Progressive Calendar 12.12.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 05:20:45 -0800 (PST)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   12.12.09

1. Peace walk        12.12 9am Cambridge MN
2. Anti-mall/RNC 8   12.12 10am
3. Palestine         12.12 10am
4. Mizna sale        12.12 12:30pm
5. CUAPB             12.12 1:30pm
6. Northtown vigil   12.12 2pm
7. Words/play        12.12 2pm
8. Climate action    12.12 3pm
9. Hallie Q Brown    12.12 5pm
10. Mayday party     12.12 7pm

11. Stillwater vigil 12.12 1pm
12. Arctic refuge    12.12 1pm
13. Peace walk       12.12 6pm RiverFalls WI

14. Matt Reichel   - A plea to Generation Screwed: take on the banks
15. Joseph Shansky - Latin America in the Age of Obama
16. David Macaray  - We need to embarrass ourselves: re Cindy Sheehan
17. Kip Sullivan   - 2/3 of Americans support Medicare-for-all  1/6
18. ed             - Limerick

--------1 of 18--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 12.12 9am Cambridge MN

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

--------2 of 18--------

From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at]>
Subject: Anti-mall/RNC 8 12.12 10am

Come to the "Anti-Mall" Benefit Craft Sale at Walker Church on December 12

Dread holiday shopping? Skip the mall and come buy locally made clothing,
gifts and art at the sale to benefit the RNC 8 and Isis Rising, Saturday
December 12.

Artists/crafters have been asked to pay a minimum 30% commission to the
organizers, with many contributing more.  All the proceeds benefit the RNC8
Legal Defense Fund ( <> ) and Isis Rising, a
project of Everyday Miracles that provides birth and post-partum support to
incarcerated women (
<> ).

Saturday, December 12
Walker Community Church
3104 16th Ave. S., Minneapolis

For more information or to sign up now as an crafter, email
craftsale2009 [at] or call Emily at (651) 280-0889.  (You can also 
items off before 10am the day of the sale.)

If you're interested in buying local, handmade holiday gifts while putting
your money somewhere worthwhile, mark your calendars and we'll see you on
the 12th!  (We'll be having a bake sale, too.)

If you can't make it, you can still help out by downloading
the flyer and posting it around town.

--------3 of 18--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Palestine 12.12 10am

Niveen Sarras: "Seeking Holy Land Peace: The Role of Palestinian
Saturday, December 12, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments); 10:00 a.m. (Presentation
and Discussion) Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer, 5440 Penn Avenue
South, Minneapolis.

Niveen Sarras is a member of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, where
she is involved in Christian Education with a special focus on children
and youth. She was a speaker at the ELCA Youth of Color Discuss Racism,
Celebrate Diversity conference in New Orleans, July 2009. Niveen is
currently a Ph.D. student at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She
received the Kathryn Sehy Endowed Scholarship for 2008-09, a
newly-established fellowship fund that supports a student in the area of
interfaith studies. She is particularly interested in interfaith efforts
in Israel/Palestine and hopes to return to Palestine in some role within
academia. Niveen will also share observations on "Bethlehem Then and Now."
Sponsored by: Middle East Peace Now (MEPN). Endorsed by: the WAMM Middle
East Committee. FFI: Call 651-696-1642 or email mepn [at] .

--------4 of 18--------

From: Mizna <mizna-announce [at]>
Subject: Mizna holiday sale 12.12 12:30pm

Mizna Holiday Sale
Mizna is excited to hold a sale just in time for the holidays! There are
over a dozen different works of original art as well as jewelry, Arabic
films, books, crafts and more. Come check it out on SECOND SATURDAYS at
the California Building on December 12!

Saturday, December 12, 2009
12:30pm - 4:00pm
2205 California Street NE #109a
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Mizna is a forum for Arab American arts.  Visit our website at

--------5 of 18--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB 12.12 1:30pm

Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

--------6 of 18--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 12.12 2pm

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

--------7 of 18--------

From: UMN Human Rights Center <humanrts [at]>
Subject: Words/play 12.12 2pm

December 12, 2009 - Advocating Change Together sponsors The United We
Stand Players performance of WORDS!

Time: 2:00 pm. Cost: $10 per person. You can purchase tickets by calling
Kathy at ACT (651) 641-0297 or tickets will be available at the event.
Location: Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront Hotel, 11 E Kellogg Blvd in St.
Paul, MN

People First of New Ulm's, The United We Stand Players presents an
original play, WORDS! This play focuses on the use of hurtful words in
society and what one group of people decided to do about it. The
performance features the short film, Offense Taken , showing the efforts
that Minnesota self-advocates have led to educate people about words that
hurt. You will laugh, you will cry and you will not want to miss it!

Call Kathy at ACT (651) 641-0297 or via email act [at]

-------8 of 18--------

From: Oxfam Action Corps - MN <minnesota [at]>
Subject: Climate action 12.12 3pm

Saturday is the Global Day of Climate Action. Millions of people from
around the world will gather at thousands of events to call on world
leaders to "Sign a Real Deal" at the United Nations Climate Change
Conference, now underway in Copenhagen.

