Progressive Calendar 04.30.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 07:09:32 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    04.30.07

1. Arctic voices   4.30 9am
2. Albers/KFAI     4.30 9:15am
3. SAf apartheid   4.30 4:30pm
4. Amnesty Intl    4.30 7pm
5. Ford plant II   4.30 7pm
6. Miami cops/film 4.30 7pm

7. Inter/migration 5.01 12noon
8. MayDay/rights   5.01 4pm
9. JohnLennon film 5.01 6:30pm
10. Indigenous Rev 5.01 6:30pm
11. Writers read   5.01 7pm
12. uhcan-mn       5.01 7pm
13. Law/values     5.01

14. Jeffrey StClair - Pentagon as casino
15. Nicole Colson   - The "Surpeme" Court targets abortion rights
16. James McEnteer  - Where the movie villains are American
17. ed              - Tomorrow (poem)

--------1 of 17--------

From: Darrell Gerber <gerb0107 [at]>
Subject: Arctic voices 4.30 9am

The Arctic Voices Tour will be coming to the Humphrey Monday April 30.
Speakers from indigenous communities in Alaska and Norway will be on
hand to give first-hand accounts of the effects of climate changes in
their communities. See the attached flyer for more information.

9-10:30am - Global Warming Policy Forum at the Humphrey Institute

--------2 of 17--------

From: joel michael albers <joel [at]>
Subject: Albers/KFAI 4.30 9:15am

I [Joel Albers] will be a guest on the Health Notes program hosted by
Kinshasha Kambui on KFAI 90.3 FM Mpls, and 106.7 FM, St. Paul, mon april
30, 9:15-10AM to discuss:

1.results of my et al. survey of MN physicians views of health care

2.a bit about UHCAN-MN

3.prospects (or lack thereof) for HC reform at the MN legislature
(including the so called Children's Health Security Act")

4.CEO profiteering at "United Health Group HMO (you know,the largest
corporation in MN with the highest paid execs in the history of the state
of MN, yet which doesn't deliver any health care

5.why we should build our own community-based health insurance co-ops, esp
in MN which already has the largest number of co-ops in the U.S.

and or whatever else is asked.

Joel Albers Universal Health Care Action Network Minnesota 612-384-0973
joel [at] Health Care Economics Researcher,
Clinical Pharmacist

--------3 of 17--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: SAf apartheid 4.30 4:30pm

Lectures by Dr. Neville Alexander
Monday, April 30, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
NorthPoint Heath and Wellness Center
1313 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis


Tuesday, May 1, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Andersen Library, University of Minnesota (Westbank)
222 21st Ave S, Minneapolis
Both events free and open to the public

Dr. Neville Alexander was held in Robben Island Prison for a decade for
fighting against apartheid in South Africa.  He shared a cell and many
hours of debate and learning with current South African president and
Nobel prize winner Nelson Mandela.  As comrades, Alexander and Mandela
eventually saw the end of apartheid.  Dr. Alexander credits education for
allowing him to survive prison and continue the struggle.  He is in
Minneapolis to support literacy and language as a source of empowerment
through the African American Read-In.

--------4 of 17--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 4.30 7pm

Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, April 30th, from 7:00 to
8:00 p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street,
Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at 612/378-1166 or
johns779 [at]

--------5 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Ford plant II 4.30 7pm

Continue the conversation about the Ford Assembly Plant on Monday, April
30 at the Merriam Park Branch Library, 1831 Marshall Ave., Saint Paul, at
7 p.m.  Join a panel of historians, labor activists, and auto workers to
discuss the history of labor at the Ford Assembly Plant and look to the
future.  The panel features Brian McMahon, a historian completing a book
on the history of the Ford Motor Company in Minnesota; Dave Beal,
co-author of Manufacturing Works; and Rickey Brown, retired Ford worker.

--------6 of 17--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: Miami cops/film 4.30 7pm

First Amendment and Policing: Upholding the Right to Protest
"Miami Model" Video Showing and Discussion

Monday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m.
Arise Bookstore
2441 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis
Free and open to the public
The RNC Welcoming Committee and CUAPB are cosponsoring this event to
examine the First Amendment rights of protesters in the post-911
era.  The "Miami model" refers to a policing strategy developed by
Miami police chief John Timoney.  Timoney, who admits to a hatred of
protesters, was police commissioner in Philadelphia when protesters
were brutalized during the Republican Convention in 2000.  Timoney
advanced his free-speech chilling paramilitary tactics during the
anti-FTAA protests in Miami in 2003.  After a showing of the
IndyMedia film "The Miami Model" CUAPB will lead a group discussion
on police tactics against protesters in the Twin Cities.

