Progressive Calendar 05.22.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 22 May 2010 04:45:06 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   05.22.10

1. Energy transition 5.22 8:30am
2. Peace walk        5.22 9am Cambridge MN
3. WAMM yard sale    5.22 9am
4. Holy land women   5.22 10am
5. Ecuador           5.22 10am
6. Swede/Vento       5.22 10am
7. Harvey Milk/LGBT  5.22 1pm
8. CUAPB             5.22 1:30pm
9. Northtown vigil   5.22 2pm
10. Socialism/food   5.22 7pm
11. Gaza +1/CTV      5.22 9pm

12. Hamline festival 5.23 12noon
13. Stillwater vigil 5.23 1pm
14. Pentel/governor  5.23 3pm

15. Charles Davis   - The limits of liberalism
16. Ted Rall        - Nationalize BP and other criminal corporations
17. George Lakoff   - HUD is trying to privatize all of US public housing
18. Joe Conason     - The roots of Rand Paul's civil rights resentment
19. Gregory Vickrey - Environmentalism is dead
20. John Pilger     - The heresy of the Greeks offers hope

--------1 of 20--------

From: Jonathan Bucki <jonathan [at]>
Subject: Energy transition 5.22 8:30am

Training for Energy Transition - May 22-23 St. Paul, MN

The Transition movement is a new approach being taken by many grassroots
sustainability efforts worldwide. It involves individuals working together
to help their communities to become more resilient in the face of climate,
energy and economic challenges, through approaches such as local food
production, generating local power, using local currencies to keep money
in their local area, and other similar activities. To learn more about
Transition efforts visit

The May 22 - 23 course is a participatory, learning-based and fun, with
participants invited to share their own experiences and learning from
other members of the group. It is designed to give a detailed introduction
to the most important skills necessary to successfully set up, develop,
and run a Transition project in your locality, and is designed for people
who are already in a group working to achieve this, or are thinking of
creating such a group. The full curriculum for the T4T can be found at

At the end of the course participants will:

- Have a clear understanding of the context for Transition Initiatives,
the current global situation and the transformational possibilities that
arise from climate change, peak oil and the economic crisis

- Know what the Transition model is - including an in-depth look at the 12
steps, from inspiration, setting up the initiating group, all the way to
having active and effective working groups.

- Have experienced a joint visioning process.

- Understand how to organize effective meetings such as public talks, open
space days, and small theme working groups.

- Understand the purpose and principles of an Energy Descent Action Plan.

- Have the outline of an effective and inspiring talk on the Transition

- Have formed useful contacts with other Transition Initiatives and
individuals interested in the Transition model.

- Have a plan of action for themselves and their locality.

Location: Minnesota Waldorf School, St. Paul, MN Date: May 22-23, 8:30
am-5:00 pm (Saturday/Sunday)  Limit: 40 participants Costs: $220 before
April 30, 2010, $255 after April 30, 2010

A limited number of partial scholarships are available. Inquiries are

For more information contact Good Work, Inc. at (612) 293-8195 or by
email: Training [at]

--------2 of 20--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 5.22 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street

--------3 of 20--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: WAMM yard sale 5.22 9am

Yard Sale for Peace and Justice

Saturday, May 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 3810 Sheridan Avenue South,
Minneapolis. Items such as: china, glass, linens, jewelry, books,
pictures, small pieces of furniture, handbags, suitcases, costume jewelry,
original artwork, and other treasures. Priced from $1.00 to $100.00. All
proceeds benefit WAMM.

--------4 of 20--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Holy land women 5.22 10am

Voices of Holy Land Women on Peace, Justice and Human Rights
Saturday, May 22, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments); 10:00 a.m. (Presentation and
Discussion) Southdale Hennepin County Library, 7001 York Avenue South,

Hear the voices of women from Palestine and Israel through interviews
conducted by Kathy Adam and from the women's own writings. They will
address the issues that affect their human rights and how violence affects
their daily lives. Hear live from Duaa Azem, born in East Jerusalem, who
now makes her home in the United States and the effects that her
experiences in the Middle East continue to have on her life. Duaa's
8-year-old daughter, Gaidah, will talk about the violence she witnessed
visiting her relatives in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Kathy has been a life long educator in the Lutheran Church. She has been
to Palestine/Israel four times and is passionate about seeking peace with
justice for the region. Kathy is a Board Member of Middle East Peace Now.
At the present time she is working on the Sabeel Conference (October 29
and 30) planning committee. FFI: Call 651-696-1642 or email mepn [at]

--------5 of 20--------

From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at]>
Subject: Ecuador 5.22 10am

Coffee Hour: An American Immigrant to Ecuador: Birds, Trees and Coffee 5/22
aturday, May 22
At the Resource Center of the Americas
Presented in English

Brian Krohnke of Minneapolis has lived in Ecuador for the last 15 years.
He is the President of the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation
( that seeks to preserve the cloud forest in NW
Pichincha province where they own and operate two bird sanctuaries. MCF is
involved in reforestation projects in the area and in Imbabura province
through a carbon sequestration program supported by foreign foundations.
MCF is currently updating the National Strategy for Avitourism as
consultants to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism. While growing coffee at
their two bird sanctuaries, the Foundation also promotes the sale of two
coffee brands that provide financial assistance for its projects. The
brands "Shadier Coffee" and "Tiny Footprint Coffee" are roasted by
Minneapolis' Roastery 7 (, in which brother Alan
is involved.

