Progressive Calendar 06.08.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2010 10:46:21 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   06.08.10

1. Save Parks' home   6.08 4:30pm
2. Free Erlinder demo 6.08 5pm
3. Thailand/Burma     6.08 6:30pm
4. RNC8 free meal     6.08 6:30pm
5. UN evening         6.08 6:30pm
6. Oil spill vigil    6.08 7pm
7. Urban garden       6.08 7pm

8. Alliant vigil      6.09 7am
9. Child welfare      6.09 9am
10. Internet control  6.09 11am
11. Nurses/vigil      6.09 5:45pm
12. WILPFplan/potluck 6.09 6pm
13. Oxfam mtg/film    6.09 7pm

14. CGS reservations  6.10

15. Chris Hedges  - The Christian fascists are growing stronger
16. Gary Leupp    - "Any better comments?" The ambush of Helen Thomas
17. Dave Lindorff - IDF execute Mavi Marmara victims? Shot in the back
18. Joel S Hirschhorn - Cowardly progressives
19. ed            - Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama/06.08.10

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From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Save Parks' home 6.08 4:30pm

Rally: Save the Parks' Home!
Tuesday, June 8, 4:30 p.m. Leslie Parks' House, 3749 Park Avenue South,

Don't let IndyMac/One West throw the Parks family out of their home!
IndyMac/One West is not coming forward with a deal that the Parks family
can afford. On Tuesday another pressure campaign will be launched to keep
the Parks' home for the Parks family. Leslie says, "We did it once, we can
do it again. Lets make history!" Join others and take a stand against
foreclosures and evictions. Organized by: the Minnesota Coalition for a
People's Bailout (MCPB) and Poor People's Economic Human Campaign (PPEHC).
WAMM is a member of MCPB. FFI: Call 612-296-5649 or 651-497-4644.

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From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: Free Erlinder demo 6.08 5pm

Tuesday, June 8
5:00 p.m.
Federal Building
300 S 4th Street

Peter Erlinder is a William Mitchell law professor and international human
rights attorney.  He traveled to Rwanda to join the legal team defending
opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.  He was
arrested on May 28, 2010 by Rwandan police on false charges. He is being
held in a Rwandan prison and has been hospitalized twice after
interrogation sessions.  He is in grave danger.

In the run up to the national election, the administration of Rwandan
president Paul Kagame has engaged in increasing repressive tactics
including shutting down independent media and jailing opposition
candidates and their supporters under a vague charge of "genocide
ideology" ­ the same charge Professor Erlinder is now accused of.  The
"Genocide Ideology Law" is vaguely worded, requires no link to any
genocidal act, and can be used to criminalize a wide range of legitimate
forms of expression.  Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and even
the U.S.  State Department have denounced it as a tool of political
repression. The Kagame administration has used it widely to target
political opponents.

The Obama administration has done little to address Professor Erlinder's
situation.  The state department and US embassy have referred to this
incident as "a local matter." This is because the US backs the Kagame

Professor Erlinder has a long history of providing legal assistance, often
pro bono, in cases involving the death penalty, civil rights, claims of
government and police misconduct, and criminal defense of political
activists. He is a long-time supporter of political prisoner Mumia
Abu-Jamal.  He was president of the National Lawyers Guild from 1993-1997
and is a current board member of the NLG Foundation. He has been a defense
attorney at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda since 2003.

We MUST stand with courageous lawyers! Vigorous legal defense is NOT a

Sponsored by Communities United Against Police Brutality. For more
information, contact 612-874-STOP or

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From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Thailand/Burma 6.08 6:30pm

Tuesday, June 8, we will have as our guest Bernice Johnson who has
traveled to Thailand and Burma many times to work with the Shan.  The Shan
are refugees without a camp.  It should be really an interesting evening.

The book chosen for The Little Book of the Odd Month Club is Mountains
Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.  It is the story of Paul Farmer and his
absolutely amazing work in founding Partners in Health begun in Haiti
several years ago.  The book will be discussed the last Tuesday of July.
Just reading part of it will qualify for "The Little Book...."but you will
like it so much you probably will finish it.  At least read beyond the
chapter on his travels to Cuba.

