Progressive Calendar 06.25.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 17:52:24 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    06.25.08

1. GLBT/violence    6.26 9am
2. Racial equity    6.26 2pm
3. New Hope demo    6.26 4:30pm
4. Eagan vigil      6.26 4:30pm
5. Northtown vigil  6.26 5pm
6. Torture          6.26 6pm
7. Health/mingle    6.26 6pm
8. Universal health 6.26 7pm
9. Health/SiCKO     6.26 7pm
10. Haiti           6.26 7pm
11. Meet Muslims    6.26 7pm
12. AWC newbies     6.26 7pm

13. Palestine vigil 6.27 4:15pm
14. Democracy       6.27 7pm
15. Alt/violance    6.27-29
16. War Inc/film    6.27-7.03

17. Ralph Nader     - Starving AMTRAK: America needs high speed rail
18. Rich Broderick  - A helluva week for the mainstream press
19. Ishmael Reed    - Obama scolds black fathers, gets bounce in polls
20. Gregory Kafoury - Obama's rightward lurch: what is to be done?
21. Mumia Abu-Jamal - Real road rage
22. ed              - Why there's evil  (poem)

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

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: GLBT/violence 6.26 9am

Leading Minnesota Toward GLBT Equality
OutFront Minnesota and Casa de Esperanza Invite you to:
My Girlfriend Did It
June 26th, 2008

Join us for a day of learning and discussion to enhance your understanding
of intimate partner violence in GLBT relationships.

Landmark Center, St. Paul, Minnesota, 75 5th St W # 404
Check in : 8:15 a.m.
Program: 9am - 4 pm
Screening of "My Girlfriend Did It" Film 9:00 am
Breakout Training Sessions
Lunch and Networking

To Register:
Contact Casa de Esperanza 651-646-5553
camundson [at] <mailto:camundson [at]>

Given the fatal domestic violence attack on a gay man committed recently
in Minneapolis, this event is especially timely. The GLBT community
experiences domestic violence at the same rate as the larger population.

Don't miss this opportunity to learn  more about this phenomenon and
what you can do about it.

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

From: Joan Vanhala <joan [at]>
Subject: Racial equity 6.26 2pm

The Alliance for Metropolitan Stability invites you to join us at a
discussion on the Organizing Apprenticeship Project's 2nd annual
Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity.

Thursday, June 26
2 to 4 pm
Rondo Community Outreach Library
461 N Dale Street
St. Paul, MN 55103

The Twin Cities region is facing some tough challenges. Work for regional
equity is being undermined by appeals to racism and classism, and we
continue to struggle to address the racial dynamic more directly. To make
matters worse, state-level support is essential to achieve regional
equity, yet is seldom addressed.

Jermaine Toney of the Organizing Apprenticeship Project has developed the
Legislative Report Card on Racial Justice, an innovative tool that can
help us become more powerful and proactive in breaking the silence around
racial equity and advancing equitable solutions. Mr. Toney will highlight
the region's demographic trends, racial disparities and examples of
racially equitable policies.

We hope you will join us in this discussion about opportunities to build
unity across lines and advance development policies and practices anchored
in a commitment to racial equity.

This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required.
Please register online at

Joan Vanhala Coalition Organizer Alliance for Metropolitan Stability 2525
E Franklin Ave, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-332-4471

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

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: New Hope demo 6.26 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.

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

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 6.26 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.

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

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 6.26 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]

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Torture 6.26 6pm

Thursday, 6/26, 6 to 8 pm, Center for the Victims of Torture honors the
U.N. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, with keynote
speaker Birhan Abede, music by Hospitality House African Drum and Dance,
and a short play written by Kira Obolensky of the Playwright's Center, 717
E River Parkway, Mpls.

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

From: Lisa Boynton <lisa [at]>
Subject: Health/mingle 6.26 6pm

Please see below for our upcoming "Healthcare United Meet and Mingle event"!
I hope you will be able to join us and look forward to meeting everyone at
your upcoming meeting.

The time is now to make healthcare reform the top priority for the new
administration and Congress. It's time to raise our voices and make sure
they're heard above the interests of drug and insurance companies and
HMO's. It's time to speak out to make sure patient care is valued over
profits margins.

Please join us at Dunn Brothers- East Lake Street in Mpls from 6:00-7:30pm
for an evening filled with good conversation, food *and *fun!

This will be an exciting opportunity to come together and meet and mingle
with other Healthcare workers as we discuss our plan of action and next
steps in our national movement to reform our country's healthcare system
to deliver quality, affordable healthcare to all!

Thursday, June 26th 2008
Located in the West River Commons Complex next to Longfellow Grill, on the
west side of the river just south of 94 where Mpls meets St Paul. For
location details please click on link below

RSVP are not required, but are appreciated.To learn more about Healthcare
United and/or to RSVP please log on to Once
there to RSVP please click on find/create events in the Action Center in
the lower right hand corner or contact State Organizer Lisa Boynton at
lisa [at] or 612-889-0950.

