Progressive Calendar 12.16.06
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 06:40:14 -0800 (PST)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     12.16.06

1. Islam/science       12.15 4pm
2. Vets/peace/potluck  12.15 6pm
3. Dinkytown history   12.15 6pm
4. Gitmo/torture       12.15 7pm
5. Gifts/shelters      12.15

6. Vs outsourcing jobs 12.16 9am
7. Water/MidEast wars  12.16 9:30am
8. Venezuela/elections 12.16 10am
9. NW V4P vigil        12.16 11am
10. Northtown vigil    12.16 1pm
11. Inconvenient Truth 12.16 4pm
12. Armenian genocide  12.16 7pm
13. Young/Jewish/left  12.16 7:30pm

14. Alexander Cockburn - Liberals: more troops to Iraq; Obamaspeak agony
15. Joshua Frank       - More dangerous than crack: death by Coke
16. Debra Eschmeyer    - Corporations control your dinner

--------1 of 16--------

From: mjshahidiusa [at] aol.com
Subject: Islam/science 12.15 4pm

Islam, Science and Modernization
A conversation with Dr. Taqui Khan
Friday, Dec. 15, 2006,4-6 p.m.
At United Nations Association of Minnesota
2104 Stevens Ave South Minneapolis, MN 55404

Dr. Taqui Khan is the vice chairman of Islamic Heritage Society and
ex-president of Iqbal Academy in Hyderabad, India

Professor M. M. Taqui Khan got his PhD form Clark University, Worcestor
(Mass), USA, in Physical-Inorganic Chemistry. He taught in Osmania
University, Hyderbad, (India) for forty years as a professor of Chemistry.
He is a former director of one of the National Laboratories in India.

Professor Khan has attained national and international distinctions as a
scientist and philosopher. He is a fellow of the Indian National Science
Academy, Indian Academy of ciences, Royal Society of Chemistry in Britain
and American Chemical Society in USA. He is the author of 300 scientific
papers, several patents and four books.

Dr. Khan is interested in the comparative study of religions, especially
philosophy and Theosophy. From his childhood, he has beens inspired by the
poetry of Iqbal. His lectures on Iqbal have been compiled in two
monographs in Urdu. He has also contributed many articles on Quran and
science and Nahjul Balagah and science.

Please join us for refreshments and conversation with this Islamic
Scientist.
For information call M. Jay Shahidi at 612-328-1913.


--------2 of 16--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Vets/peace/potluck 12.15 6pm

Friday, 12/15, 6 to 10 pm, Veterans for Peace annual holiday party
(potluck), St Martins Table, 2001 Riverside Ave, Mpls.


--------3 of 16--------

From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at] millcitymusic.com>
Subject: Dinkytown history 12.15 6pm

Dinkytown Histories: Multiple Stories, Multiple Meanings
Exhibit Opening:
Friday, December 15
125 Nolte Hall, 315 Pillsbury Drive S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55455
6-9 PM
Free!

Exhibit Runs December 15 2006 - February 9 2007

Food from Dinkytown restaurants will be provided, piano player Cadillac
Kolstad, and hip hop act Kanser will perform.

The exhibit is comprised of five different projects that students in
History 3001 ("Public History") completed over the course of the fall
semester. Please see below for a more detailed description of the
different topics included in the exhibit.

http://events.tc.umn.edu/event.xml?occurrence=398931

"Dinkytown Dynamics: The Soundtrack to a Neighborhood, 1950s - Present"
- This exhibit explores the important relationship between Dinkytown and
music. From the first time a folk singer strummed their guitar, through
basement punk shows, to a DJ's innovative scratch routine, Dinkytown has
been defined by the music that has reverberated down its quaint avenues.
At the same time, a great deal of the music that has touched countless
souls has been influenced by this unique neighborhood. Music and Dinkytown
share a symbiotic relationship where each has contributed to the identity
of the other.  This exhibit looks at the broad array of musical venues
where musicians have performed, controversies surrounding live shows, and
what Dinkytown has contributed to both local and national music scenes. It
includes a video documentary with interviews and live concert footage.

"Preserving the Memory and Legacy of the Mill City" - This exhibit
examines the history of flour milling in Minneapolis, and the complicated
contemporary discussions surrounding the historic preservation of the
mills, grain elevators, and other structures that still dot the city's
landscape. The exhibit poses the question: what should be done with these
deindustrialized monuments to Minneapolis's past?  What is the best
present-day use for them and who should make the decisions on how they
will be preserved?  Focusing on the adaptive re-use plan for the Pillsbury
"A" Mill, the exhibit provides insight into how Minneapolis's industrial
past might be remembered.

