Progressive Calendar 06.02.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2010 16:28:26 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   06.02.10

1. Merriam meeting    6.02 6pm
2. Where's my planet? 6.02 7pm

3. Eagan peace vigil  6.03 4:30pm
4. Northtown vigil    6.03 5pm
5. Peace/reconcile    6.03 7:30pm
6. ENP/Laura          6.03 9pm

7. Patrick Cockburn - Israel: mad-dog of the planet
8. PC Roberts       - High seas barbarism/America's complicity in evil
9. Shamus Cooke     - Dismantling public education/ Democrats vs teachers
10. Jim Hightower   - Government impotence and corporate rule

--------1 of 10--------

From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at]>
Subject: Merriam meeting 6.02 6pm

2010 Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace Meetings

First Wednesday of each month
6:00-7:45 p.m. (Note time change due to reduced library hours)
Merriam Park Library - Basement Meeting Room A or B
1831 Marshall Avenue (at Fairview Avenue), St. Paul, MN

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

--------2 of 10--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Where's my planet? 6.02 7pm

The 2010 Southside Family School Play: "Dude, Where's My Planet?"
Wednesday, June 2, Thursday, June 3 and Friday, June 4, 7:00 p.m. Walker
Church, 16th Avenue and 31st Street, Minneapolis.

"Dude, Where's My Planet?" is a social-justice musical comedy performed by
Southside Family School. The play begins with a raid - families broken up,
children captured! Somebody uses the word "Alien." Can you believe it?
We're in the middle of an Empire! Endorsed by: WAMM.

--------3 of 10--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 6.03 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.

--------4 of 10--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 6.03 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]

--------5 of 10--------

From: Allan Hancock <alforgreens [at]>
Subject: Peace/reconcile 6.03 7:30pm

Peace and Reconciliation
A talk given by Ryder Stevens, CS
Thurs. Jun. 3, 7:30 PM.
University Club of St. Paul, 420 Summit Ave. St. Paul (free valet parking)
Sponsored by: First Church of Christ, Scientist, St. Paul

--------6 of 10--------

From: jwilson [at]
Subject: ENP/Laura 6.03 9pm

Comrades and Friends of the Edgertonite National Party:

The next meeting will be held Thursday, 3 June 2010 from 9 to 10:30 PM at
the Urban Bean coffee shop, 3255 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN. This is
on Metro Transit bus route 4.

Things that should be discussed are: 1) holding a mini-convention when
Comrade Adam visits Minnesota this July to simplify the Constitution and
make it more appropriate to the size of the ENP, and 2) considering
structural changes to take effect after the National Chairman buys a
computer, no later than August. One proposed change is to host a monthly
or weekly 15-minute programme on Blog Talk Radio.

Please be there. [The ghost of Laura Ingalls Wilder may be in attendance]
John Charles Wilson National Chairman
[Or maybe not. You know, Laura is the face in the misty light
 Footsteps that you hear down the hall
 The laugh that floats on a summer night
 That you can never quite recall
 And you see Laura on a train that is passing through
 Those eyes how familiar they seem
 She gave your very first kiss to you
 That was Laura
 But she's only a dream]

--------7 of 10--------

Mad-Dog of the Planet
Notch Up Another Disaster for Israel's Well-Oiled Propaganda Machine
June 2, 2010
Dissident Voice

An old Israeli saying describing various less-than-esteemed military
leaders says: "He was so stupid that even the other generals noticed." The
same derisive remark could be applied almost without exception to the
present generation of Israeli politicians.

Such healthy skepticism among Israelis about the abilities of their
military and political leaders has unfortunately ebbed in recent decades.
As a result, Israelis are left perplexed as to why their wars, military
interventions and armed actions have so often ended in failure since the
1973 war, despite the superiority of their armed forces.

The latest example of this is the assault on the Gaza aid convoy by naval
commandos, a confrontation initiated by Israel which thereby ensured that
the convoy's organizers achieved their objectives to a degree beyond their
wildest dreams. By using assault troops in a police action against
civilians with predictably bloody results Israel managed to focus
international attention on its blockade of Gaza, which the world had
hitherto largely ignored. The Israeli action infuriated Turkey, once its
strongest ally in the region, and strengthened the claim of Hamas to
Palestinian leadership.