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

From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at]>
Subject: Universal health 6.26 7pm

Universal Health Care - What Is It?
Thursday, June 26
7:00 p.m.
St. Paul Jewish Community Center
1375 St. Paul Avenue, St. Paul

Learn the history of our failing health care system, proposed solutions,
and the status of Minnesota's Universal Health Care bills that were
introduced last session.

Panel: Senator Mary Olson (DFL); John Schwarz, M.A.; Eric Meininger, M.D.,
M.P.H. Moderator: Arthur Himmelman

Sponsored by: Jewish Community Action, St. Paul JCC

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

From: Amy M. Johnston <amjohnston1001 [at]>
Subject: Health/SiCKO 6.26 7pm

"Affordable Health Care for Everyone: The Single Payer Approach"
Presentation on single payer health care reform & a free showing of SiCKO

Thursday, June 26, 2008, 7:00 pm
Presentation by Dr. James Hart, MD, MBA, School of Public Health, U of MN
Followed by a showing of SiCKO
Location: Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, 5025 Knox Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN
Cost: FREE!
Sponsored by MN Universal Health Care Coalition (
For more information, call 651-646-0900.

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

From: biego001 [at]
Subject: Haiti 6.26 7pm

The Haiti Justice Committee of Minnesota invites you to a dessert buffet
and silent auction fundraiser for KOFAVIV, a grassroots Haitian women's
support group for women victims of rape.

Thurs., June 26, 7-9pm, in the Social Hall of St. Albert the Great, in S.
Mpls; proceed downstairs at the NW corner of the church, 29th St. and 32nd
Ave. (just N. of Lake St., abut 16 blocks W. of the Lake St. bridge). The
cost is a free-will donation to go directly to KOFAVIV. Come hear about
this terrific women's grassroot group in Haiti. For more details, call
Rebecca at 612-388-2542.

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Meet Muslims 6.26 7pm

Thursday, 6/26, 7 pm, NW Neighbors for Peace hosts a local panel speaking
on "Meet Your Muslim Neighbors: A Dialogue," Robbinsdale United Church of
Christ, 4200 Lake Rd, Robbinsdale.  gjpeck [at] or 763-546-5368.

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

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: AWC newbies 6.26 7pm

New Members Meeting:  Join the Anti-War Committee!
THURS, 6/26 @ 7pm @ 1313 5th St. SE, Mpls (Dinkytown), room 112C

Interested in organizing against the war?  Want to build for major
demonstrations at the RNC this September?  Come help organize events to
stop the war.  New people are welcome every week, but this meeting is
designed to be especially for new people.  Questions?
info [at] or 612.379.3899.

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 6.27 4:15pm

Friday, 6/27, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Democracy 6.27 7pm

6/27 (7 to 9 pm, $20) and 6/28 (9 to 4, $110), Sisters of St Joseph
sponsor Wisdom Ways: Creating a Compassionate Democracy with Ashok
Gangadean.  Scholarships available.  Friday night is at the Jeanne D'Arc
Auditorium, St Kate's, 2004 Randolph Ave, St Paul.  Saturday is at the
Carondelet Center, 1890 Randolph Ave, St Paul.

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Alt/violance 6.27-29

6/27 to 6/29, Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) weekend training for
facilitators, at FNVW office, 1050 Selby, St Paul.  avprich [at] or
avperika [at] or 651-644-5851.  (Sliding scale.)

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: War Inc/film 6.27-7.03

6/27 to 7/3, satirical film "War, Inc." about a country occupied by a
private U.S. corporation run by a former U.S. vice president and a plot to
kill a Middle Eastern oil minister (sound familiar?), Lagoon Theater, 1320
Lagoon Ave, Uptown Mpls.

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

America Needs a High Speed Rail System
Starving AMTRAK
June 24, 2008

With the rapid expansion of federal spending responding to the perceived
national security requirements after 9/11, passenger railroad supporters
looked forward to a tripleheader.

First passenger railroad service would have to be upgraded and expanded to
facilitate mass population evacuations from cities during attack

Second, by embarking on a "national defense" passenger rail program, there
would be less consumption of gasoline and less gridlock on congested

Third, the energy efficiency of transporting people by intercity rail and
commuter rail would diminish some of the buildup of greenhouse gases.

Right after 9/11, the airlines descended on Washington, D.C. and got a
package of loans, guarantees and other federal assistance amounting to $15

AMTRAK got just about nothing. But then for this vast nation with large
pockets of consistently clogged highways, AMTRAK has been getting very
little federal aid since its creation in 1971 as a public service
corporation. President Bush wants to cut what little (just over $1 billion
a year) AMTRAK receives.

