Progressive Calendar 01.30.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 00:37:36 -0800 (PST)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     01.30.07

1. Sudan/peace        1.30 11:30am
2. Justice/janitors   1.30 11:30am
3. Global warming     1.30 4pm
4. CPUSA/CTV          1.30 5pm
5. Peace class/free   1.30 6pm
6. School planning    1.30 6pm
7. Cindy Sheehan      1.30 6:30pm SOLD OUT; see #13

8. CCHT/housing       1.31 7:30am
9. Conflict           1.31 8am
10. Leg agenda        1.31 12noon
11. Arab newspaper    1.31 12noon
12. Condo conversions 1.31 1pm
13. Sheehan/Maathai   1.31 6pm St Cloud MN
14. Union women       1.31 6pm
15. Democracy/play    1.31 7pm

16. Dave Bicking et al - In support of Dean Zimmermann
17. Kim Petersen       - Money trumps democracy
18. Eric Margolis      - Imperial presidency
19. ed                 - Life in the twenty-first century (poem)

--------1 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Sudan/peace 1.30 11:30am

Tuesday, 1/30, 11:30 am, UN Envoy for Sudan Tom Vraalsen gives free program
"Sudan at the Crossroads: 2 years After Signing the Peace Agreement," with
light lunch following, Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Institute, 309 - 19th Ave
S, Mpls.


--------2 of 19--------

From: Brian Payne <brianpayneyvp [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Justice/janitors 1.30 11:30am

Brian Payne, brianpayneyvp [at] gmail.com, 612-859-5750

Rally! Janitors & Our Allies
Tuesday, January 30th, 11:30am
Hennepin County Government Center
Corner of 4th Ave S and 5th Street S Downtown Minneapolis. Call 612 331-8336
for questions

Cleaning Companies Feel the Heat & Agree to Return to Bargaining Table:
Three days scheduled: January 31st, February 1st and 2nd
Weeks ago, the cleaning companies said that they wouldn't bargain again
until janitors removed our proposal for Family Health Insurance. But they've
never felt the heat before! Janitors and our allies have held daily actions
on building owners, surprise visits to Board meetings, and an overwhelming
vote to authorize a strike!

The clock is ticking: all eyes are on Feb 2nd

Now the Cleaning companies see that we are serious. They have agreed to come
back to the bargaining table for three days at the end of the month. It is
time that they stop the unfair labor practices and settle a fair contract
that includes:
* Health Insurance
For Our Families
* More Full Time Jobs
* Safe Workloads
* Fair Wages
* Respect
We're Ready to Strike for Our Families!


--------3 of 19--------

From: Cesia Kearns <cesia.kearns [at] sierraclub.org>
Subject: Global warming 1.30 4pm

Global Warming - Heat up the Capitol, Cool the Climate!

Attend the MN Legislature's informational hearing on global warming!
Come and show legislators we need action on global warming -NOW!

Tuesday, January 30th, 4:00pm - 6:00pm Join us in the Capitol Rotunda
after the hearing for a few words from Arctic Explorer Will Steger!

MN State Capitol. Come to the Capitol's information desk on the main floor
at the end of the corridor to the right of the main entrance. Sierra Club
staff and volunteers will be there to direct you to the scheduled public
overflow rooms, and a list of these rooms will be available with the desk
staff.

Remarks from Representative Margaret Anderson Kelliher, testimony from
Polar Explorer Will Steger, faith leaders, and leading scientists.

BACKGROUND:

This year, the Minnesota legislature has an important opportunity to lead
the Midwest in passing significant statewide policy to solve global
warming and achieve energy independence.  This includes bills with
aggressive targets to reduce global warming pollution, pass a 25% by 2020
Renewable Electricity Standard, increase energy efficiency & conservation,
and promote the next generation of biofuels across the state.  Sierra Club
and other allies with the coalition "Clean Energy Minnesota" are
supporting these initiatives to ensure energy independence in Minnesota.
Join us in the effort!

MAP OF CAPITOL COMPLEX:
http://www.admin.state.mn.us/pmd/maps/capitol_complex.pdf

PARKING:
http://www.admin.state.mn.us/pmd/4-2_public_parking.htm#metered_lot_parking

DIRECTIONS:
http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/leg/faqtoc.asp?subject=14

For more information, or to get involved in the Sierra Club's activities on
Global Warming and Energy, contact Cesia Kearns at 612-659-9124 or email
cesia.kearns [at] sierraclub.org


--------4 of 19--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: CPUSA/CTV 1.30 5pm

Dear St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts at 5 pm and midnight each Tuesday and 10
am each Wednesday on SPNN Channel 15 in St. Paul.  All households with
basic cable can watch.  Below are the scheduled shows through Jan. 31.

