Progressive Calendar 01.11.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2010 02:02:08 -0800 (PST)
i            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   01.11.10

1. Unions        1.11 10:45am
2. Peace walk    1.11 6pm RiverFalls WI
3. Immigrants    1.11 6:30pm
4. Honduras      1.11 7pm

5. Wendell Berry 1.12 6:30pm
6. Green/film    1.12 6:45pm
7. Rethink Af/f  1.12 7pm
8. Amnesty Intl  1.12 7pm

9. Kip Sullivan - Celinda Lake's "research" for the Herndon Alliance 5/6
10. ed          - Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama/01.11.10/ more sign

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From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Unions 1.11 10:45am

January 11: Minneapolis Branch American Association of University Women
Meeting. 9:30 - 10:30 AM: Navigating the Perfect Storm: Affordability,
Access, and Regulation in Higher Education with Dr. Linda N. Hanson,
President of Hamline University.
10:45 - 11:45 AM: Labor Unions.
11:45 AM - Noon: Announcements. Noon - 1:15 PM: Luncheon. 1:15 - 2:15 PM:
Business Meeting.

First Christian Church, 2201 1st Avenue South, Minneapolis.

--------2 of 10--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 1.11 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 10--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Immigrants 1.11 6:30pm

January 11: Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates 11th Day
Prayer for Peace. "There are No Illegal People" a reflection by Rev. Loren
McGrail, Immigration Coalition of Minnesota. 6:30 PM at Presentation of
Our Lady Chapel, St. Paul.

--------4 of 10--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Honduras 1.11 7pm

Hands off Honduras Presents: Grahame Russell, Canadian and U.S. Director of
Rights Action
Mon, January 11 @ 7pm @ Waite House, 2529 13th Avenue South, Minneapolis

Grahame Russell led a human rights delegation to Honduras that was present
during the November 29 elections. He will speak about the undemocratic
nature of the elections and the increasing repression and killings that
have followed. A majority of Latin American countries, are refusing to
recognize the outcome of the elections. However, the United States
government is claiming that they were held legitimately, even though they
took place under a government that had been formed by an illegal coup
d'etat, and while the elected president, Manuel Zelaya, continued to take
refuge in the Brazilian embassy.  As the news from Honduras disappears
from the mainstream media, the resistance, which continues to call for a
new constituent assembly, has been forced to go underground, as increasing
numbers of its members are receiving death threats. Organized by the Hands
off Honduras Coalition (which the AWC is a part of) FFI:, handsoffhonduras [at], 651 983-3981

--------5 of 10--------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Wendell Berry 1.12 6:30pm

Tuesday, Jan. 12, we will celebrate the writer/poet, Wendell Berry.  His
new book of poetry is Leavings.  Bring anything by him, or about him and
join in the conversation.

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

--------6 of 10--------

From: Madeline Gardner <maddyjean [at]>
Subject: Green/film 1.12 6:45pm

"Green" Documentary Screening & Discussion
Will include a presentation on Palm Oil, Rainforest Destruction, & the
Followed by a discussion on what Rainforest Action Network Twin Cities is
working on and how you can be involved in upcoming actions and campaign

Date:  Tuesday Jan 12, 2010
Time:  6:45pm - 8:45pm
Location:  Eastside Food Co-op.   2551 Central Ave. NE  Minneapolis

GREEN is a visually stunning documentary about the corporate conversion of
rainforest in Indonesia for palm oil, tropical wood, and paper. Told through
the eyes of one of the palm oil industry's victims - a dying orangutan, the
film tells a complex narrative without words. Winner of multiple festival

Deforestation is responsible for about 15% of the greenhouse gas emissions
in the world - more than all the world's cars, trucks, trains, planes, ships
and factories combined!

"This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the
multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a
thousand years, not in ten thousand years... Inspiration is not garnered
from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity's
willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and
reconsider." -- Paul Hawken

A representative of RAN will lead a discussion group after the film about
how MN based Cargill is leading Rainforest Destruction and our campaign to
stop them.

Sponsored by: Rainforest Action Network - Twin Cities and Eastside Food
Co-op. Contact:  Madeline Gardner madeline [at] (612) 807-0981

--------7 of 10--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Rethink Af/film 1.12 7pm

Film Screening: "Rethink Afghanistan"
Tuesday, January 12, 7:00 p.m. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 East
31st Street, Minneapolis.

Critically acclaimed by Thomas Hartman as "a brilliant masterpiece," the
film discusses key issues surrounding the escalation of the war in
Afghanistan, such as the impact on Pakistan, and the financial costs of
the war. The film is free and open to the public. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI:
Call 612-729-8358.