Consider this: according to the Government Accountability Office, AMTRAK
has received a total of $30 billion during the last thirty six years in
federal aid for its intercity train service over the entire country. A few
weeks ago, the Federal Reserve bailed out Bear Stearns, a large, reckless
investment banking firm on Wall Street for just under $30 billion.

Japan and Western European countries have modern, fast rail services, with
modern equipment and solid rail beds coursing throughout their territories
with governmental assistance. They are a public service, not meant to make
a profit, anymore than public libraries or public schools, although the
rail passengers do pay for their tickets.

In our country, AMTRAK has been starved by the federal government which
lavishes taxpayer money on the airlines in a variety of ways.

As a result, AMTRAK has aging equipment, has to use the freight railroad
beds and has very little money for rolling stock and track capacity,
especially at critical "chokepoints" where delays occur with freight

With soaring gasoline and airfare prices, more Americans are taking mass
transit and AMTRAK to get to their destinations. AMTRAK is on the way to a
record year, transporting over 27 million passengers in 2008, with
ridership up over 12 percent from last year.

AMTRAK and its equipment suppliers, constrained by money, have been
shrinking. Routes have been abandoned. Manufacturers of rail cars and
locomotives have also diminished. So, expansion to meet the growing demand
will be difficult and take some time. This passenger railroad carries less
than 5 percent of the domestic passengers carried by the airlines.

Losing about $1 billion a year, AMTRAK's financial needs are trivial
compared to large for-profit corporations who feed from the public trough
in Washington, D.C. Some Congressional help is finally on the way.

The House and the Senate have passed the Passenger Rail Investment and
Improvement Act with veto-proof margins to over-ride a threatened veto by
George W. Bush.

Assuming no major changes in the House-Senate conference on the bill,
AMTRAK will receive annual appropriations closer to $2 billion a year,
compared to the current level of $1.2 billion. This includes money for
capital investment, for reducing debt and expanding operating budgets for
more passengers. There is also a matching-grant program for the states to
expand service, similar to the program long in place for highway

The large freight railroads are pressing Congress for public money and tax
credits to upgrade railroad beds and pay for track expansion, which could
redound to the benefit of passenger rail service as well.

The American people have to ask themselves how robust and convenient a
modern passenger rail system they want. As good as the one in Canada? As
good as the systems in France and Germany?

Given the way the federal government wastes money, there are many ways to
justify a first-class, high-speed passenger rail system that will save
more than it costs - especially in a security emergency, a national
disaster like Katrina and the delays, fuel and pollution avoided.

All in all, a worthy topic for public debate during this political year.

Ralph Nader is running for president as an independent.

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

Speak nothing but good: A helluva week for the mainstream press
by Rich Broderick
June 21, 2008

I remember reading a sly satire of what was then called The
MacNeill-Lehrer NewsHour in an old issue of Harper's.

Taking aim at conventional wisdom and the mainstream news media's
reluctance to challenge the ruling class, the article took as its premise
that this particular edition of the NewsHour was airing the night of Jesus
Christ's crucifixion. Weighing in on the topic were two guest
commentators, one a "liberal," the other a "conservative".

The gap separating them was rather narrower than might be expected, with
the conservative arguing that, as someone promoting potentially seditious
ideas, Christ had it coming and the liberal demurring, but only to the
extent of arguing that, while it was indeed true that Jesus posed a threat
to the Roman version of public order, an enlightened penal code would have
dictated that he merely be sentenced to life as a galley slave rather than
put to death. Never once during the discussion did either of these
authorities question the moral or legal right of the Roman Empire to
oppress the Jews, or wonder whether, come to think of it, Jesus might
actually have been talking about a spiritual rather than earthly kingdom,
as he claimed all along, or might even have been what his followers said
he was: God's Only Begotten Son.

Speaking of the Romans, at least the swine left us a few good aphorisms;
one of my favorites is "Speak nothing but good of the dead," so I will
refrain from saying anything personal about Tim Russert, who seems to have
been a genial and hard-working enough sort. Rather I will confine myself
to pointing out how over-the-top, how utterly disproportionate, the
reaction to his untimely death has been in the mainstream news media.

Russert was one of the leading champions of conventional wisdom, a figure
who epitomized the virtues - and the glaring deficiencies - of the
American press. Yes, there was the obsessive and "professional"
preparation for confrontations with the likes of Dick Cheney and Paul
Wolfowitz, the frank, no-nonsense tone of his interview style. But, no,
just like most mainstream journalists, Russert failed to pursue any tough
or persistent questioning of the disinformation that led us into the
invasion and occupation of Iraq until after-the-fact, when it was too late
to do much about it. In the lead up to war, he was just as sycophantic to
the powers-that-be, just as faithful to what passed as conventional wisdom
inside the D.C. Beltway as our two fictitious commentators on the
MacNeill-Lehrer NewsHour, and just as skeptical and dismissive of skeptics
of the invasion as Karl Rove or Richard Perle.

