Progressive Calendar 11.17.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 06:46:11 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    11.17.08

1. Vs RNC grand jury    11.17 8:30am
2. Biofuel/starve       11.17 10:45am
3. Peace walk           11.17 6pm RiverFalls WI
4. Torture/film         11.17 6:30pm
5. Journalism - dead?   11.17 7pm
6. Vets Day 4 kids      11.17 7pm
7. Oxfam Action         11.17 7pm
8. City web site tour   11.17 7pm
9. Kip Sullivan/health  11.17 7:30pm
10. Willie Murphy b-day 11.17 7:30pm

11. Charley Underwood - RNC: my letter to the Heffelfinger commission
12. Grace Kelly       - RNC: Why tear gas, pepper spray & flash bangs?
13. Charley Underwood - Fletcher justifies police violence during RNC
14. Michael Cavlan    - Police torture protesters during RNC
15. Grace Kelly       - Why must cops preview StP videos before release?
16. Louis Proyect     - The early days Of The Nation Magazine

--------1 of 16--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Vs RNC grand jury 11.17 8:30am

Monday, 11/17, 8:30 am, People's Fishing Expedition: put on your fishing
clothes and bring your gear, to protest the Grand Jury fishing expedition
into RNC protests, Federal Courthouse, 300 S 4th St, Mpls.

--------2 of 16--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Biofuel/starve 11.17 10:45am

Minneapolis Branch American Association of University Women. 9:30 - 10:30:
A Morning with Emily Dickinson with Maggie Pistner. 10:45 - 11:45 AM: How
Biofuels Starve the Poor. Noon - 1:15 PM: Luncheon. 1:15 - 2:15 PM: The
Aging Spine with Erica Visto. 2115 Stevens Ave., Minneapolis.

                  [feed a car - starve a person]

--------3 of 18--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 11.17 6pm RiverFalls WI

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

--------4 of 16--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Torture/film 11.17 6:30pm

FREE Third Monday Movies and Discussion: "Taxi to the Dark Side"

Monday, November 17, 6:30 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 Third Avenue
South, Minneapolis. An in-depth look at the torture practices of the
United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an
innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.
Sponsored by: the WAMM Third Monday Movies Committee. FFI: Call WAMM,

--------5 of 16--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Journalism - dead? 11.17 7pm

The National Press Club Comes to Minneapolis

Does Journalism Have a Future?
Monday, November 17, 7:00 p.m.
Coffman Memorial Union Theater
Free and open to the public

To celebrate its centennial, the National Press Club is organizing forums
across the country on the First Amendment, freedom of the press and the
future of journalism. A panel of leading local journalists will discuss
where the news business is going and how to preserve its core values.

Panelists include Thom Fladung, Editor, St. Paul Pioneer Press; Nancy
Barnes, Editor, Star Tribune; Joel Kramer, CEO and Editor, MinnPost; Nora
Paul, Director, Institute for New Media Studies, and Moderator, Alan
Bjerga, Bloomberg News and National Press Club treasurer.

This forum is part of a nationwide conversation the National Press Club is
holding during its 100th anniversary to look at where the news business is
going and what news consumers should be demanding. Schedules and video
highlights of forums in other states can be found on the Club's Web site:

--------6 of 16--------

From: Veterans for Peace Chapter 27 <vfpchapter27 [at]>
Subject: Vets Day 4 kids 11.17 7pm

Got this from Colleen Rowley .... I encourage vets to show up and ensure
these kids get the real deal, not a recruitment pitch. - Chante

From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at]>
Subject: Veterans Day panel for school children

Veteran's Tribute: Those Who Served
Monday, November 17, 2008
7 p.m.
Apple Valley American Legion Post 1776
14521 Granada Drive, Apple Valley

Hear veteran's poignant stories and experiences while serving in WW II,
Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf and Iraq wars. A representative from each of
these wars is a member of a panel moderated by Stan Turner, Twin Cites
broadcast journalist, former KSTP news anchor.

Meet veterans Jim Downey (Burnsville), WW II, Alan Morphew (Lakeville),
Korea, Richard Loynachan (Lakeville), Vietnam, Eric Lee (Apple Valley),
Persian Gulf and Craig Schwarzbauer (Eagan), Iraq.  Craig Schwarzbauer is
a 2001 graduate of Eastview High School. Students are encouraged to
attend. There is no admission; a free will donation will be accepted to
support future veteran events. No RSVP required. This event is sponsored
by Apple Valley American Legion Post 1776 and District 196 Community
Education. Questions? Contact Jan Stoven

--------7 of 16--------

From: Oxfam Action Corps - MN <minnesota [at]>
Subject: Oxfam Action 11.17 7pm

On the 3rd Monday of each month, we gather to plan our nonpartisan
grassroots activities. We've successfully organized events, lobbied
policymakers, and have used sheer creativity to stand up for meaningful
change. Our next meeting is this coming Monday, August 18 at 7pm. We meet
at the unique Common Roots Café (2558 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis).

