Progressive Calendar 04.05.10
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2010 14:55:42 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   04.05.10

1. Peace walk        4.05 6pm RiverFalls WI
2. Uhcan-mn          4.05 7pm
3. Powerlines        4.05/06 7pm
4. Dakota solidarity 4.05 7pm
5. V tea party rally 4.05 7pm
6. Concert/peace     4.05 7:30pm

7. US imperialism    4.06 5pm
8. Red Tail/film     4.06 6:30pm
9. Urban water/land  4.06 7pm
10. Plastic/film     4.06 7pm
11. Amnesty Intl     4.06 7pm

12. Missy Beattie  - Enough, Madeleine K Albright
13. David Rovics   - How to light a prairie fire
14. Maidhc Cathail - Who's afraid of 9/11 conspiracy theories?
15. Ralph Nader    - A win for whistle blowers

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From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 4.05 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022


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From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org>
Subject: uhcan-mn 4.05 7pm

Next Universal Health Care Action Network of MN (UHCAN-MN) organizing
meeting.
Monday April 5, 7pm
Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S., Mpls,(1 block from Lake str and
Bloomington Ave. Lower-Level Gallery

Items:Revisit: 501c3 status update;need website mgr;GAMC as wedge issue
for SP ?
1.Reportback of KFAI radio from April 4 of UHCAN-MN in-depth analysis of
Federal HC legislation and where do we go from here ?
2.View new short HC film by Rebecca Riley of UHCAN-MN
3.plan next action at upcoming United Health Group Annual Stockholder mtg
4.plan for upcoming tabling,marching at spring,summer parades, festivals
other items ?


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From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
From: Schiff, Gary <Gary.Schiff [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Subject: Powerlines 4.05/06 7pm

A public hearing will be held Monday, April 5th and Tuesday, April 6th
regarding Xcel Energy's proposed placement
<http://www.xcelenergy.com/Minnesota/Company/Transmission/Transmission%20Projects/Pages/HiawathaProject.aspx>
of high voltage transmission lines over the Midtown Greenway. The hearings
will take place at Plaza Verde, 1516 East Lake Street, Minneapolis . Two
opportunities to provide input will take place each day, first starting at
2:00 p.m. and resuming later each day at 7:00 p.m.

"This will be the last public hearing before the administrative law judge
makes her recommendations to the Public Utilities Commission," Council
Member Gary Schiff said. "The judge will make a recommendation on the
location of the substations, where the line should be, and whether or not
Xcel should be required to bury it. I encourage everybody concerned about
the impact of high voltage transmission lines in the Greenway to take this
opportunity to share their thoughts directly with the judge."

The City of Minneapolis passed a resolution
<http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2009-meetings/20090206/docs/Xcel-Resl.pdf>
in February 2009 calling on Xcel to bury the lines below 28th Street.
"Neighborhoods made it clear this power line will scar the Midtown
Greenway damaging real estate values and harming future investment in the
corridor," said Council Member Gary Schiff. Numerous neighborhood groups,
including the Midtown Greenway Coalition
<http://www.midtowngreenway.org/XcelEnergyGridExpansion.html> have passed
resolutions opposing the power lines.

Each person who wishes to speak will be allotted 10 minutes. Later this
summer, Judge Beverly Heydinger will make her recommendations to the
Public Utilities Commission.  The PUC will ultimately decide where the
power lines will be located, whether or not they will be buried, and any
required mitigation.

People who cannot attend the hearing may also submit written testimony by
email, fax, or regular mail. Written public comments concerning the
proposed alternatives must be received by 4:30 p.m. on May 11, 2010. They
can be sent to: routecomments.oah [at] state.mn.us
<mailto:routecomments.oah [at] state.mn.us> or to Beverly Jones Heydinger,
Administrative Law Judge, P.O. Box 64620, 600 North Robert Street, Saint
Paul, MN 55164-0620 or faxed to (651) 361-7936.


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From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at] hammclinic.org>
From: Eric Angell [mailto:eric-angell [at] riseup.net]
Subject: Dakota solidarity 4.05 7pm

"Unsettling Ourselves"
participate in a unique discussion group opportunity: St. Paul group
focusing on Dakota solidarity while deconstructing colonial mentalities in
Dakota homeland!

in ST. PAUL:
- The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Mondays, April - June, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
- The side-room of Cahoots Coffee Bar, 1562 Selby Ave

This course is designed to create community, education, and organized
networks for non-Dakota allies to act in solidarity with upcoming Dakota
decolonization struggles. We will listen to the desires, demands,
knowledge and goals of Dakota community members struggling for liberation
and decolonization. We will educate ourselves about Dakota perspectives on
"minnesotan" history, de/colonization & liberation, white &
settler/colonizer privilege, solidarity politics, and racism, through
carefully chosen texts and group discussion.