The capacity of Israel to shoot itself in the foot needs explanation. From
the beginning the operation was idiotic, since Israel was always likely to
look bad after any confrontation between lite troops and civilian
protesters. Even more ludicrous is the Israeli explanation that their lite
and heavily armed soldiers were at risk of their lives because they had to
use thick gloves to protect their hands when sliding down cables from a
helicopter and therefore could not use their weapons.

The nature of the fiasco should cause little surprise because such botched
Israeli military actions have been the norm for years. The 1982 invasion
of Lebanon was discredited by the massacre of Palestinians in Sabra and
Shatila refugee camps by Christian militias loosed on them by Israeli army
commanders. Syria, not Israel, became the predominant power in Lebanon. In
south Lebanon, the Israeli army fought a long and unsuccessful guerrilla
war against Hizbollah. The bombardments of Lebanon in 1996 and 2006 left
Hizbollah stronger, and a similar attack on Gaza in 2008 failed to weaken

The problem is that nobody believes Israeli propaganda as much as
Israelis. Pro-Palestinian activists often lament the fluency and mendacity
of Israeli spokesmen on the airwaves and the pervasive influence of
Israel's supporters abroad. But, in reality, these PR campaigns are
Israel's greatest weakness, because they distort Israelis' sense of
reality. Defeats and failures are portrayed as victories and successes.

The slaughter of civilians is justified as a military necessity or somehow
the fault of the other side. Opponents are demonized as bloodthirsty
terrorists. Comforted by such benign accounts of their activities, Israeli
leaders are consumed by arrogance because they come to believe they have
never made a mistake. Denial that errors have occurred makes it extremely
difficult to sack generals or ministers, however gross their incompetence
or record of failure. [Can Yahweh's own generals err? -ed]

Many Israelis privately take their own propaganda with a pinch of salt,
though the number is diminishing. But abroad, the most third-rate Israeli
politicians strut before fawning audiences as heroic defenders of the
state. Not surprisingly they return home with a dangerously inflated idea
of their own abilities and in a perilously self-important mood.

The Israeli propaganda machine, official and private, has been running
full throttle in the last few days justifying the assault on the aid
convoy to Gaza. Probably spokesmen feel they are performing well given the
weakness of their case. In fact, they do nothing but harm to Israel. The
greater their success in denying gross and culpable mistakes, the more
likely it is that the perpetrators will hold their jobs - and the more
likely it is that the mistakes will be endlessly repeated. [Yahweh never
learns. Yahweh is so stupid that even the other gods have noticed. -ed]

Patrick Cockburn is the author of "Muqtada: Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Shia
Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq."

--------8 of 10--------

Barbarism on the High Seas
America's Complicity in Evil
June 1, 2010

As I write at 5pm on Monday, May 31, all day has passed since the early
morning reports of the Israeli commando attack on the unarmed ships
carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and there has been no response from
President Obama except to say that he needed to learn "all the facts about
this morning's tragic events" and that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu
had canceled his plans to meet with him at the White House. Thus has Obama
made America complicit once again in Israel's barbaric war crimes.  Just
as the US Congress voted to deep-six Judge Goldstone's report on Israel's
war crimes committed in Israel's January 2009 invasion of Gaza, Obama has
deep-sixed Israel's latest act of barbarism by pretending that he doesn't
know what has happened.

No one in the world will believe that Israel attacked ships in
international waters carrying Israeli citizens, a Nobel Laureate, elected
politicians, and noted humanitarians bringing medicines and building
materials to Palestinians in Gaza, who have been living in the rubble of
their homes without repairs or medicines since January 2009, without first
clearing the crime with its American protector. Without America's
protection, Israel, a totally artificial state, could not exist. No one in
the world will believe that America's spy apparatus did not detect the
movement of the Israeli attack force toward the aid ships in international
waters in an act of piracy, killing 20, wounding 50, and kidnapping the
rest.  Obama's pretense at ignorance confirms his complicity.

