Progressive Calendar 04.10.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 06:02:18 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    04.10.07

1. Welfare bills      4.10 12:30pm
2. YAWR protest       4.10 6pm

3. Transit            4.11 11:30am
4. Human rights       4.11 12:15pm
5. Anti-war potluck   4.11 6pm
6. Pray for peace     4.11 6:30pm
7. AI StPaul          4.11 7:30pm

8. Transit rally      4.12 10am
9. Disability law     4.12 12noon
10. NWN4P NewHope vig 4.12 4:30pm
11. Eagan peace vigil 4.12 4:30pm
12. Northtown vigil   4.12 5pm
13. To Chicago/CIW    4.12 6pm
14. DuluthCar         4.12 6:30pm Duluth MN
15. Arid Lands/film   4.12 7pm
16. Labor stories     4.15-5.15 7pm
17. Immigrants/play   4.12-4.29 7:30pm

18. Lydia Howell    - Money & militarism "choose" candidates
19. Sen John Marty  - Funding schools with bake sales and boxtops
20. Joel Hirschhorn - From economic apartheid to political revolution
21. Carol Christen  - How did this happen?
22. Hill Kemp       - Is the Pentagon bigger than the USA?

--------1 of 22--------

From: Welfare Rights Committee - Alt Email <welfarerights [at]>
Subject: Welfare bills 4.10 12:30pm

Upcoming Hearings For the WRC Bills In the House and in the Senate!!!!!

Welfare Rights Committee is continuing to fight for poor and working
Minnesotans at the capitol. As it stands now, we need your immediate help
to tell the politicians the time is now to ACT!  Unfortunately, the poor
of Minnesota are at risk of being sold out yet again by politicians.

Come to the hearings and Support the Poor People's Bills!!!!!!!!

HF912 will be heard in the Tax Committee chaired by Rep. Lenczewski on
Tuesday on April 10, at 12:30 PM in room 10 at the State Office Building.

HF 912 closes corporate tax loopholes and uses that money to Undo the cuts
of 2003. These include the $125 MFIP cut to disabled families, the $50
MFIP cut to families in subsidized housing, the family cap, restrictions
on education and the increased co-pays for poor families' childcare and
basic medical.

S.F. 0514 that will Outlaw workfare will be heard in the Business,
Industry and Jobs Committee Chaired by Senator Metzen on April 11, at
12:30 PM in Room 123 in the Capital .

Workfare forces MFIP parents to work for nopay in order to get the grant.
We say, if there is a job to be done, make it a real job with real wages
and benefits! If workfare is allowed to happen, it will serve to hurt all
working people, as real jobs are replaced by free-labor jobs.

If you have any questions please call us at 612-822-8020
Thank you for your support

Welfare Rights Committee 310 E 38th St #207, Minneapolis, MN 55409 pho:
612-822-8020 Fax: 612-824-3604 welfarerightsmn [at]

--------2 of 22--------

From: wamm <wamm [at]>
Subject: YAWR protest 4.10 6pm

Student Demands on Military Recruitment Rejected
Protest of St. Paul Board of Education Planned

St. Paul students and community supporters are coming together at the St.
Paul Board of Education meeting Tuesday night.  They intend to publicly
send the message that they are dissatisfied with the board's decision
reject student demands on restricting military recruiters' access to
schools.  Students and supporters will gather at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, April
10 at the District Administration Building, located at 360 Colborne Street
in St. Paul, where the board meeting is held.

Students involved in Central High's chapter of Youth Against War and
Racism (YAWR) have been campaigning since November for the Board of
Education to pass substantial restrictions on military recruitment.  On
Tuesday, March 27, the board took a decision.  While passing reforms that
allow minors to sign opt-out forms and telling schools to make sure
recruiters are better supervised, the board did not decide to implement
YAWR's key demands around limiting the frequency of visits and recruiters'
access to students.  The demands had been unanimously endorsed by the St.
Paul teachers' union, hundreds of students, and numerous community

"Essentially they did very little," said Sean Foltin, a senior with
Central High YAWR. "They just referred the issue [of military recruiters'
heavy presence in schools] back to school principals - They took the issue
of opt-out forms, which had been a very small part of our demands, and
blew it out of proportion," explained Sean.  "I'm definitely disappointed
with the results."

"This struggle is not over," said Brandon Madsen, a full-time organizer
with YAWR, "The truth is that going into this campaign last fall, we
didn't have a lot of hope the board would actually pass our demands. But
we wanted to go through the official process and see what happened. Now we
know that walkouts and more serious direct action by students will be
needed to get the military out of our schools ... It seems that
aggressively confronting the recruiters every time they show up is the
only thing that works" to get recruiters to leave school lunchrooms.

Youth Against War and Racism is a student-led organization made up of high
school students across the Twin Cities who fight against the war in Iraq,
military recruitment in schools, racism and attacks on civil liberties,
and for jobs and education opportunities for young people. For further
information, please call YAWR organizer Brandon Madsen at 952-465-5307 or
email him at brandon.madsen [at]

Contact: Brandon Madsen 952.465.5307 brandon.madsen [at]

--------3 of 22--------

From: Darrell Gerber <darrellgerber [at]>
Subject: Transit 4.11 11:30am

This is the culmination of many months of work by many people both city
staff, paid consultants and volunteers. Please review the draft Downtown
multi-modal transportation plan for the city and give your feedback. Two
community meetings will be held. If you can not attend send your
information directly to Charlene Zimmer
(Charleen.Zimmer [at] or to your regional or interest
steering committee representative found at Electronic copies of the
report can also be found at that site.

