|Progressive Calendar 04.02.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2009 05:19:37 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 04.02.09 1. Robert Bly/KFAI 4.02 11am 2. Eagan peace vigil 4.02 4:30pm 3. Northtown vigil 4.02 5pm 4. AWC new members 4.02 7pm 5. Ffunch break 4.03 11:30am 6. Science & law 4.03 11:30am 7. Vs foreclosure 4.03 4pm 8. Underground RR 4.03 6pm 9. 9/11 Truth/films 4.03 6pm 10. Edgertonite 4.03 7pm 11. Moyers/bad banks 4.03 9pm 12. Don Fitz - Green Party mayor candidate's van firebombed 13. Glen Ford - Obama: Hypocrite & hater on single payer 14. Dave Lindorff - The mendacity of hope: the Obama betrayal 15. Margaret Kimberley - Opposing Obama 16. Harvey Wasserman - Cracking the media silence on Three Mile Island --------1 of 16-------- From: writeonradio [at] yahoo.com Subject: Robert Bly/KFAI 4.02 11am WRITE ON RADIO! Thursday, April 2nd, Minnesota's Poet Laureate Robert Bly joins us to talk about an upcoming conference on - Robert Bly! - April 16-19 at the University of Minnesota. It includes a keynote by Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. More information is available at www.lib.umn.edu/bly. Robert Bly has published more than 40 collections of poetry, edited many others, and published translations of poetry and prose from such languages as Swedish, Norwegian, German, Spanish, Persian and Urdu. His book The Night Abraham Called to the Stars was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award. He also edited the prestigious Best American Poetry 1999. Poet Jim Lenfestey will also be on hand to talk about the conference. In the second half of the show, Steve McEllistrem talks with Myron Uhlberg about his memoir, Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love. Write on radio airs every THURSDAY 11 am - noon central time on 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul and live on the web at www.kfai.org. Shows are archived for two weeks on line. --------2 of 16-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 4.02 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------3 of 16-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 4.02 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------4 of 16-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: AWC new members 4.02 7pm AWC New Members Meeting Thursday, April 2nd @ 7 pm @ UTEC building, 1313 5th St. SE, Minneapolis, room 112C Interested in organizing against the war? Want to get involved? We meet weekly, and new members are always welcome. However, this week's meeting is particularly orientated for new members. Come check out the Anti-War Committee!* --------5 of 16-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Ffunch break 4.03 11:30am Meet the FFUNCH BUNCH! 11:30am-1pm First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for progressives. Informal political talk and hanging out. Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul. Meet on the far south side. ffunch Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines Gaze deeply at this word: f f u n c h count to 20 ffunch is where it's at --------6 of 16-------- From: Consortium on Law & Values JDP Program <lawvalue [at] umn.edu> Subject: Science & law 4.03 11:30am April 3, 2009 11:30am-1:00pm Room 25, Mondale Hall University of Minnesota Law School "Science in the Supreme Court: Hypotheses & Hypocrisy in Constitutional Decision Making" Professor Faigman's lecture will focus on the enormous role Register Now! science has to play in constitutional cases. He will discuss how this function for science has been largely overlooked by both courts and commentators. He posits, "There has been little systematic analysis of how science has been, and how it should be, integrated into constitutional decision making. Yet, even the most casual inspection of constitutional cases quickly reveals the overwhelming presence of scientific hypotheses - ordinarily in the form of factual assertions - that are amenable to empirical test. Indeed, many of the most famous constitutional decisions contain robust scientific questions worthy of intensive study. Does segregated schooling contribute to psychological injuries and lowered self-esteem among black school children? (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka). At what point-in-time in a pregnancy does a fetus become "viable," that is, able to survive outside the mother's womb? (Roe v. Wade). And these examples are merely the tip of an enormous empirical iceberg." In his lecture, he will consider why judges and constitutional scholars appear so uninterested in the scientific premises that underlay their constitutional judgments. The answer appears to involve a number of factors, including an overwhelming lack of training in science and its methods (particularly statistics), a fetishistic attachment to the normative, historical, and philosophical underpinnings of constitutional doctrine, and an intense fidelity to a jurisprudence of continuity, which rejects the implicit promise of progress inherent in science. He will also explore what this profound lack of scientific curiosity and fundamental innumeracy has meant for constitutional doctrine. Using specific examples, Prof. Faigman will consider the empirical hypocrisy that pervades much of constitutional law, ranging from Abrams v. United States to Young v. American Mini Theatres. Finally, he will ask what is to be done. Is it possible, and is it desirable, to have a scientifically rational and empirically sophisticated constitutional jurisprudence? David L. Faigman is the John F. Digardi Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and Director of the UCSF/Hastings Consortium on Law, Science and Health Policy. He received his MA (Psychology) and JD from the University of Virginia. Professor Faigman writes extensively on the subject of the law's use of science. His most recent book is Constitutional Fictions: A Unified Theory of Constitutional