Progressive Calendar 03.05.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2010 04:29:19 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   03.05.10
                     blockbuster events weekend

1. Ffunch           3.05 cancelled
2. Women's history  3.05 12noon
3. Palestine vigil  3.05 4:15pm
4. Nobel forum      3.05/3.06 time?

5. Intl Women's Day 3.06 8am
6. Water/health     3.06 9:30am
7. COA workshop     3.06 10am
8. Cuba/arts        3.06 10am
9. CUAPB/special    3.06 1:30pm
10. Northtown vigil 3.06 2pm
11. Memory/art      3.06 7pm

12. Cam Gordon/others - Performance review of chief Dolan/info,action
13. Danene Provencher - Nuke bill S.F. 355 defeated in Senate Committee
14. Jeanne Weigum     - Buy a tree for yourself or a park in Ramsey County
15. PC Roberts        - Is the recovery real?
16. Don Monkerud      - Who runs America? The power of private monopolies
17. Stewart Lawrence  - The coming conservative takeover

--------1 of 17--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: FFUNCH  3.05 cancelled

Instead go hear regular Ffunch member Rhoda Gilman speak - see item 2.

--------2 of 17--------

From: League of Women Voters of St. Paul [mailto:amy [at]]
Subject: Women's history 3.05 12noon

LWVSP Co-sponsors
Women's History Month Preservation Talks
with Historic Saint Paul

Join Historic Saint Paul and the League of Women Voters of St. Paul to
explore the history of women in local politics on Friday, March 5 and
March 26, from 12:00 pm - 1:30pm at historic Landmark Center in downtown
St. Paul.

Stories of Women in Saint Paul Politics
Friday March 5 12:00-1:30 pm
317 Landmark Center | 75 West 5th Street | Saint Paul, MN

Saint Paul City Council President Kathy Lantry facilitates presentations by:

 Ruby Hunt discussing Rosalie Butler former Saint Paul City Councilmember;
 Rhoda Gilman discussing Emily Gilman Noyes, a YWCA Co-Founder and
Suffragist; and
 Jane McClure discussing Constance Currie, founder of Neighborhood House,
Housewives Clubs and Teachers Union Leadership

All members of the public are invited to attend.  More information is
available at or by calling 651-222-3049
(info [at]

--------3 of 17--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 4.05 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

--------4 of 17--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Nobel forum 3.05/3.06 time?

22nd Annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum:
"Striving for Peace: A Question of Will"

Friday, March 5 and Saturday, March 6 Augsburg College, 2211 Riverside
Avenue South, Minneapolis.

Honoring: Martti Ahtisaari, 2008 Nobel Peace Laureate. The Norwegian Nobel
Committee awarded the Peace Prize to the former president of Finland
Martti Ahtisaari for "his important efforts, on several continents and
over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts. These
efforts have contributed to a more peaceful world and to 'fraternity
between nations' in Alfred Nobel's spirit. "For the past 20 years,
Ahtisaari has played a prominent role in resolving several serious and
long-lasting conflicts. The program is built on several themes from the
laureate's acceptance speech: peace requires engaging all parties with
broad and multilevel participation in the peace process; a peace agreement
requires the support of a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding and
support for civil society; poverty reduction is an essential partner in
peacebuilding. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI and to register: Visit

--------5 of 17--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Intl Women's Day 3.06 8am

15th Annual International Women's Day Celebration: "Inspire. Act.
Saturday, March 6, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. University of Minnesota, Coffman
Memorial Union, 300 Washington Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis.

The 15th Annual International Women's Day event will celebrate the
diversity of Minnesota women, highlight advancements in women's rights and
equality, encourage activism, and educate participants about human rights
issues that affect girls and women locally, nationally, and
internationally. Workshops on women's human rights issues, film
screenings, music, visual arts, arts and crafts vendors, and information
tables. Join in celebrating the many signs of hope and strength that
women's voices bring to a world yearning for peace and justice. Keynote
speaker: Leymah Gbowee, a remarkable woman who led the women of Liberia to
demand peace and justice for themselves and for their country. Free and
open to all. Sponsored by: the Advocates for Human Rights and the Human
Rights Program at the U of M. Co- Sponsored by: WAMM and others. FFI and
to register: visit .

--------6 of 17--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Water/health 3.06 9:30am

March 6: The League of Women Voters Minneapolis and others present
Protecting our Water - Protecting Our Health: Contaminants in Our Water
Supply. 9:30 AM - Noon at Willey Hall, UofM, 225 19th Ave. S.

Speakers: Kathy Lee, Hydrologist and Biologist, US Geological Survey; Dr.
David Wallenga, Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy; and Paul
Gardner, Minnesota State Representative.

--------7 of 17--------

From: Leslie Reindl <alteravista [at]>
Subject: COA workshop 3.06 10am

Community Owned Agriculture
A Step Beyond the CSA

Saturday, March 6, 10 am to noon
Cahoots Coffee Bar, 1562 Selby Ave., St. Paul
(1/2 block east of Snelling)

How can city folks farm in the country?  What would it take to become a
food producer on actual farmland, without living in the country?  And why
would city folks want to do this, when they can grow food at a community
garden close to home, or contract with a CSA farmer, or shop at a
farmer's market?

