Progressive Calendar 03.27.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009 03:07:23 -0700 (PDT)
           P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R N   03.27.09

1. People's bailout   3.27 9am
2. KFAI/religion/pol  3.27 11am
3. Serenade Gaertner  3.27 3:30pm
4. Argentine Nobel    3.27 7pm
5. Moyers/Greider     3.27 9pm

6. Community gardens  3.28 9am
7. Peace walk         3.28 9am Cambridge MN
8. Green Party        3.28 9am
9. Water rights/women 3.28 10am
10. Music/movie sale  3.28 10am
11. Bike ride 4 RNC8  3.28 10:30am
12. Vs foreclosure    3.28 12noon
13. Vs war recruiters 3.28 1pm
14. Northtown vigil   3.28 2pm
15. Stop reroute/film 3.28 7pm
16. Out: dine/lights  3.28 8:30pm
17. PeoplesBailout/TV 3.28 9pm

18. Sharon Smith  - Another blow to labor: Dems gut card check
19. Dave Lindorff - Health insurance industry: health system parasite
20. Gilad Atzmon  - War on terror within: the end of Jewish history
21. ed            - Speaking life  (poem)

--------1 of 21--------

From: Welfare Rights Committee <welfarerightsmn [at]>
Subject: People's bailout 3.27 9am

After nearly 3 hours of waiting Wednesday, our bill (last on the agenda)
was the only bill that didn't have time to be heard. So they rescheduled

Friday, March 27, 2009 - 9:00 AM
Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs
Chair: Sen. James P. Metzen
9 a.m. Room 123 Capitol

S.F. 542-Tomassoni: Minnesota family investment program (MFIP) assistance
extension; unemployment compensation extension and special emergency
program; foreclosure moratorium and tenant rights; jobs creation program;
state employee layoff prohibition (People's Bailout Act).

***I would like to plug that folks that can be there PLEASE come. I think
it's important that there is a good showing of the people. Even if it's at
the first part of the hearing. Show up a bit before 9am to get seats and
hold signs.

Senate File 542:

Come early so we can show a presence with signs while people entry the
room. The people will influence the politicians so the politicians can
finally do the right thing and pass the people's bailout!

Author of the bill: Senator David J. Tomassoni (DFL) 651.296.8017

Please take some time and Call the other Senators on this committee and
tell them to support the People's Bailout, if you have not had a chance

Senator James P. Metzen (DFL) 651.296.4370
Senator Kathy L. Saltzman (DFL) 651.296.4166
Senator Geoff Michel (R) 651.296.6238
Senator Thomas M. Bakk (DFL) 651.296.8881
Senator Terri E. Bonoff (DFL) 651.296.4314
Senator Jim Carlson (DFL) 651.297.8073
Senator Dick Day (R) 651.296.9457
Senator Chris Gerlach (R) 651.296.4120
Senator Joe Gimse (R) 651.296.3826
Senator Amy T. Koch (R) 651.296.5981
Senator Ron Latz (DFL) 651.297.8065
Senator Steve Murphy (DFL) 651.296.4264
Senator Julie A. Rosen (R) 651.296.5713
Senator Linda Scheid (DFL) 651.296.8869
Senator Rod Skoe (DFL) 651.296.4196
Senator Dan Sparks (DFL) 651.296.9248

Thanks for all your support!
Welfare Rights Committee PO Box 7266, Mpls MN 55407 pho: 612-822-8020 main
email: welfarerightsmn [at] alt email: welfarerights [at]

--------2 of 21--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: KFAI/religion/pol 3.27 11am

Friday, March 27, 11am: On KFAI's "Catalyst:politics & culture"hear an
engaging conversation with SUNSARA TAYLOR philosopher/activist about
religion & politics, separation of church &state, and the ideas of a new
book by RCP Chairman Bob Avakian, "Away With All Gods!"  Taylor was
recently one of 10 contemporary philosphers in the new film EXAMINED LIFE
that screened at Women With Vision Film Fest @ Walker Art Center, in

KFAI RADIO 90.3 fm Mineapolis 106.7 fm St. Paul Live-streaming& archived
for 2 weeks after broadcast (on the "Catalyst" page) at

--------3 of 21--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Serenade Gaertner 3.27 3:30pm

SERENADE SUSAN GAERTNER, the prosecuting attorney in the case against the

Friday, March 27 @ 3:30 pm @ the front doors of the Ramsey County Government
Center West (50 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul) and proceed to Susan
Gaertner^s office (560 RCGC-West).

On March 27th we're going to have a little meeting with Susan Gaertner.
We're going to present her with the huge stack of petitions (over 2000 so
far) calling for all charges against the RNC8 to be dismissed.  We need
everyone to come and JOIN US in a move of community solidarity as we
deliver the petitions to Susan Gaertner at her office in St. Paul. Let's
send our message that the community does NOT support her actions in
pursuing this case and prosecuting honest dissent in our city and state.
Bring a sign or piece of paper saying "Do I look like a terrorist?"
Organized by the RNC 8 Defense Committee.  Remember to sign the petition
if you haven't already:  go to

--------4 of 21--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Argentine Nobel 3.27 7pm

Nobel Peace Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel To Visit Metropolitan State

Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina will be the keynote speaker at
Metropolitan State's 2009 President Lecture Series on Friday, March 27,
2009 at 7p.m. in the Founder's Hall Auditorium. Esquivel will also take
part in this year's PeaceJam events on March 28 and 29,^ 2009, hosted by
Metropolitan State in partnership with /youthrive/.

Esquivel was a teacher and architect by trade, and in the mid 70's,
after becoming very concerned about the 'disappearances' of local
leaders who had been working for peace and democracy, he devoted his
time to nonviolence movements in Latin America.  In 1977, Adolfo
himself 'disappeared' and was tortured by the Argentinean Military for
14 months.  Esquivel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for his
leadership for human rights and true democracy for the people of Latin

The March 27h public talk is free but tickets are required.  Please
contact Metropolitan State's Center for Community-Based Learning at
651-793-1285 or [at]
<mailto:cblcenter [at]> for tickets.

