Progressive Calendar 12.01.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 05:50:29 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    12.01.08

1. Free AIDS test      12.01 1pm
2. Climate action      12.01 4:30pm
3. Peace walk          12.01 6pm RiverFalls WI
4. MN e-resources      12.01 7pm
5. Gordon CAMpaign     12.01 7pm
6. World AIDS day      12.01 time?

7. Rally v Gaertner    12.02 4:30pm
8. Robert Jensen       12.02 5pm
9. Poetry salon        12.02 6:30pm
10. StThomas/Palestine 12.02 7:30pm

11. Rhoda Gilman     - Chris Coleman/StP City Council RNC whitewash
12. ed               - activist followup comment on #11 above
13. Sullivan/Kolstad - Impressions of Klobuchar's health insurance forum
14. Sherwood Ross    - US military recruits children for the armed forces

--------1 of 14--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Free AIDS test 12.01 1pm

December 1: In honor of World AIDS Day, Family Tree Clinic is offering
FREE Rapid HIV tests from 1-4 PM and 5-8 PM. Screening results in twenty
minutes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five people
living with HIV are unaware of their infections. Call 651-645-0478 to make
your appointment today.

--------2 of 14--------

From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at]>
Subject: Climate action 12.01 4:30pm



December 1st-12th, the Fourteenth Conference of the Parties (COP14) will
take place in Poznan, Poland where world leaders and environment ministers
will hold yet another round of talks on the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change to plan for meeting greenhouse gas emissions
reduction goals under Kyoto II and the so-called Bali Road Map.  It is
apparent that the European Union will not make its goals, and many nations
are complaining about the costs of mitigating climate change, using the
current financial crisis and worldwide recession as an excuse to retreat
from their pledge to cut CO2 emissions.  Meanwhile, the United States, a
major emitter, has yet to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol and the planet
continues to meltdown.  Climate crisis activists around the globe will be
demonstrating on Saturday, December 6th to demand immediate action to draw
down carbon and cool down the planet.

Here locally, in the Twin Cities, protesters will gather on the first day
of the Poznan conference on Monday, December 1st for a Rush-Hour Picket
and Bannering from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM.  It will take place on the I-94
Freeway Overpass at Riverside and 25th Avenues in Minneapolis.  The action
is sponsored by the Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities.

--------3 of 14--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 12.01 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 14--------

From: Gary Thompson <gkthomp [at]>
Subject: MN e-resources 12.01 7pm

This is a reminder about the workshop Monday evening. Michelle Fure of
theState of Minnesota will be giving us a personal tour ofits website and
the many state agencies that can be accessed from this siteand be taking
our questions about the site. Please, consider joining us for this unique

WORKSHOP: State of MN Resources on the WEB- TOUR
Monday, December 1, 7:00-8:30 PM
Rondo Community Outreach Library in the Electronic Classroom
University & Dale (Free Indoor Parking)

Join us Monday, for a tour of the manyState of MN websites.
Have you been to theState of MNwebsite recently?

* Are you aware of the wealth of information and services about the State
of MN that are available on theirwebsites?

* Where can you get answers to the following questions:
 What agency can I go tofor finding a new job?
 Where do I go to get a business license?
 Where do I go to find out about ADA requirements for a business or
non-profit group?
 How do I find out about various environmental or pollution control
 How do I find out about a particular health or disability issue?
 Where do I get information about military and veterans benefits?
 What state agency do I goif I have a question about education issues,
funding, etc?

I encourage folks to attend this presentation. This is thethird workshop
in a series of 4 workshops designed to help folks better understand the
diversity of government information and services that are available on the
web.Two weeks ago, we had a personal tour of the city website by the city
webmasters. We were able to ask questions about the city website and offer
feedback. It was a very interesting presentation. Citizens have the
abilityto watch city council meetings live via the internet, or watch
archived editions of recent meetings.

--------5 of 14--------

From: Cam Gordon <CamGordon333 [at]>
Subject: Gordon CAMpaign 12.01 7pm

We are meeting Monday at the Second Moon from 7 - 9.
It would be great if you could make it.

