Progressive Calendar 02.28.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2007 23:36:08 -0800 (PST)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     02.28.07

1. N Giovanni        2.28 SOLD OUT

2. Iran/US           3.01 12noon
3. Rally v WalMart   3.01 3pm
4. Eagan peace vigil 3.01 4:30pm
5. Northtown vigil   3.01 5pm
6. Food forum        3.01 6:30pm
7. Rights/diversity  3.01 7pm
8. Ecology/films     3.01 7pm
9. Peace candidates  3.01 7pm
10. TortureMedEthics 3.01 7pm
11. ChanteWolf/photo 3.01

12. Ffunch           3.02 11:30am
13. Palestine vigil  3.02 4:30pm
14. Women/rights     3.02 5:30pm
15. WaterDay/HOBT    3.02 7:30pm
16. Death row/play   3.02 8pm

17. Chris Hedges     - Nader: pariah or prophet?
18. Jeff Leys        - How Democrats are buying the Iraq war
19. Charles Sullivan - American plutocracy and the war on workers
20. Ed Garvey        - Hillary coronation wanted by 'the Bigs'
21. ed               - Butts of gold  (poem)

--------1 of 21--------

From: hold0115 [at]
Subject: N Giovanni 2.28 SOLD OUT

fyi this event has been sold out for weeks

From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at]>
Subject: Nikki Giovanni 2.28 7:30pm

At Institute for Advanced Study:
Subject: Poet, Activist, Nikki Giovanni at Ted Mann Feb 28!!

--------2 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Iran/US 3.01 12noon

Thursday, 3/1, noon, NPR producer Davar Ardalan presents "Beloved Homelands:
Iran and America" at Westminster Town Hall, Westminster Presbyterian, 1200
Nicollet Mall, Mpls.

--------3 of 21--------

From: <llwright [at]>
Subject: Rally v WalMart 3.01 3pm

Rally at the Midway Wal-Mart in St Paul
March 1 at 3:00 pm

No Paid Sick Days?

*41% or 1,082,909 workers, of Minnesota workers are not allowed
to stay home with pay when they're sick
*Hourly workers at Wal-Mart do not have any paid sick days
*No one wants to be served by someone with the flu regardless of whether
or not they are hourly or salaried employees
*Wal-Mart workers are penalized if they are absent to take care of a sick
child or relative
*Every worker should have the right to care for a sick family
member without fear of penalty from their employer

Health Care Crisis?

*By not giving many employees paid sick days, Wal-Mart prevents people
from obtaining preventive care and from catching serious illness early,
which leads to higher health care costs (which Wal-Mart often passes on to
the government)

*Over $30 million spent paying for Wal-Mart employees' (and dependents')
health care ($16 million from federal taxpayers and 14 million from state

*People should disclose who their employer is when receiving public health
care so that the public can see how much they are spending to pay for
corporate welfare (support HF525 and SF439)

Minnesota ACORN and UFCW Local 789 have teamed up address health issues in
Minnesota. Both groups call on state legislators to support legislation
requiring that companies give employees at least 7 paid sick days a year,
and to support legislation requiring disclosure of an individual's
employer when receiving public health care.

MN ACORN - 757 Raymond Avenue Suite #200 - St Paul, Minnesota 55114 Phone:

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789 - 266 Hardman Avenue, South
St Paul, Minnesota 55075 Phone: 651-451-6240

--------4 of 21--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 3.01 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------5 of 21--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 3.01 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

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

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------6 of 21--------

From: snyde043 <snyde043 [at]>
Subject: Food forum 3.01 6:30pm

Eastside Food Co-op's Food Forum Series
Bobby King from the Land Stewardship Project
Northeast Library, 2200 Central Ave NE MPLS
March 1st, 6:30 to 8:00 PM
WHY: We all eat, no?

The Eastside Food Co-op will be holding a series of educational evenings
that will be exploring our food systems, how they are shaped and
influenced and our places in them. The first presentation in this series
will be by the Land Stewardship Project on March 1st.

Ever wonder why some of Minnesota's family farms and small towns are
having such a hard time of it? Aren't family farms just inefficient
attempts at antiquated lifestyles anyway? Why is it so important to
purchase locally produced peas, pork chops and potatoes instead of the
ones that are a fraction of the cost and from who knows what or where?
What the heck is "Local Control" and why should I care? Well then you
should come hear the Land Stewardship Project¹s Bobby King at the Eastside
Food Co-op's Food Forum. Bobby will let us know what is happening in
Minnesota¹s family farm landscape, at our State Capitol, shed a little
light on the 2007 Federal Farm Bill and answer questions.

This first Food Forum will take place at the Northeast Library, located at
2200 Central AVE NE MPLS on Thursday, March 1st from 6:30 to 8:00 PM. The
Library is located on the number 10 bus line.