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

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From: info [at]
Subject: RNC8 free meal 6.08 6:30pm

Free Community Meal hosted by the RNC 8 Defense Committee on June 8th!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
6:30pm - 8:00pm
Walker Community Church (in the basement)
3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

The RNC 8 will likely be back in court to finish the probable cause
hearing next Wednesday (June 9th). To help the experience be a little bit
easier, the Defense Committee is cooking them dinner. And you're invited

This dinner will be in solidarity with the people murdered by Israel when
soldiers attacked the Freedom Flotilla that was attempting to deliver
humanitarian aid to Gaza.

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From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at]>
Subject: UN evening 6.08 6:30pm

Global Citizenship in the 21st Century
An Evening with Gillian Sorensen, UN Foundation
Ms. Sorensen is a national advocate on matters related to the United
Nations and the United States-United Nations relationship.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The Minneapolis Club
729 2nd Avenue South

VIP Reception 5:00-6PM
Join us for an intimate conversation with Ms. Sorensen and support
World Savvy's work with youth and educators in the Twin Cities.

Forum and Discussion 6:30-7:30PM
Ms. Sorensen will speak about the importance of global citizenship
and the role of the United Nations in the 21st century. Q&A to follow.

Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets
Forum & Reception:
$50 includes hors d'oeuvres & wine

Forum Only:
$10 Adults, $5 Students
Free for World Affairs Challenge Students & Teachers

Please visit for more information.

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From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at]>
Subject: Oil spill vigil 6.08 7pm


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From: Do It Green! Minnesota <Do_It_Green_Minnesota [at]>
Subject: Urban garden 6.08 7pm

Urban Homesteading Workshop Series - Spring/Summer
Gardening III:  Tending and Harvesting by Marianna Padilla
Tuesday, June 8, 7:00-9:00pm

Find out about watering, mulching, weeding, composting, and harvesting
your garden.  This is the third of five gardening workshops.
Cost:  $20 per session or $75 for all 5 gardening workshops

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From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at]>
Subject: Alliant vigil 6.09 7am

Join us Wednesday morning, 7-8 am
Now in our 14th year of consecutive Wednesday
morning vigils outside Alliant Techsystems,
7480 Flying Cloud Drive Eden Prairie.
We ask Who Profit$? Who Dies?
directions and lots of info:

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From: Human Rights Center <humanrts [at]>
Subject: Child welfare 6.09 9am

Human Rights Center
06/09/2010 - New Directions for Child Welfare in the Coming Decade:
Messages from Policy and Practice.
Time: 9:00 am - 12:30 pm.
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Location: Cowles Auditorium, Hubert Humphrey Center West Bank Campus,
University of Minnesota 301 19th Avenue S. Minneapolis MN 55455

June 9, 2010 - New Directions for Child Welfare in the Coming Decade:
Messages from Policy and Practice.

Creating an Agenda for the New Decade: A Theory for Policy and Practice
-Fred Wulczyn, Ph.D., Research Fellow
Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago

Mobilizing Resources for Practice: What is Required for a Prevention Focus
-Dee Wilson, Director, Child Welfare Services
The Casey Family Programs

Commentary Ingredients for Assuring the Well-being of Every Child in the
Child Welfare System
-Esther Wattenberg, Professor, School of Social Work, CASCW and CURA
University of Minnesota

For more information and to register please visit:

This forum is being offered under the auspices of the Center for Advanced
Studies in Child Welfare, School of Social Work, College of Education and
Human Development, and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs,
University of Minnesota.

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From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Internet control 6.09 11am

Should Control Our Airwaves and Internet?