Speaker: Brian Krohnke - President of the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation
Contact Information: The Mindo Cloudforest Foundation (

--------6 of 20--------

From: Andrew Hine <amhine2 [at]>
Subject: Swede/Vento 5.22 10am

If you've been looking for an excuse to visit the Bruce Vento Nature
Sanctuary (BVNS) and/or Swede Hollow, look no further.  The Lower Phalen
Creek Project and Friends of Swede Hollow, in conjunction with all sorts
of other people including the Honorary Consul from Costa Rica, are
throwing a double whammy this Saturday.

Check out Art in Swede Hollow from 10 to 4 and commune with Nature in the
BVNS from 9 to 1.  Join a group bike ride down the Vento Trail, departing
from Lake Phalen at 9:30.  Check out the award-winning Eastside Heritage
Park en route.  Good, clean fun for all ages.  See for details and

--------7 of 20--------

From: Teddy S <tyimenu2007 [at]>
Subject: Harvey Milk/LGBT 5.22 1pm

National Harvey Milk Day of Action
March and Rally for LGBT Equality NOW!
1 pm  Gather at Loring Park (corner of 15th St and Hennepin Ave)
March downtown for a closing rally and concert
2 pm - Rally at Government Plaza in downtown Minneapolis (corner of 5th St
and 4th Ave)

 On May 22, 2010, celebrate gay rights hero Harvey Milk's birthday by
marching for LGBT equality.  Let Congress and Obama know that we are tired
of waiting for our demands to be met!

- Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act
- End Don't Ask Don't Tell
- Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
- Full Federal Equality for Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Transgender people
- NOW!!

   1. Show up at 12:30pm at Loring Park (30 minutes early) on Harvey Milk
   Day for Marshal Training to help make this event safe and successful.
   2. Come celebrate Harvey Milk Day with us and bring all your friends!!

 About Harvey Milk
In 1977, after years of working within the gay rights movement in San
Francisco, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man to be elected to
public office in California. Milk served 11 months on the San Francisco
Board of Supervisors and was responsible for passing a strong ordinance
that protected gay and lesbian people from being fired from their job for
their sexual orientation. More than that, he helped forge a powerful
alliance in San Francisco among LGBT people and allies that was an example
for how to build a strong movement.

Endorsed by: Impact Twin Cities, ISO, Socialist Alternative, Unite + Fight
Midwest Equality Network, and Equality Across America

Here's a recent great article motivating the need to fight for LGBT
rights, published in Socialist Alternative's
website(www.socialistalternative.organd printed newspaper Justice.

Fight for Full LGBT Equality!

May 5, 2010
By Katie Quarles

Being an LGBT person means facing discrimination in the workplace,
bullying at school and in many cases from family members, not being able
to marry your loved one legally, and being faced with higher rates of
suicide and homelessness (between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth
identify as LGBT).

Since getting elected with the support and money of the LGBT community,
Obama has done little more than pay lip service to LGBT issues. He has
consistently refused to support Gay Marriage (supporting only "civil
unions"). In the more than a year that the Democrats have controlled the
White House and Congress, the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) - banning gay
marriages from being federally recognized - has not been repealed, and the
Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would federally ban
employment discrimination against LGBT people, has not been enacted. Even
Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) - which bans LGBT people from openly serving
in the military - has been slightly weakened but has not been repealed.

All this further shows that the tactic of quietly asking Democrats to help
while funding them with millions of Gay dollars is not and will not be
successful. [Amen. Kiss the Dems goodbye and never come back. -ed]
Instead, it is necessary to challenge the Democrats with a strong movement
in the streets. We have seen the first steps of this with the protests
that happened nationwide after the passage of Proposition 8 in California,
banning Gay Marriage in that state, in 2008, the National Equality March
in Washington, D.C., in October of last year, and a series of regional
conferences of LGBT activists this spring.

A national week of action is planned starting May 17 - International Day
Against Homophobia - and ending May 22, the birthday of Harvey Milk, a
slain San Francisco LGBT rights activist from the '70s who at the time
stood up to the Democratic Party higher-ups and put the question of LGBT
equality on the table. These are good steps forward, but a real movement
will need to be built that really challenges the Democrats. This needs to
be built by holding protests in the street, building local LGBT activist
groups, and linking up the LGBT struggle with other progressive struggles
like the labor movement.

The need for a massive jobs program, for real universal single-payer
health care, for an end to evictions and foreclosures, and for an end to
outrageous bailouts of major banks are issues that affect all
working-class people and youth, irrespective of sexual orientation.
Fighting together on these issues can provide the basis for building a
powerful movement to force a change in policy in Washington, D.C. We also
need to challenge the Democrats electorally, running genuine activists as
candidates up against the Democrats. It's not enough to simply say "don't
vote Democrat": alternative candidates need to be put forward. We need to
build a movement that supports demands including full federal employment
and marriage equality, funding for social services like youth centers for
LGBT youth and all youth, homeless shelters, and free, quality health care
for all.

However, as long as we still live under capitalism - a system that is
based on dividing and conquering working people along lines like race,
gender, and sexual orientation - we will never be able to achieve true
equality for LGBT people. [Capitalism is evil in its very bones. -ed]

--------8 of 20--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB 5.22 1:30pm

Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

--------9 of 20--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.22 2pm

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

--------10 of 20--------

From: jtmiller jtmiller <jtmiller [at]>
Subject: Socialism/food 5.22 7pm

Saturday May 22, 7:00 pm, MayDay Bookstore
Working Democracy Discussion Forum
The Many Faces of "Socialism"

Many varied movements and governments have claimed the mantle of
"socialism." What are the main historical strands of socialism, how do
they differ, and which has the best plan for liberating workers in America

From: Tom Dooley <fellowcommoditydooley [at]>

301 Cedar Ave., 'round the side and down the stairs, West Bank, U of M,

Besides an interesting program we will have the always popular YAKI TORI,
red-hued chicken -on-a-stick AND vegetarian egg rolls AND the usual
beverages; hot and cold, alcoholic and non. COME AND ENJOY! FFI: Tom at
651 645 0295.