By a cruel trick of fate, his funeral cortege - like the potentates of the
Soviet Union in its waning days, the mainstream press's elaborate tribute
to a fallen comrade was, in reality, an elaborate tribute to its own
exalted self-image - occurred the same week that Scott McClellan made his
appearance before the House Judiciary Committee to reveal secrets about
the Bush Administration's crimes and cover ups we've all known about for

Indeed, McClellan's only surprising admissions were also not news, just
unexpected coming from a former member of the Bush Administration and
hence presumably a conservative. I'm referring to his observation that the
myth of the "liberal" media is just that, a myth, and to his retroactive
regret over how docile the Washington press corps was in swallowing and
propagating all the patent lies, half-truths, and logical fallacies he,
McClellan, dished out each day in the White House briefing room. A
Washington press corps of which Tim Russert was a leading apparatchik.

None of which is going to have the slightest impact on the future behavior
of that so-called "liberal media". It has been amusing to see how
vehemently the Washington press corps has denied McClellan's claim that it
was less than ferociously diligent in examining and analyzing any of
Bush's deceptions between 2002, when he had the whole country behind him,
and the end of 2004, when popular opinion finally turned irrevocably
against the Administration and it became safe to criticize his policies.
This indignation and denial are as difficult to take seriously as the
claims by Hillary Clinton or Al Franken that they were "deceived" by Bush
about the threat posed to us by Saddam Hussein.

The reasons why nothing is going to change aren't hard to pinpoint. The
mainstream press has ceased acting as the Fourth Estate, guardian of our
rights, afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted, and
turned into a mouthpiece for the Ruling Estate: what might be called the
Unitary Corporate Executive. The corporate press, like the business
conglomerates that own it, is fully vested in maintaining the current
system of oppressive power relationships - a system that can survive only
so long as no one points out that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes.
Or, in the case of George W. Bush, that the emperor is a reckless sadist
afflicted by a strange messianic streak and armed to the teeth with
nuclear weapons.

I feel sorry for Russert, as I do in a way for Scott McClellan, now being
savaged by his erstwhile "friends" in the Republican Party and the
mainstream media. But my compassion is tempered by the recognition that
both men made a deal with the devil, and both reaped, in their own ways,
the earthly rewards the devil is always willing to grant to those who do
his bidding. In the old days, all he asked in return was our souls.
Nowadays he seems equally intent on depriving us of our liberties.

You read it here first.

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

The Big Let Down
Obama Scolds Black Fathers, Gets Bounce in Polls
June 24, 2008

It's obvious by now that Barack Obama is treating black Americans like one
treats a demented uncle, brought out from his room to be ridiculed and
scolded before company from time to time, the old Clinton Sistah Souljah
strategy borrowed from Clinton's first presidential campaign when he
traveled the country criticizing the personal morality of blacks and
wooing white voters by objecting to what he considered anti-white lyrics
sung by rapper Sistah Souljah.

As in Clinton's case, Obama's June 14th finger wagging at black men was a
case of pandering to white conservative voters. This follows a pattern of
using public perceptions of black men fanned by the media and Hollywood to
win political favor. Bush One and his sleazy cohorts won votes by
depicting black men as dangerous. After the Willie Horton ad, featuring a
black rapist, was aired, support for Bush soared to 20% among southern
white males, according to Willie Brown, former San Francisco mayor. Obama,
by depicting them as irresponsible, saw his poll numbers climb to a 15%
lead over McCain, according to a Newsweek poll. With his speech, he
received a bounce in the polls that was denied to him after he gained the
democrat nomination.  He also enjoyed the bounce in the polls from
Pennsylvania and Ohio.

According to pundits, the reason he lost these states during the primary
was because he couldn't bowl.  His Father's Day speech was meant to show
white conservative males that he wouldn't cater to "special interests"
groups, blacks in this case. This was the consensus of those who appeared
on MSNBC and other opinion venues of the segregated media on 6/16/2008
even the progressive ones. (Segregated? Not quite. The two percent of
African Americans who support Bush all seem to have jobs as pundits,
columnists and Op-eders). Michael A. Cohen, writing in The New York Times,
June 15, 2008, acknowledging Mr. Obama's Sister Souljah moment wrote
"Indeed, just yesterday, Barack Obama had his own mini-"Souljah moment"
as he decried the epidemic of fatherlessness and illegitimacy among black
Americans. While it is a message that Mr. Obama has voiced before to other
black audiences, speaking unpleasant truths about issues afflicting the
black community may provide political benefit for a candidate whom some
working-class white voters are suspicious of - just as it did for Clinton
16 years ago. ( When is Cohen going to air "unpleasant truths about
issues afflicting" his community?).

