Progressive Calendar 06.13.06
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 03:47:06 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     06.13.06

1. Candid Cam           6.13 9:30am
2. Cuba Cuba/KFAI       6.13 11am
3. Be the media/CTV     6.13 5pm
4. Ecology/GPSP         6.13 6pm
5. Green Party          6.13 6:30pm
6. Soul unburdening     6.13 6:30pm
7. Vegan/eat/fund       6.13 6:30pm
8. mn911                6.13 7pm

9. GP press conf        6.14 10am
10. Democracy/theocracy 6.14 11:30am
11. Violence/HIV        6.14 11:30am
12. Northland bioneers  6.14 5pm
13. SPIF happy hour     6.14 6pm
14. Tibet/torture       6.14 6pm
15. Rights dinner       6.14 5pm
16. London bombings     6.14 7pm
17. No Anoka stadium    6.14 7pm
18. Vets 4 peace        6.14 7pm Redwing MN
19. Peoples open mic    6.14 7pm
20. Papa "AG" Kolstad   6.14 7pm
21. AI StPaul           6.14 7:30pm

22. David Walsh - RP anti-gay marriage amendment cynical & reactionary
23. Patrick Martin - US Senate majority backs windfall for the rich
24. ed          - Ticks (poem)
25. ed          - Polymorph pink pluckers (poem)

--------1 of 25--------

From: Cam Gordon <CamGordon333 [at]>
Subject: Candid Cam 6.13 9:30am

Cam Gordon, Council Member, Second Ward 612-673-2202 (w) 612-296-0579 (c)

Office Hours: every Tuesday morning in the Second Ward 9:30-11am.  The
locations will rotate as follows, so that I can meet with residents in
their own neighborhoods:

Second Tuesdays:
Prospect Park / East River Road neighborhood
Pratt School, 66 Malcolm Ave SE

--------2 of 25--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Cuba Cuba/KFAI 6.13 11am

Hear about CUBA! on KFAI

Tune in to CATALYST:politics & culture hosted by LYDIA HOWELL the next 2
Tuesdays, June 13 & June 20, 11am (archived 2 weeks after broadcaSt on KFAI RADIO, 90.3fm Mpls 106.7fm St Paul

Hear a wonderful conversation with Rev. THOMAS SMITH,a harlem minister,
with PASTORS FOR PEACE, who's leading this year's CARACAN TO CUBA,
challenging the U/S. blockade of our Carribean enighbor for over 45 years.
Rev. Smith has traveld to Cuba annually for 10 years and he gives an
inspiring glimpse of the REALITY of life in Cuba that the U.S.government
does NOT want you to know: universal healthcare, quality 3education ffrom
k-college, for ALL. A vibrant culture of all the arts and free expressoin
of religion. Plus: hear aobut this year's Caravan, which is stoppping at
120 American cities and towns on the way to Cuba(inlcuding MINNEAPOLIS:
JUNE 22 @ St.Albert the Great Church. For local event info & Caravan info:
email: MNCubaCommittee [at]

CATALYST, Tues.11am, KFAI archived 2 weeks aftre broadcast
Tues. JUNE 13, 11am: Part one of conversation with REV. THOMAS SMITH on
CUBA. Plus a conversation with MEENA NATARAJAN, director and playwright of
17) about one of the largest migrations in human history:when the
partition of India and Pakistan happened in 1947-48.

Tues. JUNE 29: Pt.2 with REV. THOMAS SMITH on CUBA.
An event celebrating CUAB with music, food and updates Thur.JUNE 22, St
Albert the Great Church in south MInneapolis. For info: email
MNCubaCommittee [at] UPDATE Cuba 5 case.

[LyDiA is UNABLE to SPEAK without LOTS of CAPs. -ed]

--------3 of 25--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Be the media 6.13 5pm

Dear St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:

While we still have public access tv (see: for the
reference), select SPNN Channel 15 for "Our World In Depth/Our World
Today".  Show times are 5 pm and midnight on Tuesday evenings and 10 am on
Wednesday mornings.

"Our World In Depth/Our World Today" features analysis of public affairs
with consideration of and participation from Twin Cities area activists.
The show is local and not corporately influenced (get it while you can!).

Schedule for the next FIVE weeks:

6/13 and 6/14 "Be the Media"
w/Twin Cities Indymedia representatives John Slade and Erik Forman.

6/20 and 6/21 "Medicare Part D"
w/Joel Albers of UHCAN-MN and John Schwarz.

6/27 and 6/28 "De-deifying the Market"
w/economist Karen Redleaf.

7/4 and 7/5 (repeat) "De-deifying the Market"
w/economist Karen Redleaf.

7/11 and 7/12 "Coke and Pepsi: Hard Questions for Soft Drinks"
w/Sanat Mohanty from India and Gerardo Cajamarca (Merideth Cleary
interpreting) from Columbia.