Together, we will build a collective knowledge base that centers
decolonization within our ideas of anti-oppression.

Dakota traditional knowledge and spirituality will not be shared and this
is not a space for non-Dakota people to seek appropriation of Dakota
culture or an "in" to spiritual practices. Cultural appropriation will be
discussed & confronted as an act of colonization. For white people in the
class, acknowledgment, commitment, and vulnerability to confronting white
& colonizer privilege, as well as working to transform feelings of guilt
into action towards decolonization will be crucial and necessary personal
work required. The end goal is to create active ally solidarity networks
that can be mobilized when need be -- in answer to Dakota calls for
solidarity from non-Dakota folks, based on direct communication with and
knowledge of Dakota desires. Class members will be asked to act not as
individuals, but as members of their own communities-to act within their
networks to further spread knowledge and mobilize solidarity.

*facilitated by members of Unsettling Minnesota*

Unsettling Minnesota is a collective of non-Dakota people working in
solidarity towards decolonization in Dakota homelands.  To learn more,
please visit: www.unsettlingminnesota.org, or sign up at: www.excotc.org


--------5 of 15--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
from Teddy S tyimenu2007 [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Vs tea party rally 4.05 7pm

EMERGENCY MEETING TONIGHT MONDAY APRIL 5 AT 7PM at the Global Market in
Midtown(Lake St and Elliot Ave - Old Sears Tower building MEET AT SEATING
AREA BY MAPPS CAFE AND LA LOMA to plan a counter-protest to the Tea Party
rally that's being organized this Thursday, April 8th at 9:30am at the
State Capitol. This is part of their national "Tea Party
ExpressTour"(http://www.teapartyexpress.org/tour-shedule-3/minneapolis-mn).

Although Sarah Palin won't be at this specific event, she will be here at
a GOP rally Wed. Apr.7, noon at the Convention center - so we could try to
get folks out to both events if that's feasible.

We should capitalize on their visit here to show that the left and
activists who put ordinary people first against big business and their
government will respond and won't take this lying down.

Obviously a lot of folks are angry and frustrated about all the crises
that are coming down on us and the fact that the only thing that's getting
real play in the media as any sort of "grass roots" expression is a
rightwing reactionary protest movement that is being encouraged by the
most right wing hacks in the GOP and with the Democrats' failure to put up
any response to this phenomena.

I think if we can pull off a relatively simple counter protest rally with
a good pitch we can really get a good response because people are waiting
for a way to hit back at Sarah Palin's and the right wing noise machine's
reactionary politics.

So come to the Midtown Global Market at 7pm on Monday and lets try and put
something together. MEET AT SEaTING AREA BY MAPPS CAFE AND LA LOMA (there
are plenty of places to sit - we can find alternate spot if that won't
work - any confusion - call my number below)

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD TO OTHER KEY LEADING ACTIVISTS IN THE TWIN CITIES
AND INVITE THEM TO THE EMERGENCY MEETING.

In solidarity, Teddy Shibabaw Socialist Alternative - Twin Cities
612-807-3196


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From: Amy Storbakken <amystorbak [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Concert/peace 4.05 7:30pm

Voices for Peace benefit Concert for Nonviolent Peaceforce
Monday April 5 7;30 PM O'Shaughnessy Auditorium
at the College of St Catherine Randolf and Cleveland Ave, St Paul MN

Performances by Butch Thompson, Prudence Johnson, T Mychael Rambo, Pat
Donohue, Simone Perrin, Noah Brandow and choral ensemble Cantus

Tickets start at $21, ask for balcony seating price or main floor at $35
Balcony is closed but St Kate's has offered to honor balcony pricing

www.oshaughnessy.stkate.edu 651-690-6700 box office open 10am-5pm through
Friday, Sat 12-5, Monday 2-7:30pm


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

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: US imperialism 4.06 5pm

Dear St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 4/6 @ 5pm & midnight + Wed, 4/7, 10am
"US Imperialism and State Repression: Dhoruba Bin-Wahad (Pt. 2)"

