Progressive Calendar 04.12.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2008 20:32:13 -0700 (PDT)
               P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    04.12.08

1. Rights/Africa    4.13 12noon
2. KFAI/Indian      4.13 7pm

3. CritMass trial   4.14 9am
4. Lerner/capitol   4.14 9:30am
5. Grannies/peace   4.14 11:30am
6. Hmomg memoir     4.14 4pm
7. Peace walk       4.14 6pm RiverFalls WI
8. Sprogs           4.14 6:30pm
9. Podcasting       4.14 7pm

10. Fed budget      4.15 10:30am
11. Welfare/capitol 4.15 11am
12. Abstinence only 4.15 2pm
13. Immigrants/CTV  4.15 5pm
14. Open discussion 4.15 6:30pm
15. 9/11 group      4.15 7pm
16. Guns/film/talk  4.15 7pm
17. SOP/film        4.15 7:30pm
18. Post Armageddon 4.15 7:30pm
19. Greenhouse gas  4.15
20. Intl biomass cf 4.15

21. ACLU of MN        - Minnesota values privacy
22. Asturias-Lochlaer - Minority Report: It's a democracy, stupid
23. Mickey Z          - Hope is for suckers
24. Mike Whitney      - Want to save the economy?

--------1 of 24--------

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Rights/Africa 4.13 12noon

First Annual Human Rights Conference on the Horn of Africa

Sunday, April 13, Noon to 7:00 p.m. Roy Wilkins Auditorium, 175 West
Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul. Political dignitaries, world-renown guest
speakers and passionate humanitarians will be coming together to create
awareness to bring peace, reconciliation and stability to the Greater Horn
of Africa. The Horn of Africa includes Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda,
Kenya, Tanzania, and Eritrea. Sponsored by: Horn African Americans for
Peace (HAAP). Endorsed by: the WAMM East Africa Committee FFI: Call
763-843-8589.


--------2 of 24--------

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org>
Subject: KFAI/Indian 4.13 7pm

KFAIıs Indian Uprising for April 13, 2008 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CDT #261

Fresh Energy of St. Paul, Minnesota is an organization leading the
transition to a clean, efficient and fair energy system.  Its goals are:
Healthy Economies, Healthy People, Healthy Environment and Energy
Independence.  Fresh Energy focus areas are: Clean Electricity, Energy
Efficiency, Transportation Policy, Global Warming Solutions and Energy
Justice. www.fresh-energy.org

"Fresh Energy is the only nonprofit in Minnesota whose sole focus is a
clean, just energy future for the Upper Midwest. Often, the economically
disadvantaged are the most adversely affected by energy decisions. The
Energy Justice program at Fresh Energy works to pass policies that help
build the capacity of low-income individuals to have a strong voice in
those decisions."

Green is the new black. Itıs now possible to be hip, stylish, and
environmentally friendly. But like the latest fashions, most green
innovations and technologies are beyond the reach of low-income families ­
those who, ironically, need them the most.

Household weatherization is a grim example, with some of the worst cases
on tribal lands. Currently in Minnesota, many tribal members spend as much
as 25 percent of their household incomes on energy. Itıs a combination of
low monthly incomes and deplorable housing conditions ­ drafty windows,
un-insulated walls. Existing assistance programs do not meet the needs of
many of these Minnesotans.

To illustrate: there are 1,500 houses on Minnesotaıs Red Lake Indian
reservation, and of that number, itıs estimated that 70 percent are in
need of weatherization. Currently, the Department of Energy Weatherization
Assistance Program provides enough funding to insulate 18 homes a year. At
this rate, it would take more than 50 years to meet the current
weatherization needs of the Red Lake Nation.

Guests:
Daryl Sager (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), Energy Justice Program Associate,
Fresh Energy, Inc.
Others: TBA

Indian Uprising a one-hour radio Public & Cultural Affairs program
relevant to Native Indigenous people, broadcast each Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
CDT over KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul.  Producer and
host is volunteer Chris Spotted Eagle. To receive or stop getting
announcements, message Chris to radio [at] spottedeagle.org

For internet listening, visit www.kfai.org, click Play under ON AIR NOW or
for listening later via their archives, click PROGRAMS & SCHEDULE > Indian
Uprising > STREAM.  Programs are archived only for two weeks.


--------3 of 24--------

From: mpls-cm-cupport [at] riseup.net
Subject: CritMass trial 4.14 9am

The trial of Gus Ganley continued on Friday with witnesses for Gus'
defense being called to the stand.  Ten different eyewitnesses testified
to the series of events around Gus' arrest and the August Critical Mass as
a whole.  Unlike the contradictory police accounts, the testimony from the
eyewitnesses directly correlated with video and photographs taken at the
mass.  Witnesses testified to the aggressive police presence throughout
the mass and their brutal misconduct during the ensuing police riot.  It
also became plainly obvious that the interactions between officer Craig
Williams (#7769) and Gus which Williams claimed took place couldn't have
happened and are not shown in any of the many video recordings of Gus'
arrest.  As the city's accusations against Gus became less and less
believable with each new eyewitness, the prosecuting lawyer asked fewer
and fewer questions to the point where he didn't even bother to cross
examine the final witnesses who took the stand.

The city's case seems to be completely unraveling but Gus isn't out of hot
water yet!  The trial will resume on Monday, April 14th, at 9 AM and it
may be the final day of the trial.

