Progressive Calendar 09.21.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2009 09:58:28 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   09.21.09

1. Nader/economy/KFAI  9.21 12noon
2. Linda/room change   9.21 3pm
3. Sustain/roundtable  9.21 3/5/6pm
4. Iran-US             9.21 7pm
5. Guatemala/film      9.21 6:30pm
6. Garden/deep ecology 9.21 6:30/7pm
7. Oxfam Action        9.21 7pm

8. Jordan S Kushner - Thoughts on attacks on ACORN
9. Mumia Abu-Jamal  - Health care = 'I don't care'
10. George Bisharat - Goldstone report: Israel's failings
11. Mark Weisbrot   - The rich still run the US

--------1 of 11--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Nader/economy/KFAI 9.21 12noon

TODAY/Monday Sept. 21 on Democracy NOW!
Ralph Nader on the state of the economy, President Obama's policies to
"reform regulations" and also Nader's new book.
 For radion stations in your town or to listen online:

NOON:listen to DN! on KFAI RADIO
90.3 fm Mpls 106.7 fm St.Paul
7am & 10pm on MTN cable access tv,channel 17

--------2 of 11--------

From: Lynette Malles <lynettemalles [at]>
Subject: Linda/room change 9.21 3pm

Monday, September 21st, Linda Norenberg's Third Hearing to be held at 3
pm, but not in housing court

Meet at the pool on the north end of Hennepin County Court House, 300
South 6th Street in Mpls. before 3pm. Her lawyer just learned that the
hearing will not be held in housing court, but the room number will not be
known until later that day.

And it turned out that Linda raised $300 toward her legal fees. Thanks
again everyone!

Meanwhile, Reverend Loren McGrail went over to Rosemary's house today,
Sunday, attepting to drape flowers and a note on the fence. The 24-hour
security guard warned her that the gesture constituted trespassing. So to
avoid arrest, she placed her offerings on the narrow strip of ground
between the fence and sidewalk!

The struggle continues......

--------3 of 11--------

From: Alliance for Sustainability <iasa [at]>
Subject: Sustain/roundtable 9.21 3/5/6pm

West Metro Sustainability Roundtable
Monday September 21,
Minnetonka Community Center
14600 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka, MN 55345

Workshop for City Staff 3 to 5pm
Reception/ Networking 5 to 6pm
Community Workshop 6 to 8pm

Including: Minnetonka, Bloomington, Chaska, Crystal, Eden Prairie, Edina,
Excelsior, Golden Valley, Hopkins Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Mound, New Hope,
Plymouth, Orono, Richfield, St. Louis Park, and other west metro cities and

Topics to be covered
* Introduction to the new MN GreenStep Cities Program
* New Money Available for City Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
* Active Living Hennepin Communities/ Complete Streets/ Southwest Transit
Way Links
* Mobilizing businesses and residents to save energy

Presented by the Alliance for Sustainability.
For more information, contact:
- Please pre-register at
Or 612-331-1099

--------4 of 11--------

From: mjshahidiusa [at] AOL.COM
Subject: Iran-US 9.21 7pm

I am honored to have been asked to present the key-note speech at a
conference in the Twin Cities which is titled "United Nations
International Peace Day: Iran and its People".

The informational reception and seminar will be held on Monday September
21, 2009, from 6-8 p.m. at 500 Blake Road South, Edina, MN 55343.

During the social hour with Iranian hors d'oeuvres, Rick Steve's
documentary, "Iran, Yesterday and Today" will be shown followed after 7
p.m. with short speeches and discussion.

I will talk about the wishes of the people of Iran and explore various
non-military ways of moving toward peacefull change in Iran.

