Progressive Calendar 02.11.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 02:01:26 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   02.11.10

1. Free to marry     2.11 8:30am
2. MN health plan    2.11 3pm
3. V Pakistan war    2.11 4pm
4. Eagan peace vigil 2.11 4:30pm
5. Northtown vigil   2.11 5pm
6. Pray for peace    2.11 6:30pm
7. Iran/Beeman       2.11 7pm
8. Cops/rights       2.11 7pm
9. Torture           2.11 7pm

10. Palestine vigil  2.12 4:15pm
11. Marx/value/price 2.12 7pm

12. Shamus Cooke   - The Democrats are coming after Social Security
13. PC Roberts     - The U.S. is now a police state
14. Nader/Weissman - The case against corporate speech
15. ed             - Bunpersticker

--------1 of 15--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Free to marry 2.11 8:30am

February 11: Join OutFront Minnesota for a Freedom to Marry Day Rally at
the State Capitol. Hundreds of Minnesotans will come together to show
their support for equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians as Minnesota
clergy and faith leaders demonstrate how their faith traditions support
equality and justice. 8:30 AM at the Capitol Rotunda.

--------2 of 15--------

From: Rhoda Gilman <rhodagilman [at]>
From: Amy Lange <amyl [at]>
Organization: MN Universal Health Care Coalition
Subject: MN health plan 2.11 3pm

Just got notice that

The MN Health Plan will be heard in the Judiciary Committee this Thursday
Feb 11th at 3:00 p.m.  in the Capitol Room 15.  *

We have the votes. The hearing will focused on a few provisions relating
to subrogation and privacy.  The committee chair doesn't feel it is
necessary to "pack the room" but I want a full house.

Sorry for the short notice, I just learned this moments ago.
If you can spread the word and help turn folks out, please let me know.

Amy Lange RN, MS Executive Director Minnesota Universal Health Care
Coalition amyL [at] C: 612-281-4308

--------3 of 15--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: V Pakistan war 2.11 4pm

*Unpermitted* March Against the Expansion of US Military Violence into
Thursday, February 11th @ 4pm @ the Central Library in downtown

Unpermitted March to disrupt business as usual against the expansion of US
military violence into Pakistan and Yemen. Stop business, stop the wars.
to get a text alert, text: 40404 to "follow_DASWO"  Organized by Direct
Action to Stop War and Occupation.  FFI:, [at]

--------4 of 15--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 2.11 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 15--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 2.11 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 15--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Pray for peace 2.11 6:30pm

February 11:  Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates 11th Day
Prayer for Peace. 6:30 PM at Presentation of Our Lady Chapel, 1890
Randolph Ave., St. Paul. More information: 651-690-7079.

--------7 of 15--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Iran/Beeman 2.11 7pm

William Beeman: "Iran: What Lies Ahead"
Thursday, February 11, 7:00 p.m. Parish Community of St. Joseph, 8701 36th
Avenue North (corner of Boone and 36th), New Hope. William O. Beeman,
Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of
Minnesota, will speak on "Iran: What Lies Ahead."

Professor Beeman has served as a consultant to the U.S. State Department,
the Department of Defense, the United Nations, and the European Union, and
has testified before the U.S. Congress. His books include: Language,
Status and Power in Iran; Culture, Performance and Communication in Iran;
The "Great Satan" vs, the "Mad Mullahs": How the United States and Iran
Demonize Each Other; and Iranian Performance Forms: Keys to Iranian
Culture. Discussion follows. This program is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by: Northwest Neighbors for Peace. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call
Eileen Moran, 763-545-2296.

--------8 of 15--------

From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at]>
Subject: Cops/rights 2.11 7pm

February 11; Balancing Public Safety and Civil Liberties [I don't like
this title -ed. A chance perhaps to grill some cops.]