"The Red Barn Incident" - At approximately 1 a.m. on Wednesday, May 6,
1970, Minneapolis police raided a building on the 1300 block of 4th Street
in the heart of Dinkytown that community members and University students
had been occupying for more than a month.  By 7:30 a.m., police had
arrested 38 protesters and construction workers had bulldozed the
building.  These events represent the dramatic climax of the "Red Barn
Incident."  Community members and students, during the height of anger
over the Vietnam War, had sought to prevent the Red Barn corporation from
moving a franchise restaurant into a building previously occupied by small
businesses.  This exhibit looks at the motives behind the protestors
involved in the Red Barn Incident, and the impact their action had on the
neighborhood.

"Bridge or Barrier?: Highway 35W and its Impact on Dinkytown and the
Surrounding Community" - Located in plain sight, a small section of the
federal interstate system, 35W, makes its way through the heart of
Minneapolis's oldest neighborhood.  Totaling less then two miles in
length, this highway has left both a profound impression on the
surrounding community and Dinkytown area both in terms of geography but
also in how it has affected the notion of community. This exhibit explores
how the construction of 35W and other changes in transportation have
impacted the community, business, and social life of Dinkytown.  It also
asks visitors to think about how neighborhood changes in the future - such
as the construction of the new football stadium - will affect Dinkytown
and transportation in the area in years to come.

"Public Art in Historic Dinkytown" - This exhibit looks at the recent
addition of murals to Dinkytown's visual landscape, and the manner in
which public art relates to community identity and visibility.  These
murals depict historical moments from Dinkytown's past and were designed
to commemorate the neigborhood's rich cultural heritage.  In addition to
exploring what public art brings to a community, the exhibit includes a
walking tour brochure that will allow future visitors in Dinkytown to walk
the neighborhood and enjoy its visual elements.

Cadillac Kolstad ak [at] millcitymusic.com (612) 379-1092 -Land (612) 986-3892
-Mobile 1403 4th street SE Minneapolis, MN 55414


--------4 of 16--------

From: Roger Cuthbertson <rojo [at] visi.com>
Subject: Gitmo/torture 12.15 7pm

Guantanamo Presenation

Mike McGuire will make a presentation about Guantanamo, entitled "War on
Terror" on Friday, December 15, at 7:00 PM at the Mad Hatter's Tea House.
The Mad Hatter's is located at 943 W. 7th Street in St. Paul.

Mike is an organizer with Witness Against Torture, a group that led a
twenty-four person pilgrimage to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba in December, 2005.  Following their 2005 pilgrimage, Witness
Against Torture launched the 'Campaign to Shut Down Guantanamo',
consisting of public education and acts of nonviolent civil resistance to
draw attention to the plight of prisoners of the war on terror.  McGuire
will describe past actions and discuss actions being planned all around
the country for January 11, 2007, which is the fifth anniversary of the
first prisoners arriving at Guantanamo.

For more information, contact Roger Cuthbertson, Tackling Torture at the
Top at 952-474-2476, rojo [at] visi.com


--------5 of 16--------

From: Erin [at] mnwomen.org
Subject: Gifts/shelters 12.15

Friday, December 15: Women's Advocates Shop at Chico's on Grand. Sale of
annual wishes for women heart pin- benefiting Women's Advocates and other
local area shelters. www.wadvocate.org.


--------6 of 16--------

From: Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council <betsy [at] mplscluc.com>
Subject: Vs outsourcing jobs 12.16 9am

Stand Up for American Workers
Protest Goodyear's Outsourcing of U.S. Jobs

Goodyear has forced 15,000 Steelworkers out on strike by demanding wage
and benefit cuts, shutting its second U.S. plant in three years, and
abandoning its moral and contractual obligations for retiree health care.
Enough is enough.

Join USW District 11 and the Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council in
leafleting to support Goodyear workers on strike.

Steve's Auto World, 1221 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
Saturday, December 16 from 9-11 AM

If you can't help with leafleting, please call or e-mail Goodyear's top
executives Bog Keegan and Jon Rich and let them know you also want to save
American Manufacturing.