--------11 of 20--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Gaza +1/CTV 5.22 9pm

Wise Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!  Households with basic cable may

Sat, 5/22, 9pm and Tues, 5/25, 8am
"Jennifer Loewenstein: Gaza, One Year Later (pt. 2)"

U of Wisconsin faculty member Jennifer Loewenstein speaks about her vast
intimate knowledge and recent experiences in the Gaza strip.  Plus:
concert footage of David Rovics.

-------12 of 20--------

From: "[ISO-8859-1] Renée Lepreau" <renee.lepreau [at]>
Subject: Hamline festival 5.23 12noon

Your group or organization is hereby officially invited to participate in
the Hamline Midway Spring Festival, which will take place 12:00noon -
8:00pm on Sunday, May 23 at Newell Park (Fairview & Pierce Butler Route).
This community event will feature live music by several local bands, food
and drink, children's activities, tables from local groups and
organizations like yours, and more!

Several hundred people attended the event last year and we expect an even
bigger crowd this year.  This event will happen rain or shine!

This is an excellent opportunity to promote your group or organization in
the Hamline Midway area and there are several ways to participate:

Donate.  We hope that your group or organization can help support the
Community Festival by making a donation to our silent auction or by
sponsoring a stage or a musical performance. All donors will be recognized
as official sponsors in publicity.  If you would like to make a donation,
please contact Michael Jon Olson, Executive Director of the Hamline Midway
Coalition at 651-646-1986 or michaeljon [at]

Table.  If you would like to table at the event, please let us know.  Due
to high demand, all groups must supply their own tables, chairs, weather
protection, etc.  The display area will be in the same general area as last
year, just south of the Newell Park building.

Publicize.  We need help getting the word out about this event.  Please
promote the event within your group.  We will be sending out additional
publicity closer to the date.

Michael Jon Olson, Executive Director Hamline Midway Coalition/District
Council 11 michaeljon [at] 651-646-1986

--------13 of 20--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 5.23 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

--------14 of 20--------

From: "Of the People" <info [at]>
Subject: Pentel/governor 5.23 3pm

At last, the time has come for a locally grown party & candidate of the
people, and for sustainable, healthy democracy.  Here's Minnesota's chance
to be truly independent and choose a governor based on clear, simple
principals and accountable objectives!

This is what candidate for Governor, Ken Pentel & Minnesota's own Ecology
Democracy Party stand for.

Join Ken Pentel on:
Of the People
with James Mayer
This Sunday from 3 to 4 P.M.
AM950 KTNF or

Many of us are fed up with all the groups and their "leaders" masquerading
as political parties while one Corporatist Establishment pillages and
poisons our land, society & government". Ken Pentel has traveled Minnesota
building a network and party to remedy that. He's back with us to tell us
why the Ecology Democracy Party's clear and accountable goals, especially
"Total Cost Accounting"  are so appealing to Minnesotans.

Join us on Of the People with James Mayer this Sunday, May 23rd at from 3
to 4 p.m. on AM950 KTNF.

If out of the broadcast area, you can stream us at
Off-air, you can reach James Mayer by calling 651-238-3740, by e-mail at
info [at] [mailto:info [at]], or by U.S. mail: 
Mayer, 970 Raymond Ave., St. Paul, MN Zip Code 55114.

Again, locally, you can join us by tuning your radio to 950 on the AM dial
in your car, and in your home, and, again, if you're not local, you can
stream us : (You will be asked to put in a
MN zip code).

If you can, would you please Forward to a Friend or interested others this
newsletter, asking them to add voice, strength and numbers to "government
of, by, for the PEOPLE", and to join our readers and listeners by going to
the last section of this letter and adding their email addresses to our
mailing list?  We would like to get as many as possible to send or call
this message to their contacts and friends, asking them to do the same and
join us on: Of the People this Sunday, May 23rd from 3 to 4 P.M. on AM
950, KTNF, because:

We all know that threats to the health, strength and endurance of
democracy, society and environment don't go away for the weekend.
Neither does the bad "news" the corporate media establishment uses to make
us feel alienated from one another, shocked, depressed, or even helpless,
and to distract us from real priorities, realistic solutions and positive
actions we can take together. But for a few weekend moments you can
refresh and regenerate your energy with James Mayer on Of the People, a
place to go for the news that the "news" corporations monopolizing our
airwaves seldom let through:  people taking action together, on real

Volunteer Opportunities

The program Of the People is dedicated to the common good, rights and
democracy of The People.  We have opportunities for volunteers to apply
their special skills in several areas.

We are looking for people, for example, in the following areas: program
planning and production all the way through the broadcasts; research
before and sometimes during our program; writing, editing, technical work;
assisting in developing our websites, blogs and podcasts; extending our
broadcasting reach into several other areas; volunteer recruiting and
coordinating; and establishing relations with other organizations.

Another particularly important and rewarding area is coordinating and
helping to host appearances on Of the People of our guests, including many
who are quite prominent in their work for Democracy and Human Rights.
They have included Senator Russ Feingold, Minnesota Congressman Keith
Ellison, Howard Zinn, the noted activist and author of A People's History
of The United States, Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert Fitzgerald
Kennedy, a leading human rights advocate, lawyer and the author of Speak
Truth to Power,to name a few.

If you are interested we'd love to hear from you.  Please get in touch with 
Mayer at 651-238-3740 or info [at] [mailto:info [at]]

Again, would you please forward this message to all interested family,
friends and contacts, asking them to join our readers and listeners and
add voice and strength to "government of, by, for the PEOPLE", by joining
our mailing list?  Actually its best to just email your interest to
info [at] [mailto:info [at]].