All shows are hosted by Eric Angell.
ALSO on SPNN at 8:30pm Thursdays: Altera Vista.
For information about future programing of "Our World In Depth/Our World
Today", please send an e-mail to eric-angell [at]

--------4 of 25--------

From: Krisrose02 [at]
Subject: Ecology/GPSP 6.13 6pm

The Coffee Grounds, Falcon Heights/Roseville, 6pm
[Hamline Av 3 blocks S of Larpenteur Av]

The Green Party of StPaul ecology Committee is committed to exploring the
ecological concerns of residents of St.Paul and the 4th Congressional
District.  We will work to promote responsible ecological practices and
policy in our District, and to implement the environmental justice section
of our Green Vision which reads:

"Clean air, clean water, and land free from toxic substances are keys to
quality of life and fundamental to the health of our citizens, especially

"As a Green city, St. Paul will work to reduce all local sources
of air pollution, including automobile traffic and coal-burning power

"It will eliminate lawn chemicals that poison the Mississippi and will
follow up on the great step it made in separating the storm and sanitary
sewer systems by constantly monitoring and upgrading its waste-treatment

"But there are factors that St. Paul alone cannot wholly control:
agricultural chemicals from upstream farms pollute the Mississippi, while
mercury and fine particulates from unregulated power plants to the west
contribute to its increasing number of air-quality alerts. These will
require active work on the state and national level."

Contact: Kristen Olson - _kristenolson [at] mngreens.org_
(mailto:kristenolson [at]  ,  651-210-0789
Meets second Tuesday, monthly.

--------5 of 25--------

From: Wyn Douglas <wyn_douglas [at]>
Subject: Green Party 6.13 6:30pm

Fellow Greens,
We are gearing up for a big Summer. There are parades to walk in, events
to table at, conventions to attend and elections to win!

YOUR energy is needed to help knock on doors, make some calls, talk to
your friends ... any and all support you can give to the Party and
candidates this Summer will help build the Party and bring Green values to
the state of Minnesota.

If you were ever looking for evidence of Greens relevance, look no further
than the topics of conversation around the nation: Americans are sick of
violence and war in Iraq, they want a new energy infrastructure that will
reduce carbon fuel reliance and reduce pollution and they want everyone to
have access to the same health care as a right.

Now is the time for Greens to become more vocal about these issues which
have been the bedrock of our platform for quite some time, and push them
into becoming a reality!

The Fundraising Committee needs your help NOW. In order to send our GPUS
delegates to the National Convention, set up a table and reach out to
Minnesotans at our State Fair Booth and provide support for our Local
Parties and candidates around the State, we need to ask our fellow Greens
for help.

This week, Tuesday the 13th, Wednesday the 14th and Thursday the 15th,
Greens will be gathering at the State Party office (621 W Lake St,
Minneapolis) at 6:30pm to contact other Greens around the state and ask
for their support. If you're unable to come on out, please consider
contributing to the Party. You can do so on the web site or by mailing the
office. If you're unfamiliar with the PCRP program, it's a way in which
people can donate $50 each to the Party and get a receipt to submit to the
State and then get your $50 refunded. Please consider supporting the Party
in any way, shape or form you're able.

This is not merely about fundraising, although it is a big reason we're
getting together this week. This is also about re-energizing each other
for a big push this Summer.

I have heard talk recently about Greens becoming irrelevant or marginal.
Truly, I believe this couldn't be further from the truth.  Today, our
issues are on the minds of every American after championing justice for
decades. Minnesota, and the United States, need us now more than ever.

Come out this week for one, two or three nights. Get involved with a
campaign. Join a committee. Whatever you do this Summer, make it Green.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, about anything you like.  I
hope to see you sometime this Summer!

Wyn Douglas Finance Chair, GPMN

--------6 of 25--------

From: Patty Guerrero <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Soul unburdening 6.13 6:30pm

This Tuesday, June 13, we will have Open Discussion.

Pax Salons ( ) are held (unless otherwise
noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943
W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

--------7 of 25--------

From: Benjamin Acaso <acas0002 [at]>
Subject: Vegan/eat/fund 6.13 6:30pm

Join Compassionate Action for Animals, for great vegan/vegetarian eats at
Galactic Pizza next Tuesday, June 13! The restaurant offers an amazing
array of vegan pizza toppings including gooey soy cheese, mock duck, and
organic veggies. Galactic Pizza will also be donating fifteen percent of
its profits to CAA this Tuesday (and every other 2nd Tuesday evening of
the month).

This will be a great time to meet local vegetarians, eat delicious food,
and support the cause. Please RSVP with Ben at ben [at] or check out for more info.

>From 6:30-8:30pm on Tuesday, June 13
Galactic Pizza, 2917 Lyndale Ave S. in Uptown, Minneapolis

Benjamin Acaso Compassionate Action for Animals
ben [at]

--------8 of 25--------

From: altera vista <alteravista [at]>
Subject: mn911 6.13 7pm

Next meeting of the 911 group:  Tuesday, June 13, 7 pm, Lori's Coffee House,
on Cleveland at Buford, St. Paul, across from St. Paul U of M campus.  Note
change from Monday evening to Tuesday evening, a permanent change.

--------9 of 25--------

From: Krisrose02 [at]
Subject: GP press conf 6.14 10am

Endorsed Candidates to Hold Press Conference 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 14,
on the State Capitol Stairs.