1/30 and 1/31 "Socialism USA".  Interview of local CPUSA members Harry
McAllister and Michael Wood.  Hosted by Eric Angell.


--------5 of 19--------

From: PRO826 [at] aol.com
Subject: Peace class/free 1.30 6pm

Two non-credited, free courses taught by Ray Tricomo will be available at
Macalester College for the winter semester. Below is a brief description
of the courses, more info is available by calling Ray directly at
651-714-0288.

The Great Law of Peace - Past, Present and Future
Includes the role of indigenous people in inventing a new nation on this
continent.
Tuesday nights starting January 30th from 6-8pm

and

Black Folk:  Culture Defeats Holocaust
   The liberation of the black people and the rest of us
Wednesday nights from 6-8pm


--------6 of 19--------

From: Anne R. Carroll <carrfran [at] qwest.net>
Subject: School planning 1.30 6pm

Regional Community Strategic Plan Meetings

For the past few months, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and school
district staff have been developing a new strategic plan that outlines how
resources will be prioritized to accelerate student achievement in the
Saint Paul Public Schools through 2009. The planning work to date has been
guided by the parameters and expectations laid out by the Board and
community leaders, and driven by our energetic new superintendent's
sincere commitment to doing whatever is necessary ensure that every child
successfully meets the highest standards. Five community meetings are
being held over the next few weeks to "close the loop" for all community
members, including SPPS students, families, and staff. There will be a
very short presentation at each, and all evening people can roam freely
among several staffed "stations" to get answers to questions and provide
input on any or all of the key initiatives being proposed.

Please attend one of the five meetings listed below to find out more about
the draft plan, ask questions, and offer feedback. All meetings are free and
open to the public.

Tuesday, Jan. 30
6:00-8:30 p.m.
Arlington High School, Great Hall
1495 Rice St., 55117

Thursday, Feb. 1
6:00-8:30 p.m.
Humboldt Senior High, Cafeteria
30 E. Baker St., 55107

I'll be stopping by these meetings to get a sense of what people are
thinking, so hope to see many of you there! As always, call or email with
your issues, questions, concerns, or comments on this or any other
(education-related) topic ;-). -- Anne Carroll, St. Paul Board of
Education


--------7 of 19--------

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Cindy Sheehan 1.30 6:30pm SOLD OUT

Cindy Sheehan "One Person Can Make a Difference"

January 30, 6:30 p.m. (Social Hour and Display Tables), 7:30 p.m.
(Presentation) St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 Third Avenue South,
Minneapolis. Cindy Sheehan gained fame in the summer of 2005, when she
started a vigil outside President George W. Bush's home in Crawford,
Texas, asking the President to tell her for what noble cause her son Casey
disrupted the new Congress in Washington, D.C. in heroic efforts to stop
the war and bring the troops home now. Tickets: $10.00. 65 tickets remain
at the WAMM office! Space is limited so get your tickets now! Sponsored
by: Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (MAP). WAMM is a member. FFI and
Tickets: Call WAMM 612-827-5364.

---
From: braun044 <braun044 [at] tc.umn.edu>

The Cindy Sheehan event on January 30 is SOLD OUT.  We are sorry that
everyone was not able to get tickets.  We do plan to videotape the
event and have it available for a special showing in about four or
five weeks (watch for info from WAMM or MAP). It is not the same as
seeing her in person, but many people were not able to get tickets
and we did want to give them an opportunity to hear her.

[But see item #13 below - Sheehan in St Cloud 1.31 -ed]


--------8 of 19--------

From: Philip Schaffner <PSchaffner [at] ccht.org>
Subject: CCHT/housing 1.31 7:30am

Learn how Central Community Housing Trust is responding to the
affordable housing shortage in the Twin Cities. Please join us for a
1-hour Building Dreams presentation.