Anyone can become an Oxfam Action Corps volunteer. Remember, our entire
team is volunteer organized and driven - the only qualification is a
passion to end suffering. New members join regularly. Stop by this Monday
even if you can only spare a few minutes. We'd love to meet you. You can
contact us at minnesota [at]

--------8 of 16--------

From: Cathi Lyman-Onkka <mclbaskets [at]>
Subject: City web site tour 11.17 7pm

The next two Saint Paul E-Democracy Outreach workshops, at the Rondo
Community Outreach Library, will be tours of the City of Saint Paul web
site, on November 17, and the Ramsey County web site, on November 24.
Learn from city and county staff who work on these web sites what is
online, and how you can use their site to learn about their operations,
programs and services, and connect with your local elected officials.

The sessions start at 7:00 p.m. and last until about 8:15. They are held
in the electronic classroom at the Rondo library, 461 N. Dale Street,
Saint Paul, MN 55103.

St. Paul City Web Site Tour
Monday, November 17, 7:00 p.m.

Ramsey County Web Site Tour
Monday, November 24, 7:00 p.m.

State of MN Resources on the Web Tour
Monday, December 1, 7:00 p.m.

Following the Legislature on the Web
Monday, December 8, 7:00 p.m.

--------9 of 16--------

From: Diane J. Peterson <birch7 [at]>
Subject: Kip Sullivan/health 11.17 7:30pm


Speaker - Kip Sullivan, author of The Health Care Mess - How We Got into
It and How We'll Get out of It Kip Sullivan will discuss what's wrong with
the health-care system and how to fix it, in terms everyone can

Monday, November 17, 2008 - 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Woodbury City Hall Birch Room 8301 Valley Creek Road, Woodbury
Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Woodbury-Cottage Grove

[God says, Whenever I need to know anything about single payer health
insurance, I ask Kip Sullivan. God knows (actually, doeesn't know) how he
does it. -ed]

--------10 of 16--------

From: amykru <amykru [at]>
Subject: Willie Murphy b-day 11.17 7:30pm

Come help local progressive celebrate his birthday!  Willie Murphy is
playing his Blue Monday on his Birthday, November 17, at the Eagles Club
in Minneapolis: 2507 E 25th St (E 25th St. at 25th Ave S. in the Seward
neighborhood).  Music starts around 7:30.  If you play, bring your
instrument and join in.

Willie's involvement helped establish many things we now take for granted
from Community Radio to Food Coops.  His latest record, "Devil in the
White House" is currently available with the unforgettable line, "We used
to call him Beelzebub, now we just call him Bubba."  He continues his work
as an activist and is ready for the Revolution.

--------11 of 16--------

Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 03:33:34 -0600 (CST)
From: Charley Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: RNC: my letter to the Heffelfinger commission

(Since I had to work last Thursday night when testimony was being taken
regarding the RNC, my only choice was to send my comments to them via
email.  Note: Comments are being accepted only through today, 11/14,08, by
emailing lucie.passus (at) stpaul (dot) gov The following is my letter.)

One of the saddest fatalities of the Republican National Convention was
the previously good community policing by the St. Paul Police Department.

No department is perfect, of course, but the basic relationship between
the Twin Cities peace community and the St. Paul Police Department was
unusual for the ongoing tone of mutual respect.  Even when peace people
were performing acts of non-violent civil disobedience and were therefore
arrested, the bilateral understanding was that each side was doing its job
as professionally as possible.  Peace people understood that the police
had the job of arresting them for any illegal acts, however non-violent.
Police often agreed with the political goals of the protesters if not the
tactics, and the police almost always understood that even civil
disobedience was devoid of any danger to civic order or to their own
personal security.

Against this backdrop, a meeting was held nearly a year before the
convention, specifically to calm any concerns about the upcoming

On October 23, 2007, the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers and the
University of St Thomas Justice and Peace Department invited the St Paul
police to discuss the upcoming Republican National Convention. It was
absolutely amazing to look back on the promises made and compare them to
what actually happened. Let's review. Assistant St Paul Police Chief Matt
Bostrom promised that St Paul would absolutely NOT be a repeat of Seattle
1999. He said that we would not be following the brutal and repressive
"Miami model" from the 2003 FTAA protests, but that there would be a warm
and welcoming "St Paul model" for all to see. He said that what got him
out of bed in the morning was his abiding concern for civil liberties.

Bostrom promised that there absolutely nobody would be arrested unless
they committed a specific crime, that there would not been any general
sweeps. (Fact: There were actually three mass arrests for "being in the
wrong place at the wrong time," on Shepard Road September 1, after the
Rage-Against-the-Machine concert in Minneapolis on September 3, and on the
Marion Street bridge on September 4.)

Bostrom promised the police officers would be readily identifiable and
wearing regular police uniforms, not tactical gear. (Fact: Nearly all
"security" personnel were clad in black "ninja turtle" suits, with no unit
or personal identification visible, and even covered up so much that it
was usually impossible to determine gender.) Bostrom promised there might
be some changes in traffic patterns, but there would be absolutely no
restrictions in foot traffic. (Fact: Nearly every bridge near St Paul was
closed at one point or another, and major parts of the downtown area were
blockaded on each day of the convention.)