Join us this Saturday, December 12th at the Minneapolis Central Library
starting at 3pm.

The program is fun and free. Get live updates from Denmark. Watch the film
'The Age of Stupid.' Sign the giant Sign a Real Deal petition. Enjoy snacks
and Peace Coffee. Walk Nicollet Mall with a candle and message of climate

Attend all or part of the program.

3PM - Updates from Will Steger and Q&A with Youth Delegates of Expedition
Copenhagen, live by video from Denmark.

3:25PM - Screening of the new British film, "The Age of Stupid"

Post-Film Discussion

5:45PM - Candlelight Vigil begins outside the Library. We'll walk the
sidewalks of Nicollet Mall with signs calling for action on climate change.
The Holidazzle Parade begins shortly afterward, so the Mall will be
bustling. Please bring a candle and candle holder. Signs will be provided.

Learn more at

--------9 of 18--------

From: Jhpalmerjp [at]
Subject: Hallie Q Brown 12.12 5pm

The Hallie Q. Brown Community Center Board of Directors & Staff cordially
invite you to join us as we celebrate eighty years of service to the
Community with the Hallie Q. Brown Eightieth Anniversary Gala: Honoring
the Past, Serving the Present, Inspiring the Future.

This is going to be a very exciting event with the exhibition of
nationally renowned local artist Donald Walker's new series, "Negasso", a
re-envisioning of the works of Pablo Picasso through an African American
perspective. The event will also have signed, commemorative limited
edition prints of "All Eyes on Hallie" available for purchase as well
other works of Mr.  Walker.

The music of Wenso Ashby, Contemporary Jazz with Soul, will also be

In addition, there will be a silent and live auction, hors d'oeuvres and
most importantly views of Hallie's impact and history over the past 80
years including historical interviews, pictures, documents and more.

Event start is five o'clock, program to begin at six o'clock.
Semi-formal or Business attire

For more information on Hallie Q.  Brown or to RSVP & Purchase tickets
please visit our website at

We look forward to seeing you all on  December 12th to celebrate 80 years.

--------10 of 18--------

From: Tom Dooley <fellowcommoditydooley [at]>
Subject: Mayday party 12.12 7pm

Party at Mayday Bookstore
7 pm  Sat Dec 12

good food - raffle or quiz for prizes - one or 2 very brief comedic videos
NO SPEECHES (unless you must)
food and beer and wine provided

--------11 of 18--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 00.00 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

--------12 of 18--------

From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at]>
Subject: Arctic refuge 12.12 1pm

Dear Friend of the Alaska Wilderness,
Reminder - Join us this Sunday Dec 13!
This important event will be leading us into an amazing year for the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge.

Consider joining us Sunday Dec 13th - learn more about the year ahead,
take an Action for the polar bear Critical Habitat designation (comment
period is open now), and maybe do some Holiday shopping!

Come Celebrate Our Kick-Off:
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is Turning 50 in 2010!

Join us on December 13 for a silent auction and to learn more about
activities coming in the year ahead - we can all have a part in ensuring
the Arctic Refuge remains wild and pristine

Sunday, December 13, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Macalester Campus - Weyerhaeuser Hall
MACARES and Alaska Wilderness League.

Weyerhaeuser Hall is at the Macalester Campus -
1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul MN 55105

--------13 of 18--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 12.12 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

--------14 of 18--------

A Plea to Generation Screwed: Let us Take on the Banks
by Matt Reichel
December 11th, 2009
Dissident Voice

In the wreckage of the once vibrant American anti-war movement lies a
hodge-podge of activists ranging from anarchists to paleo-conservatives,
wondering "What the hell do we do now!?"

To be an anti-war activist at this moment in American history is to be at
an all time low. Never did genuine activists for non-violence have it so
bad. Never has a progressive movement ever neutered itself so thoroughly,
severed its own fuel source, and engineered its own irrelevance as much as
the American anti-war movement between 2003 and now.

The success of the movement in early 2003 seemed destined to significantly
alter the course of history. Bush and the neo-con puppeteers faced certain
domestic turmoil in the "other superpower": the dynamic grassroots
movements whose lineage ran through Seattle and Chiapas, and now descended
upon New York, Chicago and small towns throughout the heartland.
Meanwhile, we had Lula in Brazil (before Lula became synonymous with
traitor), Chavez in Venezuela, and millions of people emptying out into
the streets throughout the world. American social movements were uniting
with international grassroots forces to upend the heinous American Empire.

Or so I thought as I finished my undergrad at the University of
Illinois-Urbana in 2003. Upon graduation I warily took a position at Peace
Action as a "Field Outreach Coordinator" (if you have never worked at a
non-profit before, the name of your position means practically nothing).
My duties included, among other things, delegitimizing the genuine
grassroots elements of the anti-war movement in favor of a bureaucratic,
compromised, legislative/electoral approach to "fighting the man". While
Peace Action takes more principled stands than, say,, it is
governed by the same logic that sank the whole ship in 2004.