We will have light refreshments, stimulating information and a future of
good local food to help sustain and enjoy. Come with questions (there are
no stupid ones), an open, inquisitive mind and bring a friend.

We hope you can make it and please spread the word by forwarding this on
to anyone that may be interested, wants to learn about local food from
sustainable family farms and the challenges involved and anybody that

The Land Stewardship Project is a statewide family farm advocacy
organization that thinks we should stop treating our soil like dirt.

Questions? Call the East Side Food Co-op - 612-788-0950.

--------7 of 21--------

From: Golden Valley Human Rights Commission <HumanRightsFSD [at]>
Subject: Rights/diversity 3.01 7pm

Golden Valley encourages youth, community to "share the dream"
Commission to celebrate voices of yesterday, today and tomorrow

GOLDEN VALLEY -- The Golden Valley Human Rights Commission (HRC)  invites
the community to its annual Families Sharing the Dream celebration,
Thursday and Friday, March 1 and 2 at Golden Valley City Hall. This year's
theme, Voices of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, will celebrate the
important contributions made by individuals to better their communities
and show.

The two-day event will feature performances and showcase art presentations
by area middle and high school students and recognize them for their time
and talent. Voices of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow will also feature a
guest appearance by Miss Shannan of B96 and performances by local artists,
including storyteller Beverly Cottman, vocalist Jamela Pettiford and
spoken word performers Toki Wright, Jain Doe and Ashawnti.

"This is a great opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the Golden
Valley community and highlight the historical contributions made by people
of color," said Golden Valley HRC chair, Ronald Brandon, II.

Families Sharing the Dream brings people of varying cultural and ethnic
backgrounds together to share, preserve, and celebrate their uniqueness.
"As part of the Human Rights Commission, we develop and sponsor activities
that promote racial and social understanding and raise cultural
awareness," said Brandon.

The Golden Valley HRC is charged with advising, recommending and assisting
the City Council "in matters of equal opportunity and elimination of
unfair discriminatory practices."

Voices of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow takes place March 1 and 2, 7-9
p.m. at Golden Valley City Hall, located at 7800 Golden Valley Road.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments provided.

For more information, call 763.593.3989 or visit

--------8 of 21--------

From: Curt McNamara <mcnam025 [at]>
Subject: Ecology/films 3.01 7pm

Minneapolis College of Art and Design
2501 Stevens Ave. S. Thursday, March 1 7 p.m. Free!

The Ecological Footprint: Accounting for a Small Planet
Dr. Mathis Wackernagel introduces the Ecological
Footprint, a resource accounting tool that measures
human demand on the earth. (2005, 30 min.)

What Life Knows: New Ideas from Biology That Could Change the World.
Janine Benyus shows how biology is informing design, and easing our
impact on the planet. (2005, 33 min.)

--------9 of 21--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Peace candidates 3.01 7pm

Been looking for a meaningful way to promote peace? Learn about two
wonderful opportunities by coming to the Peacemakers meeting on Thursday
March 1st at 7:00 PM at Ascension Episcopal Church at 214 N 3rd St.
Stillwater. [ next to Stillwater Library ]

Sharon Sudman of Peace in the Precinct will present the Peace Roots
Project which is an exciting grassroots effort to ensure a Minnesota peace
candidate in the 08 U.S. Senatorial race. Also, Marie Braun will speak on
Minnesota's participation in the Occupation Project which is an on-going
national effort to have a peace presence at the offices of all our federal
House and Senate representatives asking for an end to funding for the Iraq

15-20 hardy peacemakers were at the Stillwater bridge for a vigil last
Sunday afternoon from 1-2. We plan to meet there each Sunday so please
join us whenever you can.

Mary and Wayne

--------10 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Torture/MedEthics 3.01 7pm

Thursday, 3/1, 7 pm, bioethicist and U of M Med School prof Steven Miles and
Law School prof Oren Gross speak on "Torture, War and Medical Ethics,"
Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Institute, 301 - 19th Ave S, Mpls.

--------11 of 21--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Chante Wolf/photo 3.01

Chronicles of Our American Conscience
"Faces of Commitment"

Chante Wolf, photographer, veteran of the 1991 Gulf War and member TC
chapter of Veterans for Peace. Her photographs, in black and white and
color, are portraits of peacemaking: at the annual protest to close the
torutre training Ft. Benning,Ga. School of the Americas and local vigils
and protests. Exhibit is all of March 2007.Free.Coffee News Café
1662 Grand Ave St Paul 651.698.3324

--------12 of 21--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Ffunch 3.02 11:30am

First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for Greens/progressives.

Informal political talk and hanging out.

Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul.
Meet in the private room (holds 12+).

Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is
close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines

--------13 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 3.02 4:30pm

Friday, 3/2, 4:30 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end the occupation of Palestine,
Snelling & Summit Aves, St Paul.  Karen, 651-283-3495.