Don't let the city and the police get away with scapegoating Gus and
dragging him through this politically motivated waste of time.
Supporters are welcome to attend Gus' trial to show their solidarity as he
stands up for what is right.  Your donations are also EXTREMELY helpful to
help cover the costs of Gus' and others' legal defense.  Get more
information on attending and donating online at the site below.

http://cmsupport.wordpress.com/


--------4 of 24--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Lerner/capitol 4.14 9:30am

Monday, 4/14, 9:30 am, Rabbi Michael Lerner speaks to legislators and
public officials in room 118, State Capitol Building, 75 Rev Dr ML King
Blvd, St Paul.  Dickemail [at] aol.com or 952-476-6126.

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>

Particularly if you know your legislator personally, please let her/him
know about this.  If they have the time open on their calendar that day,
I'd really recommend this opportunity to them .  I've been a member of
Tikkun for a number of years and have heard Rabbi Lerner in person several
times.  He is a positive force for change in this country.
www.tikkun.org <http://www.tikkun.org> is his organization. Note, they ask
for an RSVP.

The Network of Spiritual Progressives
Senator John Marty, Representative Carolyn Laine, Representative Frank
Hornstein, and the Minnesota chapter of the Network of Spiritual
Progressives invite you to an open discussion with
Rabbi Michael Lerner
Editor of Tikkun Magazine
Author of /The Left Hand of God/
Founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives

Monday, April 14, 2008
9:30 AM
Room 118 at the Capitol

Talk with one of the visionary leaders in the spiritual progressive
movement about a new bottom line, a spiritual covenant with America, a
strategy of generosity, the Global Marshall Plan, and issues of concern to
you.
Please RSVP by April 12 to Dick Kroeger at Dickemail [at] aol.com
<mailto:Dickemail [at] aol.com> or  952-476-6126


--------5 of 24--------

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Grannies/peace/eat 4.14 11:30am

Grandmothers for Peace Luncheon
Monday, April 14, 11:30 a.m. The Seafood Palace, 2523 Nicollet Avenue
South, Minneapolis.  A Canadian member of Grandmothers for Peace will be
in the Twin Cities on April 14th as a guest of former WAMM director, Lisa
Pierce. If you are interested in joining a group of the Twin Cities
Grandmothers Peace Brigade who will be having lunch with them at The
Seafood Palace in Minneapolis, please call to register. FFI and to
Register: Call 612-871-2229.


--------6 of 24--------

From: Jeff Hartman <hartm152 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Hmomg memoir 4.14 4pm

"Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir" - Reading and discussion with
author Kao Kalia Yang
Monday, April 14, 4:00 PM
Institute for Advanced Study, 125 Nolte Center
315 Pillsbury Dr. SE, Minneapolis

Author Kao Kalia Yang will read from her new memoir, Latehomecomer: A
Hmong Family Memoir  (Coffee House Press, April 2008), in conversation
with Mitchell P. Ogden. She is a Twin Cities-based writer whose most
recent collaboration is the film The Place We Were Born, which
documents the experiences of Hmong American refugees, and is the
co-founder of Words Wanted, an agency dedicated to helping immigrants
with writing, translating, and business services.


--------7 of 24--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 4.14 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022


--------8 of 24--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Sprogs 4.14 6:30pm

Monday, 4/14, 6:30 social hour, 7 pm, monthly meeting Network of Spiritual
Progressives, viewing Barack Obama's entire speech on race, followed by
discussion led by Rev Jim Gertmenian, Rev David Belton and others,
Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet, Mpls.


--------9 of 24--------

From: Jonathan Barrentine <jonathan [at] e-democracy.org>
Subject: Podcasting 4.14 7pm

Podcasting and Audacity

Our next workshop will be a repeat of our popular podcasting workshop.
Podcasts are essentially radio-style shows distributed over the internet
to anyone who wants to listen.  This workshop will introduce you to the
basics of podcasting, and will show you how to record your own podcast and
publish it online.  You will also gain hands-on experience with the
popular sound-editing software Audacity, which is used by many veteran
podcasters.  If you've ever been curious about podcasting, if you're
familiar with the basics and want to learn a little more, or if you have
no idea what a podcast is, then come to Rondo Library this Monday to have
your questions answered.

Podcasting and Audacity
FREE WORKSHOP
Monday, April 14th
7:00 - 8:30 PM
Rondo Community Outreach Library
461 North Dale
University & Dale, St. Paul

As always, the workshop is free, all are welcome to attend, and no
registration is needed.

Full workshop schedule available online:
http://pages.e-democracy.org/SPED-Outreach
Contact sped-outreach [at] e-democracy.org with questions.


--------10 of 24--------

From: Bonnie Watkins <bonnie [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Fed budget 4.15 10:30am

Fixing the federal budget 4.15 10:30AM - noon
Do you feel like the federal budget is too hard to understand, and the
decisions are made far away? Get a fast, friendly understanding at this
event, and get connected with people and groups interested in making
change at the state and national level.

Our Nation's Checkbook: Who We Are and What We Care About

This presentation examines U.S. federal budget priorities in the belief
that the federal budget is a moral document, revealing national values and
calling citizens to be informed and to act. Focus is on the $502 billion
FY08 military budget, seeking to understand why the Pentagon consumes well
over a billion dollars per day, and what this means for our own lives.
This informative presentation is lively and engaging, building toward
constructive dialogue about how we can work together for change. the
presenter is Bobbie Wrenn Banks of Women's Action for New Directions
(WAND) which empowers women to act politically to reduce violence and
milutarism and redirect excessive military resources toward unmet human
and environmental needs. (www.wand.org)

The Minnesota Women's Consortium will host the 10:30 - noon training
session on Tuesday, April 15, at the Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice
Street, St. Paul 55103 (men and kids are also always welcome). The event
is free and open to everyone. RSVPs are much appreciated. More info:
Bonnie [at] mnwomen.org or 651/228-0338.


