Progressive Calendar 12.20.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2008 07:42:51 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   12.20.08

1. Peace walk           12.20 9am Cambridge MN
2. NWN4P Mtka           12.20 11am
3. Antiwar banneromg    12.20 1pm
4. NWN4P GoldenValley   12.20 1:30pm
5. Sudan                12.20 2pm
6. Northtown vigil      12.20 2pm
7. CUAPB party!         12.20 6pm
8. Greece/solidarity    12.20

9. Atheists Talk        12.21 9am
10. Arise/party/sale    12.21 11am
11. Chicago labor rpt   12.21 1pm
12. Winter solstice     12.21 2pm
13. Solstice vigil      12.21 5:30pm

14. Michael Donnellu - Clinton III: continuity we can believe in
15. Timothy Hermach  - What happened on the way to the inauguration?
16. Richard Rhames   - Slam-Duncan hope: corporatizing the kids
17. Ralph Nader      - Scholastic Magazine and the two-party system
18. ed               - Lies please  (poem)
19. ed               - Non-candle power  (poem)

--------1 of 19--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 12.20 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street

--------2 of 19--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 12.20 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We
will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.

--------3 of 19--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Antiwar banneromg 12.20 1pm

Saturday, December 20, 1:00 p.m. Library Plaza, Hennepin and Lagoon
Avenues, Minneapolis. Join others to send an anti-war message for the
holidays. There will be signs and banners to create a visible anti-war
presence on one of the busiest intersections in Minneapolis. As the
holiday season approaches, these celebrations of peace are overshadowed by
the continuing U.S. war on Iraq. Gather to call for an end to the war.
Organized by: the Iraq Peace Action Coalition (IPAC). Endorsed by: WAMM.
FFI: Call 612-522-1861 or 612-827-5364.

--------4 of 19--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P GoldenValley 12.20 1:30pm

Saturday, 1:30-2:30 PM Golden Valley - NW Neighbors for Peace will hold
large banners on the pedestrian bridge over Highway 55, just west of
Winnetka, in Golden Valley every Saturday. There is plenty of parking in
the lot at the NW corner of the intersection; all are welcome. FYI Carole

--------5 of 19--------

From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at]>
Subject: Sudan 12.20 2pm

Magers & Quinn Booksellers and the Loft Literary Center host Craig Walzer,
editor of Out of Exile (McSweeney's) - 2:00pm, Saturday, December 20, at
the Target Performance Hall in the Open Book Building, 1011 Washington
Avenue South, Minneapolis

With an introduction, additional interviews, and an afterword by Dave
Eggers, Valentino Achak Deng, and Emmanuel Jal (collaborators on the book
What Is The What), Out of Exile is a collection of heartrending interviews
with displaced and abducted survivors of the tragedy in Sudan.

Decades of conflicts and persecution have driven millions from their homes
in all parts of the northeast African country of Sudan. Many thousands
more have been enslaved as human spoils of war. In their own words, the
narrators of Out of Exile recount their lives before their displacement,
the reasons for their flight, and their hopes of someday returning home.
Included are the stories of:

 --Abuk, a native of South Sudan now living in Boston, who survived ten
years as a slave after being captured by an Arab militia.
 --Marcy and Rose, best friends who have spent the vast majority of their
lives in a refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. They remember almost nothing of
their former homes in Sudan.
 --Mathok, who struggled to find opportunities as a refugee in Cairo, but
eventually fell into a world of gangs and violence.
 --John, a teacher fighting to keep a school for Sudanese refugees alive
in a poverty-stricken slum in Nairobi.


--------6 of 19--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 12.20 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

--------7 of 19--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB party! 12.20 6pm

Communities United Against Police Brutality
Saturday, December 20, 6:00 p.m.
Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis

Every year we host an event to give thanks to people we've worked with
through the year and to give survivors and family members a chance to meet
each other in a supportive social setting.  This year, we are so grateful
for all of the wonderful people we have worked with throughout the RNC and
in work related to the many cases that have come to us through the
hotline.  We want to celebrate these relationships and this work with a
big ol' dinner party for our friends!