--------5 of 21--------

From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at]>
Subject: Moyers/Greider 3.27 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | Journalist William Greider

Bill Moyers Journal: "For years, best-selling author William Greider
sounded the alarm about Washington's unholy alliance with Wall Street and
the failure of the Federal Reserve and other regulators to take preventive
measures to avoid disaster. Now, he offers some suggestions to the
question everyone is asking: 'What do we do now?'"

--------6 of 21--------

From: Diane J. Peterson <birch7 [at] COMCAST.NET>
Subject: Community gardens 3.28 9am

From Land Stewardship Project:

Community Garden Fair March 28 in St. Paul
Paula Westmoreland of the Permaculture Research Institute will keynote
the 2009 Twin Cities Community Garden Spring Resource Fair March 28 at
Unity Church-Unitarian in Saint Paul. As in the past, the Fair will
feature workshops on community gardening and ways of enhancing "the urban
food production experience."

Saturday, March 28th, 9:00-4:00pm
Unity Church-Unitarian, 732 Holly Avenue, St. Paul

We're excited to have this year's 'hoedown' at St. Paul's Unity Church.
The Fair will have workshops tailored for community gardening and ways to
enhance our urban food system. Paula Westmoreland, from our homegrown
Permaculture Research Institute, will be our morning keynote speaker
sharing permaculture's principles of community and ecological

We welcome organizations and agencies to have an informational table at
the Resource Fair.

--------7 of 21--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 3.28 9am Cambridge MN

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

--------8 of 21-------

From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at]>
Subject: Green Party 3.28 9am
Spring membership meeting

At this membership meeting we will be electing two CC members and GPUS
delegates.  A finance chair is needed, so everybody interested in money
please run for the CC position!

The address of the All Nations Indian Church is:
All Nations Indian Church
1515 East 23rd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

3/28/09 Green Party Spring Membership Meeting Agenda
9:00 - Registration
9:15 - Welcome ceremony (poet Richard Broderick, poets against the war,
       4th CD Green Party)

9:30 - Workshop 1 - Legislation at the Capital (Rhoda Gilman, David
11:00  Elections (CC and GPUS delegates)
12:00  Lunch (potluck, bring your favorite dish to share)
1:00 - Workshop 2 - Palestine (Ziad Amra, Farheen Hakeem and Karen
1:00 - Workshop 3 - Sulfide Mining in Northern Minnesota (Sky Blue Waters)

Workshop 1
Legislation at the Capital- Rhoda Gilman, David Strand
MN Health Care Act will have been through 3 committee hearings in the MN
state legislature by 3/28/09.  There will be legislative updates to
discuss.  The Repeal MN Patriot Act, Marriage Equality Act, 2nd Chance Act
and the Gas Mileage Act will also be discussed.

Workshop 2
Palestine - Ziad Amra, Farheen Hakeem and Karen Redleaf
The current situation in Gaza, a little bit of history of Palestine and
the tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Workshop 3
Sulfide Mining in Northern MN - Sky Blue Waters
The effects of sulfide mining on the eviroment in northern Minnesota.

--------9 of 21--------

From: Liz Dodson <lizartist [at]>
Subject: Water rights/women 3.28 10am

We are at the threshold of a global water crisis. Because women play a
central role in water provision and management, women must be central in
planning for the future. Today, women from all geographies, cultures, and
traditions are grappling with the questions and challenges of what must be
done to sustain the water of the world, working from a variety of vantage
points and perspectives. These expressions are a critical component to
international dialogues about access to water and the need for creative

The unparalleled threat to the world's water can only be met if we
understand that we depend on the health of our ecosystem for our own
lives. The global water justice movement is united in the belief that
water must be seen as a basic human right and must not be denied to
anyone. We believe water is a "commons." The commons is everything we
inherit and belongs to all of us. Our charge is to protect this water
wealth. We must pass it on undiminished to future generations.

MEETING  at MCAD, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 2500
Stevens Av.S., Mpls, MN
* a report on the recent CAA and WCA conference in LA
* Updates on the Exhibit, Calls for Art, website, new connections and logo
* Plus our Visioning process that will include more ways to
  connect WCA and WARM
* March 28th, Saturday, Meeting at MCAD, Minneapolis College of
  Art and Design at 10 am -noon, Room 101

--------10 of 21--------

From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at]>
Subject: Music/movie sale 3.28 10am

new big sale this weekend at mill city music 3820 e. lake st.
saturday 10-5, sunday noon-4, monday 10-4

music: blues, folk, rock, jazz, bluegrass, at bargain prices.

movies: unowsky's classic (and not-so) collection of vhs including
Bunuel, Hitchcock, Renoir, Altman, Carne', Sayles, Almodovar, Hawks,
Herzog, Allen, Leigh, Lee, all cheap.

for more info: call papa john or sue at 612-822-6649 or hungry dave at

cash or checks only   [No souls or first-born sons? drat. -ed]

--------11 of 21--------

From: Ted Dooley <614grand [at]>
Subject: Bike ride for RNC8  3.28 10:30am

Join more EXCELLENT political theater in the sometimes occupied military
zone once called the Twin Cities

  [pronounced: Turdy Fletcher]

Part of the Saturday, March 28 National Day of Solidarity with the RNC 8

This first week of spring, get on your bike in solidarity with the RNC 8!
Reclaim the sites of last fall's RNC raids in the Tour de Fletcher.

Join us on this legal, fun ride visiting and reclaiming the sites of
Sheriff Bob Fletcher's pre-emptive raids. Put the brakes on bogus
terrorism charges!  There'll be activities, speakers, surprises, and more
ways to ride with the RNC 8, eight members of our community facing
possible prison time in response to their effective political organizing.
Whatever the weather - we ride together!

