Progressive Calendar 01.21.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 03:50:16 -0800 (PST)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   01.21.10

1. Write on radio    1.21 11am
2. MLK event         1.21 12noon
3. Rally v UofM      1.21 12noon
4. Eagan peace vigil 1.21 4:30pm
5. Northtown vigil   1.21 5pm
6. Life/earth        1.21 5pm
7. Choice            1.21 6pm
8. World parliament  1.21 7pm
9. Amnesty Intl      1.21 7:15pm

10. Anti-torture     1.22 10am
11. War protest/DC   1.22 11:30am
12. MLK event        1.22 12noon
13. Social justice   1.22 1pm
14. Palestine vigil  1.22 4:15pm
15. Haiti benefit    1.22 6pm
16. Daniel DeLeon    1.22 7pm

17. Alexander Cockburn - Coakley loses/ a richly deserved humiliation
18. Mary Lynn Cramer - Class/ which side of Mass were you on and why?
19. John V Walsh     - Why I voted for the Republican in Massachusetts
20. Ron Jacobs       - Massachusetts chooses Tweedledum over Tweedledee!
21. Kevin Zeese      - Obama needs a major course change to excite voters
22. ed               - Coakley or Poopsi?  (haiku)

--------1 of 22--------

From: Write On Radio <writeonradio [at]>
Subject: Write on radio 1.21 11am

Write On Radio!
Thursday, January 21st on Write on Radio, Sadie Jones calls in to talk
about her new book Small Wars, a critically acclaimed historical novel
that examines love, duty, shame and violence in a British family against
the backdrop of the 1950s military conflict in Cyprus. Sadie Jones is also
the author of The Outcast.

Also this week, we talk with Paul Zerby, author of The Grass, a novel,
about a young man from Fargo, who is expelled from the University of
Minnesota at the height of McCarthyism and joins the Army during the
Korean War.

Write on radio airs every THURSDAY 11 am - noon central time on 90.3 FM
Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul and live on the web at
Shows are archived for two weeks on line.

--------2 of 22--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
From: Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Subject: MLK event 1.21 12noon

Thursday, January 21st - 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
T Building, Gourmet Dining Room (T1000)

Guest speaker, Col. Wally G. Vaughn, "Reflections on Our Pastor: Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, 1954-1960" and
"The Selma Campaign, 1963-1965: The Decisive Battle of the Civil Rights

--------3 of 22--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Rally v UofM 1.21 12noon

Tell President Bruininks: Don't Balance the Budget on the Backs of Staff and
Rally: Thursday Jan 21 @ Noon In Front of Morrill Hall, U of M, Minneapolis

President Bruininks and senior administrators want to balance the budget on

President Bruininks told senior administrators that he intends to make
staff take 10 furlough days (unpaid days off) over the next year. This
is a pay cut for hourly staff at the university and we can't afford it.
Pay and holidays are negotiated with the unions on campus, and cannot be
unilaterally dictated.

Layoffs are already taking place at the U. Hundreds of frontline staff
have been laid off since the hiring pause began, while over 250
administrators continue to make more than $200,000 per year.  Layoffs mean
that there are fewer staff to do the important work of helping students
navigate the university system from admissions to graduation. The work is
still there, and has increased as admissions have gone up. The remaining
staff are forced to work harder and are working through breaks and
lunches. This is not legal, nor sustainable and ultimately students will
suffer as services and support decrease.

Attacks on benefits
University administrators are discussing ways to cut our hard-earned
benefits. Their ideas include cutting pensions and cutting the tuition
benefit for graduate teaching and research assistants.

Making education unaffordable
Between 2000-2007, undergraduate tuition went up over 68%. The
administration wants to pit students against staff by telling us it's
either tuition increases or layoffs. This is a false choice. As the
university faces increasing budget cuts they are putting the burden on the
backs of the lowest paid staff and students rather than those that can
afford it - the administrators, of whom over 250 earn more than $200,000
each year.  Join us as we rally the first week of the new semester to tell
the administration that we've had enough, and it's time for the
University's priorities to change - CHOP FROM THE TOP!  No furloughs, no
more layoffs of frontline staff, and no tuition hikes!  Organized by

--------4 of 22--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 1.21 4:30pm

PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of
Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and
candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south
of the river speaking out against war.

--------5 of 22--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 1.21 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------6 of 22--------

From: Sean Gosiewski <sean [at]>
Subject: Life/earth 1.21 5pm

Join us January 21 or 25 for Terry's Presentation
Living a Good Life and Creating a Just, Healthy Earth: The Lens of
Sustainability for Societal Wealth
Presented by Terry Gips

Choose Between One of Two Evenings Reserved For This Special Presentation

Thursday, January 21st 5pm - 7:30pm - First Unitarian Society 900 Mount
Curve Avenue; Minneapolis, MN or Monday,
January 25th 5pm - 7:30pm - Episcopal Church of St. James on the Parkway
3225 East Minnehaha Pkwy; Minneapolis, MN

Can we thrive during tough economic times? Can we save money while
creating a sustainable future for us and our children? Does environmental
responsibility have to cost more or mean a lesser lifestyle? Is there a
way to engage business,schools, congregations, nonprofits and the entire
community? Is it enough to just recycle? Can we really turn things around?