This event is FREE - it is not a fundraiser, but a FUN raiser!  Join us
for great food (including vegan options), musical entertainment and

--------8 of 19--------

From: Melis Arik <birchswinger2 [at]>
Subject: Greece/solidarity 12.20

Day of international solidarity with greek youth 12/20

"We don't forget, we don't forgive" - day of international action against
state murders, 20.12.2008

Today (Friday), the assembly of the occupied Athens Polytechnic decided to
make a callout for European and global-wide actions of resistance in the
memory of all assassinated youth, migrants and all those who were
struggling against the lackeys of the state. Carlo Juliani; the French
suburb youths; Alexandros Grigoropoulos and the countless others, all
around the world. Our lives do not belong to the states and their
assassins! The memory of the assassinated brothers and sisters, friends
and comrades stays alive through our struggles! We do not forget our
brothers and sisters, we do not forgive their murderers. Please translate
and spread around this message for a common day of coordinated actions of
resistance in as many places around the world as possible.

Original callout:

--------9 of 19--------

From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at]>
Subject: Atheists Talk 12.21 9am

Minnesota Atheists' "Atheists Talk" radio show.
Sunday, December 21, 2008, 9-10 a.m. Central Time

Secular Coalition for America: 2008 & 2009

With Democrats soon to be in control of both the U.S. Congress and the
Presidency, can we afford to relax our vigilance regarding Separation of
State and Church?  Not hardly.  The presidential candidates fell all over
themselves trying to out-Christian each other.  President- elect Obama has
promised to expand government-funded faith-based charities.  And, he just
chose conservative pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the
presidential inauguration. [The last straw for Obama as far as I'm
concerned. I draw a big red 'X' on his famous photo, and on "hope".
We'll have to FIGHT Obama Inc for every improvement. -ed]

Secular Coalition for America's executive director Lori Lipman Brown joins
us to discuss their activities this past year lobbying for Separation of
State and Church and what we can expect in the coming year.

We welcome questions during the program at (952) 946-6205
or radio [at]

"Atheists Talk" airs live on AM 950 KTNF in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
To stream live, go to
Podcasts of past shows are available at or through iTunes.
Program Notes are available at

--------10 of 19--------

From: Arise!Bookstore <arise [at]>
Subject: Arise/party/sale 12.21 11am

Arise! Winter Solstice Party & Sale

Sunday, Dec. 21 11am-9ish pm On the 21st, we're having even more fun by
having a winter solstice party and sale. We kick off the day at 11am with
vegan chili, cornbread, cake, and other delicious things (some may not be
vegan). And everything in the store is 10% off!

At 6pm, we're having some awesome bands lively things up. Come out and
enjoy Night Wolves, Hunger Strike Riot, Abandoned Ship, and Honeycomb Your
Hair! [Missing will be Herbie's Erector Set, Flower My Panties, Holy
Living Snot, and Rotting Gangrene Corpse. -ed]

--------11 of 19--------

From: Brad Sigal <bradsigal [at]>
Subject: Chicago labor rpt 12.21 1pm

Eyewitness Report from the Chicago Factory Occupation
at Republic Windows and Doors

Sunday, December 21
1:00 pm
Mayday Books
(301 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis)

Local activist Kim Defranco went to Chicago during the recent workers'
factory occupation at Republic Windows and Doors. She spent time at the
plant with the workers and took photos documenting their historic
struggle. Come hear about what she saw and experienced in this important
victory that shows the way forward for the labor movement and the struggle
against the effects of the economic crisis.

 Kim Defranco - Welfare Rights Committee, Fight Back! writer and
 Mick Kelly - Fight Back! News editor, Freedom Road Socialist Organization

>From December 5th to 10th, 260 workers at Republic Windows and Doors in
Chicago took over their factory, leading one of the first factory
occupations in the U.S. in decades. The workers succeeded in winning all
their demands.

The mostly Latino workers, members of United Electrical union Local 1110,
were going to be laid off - the owners only gave them three days notice
that they were closing the factory. By law the workers were supposed to
get 75 days notice or pay for those days, as well as health insurance and
earned vacation pay. Instead of accepting getting shafted and going to the
unemployment lines with their heads down and pockets empty, the workers
fought back. They not only targeted their employer, but also Bank of
America, a recipient of billions of dollars of the Wall Street bailout,
who refused to loan money to the company to pay the workers. The workers
raised the slogan "they get bailed out, we get sold out."