M.Jay Shahidi

--------5 of 11--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Guatemala/film 9.21 6:30pm

FREE Third Monday Movies and Discussion: "Voice of a Nation"

Monday, September 21, 6:30 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, Parish Center,
4537 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis. Guatemalan farmers and families talk
about the 36-year old fight against the genocidal military dictatorship of
that era - gives insight into their lives and motives for engaging in
armed conflict. Tremendously moving. Discussion follows. Sponsored by: the
WAMM Third Monday Movies Committee. FFI: Call 612-871-2229.

--------6 of 11--------

From: Brian Noy <briannoy [at]>
Subject: Garden/deep ecology 9.21 6:30/7pm

Augsburg College and the Campus Kitchen Project would like to invite you
to come hear Bill McKibben, the author of Deep Ecology and a major figure
in the modern environmentalist movement, this coming Monday the 21st.

He'll be speaking at 7:30 in the Foss Chapel at Augsburg College.
Preceding his presentation, feel free to visit the Augsburg Community
Garden, which hosts over 70 plots, has a labyrinth, and an expanding hoop
house greenhouse where we grew until December last year. We'll have garden
leaders in the garden there at 6:30 to answer questions, with a short
presentation at 7:00 before Bill McKibben speaks at 7:30.

Please bring your friends and share this across lists. We would love to
see everyone here.

6:30 Explore the garden
7:00 Short presentation in the garden
7:30 Bill McKibben Presentation

Directions and Parking:
Garden is at corner of 20th Ave S and 6th St
Foss Chapel is at the corner of 22nd Ave S and 7th St
 Map of Foss Chapel:,-93.240336&hl=en&geocode=&mra=mi&mrsp=0&sz=17&sll=44.96662,-93.239926&sspn=0.004183,0.008529&ie=UTF8&ll=44.966422,-93.239915&spn=0.008365,0.017059&t=h&z=16
 Campus Map:
I would recommend parking on the one hour streets on the west side of 20th
Ave. Give yourself 10 minutes to find parking, and let me know if you plan
to come as I may be able to get reserved parking spaces.

More information:
Bill McKibben:
Augsburg Campus Kitchen:

--------7 of 11--------

From: Oxfam Action Corps - MN <minnesota [at]>
Subject: Oxfam Action 9.21 7pm

On the 3rd Monday of each month, we gather to plan our nonpartisan
grassroots activities. We've successfully organized events, lobbied
policymakers, and have used sheer creativity to stand up for meaningful
change. We meet at 7pm the unique Common Roots Cafť (2558 Lyndale Ave. S.,

--------8 of 11--------

From: Jordan S. Kushner <kushn002 [at]>
Subject: Thoughts on attacks on ACORN

I doubt there is any dispute that ACORN is involved in critical issues,
that it is very effective in at least some important respects, and that
effectiveness is what has made it such a target of the rightwing.  It is
therefore critical to expose the attacks for the political fraud that they
are, and demand that the Democrats stand up to the rightwing on this one.

At the same time, we should recognize the revealing ironies.  ACORN's main
fault, along with some undeniable corruption, is its loyalty and
uncritical support of the Democratic party.  Around the country, it
constantly props up compromised liberal (and sometimes not so liberal)
Democrats, promoting a false impression among its constiuency that the
Democrats are on their side.  At the same time that ACORN has provided an
invaluable service by registering millions of low-income people to vote,
there is a need to at least question whether its focus on using the
registrations for the purpose of propping up the corporate sellout
Democratic party is ultimately exploiting rather empowering ACORN's

The really bitter irony is that the Democratic party that ACORN has so
greatly - and undeservedly helped, is so quick to dispose of ACORN like
toilet paper as soon as the rightwing scores a point.  An overwhelming
majority of Democratic House and Senate members voted in favor of stipping
ACORN's funding!

I hope for a silver-lining in this chain of events that now that ACORN is
not getting government money or Democratic support, it will stop using its
otherwise valuable efforts to prop up the Democrats, but will become a
truly independent and progressive grassroots organization that pushes for
real reform.