KFAI - 90.3FM-Minneapolis/106.7FM Saint Paul and STREAMING at

The struggle continues between the forces of control and consolidation -
the cable companies and telecoms - and those of consumers and common folk
the rest of us who watch our television shows, seek out information
necessary to keep our democracy intact and work online reading,
researching, communicating. The control forces never stop trying to both
deregulate the cable, telephone and broadcasts industries altogether
and/or find ways to benefit one tier of customer at the expense of another
all while keeping us clamoring for higher connection speeds and more
equitable forms of billing for their services. Comcast Cable, already
conspicuously dominant in the cable business, wants to merge with NBC or
parts of that network. Newspapers have been plumping to own broadcasting
facilities in the same markets/ cities, currently forbidden to maintain
some modicum of competition.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, "...80 percent of
broadband users in the United States do not know the speed of their
broadband connection." As FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski recently
pointed out, "Speed matters..." Other countries, for example, enjoy cable
internet connections speeds upwards of three and four times those
available to us in the United States. Why? Could it be these companies
await the day when theyll be allowed to charge three and four times the
fees charged to all users in those countries and stratify the nations
technologies once again?

And how can we rely on those same corporations to provide the coverages of
issues that truly mean something to our way of life instead of feeding us
the pabulum most mainstream outlets send out over the airwaves and down
the cable lines?

We keep telling ourselves that we, the public, own the airwaves and limit
the degree to which such corporate media purveyors can deplete the
competition and control the marketplace.  But recent history thumbs its
nose at the law, with Congress and the FCC disassembling the Federal
Communications Act of 1934, bit by bit over the last 75 years.

TTTs ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN try to make sense of the current
climate under Barak Obamas FCC and strengthened Democratic Congressional
majorities to see if what was started under the Bush II administration can
be reversed in favor of consumers. Thats you and us.

Can't get us on the radio at 90.3FM Minneapolis/106.7 St. Paul? STREAM
us online at (Click on this link)

On-air guests:
 STEVEN RENDEROS  Media Justice Organizer,  Main Street Project,
 MARGARET KAPLAN  Attorney and Operations Director,  Minnesota
Center for Neighborhood Organizing
 MATT WOOD  Attorney and Associate Director, Media Access Project,
Washington, DC
 MIKE WASSENAAR  Executive Director, St. Paul Neighborhood Network

[Totally worthless rich bastards sit around scheming on ever new ways to
steal the public blind and charge charge charge them for stuff they stole.
They do it with chutzpah - sheer brazen effrontery and team tap dancing;
we're supposed to kneel at their feet, kiss their shoes, and hand over the
latest prize they can screw us on. When we should just give them the
finger and tell them to go eff themselves. -ed]

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From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at]>
From:    "Geri Katz" <Geri.Katz [at]>
Subject: Nurses/vigil 6.09 5:45pm

Please join people of faith, fellow workers, and community supporters as
we stand united with Twin Cities nurses on the eve of their one-day strike
to put patient care before profits.
When: Wednesday, June 9, 5:45 pm
Where: St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, 701 N Lexington Pkwy, St. Paul 55104
Sign up here:!/event.php?eid=101513193231457&ref=mf

Please join nurses on the picket lines to stand up for patient safety.
We'll be walking for 24 hours, from 7am June 10 thru 7am on June 11, at 14
different hospitals. We welcome community supporters, fellow workers, and
elected officials to join us for this historic action. Please sign up

--------12 of 19--------

From: Doris Marquit <marqu001 [at]>
Subject: WILPF plan/potluck 6.09 6pm

Women's Int'l League for Peace & Freedom, MN Metro
Open Discussion Meeting & Potluck Weds., June 9, 6 pm
Van Cleve Community Center, 901 15th Ave. SE, Minneapolis
All WILPF members (active or inactive) & friends invited.
Bring ideas, plus food or free-will contribution.
Ffi: <> ; 651-645-6992.

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From: Oxfam Action Corps - MN <minnesota [at]>
Subject: Oxfam mtg/film 6.09 7pm

Join Oxfam Action Corps MN volunteers as we plan our summer climate change
campaign activities, including lobby visits, parades, concerts, the state
fair, and more. This month's meeting will also feature a short screening
of Oxfam's new film, "Hardest Hit: Survival strategies from the frontlines
of climate change."