Some reasons:

*  To produce essential crops that need more acreage than the city
usually provides, such as grains
*  To actually own production on a long-term lease or purchase of the
*  To invest assets into real, productive property
*  To become part of a group that works together based on interest
and investment, without necessarily doing farm work
*  To participate in a new type of land and farming reform
*  To opt further out of the industrial agriculture system
*  To slowly learn the essentials of farming, if desired, for future

This workshop presents a new concept in farming - how to become a co-
producer, with others, of food on agricultural land leased or purchased by
the group.  It describes the first COA effort and how to participate in

Presenters: Wilhelm and Leslie Reindl

Wilhelm grew up on and ran a small dairy farm in southern Germany in the
1960s; Leslie was a board member of the Minnesota Food Assocation in the
1990s and has been active in agricultural issues ever since.  They live in
St. Paul but also own and garden on an ex-dairy farm in Wisconsin.

Sponsored by Wilderness Connections, St. Paul
FFI alteravista [at], 651-633-4410

--------8 of 17--------

From: Anya Achtenberg <aachtenberg [at]>
Subject: Cuba/arts 3.06 10am

Saturday Morning, March 6 ---- Report back from the
Writers/Artists/Educators Delegation to Cuba in January 2010

(The request has already come from Cuba for the next trips of writers and
artists...hear a bit of what you might be getting yourself into!)

Coffee Hour at the Resource Center for the Americas: Report back from the
Writers/Artists/Educators Delegation to Cuba in January 2010

Saturday, March 6th
10am - Noon At the Resource Center of the Americas
3019 Minnehaha Ave, downstairs from the Glacier Cafe ---- Minneapolis, MN
Main (612) 276-0788 Fax (612) 605-3252 rcta-info (at)
Presented in English, some translation from Spanish to English available
for questions, comments from the audience.

"Debe ser cultos para ser libres." Jose Marti

We will discuss literary/art and solidarity work combined; the powerful
work of novelist Alejo Carpentier; contemporary Cuban literature; joint
projects and publishing with Cuban writers; arts-in-education; an overview
of this trip and future trips; arts-in-education; dance and the visual
arts; Cuban cinema; literacy; Haiti/Cuba relationship and history;
regional significance in the Caribbean/Latin America/US/Europe/; and so
much more.

Anya Achtenberg, novelist and poet; educator; Writing for Social Change:
Re-Dream a Just World; MN Cuba Committee member; her 4th trip; travel ban
challenger with Pastors for Peace; and organizer of the 2010 Writers and
Artists Delegation to Cuba (aachtenberg [at],
, 651.214.9248;

Greg Klave, active in the Minnesota Cuba Committee and in Pastors for
Peace, organizer of the Cuban Film Festival at St. Anthony Main Theater,
who has traveled to Cuba 5 times in the last 4 years (gregklave [at];

Charlie Sugnet, Professor of African Literature and Cinema, co-host of
KFAI-radio's African Rhythms show, and perennial demonstrator (
sugnet [at]; and

JoŽlle Vitiello, Associate Professor and Chair of French and Francophone
Studies at Macalester College, who writes about Caribbean literature and
culture, especially Haiti, and women writers, and is a member of Haiti
Justice Committee (vitiello [at] , vitiellojoelle [at] 

A suggested donation but no one turned away.

--------9 of 17--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB/special 3.06 1:30pm

Communities United Against Police Brutality
Weekly Meeting
Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
3100 16th Avenue S, Minneapolis

[This is THE CUAPB meeting to come to! -ed]
It's been a very full week, with the public hearing on Police Chief Dolan
followed by the little CRA meeting that could (CRA chair Bellfield
canceled, we had the meeting anyway).  Join CUAPB for a very special
meeting this Saturday as we plan next steps for challenging the Dolan
appointment and the lawbreaking antics of Bellfield and some of the other
CRA board members.  We'll also be making plans for an action on 4/24 in
support of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

--------10 of 17--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 3.06 2pm

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

--------11 of 17--------

From: Stevens Square Center for the Arts <ssca [at]>
Subject: Memory/art 3.06 7pm

Opening Reception
Saturday, March 6 from 7:00 to 11:00pm
Featuring live music by Aby Wolf with Josh Granowski
Free and open to the public
SSCA Gallery hosts this special solo exhibition from March 6 - April 4

J. M. Culver's first solo exhibition *Conjured Memories *is a series of
narrative work that depicts childhood memories integrating universal
themes of the human condition; a celebration of life at its darkest and
brightest points. J. M. Culver narrates her experience of growing up with
a schizophrenic grandfather and the impact of this relationship.

*Conjured Memories *is a series of life size drawings that provokes the
senses with memorable imagery and inspires the mind inviting the viewer to
an unforgettable emotional and thoughtful experience.

Each drawing is a story in itself, assembled in expressive layers of
charcoal and acrylic and rich details, capturing human expression and the
moment of memory with sweetness and distress. Built into the narrative are
familiar characters, such as Pinocchio, that represent the duality of the
real and artificial self and the innocence of childhood.

With *Conjured Memories*, J. M. Culver achieves with great skill the
immediate and intimate experience of childhood and the tangible expression
of memory, sharing an honest and dignified human experience that we all
can relate to.

Originally from North Carolina, J. M. Culver relocated to Minneapolis a
decade ago to attend Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Since
attaining her BFA in Painting, she works full time in her studio and plans
attending graduate school and opening her own gallery to exclusively
feature figurative artwork.

SSCA Gallery (Stevens Square Center for the Arts) is privileged to host
this important solo exhibition of life size drawings by emerging
figurative artist J. M. Culver.  A special live performance by ambient
vocalist Aby Wolf (named 2009 Best Female Vocalist by City Pages) with
upright bassist Josh Granowski compliments the opening reception March 6.

J. M. Culver can be contacted directly at info [at] and

A free opening night reception for Conjured Memories, featuring music by
Aby Wolf and Josh Granowski, will be held on March 6, 2010, at SSCA Gallery,
from 7-11 pm.

