|Progressive Calendar 04.15.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2010 10:37:40 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 04.15.10 1. Tax the rich! 4.15 12noon 2. Eagan peace vigil 4.15 4:30pm 3. Northtown vigil 4.15 5pm 4. End poverty 4.15 6:30pm 5. Intervene when? 4.15 7pm 6. Amnesty Intl 4.15 7:15pm 7. WAMM - Actions vs war $$$ at Klobuchar's office 4/13/10 8. Alex Cockburn - The cover-ups that exploded 9. David Rovics - Breaking ranks --------1 of 9-------- From: Welfare Rights Committee <welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Tax the rich! 4.15 12noon Join us at the annual: Tax the Rich! Bail Out the People! RALLY No Cuts on the Backs of Poor & Working People Thurs, April 15, 2010, 12 Noon State Capitol Rotunda, St. Paul In the midst of the greatest economic crisis in generations, the governor and legislature are preparing a budget that will put the worst effects of the economic crisis on the backs of low-income and working people. Cuts are being proposed that will have a huge impact on working and low-income families and individuals. The rich created this economic crisis, let them pay for it! Come to the April 15 rally to be held inside the Minnesota State Capitol in the rotunda to demand that the state government protect working people from the economic crisis of the rich! Initiated by: Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bail Out For more information: 612-822-8020 www.mn-peoples-bailout.org --------2 of 9-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 4.15 4:30pm PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------3 of 9-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 4.15 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------4 of 9-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: End poverty 4.15 6:30pm April 15: Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates End Poverty: Stand "UP" for Your Community. A call to action to end poverty in Minnesota by 2020. Live music, local and student poets.6:30 - 8:30 PM at the Carondelet Center, Dining Room, 1890 Randolph Ave., St. Paul. --------5 of 9-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Intervene when? 4.15 7pm THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale & Hennepin). Park in church lot. Thursday, April 15, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT (R2P): NO MORE RWANDAS? NO MORE HAITIS? In 2005 the UN adopted a new international norm, the "responsibility to protect," stipulating that sovereignty gives a state not only rights, but also the responsibility to protect its people against war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing. When a state is unable or unwilling to fulfill this responsibility, the international community has an obligation to help. If offers of help are rejected, the UN may intervene, with the use of force as a last resort. Some have argued that the R2P concept should be expanded to cover situations such as the one now faced in Haiti. But, because of lingering sovereignty concerns, no R2P intervention has yet been authorized. What, then, are the chances that R2P will become a full-fledged norm? Will it ever be more than mere words? Presenter: Professor Michael Barnett. An internationally recognized scholar, Barnett holds the Harold Stassen Chair of International Relations at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota. He is best known for his writing on IR theory, the Middle East, the UN, humanitarian action and security communities. Among his books are the following: the award-winning Confronting the Costs of War (1992), Dialogues in Arab Politics (1998), Eyewitness to Genocide: The United Nations and Rwanda (2002), Rules for the World: International Organizations in World Politics (2004, winner of multiple awards), and Humanitarianism in Question: Politics, Power and Ethics (co-edited with Tom Weiss, 2008). Sponsor Organizations: Minnesota Chapter, Citizens for Global Solutions; United Nations Organization of Minnesota; Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers; Social Concerns Committee, Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church --------6 of 9-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 4.15 7:15pm AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, April 15th, at 7:15 p.m. St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com. --------7 of 9-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Update on Actions Against War Funding at Klobuchar's Office 4/13/10 Press Release Yesterday an angry crowd gathered outside of Senator Amy Klobuchar's Washington Avenue office to call for Amy's "No" vote on the upcoming supplemental bill for the war in Afghanistan. Angered by the proposal for a $33 billion dollar increase in the already bloated $708 billion defense budget being requested by President Obama for 2011, the crowd wondered why the U.S. Senate would throw more hard-earned U.S. tax dollars away on a war and occupation that has not met its goals of creating stability in Afghanistan. Holding enormous banners up against a brisk wind that stated "END THE OCCUPATION," the crowd chanted "Not one more dollar for war!" Former FBI agent turned peace activist, Colleen Rowley, addressed the crowd, pointing out that there is no military solution to terrorism. Other speakers called for a reduction in the military budget, stating that American tax dollars could be better utilized at home on education, healthcare, housing, and job creation. As the outdoor demonstration heated up, 38 peace activists entered the