Facts (Oxford University Press, 2008). He is also the author of Laboratory of Justice: The Supreme Court's 200-Year Struggle to Integrate Science and the Law (Henry Holt & Co. 2004) and Legal Alchemy: The Use and Misuse of Science in the Law (W.H. Freeman,1999). He is a co-author of the five volume treatise, Modern Scientific Evidence: The Law and Science of Expert Testimony (with Saks, Sanders & Cheng), published by Thompson-West. The treatise has been cited widely by courts, several times by the United States Supreme Court. Commentators: Prof. Susanna L. Blumenthal, PhD, JD, Associate Professor of Law and History, University of Minnesota Prof. Eugene Borgida, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Law, University of Minnesota This event is free and open to the public. A box lunch will be served. Registration is required. This lecture is intended for students, faculty, researchers, scientists, policymakers, and community members. Continuing legal education credit (CLE) for attorneys has been requested. Reservations are required for those requesting CLE credit. For more information about this and other events, please call (612) 625-0055 or visit www.lifesci.consortium.umn.edu --------7 of 16-------- From: ElyDog <elydog [at] gmail.com> Subject: Vs foreclosure 4.03 4pm Join ACORN, Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, the Economic Crisis Action Group, the Tenants Unions, the Peoples' Bailout, WAMM and others to defend the home of Rosemary Williams. Her redemption period ended March 30, and she can be evicted at any time from her house, if served by the Sheriff. Address is 3138 Clinton S, Minneapolis. Activists are staying in the house. Demonstration on Fridays at Clinton and Lake at 4-5 PM against foreclosures and evictions, and to make the banks pay. Next one is this Friday. After service by the Sheriff, Rosemary will have, I am told, 5 days to leave. She will not do so. When service is done, we will send out a notice, and hope every activist in the city who can will come down and defend her house. Since the signs went up on her house, two other homeowners in the neighborhood have come by saying they ALSO are being foreclosed on. One tenant right across the street also said her landlord was being foreclosed on, and she would be evicted. This is a crisis. If we can defend one house, we can spread the defenses to others in the city. Join the fight against foreclosures... Make the Banksters pay! Don't leave your house or apartment. -Greg Gibbs --------8 of 16-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Underground RR 4.03 6pm i got this announcement from Deeq Abdi of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPERHC)... he asked me to forward it on... JOIN US FRIDAY AT 6PM, to learn about our Underground Railroad project to house people and to stop housing foreclosures. Please come and learn how you can volunteer. 310 E 38th ST, Room 126 (Sabathani) 6PM-7PM 612-821-2364 --------9 of 16-------- From: "Andregg, Michael M." <mmandregg [at] stthomas.edu> Subject: 9/11 Truth/films 4.03 6pm MN 9/11 Truth is presenting two documentaries on Friday evening, April 3, at the Oak Street Cinema at 309 SE Oak Street in Minneapolis (corner of Oak St. and Washington Ave. near the U of MN). Doors open at 6 pm. The first documentary is "9/11 Mysteries Demolition" at 6:15 and the second is "Zero: An Investigation into 9/11" produced in Italy. There is a $5 admission fee that goes to the cause of figuring out what really happened on that day which is used to excuse all manner of foreign wars and unconstitutional excesses today. There will be short discussion periods after each documentary. --------10 of 16-------- From: jwilson [at] enp-news.org Subject: Edgertonite 4.03 7pm The next Edgertonite National Party meeting will be held Friday, 3 April 2009 at 7:00 PM at Blue Moon coffee shop, 3822 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN. Important issues on the agenda include fundraising, volunteers for the John Wilson for Mayor campaign, and issues for said campaign. John Charles Wilson National Chairman --------11 of 16-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: Moyers/bad banks 4.03 9pm Bill Moyers Journal | Corruption in America's Banks? http://www.truthout.org/040109U Bill Moyers Journal: "The financial industry brought the economy to its knees, but how did they get away with it? With the nation wondering how to hold the bankers accountable, Bill Moyers sits down with Bill Black, the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980's. Black offers his analysis of what went wrong and his critique of the bailout. Also, Bill Moyers talks with alternative media heavyweights Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman about what can and can't be addressed in big corporate media." --------12 of 16-------- Green Party Mayoral Candidate's Van Is Firebombed! by Don Fitz The election for mayor of St. Louis is only a few days away: April 7. The first big face-off between sitting Mayor Francis Slay, Green Party challenger Rev. Elston K. McCowan, and "independent" Maida Coleman was Sunday, March 29. The online /Saint Louis Beacon/ reported that "McCowan was the most aggressive of the three, repeatedly challenging the mayor's performance and accusing the mayor of doing more harm than good." The story detailed how McCowan, a black minister who preaches a fiery environmental sermon, hammered away at Slay for snubbing a stimulus package meeting with President Obama so he could attend a Mardi Gras parade. McCowan, who is also Public Service Director for SEIU Local 2000, denounced the mayor's role in attacking public schools and the teacher's union as well as heightening racial tensions by unjustly firing the City's first black fire chief, Sherman George. Mayor Slay had insulted the black community by refusing to participate in the primary debates at the historically black Harris Stowe State University. Green