Minneapolis Sessions: Feb 6 at 4:30p; Feb 22 at 7:30a
St. Paul Sessions: Jan 31 at 7:30a; Feb 28 at 4:30p

We are also happy to present Building Dreams at your organization, place
of worship, or business. Space is limited, please register online at:
www.ccht.org/bd or call Philip Schaffner at 612-341-3148 x237

Central Community Housing Trust 1625 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 341-3148 www.ccht.org


--------9 of 19---------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Conflict 1.31 8am

Wednesday, 1/31, 8 to 9:30 am, US State Dept Counterterrorism coordinator
Henry Crumpton speaks on "A New Era of Conflict," Cowles Auditorium,
Humphrey Institute, 301 - 19th Ave S, Mpls. [Humphrey Institute offerings
are all too often anti-progressive, establishment, part of the problem not
the solution. The one above could be good or bad. -ed]


--------10 of 19--------

From: erin [at] mnwomen.org
Subject: Leg agenda 1.31 12noon

The Minnesota Women's Consortium.
Beginning January 31 Brown Bag lunches will be held every other Wednesday
from Noon-1PM at the Minnesota State Capitol in Room 229. Join us for a
great discussion, information and yummy snacks- always free of charge.
RSVPs are not necessary but appreciated. For more info contact
bharti [at] mnwomen.org or 651/228-0338.

Wednesday, January 31, Noon-1PM in Capitol Room 229. Join the Consortium
and Children's Defense Fund as they discuss their legislative agenda.


--------11 of 19--------

From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Arab newspaper 1.31 12noon

Jan. 31 - Keren Braverman, Tel Aviv University, "Searching for Identity
through Kawab Amirka (Star of America; the first Arab language newspaper
published in the U.S.)", 12-1 pm, 308 Andersen Library

For more information about these and other upcoming events, visit
http://ihrc.umn.edu .


--------12 of 19--------

From: "Gordon, Cam A." <CamGordon333 [at] msn.com>
Subject: Condo conversions 1.31 1pm

The Condo Conversion ordinance I am sponsoring will be coming for a public
hearing on this Wednesday, January 31, at 1pm at the Public Safety &
Regulatory Services committee.  This meeting will take place in the
Council Chambers, room 317 of City Hall, 350 S 5th St in downtown
Minneapolis.

I have been working closely with Minneapolis Affordable Housing Coalition
on these amendments intended to better protect tenants, prevent the loss
of affordable rental housing due to condo conversions and to protect condo
buyers.  The City Attorney's office has stated that the proposed reforms
are well within the City's scope of authority, and Regulatory Services
staff has said that they can do the work the ordinance will require.  The
ordinance requires city approval of conversions and a reserve fund study
to protect buyers. It strengthens notice requirements owners must provide
to tenants. It also puts in place affordable housing protection, and
provides relocation benefits for tenants if the units to be converted are
affordable.

If you would like more information about the specific provisions or the
full language of the ordinance amendments, please let me know and I would
be happy to send them to you. You can also find more information here:
http://www.hppinc.org/?q=condos

If you support these changes, I need you there on Wednesday.  Some of my
colleagues are adamantly opposed to these reforms.  Others are undecided.
If those of us who care about affordable housing show up and make a strong
case it might be especially helpful.

Please attend, if you can, and advocate for affordable housing
preservation in Minneapolis.

Cam Gordon Council Member, Second Ward

Here are some facts about the state of affordable housing in Minneapolis:

- The Minnesota State Legislature has recognized that a lack of affordable
housing in a city is an important concern as it relates to condominium
conversions.  Therefore, and pursuant to Minn. Stat.  515B.1-106(c), it
authorized a statutory or home rule charter city to pass ordinances
establishing standards, applied uniformly in its jurisdiction, that impose
reasonable conditions upon the conversion of buildings to condominiums as
long as there exists within the city a significant shortage of suitable
rental dwellings available to low and moderate income individuals or
families.

- According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and based
on the 2000 Census, Minneapolis has 37,847 low income (less than or equal
to 50% area median adjusted by size) households that pay more than 30% of
their income for rent or live in overcrowded housing or housing lacking
basic facilities.  Of these, 27,992 were renter households, 35% of all
renter households.

- According to the 2005-2009 Minneapolis Consolidated Plan, Minneapolis
has a shortage of 13,499 units of housing affordable to households earning
below 30% of Metro Median Income.

- As of January 2007, there are approximately 10,999 households, 5,557 of
which are families, on the waiting list for Minneapolis Public Housing
Authority affordable housing units.

- According to the CPED report "Minneapolis' Condo Conversion Trend and
its Effect on Affordable Housing," at least 283 affordable units were
converted between 2001 and 2005, or 23% of the total conversions in that
time period.  This report indicates a concentration of condo conversions
in certain parts of the City, leading to an increased concentration of
affordable housing in other neighborhoods.

- The Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Minneapolis and Hennepin
County, passed by the Minneapolis City Council on 12/1/06, identifies
"shortage of affordable housing" as one of nine "root causes of
homelessness."  The report calls for the City to "ensure the preservation
of current affordable and supportive housing."