--------14 of 21--------

From: erin [at]
Subject: Women/rights 3.02 5:30pm

Friday, March 2: Women's Programs, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights.
House Party/Fundraiser with special guest: Maria Jose Alcala, UNFPA from
5:30-7:30 PM. Details coming soon or check out

--------15 of 21--------

From: David Strand <mncivil [at]>
Subject: WaterDay/HOBT 3.02 7:30pm

Thanks for all you do to protect, restore and sustain our community's
resources! In anticipation of World Water Day (Mar 22nd), In the Heart of
the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre cordially invites you to attend the world
premiere of INVIGORATE THE COMMON WELL, March 2 - 25, 2007.

This participatory and inventive show combines science, civics and puppet
theatre to explore issues of water quality, quantity, and ownership. Is
water a privilege, or a right? Who owns our water? Featuring performance
installations, video, and a quirky practical "lab", it's sure to engage
and inspire curious citizens, student groups and families. For ages 6 yrs
and up.  "Invigorate" is created in partnership with the Tomales Bay
Institute and other community organizations. For more info, visit

Please join Mpls Mayor Rybak and City Councilmembers on Opening Night,
Friday, March 2nd.
March 2 - 25, 2007
Thursdays @ 7.30pm (pay-as-able)
Fridays @7:30pm
Saturdays @ 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sundays @2:30pm
Tickets : Adults $20 ; students, seniors and groups of 10+ are $15 per person.
To book : contact HOBT at 612 721 2535/ info [at], or try our NEW
online ticketing at

Tracy KS Yue Marketing Director In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask
Theatre 1500 East Lake St, Mpls MN 55407 Office 612 721 2535 (voicemail
box 26) Cell 612 770 4488

--------16 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Death row/play 3.02 8pm

3/2 to 3/18, Thur-Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 2 pm, Frank Theater presents "The
Exonerated," the true story of 6 people who spent 2 to 22 years on death row
before being proven innocent, $19-21, Mixed Blood Theater, 1501 S 4th St,
Mpls.  612-338-6131.

--------17 of 21--------

Pariah or Prophet?
by Chris Hedges
Published on Monday, February 26, 2007 by truthdig

I can't imagine why Ralph Nader would run again.  He has been branded as
an egomaniac, blacklisted by the media, plunged into debt by a Democratic
Party machine that challenged his ballot access petitions and locked him
out of the presidential debates. Most of his friends and supporters have
abandoned him, and he is almost universally reviled for throwing the 2000
election to George W. Bush.  I can't imagine why he would want to go
through this one more time.  But when Nader hinted in San Francisco that
he might run if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton became the Democratic Party
nominee, I knew I would be working for his campaign if he indeed entered
the race.  He understands that American democracy has become a consumer
fraud and that if we do not do battle with the corporations that, in the
name of globalization, are cannibalizing the country for profit, our
democratic state is doomed.

I spent the last two years reporting and writing "American Fascists: The
Christian Right and the War on America." The rise of the Christian right -
the most dangerous mass movement in American history - can be traced
directly to the corporate rape of America.  This movement, which calls for
the eradication of real and imagined enemies, all branded as "satanic," at
home and abroad, is an expression of rage.  This rage rises out of the
deep distortions and dislocations that have beset tens of millions of
Americans shunted aside in the new global marketplace.  The massive flight
of manufacturing and professional jobs overseas, the ruthless slashing of
state and federal assistance and the rise of an unchecked American
oligarchy have plunged many Americans into deep economic and personal
despair.  They have turned, because of this despair, to "Christian"
demagogues who promise magic, miracles, angels, the gospel of prosperity
and a fantastic Christian utopia.  And the Republicans and the Democrats
are equally culpable for this assault.

There are only two solutions left.  We must organize to fight the
corporate state, to redirect our national wealth and resources to fund a
massive antipoverty campaign and curb the cycle of perpetual war that
enriches the military-industrial complex and by extension the two
political parties that dominate Washington, or we must accept an
inevitable Christo-fascism backed by these corporations.  Don't expect
glib Democratic politicians such as John Edwards, Sen. Clinton and Sen.
Barack Obama to address these issues.  They are, as Nader understands,
hostage to corporate money.

Nader, perhaps better than anyone else, has grasped the long, disastrous
rise of the corporate state.

He and his small army of activists helped write citizen legislation in the
1960s and 1970s that gave us, among many bills, the Clean Air Act, the
Mine and Health Safety Act and the Freedom of Information Act.  He worked
with and was courted by sympathetic Democrats.  Presidential candidate
George McGovern saw him as a potential running mate, but Nader refused to
be enticed directly into the political arena.  He was a skilled Washington
insider, one of the greatest idealists within the democratic system.

But the corporations grew tired of Nader's activism.  They mounted a
well-oiled campaign to destroy him.  These early attempts were clumsy and
amateurish, such as General Motor's use of private detectives to try to
dig up dirt on his private life; they found none. The campaign was exposed
and led to a public apology by GM.  Nader was awarded $425,000 in damages,
which he used to fund citizen action groups.