However, most of the blame needs to be placed squarely on two men, whose
"movements" completely demobilized this nation's last great grassroots
movement: John Kerry and Barack Obama.

The ascent of these two overlapped. Obama rose from his position in an
obscure state congressional seat to become U.S. Senator at the same time
that Mr. Kerry swift-boated the anti-war movement into oblivion.

Obama was young, articulate, handsome, well-composed, charming: all of
those things we aren't accustomed to in Chicago. Meanwhile, the rest of
the country was equally overwhelmed. We had grown so used to our male
specimen being overweight slobs that just the site of Obama made us
believe that yes, we could join the civilized world.

Unfortunately, the route to the Promised Land doth not lie through the
ballot box. I am not entirely negating the importance of casting a vote,
but merely stating that genuinely progressive candidates don't just pop
out of the ether and get elected. Instead, they spring forth from
grassroots movements and thus represent the collective consciousness.

In 2004 and 2008, the American liberal left repeated the same mistake by
going the easy route of standing on the sidelines and "hoping". This was
an incredible phenomenon: a people, which are willing to be slave-driven
in the workplace more so than any other in the Western World, lazed out on
their civic responsibility. Instead of maintaining the requisite pressure
and momentum, the American progressive fizzled out into irrelevance.

Even in its darkest hour, the American conservative doesn't dare fizzle.
They stick to their guns. So what is wrong with the American progressive?

My answer is that the baby boomers still control too much of the movement.
I repeat: the progressive left is STILL organized and orchestrated by
cliche P.C., baby booming liberals. They are the enablers of defeatism in
American progressivism: those that seek to compromise war with peace,
commercialism with socialism, liberty with tyranny. Their over-arching
logic is that the status quo is too ingrained to budge. They enter the
negotiation process under the precept that victory is unfeasible, and
compromise is inevitable. As such, mainstream progressives believe that we
must begin with a compromise, and continue to perpetually, until our
vaunted "change" is even worse than the status quo.

I am on a few health care reform (single-payer) lists where people have
been arguing over whether we should advocate defeat of the current bill in
the Congress. I am unable to see how there is any question that we should.
People are so steeped in the defeatist logic of unending compromises that
they can't see this ploy for what it is: a bailout of the insurance
companies masquerading as "health care reform". All of this comes after
the President and several high ranking congresspersons admitted "Single
Payer is probably the best solution, but" - But what!? We Americans are so
used to failure, we may as well just keep failing!? Why be as good as the
rest of the civilized world!? Let's just continue to suck ass!

And to keep American minds off of the fact that our shitty health system
will continue unabated and freshly charged, Obama announced his long-held
plans to deepen our imperial adventure in Afghanistan. Progressives
responded with mighty protests: in Chicago, a whole 150 people showed up
last Wednesday to stick it to the commander-in-chief. Another rally was
held on Saturday, which fared slightly better: that one may have attracted
around 200.

And it is the same damn 150-200 people that show up to everything. The
rest of the city is still hanging out in the trenches, "hoping" for
something to go right. I am sure this is repeated verbatim throughout the
country. The anti-war movement is down to its nuts and bolts: just the
hard-core activists.

So how do we energize the grassroots again? How do we turn the clock back
to 2003, while this country is so devastated and demoralized?

My answer is that the focus needs to shift to the banks: those insidious
institutions of avidity and fraud that created our economic recession and
then ran away with trillions of dollars in bailout guarantees. The big,
corporate banks finance wars and war-makers, steal from working
communities, prey on vulnerable members of the working and middle-classes,
and have no sense of social responsibility or civic duty.

Socialism for the rich, Capitalism for the poor. The CEO's get their
bonuses, the working people get ATM fees and overdraft fees. The
billionaire swindlers get TARP funds, the working men and women get bad
mortgages, a dissolution of their retirement portfolios, decreasing
medical coverage and increasing education costs.

Meanwhile, my generation, the baby boomers' children of 30 years or
younger, have seen their unemployment rate rise to nearly 25%. This rate
is much higher if you count those who have ceased looking for work, or
those that are partially employed or perpetually stuck in a temp agency.

I had the latter problem while in Seattle last year. I was hired by
Nintendo of America as a French Customer Service rep through an
intermediary known as Parker Services. These are the same bastards that
run the "temp agency" racket at Microsoft, down the street in Redmond
(suburb of Seattle). The idea is that you will never work directly for the
company you pretend to represent on the phone, unless you gleefully slave
away under precarious conditions for a few years with no benefits, leave
time or health insurance. I couldn't even realistically take a sick day
without putting my job in jeopardy, and eventually stormed out in an angry
rampage when told that I had to work with a 102 degree fever.

A majority of under 30 year olds are living in a state of utter despair:
the baby boomers left us no health care, no decent employment, no living
wage, no comprehensive system of free higher education, no ethic of
brotherhood and sisterhood: a country in absolute ruin. Our older siblings
and cousins were labeled "Generation X," us "Generation Y" or "Generation
ADHD," but it may as well be "Generation Screwed".