--------8 of 10--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 1.12 7pm


Join other Amnesty members and friends for a casual, agenda-free social
meetup on the second Tuesday of each month. Free flowing conversation
about our shared interests. Common Roots Cafe, 2558 Lyndale Ave S.,
Minneapolis MN 55405. Beer, wine, coffee, and food available. Look for an
Amnesty logo or ask for Gabe.

For a map, directions, and more info on Common Roots Cafe, visit their web

--------9 of 10--------

Two-thirds of Americans support Medicare-for-all (#5 of 6)
Celinda Lake's "research" for the Herndon Alliance
By Kip Sullivan, JD

[Mark Schmidt writes]
One key player was Roger Hickey of the Campaign for America's Future
[CAF]. Hickey took... Jacob Hacker's idea for "a new public insurance pool
modeled after Medicare" and went around to the community of single-payer
advocates, making the case that this limited "public option" was the best
they could hope for... And then Hickey went to all the presidential
candidates, acknowledging that politically, they couldn't support
single-payer, but that the "public option" would attract a real
progressive constituency.

The rest is history. Following Edwards' lead, Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton picked up on the public option compromise.

So what we have is Jacob Hacker's policy idea, but largely Hickey and
Health Care for America Now's political strategy. It was a real high-wire
act - to convince the single-payer advocates, who were the only engaged
health care constituency on the left, that they could live with the public
option as a kind of stealth single-payer, thus transferring their energy
and enthusiasm to this alternative. [end]

That is how Mark Schmidt summed up the strategy of the "public option"
movement in a short piece for the American Prospect last August. Schmidt's
analysis, rarely seen anywhere else in the media, was correct. I would
have added two details to Schmidt's article.

First, Hickey and other "option" advocates attempted to justify their
abandonment of single-payer by claiming most Americans opposed it. This
"people don't like it" version of the "political feasibility" argument
against single-payer was new. Prior to the emergence of the "public
option" movement, those who refused to support single-payer on "political
feasibility" grounds claimed the insurance industry was too powerful to
beat. They did not assert that Americans were opposed to single-payer, no
doubt because they knew such a statement was demonstrably false.

The other weakness in Schmidt's analysis was his failure to mention the
Herndon Alliance, "the most influential group in the health care arena the
public has never heard of," as Carrie Budoff Brown put it in an article
for Politico. It was the Herndon Alliance (of which CAF is a member) which
manufactured the "evidence" that Hickey and other "option" advocates cited
when they were making the rounds to Democratic candidates and progressive
groups to urge them not to support single-payer and to support the
"option" instead. It was the evidence they needed to state, with a
straight face, "Americans are scared to death of single-payer," to quote
CAF's Bernie Horn once more. (For information on the origins of the
Herndon Alliance and Lake's "research" for the Alliance, see my paper

The Herndon Alliance hired pollster Celinda Lake to produce the evidence
they were looking for. Lake delivered the goods. Over the course of 2006
and 2007, she conducted focus group sessions and carried out at least two
polls. By the fall of 2007, Lake turned over to the Herndon Alliance the
results they had asked for. Lake "found" that "people" don't like
single-payer. Instead they like something Lake called "guaranteed
affordable choice," a label that would be changed two years later to "the
public option".

Roger Hickey, for one, wasted no time putting Lake's "research" to use. In
November 2007, at an event sponsored by New Jersey Citizen Action, a
chapter of USAction (a member of the Herndon Alliance and the
soon-to-be-formed Health Care for America Now), he made this statement:

[T]he hard reality, from the point of view of all of us who understand the
efficiency and simplicity of a single-payer system, is that our pollsters
unanimously tell us that large numbers of Americans are not willing to
give up the good private insurance they now have in order to be put into
one big health plan run by the government. Pollster Celinda Lake looked at
public backing for a single-payer plan - and then compared it with an
approach that offers a choice between highly regulated private insurance
and a public plan like Medicare. This alternative, called "guaranteed
choice," wins 64 percent support to 22 percent for single-payer.

I won't bother asking why Hickey and the Herndon Alliance didn't rely on
the citizen jury and polling data I reviewed previously (in Part 2 and
Part 3) that show two-thirds of Americans support a Medicare-for-all
system. But it is worth raising this question: Why didn't Hickey and the
Herndon Alliance cite the polls that Jacob Hacker relied on? Why
commission Lake to do more "research" when Hacker was already convinced he
had the evidence necessary to undermine the single-payer movement? By
November 2007, when Hickey spoke to New Jersey Citizen Action, Hacker had
published several papers examining polling data (including the 2006 and
2007 papers I reviewed in Part 4.)