Come find out at this inspiring, interactive introductory look at a
powerful, proven educational approach to sustainability called the Natural
Step Framework (NSF). You'll learn how sustainability and the NSF can
benefit you at home, work and in the community, along with simple,
practical steps you can take to save money,time, your health and the
environment. Participants will gain a positive, new perspective and see
how we can create a sustainable future.

Presented by Terry Gips Author and nationally recognized sustainability

A hot hearty soup & bread with refreshments will be available at 5pm The
presentation will start at 5:30pm Space is Limited at Both Locations

Please RSVP Jesse Eiynck at 651.338.1971 or jeiynck [at]

Accepting donations for a local non-profit, The Alliance for

--------7 of 22--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Choice 1.21 6pm

January 21: Join the Minnesota Choice Coalition to recognize the 37th
anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It is a critical time for the pro-choice
community to come together and show our support. 6 - 8 PM at Azia
Restaurant in the Caterpillar Lounge at 2550 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis.

--------8 of 22--------

From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at]>
Subject: World parliament 1.21 7pm

Free and open to the public.

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church,
511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale &
Hennepin). Park in church lot.
Thursday, January 21, 7-9pm.

Although its Charter begins with the words "WE THE PEOPLES," the UN is an
organization of states. It suffers from a profound democratic deficit and
ignores Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which
declares, "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of
government." Recent years have witnessed a growing chorus of calls to
democratize the UN by means of a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA).
Endorsers of this proposal include former UN Secretary General, Boutros
Boutros-Ghali; the Parliaments of both the European Union and the African
Union; both houses of the Argentine Congress; and more than 700
parliamentarians from more than 90 countries (though none from the USA);
This presentation will indicate what form a UNPA might take, how it might
function, and how it might be established.

Presenter: JOSEPH SCHWARTZBERG.  A prolific writer on issues of global
governance, Joe is well along on a book to be entitled Designs for a
Workable World. He is also a member of two think tanks and of the
international Councils of the World Federalist Movement and the Campaign
for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. He served 11 years as
President of the Minnesota Chapter of the World Federalist Association and
its successor organization, CGS, and is active in the Minnesota Alliance
of Peacemakers, the UNA, and several other peace and justice
organizations. The University of Minnesota, where he taught for 36 years,
selected him as its "Distinguished International Emeritus Professor" for
the year 2009.

Sponsors: MN Chapter, Citizens for Global Solutions: United Nations
Association of Minnesota, Social Concerns Committee of Hennepin
Avenue United Methodist Church, Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers.

--------9 of 22--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 1.21 7:15pm

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, January 21st, at 7:15 p.m.
St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near
the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information,
contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at]

--------10 of 22--------

From: Rowley Clan <rowleyclan [at] EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Anti-torture 1.22 10am

Human Rights and Anti-Torture Vigil at the University of St. Thomas Law

11th Street and LaSalle (1000 LaSalle Ave.) on Friday January 22 from 10
a.m. to noon.  Please join us this Friday morning, Jan. 22 on the public
sidewalk in front of St. Thomas Law to help demonstrate our concerns about
the use of torture (encompassing waterboarding and other "harsh
interrogation tactics") which UST Law Professor Robert Delahunty and
others in the Bush Administration attempted to legalize.

"Tackling Torture at the Top" (Tacklingtorture [at]
<mailto:%20Tacklingtorture [at]> ) is also seeking volunteers to help
us vigil every day in front of the U.S. Courthouse at in Minneapolis.
The one hour vigil is during the noon hour (from about noon to 1 pm) but
you can pick any convenient time during working hours.  Orange "Close
Gitmo" jumpsuits and hoods are available by contacting
tacklingtorture [at]

--------11 of 22--------

From: braun044 <braun044 [at]>
Subject: War protest/DC 1.22 11:30am

A group of twenty-five Minnesotans have decided that "it is time to go to
Washington" to press for a complete end to the U.S. wars and military
presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and an end to U.S. support for
Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.  They will be holding
a press conference on Friday, January 22, at 11:30 am at Mayday Bookstore,
and we hope that you will come to the press conference as a show of

        Press Conference
        Friday, January 22, 11:30 am
        Mayday Bookstore
        301 Cedar Avenue South, Mpls

The group, composed of members of local peace groups, including Women
Against Military Madness, Veterans for Peace, Twin Cities Peace Campaign,
Pax Christi Twin Cities, the Community of St. Martin, and AlliantAction,
and delegates of groups from Le Sueur, Grand Rapids, Center City, and Red
Wing, will join others from around the country to participate in the Days
of Nonviolent Resistance in Washington DC organized by Voices for Creative

The delegation believes the Days of Nonviolent Resistance, which extend
from January 19 through February 2, come at an opportune time to speak out
against the Iraq and Afghan wars and occupations and their continued
funding, because it is during this time that the President will give his
first State of the Union address, and he will submit his budget for

The Minnesotan delegation chose January 26 and 27 as the dates they will
participate in lobbying, legal protest and nonviolent civil disobedience.

The delegation believes that it is imperative that Americans speak out
about the issue of "unending wars" at this time.  Each day there are new
reports of soldiers and civilians being killed, terrorist attacks, drone
attacks, people fleeing their homes, increasing numbers of widows and
orphans, cancer, high infant mortality, and the lack of adequate health
care, food, and clean water in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  There are
reports of corruption in the U.S. backed governments of Iraq and
Afghanistan, and reports that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan strongly
oppose the occupations and that a vast majority of the people in Pakistan
are opposed to U.S. involvement in their country.