Party supporters were elated when McCowan clearly got the best of the reluctant mayor on March 29. Later that night, McCowan, his wife Joyce, and their children, Sikudhani (13), Janey (11) and Elston Jr. (10), were awakened as their van burst into flames 30 feet from their home. Next door neighbor Christopher Jackson, whose yard also sports a Green Party "McCowan 4 Mayor" sign, reported that he heard a loud "Boom!" and saw flamers pouring from the van and a white Malibu "flying" around the corner as fire trucks arrived. With "Star Grace Missionary Baptist Church' painted on the side, the van had many purposes. Rev. McCowan used it every Sunday to pick up parishioners for church. It served as a second car for Elston and Joyce, parents with multiple jobs. And, during the last few months, it was the main organizing and literature distribution vehicle for the Green Party of St. Louis. When news of the attack went out, Mayor Slay's campaign manager Jeff Rainford snapped that any suggestion that the mayor might have anything to do with it was "asinine" and "stupid" and that it was a waste of their time to have to respond. Absent from his diatribe was any concern, compassion or pledge to vigorously investigate who might be behind the attack. It's not at all certain that the mayor's team is above such tactics. The day after Maida Coleman announced that she would run against Slay as an "independent" (Coleman was a State Senator and on the Democratic Party's State Committee), a family member had the windshield broken out of his car. A few weeks later a teacher who was passing out Coleman literature was attacked by five unidentified men. The series of incidents are the basis for the request for an investigation that McCowan is sending to the US Justice Department. The complaint includes discrimination in voting practices in St. Louis. It charges that predominantly black wards have fewer voting locations, which forces people to travel farther to vote and stand in line longer. The Justice Department is also being informed that it is a violation of the St. Louis Charter for Judge Margaret Wash, a classified employee of the City, to be listed as a Slay endorser. Concern that the fire bombing might be more than a random act is heightened by the vigorous nature of McCowan's campaign. As a labor organizer, he has conducted an activist campaign stepping on quite a few toes. A sore toe on Slay's political footing is childhood lead poisoning. It has a perverse intertwining with the mayor's efforts to privatize education by replacing public schools with charter schools. Allowing lead to remain in older public schools provides an argument for shutting them down. When the elected school board would not do his bidding, Slay manipulated behind-the-scenes to remove its power by replacing it with an appointed Special Administrative Board (SAB). In October, 2008, Slay's SAB representatives heard from parents questioning the movement of the Wilkinson Early Childhood Center to the highly lead contaminated Roe School. SAB appointees claimed that there was no money in the budget for lead abatement. Green Party candidate McCowan organized a December 2 picket at Roe to draw attention to the crisis. His press statement pointed out that at the same time the unelected SAB was claiming that no money was available to remove lead, Francis Slay was caught spending $2 million to "beautify" the Grand Avenue bridge. Two days after the picket, the SAB suddenly announced that they were looking in earnest for the $4.5 million needed to remove lead from 27 schools. On March 17, 2009 they announced they had found funds for lead removal, a discovery that would not have been made without Green Party pressure. The Green Party has also ruffled the feathers of Ameren UE, which holds a monopoly on St. Louis electric power. Elston McCowan is the only candidate for mayor speaking out against a proposed second nuclear reactor in Callaway Missouri. Ameren UE is advocating the repeal of Missouri's "No CWIP" law in order to force taxpayers to cover the cost of constructing a new reactor. CWIP refers to "construction work in progress." In 1976, by a nearly 2 to 1 margin, Missouri voters approved a law prohibiting ratepayers from being charged for construction of a plant until it is "fully operational and used for service." "If Ameren gets its way on this, St. Louis residents could be paying for the nuke forever," charged a McCowan press statement. "A second nuke at Callaway could cost us $9 to $15 billion. The number of people who could not pay their electric bills would skyrocket." St. Louis Greens believe that government should encourage new businesses to produce solar and wind power. Renewable energy companies can be started with a relatively small amount of capital. In contrast, power plants require billions. McCowan repeatedly explains that the two are incompatible: "Every dollar you throw at nuclear power is a dollar you take away from renewable energy." Neither the current mayor nor the "independent" Democrat see any need to make connections between a bloated military budget and decay in US cities. But the Green Party has been quick to link the destruction of St. Louis services like schools, hospitals, homes and mass transit to military spending. When Israel began its attack on the Gaza Strip in December 2008, Greens immediately called for a halt to the violence. The attacks followed Israel's brutal siege of Gaza which caused immense suffering for its 1.5 million Palestinian residents by interfering with the importation of necessities of life including medicine, food and fuel. On December 28, 2008 McCowan joined the Instead of War Coalition for a rally outside Missouri Senator Christopher ("Kit") Bond's office. He spoke of US complicity in selling arms to Israel, which he criticized for crossing the line from self defense to war crimes. Along with other Green Party and Instead of War activists, McCowan worked to