building, crowding into Klobuchar's office and singing protest songs. Spokesperson for the group, Marie Braun, told staff members that the group would not leave until they had heard Senator Klobuchar tell them that she would be voting against the $33 billion dollar increase. Klobuchar's office staff politely kept the senator's office open past the 5:00 p.m. closing time, seemingly hoping to out last the protestors. One well-experienced peace activist called for pizza delivery, and after watching the protestors calmly eat dinner, Amy Klobuchar's staff arranged a talk with Senator Klobuchar by speaker phone. After the one and a half hour occupation of her office, Klobuchar told the crowd, via phone from Washington, D.C. that she had not decided which way she would vote on the bill. At that time, the crowd was told to leave the office or face arrest. Most of the activists left the office, but remained outside. Nine activists refused to leave the office. Marie Braun, Pepperwolf, Vicki Andrews, Mary Percich, Jeanne Hynes, Tom Bottolene, Ward Brennan, Bob Heberle, and Jay Kvale remained. After being told they would be arrested if they didn't leave, many of the nine activists laid down on the floor. While the crowd outside prayed and sang, the nine were escorted out of the senator's office by police. Amid shouts of encouragement by the onlookers, the nine were arrested and charged with trespassing. The nine activists, which included several war veterans, were released. No date has been set for their trials. A similar action was held last week at Senator Al Franken's office, after he announced that he would be voting FOR THE ADDITIONAL WAR FUNDS. Six activists were arrested at Franken's office. Kim Doss-Smith, WAMM Director --------8 of 9-------- The Cover-Ups That Exploded By ALEXANDER COCKBURN CounterPunch April 9 - 11, 2010 The Pentagon is reeling after two lethal episodes uncovered by diligent journalism show trigger-happy U.S. Army helicopter pilots and U.S. Special Forces slaughtering civilians, then seeking to cover up their crimes. The worldwide web was transfixed on Monday when Wikileaks put up on YouTube a 38-minute video, along with a 17-minute edited version, taken from a U.S. Army Apache helicopter, one of two firing on a group of Iraqis in Baghdad at a street corner in July of 2007. Twelve civilians died, including a Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and a Reuters driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40. At a press conference in Washington, D.C., Wikileaks said it had got the footage from whistle-blowers in the military and had been able to break the encryption code. The Pentagon has confirmed the video is genuine. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has finally admitted that Special Forces troops killed two pregnant Afghan women and a girl in a February, 2010, raid, in which two Afghan government officials were also killed. Brilliant reporting by Jerome Starkey of The Times of London has blown apart the U.S. military.s cover-up story that the women were killed by knife wounds administered several hours before the raid. It now appears that the knife wounds may have been inflicted by the Special Forces troops retrieving their bullets from the dead or dying women's bodies. Starkey's story last Sunday in The Times reported that "Afghan investigators also determined that American forces not only killed the women but had also 'dug bullets out of their victims' bodies in the bloody aftermath' and then 'washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened'". The 17-minute video recording the US military's massacre from the air in Baghdad, is utterly damning. The visual and audio record reveal the two Apache helicopter pilots and the US Army intelligence personnel monitoring the real-time footage falling over themselves to make the snap judgment that the civilians roughly a thousand feet below are armed insurgents and that one of them, peeking round a corner, was carrying an RPG, that is, a rocket-propelled antitank grenade launcher. The dialogue is particularly chilling, revealing gleeful pilots gloating over the effect of their initial machine-gun salvoes. "Look at those dead bastards," one pilot says. "Nice," answers the other. Then, as a wounded man painfully writhes toward the curb, the pilots eagerly wait for an excuse to finish him off. "All you gotta do is pick up a weapon," one pilot says yearningly. Then suddenly a civilian van, seeing the carnage, pulls up. A man jumps out, and starts dragging the wounded man around to load him in. The pilots implore the intelligence monitors to give them the go-ahead to strafe the van, about which they have made the instant, fatally erroneous judgment that this is an insurgent rescue squad. A few moments later, the intelligence monitors, with zero visual evidence underpinning their judgment, give the go-ahead. Another salvo finishes off the wounded man and his would-be rescuer, kills other civilians in the van and wounds two children in the front seat. U.S. ground troops arrive on the scene, report the presence of wounded children. "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle," one pilot tells the other. There are further sniggers as a U.S. armored vehicle rolls up. "I think they just drove over a body," one of the pilots cackles. One disgraceful exchange discloses a brutal order to the US ground troops not take the wounded children to the nearest military hospital, thus condemning them to the long waits and understaffed, underequipped Baghdad civilian hospitals. It