--------7 of 17--------

From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at]>
Subject: Internal migration 5.01 12noon

INFORMAL NOON SEMINARS: Disciplinary Research in an Interdisciplinary
Field: Migration Studies (All events at noon in 308 Andersen Library)

May 1 - Trent Alexander, Minnesota Population Center, "Global, Local, and
Nowhere in Between: Data and Disciplines in the Study of U.S. Internal

--------8 of 17--------

From: wamm <wamm [at]>
Subject: MayDay/rights 5.01 4pm

May Day Demonstration for Immigrant and Worker Rights

Tuesday, May 1, 4:00 p.m. Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis.
March down Lake Street as part of a general strike nationally to bring
attention to the struggle for immigrant rights. Demand legalization for
all immigrants now. Organized by: the Minnesota Immigrant Rights

--------9 of 17--------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: John Lennon film  5.01 6:30pm

Hi, This Tuesday, May 1, we will view the film The U.S. vs. John Lennon
and then have an open discussion.

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

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

--------10 of 17--------

From: PRO826 [at]
Subject: Indigenous Rev 5.01 6:30pm

2002 Green Party Senatorial Candidate and Founder of Kalpulli Turtle
Island Multiversity (_www.kalpulli.net_ ( ), Ray
Tricomo, will be speaking at the Hosner Library 347 E. 36th St.

Tuesday, May 1st
6:30pm - 8pm

Topic:  The Coming Indigenous Revolution
"We are not on a sustainable path and while not advocating violent power,
we must learn from the Great Law of Peace and allow it to be implemented
worldwide. The Great Peacemaker, back in 1142 A.D. when he set up the 5
nations confederacy, he "The time of trouble is coming".  The time is now
to move out of the time of trouble and move to a transitional society and
government.  It's the only future we have and it is time we learn from
this land. " Ray Tricomo

--------11 of 17--------

From: Marie Williams <number1giraffe [at]>
Subject: Writers read 5.01 7pm

Reading 5.1.2007 by Marie Sheppard Williams and Denise duMaurier.

Bill Holm says of Marie Sheppard Williams' new book: "THE GOD STORIES is
marvelous....These stories will get you thinking in ways that American
fiction so seldom does these days...." And a review in "The New Pages
Literary Magazine Review" states:  "...amazing, heartbreaking, and
inspiring....I'd buy any journal where Sheppard Williams appeared in the
table of contents."

Denise duMaurier is a Minneapolis poet whose book, ABANDONING THE RAFT, is
just out.

The reading will be held at the Center for Independent Artists, 4137
Bloomington Avenue South in Minneapolis, at 7. p.m.  For more information,
e-mail<> or call 612-724-8392.

--------12 of 17--------

From: joel michael albers <joel [at]>
Subject: uhcan-mn 5.01 7pm

UHCAN-MN meeting
Tuesday May 1, 2007, 7PM,
Walker Church basement, 3104 16th ave s (in Mpls, near Lake st. and
Bloomington ave).

Actions Planning:
Free pizza and drinks
1.Welcome, intros, background
-Legislative update. 
-broad-based SPnetwork forming per MN Nurse Assoc.
3. Plan MayDay Parade Health Care Street Theater
for sunday may 6.
4.Plan demo at "United Health Group" HMO

Annual shareholders Mtg, May 29th, at corporate
HQs, MNTKA. Demo starts at 8:30 AM
5.Plan UHCAN-MN Summer Retreat on Golden Lake in
Circle Pines, June 2 - 3. HC Workshops, R & R. Limited
to 25 people, $15 for weekend.
6.Twin Cities Health Fund Co-op feasibility update
Good first step toward Single-Payer.

Pls contact me w/ other items you may have ?

Joel Albers Universal Health Care Action Network Minnesota 612-384-0973
joel [at] uhcan-mn. org www.uhcan-mn. org Health Care Economics Researcher,
Clinical Pharmacist

--------13 of 17--------

From: Consortium on Law & Values JDP Program <lawvalue [at]>
Subject: Law/values 5.01

Managing Incidental Findings in Human Subjects Research: From Imaging to
Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences
Limited Space Available-- Call (612) 625-0055 to register!