Do you ride transit, walk, bike, or drive? The City of Minneapolis needs
your input on improving transportation downtown. Give us your opinion on
the draft 10-Year Downtown Transportation Action Plan for walking,
cycling, transit and autos

Two Community Meetings:
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall - Doty Room

Thursday, April 12, 2007
5 p.m.  - 7 p.m. 
St. Olaf Catholic Church
215 South 8th Street - Gathering Room

For more information, visit:

Upon request, the City will provide reasonable accommodations to persons
with disabilities or who are in need of a translator.  Please submit such
requests to Charleen Zimmer, Project Manager, at 612-673-3166 or
Charleen.Zimmer [at] no later than seven days prior to the

--------4 of 22--------

From: Human Rights Events Update <humanrts [at]>
Subject: Human rights 4.11 12:15pm

The Human Rights Center and the Human Rights Program at the University of
Minnesota, and the Midwest Human Rights Coalition present:

Bringing Economic and Social Human Rights Home
International and Domestic Strategies for Advocacy

Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Room 25, University of Minnesota Law School

 Willie J.R. Fleming -Cabrini Green resident and organizer with the
Coalition to Protect Public Housing (Chicago)
 Cheri Honkala - National Coordinator of the Poor People's Economic Human
Rights Campaign (Philadelphia)
 Eric Tars - Human Rights Staff Attorney with the National Law Center on
Homelessness and Poverty (Washington, DC)
 Bret Thiele - Coordinator of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Litigation Programme with the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions
 Moderator: Mayra Gómez - Coordinator of the Housing and Property
Restitution Programme with the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions

Free lunch will be provided by Holyland Bakery & Deli!

--------5 of 22--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Anti-war potluck 4.11 6pm

Solidarity Potluck

Wednesday, 4/11 @ 6pm @ May Day Books, 301 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis.
Socialize & share food with other interesting anti-war folks. Folks who
went to DC for the 3/17 March on the Pentagon and who participated in the
local 3/18 demonstration are encouraged to come and bring their pictures
to share with others.

--------6 of 22--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Pray for peace 4.11 6:30pm

Wednesday, 4/11, 6:30 to 7:15 pm, Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet present
11th day prayer for peace, Presentation Chapel, 1880 Randolph Ave, St Paul. or 651-690-7079.

--------7 of 22--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: AI StPaul 4.11 7:30pm

There are several local Amnesty International groups in the Twin Cities

AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, April 11th, at 7:30 p.m. Mad
Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul.

--------8 of 22--------

From: Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council <andrea [at]>
Subject: Transit rally 4.12 10am

Transportation Rally
Thursday, April 12th, 2007
10:00 AM
State Capitol Steps/Lawn

Transportation to the rally available from the United Labor Centre (312
Central Ave, Minneapolis) at 9:30 AM. Contact Todd Pufahl, Laborers
District Council, for more information--(651)653-9776.

Transportation - It's everybody's business! We all have a stake in keeping
our state moving. Let's fill the Capitol Grounds with transportation
supporters. It is more important than ever to gather together as one in
support of the passage of a Substantial Transportation Funding Package
this session!

Labor Organizations Supporting the Transportation Alliance:
AFSCME Council 5
International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 49
Amalgamated Transit Union
Laborers District Council of MN and ND
Lakes and Plains Regional Council of Carpenters and Joiners
Minnesota Teamsters
United Transportation Union

--------9 of 22--------

From: Darrell of Paulsen and Company <paulsenandco [at]>
Subject: Disability law 4.12 12noon

Rally at the State Capitol:
Join Paulsen and Company, and The Arc of Minnesota, local chapters of The
Arc, and other disability groups at Noon on April 12 in the Rotunda at the
Minnesota State Capitol to rally in support of disability legislation this
legislative session.  Come out in support of our 2007 legislative
priorities, as well as transportation, assistive technology, funding for
self-advocacy statewide, and cost-of-living increases for direct support

After the rally, which end at 1:00 p.m., you can visit your legislators
and ask for their support for our legislative agenda. The rally flyer is
on Arc MN website ( The rally is sponsored by
Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD), of which
Paulsen and Company, Inc is a member.

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Priorities Not in Either
Omnibus Bill

w Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD).
w Managed Care Ombudsman Staff Increase.
w Dental Study.

It is important at this point that all of our high priority issues have
passed at least one house of the Minnesota Legislature. Now they will be
discussed in the conference committees.

Once the Senate and House pass their Omnibus Bills, they will be referred
to Conference Committees.  The committees are usually made up of ten
members - five from the Senate and five from the House. The chairs of the
respective budget committees will co-chair the conference committees. Once
they start meeting, they rotate who chairs every other day.

This is an important time to thank our legislators for their commitment to
funding for services for persons with disabilities.  They need your
support and encouragement so they can continue to focus on our priorities
until the end of the session.

--------10 of 22--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P NewHope vig 4.12 4:30pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of
Winnetka and 42nd.  You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near
McDonalds; we will be on all four corners.  Bring your own or use our

--------11 of 22--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 4.12 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.

--------12 of 22--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 4.12 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]

--------13 of 22--------

From: Brian Payne <brianpayneyvp [at]>
Subject: To Chicago/CIW  4.12 6pm

Twin Cities Caravan to Chicago for CIW Actions
Thursday, April 12th, 6pm
Resource Center of the Americas (3019 Minnehaha Ave. S., Mpls)
Contact: Brian Payne, brianpayneyvp [at], 612-859-5750

There is still limited space on the Twin Cities Caravan to Chicago to join
the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) for the actions in front of
McDonald's HQ.  If you are interested in going, check out the CIW website
( for more info about the national mobilizations, and
read on below for information about the local Caravan as well as the
registration form.  Contact Brian Payne with any questions:
brianpayneyvp [at], 612-859-5750.

