Progressive Calendar 05.15.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 15 May 2008 05:33:00 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.15.08

1. Plant sale     5.15 8am
2. Womens health  5.15 8am
3. Peace demo     5.15 4:30pm Rochester MN
4. War/Coleman    5.15 4:30pm
5. New Hope demo  5.15 4:30pm
6. Eagan vigil    5.15 4:30pm
7. Ntown vigil    5.15 5pm
8. Women/sex      5.15 5:30pm
9. Cavlan/impeach 5.15 6pm/7pm
10. Food forum    5.15 6:30pm
11. Sami/Iraq     5.15 7pm
12. CubaVenezuela 5.15 7pm
13. Godless/play  5.15 7pm
14. Uncounted/f   5.15 7pm
15. Sust books    5.15 7pm
16. Amnesty Intl  5.15 7:15pm

17. Wayne Madsen  - It is definitely fascism when it happens to you
18. Barry Alford  - George W Bush's other undeclared war: NCLB
19. Gerald Bracey - The mounting collateral damage of NCLB
20. Jim Lobe      - School military recruiting could violate intl protocol
21. BernardWeiner - "Shock Doctrine" spin in US, Burma and beyond
22. ed            - Same marriage sex

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

From: Jeanne Weigum <jw [at] ansrmn.org>
Subject: Plant sale 5.15 8am

For all of 25 years I have been hosting a garage and plant sale at my home
at 1647 Laurel.  I start annuals, vegies and herbs from seed and divide
perennials from my yard to create a mini-farmer[s market.  I specialize in
heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and have vast amounts of basil, 5 varieties,
still under lights because it is still too cold at night for it.

I have lots and lots of great marigolds, hosta (6 varities) blue bells,
salvia, merry bells, turtle head, rhubarb, primrose, wild ginger,
corydalis, penstemon, sedum lots more.

Come on Thursday or Friday between 8 - 4 and after that I sell on the
honor system (plants out front with prices, envelope to put the money in.
All proceeds benefit the Association for Nonsmokers - MN. Yaall come.
Just off Snelling west of the Fire Station.


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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Womens health 5.15 8am

May 15 Deborah E. Powell Center for Women's Health, UofM. 3rd Annual
Women's Health Nursing Conference. 8 AM-4 PM. McNamara Alumni Center.
Includes topics such as cervical cancer, diabetes, and how to care for
mothers and babies in disaster situation. $25 registration fee for
faculty, staff and community members. Students register for free. CEU's
and lunch will be provided. 612/626-1125.


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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Peace demo 5.15 4:30pm Rochester MN

Thursday, 5/15, 4:30 pm, Southeastern Minnesota Peacemakers hosts peace
demonstration at Broadway and 2nd St SW, Rochester, followed by SEMNAP
meeting at the Rochester Public Library at 6:45 pm, 101 - 2nd St SE,
Rochester.  http://www.semnap.org/


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

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: War/Coleman 5.15 4:30pm

Protest: U.S. Economic Crisis Fueled by Iraq War
Thursday, May 15, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. 2550 University Avenue West
(Intersection of University Avenue and Highway 280), St. Paul. Protest in
front of the office of Senator Norm Coleman.

"Fund Human Needs Not War! End the Iraq War and Occupation! Bring the
Troops Home Now!" The war in Iraq is currently costing U.S. taxpayers $12
billion each month. Soon the U.S. Congress will be considering an
additional appropriation of up to $172 billion dollars for the
continuation of the U.S. war and occupation. The reasons given by the U.S.
government for the Iraq war have long ago been shown to be lies and
deceptions. We must send a clear message to Congress that we want them to
stop funding this illegal and immoral war, to bring the troops home now,
and to let the people of Iraq determine their own future. Initiated by:
Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq (TCPC) and WAMM. FFI: Call TCPC,
612-522-1861 or WAMM, 612-827-5364.


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

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: New Hope demo 5.15 4:30pm

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


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

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan vigil 5.15 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.


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

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.15 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] aol.com.


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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Women/sex 5.15 5:30pm

Thursday, May 15: Deborah E. Powell Center for Women's Health, UofM.
National Women's Health Week. "Women's Sexual Health" by Bean Robinson
PhD. 5:30 PM. Sabathani Center, 2nd Floor Banquet Center, 310 E 38th St.,
Minneapolis. More info: Sara 612/238-2391 or Lauren 612/626-1125.


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

From: Doriandter [at] aol.com
Subject: Cavlan/impeach 5.15 6pm/7pm

The Cavlan Election Committee will meet tomorrow evening, May 15, 2008
beginning at 6:00 PM until 7:00 PM at the Wolves Den at 1201 East Franklin
Ave. So. in Minneapolis. Then beginnning at 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM Iimpeach
For Peace will meet at the same address. These are very important meetings
-- hope to see everyone there.

Cavlan campaign statement:
 You know that something is very wrong.
 You have demanded the end of the illegal, immoral, racist war and
occupation of Iraq.
 You have demanded accountability of the Bush Administration.
 You have demanded Impeachment.
 You have demanded the restoration of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
 You have demanded a new, independent investigation into the events of
September 11th.
 You have demanded that corporate and other wealthy special interests be
taken out of our democracy.
 You have demanded that our airways be given back to us.
 You have demanded that the media stand up, be a watch dog and stop being
a lap dog.

 Instead, you have been given empty rhetoric and lies, over and over.