Rhoda Gilman, Green Party of Minnesota  Politics Chair, 651-224-6383,
rhodagilman [at]

Minneapolis, Minnesota -- Minnesota Green Party members gathered Saturday,
June 3, in Duluth for their biennial convention and voted to endorse
candidates for U.S. Senate, Governor and Attorney General.

The Greens endorsed Michael Cavlan for the U.S. Senate seat now held by
Senator Mark Dayton. Cavlan is a registered nurse, and an activist in the
peace and justice movement. Cavlan's platform focuses on creating a
Universal Single-Payer Healthcare system, ending the war on Iraq,
realigning U.S. foreign policy to better address the roots of terrorism,
ensuring transparency and accountability of elections and voting
technologies, implementing sustainable energy and agricultural policies,
and protecting and empowering local family farms and small businesses.

"Working class people and members of the peace and justice community must
have a voice in our society and in the political system," Cavlan said,
"Corporate money must be removed as an influence in our government. We
will work to preserve and rekindle our democracy."

Greens also endorsed Ken Pentel for Governor. Pentel was the Green Party's
gubernatorial candidate in 1998 and in 2002. Pentel has spent the last 20
years working for environmental protection and social justice as an
organizer, speaker, lobbyist, and candidate. Pentel's platform includes
implementing a statewide Single-Payer Universal Healthcare system,
establishing a living wage, improving access to affordable housing, and

"I am running to give voice to the ways we can sustain our relationships
to the Earth and to each other," Pentel said. "The state of Minnesota can
be a leader in sustainable, renewable energy, preventing toxic pollution,
and local-sustainable organic farming. I plan to also speak clearly on the
need to implement policy that will take the influence of big money out of
our democratic process such as, Proportional Representation, Instant
Run-off Voting, publicly funded elections, and lobby reform."

The Greens endorsed small business owner John Kolstad for Minnesota
Attorney General. John Kolstad is currently President of Mill City Music,
and has been active in many civic, business and community organizations
for the last 25 years. Kolstad is currently serving as the Chair of the
Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition ( Steering
committee, whose goal is to bring Universal Single Payer Health Insurance
to MN. Kolstad supports a Single Payer style health plan, affordable
housing, instituting strong enforceable environmental laws in MN, Campaign
Finance Reform, Instant Run-off Voting, Proportional Representation, and
ending Corporate Welfare.

Speaking on the Healthcare crisis in Minnesota, Kolstad says, "What amazes
me is what lengths public and elected officials will go to NOT solve the
health care crises. I have no doubt that I can manage the affairs of the
AG's Office and fully live up to the expectation of the State Constitution
and the people of MN."

Green Party member Dave Berger will be seeking the party's endorsement for
Minnesota State Auditor.  "I have come to realize that we cannot promote a
balanced and sustainable planet unless we have balance within our own
lives."  Berger says. "I promise that I will do all that I can to
represent the people with dignity and respect. Respect for social justice,
grassroots democracy, environmental wisdom, and security through

In local elections, the Greens have endorsed candidates Julie Risser for
State Senate District 41, Jesse Mortenson for State House Representative
64A, Jay Pond for U.S. Representative in the 5th Congressional District,
Farheen Hakeem for Hennepin County Commissioner (District 4). Green Party
member Leroy Schafer is running for St.  Francis City Council. Wade Hannon
is also seeking Green Party endorsement for U.S.  Congress in the 7th
Congressional District.

All of the candidates will be available to address the media at a joint
press conference on Wednesday, June 14, at 10:00 am on the State Capitol

The Green Party of Minnesota is founded on the values of Grassroots
Democracy, Non-Violence, Ecological Wisdom, and Social and Economic
Justice. For more information on the Minnesota Green Party

For more information on the candidates  see:

Farheen Hakeem for Hennepin County Commissioner

Jesse Mortenson for MN House District 64A  _www.jessemortenson.com_

Julie Risser for  MN Senate District 41  _www.voterisser4senate.com_

Michael  Cavlan for US Senate _www.cavlan.org_ (_http://www.cavlan.org_
( )

Jay Pond, US House  of Representatives, Minnesota's 5th Congressional  (

-------10 of 25--------

From: humanrts [at]
Subject: Democracy/theocracy 6.14 11:30am

Rev. Barry W. Lynn to Speak in Minneapolis and St. Paul
Public Forum: "Democracy or Theocracy?" - A Series of Discussions on the
Value and Importance of Maintaining a Secular Government

Wednesday, June 14, at 11:30am
Minneapolis Downtown Public Library Auditorium 300 Nicollet Mall

Thursday, June 15, at 11:30 PM
St. Paul Landmark Center, Weyerhaeuser Auditorium 75 West Fifth Street

Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation
of Church and State, will speak on the topic: "Religion in Law and Public
Policy: Knowing the Limits."