Yet, our government has chosen to ignore all of this.  Instead, our
President talks the talk of other war presidents, defending past military
actions and supporting military action in the future.  In reality,
President Obama has gone beyond the Bush administration in Afghanistan by
increasing troop levels and ordering air strikes that continue to kill
innocent people.  And, immediately after taking office, he sent unmanned
drones across the border into Pakistan, causing hundreds of casualties and
terrorizing the people.

Many in the peace community are disappointed with the direction the
President has taken; however, Howard Zinn, noted historian, reminds us
that we should not be surprised by President Obama's decision.  "He stands
at the apex of a pyramid of power that has layer after layer of
corporatists and militarists," and not only has he not tried to dismantle
it, he has been responsible for maintaining the pyramid of power.

So we are reminded once again that we cannot look to those in high
political office to change the power structure.  We are the ones who will
have to challenge this pyramid of power if our nation is ever to live in
peace with other peoples of the world.

For more information on the Days of Nonviolent Resistance, email
braun044 [at], call 612-522-1861, or visit Voices online at

Hope you can come to the press conference to support those who are going
to Washington, DC to speak out on these important issues.

Peace in the struggle,
Marie Braun for Twin Cities Peace Campaign 612-522-1861

--------12 of 22--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: MLK event 1.22 12noon

Friday, January 22nd - 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Helland Student Center

Open Mic - Students will share and perform pieces that speak to
what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy means to them.

--------13 of 22--------

From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at]>
Subject: Social justice 1.22 1pm

University-Community Partnerships for Social Justice
January 22, 2010
St. Paul Student Center Theatre - University of Minnesota,
Saint Paul Campus - 2017 Buford Ave - St. Paul, MN 55108

This forum, led by two accomplished Latino scholars working at the
University of Miami and Georgia State University, will focus on their
efforts to use the talents and resources of their institutions to promote
the human rights and well being of underserved ethnic minorities in their
communities. They will discuss the social justice foundations of their
work and present examples of partnerships with immigrant Latino
communities affected by issues of domestic violence, structural poverty,
and immigration.

 Immigrant Children Affirmative Network (ICAN) - Promoting the Well Being
of Unaccompanied Immigrant MinorsUniversity-Community Partnerships for
Social Justice
 Etiony Aldarondo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Counseling
and Educational Psychology, University of Miami
 Caminar Latino, Inc. - A University-Community Partnership for Social
Justice - Julia L. Perilla, Ph.D., Associate Research Professor,
Department of Psychology at Georgia State University

Plus - Panel Discussion with other noted members the Minneapolis/Saint
Paul Latino social service community.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is
required. For more information and to register,
CONTACT Lynne Matthews LPMatthews [at] 410.365.2751

Sponsored by: Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American
Community University of Minnesota - School of Social Work Casa de

--------14 of 22--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 1.22 4:15pm

The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs

--------15 of 22--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Haiti benefit 1.22 6pm

Solidarité avec Haiti: Earthquake Relief Fundraise FRI. JAN. 22 -

Doors Open: 6pm @ THE CEDAR,415 Cedar Ave. S, WEST BANK, Mpls

Solidarité avec HaitiA group of local musicians, dancers and visual
artists have banded together to host a fundraiser for the victims of
the recent earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  The event will begin
at 6pm on Friday, January 22nd, at The Cedar Cultural Center.  Food
will be catered by *Victor's 1959 Café* and *The French Meadow*, among

There will be an art auction with work by Víctor Yépez and Bernardo

All door, art and food sale proceeds will go directly to Doctors
Without Borders / Medicins Sans Frontieres Emergency Relief Fund.

--------16 of 22--------

From: jtmiller jtmiller <jtmiller [at]>
Subject: Daniel DeLeon 1.22 7pm

Friday, Jan. 22, 7:00 pm
Working Democracy Meetup Group Book Club:
"What Means This Strike?" by Daniel De Leon
MayDay Bookstore

--------17 of 22--------

A Richly Deserved Humiliation
Coakley Loses and a Good Job Too
January 20, 2010

Republican Scott Brown takes over a seat held by the Kennedy family for
over half a century and the dark cloud already hovering over Obama's White
House thickens. By any measure the energetic Brown's emphatic defeat of
Martha Coakley, believed only a month ago to be a sure thing as Ted
Kennedy's replacement, is a disaster for the Democratic Party and for
President Obama.

Coakley, a former prosecutor and attorney general of Massachusetts, ran a
dumb, complacent campaign, allowing Brown, a state senator, to charge that
she seemed to believe she had an inherent right to the seat. Coakley
ladled out platitudes; Brown, pelting about the Commonwealth in a manly
GMC truck, made the Democrats' health reform bill his prime issue, which
was scarcely rocket science, since people of moderate income accurately
believe that "reform" is going to cost them money, with zero improvement
in overall service.

A year after his inauguration Obama has disappointed so many
constituencies that a rebuke by the voters was inevitable. Yesterday it
came in Massachusetts, often categorized as the most liberal in the union.
This is entirely untrue. It's a disgusting sinkhole of racism and vulgar
prejudice, as five minutes in any taxi in the state, listening to Talk
Radio or reading the local newspaper, will attest.