Here is a listing or the next regularly scheduled NFCG meetings:

a.  Monday December 1,  7-9 pm, the Second Moon
b.  Monday December 15, 7-9 pm, the Second Moon
c.  Monday January 5,   7-9 pm, the Second Moon
d.  Monday January 19,  7-9 pm, the Second Moon

You are invited to help launch Cam's 2009 re-election campaign for City
Wednesday, December 10th, 5:00 - 8:00 PM
Overflow Espresso Cafe
2929 University Ave SE
To contact Cam call 296-0579
or email cam [at]

Bringing People Together for a Better City
Cam Gordon For Ward 2

Neighbors for Cam Gordon
630 Cedar Ave #1106,
Mpls, MN 55454

--------6 of x--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: World AIDS day 12.01 time?

Mon. Dec. 1 - World AIDS Day; Block Party at Urban League, With One Voice
Mixed Chorus special programming on Dec. 5 & 6 to commemorate those who have
died of AIDS. Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave, North, Minneapolis

--------7 of 14--------

From: Gena Berglund <genab [at]>
Subject: Rally v Gaertner 12.02 4:30pm

Happy Birthday, Drop the Charges! Dance against the State!

On Tuesday, December 2nd, Susan Gaertner is holding a ritzy fundraiser for
her 2010 DFL campaign for governor. It also happens to be her birthday. As
the lead prosecutor for the 18 felony cases which stem from the RNC,
including the cases of the RNC 8 ( and Dave Mahoney (, let's remind her of the political
repercussions of trying these phony cases! If Susan Gaertner wants to
continue carrying out this prosecution, we'll ruin her campaign for

And most importantly, we're still here and still fighting, even after many
of us experienced intense state repression in such a firsthand way at the
RNC. Let's continue having fun and keep our spirits high, while not
forgetting what brought us here in the first place. We've been keeping
solidarity going in the courts - let's carry it into the streets again and
shake off the legal system's icy grip on our community and the winter cold
outta our booties!

A rally and dance party has been planned outside her fundraiser, starting
at 4:30 on Tuesday, December 2nd. If you want the charges dropped for the
18 folks facing felonies, make it known to Susan and all her potential
supporters that her political endeavors will never succeed with the
prosecution of RNC arrestees on her record.

Come to the gates of the Minneapolis Club at the corner of *2nd Ave and
8th Street* in downtown Minneapolis at *4:30PM, TUESDAY DECEMBER 2ND*
dressed warmly and ready to get down. Bring signs, noisemakers, and your
loudest and dancing-est friends!

Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure:

--------8 of 14--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Robert Jensen 12.02 5pm

Smooth St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 12/2, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 12/3, 10am

Mistaken Identities: Nation, Race and Gender
Interview of Robert Jensen.  A writer for alternative and mainstream media
on such subjects as foreign policy, politics, and race, professor Jensen's
books include... "Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins
to the Mainstream", "Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity",
"The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege" and
"Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity".

--------9 of 14--------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Poetry salon 12.02 6:30pm

This Tuesday, December 2 will be an Open Poetry Salon.  Please come and
share your own or your favorite poems, or just be there to share in

Here are the following salons for December:
Dec. 9,  How can we have an alternative Christmas w/out all the gifts
and money spent?
Dec. 16,  Come and listen or read short Christmas stories, poems and
even to share simple recipes.
Dec. 23,  Jerry Rothstein will share the meaning of Hanukkah with us
(it is the first day of Hanukkah)  and the meaning of the Menorahs that
he will light for us.
Dec. 30,  Open Discussion and evaluation of thoughts of the salons

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

--------10 of 14--------

From: "Smith, David W." <DWSMITH [at]>
Subject: StThomas/Palestine 12.02 7:30pm

In response to the controversy over its decision not to invite Desmond
Tutu in 2007, which it later admitted had been a mistake, St. Thomas is
hosting a discussion of why it is so difficult to talk publicly about the
Israel-Palestine situation.. I believe that significant time for
discussion is intended. We would especially appreciate comments from those
who have experience discussing the issue publicly.  -David Smith.

