Progressive Calendar 02.06.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2008 02:42:10 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   02.06.08

1. Biofuels/KFAI    2.06 11am
2. GreenParty/3CD   2.06 4pm
3. Med humanism     2.06 4pm
4. Help EXCO grow   2.06 5pm
5. God not American 2.06 6pm
6. MPN4P MerriamPk  2.06 7pm
7. Rwanda/film      2.06 7pm

8. Black HIV AIDS   2.07 8am-9pm
9. Judges/women     2.07 11am
10. Law & medicine  2.07 11:30am
11. Korea/Japan     2.07 4pm
12. Eagan vigil     2.07 4:30pm
13. Northtown vigil 2.07 5pm
14. Vinyl/eco/film  2.07 7pm

15. Joshua Frank - MoveOn's Obama endorsement: why there's no hope for change
16. John Halle  - Whither progressive Democrats? An open letter to the PDA
17. GreenParty  - Voting irregularities vs Green Party in Chicago & IL
18. David Macaray - Unions need to stop being so nice
19. ed            - Screw-pulls  (poem)

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

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Biofuels/KFAI 2.06 11am

BIOFUELS. BIOENERGY. BIOMASS: What are they really? And will something work?

TTTıs Andy Driscoll and Lynnell Mickelsen examine the implications of
rushing to any old so-called biofuel as peak oil and other fossil fuels
are exposed for both pollution potential and dropping capacities. Are
biofuels as we have them now better than the status quo, no matter what
their impact? What are the pros and cons of various renewable alternatives
and is anything safe to burn or digest in the pursuit of a silver bullet
killing fossil fuel uses?

GUESTS:  State Rep. BILL HILTY, Chair, MN House Energy Finance Committee
INVITED: SHALINI GUPTA, Isaak Walton League Midwest Chapter  MARK ANDERSON,
Linden Hills Power&Light  JOHN CURRY, St. Paul Neighbors Against the Burner

AND YOU: Call in: 612-341-0980 Wednesdays at 11:00AM.

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

From: alforgreens [at]
Subject: GreenParty/3CD 2.06 4pm

3rd Congressional District Green Party Show
A 30 minute show on introducing the Green Party espousing some their
10 Key Values and contacting the 3rd CD local to meet, and plan for future
activities including Green Party caucuses.
It will be repeated twice during each hour scheduled.

Aired on Bloomington Community Access Television Channel 16 on the
following dates:

Wednesday  2/6 Channel 16   4-5 PM
Thursday     2/7  Channel 16  12-1 AM  8-9 AM

Contact : Allan Hancock, chair 3rd Congressional District Green Party
Email:  3rdCDGreenParty [at]

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Med humanism 2.06 4pm

Wednesday, 2/6, 4 pm, former Doctors Without Borders president and Nobel
Peace Prize winner James Orbinski talks about medical humanitarianism,
Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Institute, U of M, 301 - 19th Ave S, Mpls.

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

From: Miriam Larson <mlarson [at]>
Subject: Help EXCO grow 2.06 5pm

It's not quite Spring yet but we have begun the spring season of EXCO
classes and I hope many of you are attending several of the classes this
week. If you haven't looked at the options yet, please visit (Note: The website has been down several days in the
past week and we apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused
you. We hope to make it more reliable and upgrade in other was soon).

I write to let you know that we are having an open planning meeting this
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6th at 5:00 pm in Macalester's Campus Center at 1600
Grand Avenue in Room 206. We welcome new and experienced organizers
excited about working for more accessible and community-oriented
education! This is an exciting and rapidly growing project and we can
use all the extra visionary, logistic, and enthusiastic minds we can get.

We hope to see you Wednesday or in one of the many classes this week.
Stay tuned for other EXCO events this semester.

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

From: isis <isis [at]>
Subject: God not American 2.06 6pm

The African American Read-In & Black Men Reading Present:
poet/ publisher/actor/activist
in support of her new book:
God IS not an AMERICAN

Wednesday, February 6 6-8pm
NorthPoint Health and Wellness
1313 Penn Avenue North Minneapolis
This event is free and open to the public.
For information, contact Ezra Hyland at 612.626.4780.