Stevens Square Center for the Arts *is located:
1905 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN, 55404
This event is free, and open to the public.

--------12 of 17--------

From: Cam Gordon <camgordon333 [at]>
Subject: Performance Review of the Police Chief on the Safe City

I thought you might be interested in this.  I used it to inform my vote
yesterday opposing the reappointment of the Chief.

Performance Review of the Police Chief on the "Safe City Resolution,"
2006R-542, Endorsing a leadership and accountability framework for
ensuring Minneapolis is a Safe Place to Call Home.

By Cam Gordon, Council Member, Second Ward

When the City Council approved Mayor Rybak's appointment of Timothy Dolan
as Chief of Police in 2006, we unanimously passed a "Safe City
Resolution," laying out an accountability framework for the new Chief.  I
committed myself to "evaluate the performance of the Chief of Police"
based on the following ten key indicators.  I took this commitment
seriously, have tracked the performance of the Police Department on these
indicators over the last three years, and will base my decision on whether
or not to reappoint the Chief in large part on these indicators.  Below
are my own personal assessments of the Police Department's and Police
Chief's performance on each indicator.

1)  Incorporate the City's strategies of "Guns, Gangs, Graffiti Gone"
and "Crime Reduction: Community Policing, Accountability & Partnership;"
into the Department's five-year business plan.

Assessment: Good.  These strategies have been incorporated into the
Department's business plans.

2)  Commit to working collaboratively with the Civilian Review Authority
(CRA) to reach a shared goal of 100% MPD discipline of sustained CRA
complaints and report jointly to the Council on a quarterly basis the
number of IA and CRA complaints received, sustained, and the level of
discipline imposed.

Assessment: Unacceptable.  In February of 2006 the City Council created a
work group that included 6 Council Members, a Policy Aide to the Mayor,
the Interim Director of the Civil Rights Department, the CRA Manager, the
Deputy City Attorney, the CRA Board Chair, the city's Chief Labor
Negotiator, a representative from the Minneapolis Police Federation and
the Assistant Police Chief.  The Civilian Review Authority (CRA) Working
Group was established to address the recommendations in the report, A
Study of the Policy and Process of the Minneapolis Civilian Police Review
Authority. The Working Group met 15 times from mid-April through August
2006, and held two sessions for public comment. The group made significant
and substantial improvements to the CRA practices, to its relationship to
the Police Department and to the CRA ordinance itself. It clearly outlined
a path for a more successful and effective Civilian Review Authority that
was committed to and dependent on collaboration with the Police Chief and
the Department.

Regrettably, the most recent CRA report [see ** below] makes very clear
that the shared goal of 100% MPD discipline of sustained CRA complaints
has not been met, and that the responsibility lies with the Chief.

In fact, the discipline rate has been unacceptably low.  The case has been
made by the Chief that this is due to a number of complaints having been
"beyond the reckoning period," but this strikes me as a confusing and
inadequate response.  The MPD Complaint Process Manual defines the
"reckoning period" as:

"The period of time in which a previous infraction may be considered for
increasing discipline in a current disciplinary action.  Also, if a
complaint if filed on an employee and the reckoning period for the
complaint would already be expired even if the complaint was sustained,
the Internal Affairs Unit will not open a formal case on the matter. The
complaint will be closed as a preliminary case with the notation
"reckoning period expired prior to complaint being filed". The reckoning
period is set by the Minneapolis Police Department."

There are major problems with using the reckoning period as a reason to
not discipline CRA complaints:

1)  the purpose of the reckoning period is not to be a "statute of
limitations" on infractions, but a period for which a previous infraction
may increase the penalty for a subsequent infraction 2)  the CRA ordinance
does not authorize the Chief to refuse to discipline based on the
reckoning period and in fact makes no mention of it whatsoever 3)  the
fact that the reckoning period is used to guide the decision about whether
or not IAU would open a formal case on a given complaint has no bearing on
the Chief's responsibilities under the CRA ordinance for dealing with
complaints that have been investigated and sustained by the CRA

If the Police Chief had followed the recommendations of the CRA work group
in a timely and effective manner, and more carefully followed the
procedures outlined in the amended CRA ordinance, we could be celebrating
a new level of trust and confidence in the department today.  Instead, the
City's network of Police oversight and the effectiveness of Civilian
Review Authority appear to be as ineffective and disregarded by the
department as it was prior to the enormous investment of resources put to
reforming it in 2006.

In the final analysis I have concluded that the Chief's performance on
this measure has been unacceptably poor.

3)  Review and report findings and recommendations to Public Safety &
Regulatory Services regarding the MPD's early warning system to ensure it
reflects best practices for identifying officers who may be having
problems on the job, intervention systems for those officers, and
post-intervention monitoring of identified officers. This early warning
system should centralize data from a range of performance criteria that
includes but is not limited to resident complaints.

Assessment: Unsatisfactory.  According to the Chief's own documentation,
this system is still being developed, three years after the Safe City
Resolution was adopted.  The Chief's response refers to working on this
system for the past two years, which begs the question: why did MPD wait
for a year after the adoption of the Safe City Resolution to start work on
this system?

4)  Adhere to the Council-adopted plans to diversify the MPD workforce
through hiring, promotion and appointment, and retention policies,
including as described in the Federal Mediation Agreement.

Assessment: Fair.  The MPD is now more diverse than it has ever been, as a
result of major recent increases in the diversity of recruits.

