Progressive Calendar 04.15.10
From: David Shove (
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]>
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

--------2 of 9--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
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]
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]

--------4 of 9--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
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]>
Subject: Intervene when? 4.15 7pm

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.


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

--------6 of 9--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
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]

--------7 of 9--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Update on Actions Against War Funding at Klobuchar's Office

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
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

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

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]

--------9 of 9--------

Tea Parties, Espresso Snobs, Freedom and Equality
Breaking Ranks
April 15, 2010

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

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

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 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]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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