If the conversation is "this new generation of poets," then at some point
the name Jessica Care Moore's name will inevitably come up. One of the
most celebrated, published poets and public speakers of her generation,
Jessica Care Moore has issued a strong, defiant, and educated voice into
the literary, theatrical, publishing and music industries. Jessica is a
Poet, Book Publisher, Literary Activist, Scorpio, Playwright, Actor, Mommy
and Black Rock Music Artist. She is also the CEO of the thriving
publishing house, Moore Black Press.

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

From: Krista Menzel <krista [at]>
Subject: MPN4P MerriamPark 2.06 7pm

Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace Meeting
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
7:00-9:00 p.m.

Merriam Park Library - Meeting Room B (in basement)
1831 Marshall Avenue (at Fairview Avenue), St. Paul
Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace meets the first Wednesday of each month
at 7:00 at the Merriam Park Library. All are welcome!
Free, and open to the public.
More Info: or info [at] or Anne
at (651) 647-0580 or Krista at (651) 641-7592

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

From: Human Rights Events Update <humanrts [at]>
Subject: Rwanda/film 2.06 7pm

The Human Rights Center and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Ghosts of Rwanda
A film by Frontline and the Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBS)
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
7:00-10:00 p.m.
Room 25 Mondale Hall
229 19th Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455


When the United Nations sent peacekeepers to this small, Central African
nation - with the full support of the U.S. government - most of the
policy-makers involved believed it would be a straightforward mission that
would help restore the U.N.'s battered reputation after failures in Bosnia
and Somalia. Few could imagine that, a decade later, Rwanda would be the
crisis that still haunts their souls.

Ghosts of Rwanda, a special two-hour documentary to mark the 10th
anniversary of the Rwandan genocide - a state-sponsored massacre in which
some 800,000 Rwandans were methodically hunted down and murdered by Hutu
extremists as the U.S. and international community refused to intervene -
examines the social, political, and diplomatic failures that converged to
enable the genocide to occur.

Sponsored by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Human
Rights Center, and the Minnesota Chapter of the Genocide Intervention

For further information
Human Rights Center: 612-626-0041 or  <mailto:humanrts [at]>
humanrts [at]
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies: 612-624-0256 or
<mailto:chgs [at]> chgs [at]

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

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Black HIV AIDS 2.07 8am-9pm

Check out/share the following events happening this Thursday here in
Minnesota in recognition fo National Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day. For
more related opportunities

?Still Standing Strong? Second Annual NBHAAD Breakfast

Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health and
the University of Minnesota MERET
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Snelling Office Park Red River Room 1645 Energy Park Drive St. Paul

A breakfast and panel discussion on behalf of National Black HIV/AIDS
Awareness Day (NBHAAD) will be hosted by the Minnesota Department of
Health and the Minnesota Emergency Readiness Education & Training (MERET),
University of Minnesota. This event is free and open to the public. For
more information, contact Sandy Johnson, Minnesota Department of Health,
(651) 201-4019 or email at: sandy.johnson [at]

?Each One Teach One? National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness
Day Event

Sponsored by Pillsbury House
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Pillsbury House 3501 Chicago Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55407

Pillsbury House will host a community event in observance of National
Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). Free confidential HIV testing will
be offered throughout the day. Everyone tested will receive a free Target
Gift card, but can receive an additional card if they bring in one friend,
family member, spouse, etc. Pillsbury?s youth program will be rallying
outside on behalf of NBHAAD. For more information, contact Kevin Moore,
Pillsbury House, (612) 824-0708, or by e-mail at: moorek [at]

?Prevention is Power? National Black HIV/AIDS
Awareness Day Community Event

Sponsored by Turning Point, Inc., Minnesota Department
of Health and the Minnesota Department of Human
The Capri Theater 2027 West Broadway Minneapolis, MN 55411

This event will feature Jevetta Steele, who has authored Two Queens One
Castle, along with several local community leaders in a spirited community
awareness program on behalf of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Community leaders will include: Juan Jackson, Spike Moss, Jewelean
Jackson, Thandisizwe Jackson-Nisan, Sarah Simmons and Woodrow Jefferson.
The event is free and open to the general public. Lunch will be provided.
To help plan for lunches, please pre-register by contacting Woodrow
Jefferson, Turning Point, (612) 520-4004, or by e-mail at:
woodrow.jefferson [at]

Sheryl Lee Ralph performs ?Sometimes I Cry?