Nationally known religious leaders to speak at interfaith dialogue on
peace in Holy Land

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The University of St. Thomas will host an interfaith
dialogue, "Healing Wounds and Building Bridges: An Interfaith Dialogue on
Peace in the Holy Land," at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, in the auditorium
of O'Shaughnessy Educational Center on St. Thomas' St. Paul campus, 2115
Summit Ave.

Free and open to the public, the forum is sponsored by the President's
Office and the College of Arts and Sciences' Muslim-Christian Dialogue
Center at St. Thomas and by the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian
Learning, a partnership of St. Thomas and St. John's University in

This forum about the controversial Israeli-Palestinian situation is an
attempt to encourage mutual understanding and peace-making.

Speakers will include three nationally known religious leaders:

* Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C.

* Rabbi Paul Menitoff, retired executive vice president of the New York
City-based Central Conference of American Rabbis

* Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Syeed, national director of the Office of Interfaith
and Community Outreach at the Islamic Society of North America in
Washington, D.C.

John Carr, a 1972 St. Thomas alumnus who is executive director of the
Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development for the U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops, will moderate the discussion. Local respondents will

* Charles Lutz, Minnesota coordinator of Churches for Middle East Peace
 and co-author of Christians and a Land Called Holy: How We Can Foster
 Justice, Peace, and Hope (Fortress Press, 2006)
* Makram El-Amin, resident imam of the Masjid An-Nur mosque in
* Marcia Zimmerman, senior rabbi of Temple Israel in Minneapolis

A question-and-answer session will follow.

--------11 of 14--------

From: Rhoda Gilman <rhodagilman [at]>
Subject: Letter in Villager re Chris Coleman & RNC

Several people have asked me to post the letter from me that has been
published in the current issue of The Villager.  Here it is:

To The Villager:

³The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against
forgetting.² Those are the words of Milan Kundera, a Czech writer who was
exiled from his country while it was behind the iron curtain.  In the wake
of the Republican National Convention, St. Paul should listen to him.

We have a lot to remember here in our city, where the sacred mounds of
ancient people share river bluffs with Victorian mansions and the twin
domes of church and state.  Families have lived here for generations,
leaving their French, German, and Irish names.  It is a storied place.

I remember Chris Colemanıs heart-tugging recollections when he was
campaigning for mayor.  They were about his boyhood in St. Paul, For that
matter, I remember his father, who, in the 1960s and 1970s, was the most
powerful politician in the Minnesota legislature.  Chris may feel a
certain sense of entitlement, but I have no reason to doubt that he loves
this place, just as many of us do.

But now a lot of us have other memories, too.  We remember long ranks of
black-clad, faceless troopers, tall iron fences shutting in peaceful
protesters, clouds of tear gas, screams of pain and fear, doors being
kicked in, sirens wailing, bridges closed.  We remember a week when St.
Paul yielded to becoming a military zone, where a bicycle and a bandana
were enough to get one detained and perhaps beaten.  If anyone doubts it,
let them see the film ³Terrorizing Dissent,² put together by journalists
who were on the streets and not ³embedded² in police cars.

And now our mayor and council want us to forget.  The streets were cleaned
up immediately.  The fences disappeared as if by magic.  And Chris writes
to his shell-shocked constituents:  ³On a national and international
stage, our city shone in the spotlight, and Saint Paul stands to reap the
rewards for years to come.²

Sure.  But I and many others will have a hard time forgetting the
experience of being an occupied city.  On my window sill there sits a
memento -- a broken set of plastic handcuffs that I picked up from dozens
scattered across the floor of the RNC Welcoming Committee's convergence
center at 627 S. Smith Ave.  The place was relatively quiet when I got
there on the day after the sheriffıs men had broken in and terrorized 50
people. I noticed on the wall a warning that the occupants had agreed to
keep the space sober and smoke-free.  Quite a bunch of rowdies, I
concluded.  The real damage from the week was not broken windows or a
couple of vandalized vehicles.  It was the destruction of our sense of
freedom and of trust in our own city officers.