However, there are still concerns in the Department about promotions and
how the Chief has anticipated, handled and faced these issues head on. The
actions, or lack of actions, that necessitated that the City pay out a
$740,000 settlement to a group of Black officers who sued over
discrimination in promotion is a case in point.  It is clear that much
work has been done here but more work must be done to ensure that officers
of color, once they are recruited and hired, are given fair promotion

5)  Commit to end racial profiling as described by the Federal Mediation
Agreement by continuing to collect data, adopt explicit policy and
procedure to end racial profiling, provide anti-racism training for
officers, and set goals for racial profiling tracking and reduction which
shall be reported to Public Safety & Regulatory Services.

Assessment: Fair.  Explicit policy on ending racial profiling has been
adopted.  Goals for racial profiling tracking and reduction have not been
communicated to a Council committee.

6)  Implement a community policing plan and set long-term policy and
practice changes to improve police-community relations with all
communities, which includes working with the Council and Mayor to
determine funding for the plan and presenting periodic reports on the plan
to Public Safety & Regulatory Services.

Assessment: Fair.  We have made significant strides in this area. The
designation of Sector Lieutenants and liaison officers to serve particular
communities has helped.  Neighborhood policing plans have been created,
although the resident often don't know about, feel their input is valued
or embrace these as fully as they could.  In many cases, these plans are
written not by or in coordination with neighborhood stakeholders, but by
MPD employees.  The plans do not yet have a significant impact on the
allocation of MPD resources.

Additionally work that MPD is doing to improve relations with some
communities, including work with ex-offenders and specific outreach to
East African youth is commendable.

However, there have been some actions taken by the Chief have sent the
wrong message and have worsened the relationships with some communities of
color, This includes the decision to award the officer who shot a young
person and the officers who opened fire in the home of an innocent Hmong
family, without the appropriate level of sensitivity about how this could
be interpreted.  These missteps have contributed to a growing, not
diminishing, gap between these communities and the MPD and City as a

7)  Adopt department performance measures and outcomes that aren't solely
about crime rates and reflect these in the Department's business plan.
Such performance measures should include: - Case clearance rate goals -
Arrest rate goals - Goals for number of cases charged - Develop
performance measures to improve city and neighborhood livability as it
relates to crime

Assessment: Good.  These measures have been included in Results
Minneapolis reporting.

8)  Utilize, evaluate, and improve risk management practices to reduce
city liability for police misconduct and other issues.

Assessment: Unacceptable.  According to Finance Department documents, the
MPD has paid out $8,738,999.37 since 1/07.  This averages out to
$2,912,999.79, which is a substantial increase from the historical yearly
average of $1,848,672.75 in the 2003-2006 period.  The Chief's claim that
"[t]he department has reduced payments in settlements and lawsuits during
the last three years" is therefore demonstrably and clearly false.

The Department may argue that not all of the incidents for which payouts
occurred in the 2007-2009 period occurred since Chief Dolan became interim
Chief.  This is true.  Only $889,163.12 has been paid out based on
incidents since he became interim Chief.  However, there are clearly
incidents that have occurred on his watch that have not yet resulted in a
settlement as well.  From the data we have to base a judgment on, the
Department has not made any significant progress on this indicator.

The Chief notes that "[t]he Early Intervention System discussed earlier is
also an effort to identify and reduce problematic actions by employees at
an early stage," in an attempt to control liability.  However, as noted
above, this system is not yet operational, three years after the Council
identified it as a performance measure for the Chief.

9)  Complete all items in the Federal Mediation Agreement and continue to
provide regularly scheduled progress reports to Public Safety & Regulatory
Services Committee.

Assessment: Unsatisfactory.  Not all items in the Federal Mediation
Agreement have been completed.  Depending on whether one uses the
Department's tally or the community's tally, either 16 or 55 of 119 items
remain unresolved.  Since the agreement was allowed to end there appears
to be no effort to monitor or complete the remaining items.

10) Honor the Chief's commitment to ongoing communication with the
Minneapolis City Council by attending the Public Safety and Regulatory
Safety Committee as able and requested.

Assessment: Unsatisfactory.  The Chief has displayed a willingness to come
before Council committees and engage in constructive dialogue.  However,
MPD has not complied with a number of staff directions and requests from
the Council.  On several occasions, MPD has responded late or not at all
to a Council committee direction or request.  Examples include:

- On April 1, 2009, the PS&RS committee directed MPD to "report back to
PS&RS no later than July 22nd with a report on the current procedure for
changing the Police Policy and Procedure Manual; and propose a process for
including input from the City Attorney's Office, Police Federation, MPD
Staff, the Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Board, City Council and
Mayor's Office." MPD reported back not on 7/22/09, but on 9/2/09, and the
report was not responsive to the committee's direction, as it did not
include a proposed process for including input from the listed

- On September 11, 2008, Mayor Rybak and Council President Johnson
requested by letter that the MPD "Conduct an After Action Review and
produce a report on the RNC, to be completed by the end of October 2008
and provided to the Mayor and Public Safety and Regulatory Services
Committee.  This report will focus on the major incidents that occurred in
Minneapolis:  the Critical Mass Ride, the Media Party, the Liberty Parade,
and the Rage against the Machine Concert.  It will also evaluate how
downtown security worked overall.  It will evaluate how well operations
and training protocols were implemented, identify what worked and what did
not, and recommend if necessary any policy changes." [Emphasis added]. MPD
has not complied with this request.  The After Action Review has never
been presented to the PS&RS committee, and was made available to committee
members only after repeated requests.