- The Community Planning and Economic Development Department Housing
Policy & Development Division lists as one of its goals "Preservation of
currently affordable housing is a top priority for insuring continuing
housing affordability in the city."

- In the City's latest round of Affordable Housing Trust Fund
applications, the average total development cost of a new affordable
rental unit was $195,572.


--------13 of 19--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Sheehan/Maathai 1.31 6pm St Cloud MN

Wednesday, 1/31, 6 pm, Cindy Sheehan speaks on "One Person Can Make a
Difference," followed at 7:30 pm by Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai
speaking on "Sustainable Development, Democracy and Peace," Ritsche
Auditorium, Stewart Hall, St Cloud Univ, 720 - 4th Ave S, St Cloud.
(These 2 programs are preceded by Dr Tamrat Tadame speaking on the use of
radialized language by US military at 1 pm, and the video "Iraq for Sale"
at 4 pm.)  nova [at] stcloudstate.edu or www.stcloudstate.edu

--
From: Aaron Klemz <aaronklemz [at] yahoo.com>

Wednesday, January 31, 2007, at 7:30 PM in Ritsche Auditorium, SCSU
students, faculty, staff, and members of the St. Cloud community will have
the extraordinary opportunity to hear an address by Dr. Wangari Maathai,
founder of the Greenbelt Movement and winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace
Prize.

Please do plan to attend and please urge your students to take advantage
of this opportunity to hear from an internationally renowned, respected,
and honored scientist, educator, conservationist, and human rights
advocate.

Dr. Maathai holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Saint Scholastica, a
Masters degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Biology, and a PhD in
Veterinary Anatomy from the University of Nairobi. Wangari Maathai is the
founder of the Green Belt Movement, an environmentalist, a civil society
and women's rights activist, and a parliamentarian. You can read about her
life and her organization through her two books, Unbowed: A Memoir and The
Green Belt Movement. In 2004, Dr. Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize.

Dr. Maathai's address (free and open to the public) is titled "Sustainable
Development, Democracy and Peace: A Critical Link" and will take place

January 31, 2007 7:30 PM Ritsche Auditorium, Stewart Hall St. Cloud State
University

This event is sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and
Learning with Co-Sponsors: NOVA, the Women's Center, the Organization for
the Prevention of AIDS in Africa, the Residence Hall Association, the
African Studies Association, the Center for International Studies, and
Multicultural Student Services

You and your students can read more about Dr. Maathai's life and work and
about the Greenbelt movement at the Greenbelt Movement website:
http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/

Recently, Dr. Maathai was a guest on National Public Radio's "Speaking
of Faith" with Krista Tippett. To hear that interview and read more about
Dr. Maathai, visit
http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/plantingthefuture/index.shtm

To read an article by Dr. Maathai entitled "Trees for Democracy" view
this link: http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/a.php?id=29

More resources are available at both the Greenbelt Movement website and
the Speaking of Faith website.


--------14 of 19--------

From: Bonnie Watkins <bonnie [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Union women 1.31 6pm

Women's Consortium Honors Unionists

Union activists Brie Halvorson of St. Paul Trades & Labor Assembly and
Linda Slattengren of the Minnesota Nurses Association are among the "Women
in the Workplace" honorees at the 27th annual Celebration event of the
Minnesota Women's Consortium. The event is set for Wednesday, January 31,
6PM to 9PM at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The Mila Vocal Ensemble and Women's Drum Circle will perform, along with
supper buffet and networking. Cathy Wurzer of MPR will emcee. To hear a
Mila piece and more, visit the Consortium's new blog, EqualityQuilt.com.
Cost for the event is $40 in advance, $45 at the door, or pay your age.
Reserve your place by calling 651/228-0338 or visit www.mnwomen.org and
click on "make a gift today," noting "reservation" in the comment box. --

Bonnie Watkins Executive Director Minnesota Women's Consortium
651/228-0338 www.mnwomen.org <http://www.mnwomen.org>


--------15 of 19--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Democracy/play 1.31 7pm

Discuss Democracy with Director Jon Cranney
Wednesday, January 31, 7 p.m.
St. Anthony Park Branch Library, 2245 Como Ave., Saint Paul

This event is free and open to the public.
For more information, call 651-222-3242 or friends [at] thefriends.org

Join The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and Park Square Theatre
for an investigation into the heart of Democracy - the play, that is.
Democracy captures the glory years of Willy Brandt's rise to power as
Chancellor in 1969 West Germany.  Michael Frayn, the author of Copenhagen
and Noises Off, delivers another gripping study into the mysteries of the
divided human heart.  Jon Cranney is an acclaimed local director and
actor; he will discuss the play and his work on Wednesday, January 31 at 7
p.m., at the St. Anthony Park Branch Library, 2245 Como Ave., Saint Paul.