No, Chris, we still have questions, and we wonıt easily give up the
struggle of memory against forgetting -- not next week, not next month,
not next year.  The wound is deep, and for better or worse it has become a
part of Minnesotaıs history as this 150th year of statehood comes to a
                                -- Rhoda Gilman

--------12 of 14--------

ed  Activist followup comment on #11 above

Both mayors and most of both city councils conspired with the RNC & Feds &
Sheriff Fletcher et al before and during and after the RNC.  Exceptions:
Thune acted during; Gordon, Glidden and Schiff criticized since. No other
council members have joined them. Both mayors have issued glorified
accounts. Neither city council is willing to investigate. They appear want
it to go away, waltz to easy reelection, and perhaps do things like it
again, since it will have been all gain and no pain.

Well if we don't want things like it happen again, we must make the pain
outweigh the gain. We must replace as many of the offending incumbents as

In 2009 all the Mpls city council is up, and BOTH MAYORS. Neither mayor
should return. We need good opposition candidates to come forward NOW;
please scout and recruit. As many as possible of the Mpls CM "Complicit
Silent Ten" should be made to retire to private life; scout and recruit.

The biggest offender, Sheriff Fletcher, is up in 2010.  We must help him
become a WalMart greeter.

The StPaul city council is not up until 2011, so they can/will thumb their
superior noses at us until 2010, since, as Dave Thune says, the only way
citizens can get to them is to make them fear for their seats. Forget
"principles" or "doing it for the citizens"; they understand best and
mostly only doing it for a warm place for Number One to park his/her
spreading buns, which is why we have come to this sad pass.

Democracy and freedom of speech and assembly will be defended only if we
deny them easy re-election. We can do this.

--------13 of 14--------

From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at]>
To: Kip Sullivan <kiprs [at]>
Subject: Impressions of Klobuchar's health insurance forum

Kip Sullivan wrote:

I tuned in, via Sen. Klobuchar's Web site, to the forum on health care
reform she held at the U of M. I thought the event was supposed to start
at 10:30, but when I tuned in a little after 11:00 Amy was still making
her introductory remarks. I watched all but about 10 minutes of the
remainder of the forum, which didn't end till about 2:40.

Amy's Web site had indicated there would be only four other speakers
besides her. As it turned out, she had eight other speakers. In the order
in which they appeared, they were

     * Neera Tanden (domestic policy advisor to candidate Obama),
     * Dave Durenberger,
     * John Wennberg (Dartmouth Medical School),
     * Ellen Marie Whalen (Center for American Progress),
     * Karen Davis (Commonwealth Fund),
     * George Isham, MD (HealthPartners),
     * Bruce Hamory, MD (Geisinger Health System, Pennslvania), and
     * Denis Cortese, MD (Mayo Clinic).

Small business owner and vocal member of the unwashed masses, Papa John
Kolstad, was allowed to have the last word, and he just blew 'em away with
his endorsement of single-payer. NOT!!!

First, the political news. The second speaker, Neera Tanden, said several
times that she and Obama believe "the moment is now" for real health care
reform. "We can't afford not to do health care reform,"  she said.
Interestingly, she cited Toyota's decision to move an auto plant from the
US to Canada to enjoy Canada's lower costs (she said health care costs are
$1,300 per car lower in Canada). At this, the audience roared and began
chanting, "Single-payer now, single-payer now." NOT!!!

Tanden said Obama's "reforms" would be based on three principles:  (1) "It
will be based on the system we have;" (2) "shared responsibility"; and (3)
"choice around health care," alternatively expressed as, "if you like your
health care, you can keep it."

The last speaker, Denis Cortese (CEO of Mayo), said he sat in on a recent
meeting where Obama was present, and Rahm Emanuel (Obama's
chief-of-staff-to-be) said Obama considers health care reform to be one of
his top five priorities. But as Emanuel said this he held up three
fingers, signalling health care reform really was number three.  At this
Amy noted that Emanuel is missing one finger. (It's his middle finger, she
noted. He lost it working at Arby's.)

Cortese went on to say that Emanuel said, "Expect something big.  It will
take two years, and it will start with expansion of SCHIP."  Cortese also
said that Sen. Max Baucus announced at a meeting with the Wall Street
Journal (presumably their editorial board) that the "white paper" he
released two weeks ago "will be the Bible on health care reform for the
Senate." God help us.