Here's the schedule - Come for all or part of the day:

10:30am: GATHER @ Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis, by the rec center
RIDE to...
3500 Harriet Ave.
3240 17th Ave.
2301 23rd Ave.
12:30 (approx.): LUNCH at or near Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave. S - a
sliding scale fundraising event for the RNC 8 legal defense.  After
lunch, if you're up to it...
2:00: RIDE to 949/951 Iglehart Ave and 627 Smith Ave (the convergence
space) in St. Paul
Stay tuned for possible events in the evening!
Brought to you by Friends of the RNC 8, CRASS (Community RNC Arrestee
Support Structure), the RNC 8 Defense Committee, and supporters like

For more info on the RNC 8, including background, legal updates and
Other events on the National Day of Solidarity:
Contact Friends of the RNC 8: info [at]

--------12 of 21--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Vs foreclosure 3.28 12noon

SAY NO to the foreclosed home auction! Moratorium NOW on foreclosures &
Saturday, March 28 @ 12:00 Noon @ Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second
Avenue So, Minneapolis*

On Saturday, March 28, the Real Estate Disposition Corporation (REDC), one
of the biggest private auctioneers of foreclosed homes in the country, is
auctioning more than 300 foreclosed homes at the Minneapolis Convention
Center. The houses being sold to the highest bidder are the homes of
families who were forced out by banks and mortgage companies. Many of
these banks have received hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer
bail-out money while throwing working people out of their homes. Thousands
of people are being evicted from their homes every day. Hundreds of
thousands of workers are being laid off each month.

We cannot and must not be indifferent to the ugly spectacle of the
auctioning of the homes of displaced families. In midst of the biggest
economic crisis since the depression of the 1930s, these auctions should
not be taking place.

Working people and low-income people should not be paying for the crisis
brought on by the greed of the banks and corporations.  These foreclosed
home auctions are a symptom of the cruel and criminal economy that ignores
working people and low-income people while protecting corporations.
Foreclosures will continue to grow until people unite and say "No More!"

Come to the Saturday, March 28th picket to speak out against the mounting
foreclosure crisis and to demand that the government take concrete steps
to stop people from losing their homes. Initiated by the Minnesota
Coalition for a People's Bail Out: 612-822-8020 or, Endorsed by the AWC.

--------13 of 21--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Vs war recruiters 3.28 1pm

Planning Meeting to Stop Recruiters & Stop the War
Saturday, March 28 @ 1pm @ conference room 102A, 1313 5th St. SE,
Get involved with the actions that other groups are planning for April 23rd,
or if you're planning something, come and coordinate with them.

--------14 of 21--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 3.28 2pm

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

--------15 of 21--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Stop reroute/film 3.28 7pm

"STOP the Re-Route: Taking a Stand on Sacred Land:" Community Film
Premiere and Celebration

Saturday, March 28, 7:00 p.m. Roosevelt High School, Auditorium, 4029 28th
Avenue South, Minneapolis. ^Stop the Re-Route^ tells the dramatic story
of a community^s opposition to the State of Minnesota^s plan to drive a
road through its birthplace, land considered historic to some and sacred
to others. Neighborhood, indigenous and environmental activists tell an
inspiring story of resistance and a commitment to live lightly on
Grandmother Earth, preserve precious natural resources, and resist car
culture at the end of the Petroleum Age. Cost: $5.00. Sponsored by:
Friends of Mendota Dakota Mdewakanton Community, Northern Sun, Sisters of
St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates, Southside Pride, and Women
Religious for Justice. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Visit

--------16 of 21--------

From: Oxfam Action Corps - MN <minnesota [at]>
Subject: Dine out/lights out 3.28 8:30pm

Join Common Roots Cafe, ONE Twin Cities and Oxfam Action Corps - Minnesota
as we switch off the lights to shine light on climate change during Earth

WHAT: Dine Out with the Lights Out - An Earth Hour Event
WHERE: Common Roots Cafe, 26th Street and Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis.
WHEN: Saturday, March 28, 2009, Lights Out from 8:30pm - 9:30pm. Arrive
early to ensure you're part of the lights out action.
WHO: Common Roots Cafe, volunteers of ONE Twin Cities and Oxfam Action Corps
- MN, and you!

Earth Hour is an annual event held on the third Saturday of March that calls
on everyone in the world to turn off their lights for one hour as show of
solidarity to take action against global warming. The goal for this third
year of Earth Hour is one billion participants - which will include everyone
at Common Roots Cafe.

The ONE Campaign and Oxfam are concerned with climate change because it's
impacting the world's poor first and worst. You can learn more about this
human face of climate change and how you can take action from ONE Twin
Cities and Oxfam Action Corps before and during Earth Hour at Common Roots.
Hope to see you there!

Dine Out with the Lights Out is a collaboration between Common Roots Cafe,
Oxfam Action Corps, and ONE Twin Cities.

[At my house we always eat with the lights out so you don't have to see
the food.  Tasting it is bad enough; some use clothespins on their noses.
Sort of like voting for Democrats. -ed]

[I didn't tell you about the rude noises the food sometimes makes as
some of its best parts crawl and wiggle. -ed]

--------17 of 21--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Peoples bailout/CTV 3.28 9pm

Mighty Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!  Households with basic cable may

Sat, 3/28, 9pm and Tues, 3/31, 8am
Bail Out the People!

The Welfare Rights Committee's Tasha Jackson and Linden Gawboy speak about
how the economic crisis has been affecting poor people and the People's
Bail Out Bill in the MN legislature.  Hosted by Karen Redleaf.

--------18 of 21--------

Pulling the Teeth Out of Card Check
Another Blow to Labor ... from the Democrats
March 26, 2009

The U.S. corporate class has always been notorious for its ferocious
opposition to unions. And true to form, business leaders reacted with
collective hysteria to the introduction of legislation in the House and
Senate on March 10th that would make it just a bit easier for workers to

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would allow unions to win recognition
once a majority of workers at a given workplace signs a union card, rather
than allowing managers to force their workers to suffer through a
drawn-out union election by secret ballot. Employers typically prefer to
force a union election because it allows them to delay the decision by
months while they fire union supporters and force their workers to endure
"captive audience" meetings with managers who threaten to close down the
company or move elsewhere in the case of a union victory.