Bob Keegan: 330-796-1145 or bob_keegan [at] goodyear.com
Jon Rich: 330-796-4550 or jon_rich [at] goodyear.com


--------7 of 16--------

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Water/MidEast war 12.16 9:30am

"The Role of Water in Middle East Conflicts:" Professor Dawud Mulla

Saturday, December 16, 9:30 a.m. Southdale Hennepin County Library, 7001
York Avenue South, Edina. University of Minnesota Professor Dawud Mulla
gives an overview of water resources in Middle Eastern countries, water
usage patterns by Israelis and Palestinians, and a history of conflicts in
the region from the perspective of water scarcity. Sponsored by: Middle
East Peace Now (MEPN). FFI: Call Florence Steichen 651-696-1642.


--------8 of 16--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Venezuela/elections 12.16 10am

Saturday, 12/16 10 to 11:30 am, John Peterson reports on election monitoring
in "Venezuela Elections Report Back," Resource Center of the Americas, 3019
Minnehaha, Mpls.  www.americas.org


--------9 of 16--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NW V4P vigil 12.16 11am

The NW Neighbors for Peace weekly demonstrations every Saturday between
11am and noon along Vinewood, near Rockford Rd. (also known as 42nd Avenue
or Cty. Rd. 9) and just east of 494.  This is the entrance to Target,
Rainbow, and other stores.


--------10 of 16--------

From: Lennie <major18 [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Northtown vigil 12.16 1pm

Mounds View peace vigil EVERY SATURDAY from 1-2pm at the at the southeast
corner of the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE in Blaine,
which is the northwest most corner of the Northtown Mall area. This is a
MUCH better location.

We'll have extra signs.  Communities situated near the Northtown Mall
include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden
Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids.

For further information, email major18 [at] comcast.net or call Lennie at
763-717-9168


--------11 of 16--------

From: Bridget Borer <bridgetborer [at] GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Inconvenient
Truth 12.16 4pm

On Saturday, December 16, 2006 thousands of us are going to get together
in living rooms around the country, watch the blockbuster documentary *"An
Inconvenient Truth,"* and press Congress to take action to solve our
climate crisis.

If you haven't seen the movie, you have to. If you have, you can help
raise awareness and push Washington to take action on the biggest crisis
facing our planet.* In America, political will is a renewable resource and
together we can build the will to do what has to be done. * Host your own
<http://event/events/create.html?action_id=69> See the Truth Movie Party
or sign up for an event near you.

You can sign up for the See the Truth Movie Party I'm hosting, or to host
your own, at: http://political.moveon.org/event/seethetruth/29056

Here are the details of my event:
A Screening of the Film An Inconvenient Truth
Powderhorn Park
3244 10th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Saturday, 16 Dec 2006, 4pm
I hope you'll sign up.


--------12 of 16--------

From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Armenian genocide 12.16 7pm

My colleague at the Center for Holocaust and genocide Studies has a new
book which will be the definitive one on the Armenian Genocide.

A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish
Responsibility by Taner Akcam (Hardcover - Nov 14, 2006) $19.80 on Amazon.

The book redceived a five page positive rewview in The New Yorker three
weeks ago, will be reviewed in this coming Sunday New York Times Book
Review and the Philadelphia Inquirer review described it as:

"Like Raul Hilberg's The Destruction of the European Jews, A Shameful Act
is destined to become a touchstone for other studies."

Orhan Pamuk, who was announced as the Nobel Prize winner in literature
on October 12, must postone his trip to University of Minnesota
until later in the year because of all the notoriety surrounding the
announcement of the prize.

The Pamuk visit will be supported by the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian
Chair in CLA, Institute for Advanced Study, Institute for Global Studies
and Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Taner Akcam
Saturday, December 16, 2006
St. Sahag Armenian Church, 7 p.m.
203 Howell St N St Paul, MN 55104

Taner Akcam speaks about his new book, "A Shameful Act." C-SPAN, who
confirmed that Book TV will be coming to tape ACOM's ( Armenian Cultural
Organization of Minnesota along with CHGS) appreciation event for Taner
Akcam's highly reviewed book, "A Shameful Act."

Book signing will follow. C-SPAN will broadcast the event nationally
several times. Free and open to the public.