Bostrom promised that all "security" would be under the supervision of the
St Paul Police Department and that any other jurisdictions cooperating
with the event would be "partnered" with St Paul officers and under the
direct control of the St Paul Police Department. (No contradicting "facts"
here, but I have yet to meet a single person who concluded that St Paul
Police controlled security of the convention. Most would speculate that
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher was in immediate control, but that the
general direction was determined by some anonymous federal agency.)

Matt Bostrom declared there would be absolutely no restrictions on free
speech and that, in fact, the entire city of St Paul would be a "free
speech zone." (Fact: You couldn't even get to the "public expression" zone
most evenings of the convention, because the streets were blocked by
menacing lines of black-clad individuals in riot gear.) Bostrom said that
there would be permits granted in advance, but that officers on the scene
would also be able to grant permits "on the fly." (Fact: The Thursday
march permit was actually revoked "on the fly" and nearly 400 people were
later arrested as they attempted to march to the Xcel Center.)

Bostrom promised that St Paul police would not let federal agents "go
after people." (This might be technically true, if all those preventative
arrests were at the initiative of Bob Fletcher and not merely Fletcher
acting on behalf of some federal agency.)

Bostrom promised that protesters would be able to confront the Republicans
within "sight and sound" in accordance with previous court rulings. (Fact:
Thursday's march was specifically prohibited from going crossing
Interstate 94 or going anywhere near the Xcel Center.)

Bostrom promised that there would be no massive holding pens or arrest
quotas of 3,000 people. (Fact: False on the holding pens, but technically
correct on the quota number, since only about 800 were actually arrested.
It should be mentioned, however, that many more were tased and especially
pepper-sprayed than any previous similar event.)

Bostrom said that there were "no plans" to infiltrate any groups. (Fact:
Recent court records relating to search warrants indicated that
infiltration had actually started at least the month before, probably
under the supervision of the Ramsey County Sheriff's office.)

Bostrom indicated that no private security would be hired. (Both Pioneer
Press and Star Tribune reported that a million dollars was approved by the
St Paul City Council for private security.)

I have saved the most interesting promise for last. Professor Gerald
Schlabach of the St Thomas Justice and Peace Department asked Chief Matt
Bostrom a very serious question toward the end of the evening. Schlabach
wondered how Bostrom would react if St Paul lost control of the convention
security to a different agency and if all of the promises were broken.
Gerald Schlabach asked Chief Bostrom if Bostrom would resign.

Matt Bostrom thought quietly for a good long moment. He didn't answer in a
way that seemed impulsive or off-the-cuff. Bostrom seemed to really
consider the question quite seriously before answering. Then Bostrom
answered quite simply that he would resign. (Fact: Bostrom is still
employed as Assistant Chief of the St Paul Police Department. Like the
other promises, this one was broken.)

The video of that evening's presentation is not in my possession, but I
have been able to determine where it is and I believe I could obtain a
copy for any investigators who have even the slightest interest in
reviewing the false promises that officials in St. Paul made prior to the

It is not my intention to criticize only Chief Matt Bostrom.  The problem
is much greater than one person, of course.  His was the public face of
the many official lies and broken promises surrounding the RNC.

Those of us who witnessed many of the events in St. Paul during that time
saw numerous cases of arbitrary arrests, arbitrary pepper-spray, massive
intimidation of non-violent protest through the use of anonymous and
riot-clad officers with lethal batons and less-lethal weapons deployed
during legal and permitted protests.

Those of us on the streets during those days (I myself was volunteering as
a street medic during most of the convention) have spoken to many
bystanders who were pepper-sprayed or arrested, sometimes while
specifically obeying police orders.  Those of us with computers and
internet access have seen the videos of wanton police violence against the

Here's the problem.  The St. Paul Police Department and the Ramsey County
Sheriff's Office have chosen to protect themselves from any accountability
to the public.  They have chosen to do this by donning anonymous riot
uniforms, disguising not only personal identity, but masking the actual
units of the officers as well.  It thus became impossible to link any
excessive violence with any particular individual, police department or
other agency.  They have also done this by refusing to release the
thousands of hours of videotape to citizen groups or even lawyers
defending their clients.  They have refused to apologize or even
investigate any police misconduct, preferring to close ranks behind the
myth that everything was just fine.

It is also quite amazing that absolutely no information has been released
regarding most of the actual violations of law.  I have tried for many
hours, for example, to discover if any charges were pending against the
individual who broke the Macy's window on September 1 and the individuals
who broke the squad car windows on September 1.  I have called the St.
Paul City Attorney's Office, the St. Paul Police, the Ramsey County
Sheriff's Office, and the Ramsey County Prosecutor's Office.  There has
been a complete stonewalling, in spite of the fact that these two
incidents where the ones used to justify the massive police violence that
we witnessed during those days.