Twin Cities Caravan to Chicago for CIW Actions:
Our possee will be leaving from the Resource Center of the Americas: (3019
Minnehaha Ave S., Mpls), at 6:00pm on Thursday, April 12th and returning
on the evening of Saturday, April 14th.  For those staying for the LASC
Conference, there will be a van returning on the evening of Sunday, April

The cost of the trip will be $40 per person.  Remember, our group will not
turn anyone away. Grants are available for those who are unable to pay for
the trip.  After we receive your registration we will contact you in order
to arrange payment for the trip. Please consider that we have to pay for
the vans before we leave for Chicago!

Registering for your seat on the caravan guarantees you the following:
1. Round trip to Chicago and back to the Twin Cities
2. Option to stay one day for LASC conference
3. Sleeping accomodations for the full weekend
4. Some meals provided in Chicago
5. A historic and fabulous event you'll never forget!

To reserve your spot on the van, please copy and paste the following
with your response, and send it to brianpayneyvp [at]

1. Full name:
2. Contact phone number:
3. Email address:
4. Are you planning to attend the LASC conference (y/n)?
5. I am able to pay the full $40 for my seat (y/n):
6. I am financially unable to pay the full amount, but will pay this much:
7. Do you need special accommodations?

Fair food that respects human rights,
not fast food that exploits human beings.

--------14 of 22--------

From: Kurt Fischer <kffischer [at]>
Subject: DuluthCar 4.12 6:30pm Duluth MN

DuluthCar Car-sharing Program Informational/Brainstorming Meeting
Thursday, April 12th 6:30 pm
Chester Creek Cafe (at Sara's Table) corner of 19th Ave East and East 8th
More info: Mike Nordin DuluthCar [at]

For anyone interested in learning more about how to get going in Duluth a
nonprofit car-sharing program similar to the Twin Cities' HOURCAR. Attend
this informational and brainstorming meeting to learn more and help make
DuluthCar car-sharing happen!

--------15 of 22--------

From: Josh Wallaert <josh [at]>
Subject: Arid Lands/film 4.12 7pm

Arid Lands (Documentary Film) @ The Bell Museum. April 12, 7 pm.

Arid Lands is a documentary feature about the land and people of the
Columbia Basin in southeastern Washington state. Sixty years ago, the
Hanford nuclear site produced plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on
Nagasaki, and today the area is the focus of the largest environmental
cleanup in history. Arid Lands takes us into a world of sports fishermen,
tattoo artists, housing developers, ecologists, and radiation scientists
living and working in the area. It tells the story of how people changed
the landscape over time, and how the landscape affected their lives.

Followed by a discussion with co-director Josh Wallaert and University of
Minnesota geographers Bruce Braun and George Henderson. Tickets $5 and $7
at the door. Thursday, April 12, 7 pm. Bell Museum of Natural History, 10
Church St SE Minneapolis.

For more information, or to watch the trailer, go to

--------16 of 22--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Labor stories 4.15-5.15 7pm

Untold Stories returns for the ninth year complete with lectures, tours,
community discussions, performances and more.  Untold Stories is a
national award-winning labor history series sponsored by The Friends of
the Saint Paul Public Library.

The series kicks off this year with the 2007 David Noble Lecture at the
Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd., Saint Paul.
On Tuesday, April 12 at 7 p.m., Professor Nan Enstad examines the history
of today's global market in cigarettes in "The Jim Crow Cigarette: Tracing
Cultures of Transnational Capitalism before World War II."  As a key
industry in transnational capitalism, the cigarette industry reveals
connections between corporations and individuals, labor and consumerism,
and pleasure and vulnerability in the early 20th century.  For more
information call 651/259-3015.  This program is presented by the Minnesota
Historical Society, and co-sponsored by The Friends and the Departments of
American Studies and History at the University of Minnesota.

Untold Stories events are free and open to the public.  For more
information, visit or call 651/222-3242.  Untold
Stories is coordinated by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

--------17 of 22--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Immigrants/play 4.12-4.29 7:30pm

4/12-29, Thur-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm, play "From the Ashes," stories
of immigrants and refugees in the Twin Cities based on MN Advocates for
Human Rights report on impact of 9/11, Pangea World Theater, 711 W Lake
St, suite 102, Mpls.  pangea [at]

--------18 of 22--------

Money & Militarism "Choose" Candidates
by Lydia Howell

Like looking at how much money is spent for Christmas, underpinning the
consumer economy, we got the campaign fundraising figures for Democrats
seeking to be president in 2008. Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama are
running neck and neck, with Clinton's $26M and Obama's $25M. John Edwards
is in third place with about $16M. Couple this - what campaign junkies
call "the money primary" - with various states moving up their primary
voting days, the presidential nominees will likely already be chosen by
March 2008 - with the national convention at the end of summer.

These are undeniable signs that our electoral politics are more rigged
than ever.

A shallow "difference" marks this presidential campaign: will we have a
woman or an African-American on the ballot representing one of the two
corporate-sponsored parties? Clinton just got the National Organzation of
Women's endorsement and it probably won't be long before Obama gets civil
rights' organzations' endorsements. My Congressman, Rep. Keith Ellison
(D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress and the first
African-American Minnesota has sent to Washington just announced his
support for the Senator from Illinois. (Ellison also voting for Pelosi's
fake "anti-war bill). But, what exactly do either of these frontrunners
actually stand for?