The University of Minnesota, in partnership with the Consortium on Law and
Values in Health, Environment and the Life Sciences, is pleased to present
a full-day conference on:

"Managing Incidental Findings in Human Subjects Research: From Imaging to
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Cowles Auditorium
Hubert H. Humphrey Center
University of Minnesota

This conference is supported in part by a grant from the National Human
Genome Research Insitute, National Institutes of Health, grant #
1R01HG003178-01A1. This conference will present the recommendations from
an NIH-funded project developing standards for the management of
incidental findings identified during research with human subjects.
Incidental findings are defined as unexpected findings beyond the domain
of key interest in the research that have potential clinical significance.
Presentations will focus on obtaining feedback from the public,
researchers, research subjects, and regulatory bodies such as IRBs on a
position paper outlining consent form language and IRB protocols.

Featured Topics:

* Understanding Incidental Findings in the Context of Genetics & Genomics
* Archival Genomic Research and Incidental Findings
* CT Colonography and Incidental Findings
* Incidental Findings and Children
* Do Researchers Have a Duty of Care Regarding Incidental Findings?
* Panel on the Legal & Regulatory Issues Raised by Incidental Findings
* Panel Response to Working Group Consensus Paper

Register today! Please contact the Consortium office:
Telephone: (612) 625-0055
Email: lawvalue [at]
Featured Speakers:

* Bernard Schwetz, DVM, PhD--Office for Human Research Protections,
Department of Health and Human Services
* Prof. Mildred Cho, PhD--Stanford University
* Prof. Ellen Wright Clayton, MD, JD--Vanderbilt University
* Prof. Judy Illes, PhD--Stanford University
* Prof. Henry Richardson, PhD--Georgetown University
* Franklin Miller, PhD--National Institutes of Health
* Alan Milstein, JD, MS--Sherman, Silverstein, Kohl, Rose & Podolsky
* Prof. Susan M. Wolf, JD--University of Minnesota
* Prof. Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH--University of Minnesota
* Prof. Harvey Wangballer, PhD--National Institute of Institutes

--------14 of 17--------

Pentagon as Casino
Versailles on the Potomac
April 28 / 29, 2007

War profiteer. It used to be one of the dirtiest slurs in American
politics, potent enough to sully the reputations of the rich and powerful.
Now it's a calling card, something you might find highlighted in a defense
contractor's corporate prospectus as a lure to attract investors looking
for bulging profits and escalating dividends.

In the summer of 2000, the defense industry was mired in a prolonged
slump, as was the US economy, which under the unforgiving lash of its
neo-liberal architects had become dependent on the financial engines of
the munitions makers. Unhappily for the defense industry and its investor
class, the Soviet Union had disintegrated before their very eyes and the
People's Republic of China, long considered the bogeyman state in waiting,
had lustily embraced state capitalism instead of stepping up to the plate
as a brawny military rival.

The big ticket items of the Cold War, from Stealth bombers to nuclear
subs, from aircraft carriers to the Star Wars scheme, that had sustained
the industry to the tune of tens of billions every year no longer had the
slightest pretext for continued production, except as the most extravagant
form of corporate welfare. Those weapons systems that weren't obsolete,
such as the B-2 bomber and F-22 fighter, simply didn't work, such as Star
Wars-lately remarketed as Ballistic Missile Defense.

To make matters more fraught for the weapons industry, the Pentagon was
poised to put the finishing touches on its Quadrennial Defense Review,
which sets procurement, budget and policy goals for the Defense
Department. Of course, the Pentagon would never slash its own budget and,
in fact, many anticipated that the QDR would call for increasing annual
defense spending to something approaching 4 percent of the gross domestic
product. However, it seemed likely that the generals would call for the
termination of many of the multi-billion dollar relics of the Cold War in
exchange for massive increases in spending on newer killing technologies
geared for what has come to be known as "4th Generation Warfare."

Then 9/11 happened and all the anxieties of the weapons lobby evaporated
in the flames of one fateful morning. The QDR, once so threatening, was
simply another fat white paper that came and went without leaving so much
as a scratch on the old Imperial Guard.