clearly shows the culpability of the next command echelon, which is just as great as that of the pilots. In the wake of the lethal onslaught, the U.S. military denied that any error had taken place, its version of events faithfully cited by the New York Times under the headline "2 Iraqi Journalists Killed as U.S. Forces Clash With Militias": "According to the [U.S. military's] statement, American troops were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight, the statement said, the two Reuters employees and nine [sic] insurgents were killed". The footage made public by Wikileaks makes it clear this was fiction, from start to finish. Defense analyst Pierre Sprey, who led the design teams for the F-16 and A-10 and who spent many years in the Pentagon, stresses two particularly damning features of the footage. The first is the claim that Noor-Eldeen's telephoto lense could be mistaken for an RPG. "A big telephoto for a 35mm camera is under a foot and half at most. An RPG, unloaded , is 3 feet long and loaded, 4 foot long. These guys were breathing hard to kill someone". Sprey's second point is that an Apache helicopter makes a very loud "whomp, whomp" noise. "Twelve guys are unconcerned, with loud helicopters right overhead. Imagine if they were planning an assault on American troops. They'd be crouched down and skulking along walls, spread out. They would not be walking casually down the middle of the street, totally ignoring the helicopters". A retired U.S. Marine was even blunter in an email exchange: "Not a good show at all. The group on the ground were banishing nothing that 'looked' or appeared as weapons, especially the voiced 'RPG' which is so obvious when loaded. And then again ... they were told in advance by intelligence (I am sure by the tone in the flight) that these people were bad guys. The Apache crews were just stupid and the intelligence clowns pointing them and egging them on are guilty of murder - 'you are clear to engage'... GMAFB." In the aftermath the US military claimed that some AK-47s and a grenade launcher had been found at the scene. Sprey comments that, in the course of the subsequent coverup, the weapons may well have been planted, LAPD style. According to Reuters their men had been working on a story about weight lifting when they heard about a military raid in the neighborhood, and decided to drive there to check it out. Local witnesses say there was no fire fight anywhere near where they were gunned down by the Apaches. Reuters, which by that time had already had four employees killed in Iraq by the U.S. military (ultimately, to date, eight), demanded an investigation, which the Army says it undertook but found no breach of its Rules of Engagement by the pilots or U.S. Army intelligence. The reaction of David Schlesinger, Reuter's editor in chief, to the release of the footage by Wikileaks was appallingly feeble. Schlesinger said on April 5, "The deaths of Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh three years ago were tragic and emblematic of the extreme dangers that exist in covering war zones. We continue to work for journalist safety and call on all involved parties to recognize the important work that journalists do and the extreme danger that photographers and video journalists face in particular". This anodyne blather elicited a furious email aimed at Schlesinger - sent two days later to The Baron site, "For Reuters people past and present" - from a former Reuters editor in chief and general manager, Michael Reupke. Wrote Reupke, "The flabby response to the shameful murder of photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh by reckless U.S. forces is not reassuring. What of their families? Why do we leave it to others to make the running? Is this a Thomson effect? Michael Reupke (outraged and angry!)". The final sentence alludes to the 2008 takeover of Reuters by the media conglomerate Thomson. In fact, Reuters was shown the Apache video by the U.S. military shortly after the killings but raised no stink. Requests for public release under the Freedom of Information Act were denied. Finally, whistleblowers handed the video to Wikileaks. Leave the last word to a retired U.S. Army man, answering the email from the retired U.S. Marine quoted above: "The damage this incident and its video evidence will do is immense - it will irrefutably confirm for many that large chunk of anti-American propaganda which insists the American flyers are just playing computer shoot-em-up games using real flesh and blood as a proxy for the digital figures they usually slaughter only in the arcades. "How much is simulator training responsible for the disconnection from reality demonstrated in this incident? The crew was detached from reality. How [is] the Army ... producing crews that, having the potential for such incompetence, cannot detect it among themselves. If anyone in that crew had paused and asked if the action being taken was correct, surely it would have been aborted ... The Army has to find out why". Alexander Cockburn can be reached at alexandercockburn [at] asis.com. --------9 of 9-------- Tea Parties, Espresso Snobs, Freedom and Equality Breaking Ranks By DAVID ROVICS April 15, 2010 CounterPunch I can't stand talk radio of any political persuasion, it's all too repetitive and emotional. But I like to keep tabs on the media landscape out there, and in terms of who's talking on the radio in much of the USA here are your choices, in order of prevalence: football, Jesus, Rush Limbaugh and, late at night when folks are apparently