The impression I got from all this is that Obama wants to expand coverage
substantially as soon as the recession is over, and in the meantime he'll
promote a modest expansion of SCHIP and Medicaid, and probably seek lots
of publicity for little things, like maybe a bill to throw a few dollars
at doctors to help buy electronic medical records software from the
underprivileged computer industry. I believe Congress will start holding
hearings next spring to set the stage for enacting the red-herring
"reforms" that so preoccupy the chattering classes, including "payment
reform," report cards, disease management, and EMRs that talk to each

Now for impressions about policy. The most lasting impression I took away
from this event is how easily a newcomer to the health care reform debate
could be misled by it. All the speakers were articulate and had terrific
pedigrees. They were all personable. And they all said the same thing over
and over (to quote Denis Cortese, "the delivery system is the problem")
with all that jargon that makes you think they must know what they're
talking about. It sounded like the audience was full of people who worship
at the same church the speakers go to. (The audience no doubt was heavily
populated by employees of the insurance industry, and perhaps of the big
metro-based fiefdoms like Allina and HealthPartners. Who else can break
away from work for five hours in the middle of the day on short notice to
applaud a call for medical schools to teach "teamwork"?)

I was impressed once again with the total disregard for scientific
evidence that characterizes commentary from the establishment. With the
exception of one or two references to the Dartmouth Atlas (a document
prepared by John Wennberg and his colleagues at Dartmouth that shows
differences in rates of health care utilization by region of the country),
the eight speakers failed to cite a single peer-reviewed paper over the
course of four hours of chatter. On the other hand, all of them rattled
off numerous half-baked opinions, many of them undocumented, and the rest
based only on what their own shops were doing (George Isham bragged about
the huge improvements in the health of diabetics HealthPartners is
achieving, and Dr. Hamory, the guy from the Geisinger HMO, claimed costs
have dropped 4% thanks to their new disease management program) or what
some bigwig had just told them or what they had seen with their very own
eyes when they last visited the Netherlands or the Mayo Clinic. It would
have been very interesting if someone could have asked Drs. Isham and
Hamory how they squared their rosy claims for their HMOs' disease
management programs with literature reviews published by the CBO in 2004
and the American Journal of Managed Care in 2007 that found disease
management doesn't save money.

Amy set the tone for this glibness in her opening remarks by calling for
the usual nostrums - "pay for quality," "medical homes,"  "expansion of
health information technology," and "integrated systems" - without
citing any evidence for her belief that they will do a thing to address
the health care crisis. The second speaker, Neera Tanden, hailed
electronic medical records as wonderful reform, and then cited a RAND
paper (that was financed by the computer industry)  that was ripped apart
last May by the Congressional Budget Office as evidence that Obama will
save $77 billion when he somehow sprinkles EMRs across the country. Why
should the taxpayer finance research by the CBO if people like Tanden are
going to ignore it in favor of "research" paid for by Hewlett Packard?

I would say Cortese took the cake for glibness and total disregard for
evidence. "You have much better care in the Twin Cities than anywhere else
in the country," he began. Apparently some people in the audience shook
their heads at him. He took note of that and repeated his statement.
Cortese just loves "integrated systems," and he things such "systems"
dominate in the Cities. He claimed "Medicare pays the most to providers
who do the worst job." I would bet large sums of money there is no
evidence to support such a statement. He was adamant about the benefits of
report cards. "You measure outcomes! How hard is this?" he shouted. Earth
to Cortese: It's very hard, and it's very expensive. Earth to Cortese: If
you're such a believer in measuring "outcomes" is so essential, why does
Mayo do so poorly on the wonderful report card published by Minnesota
Community Measurement?

All eight speakers who followed Amy delivered either exactly the same
message she delivered, or a very similar message. Speaker after speaker
talked about "paying for value," as if "value" in the field of medicine
wer something that can be measured precisely at little cost.  As Denis
Cortese, the last speaker put it, "The problem lies in the delivery
system," and the most essential "reform" is to "pay for value." In other
words, doctors are doing a terrible job, and they are harming patients,
and nothing will change till we "pay for value."  During the entire four
hours, not a single speaker ventured a guess as to how much it will cost
to "pay for value." During the entire four hours, the insurance industry
did not once come in for criticism.