Brown's achievement is not novel. His type of Republican has been elected
governor in Massachusetts three or four times in the last 18 years by the
real "majority party" - which is the "unenrolled" independents who are 1
and 1/2 times the size of Democrats in number among registered voters and
tower over the Republicans of whom less than 12 per cent are registered as

CounterPuncher Steve Early, a labor organizer in the state wrote to us on
Monday that Brown is in the mould of two recent Republican governors of
Massachusetts, William Weld, and Paul Celluci, the latter two actually
being backed by later Change to Win local affiliates like HERE Local 26
and the Teamsters. These were genial, likeable, clean-cut jocks,
presenting themselves to independent voters as a much needed public rebuke
to "an increasingly corrupt, arrogant or personally screwed up Beacon Hill
clique of Democrats (see recent spate of House and Senate member/leader
indictments, jailings, and/or resignations pending trial). A lot of folks,
at the moment, are again just plain pissed about the self-serving
political class of Democratic Donkeys who run our one-party state,
including the now unpopular Obama pre-cursor, Deval Patrick."

Because the Democratic majority in the US senate is now reduced to 59, the
common prediction is that the Democrats' health reform bill is doomed,
since it takes 60 votes to override a filibuster, which the Republicans
would mount to kill the bill. More likely is that the insurance companies,
(which dictated the basic terms of the "reform" and stands to gain
millions of new customers who will be forced by law to take out health
insurance), will be loath to throw away months of successful lobbying and
will dictate some new "compromise" that will allow both Republicans and
Democrats to claim victory. Obama will delightedly sign any insurance bill
landing on his desk bearing the necessary label, "reform".

Certainly Coakley's resounding defeat is grim news for Democratic
politicians limbering up for the midterm elections this coming fall. The
parallel is with the midterms of 1994, when voters, furious at the
bumbling failures of Clinton's first to years, handed both the senate and
the house to Republicans for the first time in decades. Obama has caused
fury and disillusion across the spectrum. The nutball right bizarrely
portrays him as a mutant offspring of the Prophet Mohammed and Karl Marx,
demonstrating that cretinism flows more strongly than ever in Uncle Sam's
bloodstream. The Republican small business crowd tremble at the huge
deficits. The independents see no trace of the invigorating change pledged
by Obama. Working people in the labor unions who supplied the footsoldiers
for Obama's campaign see no improvement in their economic condition.
Everyone knows that Obama is the champion of bankers, not bankrupts. The
liberals morosely list twelve months of disasters, from a wider war in
Afghanistan, to major betrayals of pledges to restore constitutional
restrains after eight years of abuse by Bush and Cheney.

Obama richly deserves the rebuke from Massachusetts. Armed with a nation's
fervent hopes a year ago, he spurned the unrivalled opportunity offered by
economic crisis to do what he pledged: usher in substantive change. He's
done exactly the opposite - Wall Street has been given the green light to
continue with business as usual. The stimulus package was far too weak.
The opportunity for financial reform has passed. Trillions will be wasted
in Afghanistan.

A final note on Coakley. She rose to political prominence by peculiarly
vicious grandstanding as a prosecutor, winning a conviction of 19-year old
child minder Louise Woodward for shaking a baby to death. An outraged
judge later freed Woodward, reducing her sentence to less than a year of
time served. Then Coakley went after headlines in child abuse cases.
Innocent people are still rotting in prison as a consequence of Coakley's
misuse of her office. For this alone, regardless of the setback the
Democrats richly deserved, I rejoice in her humiliation.

--------18 of 22--------

Which Side of Massachusetts Were You On and Why?
Class and Party Differences
January 20, 2010

While I was in the shower last night, I heard on my portable radio that
Martha Coakley called Scott Brown to congratulate him on winning the
Massachusetts Senate race.  The right-wing talk shows I dropped in on were
the first to announce it, and were madly celebrating while the
"progressive" pundits on WBUR were still arguing over whether Martha or
the White House should be blamed if she lost. (Coakley reportedly "leaked"
a memo to Politico yesterday blaming Obama).

The only similarity between the liberal and the conservative radio
commentators was their ignoring the fact that this was a referendum on the
Democrats' health insurance reform, as much as it was a referendum on
Obama's trail of broken promises, and billionaire bailouts, and
unemployment.  I don't think the outcome of this election had much to do
with who Martha Coakley is or what she believes. Most of those Brown
supporters who called into local conservative talk shows said she was
probably a "nice woman".  But, when Scott Brown said he'd trash the
current health insurance reform proposal and start all over with a real
health care reform plan, many people, regardless of party affiliation,
thought that sounded great even though they were not thrilled with the
fact that he supports expanding the slaughter in Afghanistan, fewer taxes
on the rich, unregulated financial markets, and still others are afraid of
what he really thinks about women's right to abortion.