Lewis Powell, who was the general counsel to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
and would later be appointed to the Supreme Court, wrote a memo in August
1971 that expressed corporate concerns.  "The single most effective
antagonist of American business is Ralph Nader," the memo read, "a legend
in his own time and an idol to millions of Americans. ... There should be
no hesitation to attack [Nader and others]."

Corporations poured hundreds of millions into the assault.  They set up
pseudo-think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, which invented bogus
disciplines including cost-benefit and risk-management analysis, all
geared to change the debate from health, labor and safety issues to the
rising cost of big government.  They ran sophisticated ad campaigns to
beguile voters.  These corporations wrenched apart, through lavish
campaign donations and intensive and shady lobbying, the ties between
Nader's public interest groups and his supporters in the Democratic Party.
Washington, by the time they were done, was besieged with 25,000 corporate
lobbyists and 9,000 corporate action committees.

When Ronald Reagan, the corporate pitch man, swept into office he set out
to dismantle some 30 governmental regulations, most put into place by
Nader and his allies, all of which curbed the abuse of corporations.  The
Reagan White House worked to gut 20 years of Nader legislation.  And, once
a fixture on Capital Hill, Nader became a pariah.

Nader, however, did not give up.  He turned to local community organizing,
assisting grass-roots campaigns around the country such the one to remove
benzene, known to cause cancer, from paint in GM car plants.  But by the
time Bill Clinton and Al Gore took office the corporate state was
ascendant.  Nader and his citizen committees were frozen out by Democrats
as well as Republicans.  Clinton and Gore never met with him.

"We tried every way to get the Democrats to pick up on issues that really
commanded the felt concerns and daily life of millions of Americans,"
Nader says in the new documentary about his life, "An Unreasonable Man,"
"but these were issues that corporations didn't want attention paid to,
and so when people say why did you do this in 2000, I say I'm a 20-year
veteran of pursuing the folly of the least worse between the two parties."

The Clinton administration pushed through NAFTA, gutted welfare, gave up
on universal healthcare, deregulated the communications industry and
abolished federal aid to families with dependent children.  It further
empowered the growing corporate state and exacerbated the despair that has
fueled its allies in the Christian right.

"For 20 years," Nader says in the film, "we saw the doors closing on us in
Washington, on our citizen groups and a lot of other citizen groups, and
what are we here for?  To improve the country.  We couldn't get
congressional hearings, even with the Democrats in charge." There is a
fascinating rage - and rage is the right word - expressed by many on the
left in this fine film about Nader.  Todd Gitlin, Eric Alterman and
Michael Moore, along with a host of former Nader's Raiders, spit out
venomous insults toward Nader, a man they profess to have once admired,
the most common charge being that Nader is a victim of his oversized ego.

This anger is the anger of the betrayed.  But they were not betrayed by
Nader.  They betrayed themselves.  They allowed themselves to buy into the
facile argument of " the least worse" and ignore the deeper, subterranean
assault on our democracy that Nader has always addressed.  It was an
incompetent, corporatized Democratic Party, along with the orchestrated
fraud by the Republican Party, that threw the 2000 election to Bush, not
Ralph Nader.  Nader received only 2.7 percent of the vote in 2000 and got
less than one-half of 1 percent in 2004.  All of the third-party
candidates who ran in 2000 in Florida - there were about half a dozen of
them - got more votes than the 537-vote difference between Bush and Gore.
Why not go after the other third-party candidates?  And what about the 10
million Democrats who voted in 2000 for Bush?  What about Gore, whose
campaign was so timid and empty - he never mentioned global warming - that
he could not carry his home state of Tennessee?  And what about the 2004
cartoon-like candidate, John Kerry, who got up like a Boy Scout and told
us he was reporting for duty and would bring us "victory" in Iraq?

Nader argues that there are few - he never said no - differences between
the Democrats and the Republicans.  And during the first four years of the
Bush administration the Democrats proved him right.  They authorized the
war in Iraq.  They stood by as Bush stacked the judiciary with "Christian"
ideologues.  They let Bush, in violation of the Constitution, pump
hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into faith-based organizations
that discriminate based on belief and sexual orientation and openly
proselytize. They stood by as American children got fleeced by No Child
Left Behind.  Democrats did not protest when federal agencies began to
propagate "Christian" pseudo-science about creationism, reproductive
rights and homosexuality.  And the Democrats let Bush further dismantle
regulatory agencies, strip American citizens of constitutional rights
under the Patriot Act and other draconian legislation, and thrust
impoverished Americans aside through the corporate-sponsored bankruptcy
bill.  It is a stunning record.