The event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
FFI: info [at] and

--------11 of 25--------

From: Rich Hahnen <UNAMinnesota [at]>
Subject: Violence/HIV 6.14 11:30am

The Link Between Violence and HIV
A Roundtable Discussion
Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Cowles Auditorium 301 19th Avenue South Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455

June 14, 2006
11:30 - 12:00 AM
Light lunch will be provided (at no charge)
12:00 - 1:30 PM

Open to the public and the media (Reservations requested)

Special Guests
Mary Fisher, Global Coalition on Women & AIDS Leadership Council
Idah Mukuka, Centre for Infectious Disease Research, Zambia
Deborah Elizabeth Davis Zelaya, Teacher, Honduras
Celina D'Costa, Indian Network of People Living with HIV
Dresden Jones, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assualt

Moderated by:
Diane Knust, Lecturer, Univ. of Minn. School of Social Work, Training
Consultant, Midwest AIDS Training Education Center

Please RSVP by e-mailing to: UNAMinnesota [at]

Sponsored by:
Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs,
Minnesota AIDS Project
United Nations Association of Minnesota
University of Minnesota School of Public Health
University of Minnesota School of Social Work
Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assualt
Minnesota Coalition of Battered Women

--------12 of 25--------

From: barbara Vaile <barbara [at]>
Subject: Northland bioneers 6.14 5pm

Hello Bioneers!
We would love to connect with you by sharing an evening together.
Please consider joining us for the following event:

Friends of the Northland Appreciation Night:  June 14, 5p to 7p, IN
(Intelligent Nutrients) for map and driving directions:

Meet and speak with others who are helping bring Bioneers to the
northland. Hear updates you will want to pass along to your network; and
discover the role that fits best with your time and talents.

RSVP by emailing Michelle Gransee-Bowman, Assistant Conference Director,
at northlandbioneers [at] or call 612.247.0781. Feel free to
Bring a friend!

Find details about this event on the web at:
We look forward to getting to know you and your network in the coming

Vonda Vaden, Conference Director Michelle Gransee-Bowman, Assistant
Conference Director northlandbioneers [at] 612.247.0781

--------13 of 25--------

From: amhine2 [at]
Subject: SPIF happy hour 6.14 6pm

Talents, Arts, Concerts, Unifications, Lovefests, Action, &

impersonally invites you to
SPIF Happy Hour!!!
Three* Of Seven
"Harrisburg"  (Ward Three)*
Parrish's / Casa Viejo West Seventh Street (near the candy factory)
Flag Day Wed 14 Jun 2006 18.00 - 21:13h

To discuss vexillology, what else?
Bring plenty of money
TAXI = 222-2222, and probably 333-3333, and maybe 444-4444, ... (Confucius
say; "For good luck in back of sedan chair, call 999-9999.")
The kitchen will be open and serving Mexicano y Americano ("Supper Club").
Be prepared to be moved and shaken.  If not stirred into a frenzy.
No spies.
No secret handshakes.

I told them at least 20 people will show, and maybe 50 or more, so please
do what you can to make it.  I'm warning you, though - Anne might make us
wear name tags!

--------14 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Tibet/torture 6.14 6pm

Wednesday, 6/14, 6pm, Palden Gyatso, torture survivor and longest surving
Tibetan political prisoner, will speak at Westminster Presbyterian Church,
1200 Marquette Ave, Mpls.  612-703-6321

--------15 of 25--------

From: humanrts [at]
Subject: Rights dinner 6.14 5pm

June 14 - Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights 2006 Human Rights Awards
Dinner.  Reception & Silent Auction at 5pm; Dinner & Program 6:45-8:45pm.
Cost: (info unavailable).

Working at the Intersections: Women, Immigration and Human Rights
2006 Human Rights Award Honorees

Keynote Speaker: Hauwa Ibrahim, internationally recognized Nigerian human
rights lawyer and advocate

 Kao Ly Ilean Her, Executive Director of the Council on Asian-Pacific
 Lupe Serrano, Executive Director of Casa de Esperanza
Master of Ceremonies: Garrison Keillor

Our Human Rights Awards Dinner is a celebration of the accomplishments of
our founders and the thousands of supporters, volunteers, board members
and staff members who continue to build on their shared ambitions, values
and ideals.

This year our Human Rights Awards honor Hauwa Ibrahim, Kao Ly Ilean Her
and Lupe Serrano, three amazing and pioneering women whose human rights
work has improved conditions for women overseas and in Minnesota.

Location: The Depot, Downtown Minneapolis

--------16 of 25--------

From: wamm <wamm [at]>
Subject: London bombings 6.14 7pm

7/7: The London Bombings, Islam and the Iraq War": Milan Rai

Wednesday, June 14, 7pm. Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Avenue South,
Minneapolis. Enter through outside stairs on the north, underneath Midwest
Mountaineering. Parking can be found in the lot to the east of the

Milan Rai is a London peace activist and author. Milan's involvement in
the Iraq issues began with anti-war efforts in 1990 which led to his
co-founding the direct action and information group Active Resistance to
the Roots of War (APPOW), and his founding of the British branch of Voices
in the Wilderness in 1998. After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Milan
co-founded Justice Not Vengeance, an anti-war group dealing wit the whole
range of issues raised by the "war on terror." Sponsored by: Twin Cities
Peace Campaign, Mayday Books, and WAMM. FFI: Call WAMM at 612-827-5364.