As we revealed here in CounterPunch, the Taliban offered Osama Bin Laden,
and his top associates, the Bush administration on several occasions after
the attacks of 9/11. Bush refused. They wanted a prolonged and
ever-escalating war, not a deftly executed police action and not justice
for the families of those slain and maimed by Bin Laden's kamikazes.

Instead, thousands of Cruise missiles were ordered up and, just like that,
Boeing and Lockheed were back in business. For months, cruise missiles,
J-DAM bombs and CB-87 cluster munitions shredded the hamlets and hovels of
Afghanistan, killing more than 3,500 civilians in the early days of that
one-sided war. But this was simply a bloody prelude to a more profound
slaughter. For Afghanistan, in the immortal words of Donald Rumsfeld,
wasn't a "target rich" environment. But Iraq certainly was. And only hours
after the 9/11 attacks, Rumsfeld and his neocon coterie of laptop
bombardiers began plotting the war on Saddam and the domestic propaganda
campaign for how to sell it to a psychologically shattered and
anxiety-ridden American public. The civilian body count in Iraq would
climb much higher, topping 650,000 by the winter of 2007, with more than
200 Iraqis dying every day.

The Bush wars on Afghanistan and Iraq were misguided, counter-productive
and illegal ventures, although entirely predictable outbursts of imperial
vengeance. What is truly perverse is the fact that while one wing of the
Pentagon was planning wars against a "faceless enemy" and a "rogue state",
another wing was lobbying congress on behalf of the weapons companies to
approve tens of billions in funding for all of the baroque artifacts of
the Cold War, from Star Wars to Stealth fighters. Congress was only too
happy to help. From the fall of 2001 through the end of 2002, not a single
funding request for a big-ticket item went denied, from unneeded aircraft
carriers to unwanted Boeing tankers.

But in order to fund these bailouts to the defense lobby for making
weapons for a war that no longer existed, Congress had to rob other
budgetary accounts. And here's where it gets truly bizarre. Intent on
satiating the cravings for pork from their political patrons, the
leadership of the Defense Appropriations committees, chaired until 2007 by
Senator Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican, paid for these costly and
useless projects by reprogramming billions from the so-called Operations
and Maintenance accounts, which were being used to fund the logistics work
for the on-the-ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even the normally
docile Office of Management and Budget raised a warning, writing in a
letter to Stevens dated December 6, 2002: "These [Operations and
Maintenance] reductions would undermine DoD's ability to adequately fund
training, operations, maintenance, supplies and other essentials. They
would seriously damage the readiness of our armed forces and undermine
their ability to execute current operations, including the war on

That warning letter (and thousands of documents like it), ignored by the
war-hungry US press, is the congressional equivalent of the Pentagon
Papers for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In order to shell out billions
for Star Wars and the F-22 fighter, Congress took money from accounts that
would have improved the terrible logistical planning in Iraq and bought
essential items for the protection of US combat troops, such as body armor
and armored Humvees. The blood of many a soldier maimed or killed in Iraq
is indelibly stained on the hands of Stevens and his colleagues who choose
to put the welfare of Boeing and Lockheed above the grunts in the field.

The Pentagon has become a kind of government operated casino, doling out
billions in contracts to the big-time spenders in American politics:
General Dynamics, Boeing, Raytheon, Bechtel, Lockheed and, of course, the
bete noir of the Bush administration, Halliburton.

The saga of Halliburton, however, is only a grotesque symbol for a cancer
that has gone systemic, gnawing away at corporations, politicians,
bureaucrats, the legions of lobbyists on K Street, media elites, Wall
Street fund managers and military brass.

Weapons making (and the credit companies) are the last thriving sectors of
the American economy. . Of course, even defense work is being inexorably
outsourced, as the story of Magnequench's relocation from Indiana to China
details with a cruel absurdity that may even have caused Artaud to blink.

War and credit. The two enterprises go hand in hand. Recall Ezra Pound's
declaration in the Cantos: "The purpose of war is to make debt." Bush
inherited a $500 billion budget surplus. After his tax giveaways to
corporations and millionaires and five years of war-making, the surplus
has been transformed into a record deficit that forecloses opportunities
for urgently social spending on health care, education, and development of
alternative sources of energy that would alleviate the impulse to wage
wars for oil.