Everyone is welcomed to attend, even if you're just curious about our work:
Wednesday, June 9, 7pm
Common Roots Café Common Room
2558 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis

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Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2010 18:42:07 -0500
From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at]>
Subject: Dinner reservations 6.10

If you have not yet made your reservation for CGS's annual dinner
meeting, please note that  you must make your reservation by June 10

Thursday evening, June 17, 2010, 6:00 - 9;00 p.m.
Social Hall, Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church
511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis

SCHEDULE:  6:00 Social Hour; 6:30 Served Dinner (vegetarian option
7:15 Program; 9:00 Adjournment.
COST: $30 per person; $15 for students and those with limited income.
Reservations should be made by June 10.  QUESTIONS? Call Mary Rose
Goetz at 612-374-5321.

Keynote Speaker: Secretary of State MARK RITCHIE

Born, raised and schooled in Iowa, Ritchie has lived in Minneapolis for
the past 24 years. From 1986 to 2006 he served as President of the
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a non-profit organization
working with businesses, farm organizations and other civic groups to
promote long-term sustainability. A major concern of IATP has been the
effect of trade rules on farm families and rural communities. In 1994
Ritchie was a co-founder of the Global Environment and Trade Study, based
at Yale University, which investigated international linkages and
synergies between environment and trade . In that same year he organized a
conference at Bretton Woods commemorating the 50th anniversary of the
historic meetings at which the key institutions regulating global finance
and trade were designed.

In 2006 Ritchie was elected as Minnesota's 21st Secretary of State. In
that capacity, he oversaw the recount in the 2008 US Senate Election, a
task he handled with such skill and fairness that it led to his being
named by The Nation magazine the 2008 "Most Valuable State Official in the
United States." An inspirational speaker, Ritchie's presentations combine
great depths of both knowledge and passion.

RESERVATION: Please reserve __________ places for (indicates names
of those who will attend):
__________________________________________________My check for
$____________ is enclosed.

Please send checks, payable to "CGSMN," to Mary Rose Goetz,
1712 Humboldt Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN55403.

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The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger
by Chris Hedges
Monday, June 7, 2010
Common Dreams

Tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious
movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the
intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They are creating
a theocratic state based on "biblical law," and shutting out all those
they define as the enemy. This movement, veering closer and closer to
traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before
an imperial America. It champions the eradication of social deviants,
beginning with homosexuals, and moving on to immigrants, secular
humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims and those they dismiss as "nominal
Christians" - meaning Christians who do not embrace their perverted and
heretical interpretation of the Bible. Those who defy the mass movement
are condemned as posing a threat to the health and hygiene of the country
and the family. All will be purged.

The followers of deviant faiths, from Judaism to Islam, must be converted
or repressed. The deviant media, the deviant public schools, the deviant
entertainment industry, the deviant secular humanist government and
judiciary and the deviant churches will be reformed or closed. There will
be a relentless promotion of Christian "values," already under way on
Christian radio and television and in Christian schools, as information
and facts are replaced with overt forms of indoctrination. The march
toward this terrifying dystopia has begun. It is taking place on the
streets of Arizona, on cable news channels, at tea party rallies, in the
Texas public schools, among militia members and within a Republican Party
that is being hijacked by this lunatic fringe.

Elizabeth Dilling, who wrote "The Red Network" and was a Nazi sympathizer,
is touted as required reading by trash-talk television hosts like Glenn
Beck. Thomas Jefferson, who favored separation of church and state, is
ignored in Christian schools and soon will be ignored in Texas public
school textbooks. The Christian right hails the "significant
contributions" of the Confederacy. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who led the
anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, has been rehabilitated, and the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is defined as part of the worldwide battle
against Islamic terror. Legislation like the new Jim Crow laws of Arizona
is being considered by 17 other states.

The rise of this Christian fascism, a rise we ignore at our peril, is
being fueled by an ineffectual and bankrupt liberal class that has proved
to be unable to roll back surging unemployment, protect us from
speculators on Wall Street, or save our dispossessed working class from
foreclosures, bankruptcies and misery. The liberal class has proved
useless in combating the largest environmental disaster in our history,
ending costly and futile imperial wars or stopping the corporate
plundering of the nation. And the gutlessness of the liberal class has
left it, and the values it represents, reviled and hated. [Amen -ed]

The Democrats have refused to repeal the gross violations of international
and domestic law codified by the Bush administration. This means that
Christian fascists who achieve power will have the "legal" tools to spy
on, arrest, deny habeas corpus to, and torture or assassinate American
citizens - as does the Obama administration.