 Now, you have a voice. Someone with the moral integrity, courage and
conviction to ask the tough questions.
 Someone who will stand up for you and your loved ones.
 Someone who will not back down.
 That person is Michael Cavlan. He is willing to stand up for you.  Will
you stand up with him?
 Together we can end the corporate corrupt political culture.
 Together we can demand and get accountability.
 Together we can get the truth.
 Yes, We Can!  Si Se Puede!

 Go to the website www.michaelcavlan.org
 Contribute what you can. Join us.  Help us build a better tomorrow.
 We have had enough of empty promises and rhetoric. We have had enough of
lies. We have had enough of cowardice.
 The Time For Courage Is Now.
  The Committee to Elect Michael Cavlan to the US Senate 2008


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

From: foodforum <foodforum [at] eastsidefood.coop>
Subject: Food forum 5.15 6:30pm

Mark your calendars for next Thursday, May 15th, to get your yard and
garden off the chemical treadmill.

Students from the U of MN's student run and initiated Cornercopia Organic
Farm will share aspects of community and backyard gardening and take
questions about the challenges, joys and benefits of growing your own food
and flowers. Cornercopia Organic Farm is a project of the Minnesota
Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA).

The Food Forum will be on Thursday, May 15 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in
Eastside's meeting room at 2551 Central Avenue NE.


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

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Sami/Iraq 5.15 7pm

Sami Rasouli: "Iraq: Five Years of War and Occupation"
Thursday, May 15, 7:00 p.m. Church of St. William, 6120 5th Street
Northeast, Fridley.

Sami Rasouli is an Iraqi American who has spent the last three years
living in the city of Najaf, Iraq and traveling throughout Iraq in his
work with the Muslim Peacemaker Teams (MPT). Sami, who lived and worked
for many years in the Twin Cities before going back to live and work in
Iraq will talk about "the surge" and the on-going U.S. military
occupation, his work for peace and national reconciliation, and the
projects of the MPT. He will also share stories of the people he has met
and give a first-hand account of conditions in Iraq today. Sponsored by:
The Social Justice Committee of St. Williams.


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

From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Cuba/Venezuela 5.15 7pm

THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM
Free and open to the public
Thursday, May 15, 7-9pm
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis
(at Lyndale & Hennepin) Park in church lot.

CUBA, VENEZUELA AND THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION
Recent events in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and other Latin
American nations have made world headlines, while being virtually ignored
by our presidential and congressional candidates and the US mainstream
media. These events will be discussed by our two speakers. Professor Nimtz
will focus largely on the transition from Fidel to Raul Castro and the
Cuban understanding of global governance and Professor Kennedy on the
contextual background for the emergence of the Bolivarian revolution and
on the movement's achievements.

Presenters: AUGUST NIMTZ and BARBARA KENNEDY.
 Dr. Nimtz is a professor of political science and African American and
African studies at the University of Minnesota and a member of the U's
Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He came of age in Jim Crow New Orleans
and has long been engaged with issues of civil rights, Black nationalism
and Third World revolutionary upheavals. His most recent book is entitled
Marx, Tocqueville, and Race in America.
 Professor Kennedy teaches Spanish at Century College in White Bear Lake
and has developed courses in Latin American culture and civics, global
studies, and women in a global perspective. She lived for six years -
three as a Peace Corps volunteer - in Ecuador. She spent ten weeks in
Venezuela in 2006 and 2007 and led a group of activists there in 2007 to
observe and report on its constitutional referendum.


--------13 of 22-------- 

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Godless/play 5.15 7pm

Thursday, May 15. Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, Minneapolis. "Godless" - a new
work by Jaime Carrera. A show about atheism from the point of view of
someone raised in a strict conservative Catholic environment who, at age
13, began to reject his own family's faith, organized religion in general,
and eventually, the notion of god. Also Thursdays, May 22, and 29. Doors
open at 6 p.m., Show time 7 p.m. Admission $15 ($13 with Fringe button)
Call 612-825-8949 for ticket reservation.


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

From: t.wulling [at] earthlink.net
Subject: Uncounted/film 5.15 7pm

SAP Neighbors for Peace and SAP Library
present a free screening of the controversial film:

UNCOUNTED
Challenges to the integrity of US elections
Thursday, May 15, 7 pm
Refreshments 6:30 pm, discussion 8:15 pm
Auditorium, St. Anthony Park Library
Carter Ave. and Como Ave.

This controversial feature length film by Emmy award-winning director
David Earnhardt examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how
easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity
across the U.S. Learn more at: www.ParkPeace.org


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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Sust books 5.15 7pm

May 15: Women's Environmental Institute's Sustenance Book Club. Discussion
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Community and Durable Future by Bill McKibben.
The Sustenance Book Club meets at Scout and Morgan every third Thursday of
the month. 7:00-8:30 PM at Scout and Morgan Bookstore, Cambridge,
Minnesota.


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

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 5.15 7:15pm

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, May 15th, at 7:15 p.m. St.
Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the
intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information,
contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com.


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

It is definitely fascism when it happens to you
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer
May 14, 2008, 00:20

WMR -- In Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's world of an
"Israelized" America, the terms SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation
Technique) and BDO (Behavior Detection Officer) are the new acronyms of
Stasi-like control of the American citizenry by a government that treats
anyone as a suspicious person in the same manner that Israel mistreats its
own Arab citizens and Palestinians.