Socialism for the rich, Capitalism for the poor. Handouts, big trillion
dollar handouts for the criminal business elite, and savage, barbaric
Capitalism for the rest of us. We battle over scarce resources, and play
trivial, insipid games so as to obtain frivolous employment, with no
guarantees of security and health coverage. Our grandparents had good
union jobs, and provided our parents with high quality education and
health care at an affordable rate. We were never so lucky.

The war in the Middle East is the external manifestation of the war on
young adults here at home. The relationship between the baby boomers and
their children has always been antagonistic. The former has never wanted
to grow up, while the latter has strived to mature. To quote the late
George Carlin, the baby boomers "went from cocaine to Rogaine," refusing
ever to age and seriously confront the great responsibility of running a
country. Their record, across the political spectrum, has been disastrous.
>From right wing zealots to imperialists posing as "peoples' candidates" to
left-wing movements weighted down by the baggage of "cultural revolution".
In the baby boomers world, "left" and "right" became inane cultural points
of reference, as political discourse made like an Amtrak and de-railed.

This unraveled as our presidents and congress-people drifted steadily
rightward. There once was smattering of populists in the Congress, and the
occasional bone thrown at progressives by even Republican presidents.
However, our posture gradually descended to the point that "we" have the
White House, "60 seats in the Senate," and a strong majority in the
Congress, and right wing America still runs the damn country!

This dire state is unsustainable. As such, I ask fellow members of
Generation Screwed to join me in taking charge of the despair before us.
Let us reconstruct an America that is built on the principles of
brotherhood and sisterhood: an understanding that we have a debt to our
fellow American. The creation of these monolithic criminal banks and their
corporate doppelgangers is entirely the doing of the baby boomers, who
supported the Reagans and Clintons that deregulated like mad animals. They
took any progressive tendency in this country and demeaned and disparaged
it, leaving us with Kennedys, Kerrys, and, at best, Kucinichs. We can do
much better.

We, the members of Generation Screwed, have no room for compromise. Our
life depends on great progressive victory and it begins with taking the
banks head on.

Matt Reichel is a French teacher and the Green Party Candidate in
Illinois's 5th Congressional District. He can be reached at:
mereichel [at]

--------15 of 18--------

A Regional Divide
Latin America in the Age of Obama
December 11-13, 2009

"I hold the view that before Obama completes his term, there will be from
six to eight right-wing governments in Latin America that will be allies
of the empire."

-- Fidel Castro.

President Obama was elected partly because of his promise to a large
Hispanic constituency to give both new attention and new respect to Latin
America. Judging from the US role in the military coup in Honduras, he
must think that one of the two is enough.

For those who closely followed the coup and its aftermath, a tiny fear sat
in the back of our minds. Eventually it was confirmed. As the State
Department position shifted from condemning to condoning the illegal
government, the outline of a bigger picture became clear. If this violent
takeover were really to be approved by the US, it would mark a frightening
new focus on the region.

In late June, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped by the
military and forced out of the country. For the next five months, an
illegitimate government, headed by Congressional leader Roberto
Micheletti, suppressed the outrage of many Honduran citizens against this
regime through a number of violent means including murder, torture, and
detention of citizens.

Throughout this time, the US response to these allegations was silence.

Even though it was impossible for a free or fair election to take place
under these circumstances, the US endorsed what is internationally
recognized as a fraud. After months of stumbling through embarrassing
press conferences dominated by contradictory statements, doublespeak, and
back-pedaling, the US appeared firmly committed to helping overthrow
democratic order by blessing the Honduran elections as the way out. It has
deliberately chosen sides in the battle between the popular struggle for
social justice in Latin America and the assured continuation of its own
economic interests with the election of coup-supporting conservatives like
Porfirio Lobo.

                        A REGIONAL DIVIDE

Throughout the coup, Zelaya had overwhelming verbal support from the
majority of his counterparts in the region.

Upon his bold return to Honduras in late September, Brazil's President
Lula opened the doors of his Tegucigalpa embassy to shelter the president,
journalists, and supporters as his "guests". That was the moment that
things might have turned around for those fighting for his restoration.
The populace had grown weary of struggling since late June demanding
Zelaya's reinstatement and protesting peacefully against the violations of
so many basic rights. Zelaya's homecoming was a move which energized them
once again. But thanks to endless delay tactics on the part of US
officials, his position in the embassy soon grew to resemble less that of
a president than a prisoner.

Additionally, the US position may have drawn a line in the sand among
other Latin American governments.

Over the past 5 months, of all Latin American countries, only Columbia,
Peru and Panama (all strong US allies and economic dependents) rejected
Zelaya's status as the rightful leader of Honduras. But since the
elections, others seem to be falling into line behind the US. El
Salvador's newly-elected FMLN President Funes agreed with the US line,
stating that the elections will "end the crisis and lead to a unity
government, the restoration of constitutional order and reconciliation in
the brother country". Now even Brazil appears to be adjusting its stance.