This program is free and open to the public.  For more information on the
program or a  price ticket deal, please call The Friends at 651/222-3242
or go online at www.thefriends.org.  This program is made possible through
support from the City of Saint Paul's Cultural STAR program.  For
additional information on Park Square Theatre's production of Democracy or
to get tickets, visit www.parksquaretheatre.org or call 651/291-7005.


--------16 of 19--------

Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 01:30:20 -0600
From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com>
Subject: In support of Dean Zimmermann

Dear friends,

I believe that most of you know that my friend Dean Zimmermann, former
Green Party City Council member in Minneapolis, was convicted this summer
of bribery.  He didn't do it - it was a sting operation by the FBI.
(More about that below.)  Dean was sentenced in December, and reported to
prison on Monday, January 29 to start his 30 month sentence.  I've been
helping to support Dean personally and politically, and working to
publicize and explain the nature of this injustice.

Some of us have written up a statement in support of Dean, and we are
hoping a large number of people will sign on to express their agreement.
The statement is at the end of this email.  I hope you will read it and
consider signing it.

Briefly, the intent of the statement is to indicate our support of Dean
personally and politically, to state our conviction that he is innocent of
the legal charges, to condemn the FBI persecution, to state that we
therefore consider Dean to be a political prisoner, and to put his case in
the context of the historic and current repression of dissent.

We intend to put this final statement, with its signatures, on various
listserves and on Indymedia.  We will release it to selected members of
the press, particularly independent media.  We may also send it to
national groups that support political prisoners.

We wrote this statement to be released on the day that Dean reported to
prison.  We collected a large number of signatures in time for the first
release.  However, we would still appreciate your signature, the sooner
the better, if you agree with the content of the statement and would like
to publicly support Dean in this way.  We will continue to collect
signatures indefinitely.  As this statement is sent to various places, we
will include any new signatures.

If you wish to sign, please email me:  Dave Bicking, at:
dave [at] colorstudy.com For your signature to be included, I MUST receive your
authorization in writing (by email) - and please include your full name as
you wish it to appear.  Don't assume I'll spell your name correctly
otherwise.  If you have questions or comments, feel free to call me at
612-276-1213.

In addition to signatures, we will include the standard "affiliation for
identification purposes only".  So if you want to be "John Doe, Assistant
Professor of Polyethics at Woebegon University" for instance, or "Jane
Doe, National Association to Stamp out Stamps", just let me know.  This is
optional, of course - no need for any identifier.

I hope you will seriously consider adding your name - I think standing up
for activists against the ever-growing climate of repression and
surveillance is an important thing to do.  I hope we can have a long list
of names to give real weight to our convictions.

I realize that some of you may not feel well enough informed about the
case to feel comfortable signing this.

We are convinced that Dean is innocent of the actual criminal charges, and
that this case was politically motivated.  The FBI has been keeping track
of Dean's activities for over 40 years.  Dean never exchanged money for
political influence - he never did any special favor for the developer who
turned out to be an FBI informant - in fact, he voted against his project.
And the money wasn't for him - it was a contribution to the legal fund set
up to fight the unfair redistricting that moved Dean's ward out from under
him.  That fund now has the money - passed on by Dean as soon as the fund
re-opened their temporarily defunct bank account.  But innocence isn't
always a sufficient defense when you are up against the FBI.

Some of the supporting information is included in the statement itself.

Thanks for your consideration,

Dave Bicking


***In Support of Dean Zimmermann***

We, the undersigned, protest the investigation, conviction, and
imprisonment of Dean Zimmermann.  As he begins his 30 month sentence in
federal prison, we stand in support of an honest man who has dedicated his
life to helping others, both personally and politically.

We are convinced that Dean is innocent of the crime of bribery - a crime
that requires intent. Dean has shown no signs of personal ambition; it is
unthinkable that he would participate in corruption for personal gain.
Indeed, his imprisonment is the result, not of corruption, but of his
activism and his integrity.  The FBI set-up is the culmination of over 40
years of FBI surveillance of Dean's political activities.

This was a set-up, in the most literal sense:  The cash, the witness and
his script, the cameras, and the locations were all provided by the FBI.
Unlike someone truly soliciting a bribe, Dean never asked for nor expected
the contributions in cash, nor did he ask that they be given to him
directly.  The FBI never showed that Dean did anything for Gary Carlson
that he would not do for anyone else.  The prosecution could not find one
other business person nor developer who would testify that Dean had asked
for money in exchange for a favorable vote for their business or project.