- In January, 2009, the PS&RS committee directed MPD to "report back at
the February 25th PS&RS Meeting with an update, and then on a quarterly
basis, on progress made toward implementing the 28 Police Executive
Research Forum recommendations and to track progress toward implementation
through Results Minneapolis." This report was not presented on 2/25/09,
but more than a month later on 4/1/09.  Quarterly reports have not been
made to committee on "progress made toward implementing the 28 Police
Executive Research Forum recommendations."

- On July 25, 2007, PS&RS directed MPD to "explore the creation of a 'Bait
Bicycle' program to catch and deter bicycle thieves in the City of
Minneapolis, with a report back to the PS&RS Committee in no less than two
months with an analysis of the costs involved in such a program and
recommendations for Council action." No report on a bait bicycle program
has ever been presented to a Council committee featuring "an analysis of
the costs involved in such a program and recommendations for Council

--end Gordon--

The "CRA Participation in Performance Review of MPD Chief Dolan" is at:


Mpls citizens!

1. Call or email your council member - ASAP and before 3.12 - and urge
them to vote AGAINST DOLAN for reappointment!:

Kevin Reich, Ward 1   kevin.reich [at]
Cam Gordon, Ward 2   cam.gordon [at]
Diane Hofstede, Ward 3   diane.hofstede [at]
Barb Johnson, Ward 4   barbara.johnson [at]
Don Samuels, Ward 5   don.samuels [at]
Robert Lilligren, Ward 6   robert.lilligren [at]
Lisa Goodman, Ward 7   lisa.goodman [at]
Elizabeth Glidden, Ward 8   elizabeth.glidden [at]
Gary Schiff, Ward 9   gary.schiff [at]
Meg Tuthill, Ward 10   meg.tuthill [at]
John Quincy, Ward 11   john.quincy [at]
Sandra Colvin Roy, Ward 12   sandra.colvin.roy [at]
Betsy Hodges, Ward 13   betsy.hodges [at]

Phone number for all is 612-673-22xx   where xx is the Ward number,
examples:  Keven Reich 612-673-2201,   Betsy Hodges 612-673-2213

2. Come to the special CUAPB meeting this Saturday - see item 9.

3. See news sources:

From: Tom Cleland <tomcleland [at]>
Subject: We made the news

KSTP-TV: Public hearing includes criticism, praise for MPD chief

MPR: Dolan reappointment moves forward after public hearing

--------13 of 17--------

From: Danene Provencher PRO826 [at]
Subject: Nuke bill S.F. 355 defeated in Senate Committee

A key vote on the future of expanded nuclear power in Minnesota has been
put on hold. A senate committee tabled discussion about a plan to lift
the moratorium on new nuclear power in the state - WCCO

Read more here:

Bill To Lift Minn. Nuclear Plant Ban Put On Hold -

Here's the video on today's committee hearing:
Minnesota Senate

We Won This Round!
Thank you for those who made the calls,


--------14 of 17--------

From: Jeanne Weigum <JW [at]>
Subject: Purchase a tree for yourself or a park in Ramsey County

2010 Tree Sale Underway

The annual tree sale by Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and
Ramsey County is underway.  There are great prices on trees and shrubs for
planting in private yards, or to donate to parks.  Check our web site for
communities which accept our trees for their parks.

This year's sale includes:

TREES: Autumn Blaze Maple; Bicolor White Oak; Black Hills Spruce; Pagoda
Dogwood; Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn; Mount Royal Plum; Honeycrisp Apple.

SHRUBS:  Arrowwood Viburnum; Little Lamb Hydrangea; Blue Velvet Hypericum;
Miss Canada Lilac; Hope for Humanity Rose.

VINE:  Wisteria Aunt Dee.

Prices range from $15.00 to $45.00.  Prepaid orders are taken until April
17.  Trees are picked up on Saturday, May 1, at either the Highland Park
Picnic pavilion. 1200 Montreal Ave., or the Ramsey County Parks office, 2015
No. Van Dyke, Maplewood.  Park systems pick up and plant donated trees.
Consult our website; for more information, or call

--------15 of 17--------

Going Nowhere
Is the Recovery Real?
March 4, 2010

Happy news! The government has come up with a 5.9 percent GDP growth rate
in the fourth quarter of 2009. The recession is over.

Or is it? Statistician John Williams has informed us that 69 percent of
this growth, or 4.1 percentage points, is the result of inventory
accumulation. That leaves a 1.8 percent growth rate, and the 1.8 percent
is likely due to the underestimate of inflation and other statistical

The Federal Reserve's own monetary evidence contradicts the recovery
assurances from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. The Federal Reserve continues
to pour massive reserves into the banks. The monetary base, which consists
of currency in circulation and bank reserves (the basis for new loans),
has surged from $850 billion in 2009 to $2.2 trillion on February 24.

Despite this potential for massive new money creation, the broadest
measure of money growth is still contracting. The banks are too impaired
and so are consumers for the banks to create new money by making loans.

The economy, in other words, is going nowhere.

As I have emphasized for years, an economy that moves its high
productivity, high value-added jobs offshore is going nowhere but down.
Except for the super-rich, there has been no growth in people's incomes
for a decade. To substitute for the missing income growth, consumers took
on more debt. The growth in consumer debt kept the economy going. However,
most consumers have now reached their maximum debt load, and millions went
beyond their limit, resulting in foreclosures and lost homes.

There are no jobs to which people can be called back to work. The jobs
have been given to the Chinese and Indians.

The economy is set for a "double-dip," that is, renewed decline. This, of
course, means larger federal, state, and local budget deficits. The U.S.
federal deficit is now so large that it can no longer be financed by the
trade surpluses of China, Japan, and OPEC.