EFCA would also compel recalcitrant employers to bargain with unions, by
imposing binding arbitration if there is no agreement reached 120 days
after a union wins recognition. This is necessary because roughly half of
all new unions never get a contract due to their managements' refusal to
bargain in good faith.

The Chamber of Commerce has called EFCA a "firestorm bordering on
Armageddon". In an October 28th interview on CNBC, John McCain pledged to
veto EFCA if elected president, calling it "dangerous for America, [and]
it's dangerous to small business". And I think it's a threat to one of the
fundamentals of democracy".

The Chamber, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and other
anti-union corporate crusaders have raised $200 million to combat EFCA.
And they have only just begun to fight, framing their defense of workers'
"right" to a vote by secret ballot in a union election as if this were a
struggle to preserve a sacred cornerstone of democracy - by preventing
unions from simply asking workers to sign union cards if they would like
to join the union.

* * *

In reality, EFCA would maintain the option of voting by secret ballot but
transfers the decision to workers instead of employers, where it currently
resides. Nevertheless, on the March 14 edition of Fox News. "The Journal
Editorial Report," Wall St. Journal editor Paul Gigot accused "Big Labor"
of using "brass knuckles" and their "toughest tactics" to get their way.
It turns out that the behavior to which Gigot referred was nothing more
thuggish than a group of unions having "written a letter - to Treasury
Secretary Tim Geithner suggesting that any banks or companies that receive
funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program shouldn't be able to lobby
[against EFCA]".

This would seem a perfectly reasonable request, given that both Bank of
America and Citigroup organized conference calls to launch their own
campaigns against EFCA after receiving $25 billion and $50 billion in
bailout funds, respectively. These clueless executives still seem not to
realize that union busting is an inappropriate use of taxpayer money -
especially in the midst of the apparently limitless taxpayer bailout of
the Wall St. banks who provoked the current economic crisis. These are
undoubtedly the same sort of managers who believe that referring to
underpaid and overworked retail employees as "associates" actually
prevents working-class resentment from appearing in their workplaces.

EFCA was last introduced in Congress in 2007, when it fell victim to a
Republican filibuster in the Senate. Employers are aiming for the same
outcome this time around. Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, who was a sponsor
of the original EFCA bill in 2003, voted for it in 2005 and voted against
the Republican filibuster in 2007 was undecided on the new bill until
March 24th, when he made a firm about-face. As he explained his newfound
anti-union stand, "The problems of the recession make this a particularly
bad time to enact Employees Free Choice legislation. Employers
understandably complain that adding a burden would result in further job

Some news outlets, including U.S. News and World Report, have credited
Specter with dealing a "death blow" to EFCA because his lone vote will
provide Republicans with the 60 Senate votes necessary to successfully
vote against cloture - i.e., to achieve a filibuster. Alas, Specter must
share the "death blow" distinction with a handful of Senate Democrats who
have also belatedly turned against EFCA.  Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark
Pryor from Wal-Mart's home state of Arkansas, for example, have similarly
been peeled away from their previous support for an easier path to
unionization. Even Barak Obama, who made his support for EFCA a campaign
promise, indicated in a January 15th interview with the Washington Post
that he would be open to making some compromise with business interests.

Starbucks, Costco and Whole Foods chief executives came forward with just
such a compromise in March. Although these three companies all promote a
"progressive" image, they have managed to remain largely union-free -
with the exception of Costco, where the Teamsters union has organized
about one-fifth of the workforce.

Moreover, their proposed compromise removes the most important aspects of
the legislation:  the right to unionization by majority card check and
binding arbitration after 120 days of management stalling. Whole Foods CEO
John Mackey bluntly explained their anti-union reasoning for removing
these elements from the bill to the Washington Post, "Armed with those
weapons, you will see unionization sweep across the United States and set
workplaces at war with each other. I do not think it would be a good

* * *

Even this proposed toothless version of EFCA is too much for the Chamber
of Commerce, however. Glenn Spencer, a senior executive at the Chamber
argued, "I would say probably from the whole business community's
perspective, there are really no amendments you could make to this bill
that would make it acceptable."

>From unions' viewpoint, removing those key provisions from EFCA would make
it worthless, based on the widespread intimidation tactics used by
employers. According to the AFL-CIO, when companies are faced with a union

--92 percent of managers force their employees to attend closed-door
meetings against the union - and 78 percent require their workers to
attend one-on-one meetings with their supervisors;

--75 percent of companies hire professional union-busters;

--52 percent threatens to call U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
against immigrant workers;

--25 percent illegally fire at least one worker during a union campaign.

It is no wonder that, as the AFL-CIO notes, 78 percent of the public
supports workers' right to bargain for better wages and benefits - and
expresses precious little sympathy for the plight of corporate executives
as this economic crisis worsens. Management, not labor, intimidates
workers when it comes to union organizing.

But this new phase of the class struggle cannot be won via dueling
television ads, however much popular sentiment tilts toward unions.
Anti-union corporations spent $50 million on ads skewering Democratic
Party candidates during last fall's Congressional campaigns, while unions
mustered only about $10 million for the same purpose against Republicans.
Tellingly, Specter told reporters about his Republican peers,  "I'm being
lobbied on it very, very heavily" before he shifted his vote on EFCA.

Neither Senate Democrats nor labor leaders have thus far waged a
principled fight approaching the level of determination exhibited by
Republicans and the business lobby over EFCA. Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid said on March 10th that Democrats' push for a vote on EFCA might
"have to wait until after the August recess" unless Democrats are assured
the bill can survive a Republican attempt to filibuster. Each month that
passes without a vote on this crucial piece of pro-union legislation
significantly reduces its chances of success, as Democrats conveniently
"forget" the promises they made during their 2008 election campaigns that
inspired their supporters to get out the vote.