organize a January 10, 2009 march. The event attracted hundreds, including many Palestinians worried about their relatives and friends in Gaza. In the 2005 St. Louis mayoral election, Willie Marshall, a retired black postal worker, received 21% of the vote. Leading the Green Party ticket, Marshall took over 40% of the vote in three black wards. The utility companies, Boeing's St. Louis office and charter school profiteers don't want that percentage to grow in the upcoming election. Slay works closely with real estate developers to grab homes and businesses from low income owners who are largely black. The Green Party has hosted numerous events with a focus on "No eminent domain for private gain!" While the other candidates fret that "The mayor cannot stop evictions," McCowan pledges "a moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and utility shut-offs." He vows to use the authority of the mayor's office to instruct the sheriff to refrain from putting anyone out of their home. The McCowan van was burned the same day that a third of St. Louis bus lines were shut down, the largest closing in the country. As other candidates were wringing their hands and promoting their "legislative experience" in dealing with problems, McCowan announced that, as mayor, he would fill 100 buses for a trip to Washington to demand that "If Congress can find trillions to throw at banking swindlers, it can surely find enough money to keep buses rolling for working people to get to their jobs." The McCowan-for-mayor campaign is not exactly popular with corporate shills like Civic Progress. Did one of them take time off from union busting to burn the McCowan van? Or was it a Slay crony? Or was it just someone wandering the neighborhood looking for a church van to burn? At this point, we can't be certain who torched it. But we do know that St. Louis is in the midst of a feeding frenzy of rich white men devouring every profitable chunk of the black community they can cram down their gullets. As Reverend McCowan says, "There are so many hogs feeding at the trough of wickedness, we aren't sure which one came to dinner with a match." For the full platform of the Green Party of St. Louis or to make a desperately needed donation to the campaign, go to mccowan4mayor.com. Don Fitz is Editor of /Synthesis/Regeneration: A Magazine of Green Social Thought/ and is a senior advisor to the McCowan Campaign. --------13 of 16-------- President Obama: Hypocrite and Hater on Single Payer Health Care by Glen Ford April 1st, 2009 dissident Voice Obama likes to say that the insurance industry employs tens or hundreds of thousands, and we cannot just displace them. That's hating. But his advisors know perfectly well that single payer health care insurance would create 2.6 million new jobs, after allowing for the 440,000 insurance company jobs it would do away with, a fact detailed in the groundbreaking report issued earlier this year by the National Nurses Organizing Committee. Instead, in the spirit of a dishonest hater, Obama has tried to ban from public forums any discussion of the single payer health care option, despite the fact that it has massive support among the people who voted for him. That is hypocrisy. When the Obama campaign asked for house meetings across the nation on health care, the option suggested most often was indeed single payer. So you didn't hear much of anything about the outcomes of those meetings. If that's not dishonest hating on single payer health care it's hard to imagine what is. Instead, the Obama Administration's emerging health care plan is expected to be based upon a model that has failed multiple times, most recently in Massachusetts, which includes "individual mandates" requiring people above a certain income level to purchase private insurance or face a fine, and provides some kind of care at subsidized rates to those with the lowest incomes. A recent study by physicians at Harvard Medical School meticulously exposes the predictable failure of the Massachusetts Plan to live up to any of its promises, and explains succinctly why no "individual mandate" that subsidizes private insurance companies should be a model for any national health care plan. It's called "Massachusetts' Plan.: A Failed Model for Health Care Reform," and you can find it online here. http://www.pnhp.org/mass_report/mass_report_Final.pdf In it, Drs. Rachel Narden, David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, all of Harvard Medical School, deliver a withering assessment of the plan's failure, and explain why it must not be a model for any national health care plan worthy of the name. These are the key features of the Massachusetts Plan upon which Obama's health care plan is modeled. 1. Subsidized private insurance is made available for the poorest at reduced or no cost through a state agency. 2. Unsubsidized private insurance at controlled costs was to be made available for those who made a little more. 3. As with automobile insurance, those not qualifying for subsidized insurance would be fined ($912 a year in 2008, $1,068 in 2009, collected with your state income tax) for failing to purchase insurance. 