The general belief in the community is that these incidents will not be
charged because they were done by provocateurs.  I have no idea if the
majority of the property destruction was committed by those on the police
payroll, or if there is some other explanation for the lack of arrests for
actual breakage.  I only know that there were hundreds and hundreds of
officers in the area of each incident, that these crimes are not even
being mentioned at this point.

And I know that only the more speculative and political crime of
"conspiracy" is being mentioned through official outlets.  In this world,
graywater becomes "weaponized" urine and old tires or roofing nails become

Perhaps it is a foregone conclusion that police officers will protect
their own regardless of the law, much like Mafia omerta or other gang
loyalty. There will be a heavy price to pay, however, if this is the
eventual conclusion.  Police will be seen exclusively as the protectors of
the powerful, rather than the protectors of the people.  Police will be
seen as dangerous.  Police will be seen as the enemy, merely because they
have chosen to treat peaceful citizens as the enemy.

If we are to return to a model of community policing, if we are to have
the police be protectors of the people and enforcers of the law, rather
than lawless enforcers of terroristic official power, then we must right a
few wrongs committed during the convention.  I have several suggestions.

First, drop all charges against those rounded up in the mass arrests on
Shepard Road, on the Marion Street bridge and in Minneapolis after the
Rage concert; charge only those who committed actual acts of violence
against people or damage against property.  Drop all charges that have to
do with being "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Second, drop all the conspiracy charges.  These are thought crimes, open
to whim, influence and paranoia.  Charge only those who committed actual

Third, conduct real, open hearings into citizen complaints of police
violence.  Let there be sworn testimony and the possibility of criminal
charges where actual assaults have occurred.

Fourth, dismiss all police and sheriff's officers who have made false
statements in their reports.  Have their statements be evaluated for
criminal prosecution.

Fifth, examine the legality of anonymous policing.  Those black ninja
outfits have no place in a democracy, and my understanding is that there
are already state laws that prohibit such practices.

Sixth, immediately secure all video evidence during the convention so that
none may be erased or destroyed.  Release such evidence to all lawyers
representing defendants, to all journalists of any description, and to the
general public at large (perhaps through internet access).

Seventh, give some explanation as to why such illegal intimidation and
massive use of chemical weapons was allowed to occur.  This wasn't the
plan.  What happened?

Last, apologize.  Minnesotans are a kind and forgiving people.  Mistakes
will happen.  But most of us hate lies and we love our freedom.  We have
heard a lot of lies and lost a lot of freedom.  A sincere apology by at
least two mayors, one police chief and a sheriff would go a long way.

Sincerely, Charles Underwood

Charley Underwood Longfellow (SD 62 A), Minneapolis Info about Charley

--------12 of 16--------

Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2008 06:06:02 +1300 (NZDT)
From: "Grace Kelly (nicknamed Kelly)" <saintcurmudgeon [at]>
Subject: RNC: Why the Use of Tear Gas, Pepper Spray and Flash Bangs?

The use of tear gas, pepper spray and flash bangs has been bothering me.
Before the use of these items, there was no problem with crowd control.
The police clearly demonstrated that by moving people around the city.
There was no active resistance to arrest except for one football tackle,
otherwise people were shocked yet compliant. With 3,500 police officers,
clearly the police had enough police power to dominate any situation
without tear gas, pepper spray and flash bangs. Tear gas, pepper spray and
flash bangs hurt innocent people, so why were they used?

Then I had a realization. Without tear gas, the police would not have the
excuse of putting on tear gas masks to make them less identifiable.
Without tear gas, the so-called-anarchists would not have the excuse of
putting on bandannas to make them less identifiable. Without pepper spray,
the so-called-anarchists would not have the excuse of putting on hooded
shirts to make them less identifiable. Without flash bangs, then there
would be no mass running to cover the so-called-anarchists get

See many of us went to the event with video cameras intent on taping any
lawbreaking what-so-ever. We even had video cameras mounted on all the
streets. So without tear gas, pepper spray and flash bangs, we would have
documented any lawbreaking in detail. Without tear gas, pepper spray and
flash bangs, we would gotten closer. Without tear gas, pepper spray and
flash bangs, faces would have been recorded. Without tear gas, pepper
spray and flash bangs,the only people running would have been the bad
guys. These reasons fit too well.

--------13 of 16--------

Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2008 16:21:03 +1300 (NZDT)
From: Charley Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: MPR interview: Fletcher justifies police violence during RNC

I have been completely astounded to listen to the interviews that
Minnesota Public Radio reporter Laura Yuen had with Ramsey County Sheriff
Bob Fletcher and St Paul Police Chief John Harrington, broadcast November
13 and 14.  A number of statements struck me as unintentionally revealing,
the most shocking coming from Fletcher.

Fletcher was responding to a question from Yuen, wondering if the Mobile
Field Force was called in too late during the more destructive actions on
September 1.

Fletcher responded, "I'm not going to argue that the Mobile Field Force
should have been used earlier.  It was constructive for the community to
be able to see and to get consensus from the community that these types of
criminal acts need to be addressed.  Quite often in criminal law
enforcement, if we move too quickly, we are second-guessed more."