Unions need to mobilize the millions of workers who are enthusiastic union
supporters to gain the upper hand in this struggle.

Sharon Smith is the author of Women and Socialism and Subterranean Fire: a
History of Working-Class Radicalism in the United States. She can be
reached at: sharon [at]

[More proof that we need a strong progressive third party to scare the
living crap out of the spineless two-faced corporate shills henchmen and
errand boys that go under the name "elected national Republicans/Dems".
They talk a good game until they can make a difference, and then they
betray us. I say kick the bastards out, and build a third party responsive
to the people. What we have fails us the people, and will continue to fail
us, until we say Enough! -ed]

--------19 of 21-------

A Parasite on the Health Care System
Why Do We Need a Health Insurance Industry?
March 26, 2009

As the country contemplates a major reform and restructuring of the way we
run our national health care system (if it can even be called that), it
needs to be pointed out that the mammoth health insurance industry is
nothing but a parasite on that system.

Health insurance companies add zero value to the delivery of health care.
Indeed, they are a significant cost factor that sucks up, according to
some estimates such as one by the organization Physicians for a National
Health Program, as much as 31 percent of every dollar spent on medical
services (a percentage that has been rising steadily year after year).

Insurance companies are damaging in more ways than simply cost, though.

They also actively interfere in the delivery of quality medical care, as
anyone who has had to battle with some "nurse" on the phone at an
insurance company to get required pre-authorization for needed procedure
can attest.  Just recently, the editor of a local weekly alternative paper
in Philadelphia, Brian Hinkey, the victim of a near fatal hit-and-run
accident last year who spent several days in a coma, and has been working
hard to regain the use of all his limbs and faculties, reported in an
opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer on how his insurer after a few
successful weeks of in-hospital rehab, denied him coverage for six
critical weeks for out-patient rehab services, though every specialist on
head injuries knows that early, consistent therapy is crucial to recovery
of lost brain function.

This kind of human abuse is standard operating procedure for companies
whose bottom lines are fattened the more services they can deny to insured
clients. My own father, once doomed by a metastasized cancer following
prostate surgery, was saved by a procedure offered by a physician in
Atlanta that his Blue Cross plan in Connecticut refused to pay for. He had
to finance the expensive treatment himself.

Now these medical system parasites are suddenly running scared, because it
is clear that if everyone in America is to be guaranteed health insurance
coveragea - a promised goal of the new administration of President Barack
Obama, and, according to polls, the desire of a large majority of the
American peoplethey - are going to stand exposed as a costly impediment to
achieving that goal.

Insurance companies have managed to stay profitable and at least somewhat
affordable to the private employers and workers who, together, have to pay
for them, by denying care not just to policy holders, who are denied
certain tests and treatments but especially to those who have known
ailments, who are simply denied coverage altogether.

For decades, people with "pre-existing conditions" have been either barred
from coverage, or have had to sign waivers that excluded them from getting
coverage for treatment of those pre-existing conditions. In the worst
case, which is all too common, people have ended up dying because they
couldn't get treatment for common and easily treated ailments like high
blood pressure or diabetes. [But the insurance CEOs got longer yachts!
Longer yachts! And that's what it's all about. -ed]

Now we hear that two big insurance trade groups, the Blue Cross and Blue
Shield Association and America's Health Insurance Plans, have offered to
"phase out the practice of varying premiums based on health status in the
individual market" in the event that all Americans are required to obtain
health insurance.

Well sure they're doing that. If they didn't, the government would force
them to! The insurance industry, in saying that it would not price sick
people out of coverage in a nationally-mandated health insurance scheme,
is merely recognizing the political firestorm that would arise if it were
not to do that, and were to force the sick and inform onto some government
insurance plan, subsidized by taxpayers, while they just cherry-picked the
healthy population, as they've been doing now for decades.

The whole point is that if everyone is included in the insurance pool,
instead of only the healthy population, then the overall cost of being
chronically or critically ill to the individual is spread over the whole
of society. Premiums get adjusted accordingly.

Medicare is the model. Here we already have a government plan that covers
every single elderly and disabled person.

If we were to simply extend Medicare to cover everyone in America, we
would essentially have the Canadian model of health care (which, it should
be pointed out, costs half what we pay in America for health care when
private insurance and government programs are added together). As with
current Medicare, the government would pay for treatment, with private
doctors and hospitals providing the care, and with the government
negotiating the permissible charges. That, in a nutshell, is what
"single-payer" means - the government is the single payer for all health
care. It doesn't mean, as the right-wing critics claim in their
scaremongering propaganda, that people would be forced to use certain
doctors and certain hospitals. Far from it. That's what private HMOs do.

Medicare is efficient (only 3.6% of Medicare's budget goes to
administrative costs, compared to 31% for health care delivered through
private insurance plans), its clients like it, and doctors and hospitals
accept it.

We should not be tricked by this seeming sudden appearance of decency on
the part of these corporate parasites.  There is simply no valid reason
for preserving the private insurance industry's role in any health care
reform plan that is aimed at giving everyone access to health care in
America. The Obama administration needs to jettison its "free market"
fetish when it comes to health care. The financing of health care for all
Americans can all be handled much better by the government. Medicare has
proven this. Other countries - Britain, Australia, France, Canada, Taiwan
and most other modern nations have proven this.

Leave the insurance industry to handle our car insurance and our life
insurance. It has no more place in the delivery of health care than do
tapeworms in the digestive process of our bowels.

Dave Lindorff  is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His
latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin.s Press, 2006 and
now available in paperback). He can be reached at dlindorff [at]

--------20 of 21---------

War On Terror Within: The End of Jewish History
by Gilad Atzmon
March 24th, 2009
Dissident Voice

The issue I am going to discuss today is probably the most important thing
I've ever had to say about Israeli brutality and contemporary Jewish
identity. I assume that I could have shaped my thought into a wide-ranging
book or an analytical academic text but instead, I will do the very
opposite, I will make it as short and as simple as possible.

