Progressive Calendar 05.25.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 04:33:51 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.25.09

1. Vets/memorial   5.25 9am
2. Peace walk      5.25 6pm RiverFalls WI
3. Amnesty Intl    5.25 7pm

4. Stop eviction   5.25 8am
5. NWN4P vigil     5.26 4:45pm
6. MOVE/Philly     5.26 5pm
7. RNC court watch 5.26 6pm
8. Sicko/film      5.26 6:30pm

9. David Macaray - Democrats betray labor; Card Check is pronouced dead
10. Phillip Bannowsky - Capitalism > rich bankers, Socialism > happiness
11. Shamus Cooke - GM's turn on Obama's chopping block
12. ed           - Where hava all the hopers hopped?

--------1 of 12--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Vets/peace/memorial 5.25 9am

Veterans for Peace Memorial Day Ceremony: Military and Civilian War Dead

Monday, May 25, 9:00 a.m. Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Reverend Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul. Gather to remember those who have
lost their lives in war^×military and civilian. Sponsored by: Veterans for
Peace. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call 612-821-9141 or 651-641-1087.

--------2 of 12--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 5.25 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022

--------3 of 12--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 5.25 7pm

Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, May 25th, from 7:00 to 8:00
p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street,
Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at 612/378-1166 or
johns779 [at]

--------4 of 12--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Stop eviction 5.25 8am

Court Hearing: "Stop the Eviction of Rosemary Williams"
Tuesday, May 26, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Hennepin County Government Center,
300 South 6th Street, Room A1700, Minneapolis.

Join others to pack the courtroom at the hearing of a Minneapolis resident
whose home has been foreclosed after 26 years of residency. Stop the
eviction of this home's resident initiated against her by the servicer of
her mortgage. Sponsored by: the Minnesota Coalition for a People's
Bailout. WAMM is a member of the Minnesota Coalition for a People's
Bailout. FFI and Updates: Call 612-822-8020 or visit .

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
below is the Randy Furst article...

Trial to stave off activist's eviction gets pushed back for more talks

GMAC Mortgage wants "further conversations" with Rosemary Williams and
attorneys. Some had vowed disobedience in protest.

By RANDY FURST, Star Tribune

A trial to evict a Minneapolis woman from her foreclosed house has been
rescheduled for May 26 after the mortgage company that now owns the house
said it wanted to have "further conversations" with the woman and her

The trial had been scheduled to begin Tuesday. But at a news conference,
Rosemary Williams, who lost her house on the 3100 block of Clinton Avenue
to foreclosure in September, said lawyers from GMAC Mortgage, the new
owner, had called her attorney to ask for the postponement and raised the
possibility of negotiating with her.

Jeannine Bruin, executive director of mortgage communications for GMAC
Financial Services, declined to comment on what was being discussed.

After Williams failed to leave the house by March 30, GMAC went to court
to have her evicted by sheriff's deputies. At a hearing last week,
Williams' attorneys asked for a trial on the issues.

Several groups that support a foreclosure moratorium have vowed to use
civil disobedience to prevent her eviction.

Williams said she had been unable to make escalating payments on a second

In court papers, her attorney Jordan Kushner said GMAC "should not be
permitted to harm the community for purposes of property speculation,
particularly where it is receiving billions of dollars in federal taxpayer
funds for the ostensible purpose of helping homeowners avoid foreclosure."

While declining to discuss Williams' case, Bruin said "in general," once
GMAC buys a foreclosure house, its typical options are to market it
individually or combine it with other properties it owns and sell it to

"It can be marketed as vacant or may be marketed as tenant-occupied," she
said. "We do have a program called 'cash for keys' that provides funding
to the borrower for relocation assistance, and we can also work with the
borrower on a reasonable timeline to vacate the property."

Randy Furst - 612-673-7382

--------5 of 12--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P vigil 5.26 4:45pm

NWN4P vigil every Tuesday.
Corner of Winnetka and 42nd Avenues in New Hope. 4:45 to 5:45 PM.
All welcome; bring your own or use our signs.

--------6 of 12--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: MOVE/Philly 5.26 5pm

Stunned St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 5/26, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 5/27, 10am

MOVE: Confrontation in Philadelphia
a fast paced independently created documentary film of the events in the
late seventies which lead up to the Philadelphia police arrest of members
of MOVE, a radical mostly black commune. The video journalists reveal the
complex relationship of media bias, police harassment, and subtle economic
motivation in the violent removal of MOVE.