I truly urge others on this list to listen to Fletcher's own voice.  I can
imagine three possible interpretations for his words.  First
interpretation: We didn't want that property destruction on September 1,
but it was good it happened because now people can understand why we acted
so violently.  Second interpretation: We let it happen to justify our
actions.  Third interpretation: We arranged for it to happen so we could
justify our actions.

We all understand reality through the lens of our own experiences, of

My experience was witnessing the arrests and the pepper-spraying of many
individuals who had committed no crime.  I witnessed thousands of
black-clad officers menacing peaceful protesters with huge cudgels and
chemical weapons during non-violent, legal, permitted marches.

I have talked with witnesses to the Macy's window breakage and the patrol
car window breakage, who claim that there was a massive police presence at
both scenes and that no attempts were made to arrest the perpetrators.  I
spent many hours on the phone to nearly 20 officials (in the St Paul
Police, the Ramsey County Sheriff's office, the Ramsey County Prosecutor's
office and the St Paul City Attorney's office) trying to determine if, in
fact, any charges had been made in those two "justifying" and iconic
incidents; I have been completely stonewalled by every single person I
asked, leading me to wonder at the seeming disinterest in charging out
these crimes.

Disproportionate charges (with potential jail time to nearly 8 years) are
now pending against people who were locked up in Ramsey County custody
during the entire convention.  The evidence cited against them includes
mostly a few roofing nails, a couple of buckets of graywater and some old

Frankly, I am more and more convinced that St Paul Police Chief John
Harrington completely lost control of this security operation to a person
who has little respect for the law and even less respect for the freedoms
we all cherish.  I am completely persuaded that if Mayor Chris Coleman,
Chief John Harrington and the city council maintain their silence in the
face of so much police violence, then the paranoid narrative of Bob
Fletcher will prevail.  We will all then be in much greater danger from
Bob Fletcher.

I urge others to listen to the interviews and to examine the facts.  To
me, the RNC was a military siege of the Twin Cities by Bob Fletcher,
allowed to occur by a money-motivated city council and a police chief
cowed by Fletcher's outrageous actions.

If we do not address this amazing over-reaching intimidation and usurping
of power by Bob Fletcher, our long-term safety is in danger.  Failing to
challenge a public official who places himself so much above the law will
only lead to more official lawlessness in the future.  I strongly urge the
mayor, the city council, the policed chief and in fact responsible and
honest police officers to publicly condemn such outrage.  If they don't,
we are doomed to continued arbitrary exercise of unchecked power.

You can find the audio I reference at

Then click on the title "Sheriff Bob Fletcher on the mobile field force
during the RNC" on the right-hand side, about halfway down.

--------14 of 16--------

Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2008 15:57:42 -0600 (GMT-06:00)
From: Michael Cavlan  <ollamhfaery [at]>
Subject: Police Torture Protesters During RNC

Allegations of Police Torture of Activists and Other Abuses Raised During
Republican National Convention

At a Press Conference Thursday, November 13th, at the Capitol Building in
St Paul, Minnesota activists involved in the protests during the
Republican National Convention, raised the issue of abuses of power by the
local police. This includes the horrifying allegation of police actually
torturing protesters in the Ramsey County Jail in St Paul. Also included
was allegations and stories of systemic abuse of police power and
authority from activists, street medics and others, in the streets of St
Paul and Minneapolis before, during and after the 2008 Republican National

Of course, you would be remiss if you have just found this information
out. In a free and open democratic society, with a free and independent
press, allegations of this nature, actual torture of peaceful, non violent
dissenters, practicing their First Amendment Rights of Free Speech, Free
Assembly and to Peacefully Petition the Government of Our Grievances,
should, I repeat should make headlines, demanding an immediate
investigation into these substantiated allegations.

Likewise, the reports of governmental abuses of power, targeting peaceful
dissenters under the Patriot Act. This has happened, with some of those so
charged are in fact Quakers. Let me repeat that for emphasis, Quakers are
being charged with terrorism under the Patriot Act. This is now the case
with the now dubbed RNC 8.

All of these facts should be making news, screaming from headlines, if we
indeed lived in an open, democratic society, with a free and independent
press. At the Press Conference was representatives from local ABC
affiliate KSTP, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, St
Paul Pioneer Press and the Twin Citied Daily Planet (a local on line
citizen driven source).

However, we live in the United States Of America so we do not have a free
and open democratic society and we most certainly do not have a Free and
Independent Press, or at least not in the corporate media.

Of all the media present, only the Twin Cities Daily Planet made a halfway
decent coverage of the story. The Star Tribune had a small story, hidden
away in the middle of the local section, with no reference to police
torture or other serious allegations. The St Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota
Public Radio and KSTPthe ABC affiliate had no mention of the story at all.
Obviously the Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News have not covered
the story either.

Fortunately, we do have a growing, ever critical independent media, such
as Op Ed News which has become critical to inform the public of events in
our world today.