Thanks! Of the People

--------15 of 20--------

The Limits of Liberalism
by Charles Davis
May 21st, 2010
Dissident Voice

In 2006 I did something monumentally stupid, something that can only be
chalked up to pure, unadulterated ignorance and the folly of youth. I
voted. For a Democrat. And I did so - wait for it - under the impression I
might be helping to end a war.

Those readers still with me, please control your laughter and let me
explain. At the time I justified my decision on the basis that maybe, just
maybe, if the Democrats took over Congress they might feel tempted - if
only for purely partisan political gain - to fulfill their stated goal of
bringing the Iraq war to an end. I know. I know.

In my defense, I only voted; there were no late nights at the phone bank
for me, no impassioned letters to the editor imploring my fellow citizens
to fulfill their patriotic duty. Others, however, whom I respect and share
much in common politically, did dedicate both their time and financial
resources to electing Democrats under the genuine, but wholly mistaken,
belief they would stand up to the Bush administration every once in a
while. We know how that turned out.

And that brings me to the recent primary elections, which I believe
illustrate a point I have learned many times over since '06; namely, that
electoral politics is at best a diversion, a tried-and-true means for the
political establishment to channel public anger with the status quo in
such a way that the status quo is never seriously threatened. Oh yes, the
unwashed masses can celebrate the ritual Kicking Out of the Bums - Good
bye Arlen Specter! See ya in hell, Blanche Lincoln! - but only with one
ginormous catch: they inevitably have to select some other bum to take
their place.

Take the race to be the Democratic nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, a
contest that pitted the turncoat Specter against congressman and former
admiral Joe Sestak. Despite the backing of President Obama and support
from the rest of the Democratic establishment, Sestak was able to beat the
decrepit, principle-less incumbent. A success, right?

That's how it's being played on the liberal blogosphere. "An amazing
night!" wrote OpenLeft's Chris Bowers upon receiving news of Sestak's win.
"The energy is with Dems and progs again!"

Except, well, it's not so clear electing the younger, more photogenic
Sestak serves any real "progressive" goal, outside the fleeting ephemera
that comes with knowing Arlen Specter is probably feeling sad for himself
somewhere. Should Sestak win the seat in November, he'll probably hold the
seat for decades, which certainly won't improve the lives of those
suffering under U.S. military occupations and the constant threat of
Predator drone strikes - not that Democratic primary voters much cared -
given Sestak's wholehearted embrace of Obama's 30,000-plus troop surge in
Afghanistan and his ramping up of the illegal, undeclared war in Pakistan.

The hated Specter, on the other hand, at least made a show of questioning
Obama's foreign policy, even declaring his opposition to the surge.

In Arkansas, meanwhile, corporate Democrat (ed. note: redundant) Blanche
Lincoln has been forced into a runoff with Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, a former
Clinton administration official whose chief qualifier appears to be that
his name is not Blanche Lincoln. He also has excellent hair. But with the
demise of Lincoln's political career increasingly appearing to be a given,
even proponents of Halter, like FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher - a genuinely
well-intentioned activist whose work I often admire, and who helped
spearhead the effort to unseat Lincoln - concedes he is "no raging
liberal". He is, however, "a Democrat, whereas Lincoln is a corporatist".
To which I say, there's a difference? Again, to hop on my hobby horse,
there certainly will be no difference for the victims of America's
bipartisan-endorsed warfare state, as Halter's campaign page makes clear
he's committed to "ensuring success in Iraq and Afghanistan and crafting a
strong, forward-leaning foreign policy". For those at home, the words
"forward-leaning" probably mean the good people of Yemen and/or Iran
should seriously start thinking about investing in some bomb shelters.

As I've argued before, instead of activists spending so much in the way of
time and resources in electing more and better politicians, why not skip
the middle man? Instead of raising funds and organizing house parties for
some snake oil salesman, crossing your fingers and praying they uphold
1/8th of their campaign promises, why not redirect those efforts to taking
matters into one's own hands - relying on the power of people voluntarily
acting in concert to improve their communities rather than hoping some
asshole politician sends an earmark your way? I understand the impulse to
support what appears to be incrementalist reform, but at a certain point
the dedication to incrementalism neuters the ability of people to consider
the holistic, systemic reform the U.S. needs.

Instead of banking on a politician improving our world, my advice? Improve
yourself. Be an example to others. Work not on the behalf of a political
party, but your community. Put simply, forget the polling booth and head
to the soup kitchen. At least then you won't be complicit in a bloodied,
immoral system.

Charles Davis is a journalist based in Washington, DC. More of his work
may be found on his Web site.

--------16 of 20--------

Nationalize BP and Other Criminal Corporations
by Ted Rall
Common Dreams
Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Supreme Court says that corporations have the same rights as
individuals. When they misbehave, shouldn't they face consequences as
serious as those imposed upon an individual?

It goes without saying that a person who commits a crime ought to face
punishment proportional to the offense. Large and midsize corporations,
which employ thousands of employees, have far vaster reach and power than
even the wealthiest ordinary citizens. So their crimes can be breathtaking
in scope. The 1984 industrial catastrophe at a pesticide plant in Bhopal,
India killed 15,000 people. An additional 200,000 have since suffered
serious injuries. Compared to the boards of directors of Union Carbide and
Dow Chemical, which bought the company in 2001, Ted Bundy was small

Unlike small-time serial killers, however, corporations get away with
murder. For at least a year, management of the Toyota auto company knew
that brakes in millions of its cars might fail. A 2009 ABC News
investigation found that at least 16 people had died. "Safety analysts
found an estimated 2000 cases in which owners of Toyota cars including
Camry, Prius and Lexus, reported that their cars surged without warning up
to speeds of 100 miles per hour," reported the network. Yet Toyota did
nothing. Instead they blamed their customers, saying they were resting
their floormats on the gas pedals.