Once again the US government has permitted the Israeli state to murder
good people known for their moral conscience. The Israeli state has
declared that anyone with a moral conscience is an enemy of Israel, and
every American president except Eisenhower and Carter has agreed.

Obama's 12-hour silence in the face of extreme barbarity is his signal to
the controlled corporate media to remain on the sidelines until Israeli
propaganda sets the story.

The Israeli story, preposterous as always, is that the humanitarians on
one of the ships  took two pistols from Israeli commandos, highly trained
troops armed with automatic weapons, and fired on the attack force. The
Israeli government claims that the commandos' response (70 casualties at
last reporting) was justified self-defense.  Israel was innocent. Israel
did not do anything except drop commandos aboard from helicopters in order
to intercept an arms shipment to Gazans being brought in by ships manned
by terrorists.

Many Christian evangelicals, brainwashed by their pastors that it is God's
will for Americans to protect Israel, will believe the Israeli story,
especially when it is unlikely they will ever hear any other. Conservative
Americans, especially on Memorial Day when they are celebrating feats of
American arms, will admire Israel for its toughness.   Here in north
Georgia where I am at the moment, I have heard several say, admiringly,
"Them, Israelis, they don't put up with nuthin".

Conservative Americans want the US to be like Israel. They do not
understand why the US doesn't stop pissing around after nine years and
just go ahead and defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.  They don't
understand why the US didn't defeat whoever was opposing American forces
in Iraq. Conservatives are incensed that America had to "win"  the war by
buying off the Iraqis and putting them on the US payroll. Israel murders
people and then blames its victims. This appeals to American
conservatives, who want the US to do the same.

It is likely that Americans will accept Israeli propagandist Mark Regev's
story that Israelis were met by deadly fire when they tried to intercept
an arms shipment to Palestinian terrorists from IHH, a radical Turkish
Islamist organization hiding under the cover of humanitarian aid.

Americans will never hear from the US media that Turkey's prime minister
Erdogan declared that the aid ships were carefully inspected before
departure from Turkey and that there were no terrorists or arms aboard: "I
want to say to the world, to the heads of state and the governments, that
these boats that left from Turkey and other countries were checked in a
strict way under the framework of the rules of international navigation
and were only loaded with humanitarian aid."

Turkey is a US ally, a member of NATO. Turkey's cooperation is important
to American's plan for world hegemony. Erdogan must wonder about the
morality of Israel's American protector. According to a report in, the Turkish government declared that "future aid ships will
be dispatched with a military escort so as to prevent future Israeli
attacks".  Will the CIA assassinate Erdogan or pay the Turkish military to
overthrow him?  Murat Mercan, head of Turkey's foreign relations
committee, said that Israel's claim that there were terrorists aboard the
aid ships was Israel's way of covering up its crime.

Mercan declared:  "Any allegation that the members of this ship is
attached to al-Qaeda is a big lie because there are Israeli civilians,
Israeli authorities, Israeli parliamentarians on board the ship."

The criminal Israeli state does not deny its act of piracy. Israeli
military spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich, confirmed that the attack took
place in international waters: "This happened in waters outside of Israeli
territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves".  Americans, and
their Western European puppet states and the puppet state in Canada, will
be persuaded by the servile media to buy the story fabricated by Israeli
propaganda that the humanitarian aid ships were manned by terrorists
bringing weapons to the Palestinians in Gaza, and that the terrorists
posing as humanitarians attacked the force of Israeli commandos with two
pistols, clubs, and knives.  Many Americans will swallow this story
without a hiccup.

Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an
Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  His latest book, HOW THE
ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can
be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at]

--------9 of 10--------

Dismantling Public Education
The Widening Rift Between Teachers and Democrats
June 2, 2010

The corporate media are honest on rare occasions. Take for example a
recent article in The New York Times Magazine, titled The Teachers'
Union's Last Stand (05-23-10). The title itself admits that the nation's
teachers are being targeted for attack by the Obama Administration,
through his "Race to the Top" education reform. And although the article
has an inherently corporate bias, it contains many revelations that have
been otherwise ignored in the mainstream media.