Neither has broken with the Demcoratic Leadership Conference's mushy
pro-war position. Clinton supported Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's
war-funding bill, with enough loopholes to keep Bush's war going into 2009
and Obama is likely to support the Senate version.. Both Clinton and Obama
can talk about the need for healthcare - but, will either break with
insurance companies, HMOs and Big Pharma to join the rest of the Western
industrial nations (and Cuba!) to finally make good on Harry Truman's
promise of universal, single-payer healthcare?

It says something pretty dismal about American "democracy" that while
almost 70% of We The People want the troops to be brought home, an actual
pro-peace candidate like rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) - who also ran for
the democratic nomination in 2004 - is considered to "have no chance" at
the nomination. Kucinich was called "unelectable" by folks who tout
themselves as "realistic" and so we got the 'electable" John Kerry if we
wanted George Bush out of office. Of course, Kerry didn't promise to get
us out of Iraq - only to "manage the war more effectively".

This is what Hillary Clinton seems to promise: Kerry in a dress. It's not
exactly clear what Obama is promising on anything. So far, his appeal
comes down to having "rock star charisma" and campaign speeches that speak
to Americans' hunger to be "united".

"United" for WHAT? Attacking Iran next? Continuing the so-called "free
trade" policies that Hillary's husband pushed through, that keep
outsourceing decently paying jobs? What about the ever-expanding (and also
"privatizing") U.,S. prison-industrial complex that now incarcreates more
people than any other country on Earth? Will Obama break the silence on
THAT issue - which is having a disproportionate impact on communites of
color and the poor? can we count on Hillary to restore any of the social
safety net that her husband and Bush have steadily CUT? Or would that hurt
the careful image of being as "tough" as any man runing for the White

Once again, I figure the only TRUE "choice" I'll have is to vote for a
third party candidate. Of course, Most Americans only love "winners".
So, the candidates who have integrity and actually represent positions
that are in the public interest will usually be dismissed with that label
of ultimate contempt - "losers".

The funny thing is that We The People are the REAL "losers" in the
electoral politics game because half the Americans who actually vote still
go along with the Corporate-sponsored militarists that are chosen FOR us.
The other half stay home. Plenty of people said that Kucinich or Ralph
Nader "represent my positions, but, they can't win so I can't vote for
them." Seems like it would be a pretty obvious conclusion to draw that, if
people voted for the candidates that actually represent their own
positions - instead of throwing away their votes on those who only
represent Corporations and militarism - we'd have a lot more of a chance
to get what we want. (That includes those who don't bother to vote at

It says something very disturbing about the U.S. "spreading democracy"
to other countries when our own is so tainted. We can blame the leaders
but, We The People have some responsibility, too. People like Kucinich and
Nader - who've devoted their lives to the public interest and NOT lining
their own pockets, are dismissed - not just by pundits but by many
'progressives' - as "not having a chance of winning" almost from the
beginning of their campaigns. But, if people voted their principles and
more voters turned off the remote and got engaged (at least went to the
polls once every four years!), the presidential campaign season might look
very different.

Do the math.

--------19 of 22--------

From: Senator John Marty <jmarty [at]>
To the Point!

Funding Schools with Bake Sales and Boxtops
by Senator John Marty
April 9, 2007

At a recent community meeting hosted by the Roseville School district,
parents spoke out about the economic problems facing the schools their
children attend. Class sizes are too large, budget cutbacks have removed
teacher's aides from classrooms. Even funds for basic supplies are

Roseville is a typical case. Schools throughout Minnesota have eliminated
many educational programs, laid off teachers, postponed building
maintenance, and cut corners when purchasing supplies. Many teachers dig
deep into their own pockets to provide school supplies for their
classrooms and students.

Governor Pawlenty refuses to see this as a problem. He contends his budget
provides adequate funding for schools. In fact, he claims that in the last
budget cycle, the state provided "one of the largest boosts for schools in
state history." Regardless of his rhetoric about big increases, the
reality is that many schools were forced to lay off teachers under that

PS Minnesota, a coalition of statewide education organizations and
parents, hired some consultants to follow-up on and analyze a report
issued two years ago by a Pawlenty task force on education funding. Based
on their analysis of the Governor's task force report, the consultants
estimated that the state needs to invest at least an additional $1 billion
a year, above inflation, to adequately fund education, or almost $1.8
billion per year above inflation to meet the future standards of the
federal "No Child Left Behind" law.

Governor Pawlenty ignored those findings and recently submitted a budget
that would provide an amount slightly less than projected inflation.
Nothing more. This from a Governor who has called education "our most
important investment."

In contrast, legislators have proposed increases in education funding a
bit more than inflation, though not close to the needed levels. But these
proposals would rely on state income tax increases to pay the bills.

The Governor is trying to score political points by attacking the tax
increases as totally unnecessary. He is even running radio ads on the
issue, and is likely to succeed in stirring up opposition to the increases
among many voters. After all, politicians of both parties have promised to
cut taxes without affecting government services for years. They have
convinced some people to believe you can get something for nothing.

The Governor expresses outrage at these tax proposals. But there are
consequences for failing to raise the funds that schools need.

The parents at the Roseville community meeting talked about their efforts
to secure more funding for schools. They spend much of their volunteer
time pushing local referenda to get funds, as well as organizing school
carnivals and bake sales. School kids are asked to peddle magazines, candy
and other products. Parents and kids collect boxtops, soup can labels,
even used printer cartridges, just to earn money to help pay basic
operating costs for schools.

Think about this. We expect parents and students to spend countless hours
begging for money to keep their schools open while cutting corners on
their educational quality. That's an outrage.

And there are similar stories from other schools. Two years ago parents in
Vadnais Heights were so desperate about the lack of funds for their local
school that they raised money to hire an additional fourth grade teacher.