--------13 of 16--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Young/Jewish/left f 12.16 7:30pm

YOUNG, JEWISH AND LEFT
a documentary by Irit Reinheimer and Konnie Chameides
December 16, 2006 @ 7:30 p.m.
Pangea World Theatre
711 West Lake St. (inside)
Minneapolis

Abouth the Film: Young, Jewish, and Left

A celebration of diversity, Young Jewish and Left weaves queer culture,
Jewish Arab history, secular Yiddishkiet, anti-racist analysis, and
religious/spiritual traditions into a multi-layered tapestry of Leftist
politics.  Personal experiences from many of today's leading Jewish
activists reframe the possibilities of Jewish identity. It presents a
fresh and constructive take on race, spirituality, Zionism, queerness,
resistance, justice, and liberation.

Inspired by the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Workmen's Circle, and by their
own poltically active grandparents, these Jewish radicals are creating a
more just future by learning from and identifying with a collective, rich
Jewish heritage of reform and rebellion. At a time when religious
fundamentalists take power in the US and around the world, this
documentary is an inspiration. Grab your Bubbe (grandmother) and your
habibi (loved one) and check it out.

Join Pangea World Theater and Diaspora Mentality to experience the
visions of a vibrant and diverse community of artist, activists and
other community members from around the Twin Cities and the country.
This amazing night of film, poetry, music, food and dialogue starts at
7:30 p.m. at Pangea's studio.

YOUNG, JEWISH AND LEFT
December 16 @ 7:30 p.m.
Pangea World Theater Studio, 711 West Lake Street, Suite 101, Minneapolis
Tickets: $8 - $15

To RSVP or more information about the event, please contact:
Ismail Khalidi  612 822 0015   ismail [at] pangeaworldtheater.org
Aleksandra Ajdanic 612 822 0015 aleksandra [at] pangeaworldtheater.org
www.pangeaworldtheater.org
Pangea World Theater - 711 West Lake Street Suite 101, Mpls, MN 55408  -
Phone 612 822 0015


--------14 of 16--------

CounterPunch Diary
Liberal Consensus Hardens for More Troops to Iraq; Meet Senator Slither;
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
CounterPunch
December 9 / 10, 2006

Here's comes Rep Silvestre Reyes of Texas, handpicked by Nancy Pelosi to
head the House Intelligence Committee and he's calling for 20,000 more
U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq. Reyes says they're needed to crush the
Shi'a and Sunni militias. Didn't I tell to you right here, after the Nov 7
"peace moment" the polls, that the Democrats would fall into line behind
Senator John McCain? The minute Jack Murtha made his run for House
Majority leader the liberal establishment began to take a stand against
all seditious talk of "immediate redeployment". You can scarcely open up
the New York Times without tripping over a piece by Michael Gordon
reporting yet another thoughtful military man--he put up General Zinni in
this capacity last week--saying that the prudent short-term course would
be to send more troops to Iraq.

Contrast this with the angry floor speech Republican Senator Gordon Smith
of Oregon, the potato kind of Pendleton, who said straighforwardly on
Thursday night that he'd had it with the president that the US should "cut
and run, cut and walk or whatever ... "

You want more evidence of Democratic spinelessness? How about the
confirmation of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense by the U.S. Senate,
95 to 2. Not a single Democrat voted against this slippery survivor of the
Iran-contra scandal, who spent the early part of his intelligence career
at the CIA and NSC, inflating the Soviet threat and leaking fictions about
the KGB plot to kill the pope to neocon fantasists like Clare Sterling.
The two No votes came from Santorum of Pennsylvania and Bunning of
Kentucky. Some of the Democrats voting Aye this time voted No on Gates
when he was up for confirmation as Bush Sr's CIA chief back in 1991.

In our national public life these days, if you want to make any realistic
recommendation on policy options, you have to be over 75, plenty of money
in the bank and with nothing left to lose. Take Jimmy Carter and James
Baker. Carter denounces Israel's "imprisonment wall" and Baker slips
Palestinians' right of return into his Study Group's road map to peace.

Another 80-year old, Jeane Kirkpatrick, apparently saw reason in her
fading years. Her friend Jack Kemp says that she would meet him on the way
to church and lament the folly of the US attack on Iraq. This ur-neo-con
would, so Kemp said, denounce the younger neocons like William Kristol. I
had to endure a servile interview with Kristol by NPR's Deborah Ames, in
which he held forth on her fine distinctions between authoritarian and
totalitarian regimes.