Bush is the worst president in American history.  If Gore, or Kerry, had
the spine to take him on, to challenge corporate welfare, corporate crime,
the hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate bailouts and issues such
as labor law reform, if either had actually stood up to these corporate
behemoths on behalf of the working and middle class, rather than mutter
thought-terminating clichés about American greatness, he could have won
with a landslide.  But Gore and Kerry did not dare to piss off their
corporate paymasters.

There are a few former associates in the film who argue that Nader is
tarnishing his legacy, and by extension their own legacy.  But Nader's
legacy is undiminished.  He fights his wars against corporate greed with a
remarkable consistency.  He knows our democratic state is being hijacked
by the same corporate interests that sold us unsafe automobiles and
dangerous and shoddy products.  This is a battle not for some unachievable
ideal but to save our democracy.

"I don't care about my personal legacy," Nader says in the film.  "I care
about how much justice is advanced in America and in our world day after
day.  I'm willing to sacrifice whatever 'reputation' in the cause of that
effort.  What is my legacy?  Are they going to turn around and rip out
seat belts out of cars, air bags out of cars?"

These corporations, and their enraged and manipulated followers in the
Christian right, tens of millions of them, if left unchecked will propel
us into despotism.  The corporate state has rigged our system, hollowed
out our political process and steadily stripped citizens of constitutional
rights, federal and state protection and assistance.  This may be the
twilight of American democracy.  And it is better to stand up and fight,
even in vain, than not to fight at all.

Chris Hedges' latest book is "American Fascists: The Christian Right and
the War on America."

--------18 of 21--------

Doing the Markey Two Step
How Democrats are Buying the Iraq War
February 26, 2007

Last week, members of the Smedley Butler Brigade of Veterans for Peace
organized an office occupation of Representative Ed Markey's office in
Massachusetts. Their demand was simple: refuse to continue funding the
Iraq war and vote against the $93 billion supplemental spending request
submitted to Congress by President Bush on February 5. Their action was
one of a growing number of office occupations taking place during the
Occupation Project campaign of civil disobedience to end Iraq war funding.

Markey adroitly launched into song and dance, agreeing to meet and
promising, in writing, to vote against President Bush's request. The next
day, he pivoted and swirled, doing the finest two step you'll ever see. He
pronounced that he will most definitely vote against President Bush's
request. He also pronounced that he will wait to decide whether to vote
for or against the final supplemental spending bill being crafted by
Representatives John Murtha and David Obey in the House Appropriations
Committee. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

Let there be no mistake. The Democrats are buying the Iraq war lock, stock
and barrel. Indeed, fewer votes may be cast against continuing Iraq war
funding this year than last year (or the year before) if so-called,
erstwhile antiwar Democrats follow the logic of Markey.

The Democrats, led by Murtha and Obey, must be told in no uncertain terms
that they cannot simultaneously be against the Iraq war and continue to
fund the war. Murtha's proscription is aptly dubbed a "slow bleed"
strategy, as reprehensible as the "slow bleed" strategy of the Bush
administration. The Bush administration made a clear and coldly calculated
decision that, so long as deaths of U.S. soldiers were kept to a "minimum"
and spread out amongst communities across the U.S., his administration
could continue to wage this war without arousing active opposition to this
war from middle America. Similarly, Murtha seems to be calculating that he
and the Democrats will survive a "slow bleed" of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi
citizens while he nibbles at the edges of ending the war in and occupation
of Iraq.

Murtha's proposals to end stop loss and stop move orders should be
supported. A grave injustice is done to members of the U.S. military when
they are forced to serve beyond the end of their enlistment contract or
forced to extend their tour of duty in Iraq. His proposal to require that
U.S. service members should also be at home for a minimum of one year
before being deployed back to Iraq is also worthy of support. Indeed, I
and three others were arrested at the U.S. Military Entrance Processing
Command here in Illinois last July pressing those demands.

Murtha fiddles on the edges of using the power of the purse to end the
Iraq war while Rome - Baghdad - is burning to the ground.

The situation is not all that much brighter on the Senate side of the
Congress. Senators are posturing to be the most antiwar Senator,
especially those who are running for President. None is yet showing the
political courage of their predecessors in the Senate - to actually vote
against any additional funding for the Iraq war. The end of the U.S. war
in Vietnam began in 1965 when three Senators voted against funding the

Senator Feingold introduced S. 448, "The Iraq Redeployment Act of 2007",
which calls for the cessation of most funding for U.S. military operations
in Iraq 180 days following passage of the act. Senator Obama introduced S.
433, "The Iraq De-Escalation Act of 2007", which, in excessively
convoluted language, moves towards calling for the withdrawal of U.S.
combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008. However, if you read S. 433,
enough loopholes exist to drive a Mack truck through, which ensure
continuation of the Iraq war, most notably the provision that the
withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq can be suspended with the
simple certification by Bush to Congress that Iraq is achieving the
benchmarks spelled out in the legislation. Neither S. 448 nor S. 433
contain any kind of enforcement language if the President decides to
ignore the resolutions.