--------17 of 25--------

From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at]>
Subject: No Anoka stadium 6.14 7pm

Taxpayers for an Anoka County Stadium Referendum
Wednesday June 14, at 7pm
Centennial Branch Anoka County Libraries 100 Civic Heights Circle, Circle
Pines 763-171-3294

THE 2006 LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS OVER.  The Twins Stadium has been decided
on by the legislators.  We may be next.  No matter where you live in
Minnesota, If you haven't already done so please write your
representatives and tell them we do not need to waste more money on
stadium giveaways to Billionaires.  Please continue to tell them we want a
vote as required by state law for any tax increase to pay for a stadium.
Write letters to your local paper too.  If you have done these things once
already do it again. The time is now.  Remind them that the election is
only five months away.

What can you do right now to keep a referendum on stadium taxes
November Elections.
Lawn signs
MN Data Practices Act Request to Anoka County
Any Questions, comments contact me at: Ron Holch rrholch [at]
<mailto:rrholch [at]>

[Everyone who voted for the stadium should be kicked out. No excuses. They
knew what they were doing, and now they deserve to pay the price. Let us
have no lesser-evil caluculations; no matter how bad the other guys are,
they're better than these proven suck-ups to billionaires. -ed]

--------18 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Vets 4 peace 6.14 7pm Redwing MN

Wednesday, 6/14, 7 pm,  (and every 2nd Wednesday), Red Wing (#115) Vets for
Peace at home of Charles Nicolosi.  tuvecino [at]

--------19 of 25--------

From: Jennifer <jennifer_nemo [at]>
Subject: Peoples open mic 6.14 7pm

THURSDAY, June 14th
7-9pm. Minnesota Spoken Word Association's People's Open Mic: Poetry for
the People by the People. Every Thursday. Lula's Coffee and Jazz, 3400
Nicollet Ave., Mpls.

--------20 of 25--------

From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at]>
Subject: Papa "AG" Kolstad 6.14 7pm

Papa John Kolstad [and Green Party endorsed candidate for Attorney
General] and Clint Hoover won the "Road To Memphis" Competition Sunday
(June 11, 2006) with their performance at the Coffee Grounds in St Paul.
The duo will be going to Memphis for the 23rd International Blues
Challenge in February 2007.

In their first public appearance since winning this honor Kolstad and
Hoover will perform Wednesday, June 14, 7-9pm at Jackson's Juke Joint at
the Viking Bar 1829 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis. The show will celebrate
the release of the Duo's new CD "Alive and Well at the Ginkgo". Papa John
is a legendary Twin Cities blues and swing musician. Clint Hoover is one
of only a few who are True Masters of both diatonic (blues) and chromatic
harmonica. This is a fresh, lively, very musical album with excellent
sound recording quality.

The International Blues Challenge is the largest gathering of Blues bands
in the world. It is a judged "Battle of the Bands," presented by The Blues
Foundation in Memphis TN. More than 145 affiliated Blues organizations
select Blues Bands and Duo acts to compete February 1st through 3rd 2007.
Our local organization, The Greater Twin Cities Blues Music Organization
sponsors "The Road To Memphis" to select the representatives from this
area. In addition to Kolstad and Hoover, the popular group "Cool
Disposition" was chosen to be the band representing GTCBMS in Memphis

--------21 of 25--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: AI StPaul 6.14 7:30pm

AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, June 14th, at 7:30pm, Mad
Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul.

--------22 of 25--------

Republicans' anti-gay marriage amendment: a cynical and reactionary maneuver
By David Walsh
9 June 2006

The attempt to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex
marriage, which failed in the US Senate on Wednesday, was an exercise in
political cynicism and reaction organized by the Bush administration and
the Republican leadership in Congress. It was aimed at shoring up
political support for the Republicans within the party's 'base,' i.e., the
most backward elements of the American population.

In the end, the move to cut off debate in the Senate and bring the measure
to a final vote, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, fell 11
votes short of the 60 needed. The outcome, give or take a vote or two, was
a foregone conclusion.

The decision to bring the amendment before the Senate shows that the Bush
administration hopes to alleviate its current political woes and avert a
Republican debacle in the November mid-term elections by playing on the
insecurity and prejudices of one section of the population at the expense
of the basic rights of another.

Even sections of the American media acknowledged the anti-gay measure was
a sop to social layers whose support for the current administration has
cooled. Polls indicate declining support for Bush both among moderate
Republicans (from 81 to 56 percent since December 2004) and conservatives
(from 93 to 78 percent).

The New York Times spelled out the political calculations rather bluntly:
"There are multiple reasons why Congress is taking up the issues now. The
legislative calendar is relatively thin. The Senate majority leader, Bill
Frist of Tennessee, who controls the Senate's schedule, has been trying to
convince social conservatives that he is one of them in advance of a
potential presidential bid. And while the leadership wants election-year
votes on social issues, they do not want them too close to November in
case they backfire."

The arguments of the right-wing Christian elements are largely delusional.
In their version of things, homosexuals, by asking for equal treatment,
are waging war on America's 'traditional family values,' with the help of
the 'liberal media' and 'activist judges.'