Those who remain in a reality-based world often dismiss these malcontents
as buffoons and simpletons. They do not take seriously those, like Beck,
who pander to the primitive yearnings for vengeance, new glory and moral
renewal. Critics of the movement continue to employ the tools of reason,
research and fact to challenge the absurdities propagated by creationists
who think they will float naked into the heavens when Jesus returns to
Earth. The magical thinking, the flagrant distortion in interpreting the
Bible, the contradictions that abound within the movement's belief system
and the laughable pseudoscience, however, are impervious to reason. We
cannot convince those in the movement to wake up. It is we who are asleep.

Those who embrace this movement see life as an epic battle against forces
of evil and Satanism. The world is black and white. They need to feel,
even if they are not, that they are victims surrounded by dark and
sinister groups bent on their destruction. They need to believe they know
the will of God and can fulfill it, especially through violence. They need
to sanctify their rage, a rage that lies at the core of the ideology. They
seek total cultural and political domination. They are using the space
within the open society to destroy it. These movements work within the
confining rules of the secular state because they have no choice. The
intolerance they promote is muted in the public assurances of their
slickest operators. Given enough power, and they are working hard to get
it, any such cooperation will vanish. The demand for total control and for
a Christian nation and the refusal to permit any dissent are on display
within their inner sanctums. These pastors have established within their
churches tiny, despotic fiefdoms, and they seek to replicate these little
tyrannies on a larger scale.

Many of the tens of millions within the Christian right live on the edge
of poverty. The Bible, interpreted for them by pastors whose connection
with God means they cannot be questioned, is their handbook for daily
life. The rigidity and simplicity of their belief are potent weapons in
the fight against their own demons and the struggle to keep their lives on
track. The reality-based world, one where Satan, miracles, destiny, angels
and magic did not exist, battered them like driftwood. It took their jobs
and destroyed their future. It rotted their communities. It flooded their
lives with alcohol, drugs, physical violence, deprivation and despair. And
then they discovered that God has a plan for them. God will save them. God
intervenes in their lives to promote and protect them. The emotional
distance they have traveled from the real world to the world of Christian
fantasy is immense. And the rational, secular forces, those that speak in
the language of fact and evidence, are hated and ultimately feared, for
they seek to pull believers back into "the culture of death" that nearly
destroyed them.

There are wild contradictions within this belief system. Personal
independence is celebrated alongside an abject subservience to leaders who
claim to speak for God. The movement says it defends the sanctity of life
and advocates the death penalty, militarism, war and righteous genocide.
It speaks of love and promotes fear of damnation and hate. There is a
terrifying cognitive dissonance in every word they utter.

The movement is, for many, an emotional life raft. It is all that holds
them together. But the ideology, while it regiments and orders lives, is
merciless. Those who deviate from the ideology, including "backsliders"
who leave these church organizations, are branded as heretics and
subjected to little inquisitions, which are the natural outgrowth of
messianic movements. If the Christian right seizes the legislative,
executive and judicial branches of government, these little inquisitions
will become big inquisitions.

The cult of masculinity pervades the movement. Feminism and homosexuality,
believers are told, have rendered the American male physically and
spiritually impotent. Jesus, for the Christian right, is a muscular man of
action, casting out demons, battling the Antichrist, attacking hypocrites
and castigating the corrupt. This cult of masculinity, with its
glorification of violence, is deeply appealing to those who feel
disempowered and humiliated. It vents the rage that drove many people into
the arms of the movement. It encourages them to lash back at those who,
they are told, seek to destroy them. The paranoia about the outside world
is stoked through bizarre conspiracy theories, many championed in books
such as Pat Robertson's "The New World Order," a xenophobic rant that
includes attacks on liberals and democratic institutions.