Senator Feingold and Senator Obama, will you dare take the requisite steps
to end the war by cutting war funding? Senator Bernie Sanders, I'm calling
you out on this one too. And you too, Senator Sherrod Brown. Each of you
voted against funding the Iraq war while in the House. But you both
conveniently lost your principles and your conscience when you voted for
Iraq war funding last year when you were running for the Senate.

If you can't bring yourself to vote against this supplemental spending
bill on its face, will you at least commit to the intermediate step? Will
you commit to introducing an amendment to the supplemental spending bill,
as well as to the regular Department of Defense Appropriations bill (which
contains another $142 billion for the war next year), which will specify
that any and all funding for the war will be ended by a specific date and
that all U.S. service members will be withdrawn from Iraq by that date?
Will you further commit to voting against any supplemental spending bill
and / or regular appropriations bill which does not contain such a

If not, Senators Feingold, Obama, Sanders and Brown and Representatives
Obey and Murtha - and all other erstwhile antiwar Senators and
Representatives - allow me to introduce you to Representative Markey. I'm
sure we can arrange ball room dance lessons so you can refine the Markey
Two Step as you sway to the Chattanooga Choo Choo train of war funding.

Jeff Leys is Coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and a national
organizer for the Occupation Project campaign of sustained nonviolent
civil disobedience to end Iraq war funding. He can be reached via email at
jeffleys [at]

Information on the Occupation Project campaign can be found at

--------19 of 21--------

American Plutocracy and the War on Workers
by Charles Sullivan
February 27, 2007

During the height of chattel slavery in America, the plantation owners did
not allow their slaves to be educated. An educated slave, they knew, was a
dangerous slave who posed a threat to the status quo. Knowledge is power
in the hands of an oppressed people. The ruling clique has always found
mass ignorance to their benefit. An ignorant public, they know, is an
easily deceived and easily controlled citizenry created to do the bidding
of Plutocratic rulers.

Thus we have the commercial media, the church, and the public education
system in all their incarnations, not as public servants, but as the tools
of Plutocracy and empire. Their purpose is not to inform but to dominate
and propagandize, which they do only too well.

We must continue to tell our own story in our own words or the official
authors of history will tell it for us and render its accounts falsely.
The history of working people is that of class struggle and oppression; a
fight for equal footing and social justice against the owner merchant
class of old, and the ruling clique of today.

The American workplace is a strange and foreboding environment in which
the worker enjoys few freedoms and protections. It is a decidedly
undemocratic place where, strangely, the Constitution and the Bill of
Rights hold but little sway. Anyone who doubts this should take a job at
Target or Wal-Mart and openly discuss forming a union. I have been
escorted from more than one workplace for attempting to organize the
workers. I speak from experience.

Typically, the American workplace has a hierarchal structure, usually with
a white male presiding at the top of the organization, dictating policy
and issuing orders. The workers, who produce the wealth by manufacturing a
product or performing services, have little or no say in company policy or
how the work is performed. While few workers are willing to view the
workplace in such austere terms for reasons that should be obvious, the
American place of work is essentially a plantation, a dictatorship, with a
master and a bevy of slaves following orders in exchange for subsistence

The vast majority of American workers are "at will" employees, which
effectively makes them the disposable property of their employers. At will
employees can be terminated without just cause or provocation. If the
employer does not like one's clothes or the cut of one's hair, or the
employee's politics, they can be terminated. The worker has little, if
any, recourse to the courts for redress of their grievances; unless the
workplace is unionized, as so few of them are these days.

Workers with strong union representation are not relegated to being at
will employees, and they enjoy rights that at will employees do not,
including greater job security, better working conditions, higher wages
and more benefits.

The American workplace is sharply divided by class, like society as a
whole, as part of the organizational hierarchy. The chain of command
consists of owners, managers, and workers. The higher one is placed within
the hierarchy, the greater his/her socio-economic status. The pecking
order can be further subdivided into two broad categories: White collar
jobs and blue collar jobs. White collar jobs typically require more
refined skills than blue collar jobs. They tend to offer better pay and
more benefits, but also result in more stress, greater responsibility, and
longer hours. The lowest level in the hierarchy are the drones, the
workers - the producers of nearly all of the wealth. It is with this
group that I am most concerned in this essay.

Under this arrangement, workers receive only a small percentage of the
wealth they create for their employers, which is why capitalists created
the private ownership of economic production. Such an arrangement provides
inordinate power to property holders and leaves non property owners with
little besides their labor to sell to the lowest bidder.

Social cooperatives, while imperfect and still forced to compete in
capital markets, have provided considerable improvement and a measure of
relief for workers over more conventional business models. The largest and
most widely known example is the Mondragon cooperative in Spain.