good and ready for it, shows about the government hiding the existence of aliens from outer space who are living in Nevada. If you find the "public" radio station and the classical music playing all day hasn't put you to sleep yet, for an hour or so in the evening you can listen to chirpy graduates of Ivy League schools with upper-class New England accents review the latest in French cinema or the newest innovations in poodle-grooming techniques. On TV it's even worse. Through this static there are a lot of people who are out of work and living in an overcrowded, dilapidated shack somewhere in Michigan or Texas who are desperately trying to make sense of the world around them. The one redeeming thing about talk radio is that they actually allow people to call in now and then and the conversation isn't entirely one-way. It's clear who has the mike and who's steering things, but I'm always impressed at how often the disconnect comes up. That is, the caller is usually a good "ditto head" as long as we're lambasting hippies or the cultural elite or drug addicts or poor people attempting to take advantage of the remnants of our welfare system. But as soon as a caller says something negative about the corporations, corporate welfare, the corporations who took their business to Mexico and China and left unemployment and poverty in their wake, Rush quickly corrects their impression that the rich are in any way to blame for this situation - no, the unions are to blame for demanding a living wage, in case you didn't know. For Rush, the pundits on Fox, and so on, it's all about freedom - freedom from the tyranny of the Democratic Party, who, according to their narrative, are intent on spending all of your tax money on helping people inside the US and around the world who are too lazy to help themselves, leaving you, the hard-working white American man, ignored and exploited. For Rush and company, above all, freedom is about freedom from government (when Democrats are involved) and the great importance of individual liberties - freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to home school, the right to bear arms and be left alone. The Democrats want to make your children go to school and turn them into atheists, raise your taxes in order to waste more of your money, and take away your guns. These are people who are often working two shit jobs to make ends meet whereas a generation ago one would have done just fine. They very legitimately feel disenfranchised and they're being told by the only voices on the airwaves that seem to resonate with an appropriate level of anger that their problems were caused by the Democrats and Democratic rule will make everything still worse. If you actually talk to these people, it often doesn't take long to realize that many of them feel almost as alienated by the Republicans as they do by the Democrats. You realize that if there were appropriately pissed off voices of the radical left broadcasting across the airwaves, reaching into the trucks on the highways and the trailers in the prairies, as long as these were the sorts of radical left voices that support individual liberty and aren't trying to take everybody's guns away, a good anti-corporate message would resonate perhaps more now than ever. In fact, much of this stirring among the self-proclaimed "patriot" groups predates Obama. Many among this milieu were outraged by the bank bailout that happened under Bush's watch, just as most of the rest of society was. But it was only after the election of Obama that the Republican media mouthpieces (Fox, etc.) began blaming the new government for the imploding economy, as if the years of corrupt Republican rule never happened, as if the deregulation of the banking industry and the bank bailout was not supported by the Republicans as well as the Democrats. Rush and Fox and company do their best to keep their listeners in a permanent state of confusion about where we've been, where we're at now and what the solution is - they do their best to make it look like the problem is anything but monopoly capitalism, rule of the rich, control of the government by the Fortune 500. But while many of their listeners may be skeptical about letting the corporate elite off the hook in terms of why so many hard-working, rugged individualists are in a state of deprivation despite their formidable efforts, it's not hard for them to agree with the pundits and "patriot" group leaders on one thing - that the Democratic Party is a hopelessly corrupt institution led by people who constantly say one thing and do another. Now, most people, especially people who define themselves as progressive, would say exactly the same thing about the Republicans - and of course they'd be right. Both parties' leadership claim they're on the side of Main Street, not Wall Street - ordinary people, not the elite. The truth is quite evident to people who actually study the facts, rather than listening to the propagandists of either party: both of our ruling parties are thoroughly corrupted institutions serving the interests of the corporate elite, at the expense of the ordinary people of the US and ordinary people around the world. The leadership of neither party questions our massive military expenditures. Both parties claim we're trying to bring democracy to other people, to better the lives of women and the oppressed in the Muslim world, when what the leadership of both parties know full well is that we're fighting wars for oil. For decades the Democrats, in and out of power but always part of the