On May 18th, Toyota finally faced the wrath of the federal government. Its
"punishment": a paltry $16.5 million fine, not one cent of which went to
the victims or their families. The fine, which amounted to a ridiculous
5.5 percent of its 2009 profit, went into the U.S. Treasury's general
fund--in other words, to kill Afghans and Iraqis.

Available to Congress and the President is a far more appropriate
punishment: nationalization without compensation. Toyota's American
operations ought to be seized and operated by the federal government. The
top officials of the parent company in Japan, whose willful negligence
murdered at least 16 American citizens, ought to be extradited and face
trial in U.S. federal court.

Extreme? Expropriating private property is commonplace--when the target is
Joe and Jane Sixpack. Just ask hundreds of homeowners of New London,
Connecticut. When the city destroyed an entire neighborhood to build a
luxury office development, the U.S. Supreme Court backed them up,
radically expanding the concept of eminent domain. Unlike a lot of evil
corporations, those homeowners didn't do anything wrong.
The U.S. government has not only the right but the duty to take over
criminal corporations.

A 5.5 percent fine is a slap on the wrist. Nationalizing a company, on the
other hand, protects the public interest. Hitting corporations in the
balance sheet is a genuine deterrent to the managers of other companies
contemplating lawless behavior. It brings in significant cash assets that
can be used to compensate the victims of the company's criminal

Nationalization can also serve the interest of public safety. The mine
explosion that left at least 25 coal miners dead in West Virginia earlier
this year left members of the public feeling helpless and frustrated at
the slow and inept rescue attempt by Massey Energy, the site's owner and
operator. Setting aside the obvious argument that natural resources ought
to be exploited for the benefit of the American people rather than private
businesspeople, the rescue operation would have benefited from the
involvement of top experts at such government agencies as the Army Corps
of Engineers.

In 2009 the Upper Big Branch mine received 450 safety violations. Massey
Energy paid the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration less than $1
million total. That's less than one percent of its annual profits. That's
roughly $2,000 per violation.

If you get caught speeding in Virginia, you'll pay more than what Massey
Energy pays for deliberately risking the lives of its employees.

British Petroleum is spending $6 million a day on its response to the
explosion at its Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform in the Gulf of
Mexico. But that's a drop in the bucket next to the cost that will be
borne by the people of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. The
disaster is spilling the equivalent of one Exxon Valdez wreck into the
Gulf every four days--and it's been three weeks. Thousands of fishermen
will be ruined. The tourism industry, already in trouble due to the
economic collapse, will be devastated. The full extent of the ecological
damage--dead animals and aquatic plants, huge dead zones devoid of
oxygen--won't be understood for years.

BP failed to ensure that a "blowout preventer" at the Deepwater Horizon
would work in the event of an emergency. But their real crime was drilling
for oil 5,000 feet down in the first place.

Here again, it's easy to see how nationalization might help. Rather than
wait for the clueless execs at BP to come up with a solution, a BP seized
by the federal government (its American operations, anyway) would come
under the jurisdiction of an organization that could assign experts from
NOAA and the U.S. Navy, among other agencies, to stop the leak. After the
leak is plugged, the publicly-owned former BP's profits would help defray
the costs of the cleanup and extend benefits to fisherman and other

Imagine the possibilities. What if Too Big to Fail had been turned into
Too Big to Resist?

As a nationalized asset Citibank, which received $306 billion in bailouts,
would be worth $152 trillion to taxpayers. Goldman Sachs got $15 billion;
they're worth $70 trillion. Sell them off and no one would ever pay
college tuition again. Or to see a doctor. Or we could give everyone a 50
percent tax cut. We're a rich country--the problem is that out-of-control
corporations are hogging the wealth.

Businessmen charter corporations for the express purpose of avoiding
individual legal liability. Isn't it high time we started holding criminal
businessmen accountable?

 2010 Ted Rall
Ted Rall is the author of the new book "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia
the New Middle East?," an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of
America's next big foreign policy challenge.

--------17 of 20--------

HUD is Trying to Privatize and Mortgage Off All of America's Public
by George Lakoff
Friday, May 21, 2010

The Obama Administration's move to the right is about to give
conservatives a victory they could not have anticipated, even under Bush.
HUD, under Obama, submitted legislation called PETRA to Congress that
would result in the privatization of all public housing in America.

The new owners would charge ten percent above market rates to impoverished
tenants, money that would be mostly paid by the US government (you and me,
the taxpayers). To maintain the property, the new owners would take out a
mortgage for building repair and maintenance (like a home equity loan),
with no cap on interest rates.

With rents set above market rates, the mortgage risk would be attractive
to banks. Either they make a huge profit on the mortgages paid for by the
government. Or if the government lowers what it will pay for rents, the
property goes into foreclosure. The banks get it and can sell it off to

Sooner or later, the housing budget will be cut back and such foreclosures
will happen. The structure of the proposal and the realities of Washington
make it a virtual certainty.

The banks and developers make a fortune, with the taxpayers paying for it.
The public loses its public housing property. The impoverished tenants
lose their apartments, or have their rents go way up if they are forced
into the private market. Homelessness increases. Government gets smaller.
The banks and developers win. It is a Bank Bonanza! The poor and the
public lose.

And a precedent is set. The government can privatize any public property:
Schools, libraries, national parks, federal buildings - just as has begun
to happen in California, where the right-wing governor has started to
auction off state property and has even suggested selling off the Supreme
Court building.

The rich will get richer, the poor and public get poorer. And the very
idea of the public good withers.