"There is a new situation," Brazil's Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff said
recently. "There was an election. That process will be taken into account.
We cannot turn a blind eye to the coup, but we can also not turn a blind
eye to the election".

At a Special Meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) on
December 4, conflicting views were clear. US Ambassador Carmen Lomellin
confirmed the US position to recognize the election results regardless:
"The TSE and the Honduran people conducted remarkably free, fair and
transparent elections".

Costa Rican Ambassador Jose Enrique Castillo Barientes concurred: "Any
position against the elections means crushing the solution".

However, Bolivian Ambassador Jose Pinelo vehemently disagreed: "Under no
circumstances will my government accept this objective. Recognizing a
government formed like this means recognizing coup plotters".


The Nov. 29 election passed with predictable results. For most Hondurans,
Election Day in Honduras was never seen as a turning point. Rather, it
followed a familiar rhetoric that democracy can be always gained, or
restored, in the ballot box. That this simple action could clean up the
violent elimination of democratic order is a profound lie.

On the contrary, it provided opportunity for an escalation of abuse under
the guise of protection. This is nothing new for Honduran citizens. Armed
forces dispersed throughout the country to ensure a climate of fear and
intimidation leading up to and especially on Election Day. As of  Nov. 29,
not only were national independent media banned from the airwaves, but as
Laura Carlsen, the director of the Americas Program, recently reported,
even international journalists became subject to vicious harassment and
threatening to the point of fearing for their lives.

Most of the violence was kept out outside of the capital on election day,
but the repression was intense in smaller towns and especially in the
second largest city, San Pedro Sula. Micheletti's claim that an additional
30,000 armed forces for this particular week was for the citizens'
"protection" is absurd. Reports of all kinds of abuses by police and
military poured in from human rights delegations and journalists stationed
all around Honduras that day. A Real News video clearly shows police
officers deliberately smashing windows of cars, beating protesters with
batons in the street, and hitting journalists who dared to do their job.
Again, these tactics were for the most part not unique to that day. They
were consistent with the regime's behavior throughout the coup and
represented the usual degree of violence against its own citizens.

Amnesty International has now called for an independent investigation into
all human rights violations since the coup, including "killings following
excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests of demonstrators by police and
military, indiscriminate and unnecessary use of tear gas, ill treatment of
detainees in custody, violence against women, and harassment of activists,
journalists, lawyers and judges".

Porfirio Lobo has announced that he wants political amnesty for all
parties involved in the coup, effectively requesting that all of the above
violations, still unacknowledged, now also go unpunished by their
perpetrators. If this was to happen, it would represent the final
elimination of almost all legal processes in Honduras since Zelaya's

While the coup government claims to have seen the highest electoral
turnout in Honduran history, the National Front against the Coup (or
Frente) claims the lowest. They cite an enormous victory in their
much-promoted nonparticipation, claiming that 65-70 percent stayed away
from the polls.

On the other hand, the coup government claimed a 62 percent turnout.
However, a new investigation by Jesse Freeston of the Real News has
revealed that this figure, which was distributed and repeated by almost
every major media outlet in the world, appears to have been an arbitrary
creation by one of the heads of the Supreme Tribunal Electoral (TSE).
According to TSE's own numbers, in reality less than half of the country
voted that day.

Both the regime and the Resistance know the importance of keeping their
supporters energized beyond the elections. Some of the international
community (led by CNN headlines that evening boasting "high turnout" and
saying the day was "calm and without incident") are inclined to accept the
idea that the elections are a healthy step forward. To believe that they
are a clean break from the recent troubles is a convenient but dangerous

                          A NEW PRECEDENT

By most accounts, the coup was a surprising success for its leaders and
backers. It now sets an alarming example that military coups can be
sustained with backing of the world's leading power. But many Latin
American leaders are warning of a dangerous model.

"What is at stake is whether we validate or not a new methodology of coups
d'etat," said Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana at the recent
Ibero-American Summit. His Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, agreed: "To
recognize the spurious government emerging from these illegitimate
elections will betray principles of peace, democracy and justice".

Fidel Castro wrote in a recent editorial: "I hold the view that before
Obama completes his term, there will be from six to eight right-wing
governments in Latin America that will be allies of the empire."

It's not an outrageous prediction. Threatening signs are appearing all
over the region. In Columbia, the United States just signed an agreement
to expand its military presence by building new bases, igniting a feud
between the US ally and Venezuela. In Paraguay, coup rumors were stirred
when leftist president Fernando Lugo fired top military officials last
month. In Guatemala, Obama's fellow Nobel Peace laureate, indigenous
activist Rigoberta Menchu, warned of plans amongst the Bolivian oligarchy
against President Evo Morales.

However, on the same day of the fraudulent Honduran elections, Uruguayans
selected Jos Mujica, a leftist and former guerilla, as president. And in
Bolivia, Evo Morales just won another term in a landslide victory. The
tide has not yet turned.