The Justice and Peace Studies Program and the Sociology and Criminal
Justice Dept. at St. Thomas present a discussion among exceptional Law
Enforcement leaders from the St. Paul Police on:

Balancing Public Safety and Civil Liberties
Thursday, February 11, 2010 7-9p.m.
O'Shaughnessy Education Center (OEC) Main Auditorium
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul

Featured Speakers are:
Matthew Bostrom, Asst. Chief, St. Paul Police Department [RNC villain -ed]
Colleen Luna, Senior Commander, SPPD West District (which includes the
main campus of St. Thomas) and candidate to be the next Chief of the St.
Paul Police Dept.

Free and open to the public.

For more information on this program or on the JPST program, call
651-962-5907 or 651-962-5332. For more information on the Criminal Justice
major at UST call Tanya Gladney at 651-962-5638.

--------9 of 15--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Torture 2.11 7pm

"Healing the Wounds, Reimagining the World"
Thursday, February 11, 7:00 p.m.
St. Joan of Arc Church, Hospitality Hall, 4537 Third Avenue South,

On Tuesday, January 25, 2010, the National Religious Campaign Against
Torture (NRCAT) released allegations of death by torture of three
detainees at Guantanamo in 2006. According to Scott Horton's online
article ( these men
were likely tortured to death by suffocation when rags were stuffed into
their mouths so they were unable to breathe. The official report at the
time stated that the men had committed suicide. NRCAT requests that these
allegations be investigated. The paper article by Horton will be published
in the March 2010 issue of Harper's Magazine.

Join others for an evening with Professor William Cavanaugh, peace
activist Coleen Rowley and Douglas Johnson, executive director of the
Center for Victims of Torture.

Endorsed by: the St. Joan of Arc/WAMM Peacemakers. FFI: Call Barbara
Cracraft, 612-722-4444 or St. Joan of Arc Church, 612-823-8205.

--------10 of 15--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 2.12 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

--------11 of 15--------

From: jtmiller jtmiller <jtmiller [at]>
Subject: Marx/value/price 2.12 7pm

Working Democracy Meetup Group

Book Club
"Value, Price & Profit," by Karl Marx
How capital exploits labor
Friday Feb. 12 & 26, 7:00 pm
MayDay Bookstore

Discussion Forum
Obama & Afghanistan: Vote Peace, Get War
Is lasting peace possible under capitalism?
Saturday Feb. 20, 7:00 pm
MayDay Bookstore

--------12 of 15--------

Obama's "Change" Drops Its Mask
The Democrats are Coming After Social Security
February 9, 2010

It's official: the Democrats are coming after Social Security and
Medicare.  All the backroom scheming and political conspiring is finally
out in the open.

In an unusually long, 1,800 word editorial, entitled The Truth about the
Deficit, published February 7, The New York Times  - cheerleader for
neoliberalism - gives its solution to the country's debt problems. The
main idea is summed up thus:

"To truly tame deficits will require serious health care reform [Obama's
plan slashes Medicare], the sooner the better. Other aspects of the
long-term fiscal problem - raising taxes and retooling [reducing] Social
Security - must take place in earnest as the economy recovers".

Later the article is clearer: "And then there is Social Security. What is
needed is a combination of benefit cuts and tax increases that preserve
the program's essential nature".  Of course those surviving on Social
Security already live in poverty and cannot afford "benefit cuts".  Also,
to make a dent in the deficit, benefit cuts to social security will have
to be quite substantial, to the point where the program's "essential
nature" will be destroyed.

The New York Times acknowledges that such a course of action will be
completely undemocratic and unpopular, but that politicians "must gather
the political will to do what must be done".

How can politicians destroy these cherished social programs in the face of
such popular resistance? By trickery, of course.   And this is exactly
what Obama has proposed with his "bi-partisan deficit-reduction
commission".  This idea puts Democrats and Republicans together to create
a plan to destroy social programs. This way both parties share the blame,
so that no one is to blame. The New York Times reveals Obama's hidden

"The deficit commission that Mr. Obama intends to establish could be
helpful in breaking this logjam [resistance to cutting social security],
by calling for necessary changes that politicians would be loath to broach
without political cover".