The talking heads also concluded that Obama's speech before a black
congregation in which he scolded black men for being lousy fathers and
missing in action from single parent households and being boys, etc. , was
cleary aimed at those white male Reagan democrats, who, apparently, in
Obama and the media's eyes, provide the gold standard for fatherhood,
which fails to explain why there are millions of destitute white women, -
displaced housewives and their children whose poverty results from
divorce, or why, according to one study, 90% of middle class white women
have been battered, or have witnessed their mothers sisters, or daughters
being battered. A smug John Harwood of The New York Times said that Obama
was telling black men to "shape up" - As long as men of Mr. Harwood's
class dominate the avenues of expression, who's going to tell white men to
"shape up?" Judging from my reading American men of all races, ethnic
groups and classes need to shape up when it comes to the treatment of

Blaming black men exclusively for the abuses against women is a more
profitable infotainment product. Hypocrisy is also involved. MSNBC host,
Joe Scarborough, who welcomed Juan William's latest demagogic attack on
blacks, printed in The Wall Street Journal, still hasn't addressed the
mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of his staffer, Lori
Klaustis (http://www. whoseflorida. com/lori_klausutis. htm) who was found
dead on the floor of his office or why he had to resign abruptly from
Congress. And is Juan Williams, whose career has been marred by repeated
sexual harassment complaints against him really one to criticize the
personal morality of others? Is Bill Cosby?

According to the Census, a woman's income on the average is reduced by 73%
after divorce in a country in which 50% of marriages end in divorce.
Moreover the Times revelation, shocking to some, that elderly whites are
taking to cocaine and heroin, a genuine epidemic, hasn't drawn a response
from the legions of columnists and commentators and book publishers who
profit from any signs of social "dysfunction" among blacks. Nor has
Harwood, George Will, David Brooks, Pat Buchanan, who are always scolding
blacks for whatever, commented on the rising incarceration rates of white
women. Apparently, Lindsay and Paris are not alone, nor are the Barbie

Don't expect Obama to bring up this rampant substance abuse before a white
congregation. He had to just about whisper about the values of blue-collar
whites, those whom he said clung to guns and religion; he was exposed by a
woman who recorded his comments, furtively. Even though the media, which
rank ratings above facts, continue to criticize him for these remarks and
have made them a campaign issue, sixty percent of Pennsylvanians,
according to an April 17, Zogby poll, agreed with him. (The media were
also wrong to suggest that Hillary got the worst of it from the press
during the primary. A Pew study from Harvard contradicts this. )

Predictably, Obama's verbal flagellation of black men, who don't have the
media power with which to fight back, was cheered on the front page of The
New York Times, which places a black face on every story about welfare,
domestic violence and unmarried mothers, and uses Orlando Patterson to
parrot these attitudes on the Op-ed page, yet a study published by the
Times showed a steep decline in the rate of births to unmarried black
women over the decade while the rate among Hispanic women has increased,
contradicting what Cohen described as an "epidemic of illegitimacy" among
blacks. An indication that the Op ed editors at the Times are so willing
to believe the folklore perpetrated by such writers as Cohen that they
don't fact check a writer whose assumptions are at odds with the reports
from The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that they published on
Dec. 6, 2007, and at odds with their token black columnist, Bob Herbert,
who said on 6/20/08 that illegitimate births have "skyrocketed" over the

Patterson, Williams and Herbert have to rough up the brothers and sisters
from time to time in order to hew the editorial line set by their
employers. This was the conclusion of a study (Times, 6/23/08) by Bob
Sommer, who teaches public policy communications at Rutgers and John R.
Maycroft, a graduate student in public policy. They examined 366 opinion
articles published in The Times, The Wall Street Journal and the
Star-Ledger. "At each newspaper" they found, "90 to 95 percent of the
published article agreed with the editorial page stance on the issue at

Moreover, why aren't Obama and other tough lovers acquainted with a study
cited by Michael Eric Dyson in Time magazine, 6.30.08? In his Viewpoint
piece, The Blame Game, in which he also takes Obama's blame the victim
speech, he refers to research by Boston College social psychologist that
found "black fathers not living at home are more likely to keep in contact
with their children than fathers of any ethnic or racial group."

I asked for a correction of both Herbert and Cohen's assertions and
received an automatic reply from the Times.  Since the CDC report
indicated a higher rate per thousand of births to unmarried Hispanic
women, why don't the legion of politicians like Obama, writers like The
Manhattan Institute's John McWhorter, Fox New's Juan Williams, Harvard's
talented tenthers, all of whom scold blacks under the guise of tough love,
love Hispanics, the country's largest minority group? No box office
appeal? No publishing contracts? No votes from Reagan democrats?