Sunday, this editor and his colleague faced the Chertoffian menace at
Washington's Reagan National Airport while heading to the gate to board a
flight to Houston.

It is now clear from a review of the events that unfolded that I was
pre-selected for an intensive search and battery of questions even before
arriving in line for the security screening. A Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) screener was overheard saying, "the guy with the
beard." Since I was the only person in line who also had a beard, it was
evident that a red flag had earlier been raised.

What followed, was worse than anything I had previously encountered while
leaving Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, itself a revolting display of
ingratitude to citizens of the country that bankrolls Israel, or the
Israeli-run screening process at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport.

First, I was instructed to enter a glass isolation chamber and point out
my belongings that were exiting the X-ray machine. Anyone with
claustrophobia would really enjoy being placed in such a chamber and have
to speak to the screener through small holes in the glass.

I was then led to an area where all my carry-on bags were emptied. I was
also forced to empty my pockets of everything. A bevy of screeners then
proceeded to go through my wallet examining everything: cash, credit
cards, VA medical benefits card, National Press Club card, voter's
registration card, and driver's license. Then came an examination of my
press credentials and related IDs: Investigative Reporters and Editors
(IRE) card, Society of Professional Journalists card, National Archives
research card, Library of Congress card, three press credentials, and
membership card in Association for Intelligence Officers (AFIO).

In a blatant violation of the First and Fourth Amendments, my reporter's
notebooks, containing names of contacts in Houston and around the world
were paged through by the screeners. Another screener asked if I minded
being probed in "certain private areas." He then asked if I'd like the
examination to be conducted in private. I replied, "No, let everyone see
this." He then proceeded to examine my groin area.

Then came the battery of questions.

1. Are you feeling okay?
2. Where are you going today?
3. How long will you be there?
4. Why are you going there?
5. What story are you covering/
6. Who do you write for?
7. When did you move to Washington?
8. Where did you live before that?
9. What did you do for a living before?
10. Who was the most famous person you ever met?
11. What was the most famous event you ever covered?
12. What type of things do you write about?
13. What type of politics do you cover?
14. What is your place of birth?

My colleague, who had successfully passed through screening and was
waiting for me, was then asked to step into the holding area so she "could
see and hear what was going on." It was a ruse. She was also subjected to
a full carry-on bag examination, frisking, and a series of personal
questions:

1, Are you with him?
2. Where are you going?
3. What is the purpose of your visit?
4. What story are you investigating?
5. How long were you in the US Air Force?
6. Where were you stationed overseas?
7. Why were you not overseas in the military?
8. When are you returning?
9. Who do you work for?
10. What is an independent journalist?
11. How long have you been working with him?
12. Do you find your job fulfilling?
13. What is your place of birth?

After this Gestapo-like of questioning, I was told that a TSA screener was
writing details in a notebook for the "paperwork." My colleague was told
TSA was going to file an "incident report."

The nature of WMR's coverage is that our sources are our lifeblood and
anything done to compromise them is a direct attack on the freedom of the
press and our rights as journalists. The notion of press freedom does not
exist in Chertoff's worldview of police state tactics and total
surveillance but his worldview is a distinctly un-American one, something
that is more properly relegated to the history books of his ancestral
Czarist Russia.

When our investigations take us beyond the Washington Beltway, it is not
within Chertoff's purview to find out details about the purpose of the
trip, even though it may shed an unwelcome light on his network of Mossad
operatives and Russian-Israeli gangsters and scam artists who are now
running rampant in these United States of America.

The antics at Washington Reagan National are not unique. Foreign
journalists have been subjected to similar invasive screening either at US
embassies when applying for the required journalist visas to visit the
United States or at immigration screening at US entry points.

The corporate media will not report on these cases as they are part of the
problem in allowing Chertoff and his American Gestapo to continue to turn
the United States into one big West Bank-style checkpoint.

One other note. This editor visited the USSR and draconian nations such as
Paul Kagame's Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni's Uganda, Hun Sen's Cambodia, the
former military junta's Thailand, surveillance society Singapore, and
Muslim monarchy Brunei Darussalam. Nothing compares to what occurred at
Washington National Airport. It is yet another sign of the fact that the
United States has entered a phase of fascist control. There's only one
question that remains: Is the slide reversible?

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright  2008 WayneMadenReport.com
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and
nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the
Wayne Madsen Report.


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

George W. Bush's Other Undeclared War: NCLB
by Barry Alford / May 14th, 2008

Over the last few years many Americans have come to rue the decisions of
the Bush administration that lead to the war in Iraq. Much of the distain
for the conflict involves the lies that were told and the incompetent
execution of the war effort. While the tragedy that is Iraq has its own as
yet unknown costs in lives, treasure, and the good name of the country,
there is another war that this administration is fighting against
schoolchildren here at home. It is marked by the same disdain for honesty
and integrity that Bush brought to foreign policy. It is called No Child
Left Behind. What is shocking is that both efforts share so many
trademarks of what this administration calls policy.

