama's appeal

Barack Obama shone in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention. He was a
local politician from Illinois, given the stage at Boston fortuitously, at
John Kerry's request. Obama catapulted himself to fame principally because
he appealed to the population to give up the politics of despair and
cynicism for the "politics of hope".

Obama's slogans "yes we can" and "you are the change you are waiting for"
offered a bright light through the darkness of the Bush years. Few are
untouched by the phenomenon, which is not so much about the actual
programmatic beliefs of Obama as with the sense that the U.S. is not on a
one-way road to destruction. Obama is the parachute to another world.

Hard to beat on these terms, Obama's opponents have turned to the coded
racist grammar perfected by Republicans. But even this is not as effective
as it once was. It gave Hillary Clinton the edge in Pennsylvania, but it
did not give her as much a victory as she wanted in Indiana. In another
special election, in Louisiana, Democrat Don Cazayoux defeated his
Republican rival in a conservative district. The Republicans painted
Cazayoux as a clone of Obama. While that cut into his lead, it could not
bring him down.

The Mississippi election portends a shift in the power of this "white
vote" and the declining significance of racist electioneering. The
Republicans now talk of Obama's "toxicity" in the general election, but
perhaps if the Louisiana and Mississippi elections are any indicator, the
ground might have shifted from Nixon's Southern Strategy. Few can resist
the Obama allure. Even the man who officiated over the wedding of George
Bush's daughter, Reverend Kirbyjon Caldwell, is an Obama supporter. The
race card might finally be trumped.

Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian
History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College,
Hartford, CT His new book is The Darker Nations: A People's History of the
Third World, New York: The New Press, 2007. He can be reached at:
vijay.prashad [at]

This article was originally published by Frontline, India's national

--------20 of 20--------

Changing Ruts
Why Our National Denial is Killing Us
by John Kelley
May 22nd, 2008
Dissident Voice

In the northern Michigan where I spent much of my life, there is an
interesting condition that occurs each spring. The dirt and gravel roads
turn to mud each day as the sun melts the snow and thaws their surface,
and then they freeze each night as the temperature drops. In the daytime
the roads are rivers of mud, making it easy to slide, skid and get stuck.
It gets so bad that some rural schools have mud days, because buses can't
get down the dirt roads without getting stuck.

In the late afternoon the temperature drops refreezing the ruts of the
last vehicles of yesterday in the new day's mud. Driving then isn't that
bad as long as you stay in one of the rows of ruts. Turning is a rough
adventure, as you have to fight the steering wheel to get your car out of
one rut to another. It stays that way for a few weeks to a month, and then
the snow is gone. The ground thoroughly thaws allowing the surface water
to drain away, the grader comes through and the roads return to their
normal washboard surface.

America is stuck in a rut, an invisible rut of our own making. We know we
are in a rut, one that is carrying us off the road, but have little clue
as what to do about it. We know our level of consumption is killing us,
gasoline and food prices being the wakeup call, yet we have no clue as to
how we are going to get out of this mess. Politicians at all levels in
both parties are so dependent on maintaining our path in the rut they
manufacture their own facts to confirm it. The most obvious evidence is to
exclude food and energy prices as a measure of inflation. Hence the fed
can declare inflation still manageable at 1.9% when it is really 11.7%.

The causes of our energy-money trap are many but the biggest one is
policy. Despite identifying the problem of foreign dependence on oil 30
years ago, corporate control of government has kept us on this plan for
self destruction actually increasing our per capita use of oil
significantly during the same time. We have had government officials at
the federal, state and local level who have opposed higher mileage
standards, supported oil company subsidies while reducing them for green
alternatives (Reagan wiped out most of Carter's energy alternative
subsidies in the first 60 days of his administration), encouraged
consumerism around the world to increase profits driving up demand,
loosened investment and banking regulations promoting speculation, and
most importantly reduced our dollar to worthless paper.

To hide our national slide and maintain profits, there has been a
consistent piling up of government debt, a constant attack on wages and
benefits for workers, outsourcing of production capacity, a constant
attack on freedom in the name of security and a steady criminalization of
the poor to justify exclusion from the promise of progress in America.
"Economic Growth" has been completely decoupled from the cost of living
and quality of life.

Bush kicked it up a notch, coming off the dot com crash, then the economic
impact of 9-11 he was looking at sliding into a recession while moving to
control mid-east oil reserves, necessary to maintain an oil based economy.
The solution, run the presses, print money, lower interest rate, moving
from an economy that was based in production to one based in speculation.