Former Black Panther Party organizer and political prisoner Dhoruba
Bin-Wahad argues that real change comes from dissent outside of the
political system. Recognizing historic struggles against social injustice,
Dhoruba connects the US role as an empire abroad with state repression,
often in the form of laws, at home. (recorded in March @ Hamline
University)

PLUS:
"Reconsidering Copenhagen and International Development w/Walden Bello"

Dr. Walden Bello may be the foremost public intellectual on Asian
economics.  The Economist magazine has credited Bello with creating the
word "deglobalization", a concept that has put him in the front of a
global movement to reconsider our identity as citizen, not as consumer.
Bello opens by illuminating the backroom shenanigans at the COP 15
conference in Copenhagen.  Bello "credits" the US, Canada and China as the
main players in making last year's Copenhagen climate conference a
failure.  Bello particularly focuses on the narrative of China, which sees
itself as a developing country, yet is now the second largest economy in
the world.
(recorded in March @ the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs)


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From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Red Tail/film 4.06 6:30pm

Pax Conversational Salon: Documentary Screening: "Red Tail"
Tuesday, April 6, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 West
Seventh, St. Paul.

Melissa's father was a mechanic with Northwest Airlines and his job was
outsourced to China. The documentary film "Red Tail," follows Melissa and
her father (and family) to find the mechanic who got his job and what this
outsourcing means to everyone. Fascinating insight into the inner workings
of the global airline industry plus a new perspective on globalization and
the lives that hang in the balance. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call
651-227-3228.


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

From: Diane J. Peterson <birch7 [at] comcast.net>
From: Kathleen Schimke
Subject: Urban water/land 4.06 7pm

THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF MINNEAPOLIS and SPONSORS*
PRESENT A FREE PUBLIC FORUM
URBAN WATER and LAND USE
WHERE WATER GOES AFTER LEAVING YOUR YARD
Tuesday, April 6, 7 - 9 p.m.
Registration/exhibits @ 6:30 p.m.
Lake Harriet Methodist Church 4901 Chowen South, Minneapolis

This public forum, the second in a series of three concerned with
protecting our water, our health, and the environment, will discuss the
pollutants in our lakes and streams, how they get there, and what the
Clean Water Act is doing about it.

Presenters:
 Lois Eberhart, City of Minneapolis Water Resources Surface Water and
Sewers Administrator. Our watershed: source of pollutants and their entry
into lakes and streams; clean-up and control.
 Minnesota State Representative Jean Wagenius, Chair, Environment and
Natural Resources Financial Division.
 Land and Legacy Amendment: The Clean Water Act and its funding.
 The Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc Dance Group will honor the waters of the
world and their protection to realize balance and harmony of the
environment.

* League of Women Voters of Minnesota, Clean Water Action, Freshwater
Society, Healthy Legacy Coalition, Institute for Agriculture and Trade
Policy, Lake Harriet United Methodist Church Environmental Justice
Committee, Mayflower Congregational Church Earthwise Committee, Women's
Environmental Institute.


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

From: Curt McNamara <mcnam025 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Plastic/film 4.06 7pm

Apr. 6th
Addicted to Plastic: In this point-of-view documentary, we examine our
dependence on one of the most creative, and alternately toxic, man-made
substances on the planet: plastic. This film carries a hopeful message
about a pollutant that challenges all life, from in the sea, to on the
land, and even in the air we breathe.

Free, and are shown:
Tues. 7 p.m. in the Auditorium 150 at the Minneapolis College of Art and
Design, 2501 Stevens Ave. S. Minneapolis MN


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From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 4.06 7pm

Saint Cloud Area Amnesty International meets on Tuesday, April 6th, from
7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the St. Cloud Public Library, 1300 W. St. Germain,
Saint Cloud. For more information contact Jerry Dirks, 320-251-6491 or
jerry.dirks [at] gmail.com.


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

Beyond Creepy
Enough, MKA
By MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE
CounterPunch
April 2 - 4, 2010

Madeleine K. Albright, a member of the war criminals club, this week,
infringed on my cyberspace with repudiations directed at a political party
indistinguishable from what is supposed to be the opposition party and,
then, requested a donation? Her e-mail with the subject "Enough" is that,
and more.

"The Republican strategy of delay and obstruct is hurting America and our
standing in the world. It has to stop," wrote MKA. Many of you probably
received the same message from the 64th secretary of state. You know, the
Clintonite female-like object who said, when asked about the more than
500,000 Iraqi children dead from our sanctions, "It's a hard choice, but I
think, we think, it's worth it".