4. Employers were required to pay $295 a year for each employee they didn't give health insurance to. 5. To control costs, funds to pay for the program were taken from the existing pool that previously financed "safety net" care for the poor and uninsured, leaving many with fewer options and less care than was available before the "reform". But the subsidized health insurance policies available to the poor in Massachusetts often covered fewer services than they were already receiving under previously existing conditions, and the greater the "income" of these poor people, the lower the subsidy and higher the deductibles. Under the Massachusetts Plan, the subsidies vanish altogether when one makes 300% of the ridiculously low Federal Poverty Level - about $31,000 per year. Despite the fines for persons who fail to buy health insurance under the so-called "individual mandate" plans, many remain uninsured because coverage is simply not affordable. [T]he reform law specifically exempts uninsured families from fines if no affordable private plan is available. About 79,000 Massachusetts uninsured residents received this exemption in 2007, which excused them from fines, but left them uninsured. "The private insurance plans available through the Commonwealth Choice program can be extremely expensive. According to the Connector website (accessed December 29, 2008) the cheapest plan available to a middle-income 56-year-old now costs $4,872 annually in premiums alone. However, if the policy holder becomes sick, (s)he must pay an additional $2,000 deductible before insurance kicks in. Thereafter the policy holder pays 20% co-insurance (i.e. 20% of all medical bills) up to a maximum of $3,000 annually ($9,872 in total annual costs including premium, deductible and co-insurance). A need for uncovered services (e.g. physical therapy visits beyond the number covered) would drive out-of pocket costs even higher. It is not surprising that many of the state's uninsured have declined such coverage. How can someone making $31,000 a year pay $90 a week in premiums alone, plus $20% of all medical bills up to $3,000 if they get sick? Is calling this "reform" even the least bit honest? Or is it hypocrisy? The study makes the point again and again that access to health insurance is not the same as access to health care. A full third of every health care dollar is already diverted to private insurance companies. The Massachusetts Plan, and the emerging Obama Plan seem intended to preserve this cut for private insurers, even at the expense of needed care. "[T]he new inssurance policies that replced the (previous) free care system require co-payments for office visits and prescriptions, which are difficult for many low income patients to pay" . says the study, hence patients suffering from HIV-AIDS and other chronic conditions have had to reduce doctor visits or skip their meds due to the high co-payments that the "reform" required. [But the CEOs get longer yachts. -ed] The report outlines how the advocates of these private insurance industry endorsed versions of health care reform have lied in state after state where this has been tried - in Oregon, Maine, Vermont, Tennessee and elsewhere. We encourage our readers to download and read it, at only 18 pages, as an antidote to whatever form of "individual mandate" health plan is finally proposed by the Obama Administration. Plans of this type have not lowered overall health care costs, either. They provide no incentive to tone down the over-reliance on expensive techniques and specialists, and produce more primary care physicians, the doctors who provide day-to-day, person-to-person coverage. Obama's offer to "let's computerize medical records" as a cost-saving procedure sounds nice, but falls flat. Most of the unnecessary paperwork is between caregivers, hospitals and insurers with a vested interest in saying no to this or that treatment, test, or medicine. During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama declared we should judge his first term by whether, under his leadership, the nation finally enacted national health care system that takes care of everybody and lowers the cost of health care. Now we are in the middle of a completely foreseeable economic crisis caused in part by many of the people who are advising the president. Single payer health care has come to the fore as a viable means to create 2.6 million new jobs, a proposal that Obama's advisors neither address nor discuss. Sixty days into his presidency, the clock is ticking. Lofty rhetoric and lawyerly evasions are giving way to actual policies, many of them deeply disappointing to the people who campaigned and voted for this president. It looks like national health care for everybody is a dream that, if left up to this president and his advisors, will be deferred again. The question is: should we leave it up to them at all? Glen Ford is Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, where this article first appeared. He can be contacted at: Glen.Ford [at] BlackAgendaReport.com. Read other articles by Glen, or visit Glen's website. --------14 of 16-------- The Mendacity of Hope The Obama Betrayal By DAVE LINDORFF March 31, 2009 CounterPunch We are witnessing one of the fastest betrayals of the Democratic Party base in modern memory, as President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party leadership in the Senate slither away from a crucial constituency, the labor movement, and from support of labor's key legislative agenda item: passage of a bill, "The Employee Free Choice Act," which would restore a measure of fairness to labor relations. Obama, who once supported the measure, and who campaigned saying he would sign the bill, has stood shamelessly silent as a massive corporate campaign mounted by such lobbying powerhouses as the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Retail Federation, hiding behind a fake "citizen action" organization called the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (sic), has descended on Congress, and especially the Senate, has worked to peel away support for the bill among both Democrats and swing Republicans who had formally backed the measure. The business lobbying campaign is having considerable success. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), who is facing a Republican primary threat next year from a conservative challenger, has already announced that he will not support allowing the Employee Free Choice Act to go to the floor for debate and a vote in the Senate. As well, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), a former co-sponsor of the bill when it was last introduced in the Senate in 2007, now says she will not support it. Since 60 votes are needed to move a bill past a Senate filibuster vowed by Republicans, Specter's defection is particularly damaging. It is also a betrayal of the many unions that have consistently backed this sometimes unpredictable Republican. But Feinstein's volte face is a particularly odious betraytal of her union backers in heavily unionized California. With senators like Feinstein caving in to corporate anti-union pressure, it makes it less likely that Senate Democrats would or could move to push the bill through past a filibuster by more confrontational means, such as attaching it to a budget bill that would not be subject to a filibuster - something Republicans did a number of times when they had control of the Senate between 2002 and 2006. Clearly, the key turncoat in this sorry tale is Obama, whose presidential campaign would have sunk into oblivion early had it not been for powerful support from key elements of organized labor. It was also undeniably organized labor's army of grass roots backers that handed him victory, a majority of the popular vote, and a mandate for "change" in November over Republican John McCain. If Obama were to strongly advocate for Employee Free Choice, he could clearly line up the backing needed to win its approval in both houses. Moderate Republicans like Specter need Obama's support for their own pet bills, and would have no hope of accomplishing anything, much less bringing home the bacon that they need in order to win re-election, without the president's willingness to support them. This gives Obama enormous clout if he wants to use it. Wavering members of his own party, like Feinstein, would also certainly respond favorably to his calls for backing on a key issue for his base. But he has chosen instead to duck this issue. Anyone who thought, as I once did out of an excess of optimism, that this president was positioned to act in this economic crisis as did the once equally reticent Franklin Roosevelt before him, should see clearly now that this president is not that same kind of bold risk-taker as FDR. Obama, rather, is following in the well-worn path of gutless political hacks before him like President Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, kowtowing to the wishes of the corporate elite and taking the Democratic grassroots for granted. Employee Free Choice, which would have reversed 50 years of steady erosion of workers' organizing rights by ending employers' ability to stall off union elections for years, fire union organizers with impunity, and intimidate pro-union employees, by mandating that unions be recognized once they had obtained signature cards of support from over 50% of a work unit, is only one sign of this betrayal, of course, but it is a significant one. Meanwhile, even as the Employee Free Choice bill is swirling around the drain, a new study is giving the lie to the main argument the corporate lobbyists have been using to win over one-time backers like Specter and Feinstein: the fear-mongering claim that facilitating unionization in a recessionary time could lead to business failures. Not so, says labor economist John DiNardo of the University of Michigan, who just released a study titled "Still Open for Business: Unionization Has No Causal Effect on Firm Closures," published by the Economic Policy Institute DiNardo's study cites two surveys of similar enterprises at which workers either narrowly won union votes by 51% or narrowly lost by 49%. These surveys, covering the period 1961-2004, found "zero correlation" between a company's being unionized and the likelihood of its failing. "I don't think business leaders or people like Sen. Specter are crazy," DiNardo says. "Many of them probably honestly do believe that having a union increases the likelihood of business failure, but the evidence is just not there. In fact, wages don't always even go up when a company is unionized". DiNardo speculates that what really may cause many corporate managers and business owners to bitterly oppose unionization is not the fear of business failure or even perhaps of higher labor costs, but rather the fear of losing control over workers. "Business managers in non-union firms are more like monarchs," he says. "With a union, a company becomes slightly more democratic, and the manager becomes more like a president". That puts the name of the anti-Employee Free Choice Act business lobbying coalition in an interesting light. Obviously no corporate lobbying organization is actually in favor of democracy in the workplace, as their name deceptively implies. This betrayal of workers is not the first betrayal of the Democratic base by Obama and Congressional Democrats. Scarcely two-thirds of the way through his first 100 days, Obama has also already betrayed a vow to end the Iraq War, having announced his intention to leave upwards of 50,000 trooops in that benighted and blood-stained nation for years to come. Instead of closing Guantanamo, he has made a vague promise to close that horror show a year from now, but then left open the possibility of continuing to hold people indefinitely without charge, and even left himself a loophole to torture them. Instead of restoring the Constitution, Obama has already begun adopting the Bush practice of using signing statements to assert an unconstitutional presidential authority to ignore laws passed by the Congress. Instead of assuring that the laws of the land be faithfully enforced, as he swore in his oath of office, and promised in his campaign, Obama has refused to order a Justice Department investigation into whether members of the prior administration should be charged with crimes such as torture or lying to Congress. This litany of betrayals shows that rather than audacity, this president has chosen mendacity. Instead of change, he is giving us at best small change, and when it comes to abuse of the Democratic base, no change. (And I haven't even mentioned his wholesale betrayal of ordinary citizens in his pro-Wall Street bail-out of the big banks and financial institutions.) At least President Clinton waited two years before he began a wholesale sell-out of Democratic voters. Obama isn't even waiting for the honeymoon to end to start his betrayal. 