Currently the deficit is being financed by deterioration in the Federal
Reserve's balance sheet. The Fed is creating new reserves for the banks
(thus the surge in the monetary base) in exchange for the bank's toxic
financial instruments. The banks are using the reserves to purchase
Treasury debt instead of making new loans. This makes money for the banks,
but does not grow the economy or create jobs for the millions of

According to reports, recent auctions of Treasury debt have not gone well.
China, America's biggest creditor, has reduced its participation and is
even selling some of its existing holdings. Whenever all of a new Treasury
debt offering is not taken, the Federal Reserve buys the remainder. This
results in debt monetization. The Fed pays for the bonds by creating new
checking accounts for the Treasury, in other words, by printing money.

On February 24, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that the U.S.
faced a serious debt crisis and that the Fed was not going to print money
in order to pay the government's bills. In fact, Bernanke would have no
choice but to print money.

Bernanke's warning to Congress is his way of adding Federal Reserve
pressure to that of Wall Street and former Treasury Secretary Paulson for
Congress to balance the budget by gutting Social Security and Medicare. In
case you haven't noticed, no one in Washington or New York talks about
cutting trillion dollar wars or trillion dollar handouts to rich bankers.
They only talk about taking things away from little people. It is not the
Bush/Cheney, Obama, neocon wars that are in the cross hairs; it is Social
Security and Medicare.

Other Obama economic officials, such as White House economist Larry
Summers, a former Treasury secretary, have called for a middle class tax
increase. The problem with this "solution" is that a good part of the
middle class is now jobless and homeless.

Money will have to be found somewhere if the Fed is to avoid printing it.
During the Clinton administration a Treasury official proposed a 15
percent capital levy on all private pensions to make up for their tax
deferral status. This idea didn't fly, but today a desperate government,
which has wasted $3 trillion invading countries that pose no danger to the
U.S. and wasted more trillions of dollars combatting a crisis brought on
by the government's failure to regulate the financial sector, is likely to
steal people's pensions as well as to gut Social Security and Medicare.

The reason is that the dollar's role as reserve currency is at stake. If
the Federal Reserve has to monetize the federal deficit, the world will
turn its back on a rapidly depreciating dollar. The minute the dollar
loses the reserve currency role, the U.S. can no longer pay its bills in
its own currency, and its days as a superpower come to a sudden end. Wars
can't be financed, and Washington's pursuit of world hegemony will hit a
brick wall.

The power-mad denizens of DC will do anything to further the expansion of
their world empire.

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]

--------16 of 17---------

The Power of Private Monopolies
Who Runs America?
March 4, 2010

Although some Americans worry about the growing power of the government,
few understand the real power that controls their everyday lives.

Private monopolies determine the brand of breakfast cereal we eat, the
type of car we drive, where we bank, the medical treatment we receive, the
fashion of our clothes, and the kind of toothbrush we use, in addition to
the beer we drink, the health insurance we buy, and what we feed our pets.

Under the guise of "the free market," conglomerates merged and bought up
smaller companies, until, today, they dominate their respective markets in
every commodity offered for sale in the U.S.

In this race to consolidate, companies "rationalized" their offerings, in
many cases dropping up to 40 percent of what they formerly produced. They
buy from the same suppliers, use interchangeable parts and common
ingredients, and re-name similar brands, essentially placing the same
product in different packages. For example, one company produces all of
the pet food under 150 different brands.

"People say we have an uncontrolled free market but we have the opposite,"
says Barry C. Lynn, senior fellow at the New American Foundation. "What we
have today is a laissez faire American version of feudalism; a private
government in the form of private corporations run by private individuals
who consolidated power to govern entire activities within our political

In a new book, "Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and The Economics of
Destruction," Lynn describes the many past struggles in America between
small elite oligarchies and democratic government. Throughout our history,
Americans have beaten back the attempts of monopolies to control various

The Boston Tea Party fought to overturn monopolization of commerce by the
private British East India Company. Alexander Hamilton's attempt to help
his friends out with the whiskey tax, led to the Whiskey Rebellion. People
acting through government prevented a small elite from controlling our
railroads, steel mills, the oil industry and other concentrations of

"In the case of railroads, people realized they could consolidate power
discriminating against some companies by charging them higher rates and
stripping them of cash," says Lynn. "The American people then decided that
if you had a monopoly hauling goods, you have to charge everyone the same
rate. We used our government to keep them from consolidating political and
economic power."

According to Lynn's research, early Americans made decisions to balance
power between farmers, consumers and the market itself. This is why we
created "open and public markets." Labor, managers, engineers,
shareholders, and local communities ran our corporations, which are social

The ultimate function of a well-regulated open-market system is not to
ensure an 'efficient' distribution of resources, but "to reveal, harness,
and direct power within a society in order to ensure the widest possible
distribution of political freedom and the greatest possible degree of
political and economic stability," says Lynn.

With the election of Ronald Reagan, Conservatives redefined "free
enterprise" to mean the unfettered power of an individual to amass as much
wealth as possible, while liberals sought to use planning and efficiency
to lower costs, even if it resulted in the loss of some economic freedom.
Using theories developed by Chicago School of Economics leaders such as
Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan, Reagan directed the Justice Department
to base anti-trust decisions on a vision of efficiency as measured solely
by lowered costs.

"Before Ronald Reagan we accepted inefficiencies to protect a free
political system," says Lynn. "In 1981, we changed laws to a consumer
welfare test, measured by price and economies of scale; hence, any
consolidation can appear to promote the welfare of the consumer. Unlimited
growth was made acceptable. This was a revolutionary overthrow of our
antimonopoly laws."