It's an easy but fateful step from war and debt to corruption and
profiteering. Washington has become a dizzying maze of revolving doors;
bribery and kickbacks, where even generals betray their loyalties to the
grunts in exchange for fat checks and cushy jobs with Pentagon
contractors. The deals that reprimed the Boeing bank accounts and steered
no-bid contracts to companies as big as Halliburton and as obscure as the
Chenega Native Corporation were greased by the dispensation of political
cash and, in some cases, more personal gratuities.

While the politicians, CEOs and generals got rich, the death toll in Iraq
mounted with a grim inexorability. On average each week brings the death
of 21 American soldiers, with over a hundred and fifty more being maimed.
By the spring of 2007, more than 3,300 US troops had died in Iraq, nearly
3,000 of them perishing after Bush announced "Mission Accomplished" from
the deck of the USS Lincoln. And for every US death more than 150 Iraqis
die in bombings and ambushes, in losses that are unmourned and almost
unmentioned outside their own ravaged nation.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban has quietly regained control of much of the
countryside, with US troops and NGOs under almost daily attack. In 2006
alone, nearly as many US troops were killed in Afghanistan than died there
in the first four years of the war combined. But few want to look back at
a war we'd been told that was long since won.

As for Osama Bin Laden, the world's most wanted man, he remains at large,
his ranks of suicidal automatons swelled by the thousands as a direct
result of Bush's clumsy crusades, the cruel torture chambers of Gitmo,
Bagram and Abu Ghraib and the casual and unrepentant slaughter of
innocents. Bush's ineptly executed war on terror may at last be running
out of gas, but the fundamentalist forces that gave rise to it are only
gaining in potency and global reach. The blowback next time may be a
terrible thing to behold.

Yes, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq blew up in Bush's face, but his
cronies laughed all the way to their off-shore banks, as they raced to
deposit their blood-soaked billions. Just another season in Versailles on
the Potomac.

This essay is adapted from Grand Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and
Profiteering in the War on Terror.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green
to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book is
End Times: the Death of the Fourth Estate, co-written with Alexander
Cockburn. He can be reached at: sitka [at]

--------15 of 17--------

The Constitution Takes Another Body Blow
The Surpeme Court Targets Abortion Rights
April 28 / 29, 2007

The right of women to choose abortion suffered a serious blow last week
when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a 2003 federal ban on the late-term
abortion procedure wrongly called "partial-birth" abortion by the right

In a narrow 5-4 ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart, a majority of the justices
upheld the law as constitutional - in contrast to three previous federal
appeals court rulings against the federal ban because, among other things,
it failed to provide an exception for the health of the woman.

This is the first time since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing
abortion that the Supreme Court has approved a ban on a specific abortion
procedure - in this case, the late-term procedure known as "intact
dilation and extraction."

Intact D&E is the procedure used most frequently in cases where there are
severe fetal abnormalities, or the life or health of the woman is in
danger. Under the federal ban, doctors found guilty of performing the
procedure could face two years in prison.

The Court's ruling flies in the face of medical opinion by claiming that
intact D&Es are never medically necessary - something the American College
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which represents approximately
90 percent of OB/GYNs across the U.S., strongly disputes.

Women will now be forced to seek alternative medical procedures that may
come with a higher risk of infection, bleeding or other complications. And
according to ACOG, the ruling "will chill doctors from providing a wide
range of procedures used to perform induced abortions or to treat cases of
miscarriage and will gravely endanger the health of women in this

"Today's decision to uphold the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 is
shameful and incomprehensible to those of us who have dedicated our lives
to caring for women," said ACOG President Dr. Douglas Laube. "It leaves no
doubt that women's health in America is perceived as being of little

* * *

WHILE INTACT D&E is used in only 0.17 percent of all abortions performed,
according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the Supreme Court's decision
purposely opens the door to much wider future attacks on the right to
choose at any point in a woman's pregnancy.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy - joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and
Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia - wrote in the
majority decision that the "government has a legitimate and substantial
interest in preserving and promoting fetal life" and "an interest in
promoting respect for human life at all stages in the pregnancy."

The opinion also asserts that "a fetus is a living organism within the
womb, whether or not it is viable outside the womb." That could open the
door to what many suspect will be future restrictions on first- and
second-trimester abortions.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg replied in a scathing dissenting opinion
joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter and Stephen Breyer, the
majority decision "cannot be understood as anything other than an effort
to chip away at a right declared again and again by this court."