--------7 of 12--------

From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at]>
Subject: RNC court watch 5.26 6pm

RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing
court information, documentation and etc.  RNC Court Watchers Meetings are
every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our

Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the
streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately
used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to
disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The
RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this
intimidation, harassment and abuse!

Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to
find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent

Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street,
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M
participate and help organize RNC court solidarity.
For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at]

--------8 of 12--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Sicko/film 5.26 6:30pm

Tuesday, May 26, the May Hatter Tues eveing Salon will show the film by
Michael Moore, "Sicko." a look at the U.S. heath care system for people
WITH health insurance - and a comparison to the health care system in
CUBA, where even with the embargo everyone has health care & infant
mortality rates are LOWER & lie expectancy is HIGHER than in the U.S.

Mad Hatter's Tea House
943 W. 7th
ST Paul
6:30 to 8:30 PM
Free but donations accepted
for information:  651-227-3228

--------9 of 12--------

Democrats Betray Labor  [So what's new?]
Card Check is Pronouced Dead
May 22-24, 2009

Earlier this week it was acknowledged by labor officials and Democratic
insiders that the EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act), as presently written,
wasn't going to pass.  While the bill may be reintroduced in a different
form, the crucial "card check" component has been pronounced dead.
Although labor wonks across the country were disappointed by the news,
most weren't surprised by it.

Despite all the hoopla and anticipation, skeptics had predicted long ago
that this ambitious bill, which would have provided working people with
far greater access to labor unions, had virtually no chance of passing.
Why?  Because it was too explicitly "pro-labor".

Big Business and the Democratic Party (despite its lip service) simply
couldn't allow legislation this progressive to become law.  Not for
nothing has Taft-Hartley remained on the books for 62 years.

Let's clarify what the EFCA was and wasn't.  First, it wasn't the
draconian, anti-democratic measure it was portrayed to be by its
Republican opponents and back-pedaling Democrats (e.g., Senator Diane
Feinstein of California) who, while schmoozing with organized labor, were
looking to bail.

There was nothing "anti-democratic" about it.  Clearly, it was "public,"
rather than "secret," but how is that anti-democratic?  Legislators use
nay and yea votes on the floor of Congress hundreds of times a year, and a
show of hands is used everywhere - from city councils to school boards to
company boards of directors.  How is card check "anti-democratic"?

If you want an example of "anti-democratic," just consider the system that
exists today'a system that allows a group of workers who actually want to
join a union to be nonetheless prevented from doing so by a combination of
stalling tactics and company propaganda.

You say you want to join a labor union?  Fine, you have that legal right.
What that means, precisely, is that you have the legal right to "want" to
join.  But the company can make you wait months and months before you
vote, and has the authority to force you to attend hours of mandatory
"fright seminars".

Management has the right to barrage you with anti-union propaganda.  They
have the de facto right to threaten you, intimidate you, offer you bribes
and promises, and spread false or slanderous information.  And while those
tactics are more or less legal (if you think they're not, try fighting
them in court), what isn't legal is allowing you to simply sign a card
saying you want to join.  Now how topsy-turvy is that?

Second, instead of depicting the EFCA as some sort of wildly "radical"
measure, let's put it in perspective.  What the EFCA would have given
American workers is what they already have in Europe and Canada.  Yes,
they have this arrangement in Canada - our calm, stolid, unimaginative,
boring neighbor to the north.  We're speaking here of Canada, people, not

Accordingly, as anti-labor as some members of Canada's conservative party
are, they would, frankly, be taken aback, if not staggered, by the
suggestion that Canadian workers not be allowed to freely choose whether
or not to belong to a union.  While Canadian conservatives may regard
unions as detrimental (and harbor the conceit that they themselves
wouldn't join one if given the opportunity), they don't interfere with
workers who choose to join.  If only our country were as egalitarian.

How ironic is it - given our fetish for personal liberty - that it's
harder for an American to become a union member than for a foreigner to
become a U.S. citizen?

And third, let's not pretend that this debate had anything to do with the
freedom of choice, or adherence to the Bill of Rights, or any other
noble-sounding issue.  Opposition to the EFCA was no more about a worker's
constitutional "right to choose" than it was about George Washington's
powdered wig.