Both the war in Iraq and NCLB are based on a "big lie". In Iraq it was WMD
and the linking of Iraq to the terrible events of 9-11. Even long after
these claims were exposed, the administration continues to repeat and
amplify them. The cause was wrapped in the patriotic rhetoric of
"Operation Desert Freedom" and talk of liberation and political freedom
for Iraq. The outcome, of course, has been much different. In the case of
NCLB the arguments were based on the "Texas miracle," long since
discredited, and the rhetoric of "failing" schools and "accountability".
As with "democracy" in Iraq, these sound like laudable goals. But just as
"mission accomplished" turned into quagmire, the quest for accountability
has lead not to better and more accurate assessment of student learning
and the resources to improve, but the scapegoating of public education and
the implementation of a testing regime more similar to Halliburton's
managing of the Iraq oil fields than a model for sustainable educational
practice. The reliance on the textbook and testing industry to "guide"
education also represents the same wasting of resources we have seen in
Iraq. Instead of spending on programs that have proven to help students
succeed, we have "invested" in more tests. This is money, like the lost
billions in Iraq, which will never lead to a solution to the underlying
problem.

In both cases, the exposure of the underlying error has done nothing to
slow down the right wing noise machine or offer cause for reflection. The
stalemate over the policy in Iraq is clear, but people not familiar with
NCLB are still being mislead by politicians of both parties (yet another
similarity) about the consequences of the current assessment schemes in
American schools. There can be no accountability if the measurements are
not accurate and the goals are not realistic, any more than there can be
"victory" in another country's civil war. In both cases, this is policy in
search of a reality to validate it and not a policy based on reality. The
standardized tests that make up NCLB have been widely discredited as
single point measurements of student's knowledge or ability. They
replicate existing socio-economic patterns, and most debilitating over the
long haul, they rob teachers of the formative feedback to inform their
teaching and improve their schools.

NCLB represents the same simplistic policy movements made in Iraq. Instead
of heading expert warnings about how complex and difficult the project of
assessing learning and subsequent school reform might be, the Bush
administration pushed on with a policy long on bravado and short on money,
thoughtful strategy, and achievable goals. Just as in Iraq, when the
policy proved ineffective and detrimental the Bush administration "stayed
the course" and continued, with mounting consequences. Both of these
policy initiatives mark the cost of letting poorly informed ideologues run
amuck. It was easy to take Iraq apart, but who really believes we will
ever be able to put it back together again? It was easy (and justifiable)
to call for accountability and reform in American schools, but the real
impact of NCLB has been the destruction of real learning at precisely the
moment when schools and teachers need more flexibility, more creativity,
and more resources. To complete the cycle of comparison, both the war and
NCLB ignored the input of seasoned and competent experts for the
ideological incompetence of appointees whose only claim to their office
was their willingness to follow George W. Bush off a cliff. There were
plenty of people in the diplomatic corps that warned about the eventual
calamity in Iraq, and there were and are experts in the educational field
who warned about the simple minded and reductive approach of the Margaret
Spellings lead education initiatives. One of the administrative traits
evident in both disasters is the unwillingness of this administration to
listen to anyone or anything not in synch with the predetermined
ideological positions taken by Bush.

The schools in America may look the same from the outside, but like the
prospects for civil society in Iraq have been damaged by Bush's Iraq
policy, they have been profoundly damaged by the short-sighted goals of
NCLB. A generation of young teachers has lost the initiative to teach
creatively and use local classroom research to improve their students.
learning by the "one-size-fits-all" approach taken by this
administration's education policy. Students leaving high school are less
and less able to solve problems and read critically (which is the real
lesson we should be taking from the research showing declining test scores
for American students in international comparisons) because they and their
teachers are forced into complying with NCLB. This damage may be close to
being irreversible for this generation of students and teachers.

Finally, both Bush's Iraq and educational policy are marked by a less than
honest rationale. NCLB is no more about improving schools than the Iraq
War is about WMD. In both cases the policy advances long held ideologies
of Republican strategists. The neo-cons in the Bush administration were
going to war with Iraq whether there were WMDs or not. The motivation
behind NCLB is the culmination of over 25 years of right wing attacks on
public education. If the goal were really to level the playing field of
educational opportunity, the research was there to point the way. We would
have invested in smaller class sizes and developmental pre-school programs
to prepare the students who are at risk. Instead we have cut those
programs and invested in a testing regime that ensures that the economic
inequities of this society are replicated in its educational system. As
was the case in Iraq, Democrats who should know better were bullied into
submission and abandoned the very segment of society they claim to
represent.

It is time for opponents of NCLB to draw the connections between the war
on Iraq and the war on education. This administration doesn't care about
the Constitution and it doesn't care about education. It is incapable of
formulating policy that is competent, fair, or effective. It is time to
give schools back to the people who work in them and care about them, to
fund the initiatives that really could make a difference and to rescue
educational policy from a group that clearly could have used a better
education. Just as the solution for Iraq is held by Iraqis, the solution
to the future of American education is held by teachers and parents
working to implement what we know would work.

At some time in the future America will leave Iraq and an accounting of
the horrible costs for this protracted failure will begin. The cost being
paid in this country for the equally disastrous policies that constitute
NCLB will be harder to calculate, and it may already be too late to save a
generation being tested into oblivion.

Dr. Barry Alford is Professor of English and the Humanities at MidMichigan
Community College. He has published extensively on teaching in the
community college, postmodernist theory, assessment, and literature by the
working class. Read other articles by Barry.

This article was posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008 at 9:03 am and is
filed under Activism, Democracy, Education, GWB, Iraq. Send to a friend.