Most disturbing is that even amongst US officials there is now no dispute
that what happened in Honduras was a military coup d.tat. When I met with
US Ambassador Hugo Llorens in Tegucigalpa in August, he was able to
reluctantly confirm this when pressed. In his first State Department
briefing on the day after the elections, Arturo Valenzuela, the new
Assistant Secretary for the US Bureau of Hemispheric Affairs, described
what took place as a "military coup" twice, marking the first time US
officials have officially admitted this.


Those who've been fighting against the regime and against the elections
have done so primarily for the return of legal order to Honduras. The
Honduran Resistance, which formed in response to Zelaya's expulsion,
became a social movement no one could have predicted. In many ways, the
level of repression by the regime throughout the coup was a direct
response to the surprising force of the Resistance movement. It is also a
testament to the movement's strength.

While some right-wing forces are doubtlessly watching to see how far
Micheletti and his cohorts can get, others are taking notes from the
Resistance in preparation for what comes next. The demands of the people
are not limited to the restitution of President Zelaya. They want to
ensure all Hondurans that the systemic injustices they've lived under for
so long will be one day turned around. Their ultimate goal is a new
Constitution for Honduras.

The project they seek to implement is a large one, and is designed to
follow a successful model already in place in Venezuela, Bolivia, and
Ecuador. It will not be easy. The constituyente (constituent assembly) is
an effort to rewrite the outdated Honduran constitution with new cultural,
economic, and social reforms. After Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
proved it was possible to gain mass support for the idea in 1999, Bolivia
adopted a new constitution in 2007. The following year, the people of
Ecuador approved a draft constitution which guaranteed among other radical
ideas, "free education through university and social security benefits for
stay-at-home mothers" and "inalienable rights to nature".

Likewise, Manuel Zelaya proposed reforms for Honduras which focused on
land re-distribution, an increase in the minimum wage, and new rights for
women and the poor. It was partly because these ideas were so popular with
economically-disadvantaged Hondurans that he was overthrown. But his
supporters are moving on with an eye to the future.

Now Resistance leaders have called for the people of Honduras to "close
that chapter" of their struggle. They are turning their focus to the
constituyente and to the 2013 elections.

It's uncertain what form their action will take. But they are still riding
the momentum of their struggle. Emboldened by almost unanimous
international support, Hondurans are now re-awakened to how just fragile a
democracy can be.

Joseph Shansky works with Democracy Now! en Espaol, He can be reached at
fallow3 [at] This report also appears in Upsidedown World.

[Thanks a bunch Obama you effing SOB. -ed]

--------16 of 18--------

We Need to Embarrass Ourselves
Cindy Sheehan's Lesson
December 11-13, 2009

One of the most astonishing and demoralizing comments I ever heard was in
response to Cindy Sheehan's August, 2005, anti-war demonstrations outside
George W. Bush's Prarie Chapel Ranch (near Crawford, Texas).  A
commentator declared that, by protesting in so public and defiant a
fashion, Sheehan had, in fact, "embarrassed" herself.

Sheehan's son, Casey, joined the U.S. Marines because he was a patriot,
because he wanted to do something meaningful in response to 9-11, because
he believed the White House's accounts of WMD and Saddam Hussein's role in
the attack, and because he believed that by enlisting in the military he'd
be helping the fight against terrorism.  He got sent to Iraq and, on April
4, 2004, was killed.

After his death, Sheehan learned that WMD didn't exist, that Saddam
Hussein had no role in 9-11 (and that the White House knew he didn't),
that post-Saddam Iraq is a country defined by duplicity, confusion, blood
feuds and corruption, and that, as American soldiers continued to die and
American taxpayers continued to foot the bill, the contractors, private
security firms and military ordnance corporations continued to rake in
their blood money, hand over fist.

Feeling betrayed and angry, Sheehan attempted to draw attention to the
debacle by doing more than simply writing letters to the editor or
starting her own vanity blog.  She put herself on the line.  And for
this - for a mother's loss of a son and a woman's courage to defy
authoritypeople - looked at her askance and accused her of embarrassing
herself?  Sweet Baby cynical and distracted have we become?

Unfortunately, a similar sense of "embarrassment" infects America's
working class.  A century ago, workers weren't ashamed to hit the streets
and take on those who ran the country's industry and financial
institutions.  We don't do that today because workers don't recognize the
fundamental tension between the privileged rich and the lower class and
the rapidly dwindling middle-class, and because workers have a negative

Given that sports' metaphors have permeated virtually every aspect of our
society, we now see things only in terms of winners and losers.  As a
consequence, working people have come to regard themselves as "losers".
Who among them is willing to engage in civil disobedience?  Who wants to
publicly identify himself - to draw attention to himself by marching in
the streets or occupying a building - as a loser?