--------11 of 24--------

From: Welfare Rights Committee - Alt Email <welfarerights [at] qwest.net>
Subject: Welfare/capitol 4.15 11am

Speak out against stealing from the poor! This legislative session, both
Democrats and Governor Pawlenty teamed up to steal tens of millions of
dollars from the poor (see below). There are two ways you can speak out
against this heinous theft.

1. PROTEST - Tuesday, April 15, 11:00 a.m. Minnesota State Capitol. We will
start on the front steps then move inside to bring our message to the
governor and the House and Senate leadership.

2. CALL and express your disgust with using TANF money to balance the
budget. Call you own representative, as well as Rep. Kelliher
(651-296-0171), Sen. Pogemiller (651-296-7809) and Gov. Pawlenty
(651-296-3391). Tell them: "Stop balancing the budge on the backs of the
poor! Make the RICH pay for the budget deficits."

WE CANNOT BE SILENT ON THIS ISSUE! We will keep fighting to return poor
people's money.

Background: The Democrat leadership and their budget proposals steal well
over $50 MILLION from the TANF fund. The TANF fund is a block grant from
the federal government that is supposed to be used for welfare for poor
families. It is a crime to take poor children's money and dump it into the
state's general fund.

We are sick of the politicians balancing the budget on our backs!
Legislators should be taking the money from those who are well off, not
from the poorest of the poor. The Finance bill is in conference committee
now - but the House version proposes a $57 million TANF theft and the
Senate version proposes a $51 million TANF theft. Despite the bill being
heard in the full House and the twice in the full Senate, NO ONE SPOKE OUT
AGAINST taking the TANF money. It is like they are deliberately trying to
keep the theft secret. It is up to us to break this conspiracy of silence.

This is the theft that will "keep on thieving." By taking every dime of
the TANF surplus, it means the state will not have the funds when the
economy goes south and caseloads go up.

ALSO, our families are still suffering in extreme poverty because the of
the cuts made in 2003. Rather than spend the less than $3 million a year
in TANF needed to make up for some of these cuts, the legislators took
away $50+ million! Now the money to do undo any cuts in the future is
gone.

Welfare Rights Committee PO Box 7266, Mpls MN 55407 (3104 16th Ave S) pho:
612-822-8020 main email: welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com alt email:
welfarerights [at] qwest.net


--------12 of 24---------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Abstinence only 4.15 2pm

April 15: Women's Center St. Cloud State University, Women's Action &
Students for Sexual Consent. "Sex Across the Curriculum - Mrs. Glasscocks
Last Day of Teaching!" One-woman show in which a disgruntled high school
sex ed teacher throws the abstinence-only curriculum out the window &
tells the kids what she always wanted them to know. 2-3 PM. Atwood Little
Theatre.


--------13 of 24--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Immigrants/CTV 4.15 5pm

St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesdays at 5pm, after
DemocracyNow!, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am.  All households
with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 4/15, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 4/16, 10am "Thinking Outside the
Borders"  Interview of Patrick Leet, an American activist who shares
insights from his recent years living in Cuba and Mexico.  Hosted by Karen
Redleaf. (repeat)


--------14 of 24--------

From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Open discussion 4.15 6:30pm

Hi, next Tuesday, April 15, we will be having open discussion.  Perhaps
we can talk about where our taxes go. [Fridley?]

Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon )
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.


--------15 of 24--------

From: Leslie Reindl <alteravista [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: 9/11 group 4.15 7pm

Next Tuesday, April 15, is the third Tuesday of April, and we'll be
meeting at Lori's coffee shop/Mims Cafe at 7 pm. MN9/11 truth.


--------16 of 24--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Guns/film/talk 4.15 7pm

April 15: Citizens for a Safer Minnesota Film & Discussion: There Ought
to Be a Law. When Cathy Crowley's 18-year-old son bought a shotgun &
killed himself, Cathy went to the store to learn how her son could buy a
weapon so easily. They said that selling her son a gun was legal. If she
didn't like it, she should try to change the law. So, Cathy said she
would do just that. 7 PM at Merriam Park Library, St. Paul.


--------17 of 24--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: SOP/film 4.15 7:30pm

Errol Morris' "Standard Operating Procedure" investigation & real-life
horror film
reviewed by Lydia Howell

It's said that one picture is worth a thousand words. The image of a
black-hooded man, standing on a box with electric wires attached to him,
his arms outstretched (echoing a crucification), is burned into the
collective psyche and immediately communicates its origin: Abu Graibe, the
U.S.-run Iraqi prison for so-called "terrorists" and "insurgents", known
for the fall 2003 torture scandal.

The film "Standard Operating Procedure" probes these painful events, part
detective story, part philosophical questions about the nature of evil,
responsibility, and how to find the truth. Film-maker Errol Morris spent
over two years investigating: he amassed a million-and-a-half words of
interviews with soldiers who took the Abu Graibe photographs and others
involved, got thousands of pages of un-redacted government reports and
hundreds of photographs.