This is not the first time that the FBI has taken an interest in Dean.

Dean Zimmermann has had a long history of political activism.  He opposed
atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the 50s.  He participated in the
Civil Rights movement in the 60s, working on voter registration drives in
Mississippi.  He was an early opponent of the Vietnam War.  He helped
create the natural food coops in Minneapolis.  As an elected member of the
Minneapolis Park Board he promoted sustainable ecological practices.  In
his four years on the City Council, he worked on homelessness issues, for
immigrant rights, for greater accountability to end police brutality, and
continued his work for a better environment.  As he puts it, his focus on
the Council was "to make life easier for poor people, and to leave behind
a planet that is fit for our great grandchildren to live on."

The FBI also has a long history, and it is a history of dirty deeds in
opposition to all the causes that Dean has promoted.  An FBI agent even
remarked what a low FBI number Dean had, indicating that his file goes way
back.  The infamous COINTELPRO program was created to, in the FBI's own
words, "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize"
dissident movements.  In addition to keeping extensive files on activists
including Dean, the FBI encouraged the selective prosecution of movement
leaders, and worked covertly to incite violence and to split groups apart
and pit one group against another.  After Congressional investigations in
the mid-70s, COINTELPRO was formally disbanded, but many of the activities
continued, and the files were kept.

Recently, new tools such as the PATRIOT Act give the federal government
even more power.  Surely the FBI, overseen by torture defender Alberto
Gonzales, is as determined as ever to repress dissent.  The persecution of
Dean Zimmermann can be seen as nothing less than a warning to any elected
official who would dare repudiate the Bush administration's repressive
agenda.  Even as Republican leaders have engaged in demonstrated acts of
corruption and violation of the public trust, the US Justice Department
under Gonzales has gone after more non-Republican elected officials than
any other in modern American history.

We will probably never fully know the motivations and circumstances that
led the FBI to set up a sting operation to try to entrap Dean.  But if we
think that Dean's case has anything to do with a sincere concern about
ethics or municipal corruption, we have fallen into the trap set for us by
the FBI.  Ideally, investigation and prosecution should be a search for
the truth.  By their record of deception and distortion, the FBI has shown
its true intent.

A centerpiece of the FBI's case is the famous "money, money, money" quote.
To obtain a search warrant, the FBI deliberately deceived the judge by
depicting this as Dean's response to Gary Carlson at a "meeting in a
restaurant".  They did not reveal that this was a perfectly innocent
quote, given the context that this "meeting" was one of Dean's many
conversations during a large public fundraiser for his campaign.  When
they raided Dean's house, the FBI confiscated not just evidence, but
nearly all of his campaign materials.  His re-election campaign was
crippled by this loss of mailing lists, phone numbers, address labels,
etc., perhaps revealing their true intent.

Any credible news source would readily expose these injustices, but the
corporate media has been complicit in deception that influences the
public's view of this case.  Even after the trial was over and the true
facts were known, the Star Tribune printed the transcript of the
conversation with the "money, money, money"  quote without revealing that
it occurred during a fundraiser.

Dean's unjust conviction and imprisonment will not negate the legacy of
his decades of service.  Like many true freedom fighters, Dean is paying a
high price for his activism.  Our hearts go out to him and his family.
This hurts not only Dean, but all of us.  It hurts the causes Dean works
for, and it unfairly tarnishes the reputations of the groups he works
with.  The timing of the FBI investigation and raid also tampered with the
democratic process.  We miss Dean's leadership on the Minneapolis City
Council.

We stand in support of all political prisoners including Leonard Peltier,
Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the Cuban Five.  Dean Zimmermann is a political
prisoner and we appeal to other groups, national and international, to
recognize him as such.

Dean has not asked for personal support; he asks only that we "continue
the struggle".  We will do that, while keeping in mind that part of that
struggle is to defend our allies from persecution, and to support the
right of activists to work without fear of retribution.

Dean says it best: "Speaking on behalf of the poor and oppressed and
generations to come is not always popular, but it is necessary.
 It is my life's work.  It is my work as a public official and it's work I
intend to continue."  Thank you, our friend, for your inspiration and for
your life's work.  We look forward to your continuation of that work, both
in prison, and when you are able to rejoin us afterward.