After six days of occupying their factory, the workers won. The Bank of
America and Chase agreed to a $1.75 million loan. The workers will receive
the eight weeks of pay due to them by the WARN Act, two months of health
insurance and their earned vacation pay. Their cause has become a symbol
of the anger that workers everywhere feel over the Wall Street bailout and
the rising unemployment rate. Their fight was with an employer which was
secretly setting up a low-wage factory in another state, but also with the
Bank of America, which has received $25 billion in taxpayers' bailout
money. This daring and militant fight back shows the way forward for the
labor movement.

Event sponsored by Fight Back! Newspaper
Info: (612) 370-0167

--------12 of 19--------

From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at]>
Subject: Winter solstice 12.21 2pm

Celebrate Winter Solstice at Sacred Coldwater Spring
Sunday, December 21, 2007   2 PM

Gather at Coldwater Park - take the service road from 54th Street,
Minneapolis, and Hwy 55, south to Coldwater.  Dress for being outside.
Please leave your beloved pets at home.

[I would have written "expletive-deleted pets", just one more bit of proof
that I am Not A Nice Person. -ed]

--------13 of 19--------

From: Anne Benson
Subject: Solstice vigil 12.21 5:30pm

6th Annual Winter Solstice Peace Vigil
Light a Candle for Peace on the Darkest Night of the Year
Sunday, December 21, 2008
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Corner of Snelling and Summit Avenues, St. Paul

Bring a candle and join neighbors from throughout the Twin Cities to
quietly witness for peaceful solutions to world problems.

After the vigil, warm up and socialize at a local Grand Avenue restaurant
or coffee shop (to be determined).

Sponsor: Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace
More Information: Krista Menzel or Anne Benson at info [at], (651)
641-7592, or (651) 647-0580.

--------14 of 19--------

Clinton III
Continuity We Can Believe In
December 19 - 21, 2008

This is part mea culpa, so please indulge my quoting myself. Back on
November 5th much of the country celebrated the end of an error and the
election of the first non-white president. (We'll get to "male" and
"Christian" later - much later, I suppose. "Ivy League?" Maybe never.) I
wrote: "We.ll know soon enough how hard we'll have to fight bad Obama
policy. Even before Inauguration Day, we'll know. Who Obama picks for his
'team' will be all-telling. If President Obama fails to break completely
with the narcissistic Baby Boomer politicians; we'll know. If he keeps
Gates at Defense or appoints Powell in his place; we'll know".

Well, that sure was quick.

I'm generally of the "we should be gracious and wait to criticize, at
least until he's sworn in" camp. However, with Bush spending his remaining
time in office facilitating extinctions for his corporate masters by
gutting Endangered Species protections; drawing up self-protective Pardon
lists and making that ludicrous non-victory lap to Iraq - where the hero
journalist Muntather al-Zaidi joined fed-up Americans in giving him the
boot - Barack Obama is de facto, as well as, President-elect.

While the incredible shrinking war criminal plans his escape to his new
digs in Houston now that there is no need for the pretend brush-cutting
photo-ops on the "ranch," Obama has his hands full already dealing with
the fall-out that attaches to all things Bush; like that cloud of dust
surrounding Charlie Brown's buddy Pigpen. Analyzing how Obama is going
about it is fair game.


Obama has chosen the rabid Zionist, deregulated hedge fund
multi-millionaire Rahm Emanuel, a guy who makes even Snakehead Carville
look human in comparison, as his Chief of Staff. Obama apparently
surrendered foreign policy and the choice of his Senate replacement to
him. Obama has begun by ceding the battered economy to the very same folks
who drove it off the cliff. Obama has, indeed, left Gates in place while
simultaneously backing off his end-the-occupation rhetoric. Obama has
disrespected a large chunk of his supporters by choosing the anti-gay
Christian Ayatollah Rick Warren to conduct prayers at his Inauguration.
Obama has recycled hack Clinton neo-libs across the board.

It's time to bring out the critiques.

The only question is "where to begin?" As it would require a book-length
analysis (I'm sure there's an entire library of them already in the works)
given just how bad the overall Obama team actually is, I'll begin with the
policy area I'm most familiar with first and come back later for the


With even the Pentagon predicting "Climate Wars" and a billion
environmental refugees by 2050, a complete break with the disastrous
policies of the past would certainly be in order. Yet, Obama's eco-team
may represent the worst of all his recent Ivy League status quo re-treads.