"We have been left with no other choice for the defense of marriage than
an amendment to the US Constitution," declared Tony Perkins, president of
the ultra-right Family Research Council, at a recent press conference.
"This is not about gay marriage, it is an assault on traditional
marriage," claimed Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr., chairman of the High
Impact Leadership Coalition, an organization of black clergy, at the same
event. "Gays are aggressive, gays declared war, gays are attacking
traditional marriage, and we're saying stop it now."

The debate over the gay marriage measure also served to divert attention,
at least for a few days, from the mounting crisis of the Bush
administration in both domestic and foreign policy. The White House and
the congressional Republican leadership welcomed a chance to change the
subject from US atrocities in Iraq and the deteriorating condition of the
American economy.

While the issue was brought before the Senate as a transparent political
maneuver, the campaign for an anti-gay marriage amendment is itself deeply

The amendment would add the following language to the Constitution:
"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man
and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State,
shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof
be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

If this were implemented, it would alter the Constitution in an
unprecedented manner to restrict, not expand, the rights of American
citizens. A specific group, gay men and women, would be singled out for
discriminatory treatment, in violation of the constitutional principle of
"equal protection of the laws."

The "legal incidents thereof" language is intended, moreover, to bar not
only same-sex marriages, but also civil unions, which might give gay
couples equivalent rights to married heterosexuals in such areas as child
custody and adoption, property distribution and healthcare benefits.
According to one account, the amendment would strip gay married citizens
of access to more than 1,138 federal rights, protections, and
responsibilities automatically granted to married heterosexual couples.

The Constitution provides absolutely no basis for defining marriage as a
union between a man and a woman. That is a religious definition. As one of
the anti-gay bigots, the Rev. William Owens, founder of the Coalition of
African-American Pastors, explained recently: "Our position is based on
Scripture, not political parties or persuasion or opposition." The
enshrinement of such a religious attitude in the Constitution would be a
flagrant violation of the First Amendment, which prohibits Congress from
making any law "respecting an establishment of religion."

The effort to prohibit same-sex marriages goes hand in hand with campaigns
to enshrine school prayer in the Constitution, promote the public display
of the Ten Commandments and similar measures which target the separation
of church and state, a bulwark of democratic rights. These are part of a
larger, ongoing effort to eviscerate the Bill of Rights.

While Republican leaders like Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas have ignorantly
denied that the separation of church and state was a principle of the
framers of the Constitution, the more brazen of the religious fanatics
openly call for a repudiation of the Constitution's secular and humanist
underpinnings. One of them, according to a sympathetic commentator,
"points a finger at the framers of the Constitution of the United States,
who self-consciously broke with 1000 + years of Western heritage by not
referring to the Trinity and to Christ as King. This was the hole in the
dike... through which modern secularism has poured."

The goal of these types, with the open or tacit encouragement of the
leadership of the Republican Party, is to transform the US into a
theocratic state, in which the principles of the 13th century would

Such views run counter to the democratic instincts and history of the
American people. This is not to deny that, under conditions of growing
economic insecurity for tens of millions and the political confusion that
prevails in the US, appeals to 'traditional values' and the need to
prevent the 'moral ruin of the nation' have had their impact. The
Democratic Party, including its liberal wing, has shown itself unwilling
and unable to seriously oppose such reactionary appeals.
[And so what is it worth? Why support it in any way whatsoever? What is
wrong with us that we put up with such cowardice? Are we as cowardly as
they? We should already have told them of their coming permanent
retirement. - ed]

Nonetheless, the clear trend is for increased popular tolerance about
sexual orientation. While 58 percent of the population opposes gay
marriage, according to recent polls, only 42 percent supports a
constitutional amendment prohibiting it.

As columnist Margaret Carlson notes: "Every year millions of people watch
"Will & Grace" and Ellen DeGeneres with no effect on their morals, and
slowly make friends with the gay couple who moved in next door. For every
homophobe who passes on, a young person grows up comfortable with the
lesbians at work fussing over bridesmaids and wedding cakes. And then they
register to vote.

"In 1977, a third of Americans opposed equal employment rights for
homosexuals. That's down to 9 percent. On gays in the military, that
explosive precursor to gay marriage that almost derailed the infant
Clinton administration, the Pew Research Center finds that by 2-to-1
people now believe gays should serve openly."

According to Pew, opposition to gay marriage has dropped from 65 percent
to 51 percent in 2006. One commentator ( observes,
"The most recent three surveys show a fairly constant trend towards
greater acceptance of same-sex marriage [SSM]. By extrapolating the data
forwards in time, one might predict that equal numbers of American adults
will support and oppose SSM by February of 2007. After that, one might
predict that more adults will support than oppose SSM."

The Bush administration and Republicans like Frist are openly seeking to
deprive a considerable portion of the American population of its basic
rights. The Urban Institute estimates the gay and lesbian population at 5
percent of the total US population over 18 years old, or some 10.5 million
people. It calculates that some 3.1 million gay or lesbian people are
living in "committed relationships in the same residence."