The article outlines the two contending forces behind the national
education "debate": the corporate "reformers" and the "anti-change"
teacher unions. Who are the reformers? The New York Times answers:
".high-powered foundations, like the [Bill] Gates Foundation. and wealthy
entrepreneurs, who have poured seed money into charter schools". Other
reformers include: ".. a new crop of Democratic politicians across the
country - including President Obama - who seem willing to challenge the
teachers' unions".

Top on the list of objectives for the reformers - Democrats and corporate
groups - is the creation of charter schools, which stand in total
opposition to public education. The New York Times article speaks at
length about the biggest obstacle to the charter school "movement" - the
teachers' unions.

Examples are given on a state-by-state level where teachers' unions have
stalled or defeated attempts of the corporate-backed "reformers" to shift
public funding towards private charter schools. But the article also
mentions instances where teachers' unions have made shameful concessions
to the reformers, such as in Washington, D.C., Tennessee, and Rhode
Island. The main concession is the job security of teachers. How is the
job security of teachers and the creation of charter schools related?
Because teachers' unions are the biggest obstacle to the creation of
private charter schools, unions must be undermined. Unions are powerful
because union members cannot be fired for engaging in political activity.
Union workers are thus able to help organize their workforce and
communities to pursue political objectives - such as saving public
education - without fear of being fired.

Destroying teacher seniority is thus the primary goal of the corporate
education reformers. This is the hidden motive behind all the media
attention towards "firing bad teachers". The reformers want the ability to
fire any teacher at any time, consequently undermining teachers' unions.
Thus, teachers are supposed to be rewarded - by keeping their jobs or with
raises - based on their students' abilities to achieve high test scores,
regardless of the number of children in the classroom, or the poverty
level of the students, or whether or not enough classroom materials exist
to do the job.

Sadly, the President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randy
Weingarten, has agreed to abandon teacher job security in recent
bargaining negotiations. The New York Times reports: "[The Washington,
D.C.] contract makes it possible.. to fire any teacher with
tenure..if the teacher is evaluated as "ineffective" for one year or
"minimally effective" for two years. The criteria used to define
"ineffective" or "minimally effective" are, according to another clause,
"a nonnegotiable item" determined solely by [school administrators]".

Language like this will be used to destroy teachers' unions. School
administrators will determine that union activist teachers are
"ineffective", those teachers that criticize work conditions will be
labeled "minimally effective," etc.

If Weingarten thinks that making this kind of concession will quiet the
demands of the "reformers," she will need to think again. Giving sharks
tidbits merely sends them into a feeding frenzy. Indeed, the frenzied
demands of the corporate groups to privatize public education are more
than Weingarten can keep up with. The other, larger national teacher
union, the National Education Association, has yet to make the large
concessions Weingarten's AFT has.

The Democrats demanding these concessions are creating conflicts between
the unions to an unheard of degree. If a complete break happens between
the unions and Democrats - as it should [Amen -ed] - the repercussions
would be enormous. The New York Times explains: "If unions are the
Democratic Party's base, then teachers' unions are the base of the base.
The two national teachers' unions - the American Federation of Teachers
and the larger National Education Association - together have more than
4.6 million members. That is roughly a quarter of all the union members in
the country. Teachers are the best field troops in local elections". In
the last 30 years, the teachers' unions have contributed nearly $57.4
million to federal campaigns - and they have typically contributed many
times more to state and local candidates. About 95 percent of it has gone
to Democrats. Teachers' unions cannot continue to support a political
party that aims to destroy them.

Even Weingarten was forced to admit "deliberately or not, President Obama,
whom I supported, has shifted the focus from resources and innovation and
collaboration to blaming it all on dedicated teachers". [God damn Obama.