Since the point of Kirkpatrick's distinctions was to give intellectual
buttress to crude imperial functions like cheering on Guatemalan mass
murderers practicing genocide on Mayan Indians, Kristol at least reminded
me of what a disgusting creature Kirkpatrick was, at least in the decades
when she had measurable influence on U.S. foreign policy, in the Reagan
years. As with all the Commentary crowd in the late 1970s the only
intellectual challenge they ever offered was the matter of deciding
whether they actually believed all the drivel they were writing.
Kirkpatrick was one of the irksome, because she tricked out her
absurdities with pretentious references to Hobbes and Kant, thus tipping
off the rubes that here was a Great Mind at work.

I remember her at the Republican convention in New Orleans in 1980.
Conservative queen bees like Kirkpatrick and Schafly had, in their
proximate physical aspect, an undercurrent of erotic violence - Jeane was
surely a closet case -- that didn't really come through on camera. Rooted
under the rostrum in the Superdome, peering up into Kirkpatrick's flaring
nostrils I could see planes of her face that were normally flattened out
in the bland imagery of videotape.

Of course she was talking about "national security" with her lips puckered
into a moue of cruel delight as she foretold how Dukakis and the Democrats
would leave America bound helpless beneath the Russian jackboot. The only
jackboot I could keep in mind was hers: Jeane lashing savagely at the
cuffed and whimpering body of effete liberalism.

Meet Senator Slither

The slithery junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama is ensuring
himself a steady political diet of publicity by refusing to take his name
out of consideration as a possible candidate for the Democratic
presidential nomination in 2008. We're entering the time frame when all
such aspirants have to make up their minds whether they can find the
requisite money and political base. Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin,
the obvious peace and justice candidate, has already decided that he
can't, which gives us a pretty revealing insight into the weakness of the
left these days.

It's a no-brainer for Obama to excite the political commentators by waving
a "maybe" flag. It keeps the spotlight on him, and piles up political
capital, whatever he decides to do in the end.

It's depressing to think that we'll have to endure Obamaspeak for months,
if not years to come: a pulp of boosterism about the American dream,
interspersed with homilies about "putting factionalism and party divisions
behind us and moving on". I used to think Senator Joe Lieberman was the
man whose words I'd least like to be force fed top volume if I was chained
next to a loudspeaker in Camp Gitmo, but I think Obama, who picked
Lieberman as his mentor when he first entered the US Senate, is worse.
I've never heard a politician so desperate not to offend conventional
elite opinion while pretending to be fearless and forthright.

When Democrats fled Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq a
year ago, few with more transparent calculation than Obama who voyaged to
the Council on Foreign Relations on November 22, 2005, to soothe the
assembled elites with such balderdash as "The President could take the
politics out of Iraq once and for all if he would simply go on television
and say to the American people 'Yes, we made mistakes" or "we need to
focus our attention on how to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq.
Notice that I say 'reduce,' and not 'fully withdraw' or "2006 should be
the year that the various Iraqi factions must arrive at a fair political
accommodation to defeat the insurgency; and three, the Administration must
make available to Congress critical information on reality-based
benchmarks that will help us succeed in Iraq."

Some Democrats working for Ned Lamont in the recent senate race in
Connecticut eventually taken by Lieberman, running as an independent, are
exceptionally bitter about the role played by Obama who made the
calculation that Lieberman would win, and that he would not forfeit
political capital by doing anything for his fellow Democrat, Lamont. (By
contrast, Hillary Clinton gets good reviews from such Lamont workers as a
politician who did what she could for their man.)

These hard feelings go back as far as the notorious political dinner in
Connecticut in March of 2005, when Obama traveled to Connecticut to hail
the pro-war Lieberman to the state's Democrats. Obama, who runs a huge
political fund-raising operation in Washington, knows where the money is,
in the the right-center segment of the political landscape inhabited by
the Democratic Leadership Council.

It's why he picked Lieberman, a DLC icon, as his mentor. The new arrival
in Washington wanted to send out a swift signal to the corporate powers
and Party donors that here was no boat-rocker from Chicago, but a safe
pair of hands and an obedient pair of heels.

There ere was another, more substantive signal, keenly savored by the
corporate world, where Obama voted for "tort reform", thus making it far
harder for people to get redress or compensation.

As I wrote about Obama last year, Sometimes people comfort themselves with
variants on what's called the intentional fallacy: in other words, as only
the fifth black senator in US history, Obama has to bob and weave, placate
the Man, while positioning himself at the high table as the people's
champion. But in his advance to the high table Obama is diligently
divesting himself of all legitimate claims to be any sort of popular
champion, as opposed to another safe black, like Condoleezza Rice (whom
Obama voted to confirm. The Empire relishes such servants.