Jordan Kushner

--------9 of 11--------

Mumia Abu-Jamal
Health Care = 'I Don't Care'
[col. writ. 8/29/09] (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal

As the White House and Congress square off on health care, take care,
because the deals with the big dogs have been made - and the people will
be - once again - left holding an empty bag.

That's because in the opening hours of this drama, the central issue -
single payer - was given away, in an attempt to attract the support of big
insurance companies. A pre-pay-off, if you will, to show them that neither
their profits nor future growth would be impaired.

Truly, this is change that they can believe in, for it means more clients,
more funds flooding their tills, and legislative protection for their
dwindling pay outs (for sick people.)

Single-payer means that all doctors and hospitals would have been paid for
their services by a single government agency - spelling the end to the
immense profits garnered each year by hundreds of insurance companies -
now costing at least $350 billion annually.

Now, that amount of money would've paid for much of the nation's health
care needs, instead of private business profits, and executive bonuses.

With the deal made, that money is gone - and so are the hopes of millions
for a fix of the nation's broken health care system.

Do you really think the insurance companies donated millions to Obama and
select members of Congress because they liked their looks?

They'll give dough to Democrats, Republicans - hell, even communists if
they think it'll buy them more profits.

And it looks like they have.

There's an old American saying, 'You get what you pay for.'

Well, they've paid the politicians - and they're about to get the payoff!

There's considerable coverage on the recent passing of Massachusetts
Senator Ted Kennedy, a long time advocate of universal healthcare. While
his brain cancer undoubtedly shortened his days, it's also likely that
this adept politician, seeing the horse trades being made to sell out the
people on health care, caused him to die from a broken heart.

Oh - and about those town halls? It's much ado about nothing, or as
Shakespeare once wrote, it's 'sound and fury, signifying nothing.'

Most of them are people who didn't even vote for Obama, and who call him a
'socialist' for using 'the guvamint to interfere with Medicare.' Nutty as
a Snickers bar. Many still believe he was born in Kenya, East Africa!

And yes, a bill will pass, and Obama will sign it, but it'll mean less,
not more health care. It'll mean higher co-pays (really prepays, or
deductibles), less services, and more profits for their campaign
contributors. There will be celebrations and TV PR people will praise it
like American Idol - but it'll be a sell-out - pure and simple.

Unless - unless - people really raise hell - and demand single payer - and
universal health care - before the door slams shut.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award winning journalist and framed political
prisoner sitting on death row in the United States.†For more on his case
see:  The Internationalist Group  And the well known human
rights organization Amnesty International has also looked into Mumia
Abu-Jamal's case and says he did not get a fair trial: ¬

--------10 of 11--------

Goldstone report: Israel's failings
A U.N. report finds war crimes in last winter's fighting; now Israel must
be held accountable.
By George Bisharat
September 18, 2009

Will Israel's decades-long impunity from international law finally come to
an end? That is the question facing the international community in the
aftermath of the just-released Goldstone report.

Richard Goldstone, formerly a supreme court justice in South Africa and
chief prosecutor in the international tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia,
headed a four-person United Nations mission investigating both Israel and
Hamas for possible war crimes during Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip
last winter. The mission conducted 188 interviews and reviewed more than
300 reports, 10,000 pages of documents, 30 videos and 1,200 photographs.
The Israeli government barred the group from entering Israel or the Gaza
Strip (it reached Gaza, ultimately, through Egypt). By contrast,
Palestinian authorities, both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,
cooperated with the mission. The 575-page report concluded that both sides
committed war crimes before, during and after the intense fighting in

In its findings on Israel's conduct, the report noted that the ruinous
siege on Gaza, imposed long before the invasion, collectively punished its
residents in violation of international law. During the attack, Israeli
troops killed civilians without justification, wantonly destroyed civilian
infrastructure and private homes, and used weapons illegally. Israeli
troops targeted and destroyed Gaza's last functioning flour mill. Israeli
armored bulldozers razed the chicken farm that provided 10% of Gaza's
eggs, burying 31,000 chickens in rubble. Israeli gunners bombed a raw
sewage lagoon, releasing 200,000 cubic meters of filth into neighboring
farmland. Repeated pinpoint strikes on a water well complex destroyed all
of its essential machinery.