I suspect the reason is that the Herndon Alliance didn't find Hacker's
papers as compelling as Hacker did. They felt they needed research that
produced more than the equivalent of a Rorschach blot. They needed
research that focused specifically on single-payer and the
public-private-plan choice proposal.

  Lake's "research": "Mysterious forces" and "discount consumerism" are

We had people in our focus groups saying, "Well, this is Canadian-style
health care," and we found that the answer was, "No, no. This is American
health care". And people would go, particularly those proper patriots who
just love America, "Oh, well great. Then it's got to be better. This is
much superior". Now the irony is .. that American-style health care does
not include Medicare for all or a system-wide social security, both of
which are frankly frighteningly flawed programs in the voters' minds.
(page 44)

These words were spoken by pollster Celinda Lake at a September 29, 2006
conference sponsored by the Herndon Alliance, just two weeks before Slate
published the article by Jacob Hacker that I examined in Part 4. But
whereas Hacker was misinterpreting polls taken by polling firms over which
he had no control, Lake was accurately reporting on the "first round" of
her own "research" over which she had complete control. Her "research" was
based on discussions with eight focus groups, each with eight to ten
people, which her firm convened in Columbus, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia in
July and August of 2006 (see footnote 2 in Celinda Lake et al., "Health
care in the 2008 election: Engaging the voters," Health Affairs 2008;

But Lake shared Hacker's agenda: to demonstrate that Americans like the
existing health insurance system and fear a Medicare-for-all system. Hence
her celebration of "patriots" and their disdain for "Canadian-style health
care". Hence her trashing of Medicare as a "frighteningly flawed program".
Hence her recommendation that universal coverage advocates assiduously
avoid the phrase "Medicare for all" in favor of "choice of public and
private plan" (see page 81 of Lake's presentation.)

At another Herndon Alliance conference held in November 2007, convened to
hear Lake's "findings" from ten more focus groups that were held in
Denver, Colorado, Concord and San Diego, California, Columbus, Ohio, and
Orlando, Florida during June and July of 2007, Lake continued her assault
on the idea that Americans would support a single-payer system. Again she
claimed the people in her Atlanta and Columbus focus groups couldn't stand
the thought of Medicare-for-all or what she insisted on calling
"Canadian-style health care":

[W]e found that people want an American solution. My favorite epiphany is
in the first round of work was everybody [says], "It's going to be
Canadian style health care... Americans don't want Canadian style-health
care. They want American health care. (page 17)

To make sure their audience got this point, the Herndon Alliance entitled
this conference, "American Values, American Solutions".

So what did Lake discover from her 2007 focus groups that "people" did
like? Amazingly, they liked exactly what Hacker had recommended a year
earlier in his Slate article and six years earlier in a paper written for
the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "People" liked having a choice between
private health insurance and a public program.

As Lake put it:

People don't want to go to a government health care system. But they do
like the idea of the government as the enforcer, the watchdog, the setter
of standards, as you will remember in the first research... [I]n the
second round research we found ... that they were fine with government
offering a public plan. In fact they thought there was a lot of merit to
having a choice between a private plan and a public plan. (page 15)

Lake had presented to her 2007 focus groups what she called a "guaranteed
affordable choice" proposal - a proposal that would give all Americans a
choice between private insurance and a publicly run insurance program. Did
she also present to them an accurate description of single-payer? Almost
certainly not, but we'll never know for sure. Unlike the groups that
convened the citizen juries I described in Part 2, Lake refuses to release
the methodology she used in questioning her focus groups.

Lake has, however, released an extensive description of her methods for
selecting her focus groups. This methodology is just plain bizarre. Lake
says she or the Herndon Alliance (it is not clear which) hired a Fortune
500 consulting firm called American Environics to compile a list of 117
American "core values that shape ... views on health care". The list of
"values" included one pop-psychology phrase after another that might make
sense to the marketing department of L'Oreal (one of the firms American
Environics boasts it consults with) but are laughably irrelevant to the US
health care reform debate.

Among the 117 "values" were "brand apathy," "discount consumerism,"
"upscale consumerism," "more power for big business," "meaningful
moments," "mysterious forces," "traditional gender identity," and "sexual
permissiveness". "Discount consumerism" was defined, for example, as
"preferring to buy discount or private label brands, often from
wholesalers". "Meaningful moments" was described as, "The sense of
impermanence that accompanies momentary connections with others does not
diminish the value of the moment". (For a complete listing of these 117
"values," starting with "acceptance of violence" and ending with
"xenophobia" - defined as "too much immigration threatens the purity of
the country" - see the appendix to the American Environics. report here.)