And so, Obama, the constitutional law professor, voted to close off any
filibuster of Alito, and fled Senator Russell Feingold's motion to censure
the President, declaring "my and Senator Feingold's view is not unanimous.
Some constitutional scholars and lower court opinions support the
president's argument that he has inherent authority to go outside the
bounds of the law in monitoring the activities of suspected terrorists.
The question is whether the president understood the law and knowingly
flaunted it." That's not the question at all. The question is whether the
Constitution permits its violation by the President, and the answer is no.

Obama, a self proclaimed educator in constitutional law, voted Yes on
March 2 to final passage of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and
Reauthorization Act, unlike ten of his Democratic colleagues.

A couple of weeks ago Obama unleashed another cloud of statesmanlike mush
about Iraq to an upscale foreign policy crowd in Chicago. Trimming to new
realities he's now talking about a four-to-six month time frame for
beginning withdrawal from Iraq. Don't mistake this for any real agenda.
It's a schedule that can be pulled in any direction, like a rubber mask
from a Christmas stocking.

This week many Americans have stared aghast at the photos of Jose Padilla,
manacled hand and foot, blinded by special goggles, being escorted by his
US military jailers from his isolation cell to the dentist. His lawyers
say that his horrible treatment, four years of total isolation and sensory
deprivation, have rendered him incapable of defending himself.

The treatment of Padilla--classed as "an enemy combatant" until US
government prosecutors were forced to reclassify him as a criminal
defendant earlier this year--was obviously a diligent exercise in torture,
akin to what has been meted out to "enemy combatants" held in the US
concentration camp at Guantanamo. Last year Illinois' senior US senator,
Dick Durbin, bravely got into trouble for likening conditions at
Guantanamo to those in a Nazi or Stalin-era camp. This was one of Durbin's
finer moments, as he read an FBI man's eyewitness describing how he had
entered interview rooms "to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a
fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they
urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24
hours or more."

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent
describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you
would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in
their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no
concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action
of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners. It is not too late. I
hope we will learn from history. I hope we will change course."

The right-wing mad-dog crowd jumped on Durbin, and eventually he paid the
penalty of having to eat crow on the Senate floor. His fellow senator from
Illinois, Obama, did not support him in any way. He said, "we have a
tendency to demonize and jump on and make mockery of each other across the
aisle and that is particularly pronounced when we make mistakes. Each and
every one of us is going to make a mistake once in a while...and what we
hope is that our track record of service, the scope of how we've operated
and interacted with people, will override whatever particular mistake we
make."

That's three uses of the word "mistake". Obama had his fingers stuck in
the wind as always. He bends to every breeze, as soon as he identifies it
as coming from a career threatening quarter. This man is no leader.

[Accumulated lesser-evil voting gives us two national parties neither of
which does a thing for us (unless dragged by an appendage - choose your
favorite), and lots against us. How can anyone continue to think this is
rational? It fits the definition of insanity. -ed]


--------15 of 16--------

More Dangerous Than Crack
Death By Coke
By JOSHUA FRANK
CounterPunch
December 13, 2006

We are a country of overweight people. Americans are tipping the scales in
record numbers, with approximately 130 million who are presently
considered overweight or obese. Perhaps most alarmingly of all, half of
all women aged 20 to 39 in the United States are included in these
figures. Many factors contribute to the growing problem, from our
sedentary lifestyles to our overindulgence in high-energy, low nutritional
foods. Dealing with the crisis is not easy. The marketing of energy dense
foods is a multi-billion dollar industry and manufactures of such products
go to great lengths to ensure their shareholders continue to profit from
the sales of nutrition-less foods.

Despite the barrage of marketing to the contrary, sales pitches, and
misinformation, consumption of soda has been directly linked to both
obesity as well as type 2 diabetes. Soft drinks are packed full of sugar
and refined carbohydrates, both of which are undeniably correlated to
these factors. Type 2 diabetes is also associated with a poor diet that is
laden with high-fructose corn syrup and low in fiber. Research indicates
that soft drinks largely contribute to this growing epidemic, with high
school and college age kids being the most likely to consume sugar laden
soda beverages on a regular basis.