These are just some of the facts that led the mission to conclude that
Israel's objective in the attack was "to punish, humiliate and terrorize a
civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both
to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing
sense of dependency and vulnerability."

Since a January cease-fire, Israel has maintained its illegal blockade,
keeping relief supplies and construction materials from Gaza, and thus
guaranteeing continued Palestinian civilian suffering.

The Goldstone mission found that Hamas, in its indiscriminate rocket
attacks on Israeli civilians, also committed war crimes, calling the
rockets "a deliberate attack against the civilian population."

The report recommends that all parties to the fighting conduct credible
internal investigations of the abuses it documented. If they fail to do so
within six months, the report recommends that the U.N. Security Council
refer the matter to the International Criminal Court for investigation.

Israel clearly anticipated a critical report and has been planning for
months to discredit it. Its spokespeople are making preposterous
accusations, such as that Goldstone is "anti-Israel" (in fact, he is
Jewish and has strong ties to Israel), and its diplomats are working the
phones in an attempt to sway Western governments and members of the
Security Council. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the
report in discussions with U.S. special envoy George Mitchell, and Deputy
Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is trying to orchestrate condemnation of the
report by senior Obama administration officials and members of Congress.

This urging must be resisted, and Israel's serial violations of
international law - whether in pulverizing Lebanon in 2006; illegally
detaining, torturing or assassinating Palestinians under its dominion in
the occupied Palestinian territories; or building settlements on
Palestinian lands for exclusive Jewish occupancy - must come to an end.
Israel may not be the worst human rights violator in the world, but it is
among those that most consistently evade accountability.

Israeli abuses are deeply resented around the globe. For too long, we in
the United States have abetted Israel, bestowing on it roughly $3 billion
annually in aid since 1973 and vetoing scores of resolutions in the
Security Council that attempted to hold Israel accountable for its
violations of international law.

To his credit, President Obama has called for a halt to new Israeli
settlements, though he has failed to enunciate consequences for Israeli
defiance. He should now embrace the Goldstone recommendations strongly,
and must also demand an immediate end to Israel's illegal siege of Gaza.

Israel's friends, rather than reflexively dismissing Goldstone's findings,
should reflect instead: Are the interests of Israeli citizens genuinely
served by continued indulgence of their military's excesses? Impunity for
one state undermines the very legitimacy of international law. Yet
international law protects weak and strong alike, and we ignore its
continuing abuse at our peril.

George Bisharat is a professor at UC Hastings College of the Law in San
Francisco and writes frequently on law and politics in the Middle East.

--------11 of 11--------

The Rich Still Run the US
By Mark Weisbrot
Guardian (UK)
September 18, 2009

America's traumatic recession should have ushered in a wave of progressive
political reform. It hasn't happened

Corruption takes many forms in different countries and locations. Here in
the United States it may not be as common to pay off a judge or a customs
official as it is in most low- and middle-income countries, but we do have
quite a bit of legalised bribery, especially in the form of electoral
campaign contributions. The most obvious current case is that of
healthcare reform, where the powerful insurance, pharmaceutical and other
lobbies are in the process of vetoing some of the most important parts of
the healthcare reform that most Americans want and need.

For example, the vast majority of Americans favour a public option -
insurance offered by the government, as we have for senior citizens in the
Medicare programme - yet these powerful interests are blocking it in the
Senate. This is despite the modest nature of the reform, which would not
provide free or universal insurance, but rather an additional option that
employers and individuals could buy into, with some subsidies for those
who could not afford it. The insurance companies don't want competition,
and the pharmaceutical corporations don't want another potentially large
buyer that could bargain against their own monopoly power over the prices
of patented drugs.