When some future Minnesota senator holds a similar forum in five years, we
will look back at this one as contributing to the problem.

 - Kip Sullivan

[Comment by John Kolstad]
Thanks Kip for this detailed review.

Being the operator of a small, deeply struggling business, I was not able
to leave my company for 4 or 5 hours to attend this debacle in person.
[Oops!  I forgot, I was not notified & I was not invited]

I repeat my comment of yesterday, "It is amazing to what lengths elected
and public officials and the Media (and now the University of MN) will go
to avoid solving the problem".

All you Democrats out there, if you want to solve the health care
disaster, you will have to replace Amy Klobuchar, Betty McCullum and the
rest of the Glib, but worthless corporate shills in elected office.  Amy
is slick and a great campaigner but does what ever Sen. Chuck Schumer
tells her to do.  After all, he raised the money for her election. She
does not represent us, she represents the money interests the paid for her
TV Ads.

People need to start now to replace these people.  They all know about
single payer as the real solution.  It is not ignorance of the solution
the impedes them.  The are corrupted by campaign money and the power
brokers here and in DC (and Wall Street).

In a couple areas, bad Democrats were successfully challenged for
endorsement and in the primary and knocked off.  Since many of these
districts are Democratic, changing the Democratic Candidate is the only
solution.  The Republicans are so deeply disgraced by incompetence and
slavery to ideology and big campaign contributors, that they are no option
at all.

If we will remember a Pawlenty news conference a while back about his
stunning new health care solution, he was asked by a reporter, I think
Eric Eskola, what studies or experiences or examples that he had looked
at, that demonstrated that this new plan might actually work (this is a
paraphrase of the question).  Pawlenty admitted there were no studies, and
no working examples showing success of such a plan, but Pawlenty stated "
...but I believe this will work".  If you recall, that is where the
phrase, "Faith Based Health Policy"  came from.

Now the Democrats are doing the same.  They said "just help us elect more
Democrats and we will solve this and other problems".  Folks, we have been
had.  If we want to see the health insurance mess solved, we need to start
working now to replace these "Road Block" Democrats.

Some may think my comments are harsh or inappropriate.  However, these
elected officials have betrayed their constituents and millions of us in
deeply serious trouble, financially and with regard to coverage of our
health care needs.  I contend it is the conduct of our elected Democrats
that is harsh and inappropriate.

Humbly submitted, John R Kolstad/President of Mill City Music. Buyer of
health insurance at great cost yet with no real health care.

--------14 of 14--------

America's Child Soldiers: US Military Recruiting Children to Serve in the
Armed Forces
by Sherwood Ross
Global Research
November 29, 2008

In violation of its pledge to the United Nations not to recruit children
into the military, the Pentagon "regularly target(s) children under 17,"
the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) says.

The Pentagon "heavily recruits on high school campuses, targeting students
for recruitment as early as possible and generally without limits on the
age of students they contact," the ACLU states in a 46-page report titled
"Soldiers of Misfortune".

This is in violation of the U.S. Senate's 2002 ratification of the
Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Pentagon recruiters are enrolling children as young as 14 in the Junior
Reserve Officer Training Corps(JROTC) in 3,000 middle-, junior-, and high
schools nationwide, causing about 45 percent of the quarter of million
students so enrolled to enlist, a rate much higher than in the general
student population. Clearly, this is the outcome of underage exposure.

In some cities, such as Los Angeles, high school administrators have been
enrolling reluctant students involuntarily in JROTC as an alternative to
overcrowded gym classes! In Lincoln high school, enrollees were not told
JROTC was involuntary. In Buffalo, N.Y., the entire incoming freshman
class at Hutchinson Central Technical High School, (average age 14), was
involuntarily enrolled in JROTC. In Chicago, graduating eighth graders
(average age 13) are allowed to join any of 45 JROTC programs.