The American worker, like the chattel slave before him, is kept in a state
of perpetual ignorance by the Plutocracy for fear that he/she might awaken
and rebel. Rebellion was the greatest fear that haunted the dreams of the
plantation owners, and the uprisings led by Nat Turner and John Brown
continues to trouble the dreams of the ruling clique, which explains why
we are under constant surveillance by the government. They are looking for
signs of trouble, the tell-tale smoke of social upheaval born of

Students of American history, especially labor history, cannot help but
come to the realization that we have been had, sold a defective bill of
goods that can never work for us or the rest of the world.

The American dream is a myth that was fabricated in the corporate board
rooms of America and perpetuated in the corporate media. Ninety-five
percent of the people will never have pie in the sky, no matter how long
and hard they work.  A life of ease is something that is reserved for the
privileged few who do not work and produce nothing. The myth was created
to keep the workers striving, and to keep the rabble in line.  It is a
myth with the power of a paradigm and it has been extremely effective as a
method of control and motivation.

If the people ever earnestly study labor history, they are in for an
awakening. They will learn about events that transpired in places like
Haymarket Square, in Chicago; at Ludlow, Colorado, and in the hills of
Matewan, West Virginia; the steel mills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the
knitting mills of Massachusetts, and the rail yards at Martinsburg, West
Virginia. The blood of striking workers was spilled at each of these sites
by hired thugs - Baldwin-Felts detectives, or state and federal militias
and in thousands of other locations across this nation. These events are
curiously omitted from the curriculum in our public schools because they
might empower the people.

We owe something to those courageous souls and we should never allow their
remembrance to lapse into an Orwellian memory hole created by historical
revisionists. Through their example, we know that America was not always
so tame, so indifferent, cowardly, or complacent in the face of injustice.
Because of the fierce resistance of workers, we know that we have origins
born of struggle and a fighting spirit to be free; a spirit that mostly
lies dormant, but is not wholly dead. It is a history that might be
re-awakened and taken to heart if we have the courage and the wisdom to
embrace it, and to be as strong and tenacious as were our ancestors.

You see, the working people - the men, women, and children who built
America's railroads and highways, who harvested our crops and rendered our
meat, and created the economic infrastructure, who fought and died in our
imperial wars, have never enjoyed the same rights and privileges as the
economic elite and property owners who paid their wages. They were never
meant to, not even by the framers of the Constitution.

The struggles of the working people were immortalized in the songs of Joe
Hill, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and many others. They deserve to be
remembered because the stories they tell were based upon actual events.
They are as relevant today as the day they were written, but they are no
longer widely known. Matewan, West Virginia, and downtown Baghdad share
more in common than one might think.

The economic, social, and environmental costs of corporate globalization
are felt by workers around the world. Corporate profits and CEO
compensation have risen to record levels, while poverty and economic
hardship have followed a similar, but downward arc, for the producers. The
wealthiest people on earth are enjoying obscene profits by exploiting
workers worldwide, especially in war torn parts of the world.

Just as it did in America, capitalism is not eradicating poverty and
raising living standards in the rest of the world, as its proponents so
boldly proclaim; it is spreading deepening poverty, environmental
degradation and economic and social disparity, while it intensifies
socio-economic class divisions, and foments war after imperial war in its
quest for profits and hegemony.

As championed by the captains of industry, capitalism has always waged
class war on the workers. The war on workers has resulted in a permanent
war economy in the U.S., the demonization of revolutionary labor unions by
corporate America and its media whores, and a steady supply of cannon
fodder for imperial wars and occupations. Working people must realize that
foreign wars are an extension of the class war at home and refuse to take
up arms in them.

Current events, including the occupation of Iraq, are the result that the
ignorance of history condemns us to repeat, until we have finally learned
its lessons and say, "No More!"

As we look to the democrats in Congress to end the occupation of Iraq and
to divert another impending disaster in Iran, we must recognize that, like
the commercial media, these people are working for the Plutocracy, not for
the public good. Will funding continue for the occupation? The answer is a
resounding "yes" as long as workers allow themselves to be the pawns of
the ruling clique and maintain a slavish mentality toward their oppressors
in government and the Military Industrial Complex.

All hell broke loose in the streets of France when employers attempted to
place at will tags on its workers last year\. The worker's retribution was
swift and fierce. In America, where the people always bow their heads to
illegitimate authority, hardly a whimper of protest was heard.

Each year the American worker cedes more ground to the ruling clique
without offering resistance. That ground was hard won with the blood and
guts of our ancestors in organized labor - a lesson we seem to have
forgotten in this age of capitulation and moral cowardice. Thus we find
ourselves as a class, and as a nation, falling deeper into the throes of
darkening corporate and state fascism.

It is time to reclaim the fighting spirit that once characterized the
American worker. It is time to bring back Revolutionary Unionism and the
radical advocacy of worker's rights, including the public ownership of the
mechanisms of production.

If we are serious about democracy in America, the workplace would be a
good place to start. But we prefer to talk about democracy rather than to
actually implement it.