The United States is a rich country, so it seems obvious that our forms of
corruption are preferable to those that plague developing countries. And
they are, in the sense that it that it is always better to be a rich
country and have rich country problems than to be a poor or middle-income
country. But if we look at the US from the point of view of its potential
- and I don't mean utopian dreams but merely what is quite feasible and
practical in the immediate or near future - it seems that we have a very
limited form of democracy.

One year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and nearly two years into
our worst recession since the Great Depression, we have almost nothing to
show in the way of reforms that could prevent a recurrence. The financial
sector is probably more concentrated than it was before the crisis, and
financial firms are still gambling with taxpayer guarantees, and even

Some are doing remarkably well - Goldman Sachs, a recipient of billions of
dollars of taxpayer assistance, is expected to pay bonuses averaging
$700,000 each to 30,000 employees. The vastly over- bloated financial
industry that brought us this calamity has shrunk by only 7.7% in terms of
employment, far fewer than the percentage of jobs lost in manufacturing
(14.6%) or construction (31.6%), since the recession began.

One reform that many experts saw as necessary to avoid future financial
disasters was to regulate the trading of derivatives - financial
instruments that are based on some other assets or values - so that they
could be traded and priced on an exchange like stocks, bonds or
commodities. Because many of these often complex derivatives were traded
outside of exchanges, financial companies were able to hide enormous
losses that only showed up when things fell apart.

But off-exchange trading is a highly profitable business - because when
there are no market prices, there is limited competition. So Wall Street
is pushing this modest but important reform off the table as well.

"Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks without regard for
consequences, and expect that next time, American taxpayers will be there
to break their fall," Barack Obama announced Monday in a speech on Wall
Street. But so far, it looks like that's exactly what they are doing.

What then are we to make of the prospects for reform under an Obama
administration and a Democratic Congress? It is still relatively early in
the game, but one thing seems clear: This administration needs a lot more
pressure from the progressive end of the political spectrum, especially
the people who did the work and made the contributions that elected this

Most of the pressure is coming from the right, which is to be expected
given the historic shift that the 2008 election represented. For nearly
four decades the politics of the country had been shifting rightward,
including during the Clinton administration. Most importantly, the rules
of the game have been steadily rewritten in ways that shifted the
distribution of income upward.

The latest data that now takes us through the end of the last business
cycle (2002-2007) shows that two- thirds of the income gains during these
years went to the top 1% of the income distribution. This brought the
income share of the top 1% to its highest level since 1928. The bottom 90%
got only about 12% of the income gains. This continued and accelerated a
trend that began in the mid 1970s, which was also quite pronounced during
the Clinton administration, when the top 1% captured 43% of all income
gains (as compared to just 11% in the 1960s).

The election of 2008 was a turning point, partly because the recession and
financial crisis forced swing (mostly white, working-class) voters to
focus on the economic issues and see that they were getting hammered under
Republican rule.

The current recession will reverse that upward redistribution temporarily,
as happened in the last recession, because a lot of wealth disappears. But
whether we get back on track toward a more equitable society when the
economy recovers will depend on structural reforms. Healthcare is one such
reform - and the outcome is still undetermined - but we also need reforms
that more directly help the majority of Americans to share in the gains
from productivity growth.

For this reason it is especially unfortunate that the Obama administration
has not fought for the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it
easier for workers to recover their lost ability to form unions in the US.
The most important provision in this act is known as "card check", which
would allow employees to form a union as soon as a majority of them had
signed cards expressing their desire to join. This, too, is in the process
of being derailed.

Income distribution is fundamental, because it is difficult to imagine
social and economic progress in most other areas, including
democratisation, education, poverty and social exclusion and crime as our
society grows increasingly unequal. It remains to be seen whether we will
see progress on this front when the economy recovers.

c 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited

Mark Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy
Research (CEPR), in Washington, DC.


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