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

The Mounting Collateral Damage of No Child Left Behind
by Gerald Bracey
Published on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 by The Huffington Post
Common Dreams

Those who are trying to stoke the presidential candidates' interest in
education as an election issue aren't having much luck. Referring to No
Child Left Behind, Hillary has said "scrap it" at least three times.
Obama's website mentions "shortcomings in the design of the law". McCain
favors vouchers and accountability and Lisa Keegan who, as an Arizona
state legislator wrote laws both for vouchers and charters, has signed on
as an advisor. Other than that, they haven't said much.

Not that the public would be paying attention. We dumb, recalcitrant
Americans insist that the single most important issue in the upcoming
election is the economy (40%), Iraq (23%) and health care (8%), "other"
18%, according to today's (May 13) Washington Post. Only three percent
pick education, same as pick oil prices.

In a way, that's too bad, because like the body count in Iraq, it
continues to mount from NCLB as well. I think, though, that the dead and
wounded are seen only by others inside schools, not by the general public.
Bush keeps the body bags out of sight; school folk put on brave faces.

An article in the September, 2007 issue of the American Education Research
Journal showed the mounting casualties. Researchers watched for four years
as one district's schools changed under the pressures of NCLB. The
researchers put the changes in teacher roles in five categories:

1. Curriculum pacing. Before NCLB, teachers had considerable control over
the speed at which they presented the curriculum. After a new curriculum
was adopted though, they had to move at a one-pace-fits-all because
district tests had to be given at a certain time.

2. Curriculum alignment. Teachers aligned what they taught with what they
thought would likely pop up on the state's test. Administrators talked
about alignment at staff meetings and had teachers match textbook content
with state learning expectations and bought test prep materials from
commercial publishers.

3. Teachers spent more and more time looking at data, something they
weren't particularly trained for (and which I doubt provided much useful
information). They objected to the time spent analyzing statistics because
it took away time for interacting with the kids which they thought was at
least as good as source of information as the formal data.

4. ESOL instruction. Before NCLB, regular teachers left most of the
instruction of English to non-native speakers to designated ESOL teachers.
But NCLB made them the teachers of record for all kids in their class so
they felt obligated to work more with English language learners.

5. Tutoring. Always an informal part of the program, tutoring now became
institutionalized and burdensome. Said one teacher "I tutor in the
mornings, I tutor after school. I tutor at lunchtime. Whatever it takes".

Whatever it took, it took a lot out of teachers and administrators alike.
High-poverty schools had the toughest time making AYP (Adequate Yearly
Progress). At one high-poverty school, the principal lamented that she had
not been able to hire a tenured teacher in 5 years and when her staff
attained tenure, they left for lower poverty schools, leaving her with a
chronically inexperienced faculty.

"The stress was so palpable that one of us felt compelled to step out of
her researcher role to reassure a first-year teacher who, leaving a
planning meeting in tears, said she did not know if she could keep doing
this for another year". Given that these stresses were not observed by the
researchers initially, it means that they came from workplace conditions,
from trying to cope with the utterly unrealistic demands of NCLB.

Sharon Nichols and David Berliner wrote a book about the impact of
high-stakes testing in general. They called it Collateral Damage. The
above exemplifies some of it.

Gerald W. Bracey is currently an associate of the High/Scope Educational
Research Foundation, a fellow at the Education Policy Studies Laboratory
at Arizona State University and a fellow at the Education and the Public
Interest Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Copyright  2008 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.


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

School Military Recruiting Could Violate International Protocol
by Jim Lobe
Published on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 by Inter Press Service
Common Dreams

WASHINGTON - Pressed by the demands of the "global war on terrorism", the
United States is violating an international protocol that forbids the
recruitment of children under the age of 18 for military service,
according to a new report released Tuesday by a major civil rights group
that charged that recruitment practices target children as young as 11
years old.

The 46-page report, "Soldiers of Misfortune", which was prepared by the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for submission to the U.N. Committee
on the Rights of the Child, also found that the U.S. military
disproportionately targets poor and minority public school students.

Military recruiters, according to the report, use "exaggerated promises of
financial rewards for enlistment, [which] undermines the voluntariness of
their enlistment". In some cases documented by the report, recruiters used
coercion, deception, and even sexual abuse in order to gain recruits.
Perpetrators of such practices are only very rarely punished, the report
found.

"The United States military's procedures for recruiting students plainly
violate internationally accepted standards and fail to protect youth from
abusive and aggressive recruitment tactics," said Jennifer Turner of the
ACLU Human Rights Project.

The increased aggressiveness of military recruiters is due in major part,
according to the report, to the increased pressure to meet enlistment
quotas caused by ongoing U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
to which nearly 200,000 soldiers and marines are currently deployed.

The pressure created by current military commitments has not only
translated into enhanced recruitment efforts among children under 18. The
armed forces have also lowered their standards for minimum-intelligence
tests, made it easier to enlist individuals with criminal records, and
increased re-enlistment bonuses for soldiers who might otherwise be
tempted to leave the service.

The report, which also detailed Washington's failure to protect foreign
child soldiers being held by U.S. forces at the Guantanamo Bay detention
facility and elsewhere around the world as part of its submission to the
U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, assesses Washington's
compliance with the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in
Armed Conflict.

The Protocol, which is attached to the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, is designed to protect the rights of children under 18 who may be
recruited by the military and deployed to war.