The US is a massively complex and diverse society of nearly 300 million
people whose demographics have undergone a dramatic transformation. The
attempt by the Christian right to squeeze the American population into
some largely mythical 'traditional' framework is as reactionary as it is

A few statistics will suffice. Some 11 million people are currently living
with an unmarried partner, a figure that is probably an undercount.
Forty-one percent of American women ages 15-44 have "cohabited" (lived
with an unmarried different-sex partner) at some point, 33 percent of all
births are to unmarried women, and the number of unmarried couples living
together increased 72 percent between 1990 and 2000-that number has
increased tenfold since 1960.

As of 2000, the most typical household in the US was an individual living
alone. Twenty-seven million American households consisted of one person,
compared to 25 million with a husband, wife and child. Only a quarter of
households in the US now conform to the "traditional family" notion, a
married couple and their children.

The average American now spends the majority of his or her life unmarried.
In 2000, 44 percent of US adults were single, compared to 36 percent in
1970. There are 100 million single and unmarried adults in the US (some
living alone, some living with partners, families, roommates, etc.).

In any event, the professions of concern for 'family values' and the
sanctity of marriage on the part of the American political and media
establishment are utterly hypocritical. The social policies of both
parties are making life intolerable for millions, tearing families and
marriages apart, guaranteeing increases in divorce or separation, domestic
violence and child abuse.

In many cases in the US, partners - married or unmarried, same- or
opposite sex - hardly see one another, as millions are forced to worked
longer and longer hours, often in two or three jobs, simply to make ends
meet. The absence of affordable daycare, the high cost of medical
insurance (entirely out of the reach of some 50 million people),
increasing attacks on reproductive rights, the slashing of social programs
for working class women and families, the soaring cost of housing - this
is the actual program, as opposed to the fantasized version offered up by
campaign advertisements, that the Republicans and Democrats alike carry
out on behalf of America's families.

The social fabric of the country is being torn apart primarily so that a
disproportionate share of society's wealth will continue to flow to the
0.1 percent of the population that has enriched itself beyond imagination
over the past several decades.

[Why do we put up with the poorly-animated piles of diaper-dung who run
this country? Why? Then they rub off their crap on all our lives. The
world is their cess-pool. Imagine a world without them. -ed]

--------23 of 25--------

US Senate majority backs windfall for the rich through repeal of estate tax
By Patrick Martin
9 June 2006

A clear majority of the Senate voted Thursday for the single largest
handout to the super-rich in US history, a bill for permanent repeal of
the tax on inherited wealth, but the measure fell just short of the 60
votes required to cut off debate and secure passage. The 57-41 vote means
that supporters of repeal may have to settle for a slightly less
gargantuan tax cut for multi-millionaires in order to attract the three
additional votes needed to close debate and pass the measure.

Senate Majority Leader William Frist (Republican of Tennessee) had refused
to allow a vote on anything less than 100 percent repeal until after the
vote to impose cloture and cut off debate. When that vote failed, Frist
indicated another vote would be scheduled later in the year, either on the
same bill or on one that would continue the estate tax but at a sharply
reduced rate. Outright repeal would cost the Treasury an estimated $776
billion over ten years, while the "compromise" versions would shower $652
billion and $550 billion respectively on the richest Americans.

Only two Republicans, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and George Voinovich
of Ohio, broke with the Republican majority on estate tax repeal. Four
Democrats sided with the Republican majority and voted to cut off debate:
Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Max Baucus of Montana
and Bill Nelson of Florida.

The estate tax is paid only by a handful of wealthy families-only three
out of every 1,000 estates exceed the current $4 million threshold. The
repeal drive has been spearheaded and financed by 18 billionaire families,
including the Waltons of Wal-Mart, who have spent over $200 million
lobbying to preserve and expand their colossal share of the national
wealth. Among the 18 families are the Dorrances, owners of Campbell Soup,
the Mars candy family and the Gallo wine family.

The estate tax was phased out over ten years under the $1.3 trillion
tax-reduction package adopted in 2001, in which a half-dozen Senate
Democrats played a key role in insuring passage of the plan pushed by the
Bush White House. In order to make the tax cut for the wealthy as large as
possible, the legislation provided for phase-out of the estate tax by
2010, followed by its complete restoration in 2011.

This bizarre arrangement was necessary to satisfy budget constraints,
which were based on calculating the ten-year cost of the tax break. The
administration always intended to eliminate the 2011 restoration in
subsequent years and make the tax cut permanent, but this has become more
difficult with the skyrocketing federal budget deficit.

The House of Representatives passed permanent repeal of the estate tax in
April 2005, but the Senate postponed scheduled action in September, after
hurricane Katrina. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley said
that abolishing a tax on the wealthiest Americans would send the wrong
political signal in the midst of mass suffering in the biggest natural
disaster in US history.

It is a remarkable fact of American life that it was only when television
screens were dominated by images of American working people drowned,
starving or begging for help that the political establishment in
Washington felt embarrassed about enacting a new windfall for the
financial elite. Now, five months before the November elections, the
congressional leaders of both big business parties claim that the
elimination of the estate tax is a popular, vote-getting measure.
Republicans are anxious to push it through, while the Democratic
opposition is half-hearted and timid.