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] mindspring.com --------15 of 16-------- Opposing Obama by Margaret Kimberley April 1st, 2009 Dissident Voice Six years ago, on March 20, 2003, the United States began its invasion and occupation of Iraq. Since that date more than one million Iraqis have died, four million are refugees, and 4,200 American soldiers have lost their lives. America committed a terrible crime against the Iraqi people and against all of humanity, a crime that continues until the present day. The occupation is ongoing, despite the election and inauguration of a new president. President Barack Obama always made it clear that he would never end the war, instead choosing to draw down the number of troops and always reserving the right to leave a "residual force". In spite of his clear declaration of continuing war and occupation, Obama was able to claim the mantle of an anti-war candidate. The anti-war movement was already demoralized by Democratic Party betrayal, and repeated corporate media lies about the true nature of America's military aggression. The Obama fundraising and marketing juggernaut, in conjunction with hatred of the Bush regime, allowed the damning with faint praise adulation and the making of a phony hero for peace. "Obama always made it clear that he would never end the war," This delusion has made an already failing progressive movement nearly useless. So much so that anti-war activists are loathe to speak Obama's name, even as they condemn the endless warfare that he advocates. The recent March on the Pentagon, sponsored by the Answer Coalition, is a case in point. Speaker after speaker condemned the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by referring to "the government" or "the United States" without saying the name of the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The march displayed both good news and bad. It is good that appeals to shun Answer by capitulationist factions were ignored. It is always good when citizens openly oppose their government's aggression. Yet there was an insufficient willingness to name the current war criminal in chief, Barack Obama, as the promoter of state sponsored terrorism. At the March on the Pentagon, t-shirts and placards urged the impeachment and/or arrest of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The new president, who makes no secret of his intention to continue the previous administration's war of terror, escaped serious scrutiny and the condemnation he deserves. What should have been pointed attacks on Obama policy were instead mealy-mouthed apologies. Instead of being educated about the rights and obligations of a conscious citizenry, the crowd was told to encourage Obama, to help him make the right decisions. Former attorney Lynne Stewart was a rare exception, excoriating Obama by name for continuing warfare and for withdrawing from the upcoming United Nations conference on racism and dismissing any discussion of reparations for slavery. Some activists hope against all logic and the lessons of history that Obama will behave in a way that politicians never do. They expect him to defy the dictates of the true rulers who put him and all other politicians in power. They conveniently forget that power concedes nothing without a demand. They forget that meaningful change has come about only when an active and engaged movement makes demands on people who never want to seriously consider changing the agendas set by their benefactors. While not altogether successful, this first mass action of the Obama administration may be an important beginning for peace activists. The numbers of truly conscious people willing to take on Obama may be small now, but continued confrontation will soon be seen as a possibility and then as necessity, not as a departure from misguided notions of political etiquette. This administration must be taken to task over numerous issues. Obama has already said that he will consider taxing health benefits and make unspecified changes to the entitlement system, our only safety net. Americans should take to the streets because of the prison industrial complex, they should take to the streets to demand single payer health care and they should take to the streets about a military budget that is larger than that of every other nation on earth combined. If they did, they would save themselves as individuals and save their nation too. The stakes are that high. Being patient, giving the brother a chance, or being seen as racist are poor excuses for silence. Timidity will mean the death of what little good is left in this country. Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached at: Margaret.Kimberley [at] BlackAgendaReport.Com. --------16 of 16-------- America's Nuclear Power Casualties Cracking the Media Silence on Three Mile Island By HARVEY WASSERMAN CounterPunch April 1, 2009 Chernobyl exploded and Three Mile Island missed by a whisker. They both killed people. But thirty years after the Pennsylvania melt-down, a Soviet-style Iron Curtain has formed between the corporate media and the alternatives, with nuclear power at its center. The Soviets denied for days that the Chernobyl accident had happened at all. America's parallel corporate media says "no one died at TMI." Take National Public Radio's Scott Simon. On March 28, Simon smirked on air that "no one was killed or injured" at Three Mile Island, "not so much as a sprained ankle." Except when people are fleeing them, as they did 30 years ago, radiation releases have never been linked directly to joint sprains. But cancer, leukemia, birth defects, stillbirths, malformations, spontaneous abortions, skin