Signed by:   (affiliations for identification purposes only)

J. Edward (Ed) Anderson, Fridley, MN
Eric J. Angell
Margaret Beegle
Daniel Berning, CUAPB
Dave Bicking, 2005 Green Party candidate for Mpls City Council
Louise Bouta
Jamie Buss
Sylvia Carlson
Alan Carlson, St. Paul
Michael J. Cavlan RN, Candidate United States Senate 2008
David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential candidate
Cynthia Cohen, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Janelle Colway, CUAPB
Bill Cooley
Nan Corliss, Bloomington, MN
Andy Driscoll
Peggy Dunham
Jane Evershed
Ed Felien, Editor/Publisher, Southside Pride and Pulse of the Twin Cities
Erik A. Forman
Ann Galloway
Amber Garlan, St. Paul Green Party
Eric Gilbertson, Treasurer 5CD Green Party of MN
Rhoda R. Gilman
Richard G. Gravrok, St. Louis Park
Fred J. Grieco
Michelle Gross, Vice President, Communities United Against Police
 Brutality
Brenda Joy Grove
Farheen Hakeem
Robert W. Halfhill
Wade Hannon, Associate Professor, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
Jenny Heiser, wife to Dean Zimmermann; Owner, At Your Service
Laurie Hilty
Paul Hoffinger, Eagan, MN
Carrie Anne Johnson
Jane Kirby, St. Paul
Digger Kohler
Robert E. Kurkowski
Barbara La Valleur
Andrea Loubert
Steve Loubert
Joan Malerich, St. Paul
Lynette Wells Malles, Manager, Dean for President Campaign
Polly Mann
Jana L. Metge, Phillips resident 2+ decades!
Joseph Morse, Bluff Land Environment Watch, Down River Alliance, Winona
 County Green Party
Dave Nelson, Minneapolis
Judi Nelson
Janet Nye
Eric Oines, Minneapolis
William Oldfather, St. Croix Valley Peacemakers
Carol Olyphant
Thistle Parker-Hartog
Sage Passi
Jerry Path, San Francisco
Gordon Pedersen, St. Paul
Diane J. Peterson, White Bear Lake, MN
Katrina Plotz, Anti-War Committee
Robert Pollock
Barbara Pratt
Danene Provencher
Mark Rathe
Karen L. Redleaf
Savannah Reich
Jamie Reich
Joan S. Scully
David Shove
Esther Snype, Secretary, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Sarah Standefer
Jess Sundin, Anti-War Committee
Virginia Sutton
Audrey Thayer, Bemidji, MN
Dori Ullman, Campaign Manager, Cavlan for US Senate 2008
Joyce Vincent, St. Anthony West Neighborhood Resident
Maren Elizabeth Ward
Mike Whalen, St. Paul Green Party
Diane Wiley
Steff Yorek, Member, AFSCME Local 3800
Joel Zimmerman, Brother of Dean Zimmermann, Omaha, Nebraska
Klaus Zimmermann Mayo

[See letter above if you wish to add your name. -ed]


--------17 of 19--------

Money Trumps Democracy
by Kim Petersen
www.dissidentvoice.org
January 29, 2007

The New York Times states "public financing system for presidential
campaigns . . . the best way to rid politics of the corrupting influence
of money, may have quietly died over the weekend." [1] The NYT's
examination of the public financing of politics is, in fact, an inquiry
into the nature of so-called democracy.

Eschewing the constraints of public funding, Senator Hillary Clinton of
New York has opted for private funding for her presidential bid. The NYT
calls this a declaration of Clinton's confidence that she can attract much
more than the approximately $150 million that would be provided through
public financing.

Importantly, the NYT notes, "Mrs. Clinton makes it difficult for other
serious candidates to participate in the system without putting themselves
at a significant disadvantage."

[One more reason not to vote for Hellary. How many of us will anyway, just
because of that obscene corrupting immoral obsequious "lesser-evil"
excuse? -ed]

Clinton is not the first to go after private funding and she will not be
the last as long as the present funding scenario exists.

The NYT quotes Michael E. Toner, an official of the Federal Election
Commission, who outlined a requirement for a "serious candidate" in 2007:
"We are looking at a $100 million entry fee."

This raises some questions. Is it the amount of money that determines the
quality of leadership? Did the fact that George W. Bush raised the
greatest amount of campaign cash translate into him being the best leader?

Public financing was supposedly introduced as a means to clean up money
politics and remove the burden of obligation to campaign financers.

The old canard runs that curbing one candidate's campaign spending
impinges upon his or her right to spend their money. This right to spend
money on political campaigns is protected by the First Amendment. In other
words, the individual's rights to financially promote herself over other
candidates trumps the public's right to an equality of access to all
candidates and candidate platforms.