Let.s be clear:  This whole anti-EFCA drive was designed to keep the
unions out.  Everything else is smoke.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce
didn't spend tens of millions of dollars to promote some abstract
principle involving a citizen's right to choose; they did it to pierce the
heart of organized labor.

So who do we blame for the defeat?  Obviously, when something as big and
expensive and widely publicized as the EFCA falls on its face, somebody
has to be held accountable.  In truth, organized labor seems the likeliest

Not only was labor unable to speak with one voice (e.g., UNITE HERE's
battle, SEIU's leadership scandals, Change to Win's breakaway from the
AFL-CIO, et al), but they once again allowed themselves to be sweet-talked
and misled by the Democrats.  Yes, labor had on board its Russ Feingolds
(D-WI) and Carl Levins (D-MI), but there were too many other DINOs
(Democrats In Name Only) eager to jump ship.

In hindsight, organized labor should have relied more heavily on the
support of America's four "most popular" unions - police, firefighters,
nurses and airline pilots.  This would have helped clear the public
relations hurdle raised by teachers, autoworkers and longshoremen, unions
that have been receiving bad press.

As much as we like to think we're an "issue-driven" electorate, it's often
a handsome face, a nice smile, or a famous family name that wins
elections.  After all, isn't it the cute weather girl who gets hired for
TV, and not the nerdy meteorologist?

Unbelievable as this sounds, it was reported that one of Governor Rod
Blagojevich's staffers once told him "he had the hair" to become U.S.
president.  And polls showed that 25% of Republican males approved of
Sarah Palin because they found her "hot". (That whirring sound in the
background is James Madison spinning in his grave.)

Still, organized labor may not have invented the game, but they're
compelled to play it.  Therefore, "pretty" unions (police, firemen,
pilots) are going to be more popular than the conspicuously "ugly"  ones -
like teachers, who are being blamed for the nation's low test scores, and
the UAW, which, as urban myth has it, was responsible for killing the
American auto industry and Detroit along with it.

At the EFCA's coming-out party, the American Labor Movement should have
dolled itself up before entering the room.  It should have made the grand,
sweeping entrance worthy of a prized debutante.  Instead, it chose to
conduct business in its usual, plodding fashion.  Granted, it's easy to
second-guess, but organized labor clearly needs a makeover.

Of course, we're already hearing people say, "Wait til 2010," suggesting
the Democrats will pick up enough senate seats to have those 60 votes
necessary for cloture.  The problem with that logic is it assumes the
Democrats want card check to pass.  Alas, there's little evidence to
support that assumption.

David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright ("Americana," "Larva Boy") and
writer, was a former labor union rep.  He can be reached at
dmacaray [at]

[Comment: And yet every four years the same labor boss knaves and fools go
down for the Dem no matter how bad; no matter how badly the've been
humbled and humiliated by previous Dems. They are wired so they never
learn - or at least never _appear_ to learn, because no one could really
be _that_ stupid, over and over, then and then and now. -ed]

--------10 of 12--------

Capitalism Produces Rich Bankers, but Socialism Produces Happiness
by Phillip Bannowsky
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The News Journal (Delaware)
Common Dreams

Socialism is better than capitalism. So say 20 percent of Americans, and
another 27 percent say they can't say which is better, according to an
April 9 Rasmussen poll.

There's hope.

When you consider that virtually no newspaper, broadcaster, well-funded
think tank, teacher, or anybody's boss or commander ever said something
nice about socialism, it's remarkable that only 53 percent of us still
favor rule by the moneyed class. Perhaps folks are learning how capitalism
sacrifices happiness for individual gain.

As Billy Bragg exhorts us in his update of the socialist anthem "The
Internationale": "Stand up, all victims of oppression/for tyrants fear
your might/Don't cling so hard to your possessions/For you have nothing if
you have no rights."

No less a "capitalist tool" than Forbes Magazine let a red cat out of the
bag with a report this month that the happiest countries tend to be
Scandinavian socialist democracies. High per-capita GDP certainly plays a
role in their felicity, but even social democratic New Zealand, with
per-capita GDP only 64 percent of the United States', ranks with the 10
democracies above us in the happiness index. They pay high taxes in these
pinkotopias, but folks enjoy entitlements like free college, extensive
elder care, and 52-week paid maternity leave.