Among other provisions, the Protocol sets an absolute minimum age for
recruitment of 16 and requires that all recruitment activities directed at
children under 18 be carried out with the consent of the child's parents
or guardian, that any such recruitment be genuinely volunteer, and the
military fully inform the child of the duties involved in military service
and require reliable proof of age before enlistment.

While the United States is one of only two countries - the other being
Somalia - to have never ratified the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, the U.S. Senate ratified the Protocol in 2002, making it binding
under U.S., as well as international, law. Unlike most other
industrialised countries that set their minimum recruitment age at 18, the
Senate decided on 17 as the absolute minimum for the United States.

According to the ACLU report, however, the U.S. armed services "regularly
target children under 17 for military recruitment, heavily recruiting on
high school campuses, in school lunchrooms, and in classes".

The army's own Recruiting Programme Handbook, for example, instructs its
more than 10,600 recruiters to approach high school students as early as
possible, and explicitly before their senior year, which, for most
students, starts at age 17. "Remember, first to contact, first to contract
- that doesn't just mean seniors or grads", according to an excerpt quoted
in the report. "If you wait until t hey're seniors, it's probably too
late".

Once recruiters are inside their assigned high schools, the Army's
Recruiting Command instructs them to "effectively penetrate the school
market" and "(b)e so helpful and so much a part of the school scene that
you are in constant demand", with the goal of "school ownership that can
only lead to a greater number of Army enlistments'. That includes
volunteering to serve as coaches for high school sports teams, involvement
with the local Boy Scouts, attending as many all school functions and
assemblies, and even "eating lunch in the school cafeteria several times
each month".

The report documents a number of specific cases, mostly in New York and
California - the two most populous states with the largest number of
minority high school students - in which recruiters clearly followed these
instructions. In a survey of nearly 1,000 children, aged 14 to 17,
enrolled in New York City high schools, the ACLU New York affiliate found
that more than one five respondents - equally distributed among the
different grades - reported the use of class time by military recruiters,
and 35 percent said military recruiters had access to multiple locations
in their schools where they could meet students.

The report also noted that the Pentagon's central recruitment database
systematically collected information on 16-year-olds and, in some cases
even 15-year-olds, including their name, home address and telephones,
email addresses, grade point averages, height and weight information, and
racial and ethnic data obtained from a variety of public and private
sources. The explicit purpose of the database is to assist the military in
its "direct marketing recruiting efforts". As the result of a 2006 ACLU
lawsuit, the Pentagon agreed to stop collecting data about students
younger than 16.

But recruitment efforts even dip below 15-year-olds, according to the
report, which found that the Pentagon's Reserve Officer Training Corps
(JROTC), which operate at more than 3,000 junior high schools, middle
schools, and high schools across the country, target children as young as
14 for recruitment. The report cited recent studies that found that
enrollment in some JROTC programmes was involuntary.

JROTC "cadets", of whom there were nearly 300,000 in 2005, receive
military uniforms and conduct military drills and marches, handle real and
wooden rifles, and learn military history, according to the report, which
noted that the programme is explicitly designed to "enhance recruiting
efforts". African American and Latin students make up 54 percent of JROTC
programmes.

JROTC also oversees the Middle School Cadet Corps (MSCC), in which
children ages 11 to 14 can participate, according to the report. Florida,
Texas, and Chicago schools offer military-run after-school MSCC programmes
in which children take part in drills with wooden rifles and military
chants, learn first-aid, civics, military history and, in some cases, wear
uniforms to school for inspection once a week.

The Army also uses an online video game, called "America's Army", to
attract potential recruits as young as 13, train them to use weapons, and
engage in virtual combat and other military missions. Launched in 2002,
the video game had attracted 7.5 million registered users by September
2006.

"Military recruitment tools aimed at youth under 18, including
Pentagon-produced video games, military training, corps, and databases of
students' personal information, have no place in America's schools," said
Turner.

 2008 Inter Press Service

    Jack and Jill went up the hill
    to fetch a pail of water
    Jack fell, to recruiter shill
    Jill came tumbling, he got her.


                        ---------------------
                         Uncle Sam wants YOU
                         to fight & die for
                         the US ruling class
                        ---------------------


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

"Shock Doctrine" Spin in US, Burma and Beyond
by Bernard Weiner / May 13th, 2008

Suppose you have a controversial project you wish to push through, but
you're afraid that if you come right out and say what you're up to, there
will be so many objections from other officials and ordinary citizens that
you might never get a chance to implement your agenda.

But you're savvy about how influence-molding works and you know that with
the right kind of massive publicity and P.R. campaigns, you probably can
"spin" public perception in your direction.

So, on a foundation of lies and deception, you decide to launch your
project, careful to keep absolutely secret the most controversial aspects.
And then, under the table, you hire (a.k.a. "bribe") numerous journalists,
opinion pundits and respected "consultants" to speak on behalf of your
product.

It works! The public is snowed by the P.R. momentum and by the
overwhelming consensus of the "experts," and your project takes off. This
is how such things are done every day in the business and advertising
world. What's the big deal?

                      THE LIES & DECEPTIONS

Well, as you've probably figured out, I'm talking about the way the
CheneyBush Administration sold the Iraq War/Occupation to us citizens.

We've known for a long time about the various lies and deceptions that
took America to war - the supposed "weapons of mass destruction" that
Saddam was supposed to possess but didn't, his alleged ties to al-Qaida
that didn't really exist, his supposed but non-existent complicity in the
9/11 attacks, and so on. Eventually, even the Administration was forced to
concede there were no WMD, no ties to 9/11, no relationship to Al Qaida,
though it vowed never to let those inconvenient facts get in the way of
continuing its occupation of Iraq. (And Cheney and his minions still
continue to this day to hint at the old deceptions.)