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are bad news, according to health
experts, because they contribute to the obesity epidemic by providing
empty calories, that is, calories that provide little or no nutritional
value. Meaning, a person who slugs down too much soda is swallowing more
than their body can handle. And this added energy isn't healthy energy --
it's energy derived from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), i.e., highly
refined sugar that has been chemically processed in order to excite your
taste buds. It has been argued that too much HFCS in one's diet may offset
the intake of solid food, yet does not produce a positive caloric balance.
In turn, this over-consumption contributes to the slow development of
obesity because the person is consuming more calories than their body can
burn. And these days, people are drinking more soda than ever before.
Perhaps not surprisingly, as portion sizes for soft drinks have increased,
so have American waistlines.

To put this dangerous pattern in to perspective, one regular 12-ounce can
of sugar-sweetened soda contains approximately 150 calories with close to
50 grams of sugar. If this is added to the typical American diet, one can
of soda per day could lead to a weight gain of 15 pounds in one year.
Currently the consumption of soda accounts for about 8%-9% of total energy
among children and adults, and studies suggest that it is most certainly
having a negative effect on the people who consume it in such vast
quantities. So what's so wrong with being overweight then, you ask? So
what if soda has been linked to causing obesity? What's wrong with that?
Well, plenty say scores of medical, health and public nutrition experts.

For starters, obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart
disease, bowel cancer as well as high blood pressure. Type 2 diabetes
alone can contribute to cardiovascular disease, retinopathy (blindness),
neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), and other health
complications. So if type 2 diabetes is highly associated with individuals
who are obese, and obesity is linked to SSBs, then type 2 diabetes is
highly associated with the consumption of SSBs because the consumption of
SSBs is so highly associated with causing obesity. In short, if one
consumes SSBs on a regular basis, they are more at risk of developing type
2 diabetes, which itself may cause many ailments. That's why being
overweight is not a good thing for one's health. And that's why drinking
copious amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages contributes to poor wellbeing
by way of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

On top of causing one to gain unhealthy weight and spurring type 2
diabetes, SSBs may also contribute to the loss of bone density, which may
cause one to be more susceptible to bone fractures. It has been argued
that low bone density may be a result of high levels of phosphate, which
is found in elevated amounts in sugar-sweetened cola. Such large amounts
of phosphate may alter the calcium-phosphorus ratio in people whose bodies
are still developing, or people who are most likely to consume SSBs, and
consequently this can have a toxic effect on their bone development. If a
growing individual has a low calcium intake it could jeopardize bone mass,
which may then contribute to hip fractures and other bone related
disorders later in life. Drinking a lot of SSBs while your body develops
could have lasting, deadly effects on your health. So while it is clear
that soda isn't good for you, it is also obvious that soda is downright
bad for your health. It can make you overweight, suck the calcium out of
your bones, and increase risk of type 2 diabetes, a leading cause of
blindness. But that's not the kind of news the profiteers of big soda
would ever want you to hear.

The marketing firms that barrage consumers with ads for their
mouth-watering soft drinks hope to encourage you to drink more of their
harmful products, not less of them. Indeed they have a financial incentive
to do so. Their annual revenues are billions of dollars. To protect their
interests, as Prof. Marion Nestle of NYU notes, the soda industry shells
out tons of money to convince people to consume their products in mass
quantities. In the late 1990s, Coca-Cola spent about $1.6 billion dollars
in global marketing, with over $850 million spent in the United States
alone. With that kind of lavish spending, it is little wonder why
Coca-Cola is such a household name. Clearly, those who advocate for
cutting down on the consumption of SSBs because of their negative health
impacts are up against a very well financed opposition -- not unlike the
anti-smoking activists who take on the shenanigans and deceit of Big
Tobacco.

Nevertheless, Coca-Cola, like its competitors, is extremely savvy. They
have inundated schools with their products. As Michele Simon, the author
of Appetite for Profit, writes, "A 2003 government survey showed that 43
percent of elementary schools, 74 percent of middle schools, and 98
percent of high schools sold food through vending machines, snack bars, or
other venues outside the federally supported school meal programs ... With
public schools so desperate for funding, districts are lured into signing
exclusive contracts (also known as "pouring rights" deals) with major
beverage companies -- mainly Coca-Cola and PepsiCo".

In other words, these multinational corporations give millions of dollars
to schools so that their districts and vending machines exclusively carry
their goods. In reality, however, it comes down to one big clever
marketing ploy: In the end these big corporations have hooked kids on
their products while fooling people into believing they are virtuous
corporate citizens because they support education.