Election day, local news announcers also agreed that Massachusetts had
remarkable voter turnout.  It was raining and sleeting; snow drifts
several feet high, slush and black ice covered the sidewalks and streets
of my town.  People who would usually not venture out on a day like this -
like the elderly women in my housing project - were on their way to the
polls.  There was a remarkable difference I noticed in the appearance of
the Brown and Coakley supporters lining the streets near town hall and
other polling stations.  On one side of the avenue were the Coakley
supporters: mostly middle-aged; well-dressed in attractive winter coats,
boots and hats; supporting enormous and colorful "Martha" signs, smiling
and chatting with passers by.  On the other side of the avenue, were the
Brown supporters, mostly older women (some elderly from the subsidized
housing project now facing hugh increases in their 2010 Medicare premiums
and drug costs), wearing headscarves and old coats or jackets,
determinedly wading out into the slushy street with little, often
homemade, "Scott" signs. Further down, at the major traffic intersection,
there were two young men in denim jackets and blue jeans holding
relatively small "Scott" signs on one corner, while their well shod
opposition on the other corner struggled to keep extremely large "Martha"
posters from carrying them off the curb.  I wondered how two young guys
got the afternoon off from work; but maybe they were unemployed.  As I
walked around my town ("best place to live in Massachusetts" if you are
"rich and single" according to one survey), it appeared to me that the
class distinctions between the opposing campaigners were visible.

This election was a referendum that brought out people who would normally
ignore an off-term election.  Was it, as the media has speculated, anger
that warmed them up and motivated them to weather the icy rain and sleet?
Were those who would usually have stayed home, so fed up they just wanted
to let others know that they did not like being ignored and pushed around
by politicians who took them for granted in this bluest of the blue
states? Eavesdropping on the late night AM talk shows, I have been
impressed by the number of callers who said that they had been life-long
Democrats, but this time they were voting Republican. In fact many said
they didn't usually call up conservative radio show hosts. There is also a
noticeable class and occupational difference in the audience of those who
call up the late night AM radio shows (more truck drivers), and those who
call into NPR talk shows, like "On Point" for example.

Personally, I have no doubt that if the Republicans held power in the
White House and were the majority in Congress, they would do much the same
as the Democrats have done. (Comparing Obama and Bush policies makes that
crystal clear.) After all, they are paid for by the same corporate
interests, befriended by the same lobbyists, and both parties know who
they need to represent to get re-elected - and it ain't the people I saw
standing in the streets today.  Clearly one has to have the big bucks to
run for US Senate in the first place, and Scott Brown is no man of the
people (or, at least, not of the people I know). In spite of his
everyman's truck symbol, Brown is reported to own at least five different
pieces of valuable real estate - and no one wins without the party's deep
financial pockets and the party's friends who write the big checks.  The
Republicans would probably not have been able to bail out all their
wealthy friends, expand the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, cut
funding to Medicare (which has already happened), and facilitate
elimination of jobs, wages and benefits from union contracts, etc., etc.
in quite the same bold and audacious manner that our Irish-African
American President has been able to pull off.  People would have been on
to them immediately and protesting loudly in much larger numbers than
"progressives" have been able to mobilize.  No, the very unique Obama
magic would not have been available to disguise the loyal opposition's
goals as it has for the current administration (even though their goals
are identical to Obama's).

Now we will see if Scott Brown remembers his threatened promise to dump
the current health reform proposals and start from scratch.  Or will he
conveniently forget this idea when faced with the power of the largest
health insurance and pharmaceutical industries in the world that strongly
back that highly profitable health insurance mandate proposed?  He would
not be the first to go back on his word once victorious, right?

Or will he have to face this test at all?  Some predict swift passage of
the health insurance overhaul plan that is on the Senate table right now,
as the Dems will want to get Obama's health insurance legislation passed
before Brown takes his seat.

If, after Brown takes his seat, we see the inevitable process of business
as usual (you know what I mean) the enforced health insurance rip-off goes
through, more bail outs and less regulation for Wall Street, increased
military spending; pollution and unemployment continue with no remedy;
Guantanamo, military contractor crimes, and secret CIA prisons continue;
civil rights and human rights are even more compromised, and Obama moves
on to attack Social Security and bring it down in the same way he is
cutting up Medicare - then will all those people who usually don't get
involved come out onto the streets again? Will those from both sides of
the avenue get together this time?  Really, what will it take?!

PS: The morning after: Independent pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that
those who oppose Obama's health insurance proposal voted overwhelmingly
for Scott Brown; those in favor of it, voted for Coakley (WBZ AM Radio,
Boston).  My town went 65 per cent for Coakley.

Mary Lynn Cramer, MA, MSW, LICSW, has a background in history of economic
thought and bilingual clinical social work, as well as personal experience
dealing with Health Reform fallout and increased Medicare premiums. She
can be reached at mllynn2 [at]

--------19 of 22--------

Don't Waste Your Vote!
Why I Voted for the Republican in Massachusetts
January 20, 2010

"Get off your butts," implored Boston Democrat Mayor "Mumbles" Menino.
Thus spake the inarticulate mayor at the desperate rally featuring Barack
Obama last Sunday before the special Senate election in Massachusetts.
Mumbles was savvy enough to recognize that the Democratic base in
Massachusetts, the only state to vote for George McGovern, was deeply
disappointed in Obama and the Democrats.

Why did I vote for Republican Scott Brown?  It took some persuasion.  In
the end it was my Democratic Party friends and activists who convinced me.
Let me explain.  It was clear that the special Senate election in
Massachusetts was a referendum on Obama and the Democrats who control the
entire federal government - Congress and the Presidency.