MKA continued her e-mail vitriol against Republicans, for being partisan,
"This is seriously undermining the President's ability to restore
America's leadership in the world . . . ."

No, MKA, Republicans, alone, aren't undermining Obama's ability to restore
America's leadership. Our leadership was ceded years ago with illegal,
immoral wars of choice in which millions have been murdered. I include
Iraqis, Afghans, and Pakistanis in the most recent ravages, along with our
own troops, killed by the perjurers who stoked the patriotism that sent so
many young men and women running to recruitment centers to enlist,
believing they were protecting our freedoms and spreading democracy.
Democrats share ownership of the deceit.

Last weekend, Obama skulked into Afghanistan. Doesn't seem that years of
war to make us safer have, uh, made us safer. Look at any airport, federal
building, or mass transit area where bomb-sniffing dogs patrol, and
black-suited, assault-rifle toting Rambos are ready to shoot you in the
head if you perspire too much or penetrate some imaginary or real
barricade. Obama's pep talk to the troops could have been a lip synching
of W's sermons. God bless America!

I can't help but think about a Rip Van Winkle character, awakening from
years of sleep into what is now a police state. "Huh, where am I? This
can't be real," he might say.

"Oh, Rip, it is. We rolled over, said uncle, scared dumb by color codes,
"attempted hijacker," and 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 and anesthetized ourselves with
displacement activities, called "Reality TV". I'd have to explain
September 11, 2001, of course, and its component--that we really don't
know what happened that day because a real investigation has been avoided.
National security, you know.

Back to MKA. Her e-mail continued with more condemnation of Republicans
for thwarting "our efforts to build a secure future based on the defense
of our interests . . . ." Ah, there's the crux - "our interests". That
would be power, oil, the Trans Caspian pipeline. We have to take what is
"ours" from the Caspian Sea and move it to friendly ports for use here at
home so we can continue the way of life to which we've become accustomed
and dependent. No sacrifices to modify the insatiable American appetite
for more, more, more. Even though so many, now, have less, less, less
because of the recession/depression that can be linked not just to
deregulation but, also, to war, war, war. We support the largest military
budget in the world while our infrastructure is as hazardous as our
for-profit healthcare which denies adequate or any coverage to segments of
our society who either die or go bankrupt simply trying to survive.

All of MKA's one-sided criticisms are theatrically absurd, but get a load
of this: The Republicans are undermining efforts to restore the rule of
law and respect for human rights. Gag. The highest levels of government in
this country have no respect for the rule of law or human rights. There
has been no accountability for those who manufactured evidence to destroy
the Middle East, its inhabitants, our troops and their families. We speak
loudly for human rights, demand them in other countries while making
laws--The Patriot Act--to deny them here at home. And what about the
torture endorsers, free, patted with an admonition of "poor judgment," and
employed, with very high salaries and benefits?

The hypocrisy of our leadership is unparalleled by anything but the
hypocrisy of former leadership.

Then, MKA said the "Democratic Party is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with
President Obama as he and his foreign policy team move America forward".
How many of you believe that our foreign policy is moving us anywhere but
down a depravity drain? A country can never move forward by committing
crimes against humanity. And we do this every single day--not just with
our conquest-oriented invasions and occupations but, also, with robotic,
unmanned aerial vehicles and weapons of mass destruction. Simply
acknowledge the evidence of an increased number of babies born in Iraq
with birth defects because of the banned-by-international-law armaments
we've used to "save" the people whose lives are meaningless to those who
lust for power. And acknowledge what is being done in our names.

The shame is overwhelming. It should be.

MKA wrapped up her plea for my donation with this: "President Obama is a
gifted and dedicated leader, but he cannot guide America boldly into the
future without the support of Democrats like you".

So, MKA, I have to tell you I am not a Democrat and that I disagree with
your assessment that Obama is guiding us forward. No one among the
mainstream scene is. Each is in the grasping, greedy hands of large
corporations that have more and more power while ordinary people have
none. This is why we're unsafe. This is why we are at the no-rights
precipice. And, MKA, you're one among many criminals. Remember the Iraqi
children. And your question to Colin Powell in 1993: "What's the point of
having this superb military you're always talking about, if we can't use
it?" This is repelling, repulsive, inhuman, and beyond creepy.

MKA, you personify/objectify what's wrong with our country.