lesions, hair loss, respiratory problems, sterility, nausea, cataracts, a metallic taste, premature aging, general loss of bodily function and more can be caused by radioactive emissions of the type that poured out of TMI. And all such ailments have been documented there OUTside the corporate media. Simon and everyone else INside the corporate media missed the well-organized, well-executed press event in the statehouse at Harrisburg on March 26. Despite solid publicity from Eric Epstein and the long-standing Three Mile Island Alert, not a single corporate reporter covered presentations by nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen and University of North Carolina epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Wing. Once a top industry executive, Gundersen has shown that the containment at Three Mile Island Unit 2 did not completely hold, and that far more radiation was released than previously believed. Dr. Wing reports that levels of radiation-related disease significantly rose in the downwind area. Wing and three co-authors looked at statistics used in a major study by Columbia University and other sources. They concluded that - despite official denials - the numbers clearly indicate serious potential health effects. Gundersen and Wing were neither hiding nor alone. University of Pittsburgh radiology Professor Emeritus Dr. Ernest Sternglass and health researchers Joe Mangano and Jay Gould have long since documented that public health catastrophe. House-to-house surveys from local residents Jane Lee and Mary Osborne confirm the damage. Massive anecdotal evidence collected in a book and radio show by Robbie Leppzer appears at www.turningtide.com. Published in 1982 by DellDelta, KILLING OUR OWN correlated the death toll at TMI with that from other mis-uses of radiation. Other books have followed with similar conclusions. This tidal wave of proof about the TMI death toll spread through the "alternative" media prior to the accident's anniversary. Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales talked with me about it on March 27. Announced by the Institute for Public Accuracy, the story appeared on the Pacifica and Counterspin/Fair radio networks, and with Peter B. Collins on the Thomm Hartmann Show. It was also heard on stations such as WORT (Madison), KBOO (Oregon), KDKA (Pittsburgh), radioornot.com, and more. Websites like Huffington Post, CommonDreams, Alternet, FreePress.org, NukeFree, CounterPunch, BuzzFlash, Smirking Chimp, Daily Kos, and dozens more got the story out, as did environmental groups like Greenpeace, NIRS and Beyond Nuclear. (If your website, radio show or organization also carried it, please contact me). But the word never crossed the conceptual chasm between the "mainstream" media and the "alternative." Despite a federal class action lawsuit filed by 2400 Pennsylvania families claiming damages from the accident, despite at least $15 million quietly paid to parents of birth-defected children, despite three decades of official admissions that nobody knows how much radiation escaped from TMI, where it went or who it affected, not a mention of the fact that people might have been killed there made its way into a corporate report. Nuclear opponents commemorated the day throughout the United States - most visibly at the gates of the plant itself - while Simon and others piously intoned that the opposition was dead and gone. Simon concluded his 11-minute smarm by interviewing Dan Reicher from Google, whose "green" vision somehow includes new reactors. Not a peep was allowed from an epic grassroots No Nukes movement that has sustained itself nonstop (and nonviolently) since long before TMI melted, and is as strong as ever. >From the Associated Press and other corporate outlets, the parroted mantra that "nobody was killed" rang out as if a melt-down was no big deal, and turning a $900 million asset into a multi-billion-dollar liability was a "success story." Few assertions more clearly divide our parallel media universes than this one. Stolen elections and WMDs, corporate thievery and hemp/marijuana prohibition are all part of the Great Divide. But people (and animals) dying unreported in our most infamous industrial accident cut to the heart of our dis-informational dilemma. Newspapers and TV networks are dying because they cannot attract advertisers because they are losing audience. In some ways, we will miss them. But their self-interested omissions and deceptions have disemboweled their usefulness. Even the legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite bought into the line that there was no danger of an explosion at TMI that week. But in fact there was. Was the omission due to haste in a murky nightmare? A fear of causing panic? A fear of retribution from major sponsors? Or merely an unhealthy willingness to take the authorities at their word? Whatever the case, the bad news is that the dominant media cannot handle this story and too many others like it. Millions of Americans are thus dangerously misinformed. The good news is, there is new media - including wherever you're now reading this - that WILL report it. And that's growing stronger because it reports the truth to power. Izvestia and Pravda are still being televised. But people did die at Three Mile Island. And it's the "alternative" media that now brings reality to the mainstream. Harvey Wasserman has been writing about atomic energy and the green alternatives since 1973. His 1982 assertion to Bryant Gumbel on NBC's TODAY Show that people were killed at TMI sparked a national mailing from the reactor industry demanding a retraction. NBC was later bought by Westinghouse, still a major force pushing atomic power. He is the author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, is at www.solartopia.org. He can be reached at: Windhw [at] aol.com ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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