In addition, the new ruling undermines Roe v. Wade by abandoning 30 years
of Supreme Court precedent requiring any law restricting abortion to
include an exception for the physical and mental health of the woman. A
nearly identical law to the federal ban the justices upheld was struck
down seven years ago because it contained no health exception.

Women and men alike should also be outraged by the justices' condescension
toward women and their ability to make decisions for themselves.

The majority opinion peddles the idea that "some women come to regret
their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained"
(note the word "infant," as opposed to "fetus").

Further, "some women" will not understand the procedure in advance, and
will experience "severe depression" and "loss of self-esteem" following a
late-term abortion, Kennedy writes - and concludes, therefore, that the
best protection for them is to remove access to the procedure altogether.

As Ginsburg commented in her dissenting opinion, "This way of thinking
reflects ancient notions about women's place in the family and under the
Constitution--ideas that have long since been discredited."

* * *

NOT SURPRISINGLY, the right wing is ecstatic about the decision - seeing
it as a huge step forward in the drive to do away with abortion rights

"We're moving beyond putting roadblocks in front of abortions to actually
prohibiting them," Troy Newman, president of the anti-choice group
Operation Rescue, gloated to the Los Angeles Times. "This swings the door
wide open."

Newman added that he and other anti-choice activists will now push
legislation in the states to: ban all abortions of viable fetuses, unless
the mother's life is endangered; ban mid- and late-term abortion for fetal
abnormalities such as Down syndrome or a malformed brain; require doctors
to tell patients in explicit detail what a procedure will involve, show
them ultrasound images of the fetus, and warn them that they may become
suicidal after the procedure; and lengthen waiting periods so that women
must reflect on such "counseling" for several days before obtaining an

Ever since the Roe decision in 1973, conservatives have chipped away at
abortion rights bit by bit, to undermine the law as a whole - first by
denying federal funds for poor women to obtain abortions, then by adding
restrictions like mandatory waiting periods, parental consent laws and
other burdens on a woman's right to choose.

As the New York Times commented, "For anti-abortion activists, this case
has never been about just one controversial procedure. They have correctly
seen it as a wedge that could ultimately be used to undermine and perhaps
eliminate abortion rights eventually.

"The court has handed the Bush administration and other opponents of
women's reproductive rights the big political victory they were hoping to
get from the conservative judges Mr. Bush has added to the bench. It comes
at a real cost to the court's credibility, its integrity and the rule of

George W. Bush applauded the ruling, sanctimoniously calling the ban a
reflection of the "compassion and humanity of America." He was joined in
his approval by every Republican presidential candidate, including
supposed "social moderate" Rudolph Giuliani.

For their part, Democratic Party leaders - including presidential
candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards - strongly
condemned the ruling, rightly calling it an attack on abortion rights

Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Jerold Nadler reintroduced the "Freedom of
Choice Act" - legislation promised, but not passed, under the Clinton
administration that would bar the government from interfering with a
woman's right to choose to bear a child or to terminate a pregnancy - the
day after the ruling.

This marks a change from just two years ago, when Clinton and other
Democratic Party leaders talked about the need for their party to play
down support for abortion rights in order to curry favor with moderate and
conservative voters.

The Democrats' newfound confidence in speaking out on behalf of abortion
rights is welcome, but it should be remembered that they themselves helped
pass the federal ban on intact D&Es back in 2003 - with 17 Democratic
senators and 63 Democratic representatives voting in favor.

The Democrats have largely gone along with previous restrictions,
including parental consent and notification laws, mandatory waiting
periods and more - while conceding ideological ground to the right by
using language not dissimilar to Kennedy's in this latest ruling about
abortion causing "regret" and harm.

What is truly "a regret" is the consequences of the anti-abortionists'
offensive and the failure of the Democrats to mount a defense of women's
rights. Today, at least 87 percent of counties in the U.S. have no
abortion provider - a stark reminder that in many ways, abortion is a
"right" in name only.

Relying on the courts or politicians to protect our rights is a losing
strategy. Abortion rights were won in the first place because there was a
movement in the 1960s and '70s that organized hundreds of protests across
the country, demanding not only access to abortion, but equal pay, child
care and an end to discrimination.