To you, I say, "Enough".

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public
Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush
Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families
for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her
nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,'05, she
has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:
Missybeat [at] aol.com


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The Spell Can be Broken
How to Light a Prairie Fire
By DAVID ROVICS
CounterPunch
April 2 - 4, 2010

Here in the USA, millions of people are continuously losing their jobs and
not finding new ones, millions more are losing their homes, still more
millions are in prison for nothing more than self-medicating with drugs
that arbitrarily happen to be illegal and will be discriminated against as
felons for years to come. Tens of thousands are being shot to death every
year, there are massacres happening somewhere in the country every other
week or so, our Democrat-controlled government has just passed a health
care "reform" that is being praised by the corporations who bought the
government in the first place, we continue to spend as much on the
military as the entire rest of the world combined, and our military is
actively employed killing people in at least four different countries
while threatening to expand that number. The oil industry is making good
on their investments in the Congress and expanding off-shore drilling for
the first time in twenty years, while the nuclear industry is getting a
great bang for their Democratic buck and now has the chance to build new
nuclear reactors for the first time in the US in three decades.

Those of us who have woken up from our Obama-induced trance state or never
got hypnotized in the first place (because we're too busy being bombed by
drones, for example) are feeling frustrated. Some of us, certainly, are
venting that frustration in various constructive ways, but by and large
that old "silent majority" is being pretty silent. As I travel around the
country doing concerts people earnestly, often a bit desperately, wonder
aloud to me, what's it going to take to get people really riled up and
ready to do something about this situation? How much greater must the
divide between the rich and poor grow? How many more ecological disasters?
How much more climate change? How many more dead Muslims? Etc. People
start feeling bad about their fellow Americans - are they just sheep after
all?

Backing up a moment, the fact that people are asking the question "where
are my fellow outraged citizens' tells me that one important thing is
already understood, at least by most people who come to my shows - that
mass movements of outraged citizens (and other people) is what's needed in
order for real change to have a chance to occur. So then the question is,
what are the conditions that need to exist for this movement to coalesce?
If the situation is so bad for so many why is so little happening in
reaction?

This is, of course, one of those perennial questions that everyone who
yearns for a sane society is trying to answer. If there were a clear
recipe, if it were like baking a loaf of bread or something that would be
nice, but it's somewhat more complicated. If there's one thing I think
many people need to understand - and there are probably many things, but
if there's one thing that seems most relevant in what I get out of these
conversations I'm having with people all over the place, it is this:
sustained mass movements rarely happen unless many of the participants
believe they might win.

It seems especially worth noting given that in hindsight everything is a
bit less volatile - what's happened has happened. When you're there,
making history, everything is much less predictable. The rebels in the
Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 knew they were merely choosing the time and place of
their deaths, and they referred to each other as "the walking dead". They
are the exception, however, not the rule - most rebellions take place in
an atmosphere not just of need but of hope. The tens of thousands who went
to Spain in the 1930s were not just planning to become martyrs. They were
risking their lives, yes, but they thought that if enough of them joined
in, and perhaps if France or Britain helped out a little (they didn't),
they could defeat fascism in Spain. As for the thousands of brigadistas
who came from Germany and Italy, why did they not launch a rebellion
against fascism in Germany or Italy in 1936 rather than going to Spain to
fight German and Italian troops there? Because they thought in Spain they
might win, and they had already lost the fight in their home countries for
the time being, most of their comrades by then already dead or in prison
camps.

You can't organize workers to go out on strike if they think they'll
inevitably lose their jobs and get blacklisted - people are generally
willing to strike if they think there's at least a decent chance that some
of their grievances will be redressed. During the first two decades of the
twentieth century there were millions of people involved with a militant
labor movement that was ultimately crushed with the Palmer Raids and other
events following World War I. During the 1930s another massive wave of
labor organizing, this time resulting in lasting reforms to the capitalist
system. Why no huge strike wave in the 1920s? Were conditions so good for
workers then? No, there were other factors at play -  among them the sense
that victory was (or wasn't) possible.

The many thousands of people who were participating in the movement in
Tiananmen Square in 1989 were not planning on being massacred, they were
planning on bringing lasting change in China. The millions who poured into
the streets of Caracas after the coup against Chavez in Venezuela in 2002
were not planning on being massacred, either. They were planning on
bringing about the return of their president this way - and they were
successful. A year later millions of people pouring into the streets of
every city and many small towns in the US and around the world hoped
through these demonstrations they could affect Bush's foreign policy. If
they had known for sure before the fact how little impact this would have
on the US government most of them would probably have stayed at home.