This is central to the conservative dream, in which there is no public
good - only private goods. And it is a nightmare for democracy.

The irony is that it is happening under the Obama administration. Barack
Obama, running for office, gave perhaps the best and clearest
characterization of what democracy is about. Democracy, he has said, is
based on empathy - on citizens caring about and for each other. That is
why we have principles like freedom and fairness for everyone. It is why
social responsibility is necessary. The monstrous alternative is having a
society where no one cares about or for anyone else. [The society that
Obama really represents - our elected enemy from within. Our disgust with
him - and his party - should know no bounds. -ed]

HUD, under the Obama administration, is about to take a giant step toward
that monstrous society.

Here is a quote from the PETRA bill. It's intent is to:

provide the opportunity for public housing agencies and private owners to
convert from current forms of rental assistance under a variety of
programs to long-term, property-based contracts that will enhance
market-based discipline and enable owners to sustain operations and
leverage private financing to address immediate and long-term capital
needs and implement energy-efficiency improvements.

Along the way, tenants' rights will be trampled, since tenants could not
longer seek redress from the government through their public officials -
because the government would no longer own the buildings.

Stop PETRA. This is urgent. There is a hearing next Tuesday, May 25,
before the House Financial Services Committee and the Subcommittee on
Housing, organized by Rep. Maxine Waters.  Phone: 202-225-2201. Fax:

To write to the committee:

Write to your Congressperson now.

If you want to sign a petition, go to:

Here is a letter from the National Association of HUD Tenants:

Here is an informational website, with letters, background information,
and alternative proposals:

And do what you can to get the word out.  This requires a national

George Lakoff is the author of Moral Politics, Don't Think of an
Elephant!, Whose Freedom?, and Thinking Points (with the Rockridge
Institute staff). He is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor
of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at
Berkeley, and a founding senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute.

--------18 of 20--------

The Roots of Rand Paul's Civil Rights Resentment
By Joe Conason
May 21, 2010

Lurking beneath the Paul family's libertarian politics is a strategy of
pandering to "populists" like Pat Buchanan

To understand Rand Paul's agonized contortions over America's civil rights
consensus, let's review the tainted pedigree of the movement that reared
him. Specifically, both the Kentucky Republican Senate nominee and his
father, Ron Paul, have been closely associated over the past two decades
with a faction that described itself as "paleolibertarian," led by former
Ron Paul aide Lew Rockwell and the late writer Murray Rothbard. They
eagerly forged an alliance with the "paleoconservatives" behind Patrick
Buchanan, the columnist and former presidential candidate whose trademarks
are nativism, racism and anti-Semitism.

Repeatedly during Ron Paul's political career, his associates used the
same kinds of inflammatory rhetoric used by Buchanan in order to attract
support and raise money, all while Paul himself pretended not to know what
they were doing and saying in his name. Paul could always cover himself by
saying, just as Rand Paul says now, that his opposition to civil rights
statutes is purely constitutional and has nothing to do with bigotry.

The last time that anyone examined the details of the Paul family's gamy
history was back in 2008, when the New Republic dug up copies of
newsletters sent out under Ron's name to raise money, and found that they
were replete with ugly references to blacks, Martin Luther King,
homosexuals and other targets of the racist far right. At the time, Reason
magazine, a libertarian magazine that opposed the "paleo" deviation, gave
the most revealing account of its movement's degenerate element in a long
article by Julian Sanchez and David Weigel.

Following Ron Paul's dismal performance in the 1988 presidential campaign
as the Libertarian Party candidate, Rockwell and Rothbard "championed an
open strategy of exploiting racial and class resentment to build a
coalition with populist 'paleoconservatives,' producing a flurry of
articles and manifestos whose racially charged talking points and
vocabulary mirrored the controversial Paul newsletters" uncovered by the
New Republic. Rothbard died in 1995, but in 2008 Rockwell was still at
Paul's side as a top advisor, "accompanying him to major media
appearances; promoting his candidacy on the blog;
publishing his books; and peddling an array of the avuncular Texas
congressman's recent writings and audio recordings."

According to Sanchez and Weigel, the tone of Paul's newsletters shifted to
reflect his political circumstances. Between his first presidential
campaign and his return to Congress in 1996 as a Republican, they were
filled with slurs against blacks generally and Martin Luther King Jr. in
particular, including the accusation that the civil rights leader "seduced
underage girls and boys." Rothbard hated King deeply, describing him in
November 1994 as "a socialist, egalitarian, coercive integrationist, and
vicious opponent of private-property rights ... who was long under close
Communist Party control," and concluding that "there is one excellent
litmus test which can set up a clear dividing line between genuine
conservatives and neoconservatives, and between paleolibertarians and what
we can now call 'left-libertarians.' And that test is where one stands on
'Doctor' King." (Then again, he hated Lincoln too, whom he disparaged in
the same essay as "one of the major despots of American history.")

This offensive drivel was calculated to wring contributions from a
narrowly targeted segment of the population. The Reason story quotes Ed
Crane, longtime president of the Cato Institute, recalling a discussion
with Ron Paul about the most fertile source of direct- mail contributions
to his campaign: the mailing list of the Spotlight, the anti-Semitic
national tabloid published by the "populist" Nazi sympathizer Willis

Both Rothbard and Rockwell wrote of their strategy for a "right-wing
populism" that would bring "the rednecks" into the libertarian movement.
In an essay that appeared in their own joint newsletter in January 1992,
Rothbard cited Joe McCarthy and David Duke, the openly racist former Klan
leader, as "models" for this approach. (According to Sanchez and Weigel, a
1990 issue of the Ron Paul Political Report discussed Duke and his
movement "in strikingly similar terms.") This new movement would seek to
mobilize an alienated white middle class against wealthy East Coast
elitists and the "parasitic Underclass" spawned by liberal policy --
identified clearly enough in a regular newsletter feature called "PC
Watch," which featured news items about "interracial sex" and "thuggish
black men terrifying petite white and Asian women."