How do we best use the time and talents of parents willing to volunteer in
our schools? I'd rather see them helping out in school classrooms than
spending their time collecting soup labels and organizing fundraisers.

It hasn't always been this way. When I was a student, we weren't asked to
sell products door-to-door to pay for our public schools. Yes, we had an
occasional bake sale to raise money, but that wasn't to keep our school
open, it was for a student council project to help build a school in
Africa through UNICEF.

It has always been part of the American dream that parents want their kids
to have better educational opportunities than they themselves had. We
don't have to give up that dream. We shouldn't have to tell our children
that we wish they could have the same opportunities we had, but that it is
too expensive.

Since 1999 there have been significant income tax cuts, at least for
higher income Minnesotans. Governor Pawlenty is willing to accept higher
property taxes and poorer schools as long as we can have lower income

And that's the choice. If we want a world-class education for Minnesota
students, we will need a bigger state investment. We won't get there if we
expect our schools to rely on the possibility of higher property taxes and
the funds that parents and students can raise from bake sales and boxtops.

--------20 of 22--------

From Economic Apartheid to Political Revolution
by Joel S. Hirschhorn
April 9, 2007

Americans have always accepted a certain level of economic inequality as
the inevitable consequence of an open capitalist society where some people
through their own efforts do better than others. The presumption is that
there is fairness in the marketplace and economic system. What a quaint,
outdated belief.

Do most Americans really believe that the game is not rigged by rich
powerful elites to preferentially benefit them? As certain as the law of
gravity, the game IS rigged, and more than ever.

We have a plutocratic corporate state that now has taken economic
inequality to new levels - in fact to what now is a sick and shameful
condition of economic apartheid.  To a society that increasingly separates
Americans into two classes: the wealthy Upper Class and the Lower Class.
The Upper Class has protected and gated mansions, private vacation spots
and spas, special access shopping venues, private schools, lavish
entertainment options, luxurious hospital accommodations, and private jets
and stretch limos. The Upper Class does everything possible to PHYSICALLY
separate itself from the poor, repugnant and uncouth members of the Lower
Class. This physical separation is the hallmark of economic apartheid. The
only contact the wealthy have and want with Lower Class people is when the
latter serve, protect and pamper them. And of course they expect the
hugely larger Lower Class to keep spending and borrowing their way into
economic despair and to keep sustaining the two-party mafia. Voting for
Democrats and Republicans is as meaningful as voting for American Idol
contestants. Nothing more than a self-destructive distraction.

In Las Vegas, the truly rich have their private gambling rooms and clubs,
and occupy special access suites. In sports stadiums, they luxuriate in
their glass boxes high above the masses.  In the Pacific and Caribbean,
they have their private island hideaways. On the oceans they travel in
self-indulgent yachts. They eat in private rooms in the most expensive
restaurants. The biggest entertainment stars come to them in their private
social functions. And, yes, they have all the access they want to high
government officials in both major parties because they provide them with
all the campaign money they need.  And hidden from public view they - and
only they - have incredible opportunities to invest their riches to easily
receive 30 percent annual gains with little taxation.  As they get ever
richer they find it increasingly difficult to spend all their wealth - but
they handle the chore with alacrity.

What is remarkable about this new society is that there are MILLIONS of
these super-rich, physically isolated Americans.  They mingle with
millions more throughout the world.  As globalization has devastated the
once proud middle class, it has expanded this elitist wealthy class
worldwide, even in the poorest nations.

Economic statistics keep solidly documenting growing economic inequality.
But I fear that the most economically oppressed and barely surviving
peasants have neither the time nor energy to ponder and fret over these
data. Here are some new data that reveal an important historic reality.

Economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have recently revealed just
how horrendous the inequality gap has become. Way back in 1928, the last
full year before the Great Depression began, the families that made up
America's richest top hundredth of 1 percent had incomes that averaged
$8.2 million, as measured in dollars inflation-adjusted to 2005 levels.
That is one per 10,000 households. In 1928, that amounted to some 5,000
households. These super-rich averaged 891 times more income than families
in the bottom 90 percent averaged. By 1955, in the midst of post-World War
II prosperity, families in the top hundredth of 1 percent took home only
$3.8 million, in inflation-adjusted dollars. They made just 179 times the
average bottom 90 percent income. There was much more economic equality
because of shared prosperity. Even in 1980, the richest of the rich took
home 175 times more than Americans in the bottom 90 percent - still
relatively good economic equality.  Then things changed.

Consider the figures for 2005: the top hundredth of 1 percent, about
10,000 households, averaged $25.7 million in income, three times the money
in 1928.  This amounted to 882 times more than the bottom 90 percent
average - an economic inequality gap in 2005 that's almost identical to
the 891-to-1 divide in 1928!  Welcome to the modern billionaire world of
the rich getting much, much richer, while everyone else stagnates.  Of
course, the top 1 percent of households are also extremely rich - some 1
million families or 3 million people - relatively to the bottom, majority
90 percent.

Married couples with children now account for fewer than one-quarter of
American households - the lowest in history. It is the Upper Class that
now emphasizes marriage with children. Married households with children
are twice as likely to be in the top 20 percent of income. Some 13 percent
of the increase in the nation's income inequality since the 1970s results
from the marriage of high income earners. Marriage is now for the rich.
What does that say about American democracy and culture? That the Upper
Class is like an inbred aristocracy. Children of the rich will marry other
children of the rich.