While the spineless, foundation-dependent, career environmentalists have
no problems with his awful pro-coal/pro-nuke/pro-logging choices to head
up major environmental policy positions on his team, grassroots enviros -
another major group that delivered votes for Obama - are livid.

The Napoleonic Director of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, representative of
the rest of the Dem-captive Big Greens, had this whopper to say about
Obama's Napoleonic Interior Secretary: "The Sierra Club is very pleased
with the nomination of Ken Salazar to head the Interior Department. As a
Westerner and a rancher, he understands the value of our public lands,
parks, and wildlife and has been a vocal critic of the Bush
Administration's reckless efforts to sell-off our public lands to Big Oil
and other special interests".

Pope's take on Agriculture nominee Tom Vilsack is more tepid. But, again,
the Genetically Modified (GMO) crops and food-as-fuel advocate gets a pass
from the Club; "Governor Vilsack can play an important role in helping to
bring about the clean energy economy in a way that benefits both farmers
and rural communities and our environment".

Carol Browner has been appointed the new White House Coordinator of Energy
and Climate Policy. No matter that carbon-offsets magnate Al Gore's
protege Browner's record as Clinton EPA head did little more than put
progressive rhetoric (lipstick?) on Clinton's many rollbacks of
environmental protections; not to mention, the Clinton/Gore
administration's malign neglect of serious ecological threats whenever
seriously addressing said threats also endangered corporate profits.
Apparently, Obama has also determined the latter threat to be paramount.

Nobel winning physicist Dr. Steven Chu as Energy Secretary means simply
that Nuclear Power and "clean" coal will be hailed as the solution to
Climate Change; something Obama, himself, said time and again during the

The woeful picks wrap up with Browner's former employees Lisa Jackson, who
failed miserably as head of New Jersey's Environmental Protection Agency,
to head the national EPA and eco-neophyte Nancy Sutley to be the chair of
the White House Council on Environment Quality. (Guess we should be
thankful that Gore ghostwriter and Clinton's Ancient Forest liquidation
apologist Katie McGinty wasn't picked to reprise that last role.)

Clinton III

For many the election was defined as a choice between "change" and a third
Bush term. As when Curly Howard would point away and shout "look at the
bird" distracting Moe while Larry absconded with the goods, citizen
stooges failed to notice or wishfully "hoped" otherwise (mea culpa) - the
real alternative to Bush III was always Clinton III.

Across the board; from Hillary Clinton, herself, as Secretary of State, we
see little evidence of "change" and beyond shadow of a doubt evidence that
we've begun the third Clinton term. From the very same Clinton (and Bush
and Reagan/Bush) deregulators who now head economic policy to the
Israel-first "obliterate Iran" hawks on foreign policy to the "we can
amp-up our resource extraction economy and still have a healthy
environment" deluders to an intolerant cleric leading prayers - the die is

Tellingly, Obama left the Labor Secretary position as the last major
position to be nominated - an affront to another one of his major
supporting constituencies. How could he possibly put in play an economic
task force first, as he did, yet, leave out Labor?

As Dr. Chu noted, "What the world does in the coming decade will have
enormous consequences that will last for centuries. It's imperative that
we begin without further delay."

I know it's imperative for me to delay no further, despite my sense of a
grace period, in pointing out how "change" appears to simply mean a new
face at the top. The factotums of other wing of the Imperial corporate
party clearly remain the same.

[Another bleak four years. -ed]

MICHAEL DONNELLY will write more extensively on the Clinton III Foreign
Policy and Economic teams later. He can be reached at pahtoo [at]

--------15 of 19--------

The Eternal Struggle
What Happened on the Way to the Inauguration?
December 19 - 21, 2008

The transition to a new administration held promise of a change in
leadership and direction for our foundering economy and deeply stupefied
and polarized population. Running on a platform of hope and change, Barack
Obama promised a new direction for America. Now, six weeks after the
election and a month before the inauguration, the change we were counting
on seems a remote possibility at best, at worst, a nasty deception that
was foisted on a public starved for a chance to create the lives we as
Americans have been led to believe were available to us.

President-elect Obama has chosen a cabinet, most from President Clintons
right-of-center team. Many of these Clinton retreads have even drifted
farther into the pockets of Wall Street since their time in the White
House. He has traded former Chevron board member Condi Rice for current
Chevron Board member Jim Jones. He has chosen financial sector power
player and former Clinton staffer Rahm Emmanuel as his chief of staff. His
pick to head the Department of the Interior is a big oil and coal
proponent and his Agriculture pick is a supporter of GMO's and the fantasy
of corn ethanol. This is not change; this is the status quo on steroids.