Morris' last film "Fog of War" explored similar questions in the context
of the Vietnam War but, focused it's questions of responsibility and truth
on powerful people at the top - specifically one of the architects of that
war, Secretary of the Defense, Robert McNamara. "Standard Operating
Procedure" focuses on the grunts on the ground who make none of the
policies they're ordered to carry out - and some were prosecuted and did
jail time for.

The most well known of these low-level soldiers is Pvt. Lyndie England, a
20 year-old, who was most notorious for being pictured holding a dog leash
attached to a naked Iraqi man and giving a "thumbs up" in front of a naked
"pyramid" of prisoners. Tabloid media turned England into one part
ignorant "white trash", one part evil slut, given her pregnancy by Col
Charles Grainer, who was convicted as the highest officer on duty,
sentenced to 10 years in prison and married a Abu Graibe Megan Ambuhl.
England was sentenced to three years in prison and paroled after 18
months. She comes across as more intelligent than one expects yet blames
being in love with Grainer for her participation in the Abu Graibe abuses.
While Ambuhl was convicted of not reporting abuses and did no jail-time,
MP Sabrina Harman was sentenced to 6 moths in jail for taking the
photographs that she asserts were intended as "evidence" of the abuses she
felt no one would believe happened without documentation. The soldiers are
pretty much like any of us, just trying to get by doing an awful job.

The highest officer held accountable was Brigadier General Janis
Karpinski, relieved of command and reduced in rank to colonel. It's hard
not to conclude that , as a female officer in a combat zone, she wasn't
used as a scapegoat for higher-ups in both military and civilian command .
Morris also includes a contraster along with other observers at Abu
Graibe. None of those who created the "enhanced interrogation policy" -
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, DOJ lawyer John Yoo who "legalized"
torture or General Ricardo Sanchez who "took over" Abu Graibe have faced
any repercussions at all.

Morris shows the kind of investigative tenacity that he used to exonerate
an innocent man on Death Row in his film "The Thin Blue Line". He pursues
whether what happened on the night shift was "a few bad apples", soldiers
under extreme stress and/or official policy. He asks :how can we know WHAT
actually happened? and what does what we discover mean? Have we exposed
crimes or engaged in a cover-up? What can photography reveal and what does
it conceal?

"Standard Operating Procedure" doesn't approach any of this in a clinical
way. Morris uses the Abu Graibe photographs to devastating effect and
re-creates the prison as a chilling nightmare of blood-soaked floors,
screams echoing off the walls of dirty, dark cells and a visceral sense of
terrorized isolation.

The film's title refers to a label stamped on some of the Abu Graibe
photographs. I won't reveal which ones, so as to take none of the impact
away from that revelation. Suffice it to say , it is shocking to see which
images got that designation. Errol Morris is once again acting as a
national conscience who's film should ignite the rest of us to reject
these hideous policies being done in our name.

Errol Morris will be present for Q & A after a screening of "Standard
Operating Procedure", Tues. April 15, 7:30pm, at Walker Art Center, 1750
Hennepin in Minneapolis. Tickets are$12 ($10 Walker Art members). For more
information: 612-375-7600 http://www.walkerart.org "Standard Operating
Procedure" will have a theatrical run at the Landmark Cinemas in May.

Lydia Howell is a Minneapolis independent journalist and winner of the
2007 Premack Award for Public Interest Journalism. She is also
producer/hsot of CATALYST:politics & culture, Fridays, 11am on KFAI Radio,
archived at http://www.kfai.org


--------18 of 24--------

From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Post Armageddon 4.15 7:30pm

Tuesday, April 15, 7:30pm - Magers And Quinn Booksellers
James Howard Kunstler discusses his new book World Made by Hand

In his first book since The Long Emergency, James Howard Kunstler follows
the residents of a small New York town through an eventful summer, as they
struggle with life after a series of global catastrophes.

"What's after Armageddon?  No government, no laws, no infrastructure, no
oil, no industry....and sometimes a sense of relief.  In James Howard
Kunstler's richly imagined World Made by Hand, the bone-weary denizens of
Union Grove (with its echo of Our Town's Grover's Corners) cope with
everything from mercenary thugs to religious extremists, yet manage to
plant a few seeds of human decency that bear fruit." - Cathleen Medwick,
O--Oprah's Magazine

"Kunstler is most engaged when discussing the fate of the status quo and
in divulging the particulars of daily life. Kunstler's world is
convincing"  - Publishers Weekly


--------19 of 24--------

From: Institute on the Environment <danie419 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Greenhouse gas 4.15

April 15: What States Can Do to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Seminar)
http://www.environment.umn.edu/events/view_event.php?type=event&id=248


--------20 of 24--------

From:   Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment
Subject: Intl biomass conf 4.15

APRIL 15-17, 2008
International Biomass '08 Conference & Trade Show
Minneapolis, MN
For more information and registration, please visit www.biomassconference.com


--------21 of 24--------

From the Desk of Charles Samuelson
Executive Director, ACLU of Minnesota
Minnesota Values Privacy

Minnesota is leading the charge against Real ID -- the federal effort to
create a national identity card. Real ID would take us one step closer to
a surveillance society, erode our right to privacy and put our personal
information at risk.

As early as Monday, the Minnesota legislature will be voting on H.F. 1351,
which will reject Real ID unless the federal government builds in privacy
protections and pays the program's exorbitant costs at least $9.9 billion
nationwide. Right now, states are responsible for the vast majority of the
costs. Minnesota's share is expected to be at least $83 million.

Even though this bill is moving in the Minnesota legislature, and even
though 18 other states have passed legislation either opposing REAL ID or
opting out of the program altogether, Governor Tim Pawlenty has said he
wants to veto the measure and cave in to bullying by the Bush
Administration.