Today libertarian think tanks such as the CATO Institute, serve as "the
vanguard of a neofeudalist movement" to attack democratic government. They
and other conservative propagandists have spent $30 billion in the past 30
years to promote their agenda and convince people that massive layoffs,
foreign competition, and higher prices are the result of "natural
free-market forces." Squeezed from all sides, some Americans react by
becoming corporate shock troops attacking their own government.

"Those who control our corporations managed an Orwellian achievement to
redefine the use of brute corporate force as 'market forces,'" says Lynn.
"We still believe in a consumer utopia, but we have an illusion of choice.
Corporate powers manipulate our decision-making and direct us to buy
certain goods at certain prices."

Institutional power shifted to Wall Street and large financial
institutions. Today a small elite runs corporations to serve themselves as
they concentrate their power. Some Americans are waking up to the reality
of their situation, but Congress lacks the will to regulate corporate

"If we choose to protect our republican way of government, which depends
on the separation of powers within our economy and our political
system-then we have only one choice, says Lynn. "We must restore antitrust
law to its central role in protecting our economic rights and breaking up
dangerous concentrations of power."

--------17 of 17--------

The Coming Conservative Takeover
Is Obama Already a Lame Duck?
March 2, 2010

Barack Obama's presidency is barely a year old, and the November mid-term
elections are still nine months away.  Yet despite the brave face worn by
the White House in recent weeks, Democrats are facing a disaster of
mounting proportions.  If current trends hold, they may well lose control
of the House of Representatives - a stunning collapse given their current
40 vote lead.   Even worse, what seemed like a near-impossibility just a
month ago - a GOP reconquest of the Senate - has become increasingly
"thinkable" also.  Political handicapper Charlie Cook, not one for
wild-eyed predictions, has identified 11 Democratic Senate seats
Republicans might win based on current polling.  If they win at least 10,
and also retain control of their current 41 Senate seats, which seems
likely, the Senate is theirs.

The White House, still obsessed with its manifestly unpopular health care
reform bill, is in a state of political denial so deep that not even
Senator Evan Bayh's (D-IN) shocking retirement two weeks ago - following
similar announcements by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Byron
Dorgan (D-ND) in recent months - has managed to pierce its defensive wall.

A growing number of critics are urging Obama to fire his top staff,
including White House advisor Rahm Emmanuel, whom they blame for the
health care debacle, and DNC chief Tim Kaine, who funded the Democrats'
failed election campaigns in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
Those failures have allowed Republicans to regain the political
initiative, and have caused deep disenchantment among House Democrats who
must now face the music with voters.   All 435 House seats are in
contention this fall, but at least 100 seats held by Democratic incumbents
are considered "competitive," sources say.

For all their recent posturing, Obama and his team know they're in
trouble.  But their reliance on legislative window-dressing - like the
proposed $15 billion "jobs" bill, which is anything but one, in fact -
suggests they continue to underestimate the depth and source of public
discontent.  The current conjuncture is reminiscent of two earlier
pendulum "swing" periods in American presidential politics.  Ronald Reagan
in 1982 and Bill Clinton 1994 both faced angry voters during mid-term
years and their respective parties lost control of one (Reagan) or both
(Clinton) legislative chambers.  Clinton was so chastened by his party's
defeat that he quickly tacked right, embraced welfare reform and NAFTA,
and drove a stake into the heart of American liberalism.

Obama is approaching his own Clinton-like crisis, but his predicament is
worse.  Most of the base groups that helped him win in 2008 - labor,
Latinos, peace activists, and most recently, environmentalists - feel
demoralized and betrayed.  Labor never got the "card check" legislation it
wanted, but Obama went ahead and signed three new free-trade deals that
lack the domestic worker protections he'd promised during the campaign.
Latinos who were hoping for serious action on immigration reform are also
bitterly disappointed.  First they were first promised reform during
Obama's first year in office; then, in 2010; now the issue appears to be
dead.  Obama has also caved into his generals on Afghanistan and backed
the right-wing golpistas in Honduras.  More recently, he broke a campaign
pledge by publicly embracing nuclear power.

Liberal base groups aren't ready to break with Obama - and Obama knows it.
But without their enthusiastic support - and money, especially labor's -
dozens of House Democratic candidates - and now, quite a few Senate
candidates - will have to fend for themselves.  Moreover, younger voters,
18-29 years of age, whose turnout made such a critical difference in 2008,
are fast cooling toward Obama, and won't show up in large numbers to vote
this fall, even if Obama asks them.

Of course, Obama is not the first Democratic president to disappoint
liberals.  But there's usually a pay-off for abandoning your base -
increased support from the center.  But independents, especially white
suburban voters, are abandoning Obama in droves.  In November 2008, Obama
enjoyed approval ratings of 70% or more, including 65% among independents.
But a poll conducted by Marist earlier this month found that Obama's
overall approval rating at the lowest of his presidency - 44% - with the
figure just 29% among independents.   Obama's personal popularity, or
"favorability" rating, among independents, is also slipping - to just 39%,
compared to 50% among the population at large.

There are two reasons why a Clinton-like shift to the center-right
probably won't help Obama.  First, the country is not in a "normal"
recession, or even a deep structural one of the kind that threatened
Reagan's presidency in 1982.   It's a borderline depression, and the
unofficial jobless rate, currently at 18-20% and getting worse, may not
improve substantially by 2012.  Reagan also faced double-digit
unemployment in 1982, but the official rate was back to 7% within a year.
Without such a quick turnaround, Democrat Walter Mondale, who was leading
Reagan in the polls throughout 1983, might have won the presidential
election in 1984.

