Progressive Calendar 04.02.09
From: David Shove (
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

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From: writeonradio [at]
Subject: Robert Bly/KFAI 4.02 11am

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

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
Shows are archived for two weeks on line.

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From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
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]
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]

--------4 of 16--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
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

--------5 of 16--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Ffunch break 4.03 11:30am

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.
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]>
Subject: Science & law 4.03 11:30am

April 3, 2009
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

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

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

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

--------7 of 16--------

From: ElyDog <elydog [at]>
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

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]>
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)

--------9 of 16--------

From: "Andregg, Michael M." <mmandregg [at]>
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]
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,

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]>
Subject: Moyers/bad banks 4.03 9pm

Bill Moyers Journal | Corruption in America's Banks?
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the full platform of the Green Party of St. Louis or to make a
desperately needed donation to the campaign, go to

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.

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]
Read other articles by Glen, or visit Glen's website.

--------14 of 16--------

The Mendacity of Hope
The Obama Betrayal
March 31, 2009

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

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

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

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]

--------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

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

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
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 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),, and more.
Websites like Huffington Post, CommonDreams, Alternet,,
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 He can be reached at: Windhw [at]


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