So now the dubbed RNC 8, who are eight young activists charged with
conspiracy to felony riot, in the furtherance of terrorism, under the
Minnesota Patriot Act face a possible 7 and 1/2 years in prison. As stated
earlier, two of these young people are in fact Quakers. Quakers are noted
for their twin devotion to the principles of non-violence and opposition
to all forms of oppression. they now need our help. Please spread the
word, far and wide about their case. Donate to their cause. They are
currently holding yard sales to raise money. They deserve better support
than that. You can obtain for information on their case and donate by
visiting their website or you can contact Communities
United Against Police Brutality at

To obtain some of the information on just some of the documented abuses of
police power during the RNC there is now a documentary movie, called
Terrorizing Dissent.  Visit the website where you can watch the movie and
even download it to DVDs.  The makers of the movie have made no money on
it and in fact have made it public domain, so that people can spread the
word. The site is

To watch the election cut preview you can watch here

To watch the gut wrenching testimony of one of the people tortured by the
police, watch here.

It must be noted that this testimony was arranged by St Paul City
Councilman David Thune

Councilman Thune has been virtually alone in standing up in the St Paul
and Minneapolis City Councils and making an actual racket demanding that
those brutalized be given a voice.

The "progressive" Democrat Mayors RT Ryback of Minneapolis, Mayor Coleman
in St Paul and the entire "progressive" City Councils in Minneapolis and
St Paul gave the police full authority to do what they did during the
Republican National Convention.

Consider this a clarion call, much as Paul Revere did in crying "The
British are coming, the British are coming."

This is not a call to talk, debate or ponder. It is a call to action.
First by simply donating money to the RNC 8 and then by watching the
documentary Terrorizing Dissent, making copies, showing friends and

In other words, it is a call to wake up and wake up others, before it is
too late.

It is your clarion call. Time to act on it.

--------15 of 16--------

Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2008 15:51:41 -0600 (GMT-06:00)
From: Kelly <saintcurmudgeon [at]>
Subject:  Why must St Paul videos be previewed by police before

Why aren't the street videos available to us all? Why does the police have
to preview the videos before releasing access to the videos? Could
"previewing" be code for altering or losing any evidence that might be
damaging to the police? Why do we have the ones accused, in this case the
police, controlling the evidence?

So while the police are supposedly understaffed and underpaid, somehow
they are going to find time to go over the 6.000 hours of street video
tape before allowing anyone else to see it.

Quote:On Thursday, community groups held a news conference at the state
Capitol and said police, not protesters, were the aggressors during the
convention. They demanded that more than 6,000 hours of police video be
publicly released, saying the footage would show police misconduct and
people being wrongly arrested....

Attorneys affiliated with the National Lawyers Guild are representing many
of the 818 convention arrestees, and they haven't received copies of the
video footage either, said Rachel Bengtson, vice president of the Guild's
Minnesota chapter. St. Paul City Attorney John Choi said all the video
would be disclosed to defense attorneys as required by the rules of
criminal procedure and court orders.

He also said city officials are working to fulfill video requests made
under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

"We have made a conscious decision in the city to be open and forthright
with any video that is in our possession," Choi said. "The reality is that
someone needs to review the video prior to releasing it, and that is a
monumental task requiring lots of staff time."

He said he didn't know when the videos would be ready. The city has
received 380 requests for convention-related information, Choi said.
(Pioneer Press) Unquote.

Why did Choi say, "The reality is that someone needs to review the video
prior to releasing it" and why does that have to happen?  Basically there
was $69,000 of glass breakage and slashed tires, that allegedly happened
from non-police. The accusations are that the police basically tear
gassed, pepper sprayed, tazored, and using many violent techniques on
people that were not doing any lawbreaking or doing minor things like
having too large pole for a banner.


Quote: Three people detailed their allegations of police brutality. One
was Jason Johnson, 33, of Cedar Lake, Ind., who was arrested Sept. 2.

Johnson said he was attending a permitted rally and march that began at
Mears Park when he followed a crowd and entered a crosswalk. He said a
mounted police officer grabbed him.

"Before I had any time to react to anything at all, I was shot twice by
Taser guns," Johnson said. He said it felt like his body was on fire. "I
woke up on the ground sometime later, being Tased repeatedly on my legs,"
Johnson said.

Johnson has pleaded not guilty to obstructing legal process. (Pioneer
Press) Unquote.

In light the seriousness of the charges against the police, with
independent film already providing a basic case, should this same police
have control of the video from the street?

--------16 of 16--------

The Early Days Of The Nation Magazine
by Louis Proyect

(Swans - November 17, 2008)  For people trying to understand the
bankruptcy of American liberalism, there is probably no better place to
start than The Nation magazine. I first began subscribing to The Nation in
the 1980s when Reagan was in the White House. As a general rule of thumb,
the magazine is more readable when a Reagan or a Bush is president. During
the Clinton presidency, The Nation directed most of its fire at "threats"
to his presidency from the likes of Newt Gingrich rather than seeing the
war on the poor as a joint Democrat-Republican project.