Clinton, like Obama, also faced an economic slump early in his first term,
on top of a health care reform debacle.   But unlike Obama, he learned
from his mistake.  Clinton shelved health care reform and focused on
priming the economy, which recovered.  He then consolidated support from
independents, and like Reagan, went on to a landslide re-election.  The
longer Obama holds onto health care - on the desperate assumption that
passing anything is better than nothing - the more swing voters are likely
to punish him at the polls.

But it's not just the persistent recession - and health care reform -
that's hurting Obama.  The nation's politics are also in a deep funk - the
deepest since Watergate.  Confidence in the US Congress - and indeed in
any federal political institution save the military - is at an all-time
low.   A new mood of populist angst and disenchantment is sweeping much of
the country.

Symbolized by the sudden rise of the Tea Party movement, the new mood is
distinctly conservative, but still oddly non-partisan.  Despite receiving
early financial support from conservative interest groups, the Tea Party
it's not (yet) beholden to the GOP but is following a political dynamic
all its own.

The closest analogy - in spirit and substance - might be the populist
anti-establishment revolt led H. Ross Perot in 1992 that morphed into the
most successful independent presidential campaign in US history. Perot
shocked the American political establishment by running neck-and-neck in
the polls with Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, eight months before the
presidential election.  Then Perot stumbled, briefly pulled out of the
race, and urged his supporters to back Clinton, which they largely did.
Though Perot rejoined the race, he never recovered his earlier level of
support, but neither did Bush.

Republicans, perhaps mindful of the Perot "precedent," are desperately
trying to channel the grassroots energy of the Tea Party movement into
their own efforts to revitalize the GOP.  And so far, it's working. Sarah
Palin just headlined the national Tea Party Convention in Denver where she
extolled the movement's political independence but still urged its members
to work with the GOP.  Back in Washington, meanwhile, organizers of the
Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual conservative GOP
convocation, handed their podia over to Tea Party Senate primary
candidates in Arizona (J.D. Hayworth) and Florida (Marco Rubio).   Their
more well-known GOP opponents, John McCain and Charlie Crist, were
snubbed.  Some in the Tea Party are likely to resist a longer-term
marriage with the GOP - or with any party, for that matter - but the
foundation for a broad conservative "convergence" is now being laid.

There are other, equally disturbing, signs that a conservative sea-change
is underway that could threaten Democratic control not only of Congress,
but of the White House.  For example:

For the first time in years, major corporate funding is shifting away from
the Democrats and back to the GOP.  This means that the "smart" money is
no longer riding on Obama.  According to data from the Center for
Responsive Politics, a national watchdog group, the wealthy securities and
investment industry went from donating 2 to 1 to Democrats over
Republicans at the start of 2009 to a 50-50 distribution by the end of
last year.  Commercial banks, meanwhile, have returned to their
traditional tilt in favor of the GOP after a brief dalliance with
Democrats, giving nearly twice as much to Republicans during the last
three months of 2009.  Most of these shifts pre-date Obama's rhetorical
attacks on Wall Street, suggesting growing corporate doubts about Obama's

A new "think tank" - the American Action Foundation (AAF) - has emerged to
start churning out conservative policy dogma, much like the Heritage
Foundation did in the early 1980s to support the incoming Reagan
administration.  Fred Malek, a super-rich Texas Republican who helped
launch George W. Bush's presidential campaign, is providing most of AAF's
start-up funding.  Veteran GOP operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie are
spear-heading the group's political direction.  AAF plans to downplay the
right's social issues agenda while offering up "new" Republican approaches
to the economy that can keep the GOP  on a roll, eventually wooing
independents to a "center-right" presidential candidate like Mitt Romney
or Tim Pawlenty.

Dovetailing with these developments is the recent U.S. Supreme Court
decision on election financing that lifts the ban on massive corporate
funding of U.S. political campaigns.  Most of the new corporate-funded
candidates are likely to be either Republicans or ultra-conservative
Democrats, further marginalizing progressive ideas and voices.  By 2012,
the large money advantage that Obama and the Democrats enjoyed in 2008 -
largely through Internet fund-raising - will vanish.

In short, for all the talk of a shift in the nation's "zeitgeist" that
occurred in 2008, it's not clear that Obama and the Democrats will inherit
this shift.   With the left largely demobilized, passively awaiting
"friendly" executive action, the right has stepped into the political void
to co-opt the "change" mantle, while casting Obama and the Democrats as
agents of the status-quo.

If the liberal-left were less wedded to Obama, and to "statist" politics
generally, it might be possible to enjoin the Tea party in a broader
debate about the current crisis in US politics - its sources, and possible
solutions.  Instead, the Tea Party's growing "convergence" with the GOP is
eerily reminiscent of the way the 1980s New Right, libertarian Republicans
and neo-conservative Democrats joined forces to sweep Ronald Reagan to

The Right still lacks a compelling Reagan-like figure - and an
over-arching political agenda - to compete with Obama in 2012.   But if
current trends hold, that may be only a matter of time.   In a recent
Gallup poll, 73% of respondents said the country was "moving in the wrong
direction" - a sentiment that just two years ago helped catapult Obama to
the presidency.   In the same poll, a "generic" GOP candidate - in effect,
any Republican - was viewed as a more attractive presidential candidate
than Obama.  In fact, 52% of the country - including a growing percentage
of Democrats - now says Obama "doesn't deserve" to be re-elected.

Stewart J. Lawrence is a Washington, DC-based immigration policy
specialist.  He can be reached at stewartlawrence81147 [at]


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