Of course there are innumerable other factors involved with
movement-building - especially successful movement-building -- aside from
the existence of conditions people want to change and people having a
feeling of optimism about changing those conditions. I'll outline my take
on some of those factors, for what it's worth.

It seems to me the first thing people need is a sense of who is out there.
A heck of a lot of people in this country live in suburbs where they don't
know their neighbors and their main contact with the world is what they
see on TV, what they see out the window of their cars, and what they
experience at either of their two jobs. These people and people around the
country need to know that most of their fellow citizens are also unhappy
with the status quo - according to mainstream poll after poll it is clear
that most people think things like health care, housing and education
should be government priorities rather than oil drilling and
empire-building. Most people think action should be taken urgently to deal
with climate change.

First and foremost it is a battle for the hearts and minds of the people.
The ruling elite knows it, that's why they've bought up most of the
airwaves and won't even let Al-Jazeera on cable here. Successful social
movements have met this challenge in the past by creating their own media,
running their own educational institutions, summer camps, theaters, etc.
At the heart of successful social movements is a vibrant culture of
resistance, complete with a more sensible historical narrative, a vision
of a better society, and lots and lots of songs. There is a clear sense of
a larger community of like-minded people and a sense of being part of a
long and often successful history of social movements that have come
before us.

The movements that tend to succeed are also broad-based, inclusive, and
more or less democratically organized. There are commonly-held ideas about
tactics and strategies. Tactics tend to be militant and may often be
illegal, but are designed to build your support rather than to alienate
your supporters.

Naturally, the ruling elite, their lackeys in Congress and the White
House, bought and sold by the Fortune 500, will try to convince us that
raising money for political campaigns and then voting in rigged elections
is the way forward. (Either that or smashing the windows of your local
Starbucks.) They won't tell you that democracy doesn't happen that way.
Naturally, the ruling elite will have their own, much better-funded and
far more ubiquitous institutions of learning, their media, their outlets
of propaganda in Hollywood or Nashville.

But when people ask me whether I am hopeful in these dark times, my
answer, unequivocally, is yes. Perhaps partially because I take a long
view of history. But also because I am privy to a secret that is known
well to the powers-that-be: for all the wealth and power of the corporate
clique who are ruining the world for their private gain, they still
require the consent of the governed. They will throw us crumbs while they
rip us off and they will try to give us a false sense of security as we
race headlong towards the proverbial wall. But, to use a dangerous word,
there are basic truths on our side, and as someone said, ten minutes of
truth can counteract 24 hours of lies.

We live in a corporate-run empire, not a democratic republic, and there is
a mysterious thing that can happen when enough people who are being
adversely affected by this fact understand it and realize that they're not
alone. I was interviewing veteran organizer Leslie Cagan for my internet
radio show the other day, asking her about the police infiltrators
constantly trying to create divisions within activist groups. "They're
just people," she said. And just like us, they can make mistakes, and
regularly do.

What I'm trying to say is, sure, always question tactics, strategies and
visions. But whatever you do, ye fellow members of the choir, know your
history and don't give up. Know that as you're apparently spinning your
wheels, doing whatever things you do to try to organize, educate, agitate
or otherwise work to build the infrastructure of a future democratic
society, the darkest hour is often just before the dawn. At any moment,
apparently quite suddenly, the spell can be broken, and things can shift.
That another such moment is coming is certain. What we and our neighbors
will do with it is the question.

David Rovics is a singer-songwriter based in Portland, Oregon. For more
information about the Shell to Sea campaign go to www.shelltosea.com.


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

Who's Afraid of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories?
by Maidhc Cathail
April 3rd, 2010
Dissident Voice

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
 - Queen Gertrude, Hamlet

Whenever someone insists too strongly about something not being true, we
tend to suspect that maybe it is. In their denials of involvement in 9/11,
do Israel's apologists "protest too much"?

While it would take a small book to adequately document the Israeli
connection to 9/11 - as Antiwar.com editor Justin Raimondo has attempted
in The Terror Enigma - let us briefly recall some of the more intriguing
facts as reported in the mainstream media, involving dancing Israelis,
Odigo warnings, and Zim's timely move.