During the campaign, the dogmatic democrats and the liberal folks hoping
and praying for change continually espoused the line "we have to get him
elected then we will hold his feet to the fire." A huge groundswell of
folk put their hearts and souls into what became a unique and unstoppable
campaign. Unprecedented fundraising and internet organizing combined with
the collapse of the economy carried Barack Obama to victory in an
electoral landslide. Now Obama's blueprint is coming into focus and all
those who were so sure that change was at hand should be screaming bloody

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes
me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . Corporations have been
enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the
money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working
upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few
hands and the Republic is destroyed." This quote by Abraham Lincoln
provides an insight into what has happened to our country. The moneyed
interests that have extracted most of the wealth from the middle class and
fomented a divisive and polarized condition in our society have used their
ad agencies, corporate media and wealth to create an illusion of change
while keeping the same players in power. When it came time to hold the
president-elects feet to the fire, it was done. Not by the forward looking
folks who put this man in office, rather, the ruling class who control all
things political handed him his cabinet picks and industry and big
business are cheering "his" choices.

He has backed off his promise to implement a windfall profits tax on big
oil. He has decided not to eliminate the tax breaks for the richest among
us. He has decided not to leave Iraq on the schedule he promised. He has
supported what has now become an $8.5 trillion dollar give-away to the
same people responsible for crashing the largest and most productive
economy on Earth. He is talking about a massive expansion of the already
bloated military.

If you're wondering what happened, look no farther than the talking points
used by the conservative pundits during the election process. They said
Obama had the most liberal record in the Senate. They said he would bring
socialism to America. They created a climate of fear in their base about
what would happen to our country if this "Socialist" were elected. They
had us believing we were truly looking at a change.

A close look at his policy proposals showed that his positions on the
issues were not "far left" as stated. The recurring dialog of the faithful
said that when he was elected he would swing gently left and bring real
change to our nation. It now appears that the swing was hard to the right
and the folks who counted on being heard during this transition will be
looking for real change for at least another 4 years.

Again, Abraham Lincoln "It is the eternal struggle between two principles,
right and wrong. Throughout the world it is the same spirit that says you
toil and work and earn bread and I'll eat it." Today, the corporations and
their minions in Washington are eating your bread.

While it is still possible that Mr. Obama will somehow lead the powerful,
positional cabinet personalities he has selected and create an Obama
administration that will do good for our country, with each pick of an
entrenched Washington insider that outcome becomes less likely. If he does
not do this, how can our nation survive? Quoting Lincoln again, "This
country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it.
Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can
exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their
revolutionary right to overthrow it." The last election was an exercise of
our constitutional right to amend the government. It does not appear that
we were diligent enough in vetting the choices and it now appears who we
chose will not manifest the change we were so desperately seeking.

Mr. Obama seems to have decided not to value and regard nature as anything
but a savings account to be liquidated or a grocery store to be plundered.
All for the benefit of those entrenched powers that are the masters of
Wall Street. How much more of this can our nation take? If the incoming
administration continues, in general, the failed environmental, economic,
social, military, and foreign policies we have endured for decades, it may
be time to look at Mr. Lincoln's second option and start over.

Timothy G. Hermach is director of the Native Forest Council in Eugene,
Oregon. He can be reached at: zerocut1 [at]

--------16 of 19--------

Slam-Duncan Hope
Corporatizing the Kids
December 19 - 21, 2008

"In Chicago ... we've gotten a foretaste of the new breed of
foundation-hatched black communitarian voices: one of them (Barack Obama),
a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable credentials and
vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on
a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His
fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of
authentic community, (and) .... small-scale solutions to social
 -Adolph Reed Jr. , 1996

Mr. Obama continues installations in his class war cabinet. It now
features an Iowa governor wedded to the disastrous food-to-fuel ethanol
scam as Secretary Of Agriculture, and a basketball buddy / lawyer /
Chi-town education "CEO" practiced in the merciless predations of No Child
Left Behind (NCLB) as Secretary of Education.