Labor unions and community groups also understand Obama's treacherous
motives.  Dozens of them - including the AFL-CIO and Change to Win -
signed a statement condemning the goals behind Obama's "deficit
commission".  The statement included some politically savvy points,
including the following:

"..the proposed budget commission - which will be viewed as a way to
actually cut Medicare benefits, while insulating lawmakers from political
fallout - could confuse people and undermine the reform effort. And an
American public that only recently rejected privatization of Social
Security will undoubtedly be suspicious of a process that shuts them out
of all decisions regarding the future of a retirement system that's served
them well in the current financial crisis".

The statement concludes: "We urge you to act decisively to prevent the
creation of such an extraordinary and undemocratic budget commission".

However, it is not enough for only the leaders of unions and community
groups to pressure the Democrats over this issue, especially when Obama
has made it clear that he prefers the advice of Wall Street CEO's.  Unions
and progressive groups must educate and mobilize their base to confront
both the Democrats and Republicans over the protection of Medicare,
Medicaid, and Social Security.

None of the major unions which signed the anti-commission statement have
information about this plot on their websites; none are organizing their
members to confront this plan - a plan that the entire political
establishment is in agreement with.  Nor are unions seriously proposing
other ideas to fix the deficit, and the fixes are obvious.

The military budget must be slashed.  Obama plans to spend over $700
billion in 2011 for the military. Both Democrats and Republicans are fine
with this.  Most Americans are not.

More importantly, taxes on the rich need to be increased.  The nation's
tax structure changed drastically under Reagan and the two Bushes, with
taxes on the wealthiest Americans dropping from 70 percent to the present
day 35 percent.  Under Eisenhower the richest Americans paid 90 percent of
their income towards taxes.  The loss in revenue that resulted from these
giant tax reductions is one of the major contributors to the current
deficit.  It must be reversed in order to save Social Security, Medicare
and Medicaid.

This is the solution that working-class Americans would prefer, rather
than have their Medicare, Social Security, and public education destroyed.
It is up to the union movement and community groups to unite and mobilize
their members and all working people to demand this as a solution to the
deficit and Great Recession.

Without a massive mobilization with rank and file participation, the
corporate elite will continue to have their way unchallenged, with more
bank bailouts and more war.  A coalition of progressive groups with clear
demands to address the recession will have the backing of the majority of
Americans, while being resisted adamantly by both Democrats and

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

--------13 of 15--------

Anyone Could be Next
The U.S. is Now a Police State
February 10, 2010

Americans have been losing the protection of law for years. In the 21st
century the loss of legal protections accelerated with the Bush
administration's "war on terror," which continues under the Obama
administration and is essentially a war on the Constitution and U.S. civil

The Bush regime was determined to vitiate habeas corpus in order to hold
people indefinitely without bringing charges. The regime had acquired
hundreds of prisoners by paying a bounty for "terrorists". Afghan warlords
and thugs responded to the financial incentive by grabbing unprotected
people and selling them to the Americans.

The Bush regime needed to hold the prisoners without charges because it
had no evidence against the people and did not want to admit that the U.S.
government had stupidly paid warlords and thugs to kidnap innocent people.
In addition, the Bush regime needed "terrorists" prisoners in order to
prove that there was a terrorist threat.

As there was no evidence against the "detainees" (most have been released
without charges after years of detention and abuse), the U.S. government
needed a way around U.S. and international laws against torture in order
that the government could produce evidence via self-incrimination. The
Bush regime found inhumane and totalitarian-minded lawyers and put them to
work at the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) to invent arguments that the
Bush regime did not need to obey the law.

The Bush regime created a new classification for its detainees that it
used to justify denying legal protection and due process to the detainees.
As the detainees were not U.S. citizens and were demonized by the regime
as "the 760 most dangerous men on earth," there was little public outcry
over the regime's unconstitutional and inhumane actions.

As our Founding Fathers and a long list of scholars warned, once civil
liberties are breached, they are breached for all. Soon U.S. citizens were
being held indefinitely in violation of their habeas corpus rights. Dr.
Aafia Siddiqui an American citizen of Pakistani origin might have been the

Dr. Siddiqui, a scientist educated at MIT and Brandeis University, was
seized in Pakistan for no known reason, sent to Afghanistan, and was held
secretly for five years in the U.S. military's notorious Bagram prison in
Afghanistan. Her three young children were with her at the time she was
abducted, one an eight-month old baby. She has no idea what has become of
her two youngest children. Her oldest child, 7 years old, was also
incarcerated in Bagram and subjected to similar abuse and horrors.