The story of the five Israelis who were seen celebrating and filming as
the Twin Towers burned and collapsed was investigated by Neil Mackay in
Scotland's Sunday Herald. The so-called "dancing Israelis" worked for
Urban Moving Systems, later deemed to be a Mossad front by the FBI.
Despite failing numerous polygraph tests, the young men were deported to
Israel two months later. Back home, several of the men appeared on a TV
chat show, in which one of them amazingly said, "Our purpose was to
document the event".

Two employees of Odigo, an Israeli instant messaging service, received
messages two hours before the World Trade Center attack on September 11
predicting the attack would happen, Ha'aretz reported.

Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co., part-owned by the Israeli government,
moved their North American headquarters from the 16th floor of the WTC to
Norfolk, Virginia one week before the 9/11 attacks, incurring a $50,000
fine for breaking its lease, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Despite being in the public domain, none of these relevant facts are
mentioned in the 9/11 Commission's 567-page report.

Moreover, Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission,
is concerned about the spread of such inconvenient facts to the wider
public. "Our worry," he says, "is when things become infectious.. [then]
this stuff can be deeply corrosive to public understanding. You can get
where the bacteria can sicken the larger body".

But was Zelikow speaking here as an American government official or as a
pro-Israeli insider?

In the same month that he authored the so-called "Bush Doctrine" of
preemptive war, which provided the justification for the 2003 invasion of
Iraq, Zelikow made this candid admission: "Why would Iraq attack America
or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real
threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 - it-s the threat against
Israel".

Yet, instead of investigating the Israeli connection, Zelikow used the
9/11 Commission to sell the Israeli-inspired Iraq war to the American
people.

Zelikow's "bacteria" quote is cited in a 2008 paper entitled "Conspiracy
Theories". Co-authored by Cass Sunstein, who currently heads President
Obama's White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the main
focus of the paper "involves conspiracy theories relating to terrorism,
especially theories that arise from and post-date the 9/11 attacks".

Rather than attempting to debunk such theories, Sunstein and Vermeule
claim that those who suspect Israeli involvement in 9/11 suffer from a
"crippled epistemology". This, the authors argue, is due to "a sharply
limited number of (relevant) informational sources". In other words, "they
know very few things, and what they know is wrong".

To counter these suspicions, Sunstein recommends "cognitive infiltration
of extremist groups, whereby government agents, or their allies (acting
either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will
undermine the crippled epistemology of those who subscribe to such
theories. They do so by planting doubts about the theories and stylized
facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial
cognitive diversity".

It could, of course, be argued that Sunstein's work also suffers from a
crippled epistemology - his research relies heavily on pro-Israeli
sources, most notably the notorious Islamophobe Daniel Pipes.

Pipes is a bit of an expert on conspiracy theories, having written two
books on the subject. "Conspiracism provides a key to understanding the
political culture of the Middle East," Pipes opines in The Hidden Hand:
Middle East Fears of Conspiracy. "It helps explain much of what would
otherwise seem illogical or implausible, including the region's record of
political extremism and volatility, its culture of violence, and its poor
record of modernization".

Like Sunstein, Pipes is concerned that many in the region suspect Israeli
involvement in 9/11. "The implications in the Middle East are quite
profound," Pipes told the LA-based Jewish Journal. "It's one more brick in
the edifice of fear and loathing of Israel and the Jews".

In the absence of a proper 9/11 investigation, there remains a broad range
of opinion about the precise nature of Israeli complicity. In The Terror
Enigma, Justin Raimondo tentatively concludes that the Israeli connection
to 9/11 amounts to "foreknowledge and passive collaboration with Bin
Laden's jihad". Other experts, such as Alan Sabrosky, are less
circumspect. Dr. Sabrosky, former director of studies of the Strategic
Studies Institute at the US Army War College, has recently stated that "it
is 100 percent certain that 9/11 was a Mossad operation. Period".

Either way, it's hardly surprising that some of the most obsessive critics
of 9/11 "conspiracy theories" have ties to Israel. If Americans ever find
out that their "staunchest ally" had anything to do with the mass murder
of their fellow citizens on September 11, 2001, the would-be conspiracy
debunkers have good reason to be afraid.

Maidhc  Cathail is a freelance writer. His work has been published by Al
Jazeera Magazine, Antiwar.com, Dissident Voice, Khaleej Times, Palestine
Chronicle and many other publications. Read other articles by Maidhc.