I must admit that my first instinct was to vote for a third Party
candidate, a Libertarian.  (There was no Green or other independent in
this race.)  After all, the Libertarian, a guy named Kennedy, agreed with
me on opposition to wars and empire and in support of civil liberties.  In
contrast I knew damned well that when push came to shove the Republicrat
candidates would be on the other side on all these issues - no matter what
they said now in the heat of the campaign and desperate for votes.  And of
course all three candidates were against single-payer health care, a
passion of this writer for twenty some years.  So my first instinct was to
vote for the Libertarian and get someone who agreed with me 70 per cent of
the time versus 0 per cent.

Would I not risk the failure of the Obama health care bill if the Democrat
did not win?  But I do not want the Obama health care bill to succeed.
It is little other than a formula for permanently handing our entire
health care system over to the sector of finance capital known as the
insurance industry, for taxing decent health care plans and for putting
off to the indefinite future comprehensive, egalitarian, universal health
care.  Dr.  Marcia Angel, former editor of the New England Journal of
Medicine and long-time crusader for single-payer, has taken the position
that it would be far better to have no new law than the Obamanation known
as the Democrat Party "health care reform".  I agree with her on that, and
so do many of my colleagues in Physicians for a National Health Program,
although that is not our official position.  So on the issue of health
care, it made little difference which candidate I would vote for.

But why then not stick with the Libertarian?  Why vote Republican?  This
is where my Democrat Party friends came in.  Whenever I went to vote for
Nader or a Green, they would explain that I was wasting my vote on a third
Party candidate.  Was I not doing the same here by voting Libertarian?
Suddenly I realized that the Democrats were right.  If I wanted to protest
the lies of the Obmacrats and "send a message" to the Democrat Party
elite, I should not waste my vote on the Libertarian.  And so they
convinced me to vote Republican.  And so Scott Brown, the Republican, won
in Massachusetts with my vote and that of many others pissed off at the
betrayal of the Democrats.

Of course the Democratic operatives are now blaming the disconsolate and
bewildered loser, Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley, for running a
"poor campaign".  But in what did the poverty of her effort consist?  She
merely assumed that the Democratic voters and the independents here in
Mass who are by and large a pretty progressive lot had nowhere else to go.
They had to vote for her, and so she did not need to campaign very hard
after the primary.  The Democrats were mightily surprised on this score.
She is not to blame, but the Democrat Party assumption that they can take
progressives for granted is very much to blame for this humiliating

I began to understand that something was afoot in this campaign when I
noticed many folks out in the traffic circles and on street corners in
Central Massachusetts, in and about Worcester, holding signs for Brown,
even in the snow and sleet.   There was no such enthusiasm for Coakley -
not a single sign holder did I see.  Now let me explain the demographics a
bit.  Central Mass is blue collar country, suffering deeply from the
unemployment of the current recession.  It is not clueless about bailouts
for the banksters but no job creation for the hoy polloi - the policy of
Bush/Obama.  And it was Central Mass that delivered a very big margin for
Republican Brown who posed as a populist and captured their vote.

I vote not in central Massachusetts but in overwhelmingly and
conventionally liberal Cambridge, but even there little enthusiasm for
Democrat Coakley was evident.   She had only taken a position against the
Obama wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan when forced to do so by a primary
opponent.  There were no signs for Coakley at my polling place very close
to Harvard Square.  The peace constituency of Cambridge, in the words of
the venerable "Mumbles" Menino, was voting with its butt which remained
quite inert.

After voting Republican with some satisfaction at having not wasted my
protest vote, I told a young student coming out of the polling place with
me that I was so angry with the Democrats and Obama that I had voted
Republican, remaining a bit unsure whether I should have gone the
Libertarian route.  He said that he felt the same way but voted Democrat
anyway. He confessed that he was now having voter's remorse.

So Massachusetts has delivered a warning to the Democrat Party.  Do not
take the peace vote or the jobless vote for granted.  We want peace and we
want jobs and we want decent affordable health care.  If you do not
deliver, we will go elsewhere.  We will not vote for you.  We will vote
the other Party in protest.  Or we will stay home and vote with our butts.

John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at]

--------20 of 22--------

The Results Are in: Massachusetts Chooses Tweedledum over Tweedledee!
by Ron Jacobs
January 20th, 2010
Dissident Voice

I live almost a thousand miles from Massachusetts, but watched the special
election for Senate there with interest. It's not that I am convinced that
the Democrats are better than the GOP. In fact, I actually believe that
there is very little difference in the ultimate product either major party
puts out there. No matter who wins, the result is more war, less money for
most of us, and lots more money for the already wealthy. So, no, I don't
think there is a lot of difference between the two parties. However, there
does seem to be some difference between their backers. Besides their
traditional base among the monied classes, the GOP tends to attract
socially reactionary religious fundamentalists and angry middle class
people who are responding to a perceived loss of entitlement. I say
perceived not because many of these folks haven't lost their previously
comfortable life, but because they honestly believed that they were
entitled to it, when the fact is that version of the American Dream was
never meant to last. Not to mention that for many of those folks it was
built on debt encouraged by Madison Avenue and greedy banks.

At any rate, this voting populace tends to consider themselves the
majority in the United States. I don't have figures to prove whether or
not this is true, but it is probably safe to say that they constitute a
majority of those who consistently vote. Why? Probably because their vote
actually means something to them, having been fundamental in electing a
number of right wing politicians over the fast forty years. So, even if
they do not constitute an actual majority, their voting practices have
been crucial to the nation's recent history.