To continue to put actual capital into the economy required getting
citizens to give up the equity capital they held. That was done by
promising every day Americans to leverage all of that equity in the great
speculative game of Wall Street speculation including buying their own
debt. That debt was encouraged by pushing bigger houses, SUVs and unneeded
crap on credit cards they couldn't pay for through a whole new spectrum of
"financial products". The result was the biggest transfer of wealth in the
history of the country. As our personal and national debt increases
exponentially, the presses run faster and faster to keep the bubble
growing to prevent the inevitable collapse, insuring it will be bigger
when it does happen. When it does the big guys take what is left, your
house, your savings, and your car.

Oil is the new gold, ever rising prices are primarily a response to the
falling dollar. As dollars become worth less, buy oil, because even at the
current price it looks like a good deal in the long run when compared to a
dollar increasingly backed by debt. Oil speculation is basically trading a
commodity falling in value, U.S. Treasury notes and dollars, for a rising
one, oil. Oil companies and speculators are doing just exactly what they
are supposed to do; the criminal part is how they and the politicians they
own have influenced public policy to create this situation in the first
place. We are trapped by our debt, our transportation system, our sprawl,
and our high energy dependent lifestyle but most of all by our denial.

                 Maintaining the National Delusion

How do you keep people in the dark while you are robbing them blind? Pump
up the patriotism and reinforce national delusion. The basis of our common
delusion is the myth of American Exceptionalism and it is deeply embedded
in every American from the time of their birth. American Exceptionalism is
the belief that we are the freest, most moral, best educated, best paid
citizens on earth and that of course, is because we are favored by God.
Consequently we are not only the bastion of the best, we have a duty to
impose this system we have created on every corner of the earth.

This American Exceptionalism is a result of the domination of the
Anglo-Saxon conqueror tribal tradition, the Protestant work ethic that
tells us that wealth is a sign of the favor of God, our geographical and
intellectual isolation from the rest of the world and a national ethic
that raises unbridled greed to a moral imperative. The problem is this rut
is headed off the road into that pile of vehicles that followed it before,
the historical trash bin of dead empires.

History shows that all empires fall and almost always for the same
reasons. They overextend their reach, they depend too much on exploiting
vassal states for their production, class differences become extreme, and
they tend to destroy their own environment. Their leaders become
increasingly corrupt infecting all levels of governance under the illusion
their personal wealth can somehow exclude them from the certain coming
consequences they try and hide from the general populace. We are in the
rut of empires, the consequences are certain unless we get out of that

                      Symptoms of a Dying Empire

According to the World Health Organization we rank last among
industrialized countries (and behind many non-industrialized countries) in
all measures of healthcare including; infant mortality, life expectancy,
accessibility, satisfaction and pay twice as much for the privilege. We
rank 8th in per capita income and that doesn't deduct what we pay for
healthcare and other services provided nationally in other countries. We
are 18th in educational attainment and 13th in higher education
affordability. But we have more liberty and freedom than anyone, right? In
freedom of the press we rank 17th, freedom from corruption for business
and government 20th, overall freedom and civil liberty 15th.

We are still number one in a number of things that mark a failing empire;
number one among democratic nations in surveillance of its citizens, the
largest military in the world (almost bigger then the rest of the world
combined), child poverty among industrialized nations and the largest
number of incarcerated citizens (25% of the world's total). Of course we
are also the leader in global greenhouse gas production.

We also export these things, many of the nations (at least those with oil)
we support have terrible human rights records (Uzbekistan, they boil
dissenters there), dictatorships (Nigeria), overthrowing democracies
(Haiti) and leave them in horrible poverty except for the elite governing
class if they do not ascribe to American policy. Then there is always the
main beneficiary of our largess in both civil and military aid, Israel,
the pseudo democracy that maintains the largest concentration camps in the
world called the West Bank and Gaza.

The result of this dominance and corruption of power has resulted in our
6% of the population being able to devour 26% of the world's resources
every year. The state of the world is a collective problem, if we aren't
willing to give up some of our individual greed and sense of entitlement
this empire will go the way of all the others. Persia, Egypt, Rome, the
Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany are just a few of the empires who
thought they were exceptional and superior as well. The history is clear,
those who accepted their change in status and became partners in world
survived, those that didn't were destroyed. We definitely need to get out
of this rut.

John M. Kelley is the Managing Editor of We the People News, a monthly
progressive newsmagazine in based in Corpus Christi, Texas. He can be
reached at: editor [at] Read other articles by John,
or visit John's website.

This article was posted on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 at 9:03 am and is
filed under Capitalism, Class, Economy/Economics, Finance, General. Send
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