--------15 of 15--------

A Win for Whistle Blowers
by Ralph Nader
Monday, April 5, 2010
CommonDreams.org

Why would Pfizer, the world's largest drug company, so mistreat and
silence one of their top molecular biologists that a federal jury in
Connecticut awarded her $1.37 million in damages last week?

The unraveling answer promises to tear open the curtain covering hazards
confronting tens of thousands of scientists and assistants in corporate
and university labs doing genetic engineering work with viruses and
bacteria.

Becky McClain's lawsuit against Pfizer claimed that the company's
sloppiness in 2002-03 exposed her to an engineered form of the lentivirus,
a virus related to one that could lead to immune deficiencies. Pfizer
denied any connection between its lab practices and Ms. McClain's
recurring paralysis and other illnesses.

Back and forth over three years came the scientist's claims and Pfizer's
denials during which she had to leave her job amidst the increasing
retaliatory behavior of her ten-year employer.

Pfizer is known for playing hardball and violating laws. Last year it had
to pay the Justice Department one of the largest fines - half civil, half
criminal - for illegal promotion of its drugs for unapproved uses. The
fine - $2.4 billion - avoided criminal charges and prosecution, either of
the company or officials, and became just another cost of doing business.

Just last week, soon after buying Wyeth Labs for $68 billion, Pfizer's
CEO, Jeffrey B. Kindler, told a reporter for The New York Times that his
company has "invented too few drugs and left its reputation in disrepair
after two criminal cases."

That record does not diminish Pfizer's advantage over its imperiled lab
workers, which is built on the absence of any available risk assessments,
the very nature of possible latent, silent violence, and the cruel refusal
to give afflicted employees their own exposure records on the grounds that
they are company trade secrets.

Pfizer offered Ms. McClain a paltry sum with a gag order, which she
promptly refused. She wanted her freedom of speech and her whistle-blowing
rights under federal law. Her lawsuit was filed in 2006 in Hartford.

By dismissing the third count, which might be appealed, in her complaint
alleging Pfizer's wanton misconduct, U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant
ruled that the plaintiff did not have available the evidence of causality
and it was a worker's compensation matter anyway. Herein started the
chicken-egg problem. How could Ms. McClain obtain the evidence in order to
prove her case when Pfizer said it was proprietary and secret?

The Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG), started by Harvard and MIT
scientists, does not believe laboratory exposure records of workers should
be trade secrets. Life, health and remedial rights should trump any such
alleged, bizarre property right.

Becky McClain has already exhausted any remedies or assistance from the
woeful Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This agency
has been without any regulations or disclosure requirements about
biohazards in laboratories. This inertness might change with the
appointment of David Michaels to head OSHA, which should bring the agency
closer to its mission of preventing or diminishing tens of thousands of
fatalities and injuries each year.

Mr. Michaels told the Times that "new biological materials, nanomaterials,
there are many things where we don't have adequate information, and we
think workers need to have protection." He indicated that OSHA will take
another look at the McClain case.

Both Jeremy Gruber, president of CRG, and Steve Zeltzer, chair of the
California Coalition for Workers Memorial Day, believe the McClain case
will lead to broader scrutiny of biologic laboratories, where research is
expanding rapidly with heavy federal funding.

It is well known that workers in these labs are inhibited from speaking
out, either inside or outside their workplace, for fear of losing their
jobs. OSHA has long known that companies in old and new industries often
do not come close to fully reporting cases of their injuries and sickness
either to their insurers or to state or federal job safety agencies. Some
have been found to keep two sets of books.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics data are not at all comprehensive.
Under-reporting can hide half or three-fourths of the actual traumatic
injuries.

Mr. Zeltzer has denounced what he calls "the failure of top company
officials to even report to OSHA and other government agencies that many
workers were getting sick numerous times in their laboratories although
this is required by the law." He called on the US Attorney in Hartford to
begin a criminal investigation. (see workersmemorialday.org)

As for Becky McClain, this is just the end of the beginning. She says she
has lost her career, her health and her health insurance. But she
recognizes her case is in the vanguard of many other cases and worker
protests to come before enforceable and openly accessible standards and
practices become the way of doing business for these labs.

For when it comes to developing materials that are inherently latent,
subvisible forms of silent violence, business as usual can become cruel
and unusual punishment for innocent, defenseless scientists, lab
technicians and other workers.

Such is the weighty responsibility of David Michaels and the new managers
of the long moribund, underfunded OSHA in the coming months.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent
book - and first novel -  is, Only The Super Wealthy Can Save Us. His most
recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.


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