"Wartime enlistment quotas (for Iraq and Afghanistan) have placed
increased pressure on military recruiters to fill the ranks of the armed
services," an ACLU report says. Trying to fill its quotas without
reinstituting a draft 'has contributed to a rise in...allegations of
misconduct and abuse by recruiters' that 'often goes unchecked'".

The Pentagon also spends about $6 million a year to flog an online video
game called "America's Army" to attract children as young as 13, "train
them to use weapons, and engage in virtual combat and other military
missions - learn how to fire realistic Army weapons such as automatic
rifles and grenade launchers and learn how to jump from airplanes," the
ACLU reports. As of Sept 2006, 7.5 million users were registered on the
game's website, which is linked to the Army's main recruiting website.

And when Pentagon recruiters sign 17-year-olds into the inactive reserves
under the Future Soldiers Training Program, (the idea being to let them
earn their high school diploma), they frequently don't tell the children
they can withdraw with no penalty.

"Over the years, we have had reports from students who were told that if
they change their minds, they would be considered deserters in war time
and could be hunted down and shot," the New York City-based Youth
Activists-Youth Allies said. One young woman was told if she backed out of
her enlistment her family would be deported. And Bill Galvin, of the
Center on Conscience and War, said one young man who changed his mind
about enlisting and was told by his recruiter: "If you don't report,
that's treason and you will be shot".

Singled out by the Pentagon for intense recruitment drives are urban
centers such as Los Angeles and New York. The latter, in which low-income
students account for 51% of all high school enrollment and where 71% are
black or Latino, contains three of the nation's top 32 counties for Army
enlistment. In Los Angeles, 91% of the students are non-white and 75% are

And the Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools says the 30 JROTC
programs in Los Angeles Unified School District (with 4,754 students) are
"Located in the most economically depressed communities of the city".

African-Americans make up 16% of the civilian population of military age
but 22% of the Army's enlisted personnel, the ACLU notes. It charges
bluntly: "The U.S. military's practice of targeting low-income youth and
students of color in combination with exaggerated promises of financial
rewards for enlistment, undermines the voluntariness of their enlistment."

JROTC also runs a Middle School Cadet Corp for children as young as 11,
that militarizes them even before they graduate elementary school.
"Florida, Texas, and Chicago, offer military-run after-school programs to
sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders' (that) involve drills with wooden
rifles and military chants...and military history". Children wear uniforms
to school once a week for inspection.

While the U.S. claims "no one under age 17 is eligible for recruitment,"
the Pentagon's Joint Advertising Market Research & Studies database(JAMRS)
scoops up data on eleventh graders, typically just 16. JAMRS has data on
30 million Americans between age 16 and 25 for recruitment purposes.

The ACLU says this data includes "e-mail addresses, grade point averages,
college intentions, height and weight information, schools attended,
courses of study, military interests, and racial and ethnic data" as well
as Social Security numbers.

In the face of grim casualty reports from the Middle East, Pentagon
recruiters appear increasingly desperate to make their quotas. About one
in five, the New York Times reported in 2004, was found to have engaged in
"recruiting improprieties" ranging from "threats and coercion to making
false promises to young people that they would not be sent to Iraq".

Given the Bush regime's plunge into criminal wars of aggression that defy
international law and the Geneva conventions, there is no reason why
military recruitment of any kind should be allowed on any college campus,
much less in the secondary schools. If the United States truly wished to
spread democracy, (rather than seize oil fields), it would be assigning
vast numbers of Peace Corps recruiters to college campuses, and the
budgets of the Peace Corps and the Defense Department would be reversed.

As Eugene Debs, the presidential candidate on the Socialist ticket that
went to prison for speaking against World War One, (he polled 913,000
votes in 1920) once said: "I would no more teach children military
training than I would teach them arson, robbery or assassination".

The fact that the Pentagon is having such a daunting time these days
filling its ranks as it wages an illegal war speaks very well for the
intelligence of the American people. That's no excuse, though, for the
Defense Department to illegally recruit impressionable children.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based public relations consultant and columnist
who previously worked for the Chicago Daily News, as a radio commentator,
and as a columnist for wire services. Reach him at sherwoodr1 [at]


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