Another critically important change in the real (ugly) America is the
bursting of the traditional fantasy-belief that people can educate
themselves into wealth. Is getting more Americans educated and trained all
we need to do to attack economic inequality? If so, then inequality should
fall over periods of time when people become more educated. Right?
Americans have become more educated over the last three decades. In 1970,
only three out of four Americans aged 25-29 had completed high school. In
2004, nearly nine of ten Americans that age had a high school education.
In 1970, only 16 percent of Americans in their late 20s held a four-year
college degree. By 2004, that had nearly doubled to 29 percent. Something
else has nearly doubled since 1970: the share of national income that goes
to America's richest 1 percent.

That means that the share going to average Americans has dropped. Lower
Class Americans in the bottom 90 percent of the nation's income
distribution took home 67 percent of U.S. income in 1970, but only 53
percent in 2004, despite their greater education and productivity.
American reality: We've become more unequal at the same time we've become
more educated. Why? Education doesn't determine how income and wealth -
or macro domestic and global prosperity - are distributed in our unfair
system. The Upper Class ensures that increasing fractions of income and
wealth go to them.

Here is more painful statistical truth: In 2004, the most recent year with
IRS data just about 25,000 taxpayers took home over $5 million. After
exploiting every loophole they paid an average 21.9 percent of their
incomes in federal income tax. Back in 1952, at the height of the Korean
War, the comparable federal tax bite on America's richest 25,000 averaged
51.9 percent. About a decade earlier, in the middle of World War II, the
25,000 highest-income taxpayers in the United States paid 68.4 percent of
their incomes in federal income tax. How things have changed for the
wealthy. A greater fraction of the nation's prosperity has gone to the
Upper Class AND they pay less tax! Economic power produces political

This is worth pondering: When will the economic inequality that has
morphed into two-class economic apartheid provide sufficient pain and
disgust for a few hundred million Americans to fuel political revolution?

When will the stranglehold of the Upper Class on the political system that
criminally distorts the economic system be busted? When will Lower Class
consumers that drive the economy take back their sovereign power? When
will they understand they are losing the class war and revolt?

It will take historically unique action, not electing different Democrats
or Republicans. Our Constitution provides the tool - not used for over
200 years because the power elites do not want it used - an Article V
convention outside the control of the White House and Congress to consider
political and government reforms. Learn more about it at

Joel S. Hirschhorn has a new book, Delusional Democracy - Fixing the
Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, which supports
constitutional conventions and other peaceful ways to restore American
democracy. To join the pro-convention effort or discuss issues write the
author: articlev [at]

--------21 of 22--------

[A bit unpolished but basically on target. -ed]

How Did This Happen?
by Carol Warner Christen

(Swans - April 9, 2007)   There were times and places on this planet when
no one was considered better than anyone else. Except for pockets of
humans here and there, this had to have been before 10,000 years ago at
minimum. Humans have been here at least four million years via DNA
studies. There were so few that all the work and play were personal chores
and group outings. It was anarchy, in general, with family groups bonded
for reasons of necessity. Children were not disciplined; they simply
played or helped or were nursed until they could share the life around
them. This laissez faire attitude is still seen in many tribal groups.
Women had as much equality as the men because everyone was needed for

Laissez faire, of course, is the policy or practice of letting people act
without direction or interference - free will. Laissez faire got a bad
reputation when the owners of business or industry were permitted to do as
they pleased. The difference is that business and industry are not
individuals; they are conglomerates of people bowing to a single master to
accomplish something or another for profit. They, as a matter of course,
always went too far and had to be reined in for the sake of human safety.

Since we live in a time of too much incorporation and its totalitarian
results, those who run these outfits have the belief that our natural
humanness is not to be tolerated; it is too anarchic, what with dancing
and singing and playing all day rather than working sixty hours a week for
them. None of us is invited to their play places around the planet, which
means we do not see the anarchic side of their behavior. In reality, they
cannot help but be human, although overly groomed. Their egos are so
inflated that we, except as servants paid to be quiet, may not enjoy their
joie de vivre. None of us have the proper pedigree (poodle), the money, or
the "taste." We work for them because they enjoy the hedonistic life our
mothers told us to forego.

Alas, however, they have bought the government of the United States of
America because a clerk said that corporations were "persons."
Corporations are not persons. They have never come out of a human womb;
they grow from charters and signatures and an idea. They are subservient
to the state of their incorporation. This is what we all understood until
they became pseudo-persons and grew money from a tree called the Federal
Reserve with branches everywhere. The US Treasury was supposed to protect
our money; it now defers to a tree-like secretive group of bankers whose
twigs even touch London. They print money and, what with wars and debts
and covetousness, we might soon have a national crisis on our hands.

War isn't cheap, although too many housing loans are. Do you think that's
why the Founders limited a standing army to two years, at most, with the
states providing a National Guard as a check on rampant pillaging of the
world? We have pillaged the National Guard to rape the world into giving
up its oil to our military bully, which needs most of it. The damage to
the victims is the damage to any human raped; but the scale is colossal
and the deaths an afterthought. Who really wants to read about it in the
newspaper? Too much of a bad thing might anger the populace.

Our current corporate big shots, on a scale larger than local business
people, are ready, willing, and able to sell the People out. They pay some
to be quiet; they pay others to write phony Moebius strip sound bites that
seem to be one way while morphing into something else. None of them ever
say it in the same article or at the same time, lest we catch on to the
game. You might think the United States of America is a rigged game. I do.
Look deep enough; the answers are there. No time to look? Working overtime
without a personal life? Can you make ends meet at home, or is the
American Dream drifting off into the sunset along with the infrastructure?