Sponsored by the Minneapolis Urban League
Thursday, February 7, 2008

Shiloh Temple ? International Ministries
1201 West Broadway Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55411

This event will feature the nationally renowned actress, Sheryl Lee Ralph,
who has starred on Broadway in Dreamgirls and has starred in the long
running television series, ?Moesha.? Ms. Ralph will perform, ?Sometimes I
Cry,? a one woman dramatization depicting the lives of women living with
HIV/AIDS. The event is free and open to the general public. For more
information, contact Ramona, Minneapolis Urban League, (612) 302-3144.

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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Judges/women 2.07 11am

February 7: Join the Minnesota Women Lawyers to talk about Minnesota's
judicial elections, how and why they are changing, and various proposals
to reform Minnesota's system for electing judges with Helen Palmer from
the League of Women Voters & Karen Cole of Minnesota Women Lawyers. 11 AM
- 1 PM at the Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, Saint Paul.
"Open house meeting" with coffee & cookies; bring a bag lunch if you like.

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

From: Consortium on Law & Values JDP Program <lawvalue [at]>
Subject: Law & medicine 2.07 11:30am

2008 Deinard Memorial Lecture on Law & Medicine
The Legacy of the Nazi Doctors' Trial for American Bioethics and
International Human Rights Law
Presented by Professor George J. Annas, JD, MPH
Boston University
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Theater, Coffman Memorial Union University of Minnesota
Commentators: Prof. Steven Miles, MD Prof. Kathryn Sikkink, PhD

This lecture will focus on how American bioethics was born at the Doctors'
Trial at Nuremberg (1946-47) at which American lawyers and physicians
worked together to prosecute Nazi physicians and scientists for war crimes
and crimes against humanity, crimes often committed under the guise of
medical experimentation necessitated by national security.  The trial
court's formulation of the "Nuremberg Code," with its absolute requirement
of informed consent, is usually presented as the trial's major medical
ethics and human rights law accomplishment.

But the real legacy of the doctors' trial is deeper, and includes the
beginnings of a convergence of human rights and bioethics at practice
levels both above (international human rights law) and below (individual
and professional ethics) the level of the sovereign state and its national
laws.  The bioethics and human rights legacy of Nuremberg includes not
only rules about human experimentation, but also rules about physicians'
role in executions, interrogations, and torture.

On the 60th anniversary of the Doctors' Trial, we are again asking, with
Elie Wiesel, "How is it possible?" and again addressing the question of
why torture is so attractive to humans.  Prof. Annas will explore whether
doctors and lawyers, working together as they did at Nuremberg, but with
the advantage of a 60-year legacy including the Geneva Conventions and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), can prevent
at least some war crimes and crimes against humanity by taking medical
ethics - and human rights laws - seriously. George J. Annas, JD, MPH, is
the Edward R. Utley Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Law,
Bioethics & Human Rights of Boston University School of Public Health, and
Professor in the Boston University School of Medicine, and School of Law.
He is the cofounder of Global Lawyers and Physicians, a transnational
professional association of lawyers and physicians working together to
promote human rights and health.

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Korea/Japan 2.07 4pm

Thursday, 2/7, 4 pm, Yale East Asian languages prof John Treat speaks on
"Korea under Japanese Colonialism" concerning the decision to either
resist or collaborate (1910--1945), 125 Nolte Center, 315 Pullsbury Dr SE,
U of M East Bank, Mpls.

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

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 2.07 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.

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

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 2.07 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]

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

From: Curt McNamara <mcnam025 [at]>
Subject: Vinyl/eco/film 2.07 7pm

Celebrate Sustainability Film Series
Doors 6:30 p.m., Film 7 p.m. Free!
MCAD College Center
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
2501 Stevens Ave. S.

Please join us for the following screening about key sustainability issues
affecting our world. Discussion with practicing eco-designers after the

Blue Vinyl (2002)  Feb. 7th Filmmakers Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold
use humor and chutzpah in their search for the environmental truth about

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

Why There's No Hope for Change
MoveOn's Obama Endorsement
February 4, 2008

MoveOn is mobilizing. The "antiwar" group's Political Action members
across the country voted overwhelmingly to endorse the Democratic
candidacy of Barack Obama last week. MoveOn claims to have 1.7 million
members in states that vote in Tuesday's primaries. "[Our] endorsement
means a fresh infusion of people-power for Obama in the critical days
before Super Tuesday," read the organization's press release. "MoveOn will
immediately connect thousands of progressive activists into the Obama"
volunteer operation.