Please, call Governor Tim Pawlenty toll free in Minnesota at (800)
657-3717 and tell him something like this:"I support H.F. 1351 and urge
you to sign it into law when it passes the legislature. I oppose Real ID
and I'm counting on you to keep our state out of a program that will
compromise our privacy without making us any safer. Please protect
Minnesota citizens from government snoops and identity theft."

Then, email your state legislators and ask them to pass this important
bill right away at:
http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=2TxaRWF-OjVNA3a0dKv-6A..

This legislation would send a clear signal to Washington, DC, that
Minnesotans will not tolerate this intrusive, expensive, and unnecessary
federal mandate, which will do nothing to improve security.

To make sure Minnesota fights REAL ID, both Governor Pawlenty and your
legislator need to know how many people oppose REAL ID, and support the
legislature's move to opt out of the program.

Please, make a toll-free call to Governor Tom Pawlenty at (800) 657-3717
and urge him to support H.F. 1351 and sign it into law.

Then, email your state legislators and ask them to pass this important
bill right away at:
http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=gfVwW7DG85DOh5Cl1qXgQQ..
Charles Samuelson Executive Director ACLU of Minnesota

P.S. If you can't call Governor Tim Pawlenty, or would like to follow
up your phone call with an email urging him to support H.F. 1351 and
sign it into law, his email address is tim.pawlenty [at] state.mn.us.

To learn more about REAL ID, visit www.realnightmare.org


--------22 of 24--------

Minority Report: It's a democracy,  stupid
By Marjorie Asturias-Lochlaer
Minority Report
April 9, 2008

I stopped following the presidential campaigns several weeks ago. Sure, I
faithfully listen to NPR and occasionally tune in to the "Today" show
(although the so-called morning show banter grates after about five
minutes, after which I'm forced to turn off the TV for fear that my ears
would start bleeding)  and even glance over the headlines in The New York
Times.

Most of the time, though, it seems that the vast majority of
campaign-related news have dwindled to He Said/She Said accusations, with
one side claiming moral and numerical victory over the other. Quite
frankly, all this pointless vitriol is starting to bore me, and I suspect
it does the media as well.  Without a Gennifer Flowers-like scandal,
reporters are resorting to writing articles about how the children of
superdelegates are waging their own campaigns to get their parents to vote
for their favored candidate.

Yawn.

One campaign that HAS attracted my attention, however, is that of Ralph
Nader.  Readers may remember my open letter to Mr. Nader several weeks ago
asking him why he should choose to run now, so late in the campaign
season. As in previous election cycles, Nader has chosen once again to
formally announce a presidential bid well after many voters have already
staked their futures on a particular candidate.

There's still plenty of money available for the asking, but with less than
10 months to go before election day, it was awfully shortsighted of Nader
to throw his hat into the ring now that many voters have less money in
their pockets, especially with a recession in full swing.

On the other hand, you gotta hand it to the man: He's tenacious. He's
enjoying the "honeymoon" period of his campaign, with media outlets from
NPR's "Talk of the Nation" to the CBS "Morning Show"  to NBC's "Meet the
Press" giving him an opportunity to state his case to the American people.
He should enjoy it as much as he can, for if history is any guide, he'll
be seeing fewer and fewer media opps available to him as we lurch closer
to the November election and the national focus turns to the final two
candidates duking it out for the chance to sit in the Oval Office for the
next four years.

It's a shame, really. I may have had doubts about Nader's umpteenth bid
for the White House, but I admire the man for trying yet again in the face
of overwhelming odds and the inevitable backlash he's already getting from
misguided voters. Indeed, the latter should be the ones feeling shame for
denying him the right to run for office.

Both in this election and that of 2004 and 2000, I heard more than I
needed to hear from people who felt that Nader's votes had "given" the
White House to Bush, that he was the "spoiler" who should be held
responsible for the Iraq War.

Well, I was one of those who voted for and supported Nader in 2004. I have
yet to hear a truly cogent argument explaining to me in rational terms why
someone who followed the rules should be considered a "spoiler." Unlike
many of you, I earned my citizenship. I wasn't born into it by accident. I
chose to become an American citizen and took the citizenship exam as well
as the oath of loyalty to the United States and the Constitution. If that
doesn't allow me the privilege of voting for whomever I wish in the
presidential election, I don't know what would.

I have yet to understand the connection between my vote and the election
of George W. Bush. I voted for Nader because I felt that he alone
understood the needs of the American people, from the poor to the middle
class. He alone addressed the issues in concrete terms rather than
spouting platitudes aimed at attracting votes and corporate funding. He
alone listens to the youth of today not as someone merely courting votes,
but as someone who genuinely cares about our voice and what we have to
say.

Since when did voting your conscience mean "throwing away your vote?" I
thought throwing away your vote meant not voting at all. If a voter feels
that neither of the candidates on offer by the two major political parties
addresses her needs, then why shouldn't she be free to vote for a third
candidate?  Why should she be forced to choose one of the bigger names
simply because that name is the lesser of two evils? When did voting
become such a political calculation rather than a way to express one's
support for particular issues? Is that what our so-called democracy has
become?

I haven't yet made my final decision as to whom I will vote for in
November.  I'm waiting to see what happens in Denver this summer. I'm not
counting out Nader, though. He may be facing even more of an uphill battle
now than ever before, but the man has a lot of great things to say. If he
can hang in there through the election, he may still catch the eye of many
looking for genuine change. There may be hope for him yet.