Halliburton moved to one of the richest spots on the planet. Is this the
beginning of the end? Who wants to bet on which comes first: Armageddon,
aliens, or mass depopulation from hunger, disease, death? We'll probably
reorganize if it comes to any of the above; but, why wait? We could ask
the bet takers what the odds are now.

Good or evil? Hatred or apathy? Death or life? Rich or poor? Heads or
tails? Middle class or slavery? Wealth or bankruptcy? Right or wrong? War
or peace? My way or the highway? Surge or lose? Kill or die? It's so easy
to toss coins, easy to think in dichotomies rather than develop serious
thought. Each of these is a simple system. There is always a meta-system
to any system. Love is the main meta-system to all of the above. Love sees
all sides.

Humans are a meta-system to the Earth and its creatures. However, not even
one of us can ever be a meta-system to humanity itself. That's why we feel
or know a higher power exists: to see all sides of humanity. Only the
utterly arrogant believe they see all sides of human life and have the
right to declare a position above humanity while remaining human. Nice
trick. It is usually accompanied by weaponry and soldiers, led by the
arrogant. I always imagine a group of equally naked humans in a large ring
talking to each other. Suddenly, some of those humans climb onto the
shoulders of the others and begin demanding this or that from those
"below" them. Why we fall for this trick so often escapes me.

Our Preamble also is a meta-system to our governmental bodies. There is no
coin that has the Congress on one side and the Executive Branch on the
other. If that were the case, then where would the Supreme Court fit?

How do We "form a more perfect union" if "the massive defense bill (the
martial law section of the 591-page Defense Appropriations Act takes up
just a few paragraphs)..."?

"Under these new provisions, the president can now use the military as a
domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, disease outbreak,
terrorist attack or to any 'other condition.' According to the new law,
Bush doesn't even have to notify Congress of his intent to use military
force against the American people, he just has to notify them once he has
done so. The defense budget provision's vague language leaves the doors
wide open for rampant abuse. As writer Jane Smiley noted, 'The
introduction of these changes amounts, not to an attack on the Congress
and the balance of power, but to a particular and concerted attack on the
citizens of the nation. Bush is laying the legal groundwork to repeal even
the appearance of democracy.'"

"The main reason we do not want the military patrolling our streets is
that under martial law, the Bill of Rights becomes null and void. A
standing army, something that propelled the early colonists into
revolution, strips the American people of any vestige of freedom. Thus, if
we were subject to martial law, there would be no rules, no protections,
no judicial oversight and no elections. And unless these provisions are
repealed, the president's new power will be set in stone for future
administrations to use and abuse." (1)

The Preamble will then have "a more perfect union" of one man surrounded
by his flunkies. How convenient! The president may then dispense with the
rest of the Preamble and become the dictatorial decider he has always
aspired "to be, or not to be, for that is the question." Citizens might
read the entire quote from Shakespeare - it's enlightening. It speaks to
us today. (2)

If the meta-system is to "establish justice," why has it devolved into the
"criminal justice system" and the "(summary) military justice" sides of
the coin? We established justice until 1968. Then criminal justice systems
became commonplace with a further injustice of establishing private jail
companies for profit. With the war in Iraq, we decided some humans were
not entitled to trial, only military hearings in secret at places such as
Guantnamo in Cuba. The inhumane treatment of prisoners has risen within
the prisons; the military simply permits torture all around the world for
so-called "terrorists": untried persons. No one knows their real or
alleged guilt. It is all assumed from specious but convenient
circumstance. There is so much human life it is as if we have decided to
waste as much as we like, forgetting that we, too, may lose ours to the
grossly medieval current system. Is the church of the Middle Ages
reincarnating in the criminal justice and military systems? If so, we have
lost our American integrity to expedience, once again.

With the militarization of the local police forces and their fear of
citizens, the meta-system to "insure domestic tranquility" has changed to
"kill or be killed" instantaneous decisions on the street. The sick, the
mentally ill, the criminal, and the bystander are all in mortal danger. No
officer merely knocks on a door politely; he brings heavily armed police
militias with him and breaks down doors. How would any citizen know how to
react when fear of invasion overtakes a household? Who really is out
there? What happened to the Bill of Rights that protected the privacy of
our homes and belongings? Is this really necessary; or, is it part of the
militarization of the United States because the powers that be have other
plans for us than we might appreciate in the light of day and proper

"The common defence" is now National Security, which is a wholly dreadful
idea and, definitely, not the other side of the coin; it is the current
coin, one side domestic and the other foreign. The laws to put this in
place are discussed above with a complete loss of American rights, not to
mention the rights of other peoples around the world because we say so. We
are also back to the "big father patriarch daddy" running the show. The
one who says "do as I say, not as I do"; as he negates the world's free
will for his profit and, perhaps, sadistic turn of mind. He is surrounded
by armies. We have none. To those who support this hedonism, the only
thing to do is to turn our backs on their concepts and start supporting
ethical humans and their ideas that we thought we stood for, but never
quite did fully.

If the meta-system says "to establish the general welfare," have we been
faithful to that concept? We have given to the rich and powerful; we have
heaped goodies galore upon them. On the other side, we have taken from the
majority of citizens what made the United States a beacon to the world. We
let corporations go global with our wealth and called those who suddenly
found themselves poorer names. As they worked many more hours than ever,
we called them lazy, dirty, poor, immigrants, not true Americans. We call
them names because we fear that we, too, may soon be in that class.