In 2003, after seeing one too many attack on the radical wing of the
antiwar movement in the pages of The Nation, I decided to write a rebuttal
to what I described as its "tainted liberalism." My research revealed that
from the very beginning, the magazine was hostile to the kinds of
grassroots radical movements celebrated in Howard Zinn's history --
especially under the stewardship of the founding publisher and editor E.L.
Godkin. In 1978, an unstinting biography of Godkin written by William M.
Armstrong appeared but The Nation understandably decided not to review it.
After having read Armstrong's book, I have a much better handle on where
the magazine came from.

Like the demented uncle or aunt kept secluded in a Victorian attic, The
Nation has kept mum about E.L. Godkin. The last time an article about the
founder appeared in its pages was back on July 22, 1950. Written by
Columbia University historian Allan Nevins, "E.L. Godkin: Victorian
Liberal" is a mixture of fact and fancy. It is notable for its patronizing
attitude toward black Americans, a trait strongly identified with The
Nation's tepid brand of abolitionism in the 1860s.

For Nevins, among the tasks confronting Godkin in 1865 was how to deal
with "four million ignorant, destitute Negroes." Along with fellow
founding board members including Frederick Law Olmstead (the architect of
Central Park), they gathered money to launch a new magazine with the
"bewildered black man at heart." While Nevins was critical of Godkin's
"denunciation" of trade unions seeking an eight-hour day, he was still
considered more "truly liberal" than other followers of John Stuart Mill
and the Manchester school. Specifically he "desired Washington to do more
for the education, economic betterment, and political training of the
Negro." Reading Nevins, one cannot suppress the feeling that he is talking
about convicts in need of training programs to help prepare them for life
outside of prison.

One has to wonder how Nevins's brand of bloviation found itself into a
magazine that ostensibly upheld progressive traditions. While the subject
of this article is Godkin rather than Nevins, it is of some interest that
his book on John D. Rockefeller was described thusly by Matthew Josephson,
author of the muckraking classic "The Robber Barons":

It was in the course of doing work for the five Rockefeller books that
Nevins developed the interesting thesis that the American corporate
adventurers to whom Matthew Josephson gave the enduring name of "The
Robber Barons" were in fact American heroes, builders of the American
civilization and democracy. He invited other historians to follow in his
footsteps in this thesis, but so far nobody has conspicuously accepted.
And if anyone does, one will be able to see the American intellectual
horizon further muddled. I have given writers like Nevins the sobriquet of
"counter-savants." A savant, or man of learning, is devoted to increasing
knowledge. And knowledge has the function of deepening understanding. A
counter-savant, however, is a man of knowledge who uses his knowledge, for
reasons known only to himself, to obfuscate understanding, to confuse
readers. The fact is that Nevins' corrective portrait of Rockefeller is
not only false with respect to the central character, but frustrates
understanding with the unsophisticated reader.

After filling in some background on E.L. Godkin in the first four chapters
(he was born and raised in Ireland, a follower of John Stuart Mill, and
aspired to the lifestyle of a country gentleman, and even owned a horse in
New York City), Armstrong gets down to brass tacks in chapter five titled
"Founding the Nation."

The men (as was expected to be the case in the Victorian era) who provided
start-up capital for The Nation in 1865 were abolitionists who expected it
to promote "the removal of all artificial distinctions between [the black]
and the rest of the population." Godkin, whose opposition to slavery was
based more on a liberal preference for markets than anything else, was
simply not that interested in empowering former slaves.

After lining up the necessary funding from prominent members of the
Radical wing of the Republican Party, The Nation magazine began publishing
in 1865. However, the magazine took people by surprise since it criticized
some of the most respected Radicals including Benjamin Butler as it
equivocated on black rights. Radical leader Charles Sumner wrote a letter
to other investors complaining that the magazine "does more hurt than
good... An argument to show that Equality is not essential to the
Republican ideas is in the worst vein of copper-headism." (The copperheads
were Northern Democrats who opposed the Civil War.)

Two of the abolitionist founders of the magazine, Wendell Phillips and
George L. Stearns, called for Godkin's dismissal, but the majority
reluctantly decided to go along with him. Eventually Godkin lined up the
necessary funds to buy out the more radical-minded investors and The
Nation was now free to pursue an approach that Armstrong describes as

In his hard-hitting political and social articles, Godkin directed his
fire impartially at anyone who violated the "laws of trade" as well as his
elevated notions of culture. He deplored Irish-American politicians, labor
reformers, the "Western type of man," evangelical clergymen, the growing
"servant problem," the eight-hour day, the failure of Americans to dress
for dinner, "sentiment," untutored immigrants, universal manhood suffrage,
popular journalists, noisy patriots, reactionaries, and reformers of all

Godkin struck Progressive historians Charles and Mary Beard as a Brahmin
"mainly pleading for good manners" while Armstrong describe his personal
letters as revealing a "veritable snob" who complained incessantly about
"the democratic plan of doing everything" in the United States.