Obama's campaign is no doubt pleased, for its mantra of "hope" and
"change" has begun to echo in the deep subconscious of many
well-intentioned progressives. Obama's best quality at this point seems to
be the fact that he's not a Clinton. When it comes to foreign policy,
however, he may as well be, which makes MoveOn's shallow approval of his
candidacy all the more hypocritical.

After Obama won his senatorial race in 2004 he quickly abandoned the
antiwar rhetoric he had touted along the campaign trail. While remaining
critical of the White House and the lies that pushed us towards war, Obama
still maintained that US military should remain in Iraq until the job was

"Given the enormous stakes in Iraq, I believe that those of us who are
involved in shaping our national security policies should do what we
believe is right, not merely what is politically expedient," Obama
proclaimed in a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations in late
November 2005. "In sum, we have to focus, methodically and without
partisanship, on those steps that will: one, stabilize Iraq, avoid all out
civil war, and give the factions within Iraq the space they need to forge
a political settlement; two, contain and ultimately extinguish the
insurgency in Iraq; and three, bring our troops safely home."

Obama continues to favor a "phased redeployment" of our troops as well as
"benchmarks" for the Iraqi government, but promises to not "fully
withdraw" - hence why the Illinois senator has supported the majority of
Bush administration's pork-engorged appropriation bills that are draining
the U.S. Treasury. Obama wants to keep cadres of troops throughout Iraq
with others all other the region to strike if necessary.

So where would President Obama send the troops he's redeployed? A good
guess might be Iran.

As Obama told the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> on September 26, 2004, "[T]he
big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures [to
stop its nuclear program], including economic sanctions, which I hope will
be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point . . . if any, are we
going to take military action?"

He added, "[L]aunching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal
position for us to be in" given the ongoing war in Iraq. "On the other
hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons
is worse." Obama went on to argue that military strikes on Pakistan should
not be ruled out if "violent Islamic extremists" were to "take over."

"[Iran] is a genuine threat" to the United States and Israel, Obama later
expressed at a forum sponsored by AIPAC on March 12, 2007 in Washington
D.C. At the event Obama reiterated that he would not rule out the use of
force in disarming Iran, a position he shares with rival Hillary Clinton.

Earlier that same month, on March 2 2007, Obama spoke at an AIPAC Policy
Forum in Chicago, where he succinctly laid out his position on how he
would deal with the Middle East, promising not to alter the U.S.'s
lopsided relationship with Israel. "[W]e must preserve our total
commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding
military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile
defense programs," he said. "This would help Israel maintain its military
edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as

How could any critic of the war machine support a candidate like Barack
Obama? MoveOn has quite a long history of supporting Democratic
candidates, despite said politician's allegiance to the Bush doctrine --
so their support of Obama doesn't come as much of a surprise. But even
CODEPINK stalwarts like Jodie Evans and Nancy Kricorian (the latter runs
the popular have endorsed Obama for president.

Perhaps betrayal is contagious.

In the end Super Tuesday, despite MoveOn's public frolicking, won't end up
being all that super when the votes are finally tallied. A pro-war
candidate from both major parties will likely solidify their side's

Joshua Frank is the co-editor of, and author of Left
Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, and along with Jeffrey
St. Clair, the editor of the forthcoming Red State Rebels, to be published
by AK Press in March 2008. He can be reached through his website,

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

An Open Letter to the PDA
Whither Progressive Democrats?
February 4, 2008

As board members, you are aware that on Jan 31, in the wake of John Edwards's
suspension of his candidacy, the Progressive Democrats of America announced its
endorsement of Barack Obama. Appended to the endorsement was the mild 
that Obama "has not always been a progressive".

This is not just an understatement, it is an absurdity.

The PDA's "hopes" notwithstanding, where Obama really stands can be seen
by comparing Obama's stated positions with the PDA's own seven point
"progressive challenge" according to which "candidates should be

On almost all counts, Obama fails.