This demonstrates the extraordinary degree to which the interests of a
financial oligarchy dictate official policy. It is a product of the
unprecedented concentration of wealth over the past three decades, a
process which is accelerating under the Bush administration.

Incomes are being recorded which have no parallel in modern history, even
in the period of the Robber Barons of the late 19th century. According to
a report issued last week on hedge funds - a purely speculative financial
venture which pools the capital of wealthy investors - the top 25 hedge
fund managers made an average income of $330 million in 2005. The two most
highly paid, James Simons of Renaissance Technologies and oilfield
speculator T. Boone Pickens, made $1.5 billion and $1.4 billion in
personal income, respectively. It is such fortunes that now require new
forms of legal protection.

The campaign for repeal of the estate tax has used the same "big lie"
technique as the campaign against the alleged threat of gay marriage. The
estate tax, applied to only a relative handful of the wealthiest
individuals, was labeled the "death tax," and the impression was given
that countless family farmers and small businessmen were being forced to
sell out rather than bequeath their tiny assets to their sons and

A typical example of this campaign was the editorial Thursday in the Wall
Street Journal, which condemned the support for the estate tax by
billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Bill Gates Sr., father of the
Microsoft tycoon. Billionaires don't actually pay estate taxes, the
Journal claimed. "The real people who pay the levy are the thrifty middle
class and entrepreneurs who've built up a modest nest egg or business and
are hit by a 46% tax rate when they die. Americans want family businesses,
ranches, farms and other assets to be passed from one generation to the
next. Yet the US has one of the highest death tax rates in the world."

As repeated studies have demonstrated, the truth is that less than half of
one percent of all estates are taxed under current law, and by 2009 this
would include a grand total of 65 farms in the entire United States
(actually not "farms," but rather substantial agribusinesses). The current
law already provides that the exemption level will rise to $3 million in
2009 for an individual and $7.5 million for a couple, when only three out
of 1,000 estates will pay anything in estate tax.

Permanent repeal of the tax would cost $776 billion in revenue loss from
2012 to 2021, as well as an additional $213 billion in interest on the
increased federal debt, a total of nearly $1 trillion. Some 71 percent of
the additional benefits would go to those inheriting more than $10
million, with the balance going to those inheriting more than $3 million.
There is literally no benefit for anyone not inheriting millions.

Under an alternative plan proposed by Arizona Republican Jon Kyl, the
first $5 million of an estate would be tax exempt, while estates between
$5 million and $30 million would be taxed at 15 percent, the current rate
for capital gains, and amounts above $30 million would be taxed at 30
percent-a sharp reduction from the current rate of 46 percent.

Democrats overwhelmingly opposed the estate tax repeal, but largely on the
grounds of its fiscal recklessness. "We will take the money which we are
not going to collect from the estate tax and end up borrowing it," said
minority whip Richard Durbin of Illinois.

One leading Democrat, ranking Finance Committee member Max Baucus of
Montana, has proposed his own version of estate tax reduction, similar to
Kyl's, but with slightly lower exemptions and slightly higher tax rates
for the very wealthiest. This plan would still eliminate more than
two-thirds of the taxes on inherited wealth over the decade from 2012 to

All of these plans would drastically exacerbate wealth and income
inequality in the United States, which are already at record levels. One
analysis by the Tax Policy Center, for example, found that estate tax
repeal would give more money to the millionaires in just one year than all
the income taxes paid by the poorest 65 million taxpayers. These
taxpayers, with incomes less than $29,000, paid a total of $25.9 billion
in income taxes. The estate tax elimination would give some 50,000 people
more than $40 billion.

The 2001 tax cut legislation already represents one of the largest
windfalls for the wealthy in history. According to an analysis by the
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the number of estates
subject to tax has declined from more than 50,000 in 2000 to only 13,000
this year, and will drop to barely 7,000 by 2009. The vast majority of the
wealthy have thus already been completely exempted from this tax.

Aside from the fiscal implications - repeal of the estate tax will
complete the bankrupting of the federal treasury, forcing massive cuts in
basic social benefits like Medicare and Social Security - there are the
reactionary social consequences. One of the few commentaries to focus on
this aspect of the issue appeared Monday in the Washington Post, written
by Sebastian Mallaby, in general a fervent advocate of the capitalist
"free market," as well as the Bush administration's decision to invade

He voiced the fear that repeal of the estate tax, combined with rising
economic inequality, would result in a permanent change in the US social
structure. "For most of the past century, the case for the estate tax was
regarded as self-evident," he wrote. "The estate tax, like a cigarette tax
or a carbon tax, is a tool for reducing a socially damaging phenomenon -
the emergence of a hereditary upper class - as well as a way of raising

Under conditions where the presidency itself has become a semi-hereditary
position, passed down from father to son, and perhaps next from husband to
wife, it would seem that Mallaby's warning is more than belated. A
financial oligarchy already dominates American society, controlling not
only the economic levers of power in the banks and giant corporations, but
both political parties and every institution of the state.

--------24 of 25--------

 The blood-engorged ticks
 at the top scurry for more
 veins to suck dry - yours?

--------25 of 25--------

 Pohlad's polymorph
 pink pluckers pick our pockets.
 Carry a sharp knife.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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