As for policy, the paleolibertarians advocated lower taxes, abolishing
welfare, and "elimination of the entire 'civil rights' structure, which
tramples on the property rights of every American" -- a sentiment that
Rand Paul echoes in alluding to the right of private businesses to
practice racial discrimination.

In 1992, Ron Paul joined with Rothbard and Rockwell to support Pat
Buchanan's insurgent primary candidacy against the incumbent Republican
President George Bush. (Buchanan returned the favor in 2008.) "We have a
dream," wrote Rockwell, "and perhaps someday it will come to pass. (Hell,
if 'Dr.' King can have a dream, why can't we?) Our dream is that, one day,
we Buchananites can present Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the liberal and
conservative and centrist elites, with a dramatic choice ... We can say:
'Look, gang: you have a choice, it's either Pat Buchanan or David Duke.'"

No wonder Sanchez and Weigel concluded with a forthright condemnation of
Ron Paul's dishonesty on race. "Ron Paul may not be a racist," they wrote,
"but he became complicit in a strategy of pandering to racists." The same
polite formulation could be applied to the hard-line activists behind the
Goldwater campaign in 1964, or the "Southern strategists" of the Nixon
White House, or the "populist conservatives" of the George Wallace
campaign, many of whom still remain active on the right today.

Despite the persistent efforts of Buchanan, Rockwell and many others on
the far right, their deranged "dream" of political advancement through
racial conflict never developed into a full-scale national nightmare.
Instead, King's dream has since drawn closer to fulfillment with the
election of Barack Obama. But the profound resentment of the first black
president symbolized by Rand Paul and his Tea Party supporters arose from
an old political fever swamp that has never been drained.

From shove001 [at] Sat May 22 06:18:49 2010
Date: Sat, 22 May 2010 03:07:10 -0500 (CDT)
From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
To: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: "This. Is. Serious." Environmentalism is Dead By GREGORY VICKREY

--------19 of 20--------

"This. Is. Serious."
Environmentalism is Dead
May 21 - 23, 2010

Another tragedy befalls the environment and we can count on those that
were once environmentalists to capitalize, figuratively and literally. As
you read, perhaps a 1000 or so organizations are happily signing (or being
bribed to sign) yet another refined letter to President Obama, praising
his efforts to date and encouraging 'change'. With stellar coordination,
you witness the appeals via email from these faux-enviros that clearly
state how you can save the sea turtles, or protect the shrimp, or rid us
of our reliance on oil by donating today.

This particular letter in circulation is about climate change, and is
directly tied to the Gulf of Mexico in its appeal. As it stands,
responsibility for pushing the letter lies with the minions at The Nature
Conservancy (TNC), National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Repower America aka
the Climate Protection Action Fund aka The Alliance For Climate Protection
(RA), and a few others.

The letter begins with 'applause', as one would expect. Continue reading,
and, apparently, President Obama has done an amazing job prioritizing
clean energy, solving the climate crisis, enacting fuel efficiency
standards that are defining a new paradigm for vehicular motion, and
hitting all the right buttons at the Environmental Protection Agency. Who

One can naturally assume The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife
Federation, and Repower America know. And with a thousand or so other
signatures on yet another letter driven by the same old set of corporate
enviros, the rest of us know something as well.

Environmentalism is dead.

In its place we have the notions of 'pragmatic solutions' and
'noncontroversial approaches' to appreciate.

Such words of discourse come from The Nature Conservancy itself. It is a
disgrace to ecosystems everywhere and the next seven generations that they
pimp nature dot org as their official website. A quick look-see into the
world of TNC and comprehension dawns. Their corporate partners in
environmental crime and shame:

3M Company
Alliant Energy
Altria Group
American Electric Power
Bank of America
Barrick Gold Corporation
The Boeing Company
Caterpillar Inc.
The Coca-Cola Company
Delta Air Lines
The Dow Chemical Company
Duke Energy Corporation
Eastman Kodak Company
Ecolab Inc.
ExxonMobil Corporation
MeadWestvaco Corporation
Monsanto Company
Nestl Waters North America
PG&E Corporation
Plum Creek Timber Company
SC Johnson & Son, Inc.
Weyerhaeuser Company
Xerox Corporation

Scratching your temple?

It is difficult to tell which organization was the most influential in
writing the letter to President Obama, but it reads with the gimmickry of
a Karl Rove production. Examining information about the National Wildlife
Federation makes one consider that they, NWF, may have been the lead,
considering they take donations from the likes of the US Environmental
Protection Agency, the US Department of Defense, The Boeing Company, Walt
Disney Company, and on, and on, and on. Care to visit with a Wolfowitz at
a fundraiser? Throw a few thousand at NWF.

The mathematics of connection get simpler, even as the names get more
complicated, with Repower America aka blah blah and blah. The CEO of
National Wildlife Federation is on the board at RA. Repower America
prostitutes itself with absurdity while dancing with John Kerry, Joe
Leiberman, and Lindsey Graham - the "authors" of some pile of papers
related to some charade about some climate (shout out to NRDC!) that will
serve no useful purpose other than to keep the timber industry viable.
Seeking relevance, Al Gore may be seen here at RA when he is not serving
in his role at Apple Computer, Inc. of child-labor/sweatshop city fame.
Repower America is also blessed with the presence of Joseph Stiglitz, a
former Vice President at that most prestigious of entities, the World

To quote a Wonder Pet, "This. Is. Serious."