For example, the PDA declares that the candidate should "end imperial
foreign policy . . . redirecting funding towards needs at home". Nowhere
does Obama provide the slightest hint that he would support anything of
the kind. He supports not diminishing but augmenting existing troop levels
by 90,000 solidiers. He has at no time made any mention of reducing
absurdly bloated defense budgets. His team of foreign policy advisors led
by Zbigniew Brzezinski are reliable imperialists fully committed to
military force as a first resort as was demonstrated by Obama's
endorsement of strikes in Pakistani regions likely to harbor terrorists.

As for the PDA's second challenge--"heath care for all"-- it is now well
known from Paul Krugman's columns that Obama has been consistent in his
rejection of universal healthcare. In this respect, he is to the right of
Romney who implemented universal health care as Massachusetts governor.

Krugman also observes more generally that Obama has consistently
positioned himself to the right of the major Democratic candidates on
questions of "economic justice." As for the PDA's specific demands on this
score, there is nothing in Obama's platform which indicates strong support
for organized labor or a recognition of the devastating effect of
corporate negotiated trade agreements, which Obama has supported.

Having failed on the first three points, it is hardly worth itemizing the
remaining areas where Obama fails to rise to the PDA's challenges.

For ultimately, these are not a reflection of Obama but rather of the PDA
itself. Obama, whatever his faults, has run a relatively honest campaign.
He has consistently communicated his disdain for the Democratic Party
left, issuing thinly coded appeals to "bipartisanship" signaling his
willingness to consider extreme right wing policies such as the
privatization of social security. Also telling is his support of his
Senate mentor Joseph Lieberman and his recent panegyric for Ronald Reagan.

In endorsing Obama, the PDA has shown itself to be precisely what some had
feared: the latest entry in a time honored series of bait and switch
tactics designed to herd progressives into support of the Democratic
Party, holding it out as the only possible vehicle for progressive change.
As Obama's positions and as the Obama presidency will surely demonstrate,
yet again this "hope" has shown itself to be a chimera. Most crucially,
yet again the left will be forced to confront anew the necessity for
organizing independent challenges to the Democrats and will be required
build them from scratch.

We sincerely hope you will reconsider lending your names and credibility
to an organization which has shown itself, perhaps unwittingly, but
increasingly obviously, to be nothing more, or less, than a tool in the
hands of the financial, corporate and media elites who own and operate the
political system.

Yours Truly,
John Halle

John Halle teaches music theory at the Bard College Conservancy. He can be
reached at: halle [at]

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

From: kat swift <kat [at]>
Subject: RELEASE Breaking News: IL voters denied Green Party Ballots

Forwarded by the Green Party of the United States

Illinois Green Party


Voters who hoped to participate in the Illinois' first ever statewide
Green Party primary are receiving a very rude reception at many polling
places, especially in Chicago.

In the early hours of voting, Green Party officials began receiving
reports from frustrated voters across the state who, in many cases, had
been told by pollworkers that there are no Green Party ballots available
at their polling places, or that they had to vote on suspect electronic
voting machines, even while other parties use paper ballots.

Some of the most outrageous incidents, however, occurred across the wards
of Chicago, where Green Party ballots have been apparently tampered with
so they can't be read and accepted by voting machines, voters are given
Democratic ballots despite requesting Green ballots.

What follows are a few examples of reports. Check for
more reports as they are received. More information will also be available
at the Green Party gathering tonight at Decima Musa Restaurant, 1901 S.
Loomis, Chicago (in Pilsen).


A voter reports that all of the Green Party ballots had been folded in
half, causing them to not feed through the machine properly. The
Republican and Democratic ballots were not folded. Because his first
ballot kept getting rejected by the machine, the voter was asked by
pollworkers to fill out another Green Party ballot, which also had been
previously folded. That ballot was not able to be read and was rejected as


Pollworkers didn't have any green ballots available and were asking voters
if they wanted a Democratic or Republican ballot (but not Green ballots).

25th WARD, 24th PRECINCT

A voter asked for a Green Party ballot three times, and was given a
Democratic paper ballot each time. Finally, on the fourth time, the voter
was told only touch screen available for Greens.

31st WARD

Mary Ann Esler, Green Party Committeewoman in the 31st Ward, went in to
vote in the Green Primary this morning. The election judges refused to
give her a Green Party ballot. The Democratic Precinct Captain, who was
supervising the judges told them that there were no ballots for the Green
Primary because the Green candidates were running unopposed.