Siddiqui has never been charged with any terrorism-related offense. A
British journalist, hearing her piercing screams as she was being
tortured, disclosed her presence. An embarrassed U.S. government responded
to the disclosure by sending Siddiqui to the U.S. for trial on the
trumped-up charge that while a captive, she grabbed a U.S. soldier's rifle
and fired two shots attempting to shoot him. The charge apparently
originated as a U.S. soldier's excuse for shooting Dr. Siddiqui twice in
the stomach resulting in her near death.

On February 4, Dr. Siddiqui was convicted by a New York jury for attempted
murder. The only evidence presented against her was the charge itself and
an unsubstantiated claim that she had once taken a pistol-firing course at
an American firing range. No evidence was presented of her fingerprints on
the rifle that this frail and broken 100-pound woman had allegedly seized
from an American soldier. No evidence was presented that a weapon was
fired, no bullets, no shell casings, no bullet holes. Just an accusation.

Wikipedia has this to say about the trial: "The trial took an unusual turn
when an FBI official asserted that the fingerprints taken from the rifle,
which was purportedly used by Aafia to shoot at the U.S. interrogators,
did not match hers".

An ignorant and bigoted American jury convicted her for being a Muslim.
This is the kind of "justice" that always results when the state hypes
fear and demonizes a group.

The people who should have been on trial are the people who abducted her,
disappeared her young children, shipped her across international borders,
violated her civil liberties, tortured her apparently for the fun of it,
raped her, and attempted to murder her with two gunshots to her stomach.
Instead, the victim was put on trial and convicted.

This is the unmistakable hallmark of a police state. And this victim is an
American citizen.

Anyone can be next. Indeed, on February 3 Dennis Blair, director of
National Intelligence told the House Intelligence Committee that it was
now "defined policy" that the U.S. government can murder its own citizens
on the sole basis of someone in the government's judgment that an American
is a threat. No arrest, no trial, no conviction, just execution on
suspicion of being a threat.

This shows how far the police state has advanced. A presidential appointee
in the Obama administration tells an important committee of Congress that
the executive branch has decided that it can murder American citizens
abroad if it thinks they are a threat.

I can hear readers saying the government might as well kill Americans
abroad as it kills them at home - Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Black Panthers.

Yes, the U.S. government has murdered its citizens, but Dennis Blair's
"defined policy" is a bold new development. The government, of course,
denies that it intended to kill the Branch Davidians, Randy Weaver's wife
and child, or the Black Panthers. The government says that Waco was a
terrible tragedy, an unintended result brought on by the Branch Davidians
themselves. The government says that Ruby Ridge was Randy Weaver's fault
for not appearing in court on a day that had been miscommunicated to him,
The Black Panthers, the government says, were dangerous criminals who
insisted on a shoot-out.

In no previous death of a U.S. citizen by the hands of the U.S. government
has the government claimed the right to kill Americans without arrest,
trial, and conviction of a capital crime.

In contrast, Dennis Blair has told the U.S. Congress that the executive
branch has assumed the right to murder Americans who it deems a "threat".

What defines "threat"? Who will make the decision? What it means is that
the government will murder whomever it chooses.

There is no more complete or compelling evidence of a police state than
the government announcing that it will murder its own citizens if it views
them as a "threat".

Ironic, isn't it, that "the war on terror" to make us safe ends in a
police state with the government declaring the right to murder American
citizens who it regards as a threat.

Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an
Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  His latest book, HOW THE
ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can
be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at]

--------14 of 15--------

The Case Against Corporate Speech
by Ralph Nader and Robert Weissman
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Wall Street Journal
Common Dreams

Last month, by a vote of 5 to 4, the U.S. Supreme Court gave carte blanche
to the world's largest corporations to spend unlimited sums of money to
support or oppose candidates for elected office. Big Business domination
of Washington and state capitals will now intensify.