As the old adage goes, no parent hopes that their babies grow up to be
forklift drivers.  Broad generalization or not, it's a valid observation.
Even if driving a forklift is a vocation you wind up doing your entire
working life, it's still a "job," and not a "career".  Realistically, it's
something you fall into, not something you plan for or actively pursue
from childhood.

But the difference between the working class a century ago and workers
today, is that the former hadn't yet been "domesticated".  They hadn't yet
been co-opted by the Establishment.  They were still filled with a working
man's piss and vinegar.  Indeed, they believed you could bring
self-respect to any task, even a mundane one, and that any job - no matter
how crude or "low" - could be performed with pride and dignity.

Accordingly, their socio-economic antennae were a mile long and hyper
sensitive.  Having not yet been brainwashed into denying the existence of
class warfare, these workers had a healthy resentment for the fat cats -
the ones who controlled the work, manipulated the system, reaped the
profits, and were committed to keeping the workers down.  But unlike the
bulk of today's workers, they were willing to push back.

Instead of seeing themselves as "losers," they saw themselves as "takers".
Not only were they not embarrassed to hit the streets and demand their
fair share, they were proud of it; they flaunted it, they rejoiced in it.
They regarded the streets as their turf and themselves as the economy's
foot soldiers - the one segment of society with the de facto power to
equalize what needed equalizing.  And they reveled in it.  Losers?  Never!

And guess what happened when these people poured into the streets, stopped
traffic, shut down businesses, and mixed it up with the police?  They
found that by making a goddamn bloody nuisance of themselves they got what
they wanted.  Only by "embarrassing" themselves were they reckoned with.

Of course, those in authority will always tell you that ugly
demonstrations don't work.  They'll tell you that demonstrations are, in
fact, counterproductive, that the only tactics that can be relied upon to
get the dirty job done are rational discourse and the free but orderly
exchange of ideas.

This is a myth.  The authorities tell workers that because they want to
control them.  They want workers to believe it because the bosses have no
fear of rational discourse, and no dread of the free exchange of ideas.
What they do fear are massive protests.  What they do dread are ugly
demonstrations.  Which is why they work.

David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright, is the author of .It.s Never Been
Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor. (available at Amazon, Borders, Barnes &
Noble, etc.) He can be reached at dmacaray [at]

--------17 of 18--------

Two-thirds of Americans support Medicare-for-all (#1 of 6)
Introduction to a Six-part Series
By Kip Sullivan, JD

"Americans are scared to death of single payer".

These words were not uttered by some foaming-at-the mouth wingnut. They
were written by Bernie Horn, a Senior Fellow at the Campaign for America's
Future, a member of Health Care for America Now, on June 8, 2009. Horn
explained that he was moved to write this tripe because single-payer
supporters were asking why Democrats had taken single-payer off the table
to make room for the "public option":

The question most frequently asked by progressive activists at last week's
America's Future Now conference was this: We hear Obama and congressional
Democrats talking about a public health insurance option, but why aren't
they talking about a single-payer system like HR 676 sponsored by Rep.
John Conyers? Why is single-payer "off the table"?

Horn went on to assert that single-payer had been taken off the table
because Americans want it off the table. He claimed polling data supported
him, but he cited no particular poll. The truth is that the Campaign for
America's Future (CAF) and other groups in Health Care for America Now
(HCAN) had decided years earlier they would push Democratic candidates and
officeholders to substitute the "option" for single-payer, and they would
tell both Democrats and progressive activists that Americans "like the
insurance they have" and that Americans oppose single-payer.

The argument that single-payer is "politically infeasible" is not new.
That argument is as old as the modern single-payer movement (which emerged
in the late 1980s). It is an argument made exclusively by Democrats who
don't want to support single-payer legislation - a group Merton Bernstein
and Ted Marmor have called "yes buts".  [butts? -ed]

The traditional version of the "yes but" excuse has been that the
insurance industry is too powerful to beat or, more simply, that "there
just aren't 60 votes in the Senate for single-payer". But the leaders of
the "option" movement felt they needed a more persuasive version of the
traditional "yes but" excuse. The version they invented was much more
insidious. They decided to say that American "values," not American
insurance companies, are the major impediment to single-payer.

How did the "option" movement's leaders know that Americans oppose
single-payer? According to Jacob Hacker, the intellectual leader of the
"option" movement, they knew it because existing polling data said so.
According to people like Bernie Horn and Roger Hickey at CAF, they knew it
because focus group "research" and a poll conducted by pollster Celinda
Lake on behalf of the "option" movement said so.

About this series

This six-part series explores the research on American attitudes about a
single-payer (or Medicare-for-all) system to evaluate the truth of the new
version of the "yes but" argument. We will see that the research
demonstrates that approximately two-thirds of Americans support a
Medicare-for-all system despite constant attacks on Medicare and the
systems of other countries by conservatives. The evidence supporting this
statement is rock solid. The evidence against it - the focus group and
polling "research" commissioned by the "option" movement's founders - is
defective, misinterpreted, or both.