The confrontation ended when Mary found the ballots hidden under some
papers on the judge's table. The judges then went into a big huddle with
the Democratic Precinct Captain while Mary marked her ballot.

35th WARD

Jeremy Karpen, live blogging from the 35th Ward polling place, gives the
following reports:

9:00am: After reporting an election judge for not orally offering Green
Party ballots (when he is offering Dem and Rep) he was visited by the
Board of Elections and then he called me [an expletive]. I asked him first
to either list all three ballots or simply ask people what ballot they
prefer, he said "I can if I want to."

9:09am: Craig (my committeeman and roommate) was just handed a "green"
democratic ballot and got all the way to the little voting booth before he
realized what had happened. Dear lord.

9:45am: The Election Judge, who now seems to have an attitude, when asked
if Green is a real party, said "unfortunately" and stated that it "isn't a
real party." The person he was talking to was an electioneer for Bradley's
campaign and not a voter but there certainly were other voters in the

47th WARD

A voter was told there were no Green Party ballots. During a call to
report the incident, the pollworkers told him that he could vote using an
electronic voting machine, but they did not have any paper ballots
available (although paper ballots were available for the Republican and
Democratic parties).


Green committeeman reports that the election judge is only offering
Republican and Democratic ballots.


An election judge reports that judges were instructed to keep a tally of
Green voters on a tally sheet that numbers up to 50. There is no such
tally for the Democrats and Republicans.


A voter writes: "At approximately 11:30 am, at the polling place at 74
Park Drive, Glenview, Green Party ballots were still in shrink wrap, in
the box, in the cabinet. Officials at the desk were indignant about my
disappointment, and challenged me to "have credentials" in order to
register my complaint.


A pollwatcher reports that and election judge asks voter "which parties'
primary ballot do you want?" The voter seemed confused by the question and
the judge clarified by stating "Republican or Democrat". The pollwatcher
immediately interjected and corrected the judge and asked her to please
state all three parties in the primary from now on.


A voter writes: "A judge repeatedly tried to give me a Democratic ballot,
which I refused. The Green ballots were still wrapped up and semi-out of
sight.  As I approached the tables, I could hear only "Republican or
Democrat?" over and over.


A voter writes: "As I was leaving, the head lady was making a call about
getting more Green ballots because they had only been sent three and at
7:30a they had already used 2 of them and she was worried about a run on
Green voters."


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

What Do They Have to Lose?
Unions Need to Stop Being So Nice
February 5, 2008

Should labor unions arbitrarily assume that any plan introduced by
management will likely have a negative effect on the workers? Should
organized labor quit playing ball with management? Should they stop
cooperating? In a word, should unions just say No to everything?

As cynical and profoundly adversarial as these questions may seem, recent
history more or less gives Yes as the answer.

Take, for example, the Democracy in the Workplace campaign of the 1980s.
Using as its template the Japanese employer-employee relationship (the one
reputed to be kicking our butts in the marketplace), American businesses
urged unions to think "outside the box," to open themselves up to a whole
new philosophy regarding the way we do business.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the statistician and ergonomics expert credited
with having "invented" the postwar Japanese business model, traveled the
United States conducting seminars and hawking his book ("Out of the
Crisis") on how to save the American economy. Japan was clearly on the
ascendancy, and we were rapidly falling behind.

Management gushed over Deming's innovative 14-point program for improving
efficiency, and unions were quick to buy in to his refreshingly pro-labor
stance, where workers on the floor were given an opportunity to
participate in the decision-making process, share in the profits, and be
treated as "equals."

Of course, what happened was hideous and predictable. Management degraded
Deming's philosophy by implementing only those parts of it that benefited
them in the short-term, and rejecting anything that cost money or
resembled "joint-ownership" of the workplace. Because they'd always feared
and resented unions, they hoped that "going Japanese" would be an
opportunity to neutralize them.

Democracy in the Workplace turned out to be more hype than substance. It
took the form of grassroots employee committees which, predictably (and
with the company's urging), ignored or sidestepped the elected union
leadership. Not that there's anything wrong with employee involvement; in
fact, having a majority of the workers genuinely involved in day-to-day
activities is a positive force.

But in many cases these ad hoc committees were free-for-alls, with
management offering rewards to the weakest, most pliant workers on the
floor as payment for supporting company initiatives. This was "democracy"
in its least attractive form. Ironically, when it came time for some
really serious decision-making to be done, even these company stooges were
brushed aside, particularly when their suggestions conflicted with
management's master plan.