Marjorie Asturias-Lochlaer is a freelance writer living in Grand Junction.
Reach her at _marjorie.asturias [at] gmail.com_
(mailto:marjorie.asturias [at] gmail.com)  .


--------23 of 24--------

Hope is for Suckers
by Mickey Z. / April 11th, 2008

Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man.
- Friedrich Nietzsche        [AMEN]

We can't give up hope, I'm often told. Keep hope alive, the saying goes.
If we lose hope, nothing will ever change. or so they believe. Well, I'm
here to say: Fuck hope. We live on a planet brimming with hope yet that
same planet is under perpetual assault. and the hopers are losing. The
corporations raping our eco-systems don't hope they can steal more land,
exploit it, poison it, and make boatloads of cash. They make a plan and
make it happen - damn the torpedoes. (You might even call it "direct
action".)

Monsanto doesn't put its faith in candlelight vigils or humans standing in
the shape of a peace sign. They get busy putting their people into
positions of power, writing legislation, and bullying and smashing anyone
opposed to their insane agenda.

General Motors doesn't reserve its opinions for government sanctioned
"free speech zones". The television, Internet, magazines, movies, songs,
radio, etc. are all inundated with GM's taxpayer-subsidized propaganda -
just as the planet is inundated with GM's output.

McDonald's doesn't waste time hoping things will go its way when its days
are chock filled with brainwashing, killing, poisoning, destroying. and
counting its profits. Hope never enters into the equation.

"Hope is a bad thing," sez Henry Miller. "It means that you are not what
you want to be. It means that part of you is dead, if not all of you. It
means that you entertain illusions. It's a sort of spiritual clap, I
should say".

Author Derrick Jensen explains the impotency of hope as good as anyone:
"I'm not, for example, going to say I hope I eat something tomorrow. I
just will. I don't hope I take another breath right now, nor that I finish
writing this sentence. I just do them. On the other hand, I do hope that
the next time I get on a plane, it doesn't crash. To hope for some result
means you have given up any agency concerning it. Many people say they
hope the dominant culture stops destroying the world. By saying that,
they've assumed that the destruction will continue, at least in the short
term, and they've stepped away from their own ability to participate in
stopping it".

If Jensen makes it sound an awful lot like religion, well, for most folks,
the verb "hope" is virtually synonymous with "pray," while "hope" the noun
is often interchangeable with "faith".

Hope is for suckers.    [amen amen amen]

How about some good old-fashioned anger, rage, and passion? (Che sez: "If
you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of
mine".) Let's forget hope and aim for vision, clarity, strategy, courage,
and finally: some goddamned results. "Creativity comes from trust," sez
Rita Mae Brown. "Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work"
(as they say in South Florida: bingo).

At its worst, hope is a dangerous cop-out. At best, it's a frivolous idea.
But even so, as Henry Miller sez: "Ideas have to be wedded to action".

Wedded, huh? Repeat after me: "I do".

Mickey Z. is the author of the forthcoming novel, CPR for Dummies (Raw Dog
Screaming Press). He can be found on the Web at MickeyZ.net. Read other
articles by Mickey, or visit Mickey's website.

This article was posted on Friday, April 11th, 2008 at 4:58 am and is
filed under Activism, Culture. Send to a friend.


--------24 of 24--------

Spread the Wealth and Give Workers a Raise
Want to Save the Economy?
By MIKE WHITNEY
CounterPunch
Apri1 12 / 13, 2008

Insolvency's dark shadow hangs over Wall Street. One major player, Bear
Stearns, has already gone under, and from the looks of it, another
investment giant may be on the way down. It's getting ugly out there. The
so-called TED spread*, which measures the reluctance of banks to lend to
each other, has begun to widen ominously suggesting that the money markets
think another dead body will be floating to the surface any day now.

The ongoing deleveraging of financial institutions and the persistent
downgrading of assets has the Fed in a tizzy. Bernanke has backed himself
into a corner by stretching the Fed's mandate to include everyone on Wall
Street with a mailing address and a begging bowl. Now he's taken on the
even larger task of fixing the plumbing that keeps credit flowing between
the various investment banks. Good luck. There's plenty of more pain
ahead. The IMF expects the final tally will be $945 billion, that means $3
trillion in lost loans for the banks. Bernanke better pace himself; this
mess could last for years.

Weekend Edition
Apri1 12 / 13, 2008

Spread the Wealth and Give Workers a Raise
Want to Save the Economy?
By MIKE WHITNEY

Insolvency's dark shadow hangs over Wall Street. One major player, Bear
Stearns, has already gone under, and from the looks of it, another
investment giant may be on the way down. It's getting ugly out there. The
so-called TED spread*, which measures the reluctance of banks to lend to
each other, has begun to widen ominously suggesting that the money markets
think another dead body will be floating to the surface any day now.

The ongoing deleveraging of financial institutions and the persistent
downgrading of assets has the Fed in a tizzy. Bernanke has backed himself
into a corner by stretching the Fed's mandate to include everyone on Wall
Street with a mailing address and a begging bowl. Now he's taken on the
even larger task of fixing the plumbing that keeps credit flowing between
the various investment banks. Good luck. There's plenty of more pain
ahead. The IMF expects the final tally will be $945 billion, that means $3
trillion in lost loans for the banks. Bernanke better pace himself; this
mess could last for years.