Fortunately there is a growing movement across the country to ban sodas
from schools. Indeed the feisty Killer Coke campaign, which focuses on the
company's labor abuses and not Coke's negative health implications, has
been successful is banning the product from over 10 major universities in
the US. But it would be wise to not just focus on the company's alleged
murders in Colombia, and instead broaden the struggle against the soda
industry by pointing out their complicity in the obesity epidemic
worldwide.

Because death truly is the "real thing".

Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George
W. Bush and edits http://www.BrickBurner.org


--------16 of 16--------

A Monopoly on Futures?
Corporations Control Your Dinner
By DEBRA ESCHMEYER
CounterPunch
December 13, 2006

Most everyone has been told to not play with his or her food, yet somehow
agribusiness is playing Monopoly with the nation's food supply.

When pouring your next glass of milk, consider who decided what the cow
ate and who controls the distribution of profits. One would think the
farmer and consumer take the lead roles in managing the supply of safe and
healthy food. The farmer should control his or her business while mainly
battling unpredictable weather --- expecting the price they receive for a
quality product to be set by a fair and honest marketplace.

However, in today's market, the lack of competition is wielding just as
much force as Mother Nature as witnessed by the recent proposed
acquisition of the Chicago Board of Trade by the Chicago Mercantile
Exchange (CME) to become the CME Group Inc. --- combining the two largest
U.S. futures exchanges.

If you think this and similar mergers do not affect your freedom of choice
and the quality of food you eat, think again. Food is not simply a
commodity to produce at a larger and larger scale, squeezing the family
farmer out along with the value of safe and healthy food.

The CME is already the world's largest commodity broker determining
futures and cash prices for products such as cheese, butter, live cattle,
timber, and fertilizer as they set the benchmark prices for farm country.
Within seconds the coarse yelling on the trade floor is translated around
the world, affecting farm gate prices and grocery bills of billions of
people.

If this merger goes through, the newly formed CME Group will enjoy
unprecedented power over global food markets to the detriment of producers
and consumers and the glee of large agribusiness and traders --- lining
their own pockets with money generated by destroying family farmers and
the consumer value that exists in having diversity in the market.

The new CME Group could still end up with the Go to Jail card, as the U.S.
Department of Justice must decide whether this merger violates federal
anti-trust laws. The CME does not have a clean slate either. Last July six
U.S. Senators including Clinton, Specter, and Feingold sent a letter
calling on the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether
cheese trading on the CME is susceptible to price manipulation.

The study was requested to fully evaluate the CME in light of the upcoming
farm bill. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is also
currently investigating the nation's largest dairy cooperative, Dairy
Farmers of America, for alleged racketeering and insider trading on the
CME.

Family farmers already know from previous paychecks that this is not a
good forecast. Because the CME is a privately owned corporation, it does
not have to follow normal transparency and accountability rules. The CME
is subject to nominal oversight by the CFTC over the trading of futures,
but there is no external oversight for cash trading.

With market consolidation and little to no oversight, competition and
economic fairplay are almost defunct in the U.S. food system. Consumers
will pay more for fewer choices; farmers will get paid less --- don't pass
go, and don't collect $200 --- that will go to the commodity trader living
down on Park Place.

Lack of competition is not new to modern agriculture. The largest producer
and processor of hogs in the U.S., Smithfield Foods, Inc., recently
announced plans to purchase Premium Standard Farms, the second largest hog
producer. On top of owning 20% of the nation's hogs, Smithfield would then
envelope the ContiGroup, the largest cattle feeding entity in the world,
and they control 40% interest in Premium Standard Farms. Pork or corporate
profit for dinner?

In 2002 the late Senator Wellstone joined with Senators Daschle, Harkin,
Feingold and Grassley to reinstate some degree of competition into
agriculture and to reign in the excessive control of a few giants in the
livestock sector.

Unfortunately, the measures to benefit farmers and consumers that were won
in the Senate were negotiated away in the conference with the House. Let's
hope following the 2006 election that Congress will listen to the public
and restore democratic fairness to the markets that are critical to our
nation's economy and diet.

The CME Group merger is yet another win for corporate agribusiness players
and a loss for consumers and farmers in the game of food system Monopoly.

DEBRA ESCHMEYER is the project director of the National Family Farm
Coalition, a non-profit that provides a voice for grassroots groups on
farm, food, trade and rural economic issues to ensure fair prices for
family farmers, safe and healthy food, and vibrant, environmentally sound
rural communities here and around the world.


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