In Part II of this series, I will describe two experiments with "citizen
juries" which found that 60 to 80 percent of Americans support a
Medicare-for-all or single-payer system. The citizen jury research is the
most rigorous research available on the question of what Americans think
about single-payer and other proposals to solve the health care crisis. It
is the most rigorous because it exposes randomly selected Americans to a
lengthy debate between proponents of single-payer and other proposals.

Of the two "juries" I report on, the one sponsored by the Jefferson Center
in Washington DC in 1993 remains the most rigorous test of public support
for single-payer legislation ever conducted. After taking testimony from
30 experts over the course of five days, a "jury" of 24 Americans,
selected to be representative of the entire population, soundly rejected
all proposals that relied on competition between insurance companies
(including President Bill Clinton's "managed competition" bill) and
endorsed Sen. Paul Wellstone's single-payer bill. These votes were by
landslide majorities. Washington Post columnist William Raspberry
accurately noted, "Perhaps most interesting about last week's verdict is
its defiance of inside-the-Beltway wisdom that says a single-payer plan
can't be passed. ("Citizens jury won over by merits of Wellstone's
single-payer plan," Washington Post October 21, 1993, 23A).

In Part III, I'll review polling data and explore the question, Why do
some polls confirm the citizen jury research while other polls do not? We
will discover an interesting pattern: The more poll respondents know about
single-payer, the more they like it. We will see that polls that claim to
find low support for single-payer provide little information about what a
single-payer is (they fail to refer to Medicare or to another example of a
single-payer system), they provide misleading information, or both. For
example, when Americans are asked if they would support "a universal
health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a program like
Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers,"
two-thirds say they would, but when they are asked, "Do you think the
government would do a better or worse job than private insurance companies
in providing medical coverage? - fewer than half say "government" would do
a "better job". Although neither question provided anywhere near as much
information as the citizen jury experiments did, it is obvious the former
question was more informative than the latter.

In Parts IV and V, I'll discuss the evidence that "option" advocates cite
for their claim that single-payer is opposed by most Americans. Part IV
will examine polling data that Jacob Hacker uses to justify his refusal to
support single-payer and his decision to promote the notion of
"public-private-plan choice". Part V will examine the survey and focus
group "research" done by Celinda Lake for the Herndon Alliance and
subsequently cited by leaders of HCAN, the two groups most responsible for
bringing the "public option" into the current health care reform debate.

We will see that Hacker's research relies on polls that pose such vague
questions that the results resemble a Rorschach blot more than a guide to
health care reform strategy. Would you make a decision about whether to
abandon single-payer based on a poll that asked respondents to choose
between these two statements: (1) "[I]t is the responsibility of the
government in Washington to see to it that people have help in paying for
doctors and hospital billAS"; - and (2) "these matters are not the
responsibility of the federal government and people should take care of
these things themselves"? I wouldn't, but Hacker did. If it turned out
that about 50 percent of the respondents said it was the federal
government's responsibility, 20 percent said it was the individual's
responsibility, and the other 30 percent split their vote between
government and individual responsibility, would you read those results to
mean Americans "are stubbornly attached to employment-based health
insurance"? I certainly wouldn't, but Hacker did. Would you use this poll
as evidence that "American values [are] barriers to universal health
insurance"? I wouldn't, but Hacker did.

The "research" that Celinda Lake did for the Herndon Alliance used strange
methods. For example, she selected her focus groups based on their answers
to questions about "values" that had nothing to do with health care
reform. The values included "brand apathy," "upscale consumerism,"
"meaningful moments," "mysterious forces",: and "sexual permissiveness".
"Meaningful moments," for example, was described as, "The sense of
impermanence that accompanies momentary connections with others does not
diminish the value of the moment". Do you think it's important to ask
Americans about their "sense of impermanence" before deciding whether you
will support single-payer legislation? I don't, but Celinda Lake and the
Herndon Alliance did.

The "option" movement's "research" turns out to be no match for the more
rigorous research which demonstrates two-thirds of Americans support

In Part VI I discuss the wisdom of allowing polls and focus group research
to dictate policy and strategy, something the "option" movement's founders
talked themselves into doing. Hacker has been especially vocal about this.
He repeatedly urges his followers to think "politics, politics, politics,"
a squishy mantra that, in practice, translates into an exaltation of
opportunism. The failure of Hacker and HCAN to object to the shrinkage of
the "public option" by congressional Democrats, from a program covering
half the population to one that might insure 1 or 2 percent of the
population, documents that statement.

The fact that two-thirds of the American public supports single-payer does
not mean the enactment of a single-payer system will be easy. It won't be.
But it does mean the new "yes but" justification for opposing
single-payer, or indefinitely postponing active support for single-payer,
is false and should be rejected.

Stay tuned.

PNHP welcomes comments on its blog by its physicians and medical student
members, and other health professionals active in the movement for single
payer national health insurance.

--------18 of 18--------

 There was a slick guy named Obama
 Who set up a fake-hope filled low drama
 When asked What you're doing
 It's us that you're screwing
 He just flipped us and whispered "Yo Mama!"


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