The US subprime fiasco has spiraled into what the IMF is calling "the
largest financial shock since the Great Depression." America's capital
markets are on the fritz. The corporate bond market is frozen, the banks
are buckling from their losses, and the housing market is in a shambles.
No one is buying and no one is lending. Private equity deals are off 75
per cent from last year and no one will touch a mortgage-backed security
(MBS) with a ten foot pole. The mighty wheel of modern finance is grinding
to a standstill and no one's quite sure how to rev it up again.

The US consumers are feeling the pinch, too. Credit cards are maxed out,
student loans overdue, car payments in arrears, and mortgages entering
foreclosure. Also, wages haven't kept pace with production and and the
home-equity ATM has been shut down. Now that the credit tap has been
turned off; the American worker is hurting, but no one is offering a
bailout or a even helping hand; just a few table-scraps from Bush's
"surplus package". 500 bucks will just about fill the tank of a
normal-sized SUV. A new survey from the Pew research Center "Inside the
Middle Class-Bad Times Hit the Good Life", shows that working families are
in debt up to their ears and that fewer Americans "believe they are moving
forward" than anytime in the last half century. The study also shows that
most people believe "it's harder to maintain a middle class life style"
and that "since 1999, they have not made economic gains." Average families
are struggling just to make ends meet.

That's why so many people bought homes when they should have opened
savings accounts. They were duped into speculating on housing so they
could get a chunk of money. It looked like a good way to overcome stagnant
wages and crappy hours. The cheer-leading TV pundits offered assurances
that "housing prices never go down". It was all baloney. Now 15 million
homeowners are upside-down on their mortgages and the very same experts
are scolding workers for fudging the facts on their income disclosure
forms. It's all backwards.

No wonder consumer confidence has dropped to record lows. Working people
don't need lectures on saving money; they need a raise. The big-wigs at
Bear Stearns are still dining on crab-cakes at the Four Seasons while the
working folk are just trying to make their way through Greenspan's nuclear
winter living on beef jerky and Big Gulps. Where's the justice?

Volumes have been written about the current crisis; subprime-this,
subprime that. Everything that can be said about collateralized debt
obligations (CDOs) credit default swaps(CDS) and mortgage-backed
securities (MBS) has already been said. Yes, they are exotic "financial
innovations" and, no, they are not regulated. But what difference does
that make? There's always been snake oil and there have always been snake
oil salesmen. Greenspan simply raised the bar a notch, but he's not the
first huckster and he won't be the last. What really matters is underlying
ideology; that's the root from which this economy-busting hydra sprung. 30
years of trickle down, supply-side gibberish; 30 years of idol worship for
the waxy-haired reactionary, Ronald Reagun; 30 years of unrelenting
anti-labor, free market, deregulated orthodoxy which inflated the biggest
equity-Zeppelin in history.

Now the bubble is hissing out of the blimp and the escaping gas is
wreaking havoc across the planet. There are food riots in Haiti, Egypt,
and Kuwait. Wherever the local currency is pegged to the falling dollar,
inflation is soaring and trouble is brewing. Also, European banks are
listing from the mortgage-backed garbage they bought from brokerages in
the US and need central bank bailouts to stay afloat. It's just more
fallout from the subprime swindle. Finance ministers in every capital in
every country are getting ready for a 1930's-type typhoon that could send
equities crashing and food and energy prices rocketing into the
stratosphere. And it can all be traced back to the wacko doctrines of
neoliberalism. These are the theories that guide America's
"screw-thy-neighbor" monetary policies and spread financial turmoil to
every city and hamlet around the world.

The present stewards of the system are incapable of fixing the problem
because they represent the interests of the people who benefit most from
the disruptions. Paulson's latest "blueprint" for the financial markets is
a good example; a more pro-business, self-serving scheme has never been
put to paper. Gary North sums it up in his article "Really Stupid Loans":

"With the Federal Reserve System's latest proposal, presented to the
public by Secretary of the Treasury Henry "Goldman Sachs" Paulson, the Fed
is asking the United States government to make it the Great Protector of
Capital....The new proposals will centralize power over finance in the
hands of an agency that is officially run by the government but in fact is
run by agents of the largest fractional reserve banks. ...Regulation by
tenured staff economists will not make the system less fragile. It will
make it more top-heavy and less flexible..

"Some version of this plan will probably pass in the next Congress. No
matter whether it does or does not, the direction is the same: toward an
economy controlled by the federal government in conjunction with titular
private ownership of the means of production, that is, toward fascism."

(Gary North, "Really Stupid loans" lewrockwell.com)

The whole point is to put the markets in the Fed's control so that when
the next financial crisis arises (from the next swindle) the Fed can
bailout the bankers and hedge fund managers without consulting Congress.

Paulson's plan is a power-play; nothing more. The investment Mafia wants
to take over the whole financial system lock, stock and barrel. They want
to liquidate the SEC and any other government watchdog and put the
investment banks, hedge funds and brokerages on the honor system. It's the
end of transparency and accountability which, of course, are already in
short supply.

Currently, Paulson and Bernanke are expanding the balance sheets of the
Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) so that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
will underwrite 85 per cent of all mortgages while FHA will cover 10 per
cent more. The mortgage industry is being nationalized to save banking
fellowship while the taxpayer is on the hook for another $4.4 trillion of
dodgy loans. Paulson doesn't care if the taxpayer gets stuck with the
bill. What bothers him is the prospect that, somewhere along the line,
workers will demand higher wages to keep pace with inflation. Then all
hell will break loose. Paulson and Co. would rather see the economy perish
in a deflationary holocaust than add another farthing to a working
person's salary. He and his ilk take class warfare seriously; that's why
they are winning. But their strategy also creates problems. When wages
don't keep pace with production, demand decreases and the economy falters.
That's what's happening now and Paulson knows it. Workers are
over-extended and can't buy the things they make. They barely have enough
to feed the kids and fill the tank for work. Consumer spending (which is
72 per cent of GDP) is nose-diving at the very same time the Fed's equity
bubble is exploding.