A 2007 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed
some alarming statistics. "Latino high school students use drugs and
attempt suicide at higher rates than their black and white classmates". In
addition "Latino students were more likely than either blacks or whites
to ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, or use cocaine
heroin or ectasy".

Other studies show that of the 300 gangs located in Los Angeles, over
sixty percent of their members are latino. Most of the nation's drive by
shootings occur in Los Angeles. Over fifty percent of the nation's school
dropouts are Hispanic.

It's been over a month since the 2007 report and I haven.t read a single
tough love column about the conclusions. Not even from the handful of
Hispanic commentators or syndicated columnists, who, like the Colored Mind
Doubles, are restricted about what they say lest they alienate the white
viewers or readership by appearing to be angry. I asked Jonathan Capehart,
the genteel editorial writer for The Washington Post, whose assignment
from MSNBC is to link Rev. Wright to Barack Obama, why he didn't explore
the relationship of Senator Clinton and John McCain to pastors who've made
outrageous statements? I mentioned McCain's buddy, the late Rev.
Fallwell's remark that the Anti Christ was a Jew. Capehart answered that
this wasn't the topic.

While white commentators might range over a number of topics, the black
commentators have to stick to their assignment lest they appear to be out
of control or "angry". That's why the black commentator who spends the
most time on camera at MSNBC and elsewhere is Michelle Barnard, president
of the far right Independent Women's forum. She apparently puts the white
audience at ease. People For The American Way provides some information
about The Independent Women's Forum at their website:

* The International Women's Forum (IWF) is an anti-feminist women's
organization founded to counter the influence of the National Organization
for Women (NOW) and "radical feminists" on society.

* Frequent targets: Title IX funding, affirmative action, the Violence
Against Women Act, full integration of women in the military, and those
who oppose President Bush's controversial judicial nominees.

* Opposes the United Nation's Convention on the Elimination of all forms
of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

* IWF's credo/mission: "The Independent Women's Forum provides a voice for
American women who believe in individual freedom and personal
responsibility. We have made that voice heard in the U. S. Supreme Court,
among decision makers [sic] in Washington, and across America's airwaves.
It is the voice of reasonable women with important ideas who embrace
common sense over divisive ideology."

* IWF was organized in defense of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas
during his controversial nomination hearings.

* In the words of Media Transparency, "The Independent Women's Forum is
neither Independent, nor a Forum. Not independent because it is largely
funded by the conservative movement. Not a forum because it merely serves
up women who mouth the conservative movement party line." Two other black
MSNBC favorites are Ron Christie, former aide to Bush and Cheney and Joe
Martin, Republican strategist.

Either Obama and the pundits don't love Hispanics or there's more money
and political opportunity in exhorting blacks. Racist appeals played a
role in the election of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Both Bushes and even
Clinton, but there is such euphoria among many African Americans about
the possibility of a black presidency that his dumping of a bunch of lazy
cliches on them will be forgiven. They will forgive him for throwing them
under the bus as he did Rev. Wright, whose criticism of American foreign
policy and remarks about the toxic attacks on the inner city were based
upon facts. He provided his corporate media critics with a bibliography,
but they apparently were too busy paling around with the people whom they
cover to read it.

Blacks will overlook Obama's snubbing of the distinguished panel of black
educators politicians and intellectuals who appear on Tavis Smiley "annual
"State of the Black Union," and overlook the fact that he found the time
to appear before AIPAC where he made belligerent threats against Arab
nations and even promised Israel an undivided Jerusalem, he got so carried
away, which undercuts a notion held by Maureen Dowd, and Susan Faludi that
he is the feminine candidate. When it comes to seeking Jewish votes and
putting down black men, in order to obtain votes from white male
conservatives, he can become John Wayne.

Finally does anyone doubt that the hypocrisy exhibited by some leaders of
the conservative movement in recent years doesn't trickle down to many of
their white working class followers in both states, who are idealized like
a Norman Rockwell by talking heads like Hitler apologist Pat Buchanan.

I had a glimpse of these talking heads' lifestyle when walking toward a
restaurant called The Bombay Palace, last May, located across the street
from CBS. The street was lined with chauffeurs awaiting the talking heads,
who pose as experts on the white working class.

And if many African-Americans agree with John McWhorter that racist
attacks on African Americans, including predatory mortgages, racial
profiling, capricious traffic stops, racism in the criminal justice
system, job and medical discrimination, outlaw drug experiments and the
exoneration of police who murder unarmed blacks will end the day after the
election of a black president, they're in for a big letdown. Again.