Mainstream pundits write about the anger of the voter. They point to the
over-hyped phenomenon of the Tea-Partiers as proof. Some left-oriented
writers speculate about the possibility of organizing these Tea-Partiers,
looking at them as somehow be crucial to the future. Here in North
Carolina, these folks constitute a vocal element of the populace. They
make lots of noise, hold signs with veiled (and not so veiled) references
to Barack Obama's skin tone and carry their guns. If they represent a
potentially leftist upsurge, I'm not seeing it. What I see, instead, is an
angry group of people whose understanding of the political system in the
capitalist US fails to see the fundamental fact of that system: the
government works for the corporations. Plain and simple. This is a
fundamental economic base for fascism. This fact is underscored by the
ever-expanding war budget in the United States and, most recently, by the
mutation of the desire for universal health care into a
government-enforced insurance system that funnels consumer money into the
bank accounts of some of the largest financial institutions in the world -
the insurance companies. Although Tea-Partiers do have it right when they
oppose the current health care legislation, the fact is, they opposed any
type of government involvement in health care. Their solution of
completely private insurance is no solution at all. The fact that these
are the two choices presented does makes my point. The government works
for the corporations. No matter what happens - Obama's health care bill or
the Tea-Partiers status quothe - insurance companies win. Do the voters of
Massachusetts honestly believe electing Scott Brown will change the way
the system is run?

I am friends with a dozen or so folks who consider themselves part of this
movement. Most of them are retired. Almost all of them are reasonably well
off. They travel when they want and a couple of them own two homes. They
all worked for what they have and were able to get where they are with
that work and a little bit of luck. However, there are many more US
residents who have worked just as hard that have not nearly as much to
show for it. Their interests are not represented by the Tea-Partiers, the
GOP, or the Democrats. Despite this, it's hard to convince most people
that this is the case. Almost everyone seems to think that one of these
groups represents them. Even if it's only the one that places itself
opposite the one that doesn't.

Is the tea-party movement as big as FoxNews would like us to believe? Is
it capable of changing the face of Congress to reflect its anger and
scapegoating? Is it a rising fascist movement? The answer to the first
question seems to be a pretty firm no. The Tea Party rally held on
November 12, 2009 in Washington, DC was originally reported to number
between 500,000 and a million. Re-estimates by a number of partisan and
non-partisan sources have reduced that number to 250,000 at most. While
this is a substantial number, it is probably not enough to create any
popular groundswell towards right wing populists taking over the Congress.
The question as to whether it represents a rising fascist movement
requires a more complex answer. Certain elements of this movement do share
various racial and nativist prejudices with various neo-Nazi and other
fascist movements. In fact, these latter groups make no bones about their
attempts to attract attendees at these rallies to their organizations.
However, like the fringe groups of the left that appear at antiwar and
other protests organized by leftists, their appeal is quite limited. It
seems safe to say that the largest beneficiary of the tea-party movement
will be the GOP. Indeed, according to the Tea Party Patriot website, most
Tea-Partiers have decided not to go the third party route, but will work
to "revive" the GOP.

Very important is the role of the tea-party's political, corporate and
intellectual sponsors. FoxNews is foremost among these sponsors. If the
antiwar movement had a media outlet with the reach of FoxNews hyping its
cause, all of the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq would be home by now.
This media source provides what is essentially free advertising for those
politicians and groups going after the angry voter that leans right. The
Tea-Party's corporate sponsors in the financial and insurance industry
also help the Tea-Party organization function. Sure, there is a grassroots
aspect to the movement, but it is the corporate money and FoxNews
publicity that has made the movement most of what it is.

Is there a possibility that some of the angry voters who voted for
Republican Scott Brown would consider a progressive third party? Perhaps.
More likely, however, is that these angry voters will merely vote for the
party not in power, expressing their anger while ensuring more of the
same. This is not so much the fault of the angry voters as it is the
failure of the Left to organize a left opposition that does not include
the Democrats. The only choice most voters see is Tweedledee and
Tweedledum. So, the revolving door of rule by the wealthy continues.

Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the
Weather Underground. His most recent novel Short Order Frame Up is
published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at:
rjacobs3625 [at]

--------21 of 22--------

Obama Needs a Major Course Correction to Excite Voters
by Kevin Zeese
Dissident Voice
January 20th, 2010

First Step: Re-make the White House to get on the right side of corporate
elites vs. the people Second: Make challenging corporate power the 2010
election year issue

The Democrats are on the wrong side of a battle between big business
elites and voters. If they stay on the side of the elites Massachusetts
will not be the final defeat they suffer.

President Obama needs a rapid and major first-year course correction. He
needs to learn from the Massachusetts senate race and two gubernatorial
defeats in New Jersey and Virginia last year. The lessons: stop taking
progressive voters for granted and make challenging corporate cronyism a
top priority.

Obama campaigned in all three states; the results three Democratic
defeats. The magic has worn off Obama's elegant eloquence. People are
seeing his policies are not "change" but a continuation of corporate
domination. Rather than challenging the corporate cronies who pay off
politicians with campaign donations, the Democrats are rewarding them.
Corporate power dominates every issue whether it is war and militarism,
Wall Street bailouts and health care, housing and jobs - corporate power
rules in Washington, DC.