The case of Citizens United portends dire consequences for the nation's
constitutional premise of "we the people," not we the corporations. Our
constitution, at its origins and through all of its amendments, makes no
mention of corporate entities, only human beings and their government.

For 120 years, it was not Congress but the Supreme Court that expanded the
definition of "persons" to include for-profit corporations for the
purposes of applying constitutional protections. For 30 years, the court
has granted First Amendment speech protections to corporations as
"artificial persons."

But not until last month has the court declared that the First Amendment
gives corporations the right to spend unlimited money to influence
elections. The court majority, self-styled believers in precedent and
judicial restraint, overturned two major Supreme Court decisions and
reversed decades of campaign-finance laws aimed at preventing corporations
from having undue influence over local, state and national elections.

Granted, existing campaign-finance rules have been inadequate. Regular
news reports document how corporate spending debases elections and elected
officials. But that doesn't mean things can't get worse. The court has
challenged whatever social mores are left that view no-holds-barred
corporate cash register politics as unseemly.

The disparities between individual contributions and available corporate
dollars mock any pretense of equal justice under the law. A total of $5.2
billion from all sources was spent in the 2008 federal election cycle
(which includes 2007 and 2008), according to the Center for Responsive
Politics. For the same two-year period, ExxonMobil's profits were $85
billion. The top-selling drug, Pfizer's Lipitor, grossed $27 billion in
sales during that time.

Such disparities invite corporations to spend whatever they believe
necessary to further entrench the corporate state. The money they now
spend will be used to reward friends and punish opponents.
Corporations know that money makes a big difference when it comes to
blocking protections for workers, consumers and the environment. Wall
Street, health insurance and drug companies, fossil fuel and nuclear power
companies, and defense corporations have been hard at work defeating
common-sense reforms that would make them more accountable.

Do we want more elected officials to believe that to challenge corporate
agendas is to risk their career?

There is every reason to expect that there will be much more direct
corporate electoral funding in the wake of Citizens United. Funneled
without limit through trade associations and shadowy front groups able to
run vicious attack ads without identifying their corporate patrons, such
lucre will deter good candidates from running for office because they
won't want to have anything to do with such dirty politics.

What can be done about this accelerating drift into the muck?

In the absence of a future court overturning Citizens United, the
fundamental response should be a constitutional amendment. We must exclude
all commercial corporations and other artificial commercial entities from
participating in political activities. Such constitutional rights should
be reserved for real people, including, of course, company employees, to
enhance a government of, by and for the people.

Corporations are not humans. They do not vote. They should not be accorded
a constitutional right to influence elections or public policies,
especially given their enormous embedded privileges and immunities
compared to real people.

While the arduous amendment process is underway, the progressive response
to Citizens United rests with several legislative and administrative

First, the Fair Elections Now Act in the House and Senate would provide
candidates a base of funding to run viable campaigns without being
indentured to corporate money. But these bills would not prevent
corporations from overwhelming the public funding.

Second, a strong shareholder-protection policy should limit corporate
political spending. This would require executives to get support from an
absolute majority of their shareholders before spending any money on

Third, as the nation's largest customer, the government could refuse, by
statute or executive order, to contract with or provide subsidies,
handouts and bailouts to any company that spends money directly in the
electoral arena. This would help avoid corruption. No longer would
Citigroup or General Motors, which were saved by taxpayers and are wards
of Washington, be able to lobby as if they were stalwarts of sink-or-swim
free enterprise.

As Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the minority in Citizens United,
demonstrated, the Framers did not intend for the First Amendment to confer
protections on businesses beyond freedom of the press. The robust
guarantees of the First Amendment are vital for real, live human beings,
to ensure their expressive and democratic participative rights are
protected. There can be no level playing field between the giant
multinational corporations and individual citizens without such
differential rights.

It is worth recalling that representative democracy is rule by the people.
Corporations, first chartered into existence over 200 years ago by the
states, were meant to be our servants, not our masters. Especially in the
aftermath of Citizens United, it is time to right this relationship.

Copyright 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Mr. Nader is a consumer advocate. Mr. Weissman is president of Public

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