Ishmael Reed's latest book is "Mixing It Up, Taking On The Media Bullies".
He appears in Stefan Forbes new movie, "The Boogie Man, The Lee Atwater

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

What is to be Done?
Obama's Rightward Lurch
June 24, 2008

Barack Obama arrived on the political scene with a smile as beautiful as
salvation itself, like a visitor from an idealized future, one where the
races have combined to a golden hue, sent here to show us the way.  Of
course people fell in love with him.  Yet now we see Obama drawn into the
great room where the Democratic/Corporate establishment dwells, and the
door is slowly closing behind him.  This is not how it was supposed to be.

Obama has just opted out of public financing, the first presidential
candidate to do so since 1972.  NewsHour's Mark Shields, keeper of the
flame for all that is good in the Democratic Party, called it "a flip-flop
of epic proportions," noting that Obama's argument about a GOP financial
advantage was "bogus."  Shields even said it raised issues of Obama's
"character." The New York Times editorialized that 2008 may now be "the
year public financing died."  In seizing a tactical advantage, Obama has
handed an enormous strategic victory to corporate power.

Many progressives will argue that Obama, having raised huge amounts from
small contributors, is akin to getting public financing, which liberates
the candidate from dependence on corporate support.  Yet just the opposite
is happening.  In the three weeks since Hillary Clinton fell upon her
sword, Obama has lurched far to the right.  Consider:

- Obama announced a new financial team of supply-side economists led by
Jason Furman, famous for declaring that it would be "damaging to working
people" if Wal-Mart were to raise its wages and benefits.  Obama had
recently criticized Clinton for serving on the Wal-Mart board, declaring,
"I won't shop there."  In the Audacity of Hope, he sympathized with
"Wal-Mart associates who hold their breath every single month in the hope
they'll have enough money to support their children".

-When questioned in a Fortune interview about his promise to renegotiate
NAFTA to protect workers and the environment, Obama replied, "Sometimes
during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified."

- In a close congressional primary race in Georgia, Obama endorsed a
troglodyte incumbent - a "Bush enabler" - over an exemplary progressive

- In a speech to the Israeli lobby, he moved to the right of Israel's
government by ruling out negotiations with Hamas.  A day earlier, Obama
had told Cuban exile groups that he would only sit down with Raul Castro
if the exiles had a seat at the table, a precondition that Cuba will never
agree to.

- Obama refused to criticize recent Israeli war maneuvers and accompanying
threats to launch massive air attacks on Iran.  He failed to even urge

- Just as a move was growing in the Senate to strip the House-passed
Telecom bill of its immunity provisions, Obama declared his support for
the House version.  Obama's opposition to immunity had been our best hope
to learn whose phones and emails had been wiretapped by the Bush
administration, and to punish those Telecom companies that assisted this
massive criminal enterprise.

Is he lost to us?  Was he ever ours to lose?

Progressives were all too eager to overlook the warning signs in Obama's
brief career, his support for the Patriot Act, for nuclear power, his vote
against limiting credit card interest to 30%, his calls for increased
defense spending, and his equivocation on full withdrawal from Iraq.
These decisions were mere matters of political expediency, we were
assured, not to be taken seriously.

Yet how can political expediency explain Obama's retreat on NAFTA?
Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania are all in play - how many of those voters
have been broken on the wheel of NAFTA?  Those who contend that the real
Obama will suddenly emerge after the election to overturn an imperial
foreign policy and to bring justice to the home front, might be advised
not to hold their breath.

Obama desperately needs pressure from the left, and he is amenable to
pressure.  Once we on the left agree that this analysis is correct, then
we must choose the correct strategy.

So far, blind support of Obama has yielded the same kind of benefits that
we got from John Kerry.  With the united left in his pocket, Kerry went
from a declared "anti-war" candidate to a thoroughly hawkish one, berating
Bush for wimping out in the face of massive civilian casualties in
Falluja, and promising to win the Iraq war.  Unconditional support for the
Democratic nominee is unconditional surrender, with all the utter
powerlessness that the terms imply. [Amen -ed]

As one alternative, we can complain, write and blog, for all these have
their place.  But we are all too good at talking to ourselves, and
disparate efforts without a focus are all too easily dismissed.

We must consider support for Ralph Nader's campaign.  Nader has been as
high as six percent in recent national polls, something he has achieved
with only modest support from left intellectuals, and virtually no
recognition by corporate media.

Yet Google has announced its intent to hold at least one presidential
debate, and has set the bar at 10% support.  It is hard to imagine Obama
or McCain snubbing Google, and the prospect of such a debate carries more
promise than anything the left has seen in recent memory.

For those who claim that Nader can only hurt Obama, I suggest the opposite
is true.  Gore and Kerry were both doomed by the accurate perception that
they were corporate to the core.  People knew in their gut that these guys
were not on their side.  (In 2004, Kerry fled from a living wage
initiative in Florida; it passed nearly three to one.)  It must also be
remembered that in 2000, when Nader was at 5%, a full 15% believed he was
the best candidate.  More importantly, Nader's positions are not just
majoritarian ones, most enjoy overwhelming public support.  Full military
and corporate withdrawal from Iraq, major reductions in the defense
budget, a crackdown on corporate crime, single-payer health care, massive
investment in renewable energy and conservation, a living wage - these
would provide a platform that would send Obama to a historic victory, and
all are available for the taking.