Just one year after The Nation began publishing, Godkin admitted that he
had veered so far from the original abolitionist intentions of the
investors that he was "afraid to visit Boston this winter, lest the
stockholders of The Nation should lynch me." Ironically, it was lynching
in the South and other assaults against blacks that Godkin grew inured to.
Just as President Andrew Johnson began to sabotage efforts at
Reconstruction in the South against the objections of Radical Republicans
and open the door to KKK lynch mobs, Godkin rushed to defend Johnson. When
attempts to oust the racist President Johnson failed, Godkin pronounced
this as a vindication of the law.

As the 1870s began, Godkin openly broke with the Radicals, assailed
carpetbaggers, and called for the restoration of white power in the South.
In an 1874 editorial he advised The Nation's readers that he found the
average intelligence of blacks "so low that they are slightly above the
level of animals." He longed for the return of southern conservatives to
power in 1877 eagerly, writing Harvard professor Charles Eliot Norton and
fellow adversary of democratic rule that "I do not see . . . . the negro
is ever to be worked into a system of government for which you and I would
have much respect." Suffice it to say that people such as E.L. Godkin,
Charles Eliot Norton, and Allan Nevins were virtual symbols of American
liberalism for over 100 years. The only reason that their polite (and not
so polite) racism has become antiquated is that black people themselves
would not tolerate it.

A combination of Godkin's Manchester school liberalism and his innate
crudeness as a human being allowed him to write an editorial in 1877
explaining why slavery would not come back. The whites would find no gains
in it from the cold logic of the marketplace:

Their minds are really occupied with making money . . . and their designs
on the negro are confined to getting him to work for low wages. His wages
are low -- forty cents a day and rations, which cost ten cents -- but he
is content with it. . . . On one [Virginia plantation] there were, before
the war, about one hundred and fifty slaves of all ages. The owner, at
emancipation, put them in wagons and deposited them in Ohio. His successor
now works the plantation with twelve hired men. . . . He laughs when you
ask him if he regrets slavery. Nothing would induce him to take care of
one hundred fifty men, women, and children, furnishing perhaps thirty able
bodied men, littering the house with a swarm of lazy servants, and making
heavy drafts on the meat-house and corn-crib, and running up doctor's

As I tried to explain in a Swans article on Jesse James, the
racist attacks on Reconstruction first appeared in the state of Missouri
under the auspices of the Liberal Republican Party. While the party only
lasted for a brief time in the 1870s, it had a major impact on American
history by coalescing racist opposition to black rights. Among the early
supporters of the Liberal Republicans was E.L. Godkin of The Nation
magazine, who agreed strongly with their desire for rapprochement with the
South as well as their free trade policies that jibed with his Manchester
school liberalism. Godkin subsequently broke with the liberals, but not
over any principles. He simply preferred Charles Francis Adams as a
presidential candidate to Horace Greeley.

After Godkin passed on, the job of running The Nation fell to Oliver
Garrison Villard, who was something of an improvement. His father Henry
Villard had bought paper in 1881 and he decided to give his son Oliver a
job. Oliver got his middle name from his mother's side of the family. She
was the daughter of William Lloyd Garrison, Jr., the country's best known
white abolitionist, who introduced her to Villard.

Henry Villard, born Heinrich Hilgard in Bavaria, came to the United States
to launch a career as a journalist but eventually wound up as a railroad
entrepreneur working alongside robber baron Jay Cooke, who sought his help
in increasing German immigration to land owned by his Northern Pacific
Railroad. Meanwhile Garrison, The Nation's literary editor, set up a
meeting between Villard and an Englishman named William Lawson, who was
seeking an agent for some very large stock transactions. With the Gilded
Age in full swing, Villard's relationship with Lawson "brought him
experience in stock brokerage, some tidy profits, and growing insight into
the upper reaches of high finance." So writes his granddaughter Alexandra
Villard Borchgrave, the wife of ultrarightist journalist Arnaud
Borchgrave, in her biography of Henry Villard. She adds:

When other workers refused certain tasks or demanded rates that he
considered exorbitant, Villard turned to cheap labor, particularly Chinese
coolies, whom he imported by the boatload -- he boasted of having as many
as fifteen thousand of them in the field when Northern Pacific
construction was at its peak -- and who offered employers inestimable
advantages: they worked harder and more efficiently than their Caucasian
counterparts, often performing jobs that others found too hazardous, and
they did so for less money.  Between Godkin's ideological support for
slavery and Villard's super-exploitation of Chinese workers, there's not
much to choose between.

While The Nation would never be as bad as it was under Godkin, it would
never challenge the system that produced the kinds of ills that it has
criticized for well over 100 years. It has always been funded by
"enlightened" members of the capitalist class like Henry Villard or the
current crop of investors who feel the need to point out its shortcomings
but who can't conceive of alternatives to the system that has blessed them
with riches beyond imagination.

Works cited in this article:

William A. Armstrong, E. L. Godkin: A Biography, State University of New
York Press, 1978.

Alexandra Villard Borchgrave, Villard: The Life And Times Of An American
Titan, Doubleday, 2001.


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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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