The Democrats have turned off their voting base. In all three elections
the reason for defeat was turnout. People who voted for Obama in 2008
stayed home in 2009 and 2010. Unlike Republicans, who work to excite their
base with red meat, right wing issues, the Democrats take their base for
granted assuming they have no where else to go. Now they are paying a
price, but the price will get higher if they do not learn the obvious
lessons from these three elections: excite your base, challenge big
business and demonstrate the change in direction by re-making the White

Where should Obama start? He should start with his first appointment, the
White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel embodies corporate
power; the former head of the corporate Democratic Leadership Council has
been a corporate, militarist Democrat throughout his career and his
politics have cost the Democratic Party repeatedly. He was the architect
of NAFTA in 1993, resulting in unions staying home in 1994 and the
Democrats losing 54 House seats. As anti-war sentiment raged in 2006,
Emanuel, then head of the DCCC, recruited pro-war Democrats. The result,
only nine of his hand picked 22 candidates won almost costing the
Democrats the majority in a year they should have won a landslide. His
unimpressive track record has continued with the Dems going 0 for 3 since
Obama took office. Keep Emanuel in the leadership and 2010 will be a
Democratic Party disaster.

He is wrong on the issues because of his personal and corporate
connections. Emanuel is the bankers lobby favorite. He was the top
recipient of donations from hedge funds, private equity, investment and
securities firms when he served in Congress. Personally, he earned $18
million in 2.5 years between government jobs at a hedge fund firm. He
served on the board of Freddie Mac from 2000-2001 when its decision making
helped bring on the housing crisis. It is no surprise that health care
reform turned into an insurance company giveaway, while banking reform is
giving Wall Street everything it wants and the foreclosure crisis
continues unabated.

Emanuel is also a hawk. His father was an Irgun terrorist for Zionists.
Emanuel volunteered for the Israeli Defense Forces during the first Gulf
War while serving in Congress. He endorsed Obama after the candidate gave
a hawkish, pro-Israel speech before the right-wing Israeli lobby, AIPAC,
and then introduced Obama to their executive board of major donors. In
2006, when the Democrats won with a mandate to end the war Emanuel made
sure ending the war was off the table. It is not surprising he is chief of
staff of a White House that has broken all war spending records and has
escalated militarism around the globe.

He gained notoriety during the health care debate when he essentially said
- take liberal legislators for granted. Emanuel's strategy to get 60 votes
in the Senate was bring the left of center Democrats on early to generate
enthusiasm, then turn on them to woo conservatives in the end game. Newly
elected Scott Brown began to overtake Coakley when he said he would be the
vote that stopped health care. Opposing the Insurance Enrichment Act, aka
health care reform, began to turn the election around for Brown.

The White House took the most popular reform, single payer health care,
Medicare for All, off the table and then proceeded to craft a bill that
did more for insurance and pharmaceutical corporations then it did for
reforming health care. In his book "The Plan," Emanuel urges Democrats not
to pursue universal health care or real reform. He is so out of touch with
the needs of Americans that he merely urged the expansion of the S-CHIP
program. With Emanuel representing the White House in health care
negotiations, and Obama holding press conferences with corporate
interests, real reform was off the table.

Removing Rahm would be a first step toward a much need re-making of the
White House. The Obama national security and economic teams are filled
with appointees who need to be replaced: General Petraeus, General Jones,
General McChrystal, Bill Gates, Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geitner to
name a few. It is time to clean house, re-start and set a new direction
more consistent with Obama's promise to change the way Washington, DC does
business, i.e. stop caving in to the corporate power that dominates the
Democratic and Republican parties. It is time for the Democrats to put the
people's necessities ahead of their donor's profits.

Of course, the problem in the end is not Rahm Emanuel or the other Obama
appointees, it is Obama himself. Obama has surrounded himself with
corporatists so he needs to reach outside the White House to get a clear
reading of the mood of the country. The White House became a corporate
bubble in Obama's first year. Now it needs to be popped. From his
appointees he will hear the corporate message - work with Republicans,
support corporate solutions, don't rock the boat - the recipe that
resulted in three Democratic losses, so far.

Last year President Obama told a meeting of Blue Dogs that he is a New
Democrat - this is the language for the discredited DLC. (As Black Agenda
Report has written, Obama was listed as a member of the DLC but his name
was removed from the roster as he began to run for office.) He
consistently puts pleasing recalcitrant right-wing Republicans ahead of
exciting his left of center base. If he wants to really bring hope and
change to Washington he needs to put his voting base, not his donor base,
first. He needs to become a progressive populist.

Obama is going to have to make a decision to set a new direction for his
presidency or be a weak and unsuccessful president. He needs to really
challenge corporate power, rally the people and make real reform the 2010
election year issue. These three early elections should teach him that
financial support from corporations is insufficient; indeed being tied to
the dollars of corporate elites is a recipe for defeat. .

Obama can change course to a successful presidency or continue on the
failed path he is currently on. But to do so he needs to recognize the
urgency of now within his own White House and get on the side of the

Kevin Zeese is the executive director of the Campaign for Fresh Air &
Clean Politics whose projects include VotersForPeace.US,
ProsperityAgenda.US, and TrueVote.US. He is also
a member of the board of Velvet Revolution.

--------22 of 22--------

 The Challenge

 Coakley or Poopsi?
 Mass pissed on voters rightly
 preferred Poop to Coke.


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