Also revealed some years back was that the Administration secretly put
various conservative TV/radio/print journalists on the payroll to
write/speak favorably about various programs and policies emanating from
the Executive Branch.

                      THOSE PENTAGON "EXPERTS"

What we didn't know about until the New York Times broke the story a few
weeks ago was that the CheneyBush Administration, to help sell the pending
Iraq war to members of Congress and the citizenry at large, marshaled a
huge phalanx of retired military officers and sent them out disguised as
private, independent "experts" and "consultants" to deliver the pro-war
spin the Administration wanted. The author of the story, David Barstow,
used the term "media Trojan horse" to describe the impact of this
deception.

Because the media, always eager to curry favor with the Administration,
did not vet the bona fides of these "private consultants," the public had
no knowledge of the retired officers' deep and abiding connection to the
Pentagon. These ex-military officers received special briefings, including
by Rumsfeld himself, on the Administration's daily spin points, and they
either had or would soon be receiving high-paying jobs with various
defense contractors.

What the public now knows is that the daily commentary and advice by the
"military experts" - supposedly independent analysts, free of any
conflicts of interest - helped "catapult the propaganda" (to borrow Bush's
own term) in favor of war with Iraq.

And it worked: CheneyBush and their neo-con ideologues inside the
Administration got U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq, controlled the oil
flowing out of that country, created chaos and catastrophe from which
their huge private-corporation sponsors could make huge pots of money,
built the world's largest new embassy in Baghdad, and constructed
permanent military bases inside that country from where the U.S. will help
control the geopolitics of the greater Middle East for generations to
come, etc. etc. All this presents a perfect illustration of Naomi Klein's
thesis of "shock doctrine" and "disaster capitalism".

This use of hired guns - all those prestigious, smart-looking ex-generals
and such - to do their propaganda work for them is further confirmation of
the mendacity, duplicity and illegality Bush&Co. employ to get their way.

                          LITTLE OR NO COVERAGE

True to form, of course, the corporate mainstream media have paid scant,
if any, attention to this story of how dozens of retired officers helped
shape American military policy while secretly still attached to the
Administration teat.

In this instance, and many more that could be named, the mainstream press,
by not mentioning or following up on such CheneyBush scandals, does
democracy a dangerous disservice.

Our political system depends on citizens receiving accurate information
about what's being done in their names so that they can make intelligent
decisions when voting for those who represent them.

                           LIES & DECEPTIONS

If they respond at all, Busheviks tend to say that even if these stories
are true, how we wound up in Iraq is "old news," it's history, we're
there, let's just make the best of it, "finish the job" and then go home.

However, if your original reasons for invading a sovereign country were
based on lies and deceptions, and a lot of incorrect assumptions and
ignorance, then your occupation policies will never work and you will have
alienated and angered the local population to the point of violent
resistance against you. The result: You will be stuck in a quagmire of
your own devising, where the most you can hope for is endless stalemate.
This was the case of the U.S. screwup in Vietnam in the 1960s and '70s,
and it's the case today with the its five-years-and-counting occupation of
Iraq.

Now, it can be argued that endless stalemate is of no great concern to the
shock-doctrine practitioners of Bush&Co.; indeed, it may be the desired
result as it guarantees prolonged chaos and thus more need for companies
like Blackwater, Bechtel, Halliburton, KBR, et al. to help keep the broken
society together. The US and Iraqi dead and maimed are but the inevitable
"collateral damage".

But, as CheneyBush have learned, domestically you can push the US
military, and American citizens, only so far before both begin to push
back and call for a new, more rational approach to political and
foreign-policy adventuring.

Key military officers within the Joint Chiefs of Staff (even, to some
extent, Defense Secretary Gates) are watching their armed forces stretched
much too thin around the globe. Because there is no military draft, the
Pentagon is forced to use and abuse its existing troops to the point of
near-rebellion, resulting in lower morale and increased psychological
damage, including 300,000 Iraq veterans returning home with mental
problems and a rising rate of suicides.

                   '08 VOTE A REFERENDUM ON WAR

This abuse includes overuse of the stop-loss policy of refusing to let
soldiers go home after they've completed their Iraq rotation, constantly
recalling troops who have been sent home after completing their extended
service, lowering the army's physical, intellectual, psychological and
moral standards in order to fill the recruiting gap when the services
can't meet their enlistment quotas, returning physically or
psychologically wounded soldiers to battle despite their doctors.
recommendations, etc. etc.

Moreover, the citizens appear to have had enough. Since two-thirds of
polled Americans believe the Iraq invasion and occupation are outrageously
expensive follies and it's time to start bringing the troops back home,
the opposition party is about to nominate as its presidential candidate
someone who aims to get the troops out within 16 months. The Republican
Party is set to nominate someone who wants to continue the CheneyBush war
even if it means keeping US troops in Iraq for a hundred years or more,
and probably starting more conflagrations in the Greater Middle East.

In a fair and open election, the Democratic candidate should win that
contest easily. However, there is compelling evidence that in the past
eight years, US elections have been corrupted through the use of hackable,
unverifiable, paperless "touch-screen" machines, and vote-tabulating
computers, which utilize secret software, manufactured and programmed by
companies with Republican affiliations.