The 2005 poll measured personal reports of enjoyment, pride in achievement
and learning, being respected, among other things. Forbes suggests that
such happiness derives from family, social and community networks, and a
decent work-life balance, noting that the average workweek in Scandinavia
is 37 hours.

Nice dream, but how do we get there? Most of these countries dumped
capitalist exploitation long ago and instituted mixed economies with
socialist ideals. More contemporary models are the 11 Latin America
countries pursuing "Socialism in the 21st Century." They too reject
top-down Leninism for a system based on participatory democracy and

In Ecuador, a land I have studied and worked in, a broad coalition of
indigenous, environmentalists, trade unions, professional organizations,
feminists, gay activists, left parties, and students laid the groundwork
for transformation. They just re-elected Rafael Correa, their leftist
standard-bearer, as president. They fought racism, oligarchs, oil
companies, and corrupt politicians for decades.

The economies of Latin America's red eleven are improving, although none
of them has instituted a socialist utopia. They are still subject to the
slings and arrows of egotism, error, and internecine conflict. But they
have overcome the greatest impediments to their advancement, including the
U.S.-based bankers who are draining our treasury now. And the civil
society they created in the struggle is the guarantor of their democracy.

Before finding the path of progress, many of these countries had lurched
from violent paroxysm to confusion and resignation, not unlike what the
U.S. currently endures.

For example, our Auto Industry Task Force just bankrupted GM and Chrysler,
fired tens of thousands of employees, extorted immense sacrifices from
active and retired autoworkers, and is dominated by the investment bankers
who absorbed trillions in national wealth to keep themselves rich after
destroying the economy.

Instead of seizing plants as our Canadian comrades are doing, or adding
"bossnapping" to plant occupations as the French have done, we shake our
heads as the union negotiates the terms of surrender.

What could we do with socialism? Well, take banks for starters: take them,
so instead of private scams that go broke gambling with money they don't
own, they'd become public utilities that finance production,
infrastructure, and homes. And treat aging industries like autos: instead
of dumping, we'd transform them according to a national plan for green
jobs and a healthy environment.

Solidarity is the path as well as the destination of socialism. Solidarity
grieves when a worker loses his job or sees her pension slashed.
Solidarity cheers when a union wins middle-class pay. Solidarity rejects
the greed of insurers as the distributor of healthcare and demands single
payer for all.

Solidarity smells the rat who divides white from black, black from gay,
native from newcomer, or America from the rest of humanity.

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on/The
Internationale/Unites the world in Song.

"So comrades come rally/For this is the time and place/The international
ideal/Unites the human race."

 2009 The News Journal
Phillip Bannowsky is a member of The News Journal Community Advisory Board
and is a retired autoworker. His novel, "The Mother Earth Inn," recounts
the early stirrings of Ecuador's current transformation.

--------11 of 12--------

GM's Turn on Obama's Chopping Block
By Shamus Cooke
May 25, 2009

The alarm bells should be ringing day and night about what's being
prepared at General Motors - the ripple effects could produce tidal waves.

The Obama administration has made no secret about its plans for GM: the
Chrysler bankruptcy was the "test case," and now Obama's Wall Street
buddies inside the Auto Task Force plan to replicate it.  The vast
implications of the Chrysler bankruptcy went unnoticed by the mainstream
media, concerned as it was with the convenient hype provided by Swine Flu.

The real swine, however, are those preparing the greatest single attack on
American workers since the Great Depression, the precedent of which will
reverberate loudly through business-labor relations in the country - that
is, if workers at GM and its parts suppliers don't put a stop to it.

Why was Chrysler so important?  Most significant was the fact that workers
were scared into accepting large wage and benefit reductions. They were
told by the U.A.W. "leaders" that, unless workers conceded to accepting
the wages and benefits of non-union workers, bankruptcy would be
unavoidable.  The workers conceded, and the very next day it was announced
that the company was headed towards bankruptcy.  It is unimaginable that
Gettlefinger and the other U.A.W. leaders did not know this was coming,
since they spend considerable time back-slapping with Obama.

This is but one of a long list of treacheries provided by a
Gettlefinger-led U.A.W. and his obsession with making GM a better "global
competitor."  Just as in 2007, autoworkers were scared into making drastic
concessions to "save jobs," and soon thereafter jobs were slashed by the

Now, the U.A.W.-owned healthcare fund called VEBA is likely to emerge as
the majority share owner of Chrysler, a company whose stock is basically
worthless and whose future is cloudy at best.  And although the U.A.W. is
the majority owner, they will have only one voice on the GM board,
ensuring that they'll be entirely ignored.