Environmentalism is dead. It has been co-opted and corrupted to the point
of absolute strangulation, and what remains of the corpse is being
devoured rapaciously by the necrophiliacs at your favorite
corporate-controlled big enviro - yes, the list of cannibals is much
longer than The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, and
Repower America, and the responsibility lies with those not herein named
to prove themselves worthy candidates for resurrection as organizations
willing to serve the next seven generations instead of the next seven

Without environmentalism, there are no environmentalists.

We must save ourselves and our planet as humans.

Gregory Vickrey is a consultant in the nonprofit and political arenas and
may be reached at gregory [at]

--------20 of 20--------

The Heresy of the Greeks Offers Hope
by John Pilger
May 21st, 2010
Dissident Voice

As Britain's political class pretends that its arranged marriage of
Tweedledee to Tweedledum is democracy, the inspiration for the rest of us
is Greece. It is hardly surprising that Greece is presented not as a
beacon but as a "junk country" getting its comeuppance for its "bloated
public sector" and "culture of cutting corners" (the Observer). The heresy
of Greece is that the uprising of its ordinary people provides an
authentic hope unlike that lavished upon the warlord in the White House.

The crisis that has led to the "rescue" of Greece by the European banks
and the International Monetary Fund is the product of a grotesque
financial system which itself is in crisis. Greece is a microcosm of a
modern class war that is rarely reported as such and is waged with all the
urgency of panic among the imperial rich.

What makes Greece different is that within its living memory is invasion,
foreign occupation, betrayal by the West, military dictatorship and
popular resistance. Ordinary people are not cowed by the corrupt
corporatism that dominates the European Union. The right-wing government
of Kostas Karamanlis, which preceded the present Pasok (Labour) government
of George Papandreou, was described by the French sociologist Jean Ziegler
as "a machine for systematic pillaging the country's resources".

The machine had infamous friends. The US Federal reserve Board is
investigating the role of Goldman Sachs and other American hedge fund
operators which gambled on the bankruptcy of Greece as public assets were
sold off and its tax-evading rich deposited 360 billion euros in Swiss
banks. The largest Greek ship-owners transferred their companies abroad.
This haemorrhage of capital continues with the approval of the European
central banks and governments.

At 11 per cent, Greece's deficit is no higher than America's. However,
when the Papandreou government tried to borrow on the international
capital market, it was effectively blocked by the American corporate
ratings agencies, which "downgraded" Greece to "junk". These same agencies
gave triple-A ratings to billions of dollars in so-called sub-prime
mortgage securities and so precipitated the economic collapse in 2008.

What has happened in Greece is theft on an epic, though not unfamiliar
scale. In Britain, the "rescue" of banks like Northern Rock and the Royal
Bank of Scotland has cost billions of pounds. Thanks to the former prime
minister, Gordon Brown, and his passion for the avaricious instincts of
the City of London, these gifts of public money were unconditional, and
the bankers have continued to pay each other the booty they call bonuses.
Under Britain's political monoculture, they can do as they wish. In the
United States, the situation is even more remarkable, reports
investigative journalist David DeGraw, "[as the principal Wall Street
banks] that destroyed the economy pay zero in taxes and get $33 billion in

In Greece, as in America and Britain, the ordinary people have been told
they must repay the debts of the rich and powerful who incurred the debts.
Jobs, pensions and public services are to be slashed and burned, with
privateers in charge. For the European Union and the IMF, the opportunity
presents to "change the culture" and dismantle the social welfare of
Greece, just as the IMF and the World Bank have "structurally adjusted"
(impoverished and controlled) countries across the developing world.

Greece is hated for the same reason Yugoslavia had to be physically
destroyed behind a pretence of protecting the people of Kosovo. Most
Greeks are employed by the state, and the young and the unions comprise a
popular alliance that has not been pacified; the colonels' tanks on the
campus of Athens University remain a political spectre. Such resistance is
anathema to Europe's central bankers and regarded as an obstruction to
German capital's need to capture markets in the aftermath of Germany's
troubled reunification.

In Britain, such has been the 30-year propaganda of an extreme economic
theory known first as monetarism then as neo-liberalism, that the new
prime minister can, like his predecessor, describe his demands that
ordinary people pay the debts of crooks as "fiscally responsible". The
unmentionables are poverty and class. Almost a third of British children
remain below the breadline. In working class Kentish Town in London, male
life expectancy is 70. Two miles away, in Hampstead, it is 80. When Russia
was subjected to similar "shock therapy" in the 1990s, life expectancy
nosedived. A record 40 million impoverished Americans are currently
receiving food stamps: that is, they cannot afford to feed themselves.

In the developing world, a system of triage imposed by the World Bank and
the IMF has long determined whether people live or die. Whenever tariffs
and food and fuel subsidies are eliminated by IMF diktat, small farmers
know they have been declared expendable. The World Resources Institute
estimates that the toll reaches 13-18 million child deaths every year.
"This," wrote the economist Lester C. Thurow, "is neither metaphor nor
simile of war, but war itself".

The same imperial forces have used horrific military weapons against
stricken countries whose majorities are children, and approved torture as
an instrument of foreign policy. It is a phenomenon of denial that none of
these assaults on humanity, in which Britain is actively engaged, were
allowed to intrude on the British election.

The people on the streets of Athens do not suffer this malaise. They are
clear who the enemy is and they regard themselves as once again under
foreign occupation. And once again, they are rising up, with courage. When
David Cameron begins to cleave 6 billion from public services in Britain,
he will be bargaining that Greece will not happen in Britain. We should
prove him wrong.

John Pilger is an internationally renowned investigative journalist and
documentary filmmaker. His latest film is The War on Democracy. His most
recent book is Freedom Next Time (Bantam/Random House, 2006).


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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