On the basis of these "values," Lake somehow divided Americans into eight
groups and gave them names like "Proper Patriots" and "Marginalized
Middle-Agers". Here is how Lake explained this process at the November 2,
2007 Herndon Alliance conference:

One of the things that we also did in the Herndon process was to identify
key constituencies of opportunity at the values level. (page 20)

She then selected her focus groups to reflect these groupings. Notice how
different this method of selecting focus group participants is from the
method used by the organizers of the citizen juries I discussed in Part 2.
The organizers of those events sought to select jurors who represented a
cross-section of America. It seems highly unlikely that a "methodology"
that involved quizzing prospective focus group participants about
"meaningful moments" and "brand apathy" would result in focus groups that
represented a random sample of the American adult population.

                     Celinda Lake's poll

The statements Lake made at Herndon Alliance meetings about how "people"
feel about Medicare and "guaranteed affordable choice" were based on her
focus group "research". The statistic Hickey quoted - "voters" choose
"guaranteed affordable choice" over single-payer by a margin of 64 percent
to 22 percent - was produced by a poll Lake's firm conducted in September
2007. (See page 23 of Lake.s presentation.)

The poll asked this question:

Which of the following two approaches to providing health care coverage do
you prefer?

. An approach that would guarantee affordable health insurance coverage
for every American with a choice of private or public plans that cover all
necessary medical services, paid for by employers and individuals on a
sliding scale; or

. a single government-financed health insurance plan for all Americans
financed by tax dollars that would pay private health care providers for a
comprehensive set of medical services.
(See page 18 of Lake's presentation.)

There are four choices involving words or omission of facts that
introduced bias into this question. But before we examine those biases, I
want to call the reader's attention to how badly Hickey misrepresented
Lake's poll. Hickey said "our pollsters unanimously tell us that large
numbers of Americans are not willing to give up the good private insurance
they now have in order to be put into one big health plan run by the
government". That's not what Lake's poll said, even taking it at face
value. Her poll asked respondents, "Which of two approaches.. do you
prefer"? A question that asks about preferences cannot be interpreted as
evidence of what Americans "are not willing" to do. If I ask you if you
prefer tea or coffee, and you say coffee, I can't claim you "are not
willing" to drink tea. I can only claim you prefer coffee over tea.

Here are four biases Lake introduced into her poll:

(1) The definition of single-payer includes the words "government" and
"tax" while the definition of "guaranteed affordable choice" does not.

(2) The "tax" in the definition of single-payer is not described as
"progressive" or "sliding scale," but financing is described as "sliding
scale" in the "guaranteed affordable choice" definition.

(3) The "guaranteed affordable choice" option is presented as if it were
possible to "guarantee ... health insurance for every American" without
taxes, that is, without compulsory payments of some sort. The "guaranteed
affordable choice" option is described as "paid for by employers and
individuals". That has a much more voluntary ring to it than "tax". But in
fact no system of universal coverage can be achieved without compulsory
payments of some sort by the populace. If Lake and her colleagues in the
"option" movement are actually claiming the "guaranteed affordable choice"
proposal will establish universal health insurance, then they cannot
ethically describe single-payer's funding source as "taxes" and not
describe the payments by "employers and individuals" under the "guaranteed
affordable choice" proposal as taxes.

(4) Perhaps most importantly, Lake's poll failed to explain the real
consequences of the "guaranteed affordable choice" proposal. These include
the fact that Americans will not regain their freedom to choose their own
doctor under "guaranteed affordable choice" or any other proposal that
leaves the current health insurance industry in place. Another unmentioned
fact is that "guaranteed affordable choice" cannot cut costs, which means
taxes and/or compulsory payments will have to be higher and/or that
coverage will be worse under the "guaranteed affordable choice" proposal.

Even if Lake's poll had asked about opposition to single-payer and
"guaranteed affordable choice" rather than preferences between them, the
poll was too biased to produce reliable results. Like the amorphous polls
Hacker relied on, and like Lake's focus group "research," Lake's poll is
no match for the rigorous research that shows that two-thirds of Americans
support single-payer.