The AP reports that fellow pragmatist Dick Cheney has praised earlier
picks on the so-called "national security" front as "a pretty good team".
Obama's choices in other areas continue the Bush/Clinton/Bush traditions
and likely deepen their death-grip on the fatigued remnants of this
faltering empire.

While the increasingly reality-slammed Obama fan club twitches,
right-wingers revel as a continuing, even steroidal status-quo hulks more
clearly into view. Weekly Standard alum David Brooks smoothly stated his
preference for Arne Duncan as Education Secretary on December 5th. In
Brooks' view, "reform" of public education means undermining collective
bargaining through something called "merit pay". This double-speak
oxymoron is closely related to others like, "free trade," "military
intelligence," "jumbo shrimp," "life after death," "nondairy creamer,"
"congressional ethics," "commercial art," "civil war," "conservative think
tank," "boneless ribs," "devout atheist," "marijuana initiative,"
"non-stop flight," "paid volunteer," and (my fave) "compassionate

Brooks also pronounced private "charter schools" and "tough accountability
standards" to be the perfect Kool-aid for the pre-literate offspring of
our post-literate society. He names the dark forces opposing the right's
cherished regression agenda: "(T)he teachers' unions and the Ed School
establishment, who emphasize greater funding, smaller class size and
superficial reforms". When it comes to education, health care, or other
human rights we often hear that problems can't be solved by "throwing
money at them".

Congress seems to think differently about the problems faced by the
Pentagon, or credit default swapper A.I.G. But, I digress - perhaps.

"Many of the reformist hopes," Brooks told New York Times readers, "now
hang on Obama's friend, Arne Duncan. In Chicago, he's a successful
reformer who has produced impressive results.... He has the political
skills necessary to build a coalition on behalf of No Child Left Behind

Deploying post-partisan piffle, Mr. Obama characterized his new education
czar as "not beholden to any one ideology ... he's worked tirelessly to
improve teacher quality," (whatever that means).

Duncan supports NCLB with its repugnant ideological devotion to rote
memorization, teacher de-skilling / regimentation, "a psychometric
blitzkrieg of metastasizing testing", and fiscal sanction. Educator Jim
Horn notes that, "If Obama is committed to moving backwards to a time when
the most that public schooling could do was to 'rake a few geniuses from
the rubbish,' as Jefferson would have it then the stupidifying
corporatization of public education is just the ticket - and ... Arne
... is entirely capable of leading the charge". (Schools Matter)

Journalist/author Greg Palast quickly pointed out ("Obama Slam-Duncans
Education," 12/16/08) that back in Illinois, "State Senator Obama was one
of the only local Chicago officials who refused to send his kids to
Duncan's public schools. The Obamas sent Sasha and Malia to the Laboratory
School, where Duncan's methods are derided as dangerously ludicrous".

Palast, who devoted part of his instructive 2006 Armed Madhouse to NCLB,
describes its workings : "At the heart of the program is testing. And more
testing. Testing instead of teaching. When tests go badly, the solution is
to push the low-test-score kids to drop out of school. If the triage isn't
enough, then attack their teachers".

"Here's," he continues, "how Duncan operates this program in Chicago at
Collins High in the Lawndale ghetto. Teachers there work with kids from
homeless shelters from an economically devastated neighborhood. Believe it
or not, the kids don't get high test scores. So Chicago fired the
teachers, every one of them. Then they brought in new teachers and fired
THEM too when, surprise! test scores still didn't rise".

When Mr. Obama beamed a message to the July 13, 2008 American Federation
of Teachers convention, his remarks were promptly unpacked by
teacher/author Susan Ohanian; "Barack Obama's Education Platform ASSERTS:
The single most important factor in determining a child's achievement
is... .You teachers. ... NOT parent income."

The US educational system has, since working class kids gained entry in
the early 20th century, functioned largely as a sorting mechanism, where
children were indoctrinated, trained in docility, but sometimes, through
the work of motivated teachers, exposed to a world of ideas, and perhaps
the subversive minefield of independent thought.

The Business Roundtable and other class-conscious campaign funders who
pay-to-play have long sought (as Ohanian painstakingly documents) to
eliminate any vestige of critical thinking and democratic potential from
public schooling. NCLB is their battle plan.

By demeaning teachers, privatizing public functions, and branding students
and their parents as slack-jawed "consumers" they hope to create
generations of dispirited drones, broken and willing to glumly take their
assigned positions on the down escalator of Wal-America, or risk a
mercenary's death in her Foreign Legions.