In the weeks that have just passed we had been witness to an Israeli
genocidal campaign against the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza. We
had been witnessing one of the strongest armies in the world squashing
women, elderly people and children. We saw blizzards of unconventional
weapons bursting over schools, hospitals and refugee camps. We had seen
and heard about war crimes committed before, but this time, the Israeli
transgression was categorically different. It was supported by the total
absolute majority of the Israeli Jewish population. The IDF military
campaign in Gaza enjoyed the support of 94% of the Israeli population. 94%
of the Israelis apparently approved of the air raids against civilians.

The Israeli people saw the carnage on their TV screens, they heard the
voices, they saw hospitals and refugee camps in flames and yet, they
weren't really moved by it all. They didn't do much to stop their
"democratically elected" ruthless leaders. Instead, some of them grabbed a
seat and settled on the hills overlooking the Gaza Strip to watch their
army turning Gaza into modern Hebraic coliseum of blood. Even now when the
campaign seems to be over and the scale of the carnage in Gaza has been
revealed, the Israelis fail to show any signs of remorse. As if this is
not enough, all throughout the war, Jews around the world rallied in
support of their "Jews-only state". Such a popular support of outright war
crimes is unheard of. Terrorist states do kill, yet they are slightly shy
about it all. Stalin's USSR did it in some remote Gulags, Nazi Germany
executed its victims in deep forests and behind barbed wire. In the Jewish
state, the Israelis slaughter defenceless women, children and the old in
broad daylight, using unconventional weapons targeting schools, hospitals
and refugee camps.

This level of group barbarism cries for an explanation. The task ahead can
be easily defined as the quest for a realisation of Israeli collective
brutality. How is it that a society has managed to lose its grip of any
sense of compassion and mercy?

                        The Terror Within

More than anything else, the Israelis and their supportive Jewish
communities are terrorised by the brutality they find in themselves. The
more ruthless the Israelis are, the more frightened they become. The logic
is simple. The more suffering one inflicts on the other, the more anxious
one becomes of the possible potential deadly capacity around. In broad
terms, the Israeli projects on the Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and Iranian
the aggression which he finds in himself. Considering the fact that
Israeli brutality is now proved to be with no limit and with no
comparison, their anxiety is as at least as great.

Seemingly, the Israelis are fearful of themselves being the henchmen. They
are engaged in a deadly battle with the terror within. But the Israeli is
not alone. The Diaspora Jew who rallies in support of a state that pours
white phosphorous on civilians is caught in the exact same devastating
trap. Being an enthusiastic backer of an overwhelming crime, he is
horrified by the thought that the cruelty he happens to find in himself
may manifest itself in others. The Diaspora Jew who supports Israel is
devastated by the imaginary possibility that a brutal intent, similar to
his own, may one day turn against him. This very concern is what the fear
of anti-Semitism is all about. It is basically the projection of the
collective Zio-centric tribal ruthlessness onto others.

         There is no Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

What we see here is a clear formation of a vicious cycle in which the
Israeli and his supporters are becoming an insular fireball of vengeance
that is fuelled by some explosive internal aggression. The meaning of it
all is pretty revealing. Since Palestinians cannot militarily confront
Israeli aggression and destructive capacity, we are entitled to argue that
there is no Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All there is, is Israeli
psychosis in which the Israeli is being shattered with anxiety by the
reflection of his own ruthlessness. Being regarded as the Nazis of our
time, the Israeli is thus doomed to seeing a Nazi in everyone. Similarly,
there is no rise in anti-Semitism either. The Diaspora Zionist Jew is
simply devastated by the possibility that someone out there is as
ethically corrupted and merciless as he himself proved to be. In short,
Israeli politics and Zionist lobbying should be seen as no less than a
lethal Zio-centric collective paranoia on the verge of total psychosis.

Is there a way to redeem the Zionist of his bloody expedition? Is there a
way to change the course of history, to save the Israelis and their
supporters from total depravity? Probably the best way to pose this
question is to ask whether there is a way to save the Israeli and the
Zionist from themselves. As one may gather, I am not exactly interested in
saving Israelis or Zionists, however, I do grasp that redeeming Zionists
of their transgression may bring a prospect of peace to Palestine, Iraq
and probably the rest of us. For those who fail to see it, Israel is just
the tip of the iceberg. At the end of the day, America, Britain and the
West are now subject to some similar forms of "politics of fear" that are
the direct outcome of Neocon deadly interventionist ideology and

                     The Shrink from Nazareth

Many years ago, so we are told, there was an Israelite who lived amongst
his brethren in the land of Canaan. Like the contemporary Israelis, he was
surrounded by hate, vengeance and fear. At a certain stage he had decided
to intervene and to bring a change about, he realised that there was no
other way to fight ruthlessness than to search for grace. "Turn your other
cheek" was his simple suggestion. Identifying the Israelite's psychosis as
"a war against terror within", Jesus grasped that the only way to counter
violence is to look in the mirror while searching for Goodness within.

It is rather apparent that Jesus' lesson paved the way to the formation of
western universal ethics. Modern political ideologies drew their lesson
from the Christian prospect. Marx's normative search for equality can be
seen as a secular rewriting of Jesus' notion of brotherhood. And yet, not
a single political ideology has managed to integrate the deepest notion of
Jesus' grace. To seek peace is primarily to search for one within. While
Israelis and their Neocon twins would aim at achieving peace by means of
deterrence, true peace is achieved by the search for harmony within. As a
Lacanian scholar may suggest, to love your neighbour is actually to love
yourself loving your neighbour. The case of the Israeli is the complete
opposite. As they manage to prove time after time, they are really loving
themselves hating their neighbours or in short, they simply love
themselves hating in general. They hate almost everything: the neighbour,
the Arab, Chavez, the German, Islam, the Goy, Pork, the Pope, the
Palestinian, the Church, Jesus, Hamas, calamari and Iran. You name it,
they hate it. One may have to admit that hating so much must be a very
consuming project unless it gives pleasure. And indeed the Israeli
"pleasure principle" could be articulated as follows: it continuously
drives the Israeli to seek pleasure in hate while inflicting pain upon

It must be mentioned at this point that the "War Against Terror within" is
not exactly a Jewish invention. Everyone, whether it is nations, peoples
or individuals, are a potential subject to it. The consequences of
American nuclear murderous slaughter in Hiroshima and Nagasaki made the
American people into a terrorised collective. This collective anxiety is
known as the "cold war". America is yet to redeem itself of the fear that
there maybe someone out there as merciless as America proved to be. To a
certain extent, operation Shock and Awe had a very similar effect on
Britain and America. It led to the creation of horrified masses easily
manipulated by highly motivated elite. This exact type of politics is
called "politics of fear".