Applying this type of "restructuring" to GM is hard to imagine.  GM is a
global conglomerate with factories and suppliers all over the world - a
monster when compared to puny Chrysler.  The new sell-out labor
contract being negotiated between Gettlefinger and Obama on 5/21/09 has
to be released to the public, though the results have already been leaked,
and they would be crushing for GM workers, in a " that would cut
[GM's] labor costs by more than $1 billion a year and reduce its $20
billion pledge to the United Auto Workers to cover health-care obligations
[by ten billion]..." (Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2009).

Not only this, but 20,000 more GM jobs would be cut.  Dealerships and
suppliers all over the world would close as well, producing immediate job
losses in the hundreds of thousands, and indirect job losses that are
impossible to calculate.

Also, GM will likely be split into two companies: one that will build cars
with cheap labor for the world marketplace and the other consisting of
factories and machinery that will be sold for scrap metal. Instead of this
tremendous productive power being used to create a much more rational mass
transit system, the company is downsizing itself, laying off thousands of
workers and filling landfills.

After all is said in done, the U.A.W. would have a 39 percent ownership
stake in GM, giving Gettlefinger an ownership perspective, with a stake in
forcing additional cuts on his members to increase share prices and keep
the company competitive.  Logic like this is unavoidable if one cannot
look beyond the narrow horizons of the market economy, where one can only
win on the world marketplace if they race fastest to the bottom.

What was Obama's reaction to the incredible hardship his labor policy will
inevitably produce on workers? This pain was entirely ignored, and
instead, Obama attempted to smear a cheap "progressive" gloss over his
right-wing labor policies by holding a press conference to gloat over the
future of fuel efficient vehicles and electric cars.

Gettlefinger himself shamelessly attended the event, while he and some
short-sighted environmentalists fawned over Obama's every word.  No
mention was made how Americans would be able to afford these new fuel
efficient cars.

And this is the crux of the matter: Obama's autoworker precedent will
encourage other companies to destroy union contracts via bankruptcy; the
stage is being set for a colossal attack on the American working class.
Already wage cuts are being implemented throughout the U.S., alongside
massive unemployment - Obama's technique is simply a way to hasten the
process, so that the speed and scope of the recession is equally matched
by reductions in wages and benefits.

The economic crisis has put corporations into "fight or flight" mode. In
order for them to stay "viable" on the world market, they are slashing
wages and benefits, led by Obama and the Wall Street insiders among his
administration.   It will take a U.A.W. rank and file upsurge to repel
these attacks, aided by workers everywhere, since labor in general now
faces incredible challenges.  They could demand the nationalization of the
auto industry so that workers would be bailed out, not the banks.  Then
these companies could be retooled in order to produce not only mass
transit vehicles but an alternative energy infrastructure that could both
save jobs and help save the planet from global warming.

Obama cannot be "pressured" into doing the right thing. He's surrounded
himself with people representing the big corporations and banks, entities
that are intrinsically anti-worker.  The Democratic Party must also be
tossed aside, since their total silence on this most important of issues
is one of utter complicity.  Labor must now, more than ever, take an
independent stance in defending their interests.  The fate of the labor
movement hangs in the balance.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for
Workers Action (  He can be reached at
shamuscook [at]

--------12 of 12--------

Where have all the hopers hopped?

It was only last year the Obama mice were running thru the building walls
squeaking "hope! hope! hope!", their little tails switching and their
little whiskers twitching and their little eyes all aglow.

Now where have they gone? Where are their bright little cheery messages of
hope hope hope? Well, after you've worn yourself out hoping, what else is
there left to do? Only the hard work, and that's for someone else some
other time and place far from here.

Meanwhile in three years another few months of hope hope hope will be
called for. And they will respond, once again, for they spring eternal,
but only every four years, until that nasty old world once again rains on
their parades.

 Where have all the hopers hopped?
 Short time passing
 Where have all the hopers hopped?
 Short time ago
 Where have all the hopers hopped?
 Dems have kicked them every one
 When will they ever learn?
 When will they ever learn?

              words and music by Pete Seeger improved by ed


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