The Democratic Party is dismantling public education on a state and
municipal level, picking each target at different times to hide the
enormity of the attack, while confusing teachers, parents, students, and
community members about the overall agenda. [And to hell with the
Democratic Party. Leave it now. -ed]. Only an organized and aggressive
response can stop the privatization of public education. Both national
teachers unions - along with regional teacher's unions - must adopt common
positions on the total defense of fully funded public education, while
also demanding that teachers' job security be protected.  A campaign that
involves rank and file teachers, students, parents, other public workers,
the labor movement as a whole and the larger community can be united
around the slogan: fully fund public education by taxing the rich and
corporations! [!!! -ed]

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for
Workers Action (  He can be reached at
shamuscook [at]

--------10 of 10--------

Government Impotence and Corporate Rule
by Jim Hightower
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Creators Syndicate
Common Dreams

Many news reports about the Gulf oil catastrophe refer to it as a "spill."
Wrong. A spill is a minor "oops" - one accidentally spills milks, for
example, and from childhood, we're taught the old aphorism: "Don't cry
over spilt milk." What's in the Gulf isn't milk and it wasn't spilt. The
explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon well was the inevitable result of
deliberate decisions made by avaricious corporate executives, laissez
faire politicians and obsequious regulators. [ie craven asskissers -ed]

As the ruinous gulf oil blowout spreads onto land, over wildlife, across
the ocean floor and into people's lives, it raises a fundamental question
for all of us Americans: Who the hell's in charge here? What we're
witnessing is not merely a human and environmental horror, but also an
appalling deterioration in our nation's governance. Just as we saw in Wall
Street's devastating economic disaster and in Massey Energy's murderous
explosion inside its Upper Big Branch coal mine, the nastiness in the gulf
is baring an ugly truth that We the People must finally face: We are
living under de facto corporate rule that has rendered our government

Thirty years of laissez-faire, ideological nonsense (pushed upon us with a
vengeance in the past decade) has transformed government into a subsidiary
of corporate power. Wall Street, Massey, BP and its partners - all were
allowed to become their own "regulators" and officially encouraged to put
their short-term profit interests over the public interest. [God wants
them to have longer yachts, He laughs when they wreck His Planet  -
"Good show!" He roars, "Do it again!" So they do. -ed]

Let's not forget that on April 2, barely two weeks before Deepwater
Horizon blew and 11 people perished on the spot, the public's No. 1
official, Barack Obama, trumpeted his support for more deepwater oil
drilling, blithely regurgitating Big Oil's big lie: "Oil rigs today
generally don't cause spills." He and his advisors had not bothered to
check the truth of that . they simply took the industry's word. That's not
governing, it's aiding and abetting profiteers, and it's a pathetic

But that was only the start of Washington's oily confession that it has
surrendered control to corporate arrogance and avarice.

With an unprecedented volume of crude gushing from the well and the
magnitude of the disaster multiplying geometrically by the day, who was in
charge of coping with that? Not the White House, not the interior
secretary, not the EPA. As we saw when Wall Street's greed exploded our
economy, the polluting scoundrels were left in charge!

While BP's dapper CEO issued patently ridiculous statements (such as,
"Everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall
environmental impact of this will be very, very modest."), our government
blindly went along with BP's false assertion that only some 5,000 barrels
a day were pouring from the well, when independent experts were shouting
at the White House that the correct volume was up to 19 times that much.

Finally, almost a month after the blowout, Obama ordered a moratorium on
drilling new offshore wells and on granting environmental waivers to the
oil giants. Bravo, Mr. President! But ... his moratorium was simply
ignored. Days after his order, oil companies were handed at least seven
more drilling permits and five waivers.

Last week, with 63 percent of the public disapproving of his meek
deference to BP, the president of the United States of America was reduced
to convening a press conference to insist that he was "engaged" and,
behind the scenes, was "monitoring" BP's efforts.

Wow, monitoring! Excuse me, but who's the president here? Obama should
personally take charge - cancel all of his social and political events,
convene an emergency response team of the best scientific minds in the
world, announce a clear plan of clean-up actions, install all relevant
Cabinet officials in a Gulf Coast command center to direct the actions,
make daily reports on progress to the public, fire a mess of failed
regulators and go to Congress with sweeping legislation to replace
America's oil dependency with a crash program of conservation and
renewable energy sources.

Oh, he should also wring a few corporate necks. Instead of monitoring
these criminals, prosecute them - and put the public back in charge of our

 2010 National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and
author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With
The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That
Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families,
environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.


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