If we are equal before the law, how did we classify some of us into
classes? Why do we promote that? Or, is it the old school cry: "Nah, nah,
nah, I'm better than you!" Those who claim to be Christian must face the
fact that Jesus said there are only two commandments: love God, and love
one another as I have loved you. How did that morph into such hatred of
the Other who is, too, human? Churches often are so three-dimensional that
the human bickering becomes some sort of faith in unfairness for everyone

When will we think deeply and fairly, especially since the planet is more
crowded than ever? The final meta-system command is to "secure the
blessings of liberty to ourselves and our progeny." So, the coin flip is
this: we and some of our progeny are on one side and, "they" are on the
other and they are different than we are, less human, less worthy, more
killable and have what we covet. It goes on and on and on. We do not
answer to ourselves for stealing our own liberties for expediency against
a chimera: terrorism.

How many persons would jump off a high-level bridge because the president
says to do it for the greater good? A pursuit that worthless might be an
interesting study in American idiocy as a test of integrity. Maybe we can
get the Congress to pass a bill encouraging the president to test us while
some of us test the Supreme Court he packed to see if they care. Want to
gamble with no rights or want to put your real rights back where they
belong with We, the People, who wrote the Preamble for our liberty for now
and for the future? Giving away any liberty is the stupidest thing a
country can do to itself. So, why have we let them do it? I hope I live
long enough to see a reversal in honor of my ancestors who fought for
freedom for us without totalitarian overtones.


1.  John W. Whitehead. "The Late, Great American Nation," Rutherford
Institute. (back)

2.  William Shakespeare - To be, or not to be (from Hamlet 3/1).  (back)

--------22 of 22--------

Is the Pentagon Bigger Than the USA?
Mega Lessons from Iraq War, Year 5
April 9, 2007

As we open year five of the Iraq war it is fitting we attempt to learn as
much as we can. But we don't dare miss the "gorilla in the room" -- the
big one. We've seen lots of editorializing lately covering many of the
painful lessons. All the 'what if's' along the way.

But there is another mega lesson. We are in a 50-year trend of a
shriveling State Department and a burgeoning Defense Department. The State
Department actually reduced in numbers of personnel during the 1990s. The
Defense growth trend was born out of the Cold War threat of the Soviet
Union and was accelerated under Robert McNamara. But it has now gotten to
the point where most people in most nations around the world would say the
Defense Department is definitely much bigger than the USA.

It has taken the bumbling incompetence of successive Bush/Cheney
administrations' prosecution of the Iraq war to make this clear. One of
our generals observed recently that we can't do it all with only the
military. Du-uh! We knew that sixty years ago but have forgotten it. When
the face of America experienced by most of the nations around the world is
someone whose paycheck comes out of the Defense budget we do not present
ourselves fully. Today, for every one State Department person working
abroad there are more than ten Defense Department personnel. Even the
Commerce Department has a pseudo diplomatic corps that rivals that of the
State Department.

The State Department and Defense Department do not have the same charter.
Defense is chartered to defend us from security threats using the tools of
war. The State department is chartered to establish and maintain a robust,
fully rounded relationship with the other nations of the world. A fully
rounded relationship includes, at a minimum; economic, cultural, political
and diplomatic interactions. That full relationship is best expressed in
the concept of the Foreign Service. A service embodying ALL aspects of our
relationship with other nations.

If our State Department had the resources of a robust Foreign Service in
2002 we might have foreseen the disaster we created when we destabilized
Iraq. We definitely would have had people who knew the basics like how to
speak the languages(!) and something of the cultural heritage hiding under
Sadaam's heel. For instance we would have known that Jeffersonian
democracy might not be the right next step after Sadaam's fall. After all,
the only people who held tight to their tribal heritage during the
emergence of the American democracy were either killed or rounded up and
put on reservations.

We are in a period of American history in which the penalty for speaking
truth to power has been raised to very high levels. Valerie Plame paid
with her career plus the compromising of all the contacts she made during
her service. The Dixie Chicks are paying in the millions of dollars. But
the Iraq Study Group led the way to lowering those penalties. They were
the first to openly criticize without being branded terrorists or
sympathizers. The 2006 election results added to the credibility of
dissent. But America needs specific action, not just dissent.

Americans need to insist that the debate for the 2008 presidential
election include a serious reform of our government and how we present
ourselves to the world, to include the revitalization of the Foreign
Service. This will not be easy. The Defense Department behemoth is strong
and capable. The Defense Department budget is part of the economy in
almost all the congressional districts. The defense industry lobbyists are
giants on the Washington scene. The other departments, which have grown
their own diplomatic corps, will resist too. But reform we must. It will
take political will not often seen in this country. It will mean that the
next Secretary of State has to be ready for a bureaucratic war to restore
State as the face of America. The opposition will be fierce. The February
2007 paper, The Politics of National Security Budgets by Gordon Adams of
the Stanley Institute, examines much of this aspect in depth.

Over the last several years America's image in the world has been changed
from one of a sometimes clumsy but benevolent giant to that of a rogue
bully. In 2002 only the radical few would have questioned the power or
doubted the fundamental decency of the United States of America. Today it
is likely that a majority question the efficacy of the power and even the
existence of the decency.

We have permitted ourselves to be defined by fears instead of drawing our
essence from hopes and dreams. We need to reconstitute both ourselves and
our presence in the world, thereby recovering the huge losses of the last
several years. Facing the threat of spreading terrorism we must not be
engaged in weakening ourselves.

HILL KEMP is a former State Representative from Texas and witnessed George
Bush, Karl Rove and Paula Hughes set up shop as Texas Governor in 1995.
His thriller, Capitol Offense, enshrines the dysfunction -- principles du
jour -- he saw with a literary caricature of the Bush/Rove leadership
style. His other publications include short story anthologies, tips for
fiction writers and, out soon, a children's chapter book. His sequel to
Capitol Offense is due out in 2007 and is titled A Lone Star Special. More


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