And yet, within the western discourse a correction mechanism is in place.
Unlike the Jewish state that is getting radicalised by its own self
feeding paranoia, in the West, evil is somehow confronted and contained
eventually. The murderer is denounced and hope for peace is somehow
reinstated till further notice. Not that I hold my breath for President
Obama bringing any change, one thing is rather clear, Obama was voted in
to bring a change. Obama is a symbol of our genuine attempt to curtail
evil. In the Jewish state, not only it doesn't happen, it can never
happen. The difference between Israel and the West is rather obvious. In
the West, Christian heritage is providing us with a possibility of a wish
grounded on belief in universal goodness. Though, we are under the
constant danger of exposure to evil, we tend to believe that goodness will
eventually prevail. On the other hand, in Hebraic tribal discourse,
Goodness is the property of the chosen. The Israelis do not see goodness
or kindness in their neighbors, they see them as savage and as a
life-threatening entity. For the Israelis, kindness is their very own
property, accidentally they are also innocent and victims. Within the
western universal discourse, goodness doesn't belong to one people or a
single nation, it belongs to all and to none at the same time. Within the
western universal heritage, Goodness is found in each of us. It doesn't
belong to a political party or an ideology. The elevating notion of grace
and a Good God is there in each of us, it is always very close to home.

                 What Kind Of Father Is That?

"Then when the Lord your God brings you to the land he promised your
ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you - a land with large, fine
cities you did not build, houses filled with choice things you did not
accumulate, hewn out cisterns you did not dig, and vineyards and olive
groves you did not plant - and you eat your fill" (Deuteronomy: 6:

"When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to
possess and drives out before you many nations - then you must destroy
them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy..
(Deuteronomy 7:1-2)

At this point we may try to attempt and to grasp the root cause behind the
severe lack of compassion within the Israeli discourse and its supportive
lobbies. I believe that an elaboration on the troubled relationships
between the Jews and their different Gods may throw some light on the
topic. It is rather obvious that the ever growing list of Jewish "Gods",
"Idols" and "Father-figures" is slightly problematic at least as far as
ethics and kindness are concerned. The very relationship between "the son"
and the "non-ethical father" must be explored. The philosopher Ariella
Atzmon (who happens to be my mother) defines the complexity of the false
beginning as the "Fagin Syndrome" - Charles Dickens. Fagin is a "kidsman",
an adult who recruits children and trains them as pickpockets and thieves,
exchanging food and shelter for goods the children steal. Though the kids
must be grateful towards their master, they must also despise him for
turning them into thieves and pickpockets. The kids realise that Fagin's
goods are all stolen and his kindness is far from being genuinely honest
or pure. Sooner or later the kids will turn against their master Fagin in
an attempt to liberate themselves of the immoral catch.

>From a father-son perspective, the Biblical Jewish God Jehovah is no
different from what we might see in the Fagin syndrome. The father of
Israel leads his chosen people through the desert to the promised land so
they can rob and plunder its indigenous habitants. This is not exactly
what one may expect of an ethical father or a "kind God". Consequently, as
much as the sons of Israel love Jehovah, they must also be slightly
suspicious of him for turning them into robbers and murderers. They might
even be apprehensive regarding his kindness. Thus, it shouldn't take us by
a surprise that throughout Jewish history more than just a few Jews had
turned against their heavenly father.

However, bearing in mind the common secularist perception that Gods are
actually invented by people, one may wonder, what leads to the invention
of such an "unethical God"? What makes people follow the rules of such a
God? It would be also interesting to find out what kind of alternative
Gods Jews happened to pick or invent once Jehovah has been shunned.

Since emancipation, more than just a few Jews had been disassociating
themselves from the traditional tribal setting and rabbinical Judaism.
Many intermingled with their surrounding realities, dropped their chosen
entitlement and turned into ordinary human beings. Many other Jews
insisted upon dropping God yet maintaining their racially orientated
tribal affiliation. They decided to base their tribal belonging on ethnic,
racial, political, cultural and ideological grounds rather than the Judaic
precept. Though they noticeably dropped Jehovah they insisted upon
adopting a secularist view that was soon shaped into a monolithic
religious-like precept. All throughout the 20th century, the two
religious-like political ideologies that had been found to be most
appealing by the Jewish masses were Marxism and Zionism.

Marxism can be easily portrayed as a secular universal ethical ideology.
However, within the process of transformation into a Jewish tribal
precept, Marxism has managed to lose any traces of humanism or
universalism. As we know, early Zionist ideology and practice was largely
dominated by Jewish leftists who regarded themselves as true followers of
Marx. They genuinely believed that celebrating their Jewish national
revival at the expense of Palestinians was a legitimate socialist

Interestingly enough, their opponents, the anti-Zionist Bund of the East
European Jewish Labour, didn't really believe in the institutional robbery
of the Palestinians, instead, they believed that taking from rich
Europeans is a great universal mitzvah on the path towards social justice.

The following are a few lines from The Bund's anthem

 We swear our stalwart hate persists,
 Of those who rob and kill the poor:
 The Tsar, the masters, capitalists.
 Our vengeance will be swift and sure.
 So swear together to live or die!