Neoliberalism has a twenty-year record of producing the very same economic
calamities. Why is this crisis different? Why should the US be spared the
same predatory treatment as the many other victims of the global corporate
oligarchy? After the Fed's equity bubble bursts, the corporate vultures
will swoop down and buy up vital resources and industries for pennies on
the dollar.

Economist Michael Hudson anticipated many of the present-day developments
in the financial markets in an amazingly prescient interview in
CounterPunch in 2003 called "The Coming Financial Reality":

Michael Hudson: "Free enterprise under today's financial conditions
threatens to bring about an unprecedented centralization of planning, not
in the hands of government but by the financial conglomerates and money
managers. Whatever government planning power is destroyed becomes
available for them to appropriate, with plenty of vigorish left for the
politicians whose campaigns they back and who will "descend from heaven"
into high-paying private-sector jobs, Japanese style, after having
performed their service for the new regime.

Question: The financial regime is nothing but parasites?

Michael Hudson: "The problem with parasites is not merely that they siphon
off the food and nourishment of their host, crippling its reproductive
power, but that they take over the host's brain as well. The parasite
tricks the host into thinking that it is feeding itself.

"Something like this is happening today as the financial sector is
devouring the industrial sector. Finance capital pretends that its growth
is that of industrial capital formation. That is why the financial bubble
is called 'wealth creation,' as if it were what progressive economic
reformers envisioned a century ago. They condemned rent and monopoly
profit, but never dreamed that the financiers would end up devouring
landlord and industrialist alike. Emperors of Finance have trumped Barons
of Property and Captains of Industry." (Michael Hudson, "The Coming
Financial Reality", counterpunch, interviewed by Standard Schaefer.)

Bingo. Hudson not only explains how finance capitalism is inserting itself
into the governmental power structure but, also predicts that "industrial
capital formation" - which is the production of things that people can
really use to improve their lives - will be replaced with complex
debt-instruments and derivatives that add no tangible value to people's
lives and merely serve to expand the wealth of an entrenched and
increasingly powerful investor class.

Finance capitalism has "devoured landlord and industrialist alike" and
created a galaxy of seductive liabilities which masquerade as assets.
Derivatives contracts, for example, represent over $500 trillion of
unregulated counterparty transactions; a "shadow banking system"
completely disconnected from the underlying "real" economy, but large
enough to send the world into a agonizing depression for years to come.

The goal should be to dismantle this corrupt Ponzi-system, which merely
wraps debt in a ribbon, and rebuild the economy on a solid foundation of
productive labor, worker solidarity and and above all the redistribution
of income and hence purchasing power away from the system which now flow
to the top two or three per cent.

Political power has to be taken from the financial mandarins or the
disparity of wealth will continue to grow and democracy will wither. We've
already seen our main institutions - the courts, the congress, the media,
and the presidency - polluted by the steady flow of corporate
contributions which only serve the narrow interests of elites.

Henry Liu expands on this idea in his excellent article "A Panic-stricken
Federal Reserve":

"In the 1920s, the wide disparity of wealth between the rich and the
average wage earner increased the vulnerability of the economy. For an
economy to function with stability on a macro scale, total demand needs to
equal total supply. Disparity of income eventually will result in demand
deficiency, causing over-supply. The extension of credit to consumers can
extend the supply/demand imbalance but if credit is extended beyond the
ability of income to sustain, a debt bubble will result that will
inevitably burst with economic pain that can only be relieved by
inflation.....More investment normally increases productivity. However, if
the rewards of the increased productivity are not distributed fairly to
workers, production will soon outpace demand. The search for high returns
in a low demand market will lead to consumer debt bubbles with wide-spread
speculation .... Today, outstanding consumer credit besides home mortgages
adds up to about $14 trillion, about the same as the annual GDP. "

Voila. A strong economy requires a strong workforce and an equitable
distribution of wealth. When money is concentrated in too few hands, the
political system atrophies and becomes unresponsive to the needs of its
people. That's when the nation's laws and institutions are reshaped to
reflect the ambitions of rich and powerful.

The financial system is doing exactly what it was designed to do, it is
crumbling from the decades-long trickle-down experiment. Social programs
have been gutted, civil infrastructure is in tatters, legal protections
have been savaged, and workers rights have been trounced. Is it any wonder
why we're embroiled in an unwinnable war and the financial system is on
its last legs?

The only way to break the stranglehold of Wall Street's financial
Politburo is to level the playing field through greater wealth
distribution. That's the best way to rekindle democracy and make America
the land of opportunity again. And it all starts with giving America's
workers a raise.

*Initially, the TED spread was the difference between the interest rate
for the three month U.S. Treasuries contract and three month Eurodollars
contract as represented by the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR).
However, since the Chicago Mercantile Exchange dropped the T-bill futures,
the TED spread is now calculated as the difference between the T-bill
interest rate and LIBOR. The TED spread is a measure of liquidity and
shows the flow of dollars into and out of the United States (Wikipedia).

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at:
fergiewhitney [at] msn.com


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