We have yet to learn the songs of Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger
- songs that are deeply rooted in the class struggles of working people
against their oppressors. And we have yet to learn the lessons of history,
which condemns us to repeat them in an endless cycle of want and waste,
war and famine. Until we do, nothing much is going to change.

Charles Sullivan is an architectural millwright, photographer, free-lance
writer and social agitator residing in the eastern panhandle of West
Virginia. He welcomes your comments at: csullivan [at]

--------20 of 21--------

Hillary Coronation Wanted by 'the Bigs'
by Ed Garvey
Published on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 by the Madison Capital Times

A billion dollars will be spent on this race. By whom? The bigs. Why will
they cough up the money? Because of a burning desire for good government?
The race for president is in full swing, but feel no need to get excited,
contribute to a candidate or watch the debates. Selecting the "American
Idol" will be a more democratic process than nominating the Republican and
Democratic candidates for president.

You, my friends, are not needed. Big media conglomerates, pollsters,
consultants, big drug and insurance companies, and other captains of
industry will take this burden from your shoulders. You have plenty to
keep you busy just making a living, so you can let the big boys ("bigs")
and their bagmen make the decision for you. Rather comforting, wouldn't
you say?

The bigs want a close race between the Democrat and the Republican, so
that both must beg them for big bucks in their Faustian bargain.

The Democratic Leadership Council bigs decided five years ago to nominate
Hillary Clinton in 2008. Sure, Barack Obama is a rising star with charisma
Hillary would kill for, but he won't get the big money he needs. You say,
"But people like him." So what? Too unpredictable. The bigs don't know
enough about him. You will be told, "not enough experience." Translated,
that means "he might have his own agenda."

He might pursue peace in the Middle East while pushing for universal
single-payer health care or proposing that the bigs pay Social Security
taxes on all income coupled with a progressive tax system. Yikes! Better
stick with Hillary. The bigs know her game, and she plays well. Remember

John Edwards? Hell no. He is way too serious about poverty, and that could
bring more money and smaller classes to public schools but less for the
military-industrial complex. What if Edwards pushes through a living wage,
health care, fewer prisons, and decent housing? One can almost hear the
bigs yelling, "What about us?" Iraq? Bring 'em home. Iran? Leave it to the
U.N. Besides, Edwards thinks corporations should be responsible for their
misdeeds. What is he a commie?

Tom Vilsack? Too late. He dropped out because of money. Shame on him. Why
didn't he select wealthy parents or join the DLC, or both? I must admit,
he is a quick study. Lack of money stopped two other Iowans who should
have been president, John Culver and Tom Harkin. Vilsack had the quaint
notion that a person with executive experience, good values and good ideas
could run for president and let the people decide. I'm not kidding; he
thought this was a democracy.

His Field of Dreams campaign build it and the money will come collapsed
before he could locate the cornfield. Vilsack was told that he needed $20
million by June of this year to be taken seriously. Face it, Tom. The bigs
don't like you very much. I like Vilsack.

How about Bill Richardson? He is a popular governor, a former ambassador
to the U.N., a seven-term member of Congress, and former secretary of
energy! The man is smart, experienced, gutsy, and knows about energy
needs. He was elected governor with 69 percent of the vote; he has
negotiated on the international scene. He, like Vilsack, is a good man
with executive experience, solid values and plenty of good ideas. Bye-bye,
Bill. Bye-bye. He might make it until Easter.

Al Gore? Way too independent, and this global warming stuff please! Good
for Hollywood but not for our economy. He is needlessly scaring folks into
finding alternatives to our comfortable way of life. Indeed, his truth is
inconvenient for the bigs. The utilities don't like him, the oil boys
can't stand him, and the auto industry is more than a little suspicious.
Hell, he even opposed the invasion of Iraq! The bigs don't like any of it.
"Thanks anyway, Al. Good movie."

Now then, how about Joe Biden? I don't think so. So long, Joe.

Take a break, folks. They will let you know the names of the chosen ones
by July.

But wait. I didn't write anything about the Republican race. Could it be
that Tommy has the nomination in the bag? He says he will shake every hand
in Iowa good start. He is not burdened with ideology or new ideas. He is
clear about Iraq. He said the other day that they could have a civil war
if they aren't careful.

Back to reality. A billion dollars will be spent on this race. By whom?
The bigs. Why will they cough up the money? Because of a burning desire
for good government?

Remember when we had a democracy and people like us played a role in
nominating our candidates? Whom do you favor for "American Idol"?

Our democracy has been hijacked. Might as well watch TV.

Copyright 2007, Capital Newspapers.

[Is it democracy when we get to vote for one of two puppets picked by the
ruling-class? We like to think so, because otherwise we might have to do
something.  Doing something would piss off the ruling class, and what
could possibly be worse?  Just who do we peons think we are? -ed]

--------21 of 21--------

 The super-rich have
 butts of gold. It rubs off on
 your lips. Pucker up.


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