Without engaging in questions having to do with ethics or political
affiliation, it is rather obvious that the Jewish Marxist anthem is
overwhelmingly saturated with "hate" and "vengeance". As much as Jews were
enthusiastic about Marx, Marxism, Bolshevism and equality, the end of the
story is known. Jews en masse dropped Marx a long time ago. They somehow
left the revolution to some enlightened Goyim such as Hugo Chavez and Evo
Morales. Leaders who truly internalised in the real meaning of universal
equality and ethics.

Though in the late 19th century and the early 20th century, Marxism found
many followers amongst European Jews, following the Holocaust, Zionism has
gradually become the voice of world Jewry. Like Fagin, the Zionist Gods
and Idols: Herzl, Ben Gurion, Nordau, Weizmann, promised their followers a
new unethical beginning. Robbing the Palestinians was their path towards a
long overdue historical justice. Zionism transformed the Old Testament
from a spiritual text into a land registry. But again as in the case of
Jehovah, the Zio God transformed the Jew into a thief, it promised him
someone else's property. This in itself may explain the Israeli resentment
towards Zionism and Zionist ideology. Israelis prefer to see themselves as
the natural dwellers of the land rather than pioneers in a non-ethical
Jewish Diaspora colonial project. The Israeli Jew furnishes his political
stand by means of severe ethical escapism. This may explain the fact that
as much as the Israelis love their wars, they really hate to fight them.
They are not willing to die for a big abstract remote ideology such as the
"Jewish nation" or "Zionism". They overwhelmingly prefer to drop white
phosphorous and cluster bombs from afar.

However, along the relatively short history of modern Jewish nationalism
the Zio God made friends with some other Gods and kosher idols. Back in
1917 Lord Balfour promised the Jews that they would erect their national
home in Palestine. Needless to say, as in the case of Jehovah, Lord
Balfour made the Jews into plunderers and robbers, he came up with an
outright non-ethical promise. He promised the Jews someone else's land.
This was basically a false beginning. Evidently, it didn't take long
before the Jews turned against the British Empire. In 1947 the UN made
exactly the same foolish mistake, it gave birth to the "Jews-only State"
again at the expense of the Palestinians. It legitimised the robbery of
Palestine in the name of the nations. Like in the case of shunned Jehovah,
it didn't take long before the Jews turned against the UN. "It doesn't
matter what the Goyim say, all that matters is what the Jews do", said
Israeli PM David Ben Gurion. Recently Israelis had managed to even shun
their best subservient friends in the White House. On the eve of the last
American presidential election Israeli Generals had been filmed denouncing
President Bush for "damaging Israeli interests for being overwhelmingly
supportive" (Ret. Brig General Shlomo Brom). The Israeli Generals
basically blamed Bush for not stopping Israel from destroying its
neighbours. The moral is rather clear, the Zionists and the Israelis will
inevitably turn against their Gods, Idols, fathers and others who try to
help them. This is the real meaning of the Fagin syndrome within the
Israeli political context. They will always have to turn against their

I believe that the most interesting Jewish belief system of them all is
the Holocaust Religion, which the Israeli Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz
rightly defined as the "new Jewish religion". The most interesting aspect
of the Holocaust religion is its God-figure, namely "the Jew". The Jewish
follower of that newly formed dogmatic precept believes in "the Jew", the
one who redeemed oneself. The one who "survived" the "ultimate genocidal"
event. The followers believe in "the Jew", the "innocent" victim sufferer
who returned to his "promised land" and now celebrates his successful
revival narrative. To a certain extent, within the Holocaust religious
discourse, the Jew believes in "the Jew", expressed as his/her powers and
his/her eternal qualities. Within the newly formed religious framework,
Mecca is Tel Aviv and the Holy Shrine is the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.
The newly formed religion has many shrines (Museums) scattered around the
world and it has many priests who spread the message around and punish its
opposing elements. From a Jewish perspective, the Holocaust religion is a
fully transparent expression of self love. It is where past and future
merge into a meaningful present, it is when history is translated into
praxis. Whether consciously or unconsciously, every person who identifies
politically and ideologically (rather than religiously) as a Jew is,
practically speaking, succumbing to the Holocaust religion and a follower
of its father-figure "the Jew". And yet, one may wonder, what about
Kindness, is there any goodness in this newly formed "father-figure"? Is
there any grace in this narrative of innocent victimhood that is
celebrated daily at the expense of the Palestinian people?

If there is an end to history, the Holocaust religion embodies the very
end of Jewish history. In the light of the Holocaust religion the "Father"
and the "Son" unite at last. At least in the case of Israel and Zionism
they bond into an amalgam of genocidal ideology and reality. In the light
of the Holocaust religion and its epic survival ethos the Jewish State
considers itself legitimated in dropping white phosphorus on women and
children who they have caged in an inescapable open-air prison. Sadly
enough, the crimes committed by the Jewish State are done on behalf of the
Jewish people and in the name of their troubled history of persecution.
The Holocaust religion brings to life what seems to be the ultimate
possible form of insular brutal incarnation.

Historically Jews have shunned many Gods, they dropped Jehovah, they
dumped Marx, some have never followed Zionism. But in the light of the
Holocaust religion, while bearing in mind the scenes from Gaza, Jenin and
Lebanon, the Jew may have to continue in the tradition and drop "the Jew".
He will have to accept that his newly formed father-figure was formed in
his own shape. More concerning is the devastating fact that the new father
is proved to be a call to kill. Seemingly, the new father is the ultimate
evil God of them all.

I wonder how many Jews will be courageous enough to shun their esoteric
newly formed father-figure. Will they be courageous enough to join the
rest of humanity adopting a universal ethical discourse? Whether the Jew
drops "The Jew", only time will tell. Just to remove any doubt, I did drop
my "Jew" a long time ago and I am doing fine.

Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He
lives in London, and is an editor at Palestine Think Tank, where this
essay first appeared, and author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed
and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is also one of the
most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. He can be reached at:
atz [at] Read other articles by Gilad.

--------21 of 21--------

 All his speaking life
 George Bush has maintained a foot
 to mouth existence.


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