Those who insist we must work only within the Democratic Party have
clearly failed to hold Obama to his promise.  We must get outside the box.
Obama needs a great big push, and we are the only ones who can give it to

Gregory Kafoury is a trial lawyer and political activist in Portland,
Oregon.  He can be reached at kafoury [at]

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

Real Road Rage
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
Jun 23, 2008

As the price of gasoline soars, Americans are forced to think in ways that
they haven't in generations: to drive, or not to drive?

Do they park the car and opt for public transportation?

Or do they try to sell the ole gas guzzler (better known as SUVs) for a
tiny foreign import?

For most of the latter 20th century, a car was seen as an American right,
more sacred than freedom of the press, for while many may've felt that the
functions of a free press was problematic, the freedom to drive (with
relatively cheap gas) was part of the national psyche.

For 50 years suburbs sprang up in the hinterlands of major American cities
- white rings around blacker and bleaker urban centers.  Those mass
migrations were made possible by the car, and affordable gas.

Those days are fast receding into yesteryear as gas prices break records
almost daily.

And despite the sound and fury echoing from the nation's Capitol, or
various presidential campaigns, the simple truth is that U.S. politicians
have little impact on this phenomenon.

That's because oil is an international resource, affected by global
economic and political forces beyond American control.  It's also true
that the toxic tensions released by the Iraq war have destabilized the
region so much that a mere rumor can send prices spiking, feeding
speculation, which profits from his cycle.

In 2003, before bombing even began over Baghdad, oil was selling at nearly
$30 a barrel.

It's now over $135 a barrel.

More than a natural resource, oil has become a financial asset in itself,
like stocks, bonds, real estate or gold. And like many assets, as long as
it appreciates in value it will attract speculators who trade in oil
futures, and in the absence of any real regulation, will push the price as
far as the market will bear (and, after all, isn't that what a 'free
market' means?).

One industry observer, Daniel Yergin, of the Cambridge Energy Research
Associates, noted, "People are hedging against a falling dollar by buying
oil and that hits the price.  The most important thing that could be done
would be for the dollar to rebound.  And that is nothing you can
legislate. " * Moreover, some industry experts have written that
speculation hikes  prices from 20 to 40%!  That means that the price of a
barrel of oil is really closer to $54 than $135, and thus that the price
per gallon should be closer to $2.70!

So, the next time you coast into a gas station, and your jaw tightens as
you notice the latest gas prices, remember why. That price was spiked by
the twin forces of the Iraq war, and the government policy of

Those who expect politicians to ease this problem are dreaming, as shown
by the rejection of a recent bill seeking a windfall profits tax on oil
companies in the Senate.

Exxon, for example, made more money in the last several quarters than any
corporation in the history of business.  Will the politicians who accepted
millions from the likes of them choke this golden goose?

I think not.

So, get angry at the goof who just cut you off, or stole your parking
space.  Get angry at the car full of boys who are banging the bass so
loudly the highway is bouncing.

Get angry at everybody, except the system that made this situation

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an acclaimed American journalist and author who has
been writing from Death Row for more than twenty-five years. Mumia was
sentenced to death after a trial that was so flagrantly racist that
Amnesty International published a detailed report  describing how the
trial "failed to meet minimum international standards safeguarding the
fairness of legal proceedings." Mumia is author of many books,
including Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners vs. The USA,
forthcoming from City Lights Books.


[*Source: Mouawad, Jad, "Oil Prices Are Up and Politicians Are Angry,
Yawn.," New York Times, May 11, 2008, Sun., p.2 (Week in Review section).


[We Americans will put up with anything. Gas at $5? $7 $9? No rebellion,
no revolution - just quiet passive acceptance. There is no s*** Americans
will not eat; the ruling class knows it; we will just sigh and do without
and without and without. We are model brainwashed slaves, pawns, tools.
Tread on us, we don't care, we won't fight, we will go quietly to whatever
hell we're consigned. A triumph of decades of elite brainwashing. In no
other county would people put up with what we do. Decades of lesser evil
has brought us to this point, and we're never going to give it up, no
matter how evil it is. Chalk up total victory for the ruling class; they
will be eating caviar and pheasant under glass when we're eating dirt and
rotting garbage. If we're lucky some other country(s) will gain more power
and put an end to American elite misrule. That's our main hope: that some
country, less corrupted by capitalism, closer to common human nature, will
save us. -ed]

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

 Why there's evil is
 god forgot some stuff but give
 him some slack. Or else.


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