To this task Obama has now assigned his hoop-buddy. While the New and Old
Money crowd send their loin-fruit off to well-funded enclaves like
Phillips Academy, the Laboratory School, or Sidwell Friends, "Slam" Duncan
will move to rescue the discredited NCLB and take his toxic and bipartisan
Chicago class war school demolition campaign nationwide.

Our new Obamian CEO-schoolmaster is really strict. And sadly for us and
our guileless children, he doesn't believe in social promotion.

Richard Rhames is a dirt-farmer in Biddeford, Maine (just north of the
Kennebunkport town line). He can be reached at: rrhames [at]

--------17 of 19--------

Scholastic and the Two-Party System
Excluded Democracy
December 19 - 21, 2008

Earlier this year, while speaking in Fargo, North Dakota, Colleen Donley
brought her nine year old son, Adam, from Perham, Minnesota, to the
gathering to complain about the curriculum materials on the presidential
race produced by Scholastic Magazine. Adam wanted to vote for me but their
mock paper ballots had only two choices picturing John McCain and Barack

A "meet the candidates" again pictured only the Republican and Democratic
candidates. Ms. Donley noted that it would not have been difficult to add
the four other presidential candidates who were on enough state ballots to
theoretically gain an Electoral College majority. There was extra room on
the page to do so.

Pursuing her inquiry she noticed that only the Democratic and Republican
options were available for research, games, posters and issues. For
example, the game "Be a Candidate" had two party choices but only "their"
issues and views.

Scholastic News Online did interview me on educational issues on March 3,
2008. But the students and their families in these public schools
obviously pay greater attention during the autumn when mock elections and
other interactive modes are produced by Scholastic Magazine to teach the
children about presidential politics - past and present.

Exclusion of third party and independent candidates goes hand in hand with
the failures to educate the children about the pioneering contributions of
candidates and their parties that challenged the two-party domination in
American history.

This continuing limitation of voter choice has been entrenched in
exclusionary ballot access laws, a largely partisan judiciary, denial of
being on the national debate stage by a corporation controlled by the two
major parties and other obstructions unknown in other democracies.

Scholastic Magazine is published by a private corporation. For many years
its reach into the public schools has been enormous - up to 18 million
children. Its "educational" materials are colorful, easy to read and very
often uncritically adopted by teachers and administrators.

Whether there are subjective political motivations by the top executives
is something for further inquiry. Suffice it to say that children should
know how alternative presidential candidates and their parties pioneered
the anti-slavery, women's right to vote, worker and farmer justice
movements in the 19th century before either of the larger parties ever

The children should learn the connection between unobstructed candidate's
rights to be on ballot lines and voter rights to have a choice beyond one
party gerrymandered districts or only two parties offering candidates
sharing establishment political agendas.

Reducing the harbingers of advances in justice in America such as social
security, Medicare, regulation of business abuses to minor footnotes or
designations called "the other" is accepting the power structure's mauling
of a competitive democracy.

The public school teachers and parents should have the intellectual
curiosity and democratic value systems of Ms. Donley and the outraged
parents who contacted her with similar blackouts on their children's
alternative choices for president.

Year after year of these blackouts results in millions of children growing
up to passively accept the two party "duopoly" and the restriction of
voter choice. That there is another political world out there that they
can help cultivate is not at their level of expectation. So nearly half of
the voters stay home and many citizens reluctantly vote for the
least-worst of the two big-party candidates.

Mock presidential elections, following classroom study and discussion,
occur in October before the real voting in November. Children do take
their exciting experiences in school home and spark conversations with
their parents. To indoctrinate them in the inevitability of the two
parties offering the only winners and the only agendas and the only
debaters is to defeat the opportunities to recognize and support other
political initiatives.

The very opportunity to build alternative politics from election year to
election year is rooted significantly in such early age.

Shame on Scholastic Magazine, Incorporated for restricting these visions
and understandings. Bravo to mothers like Colleen Donley and youngsters
like her son Adam who strive to wake up the public school curriculum
choosers and the boards of education.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate and three-time presidential candidate.

--------18 of 19--------

 [lies please]

 We say we're deceived.
 But we said: Lie to us but
 make us believe it.

--------19 of 19--------

 [non-candle power]

 All blow out just one
 little candle - for a more
 sustainable world!

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