|Progressive Calendar 12.20.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] umn.edu> 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] comcast.net> 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] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> 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] comcast.net> 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 763-546-5368. --------5 of 19-------- From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at] gmail.com> 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. MAGERS & QUINN BOOKSELLERS 3038 HENNEPIN AVENUE SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS MN 55408 612-822-4611 --------6 of 19-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 12.20 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------7 of 19-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB party! 12.20 6pm Communities United Against Police Brutality JOIN US AT OUR SURVIVOR, FAMILY AND FRIENDS DINNER 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 fellowship. --------8 of 19-------- From: Melis Arik <birchswinger2 [at] gmail.com> 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: http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=943356 --------9 of 19-------- From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at] gmail.com> 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] MinnesotaAtheists.org. "Atheists Talk" airs live on AM 950 KTNF in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. To stream live, go to http://www.am950ktnf.com/listen. Podcasts of past shows are available at http://MinnesotaAtheists.org or through iTunes. Program Notes are available at http://MinnesotaAtheists.org. --------10 of 19-------- From: Arise!Bookstore <arise [at] arisebookstore.org> 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] gmail.com> 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. Speakers: Kim Defranco - Welfare Rights Committee, Fight Back! writer and photographer 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 www.fightbacknews.org Info: (612) 370-0167 --------12 of 19-------- From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at] umn.edu> 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] mppeace.org, (651) 641-7592, or (651) 647-0580. --------14 of 19-------- Clinton III Continuity We Can Believe In By MICHAEL DONNELLY CounterPunch 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. Change? 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 others. Environment 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 campaign. 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 cast. 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] aol.com --------15 of 19-------- The Eternal Struggle What Happened on the Way to the Inauguration? By TIMOTHY G. HERMACH CounterPunch 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 murder. "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] forestcouncil.org --------16 of 19-------- Slam-Duncan Hope Corporatizing the Kids By RICHARD RHAMES CounterPunch 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 problems....". -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 conservative". 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 reauthorization..." 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] xpressamerica.net --------17 of 19-------- Scholastic and the Two-Party System Excluded Democracy By RALPH NADER CounterPunch 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 Obama. 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 did. 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] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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