The mid-1980s and early 1990s turned out to be a period of huge layoffs.
Because cutting the workforce was now a priority, Deming's subtle
managerial philosophy had been clumsily reduced to an aggressive,
unremitting drive to lower head counts. By the time the smoke cleared, and
the Democracy in the Workplace movement had petered out, employee rolls
had been slashed, unions had been weakened, and company profits had

And then, quite suddenly, the so-called "Japanese Miracle" was relegated
to yesterday's news. As other emerging Asian markets arrived on the scene
and began competing with Japan, the vaunted Japanese model lost a bit of
its luster. Today, if you suggest emulating Japanese techniques, you'll
elicit yawns. China is the world's new economic hero. Fortunately, its
bizarre mixture of bureaucratic Communism and rapacious turbo-capitalism
isn't available for export.

Another example of a bad idea was NAFTA (North American Free Trade
Agreement). This treaty has been with us now for 14 years, and it's
obvious that the wildly optimistic predictions were mistaken. NAFTA was
supposed to create jobs for American workers; instead, nearly 3 million
manufacturing jobs have been lost.

Additionally, NAFTA was supposed to help the Mexican economy to such an
extent - create so many new jobs in Mexico - that immigration into the
U.S. would be reduced to a trickle. Instead, not only has immigration to
the U.S. increased, but Mexican farmers have been devastated by U.S.
government subsidies to agribusiness, and workers at the maquiladoras
(border factories) have been laid off or had their wages drastically cut.

So who profited from NAFTA? No big surprise. It was the most powerful
business groups in the three countries privy to the arrangement: Canada,
Mexico and the U.S. President Clinton's chief economic advisor, Robert
Rubin (formerly of the financial giant Goldman Sachs), was a personal
friend of Carlos Salinas, the wealthy former president of Mexico. NAFTA
was a classic "inside job," shoved through Congress by a bipartisan
coalition of Republicans and Democrats.

But the best (worst) example of a management enterprise that hurt unions
was the swapping of priorities in contract negotiations, which began in
earnest during the 1990s and continues today. In order to hang on to their
precious health care and pension benefits, unions were persuaded to put
off (or even give back) wage increases. With benefits in jeopardy, unions
were willing to sign contracts that swapped short-term purchasing power
for long-term security.

The central flaw in this strategy was that it had no brakes. Once the
unions agreed to forego wage increases in return for maintaining their
benefits, management's next move was swift and predictable: they came
after the benefits. The unions' voluntary waiver of wage increases served
no purpose; health care and pension benefits continued to be eaten away.
In the end, unions wound up losing both wages and benefits.

The same applied to the two-tier wage format. Reluctantly, unions agreed
to sign contracts that included two-tier wage structures (a configuration
where new hires are locked into a permanently lower wage schedule than
senior workers) in return for hanging on to their medical and pension
coverage. A case of ideological integrity being sacrificed for long-term

This "selling out" of future employees was an extremely tough call for the
unions, a trade-off they agonized over. To their credit, many locals
refused to go along, even though they were under enormous pressure to do
so. For those who did agree, as soon as management had that two-tier wage
provision under their belt (and despite assurances that it wouldn't
happen), they began cutting into the very medical and pension benefits the
union had sold its soul to preserve. It was ugly.

So what's the answer? If going the extra mile, meeting management more
than halfway and expecting them to do the right thing, isn't the solution,
then what is? One suggestion might be that labor needs to move in the
opposite direction. Instead of detente and mutual cooperation, a harsher,
more "primitive" approach may be what's needed.

If accommodating management has lead to treachery and deceit, maybe
resorting to strikes, more strikes, lawsuits, and calling management's
bluff at every turn would be the more effective tactic. Something needs to
be done to back them off. Even if that means going to war. Given all the
bitter medicine unions have been forced to swallow over the last 25 years,
what have they got to lose? [Amen]

David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright and writer, was president and
chief contract negotiator of the Assn. of Western Pulp and Paper Workers,
Local 672, from 1989 to 2000. He can be reached at dmacaray [at]

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

 To run for US
 president, you must have a

 If scruples are found,
 big or small, you must have a

 If even one is
 missed, sooner or later your
 light plane will go down.


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