                      BOMB, BOMB, BOMB IRAN

All this isn't just "old history". CheneyBush are itching to bomb Iran's
military installations and scientific laboratories while they are still in
control of the Executive Branch, and are "catapulting the propaganda" for
such an attack in ways eerily similar to how they deceived Congress and
the American people into bombing and invading Iraq.

There are reports that Secretary Gates has been trying to stop such
attack-Iran moves, or at least to greatly reduce the scale of the
operation. But other reports suggest that the decision to bomb already has
been made, and the appointment of Gen. David Petraeus to take over at
Central Command is a key sign that all the ducks are just about lined up
in a row.

(The former head of Central Command, Admiral William Fallon, said there
would be no attack on Iran on his watch; he was forced out, and CheneyBush
lackey Petraeus was moved over from Iraq.)

                  BURMESE MILITARY'S "OPPORTUNITY"

"The shock doctrine" is not employed solely by American governments and
multi-national corporations. In Burma (Myanmar), the military junta ruling
that country, having just put down a potential revolt led by Buddhist
monks, clearly is terrified that a coup might be organized by individuals
or organizations who want to bring aid into the country to help the
residents in the wake of the cyclone disaster. And so they're keeping
those aid workers out of the country, thus putting at risk the lives and
health of hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring into Rangoon and
elsewhere in search of medical care, food, shelter.

The effect of the disaster and the Burmese government's insufficient
response to it means that a good share of the junta's political opposition
is now dead or dealing with the aftermath of the huge, rampaging storm. In
other words, the disaster offers a great "opportunity" for the ruling
elite to settle old scores by continuing to repress the opposition and to
remake the affected areas as they wish. (There have been reports,
unconfirmed, of bodies of monks being found in the cyclone rubble - burned
in a suspicious manner - mixed in with the tens of thousands of other
corpses found floating in the rice fields and ditches and rivers.)

The long time-delay in getting food, water and shelter to the hundreds of
thousands of displaced survivors of the cyclone is reminiscent of the way
the Bush Administration dilly-dallied with regard to the post-Katrina
period in New Orleans and Mississippi. In her book, Klein used the Katrina
experience as a perfect example of "disaster capitalism" in the US: A
government watches a natural catastrophe wipe out an entire population
sector, and lets the catastrophe play out over days and weeks and months -
with large numbers of citizens abandoning their homes, forced to go
elsewhere for adequate assistance - and then giving no-bid contracts to
Blackwater and Halliburton and KBR for the reconstruction phase, in accord
with social planning as laid out by the ideologues in the White House.

In Burma, the government may not be operating out of an exactly similar
motivation, but the result appears to be much the same: using a natural
calamity to reshape the economic, political and social future of the
affected region for their own political and economic aims.

                      NATURAL RESOURCE SHORTAGES

As for the huge worldwide "run" on commodities - especially important
staples such as wheat, rice, oil - already local greed-merchants and
multi-national companies are salivating at the prospect of selling, at
exorbitant rates, food and shelter and clothing and oil and the like. They
will be literally "making a killing" on the backs of the starving, the
poor, the dispossessed.

In so doing, in line with Klein's "shock doctrine" and "disaster
capitalism" theses, these elite forces will be re-shaping the politics,
economies and social arrangements of these countries for generations, both
to consolidate and expand their reigns of power and to benefit themselves
and their rapacious, greedy supporters.

In short, when catastrophes are being dealt with, it doesn't seem to
matter what the operating governmental system is, be it fascist,
communist, dictatorial, democratic, etc. By and large, the
power/economic/political elites see the unfolding tragedies of their
citizens as "opportunities" for expansion of control, for ways to
eliminate or dilute their opposition, for fattening the bank accounts of
their large-corporation supporters in rebuilding and reconstructing these
devastated societies, in line with their own greed agendas.

This is the world that only will change when these elites and systems are
systematically confronted, changed, or overthrown by citizens operating
under a different moral system, who decide they've finally had enough.

It would be more effective, of course, if a strong progressive movement
were to develop overnight in America to affect such wide-sweeping reforms
in this country. However, removing Republicans from the White House in
2008 at least would be a significant sign of the beginnings of the
public's strong desire for significant changes.

Bernard Weiner has a Ph.D. in government & international relations, and
has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked as a
writer-editor with the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently is co-editor
of The Crisis Papers. He can be reached at: crisispapers [at] comcast.net. Read
other articles by Bernard, or visit Bernard's website.

This article was posted on Tuesday, May 13th, 2008 at 8:05 am and is filed
under Aid, Asia, Capitalism, Censorship, Corruption, Economy/Economics,
GWB, Health/Medical, Human Rights, Legal/Constitutional, Media, New
Orleans, Poverty.


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

Same marriage sex
ed

What with all the extra-marital affairs going on today, what time or
inclination remains for same marriage sex? Why, it's getting so extreme
that, if a married couple wants to have sex with each other, they first
have to get divorced and marry others, just to stay within the norms of
civilized society. In fact, most people in America are scandalized by the
mere thought of same marriage sex. You wanna do the forbidden thing? Don't
ask, don't tell, I say. Just because it's disgusting and perverted,
doesn't mean we shouldn't be open-minded enough to allow others to do "it"
even if they are (ugh) married to (yuck) each other.


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