No one will dispute that money helps to promote a candidate and her ideas.
A candidate devoid of cash will be hindered in making known his candidacy
and his ideas. What the First Amendment is actually protecting is the
right to buy elections. Hence, in this respect, the First Amendment is
anti-democratic, as is the decision by Hillary Clinton to try and gain a
monetary advantage over her competitors - an advantage many of Clinton's
would-be competitors would likeliest try to gain against her. This makes
Clinton an anti-democratic Democrat and her competitors anti-democratic.

After all, what kind of democracy is it when it is inordinately determined
by money, when money can trump ideas? Is this system really worthy of
being called democracy?

Kim Petersen, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, lives in southern Korea. He
can be reached at: kim [at] dissidentvoice.org.

ENDNOTE

[1] David K. Kirpatrick, "Death Knell May Be Near for Public Election
Funds," New York Times, 23 January 2007.


--------18 of 19--------

Imperial Presidency
by Eric Margolis
Published on Sunday, January 28, 2007 by the Toronto Sun

Presidential State of the Union addresses often strike me as embarrassing
spectacles of imperial pomp and crass jingoism unworthy of the great
American republic.

They often recall Chairman Leonid Brezhnev's turgid orations to the Soviet
Politburo. Watching senators and congressmen jump to their feet at every
presidential cliche and applaud like clapping seals cheapens what should
be a dignified event. President George W. Bush's address this week was far
more sombre and subdued than his previous "bring 'em on" gasconades. He
looked relaxed and confident in spite of the air of "fin de regime"
hanging over Washington.

However, a new poll shows most Americans now believe Congress, not the
president, should manage foreign policy. This is a remarkable sea change.

Following Bush's address, the Senate's foreign relations committee
politely rebuked Bush's plans to send more troops to Iraq. A similar
non-binding resolution from the full Democratic-controlled Congress is
expected next week. But the real power behind Bush, Vice-President Dick
Cheney, immediately sneered back, "it won't stop us." His contemptuous
retort illustrates the neo-totalitarian impulses that continue to grip the
Republican party's far right. Cheney and a cabal of pro-war
neoconservatives are the prime exponents of imperial presidency.

They dismiss Congress and the courts as "little jabber houses," to
paraphrase British imperialist, Sir Basil Zaharoff.

The stage is now set for what could become a major constitutional crisis
between executive and legislative branches.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the president, like Rome's consuls, is
military leader and holds primacy in foreign policy. Congress declares
war, controls purse strings, levies troops, and confirms treaties. The
constitution is vague about congressional power in foreign affairs. But,
at minimum, Congress speaks for all Americans, particularly in wartime,
and must not be ignored.

Bush's last term marks the zenith of the long growth of the imperial
presidency and decline of congressional authority. The 9-11 attacks and a
docile Republican majority dominated by southern rustics and holy rollers
turned Congress into a rubber stamp for Bush's policies. Most of the
members of Congress have demonstrated political cowardice, moral failure
and gross dereliction of their duty to defend the constitution, the
nation's laws, and citizen's rights.

Hillary Clinton and fellow Democrats who now piously denounce the Iraq war
eagerly voted for it in 2003 out of sheer ignorance or fear of being
branded "anti-patriotic" by Republicans. In 2008, American voters will
hopefully censure those legislators who voted for this faked, totally
unnecessary war, and approved the administration's growing use of torture,
kidnapping, and secret prisons. Never, in my memory, has Congress brought
so much shame on itself, nor sunk so low.

Congress is now belatedly trying to assert itself. But its so-far timid
pleadings are wrong. The constitution declares Congress the premier arm of
government. It is Congress's duty to demand President Bush and VP Cheney,
who have gone dangerously astray, to cease and desist. Cheney's views
notwithstanding, America is not an autocracy, and he is not Richelieu.

White House defenders claim Congress had no constitutional right to
interfere in the detailed conduct of war. Not so. The essence of America's
political system that has been a beacon to the world for two centuries is
the remarkable system of checks and balances conceived by its founding
fathers to prevent the emergence of an autocrat, despot, or monarch. It is
precisely Congress's duty to stop a president and vice-president who have
lost touch with reality, violated the constitution, and are taking America
over a cliff. Congress must cease its timidity and stop entreating the
president as if he were king. He is only chief executive of the republic,
one man among many. Congress is the board of directors. The president, in
spite of his supporter's efforts, is not the sacrosanct embodiment of
America; that role belongs to Congress.

At a time when America is reeling in defeat, and plunged in deepening
confusion, Congress must roar, not whimper.

2007 Toronto Sun


--------19 of 19--------

 Life in the Twenty-First Century

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