We need to return to that strategy - of speaking up without apology for a
woman's right to control her own body - to turn back the
anti-abortionists' offensive.

Nicole Colson is a reporter for the Socialist Worker.

--------16 of 17--------

Screening Films in Bolivia
Where the Movie Villains are American
April 28 / 29, 2007

Cochabamba, Bolivia.

On my first trip to Germany, shortly after college, I learned the power of
media conditioning. I had grown up watching World War Two movies on
television, filled with villainous Nazis. "You vill tell us vat ve vant to
know. Ve haf our vays to make you talk " Surrounded by German speakers,
whom I had only ever heard as menacing movie stereotypes, I felt my heart
rate gallop.

An evening at Munich's Hofbrau Haus, where beer drinkers hoist liter
steins and occasionally break into song, felt like the ominous prelude to
a putsch. Wasn't this how National Socialism got its start? Had I visited
Japan then, my reaction surely would have been the same, since
two-dimensional "sneaky Orientals" were also staples of war and post-war
era American movies.

Now I live in Bolivia, where the most treacherous movie villains in local
films are Americans. Hollywood movies show here too, but in Bolivian
productions Americans are violent and diabolical.

For instance, currently playing in Bolivian theaters is Antonio Eguino's,
Los Andes No Creen En Dios, (The Andes Don't Believe in God), set in the
mountain mining town of Uyuni in the 1920s. Germans in this film are
savvy, industrious prospectors. The sole British engineer is a pompous
drunk. But the Americans are rough, unshaven, gun-toting spaghetti-western
thugs. Three gringos rob a mining payroll, blow up a train and shoot the

The robbery has historical resonance with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
Kid. After fleeing the United States, they stole a mine payroll in
southern Bolivia and died in a shootout with Bolivian authorities in 1908.
If the American desperado is one stock U.S. villain, another is the
corrupt U.S. official.

American Visa, released in 2006, tells the contemporary story of a
Bolivian schoolteacher named Mario who wants to go to the United States to
see his son in Miami. Like many other Bolivians (and Latin Americans),
Mario must endure expensive, humiliating procedures to obtain a visa.

When the U.S. consul sneeringly refuses him, Mario turns to the black
market, where an illicit American visa goes for five thousand dollars.
Mario pawns his gold jewelry, then desperately decides to rob the
pawnshop. When he finally buys the black market visa, he is appalled to
learn that the person supplying it is the U.S. Consul himself. "Don't
worry, teacher, the visa's good," the Consul tells him. But Mario, undone
by the theft he has committed to procure the visa, never goes to the
United States.

"American Visa" is cinematic revenge against U.S. bureaucrats who
stonewall Bolivian visa seekers in the belief that they intend to stay and
work illegally. Like many developing countries, Bolivia depends on
remittances sent home by nationals working abroad, legally or not. In a
real-life act of vengeance, the Bolivian government recently imposed a
visa requirement for U.S. citizens visiting their country.

American officials are more flamboyantly corrupt in Rodrigo Bellot's
movie, Quien Mato a la Llamita Blanca? (Who Killed the Little White

In Bellot's satirical road picture, the American DEA official in charge of
cocaine eradication in Bolivia is also a major drug trafficker.

He hires a pair of indigenous, small-time hustlers to drive a shipment of
cocaine to the Brazilian border where he intends to have them busted. This
cynical, hypocritical gringo is awarded the country's highest honor.
Bellott presents the U.S. war on drugs as an elaborate American ruse to
make huge profits and set up Bolivian fall guys in order to look virtuous
in the process.

Though Bolivian President Evo Morales has not joined Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez in calling George W. Bush the devil, contemporary Bolivian
movies depict Americans as various sorts of demons. Such heavy-handed
portrayals reflect a long-term cultural distrust of U.S. motives in South
America and a frustration with U.S. attempts to dictate terms of
assistance to Bolivia. Only now those sentiments are expressed in movies,
not just graffiti scrawled on adobe walls.

Someday a Bolivian visiting the United States may feel nervous to find
himself surrounded by the scheming, soulless gringos he knew about only
from Bolivian movies.

James McEnteer is the author of Shooting The Truth: The Rise of American
Political Documentaries (Praeger, 2006). He lives in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

--------17 of 17--------

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 comes. Just today, today,
 over and over.


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