power structure, claim they stand for equality, for an egalitarian society. They always claim their social programs are going to house the poor, improve the schools, give people jobs - and, fundamentally, again and again, year after year, decade after decade, they lie. The schools continue to deteriorate, the jobs are harder to find and pay less, the opportunities for most people decrease, the society becomes increasingly divided, whether Democrats control the Congress and the White House or not. The truth is in our country the rich and the big corporations are hardly taxed, while the working class and the small businesses bear the lion's share of the tax burden, and this is the program of both the RNC and the DNC. In our country neither party really supports social programs that could seriously lift our people up because both parties are too busy spending much of our money on nuclear bombs, corporate kickbacks and armies of private mercenaries. Both parties rule by a system of legalized bribery, called lobbying, that would land politicians in other ostensibly democratic countries in jail. And if these angry listeners of Rush Limbaugh go looking for alternative versions of reality, let's hope they don't discover Mother Jones magazine, because they'll just be pushed right back into Rush's arms. In this month's issue we have a fearful expose of the Oath Keepers, and the editors lamenting that people like Rush "are actively negating a fundamental principle of American politics: that the government, no matter how much you might disagree with its representatives, is of, by, and for the people". What a crock of shit. Mother Jones herself would be appalled at such drivel. This is a government of, by, and for the corporate elite, which controls both parties. To regular people in the rest of the world this is fairly obvious. The "patriot" rank and file sense this but they've been actively misled by their supposed spokespeople for a long, long time, going way back before the invention of talk radio. But liberals whining that the "patriots" just need to play by the rules isn't helping at all. These people are angry for all kinds of good reasons - unemployment, poverty, and yes, most definitely taxation without representation - they are just confused about how things got this way, and this confusion is a state some very large corporations and their lackeys work very hard to maintain and benefit from. I don't want to downplay the possibility of a serious fascist movement in this country. With forces like Rupert Murdoch and Dick Cheney at work, with a widespread perception that democracy has failed us, combined with growing hopelessness about the future prospects of "the American Dream," the prospects for a real fascist movement are alarming. But let's not get into this stiff "us and them" dichotomy when it comes to the "patriot movement". These are people with very legitimate complaints, and dismissing them as racists or whatever other label people on the left want to put on them is simplistic. They have certainly been fed a steady diet of pro-corporate and most definitely racist propaganda from the corporate media and from both major political parties for decades or longer. This doesn't excuse bigotry, but it certainly explains it. Whether or not the "patriots" know it, neither corporate party is going to make things better for them, and under different circumstances, with accessible, local voices of real anti-elitist, anti-corporate, pro-human reason around them they might be a lot angrier and they might know what they're angry about. The grandparents of many of these disgruntled "patriots" were probably, in their youth in the 1930's throughout the midwest, taking back farms and homes by force which were foreclosed upon by banks, and joining massive unions of the unemployed. Rush is telling them the Democrats only care about "special interests," which is entirely true (it's just that the special interests in question aren't the same ones Rush says they are). For their part, the Democrats are responding to the bubbling rage of this growing underclass with calls that they should just play by the rules, while steadfastly refusing to make the kinds of changes that could really make a difference - doubling taxes on the rich, outlawing corporate lobbying, ending corporate welfare, slashing the military budget, bringing the troops home, and hiring millions of new teachers and windmill-builders, for example. The "patriots" are outraged, whether or not they really understand why, and you should be, too . it's about as true now as it ever was, though many Democratic voters have removed their old bumper stickers: if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention. If the so-called progressives of this country can't snap out of their Obama-induced slumber, take to the streets and vocally break ranks with both corrupt parties that are driving this country into the ground - if the left can't offer a serious, grassroots, anti-elitist alternative to rightwing populism, but insists on maintaining the ridiculous illusion that we live in a democracy, then the future will indeed be bleak, and ugly, and filled with "patriots". David Rovics is a singer/songwriter based in Portland, Oregon. His website is http://www.davidrovics.com. He is about to head off for tours in Alaska, Ireland and Britain, among other places, and is currently booking a fall tour that will take him all over the continental US. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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