             Invoking the ends to justify the means

There was a time when Celinda Lake was more interested in the truth than
in pleasing her patrons. In the early 1990s, Lake conducted polls and
focus groups which led her to conclude that Medicare is a very popular
program and that large majorities of Americans support a Medicare-for-all
or single-payer system. In 1992, before she went to work for the Clinton
administration and long before she went to work for the Herndon Alliance,
Lake published an article in the Yale Law and Policy Review in which she
made these statements:

Americans believe that the market system has failed completely in the
medical arena. Their disillusionment with the private health insurance
industry leads them to believe that even a governmental bureaucracy would
prove more efficient and provide less costly health care. In one western
state, two-thirds of voters agree that health costs have surged so high
that only a government health-care system can bring them under control.
Almost two-thirds (62 percent) reject the idea that private industry will
keep medical costs cheaper than would a government-run system with cost
controls... Sixty-nine percent support a universal government-paid system
similar to the Canadian system... Voters strongly support a national
health-care system that mirrors or expands Medicare and see no reason why
such a system cannot be established. National health-care reformers would
do well to talk in terms of expanding Medicare. Just mentioning the words
"Medicare-like system" increases voters' support for any described system
by about 10 percent. Framing the issue this way increases support across
all age groups.. (Celinda Lake, "Health care: The issue of the nineties,"
Yale Law and Policy Review 1992;10(2):211-224).

In 1993, Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon quoted Lake saying that the more
people know about single-payer the more they like it. Cohen and Solomon

After conducting extensive focus groups on health care, pollster Celinda
Lake discovered that the more people are told about the Canadian system,
"the higher the support goes".

In these excerpts, Lake sounds just like me and every other single-payer
advocate in America - and very unlike the Celinda Lake of today. Her
statements that two-thirds of Americans support single-payer, that
likening a proposed reform to Medicare "increases voters' support ... by
about 10 percent," and that support for single-payer rises as people learn
more about it could have been made by any knowledgeable single-payer
advocate at any time over the last two decades.

So what explains the difference in Celinda Lake's findings and
recommendations in 1992 and 1993 and her "findings" and recommendations
post-2005? Did American support for single-payer really head south during
those years? Did support really fall from the 69-percent level Lake
reported in 1992 to the 22 percent level that Lake "found" in 2007 and
which Roger Hickey so enthusiastically reported to New Jersey Citizen
Action that year? The citizen jury experiments and the survey research I
reported in Parts 2 and 3 of this series, as well as a large body of other
relevant evidence I have not reviewed (such as the undiminished popularity
of the Medicare program despite constant attacks on Medicare by the right)
demonstrates that public support for single-payer did not fall over those

What changed was Celinda Lake's attitude about single-payer. Apparently,
Lake came to believe what Jacob Hacker believes: that politics must be
elevated above policy; that means may be justified by the ends; that
corrupt "research" may be pawned off as rigorous research if the cause is
good enough; and that the single-payer campaign may be sabotaged for the
higher good as defined by the leaders of the "public option" movement.
Lake apparently came to believe, to quote an infamous memo, that "the
facts" were going to have to be "fixed around the policy" and that it was
her job to create the "facts".

Stay tuned for the conclusion, Part 6: "Should polls matter?"

--------10 of 10--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama/01.11.10

[6 more signers at the end]

Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama

Some of Barack Obama's bad actions:
 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan
 record high military budget
 bombing by unmanned drones in Pakistan
 continued Iraq war
 rejection of landmine treaty
 continued torture and coverup of past torture
 support for Honduras coup
 support for Israeli occupation of Palestine
 suppression of Goldstone Gaza war report
 bank bailout
 no prosecution or even investigation of Bush & Co
 reaffirmation of Patriot Act
 for insurance companies & vs single payer
 support for expanded nuclear power

For these, and many other bad actions,

 We the undersigned publicly pledge not to vote for Barack Obama for
 US president in 2012.

 Robert Halfhill
 Amber Garlan
 Tom Cleland
 David Weisberg
 Dave Bicking
 Andy Hamerlinck
 Doug Mann
 Ted Dooley
 Melissa Hill
 Dori Ullman
 Ryan Carey
 Jan McGee
 Bill Oldfather
 Carol Mellom
 Michelle Gross
 Mike Whelan
 Robert Palmer
 Tom Dooley
 Tim Nolan
 Johnny Hazard
 Suzanne Linton
 Michael Cavlan
 Steven Boyer
 John Simcox
 Louise Bouta
 Vanessa Vogl
 Lisa Grant
 M J Schoen
 Clinton Dietrich
 Lydia Howell
 Farheen Hakeem
 Jan Nye
 Margaret Beegle
 Dave Berger
 Brandy Baker (MD)
 Myles Hoenig (MD)
 Danene Provencher
 David Shove

 [room for YOUR name]

==end of pledge

To sign this pledge, send to shove001 [at] an email from your
standard personal email address, with your name, and the words: No Obama
2012 vote.

The above will be published regularly on the Progressive Calendar, Green
Party lists, etc. Continuing chances for additional people to sign.

 If you need to research any topic raised here, go to eg:
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 Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones

MD = Maryland


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