The obsession with violence pervades the popular novels by Tim LaHaye and
Jerry B. Jenkins. In their apocalyptic novel, "Glorious Appearing," based
on LaHaye's interpretation of biblical prophecies about the Second Coming,
Christ returns and eviscerates the flesh of millions of nonbelievers with
the sound of his voice. There are long descriptions of horror and blood,
of how "the very words of the Lord had superheated their blood, causing it
to burst through their veins and skin". Eyes disintegrate. Tongues melt.
Flesh dissolves. The Left Behind series, of which this novel is a part,
contains the best-selling adult novels in the country.

Violence must be used to cleanse the world. These Christian fascists are
called to a perpetual state of war. "Any teaching of peace prior to
[Christ's] return is heresy". says televangelist James Robinson.

Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, instability in Israel and even the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are seen as glorious signposts. The war in
Iraq is predicted, believers insist, in the ninth chapter of the Book of
Revelations, where four angels "which are bound in the great river
Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of men". The march is
inevitable and irreversible and requires everyone to be ready to fight,
kill and perhaps die. Global war, even nuclear war, is not to be feared,
but welcomed as the harbinger of the Second Coming. And leading the
avenging armies is an angry, violent Messiah who dooms hundreds of
millions of apostates to a horrible and gruesome death.

The Christian right, while embracing a form of primitivism, seeks the
imprint of law and science to legitimate its absurd mythologies. Its
members seek this imprint because, despite their protestations to the
contrary, they are a distinctly modern, totalitarian movement. They seek
to co-opt the pillars of the Enlightenment in order to abolish the
Enlightenment. Creationism, or "intelligent design," like eugenics for the
Nazis or "Soviet" science for Stalin, must be introduced into the
mainstream as a valid scientific discipline - hence the rewriting of
textbooks. The Christian right defends itself in the legal and scientific
jargon of modernity. Facts and opinions, once they are used
"scientifically" to support the irrational, become interchangeable.
Reality is no longer based on the gathering of facts and evidence. It is
based on ideology. Facts are altered. Lies become true. Hannah Arendt
called it "nihilistic relativism," although a better phrase might be
collective insanity.

The Christian right has, for this reason, its own creationist "scientists"
who use the language of science to promote anti-science. It has fought
successfully to have creationist books sold in national park bookstores at
the Grand Canyon and taught in public schools in states such as Texas,
Louisiana and Arkansas. Creationism shapes the worldview of hundreds of
thousands of students in Christian schools and colleges. This
pseudoscience claims to have proved that all animal species, or at least
their progenitors, fit on Noah's ark. It challenges research in AIDS and
pregnancy prevention. It corrupts and discredits the disciplines of
biology, astronomy, geology, paleontology and physics.

Once creationists can argue on the same platform as geologists, asserting
that the Grand Canyon was not created 6 billion years ago but 6,000 years
ago by the great flood that lifted up Noah's ark, we have lost. The
acceptance of mythology as a legitimate alternative to reality is a body
blow to the rational, secular state. The destruction of rational and
empirically based belief systems is fundamental to the creation of all
totalitarian ideologies. Certitude, for those who could not cope with the
uncertainty of life, is one of the most powerful appeals of the movement.
Dispassionate intellectual inquiry, with its constant readjustments and
demand for evidence, threatens certitude. For this reason incertitude must
be abolished.

"What convinces masses are not facts," Arendt wrote in "Origins of
Totalitarianism," - "and not even invented facts, but only the consistency
of the system which they are presumably part. Repetition, somewhat
overrated in importance because of the common belief in the masses'
inferior capacity to grasp and remember, is important because it convinces
them of consistency in time".

Augustine defined the grace of love as Volo ut sis - I want you to be.
There is, he wrote, an affirmation of the mystery of the other in
relationships based on love, an affirmation of unexplained and
unfathomable differences.  Relationships based on love recognize that
others have a right to be.  These relationships accept the sacredness of
difference. This acceptance means that no one individual or belief system
captures or espouses an absolute truth. All struggle, in their own way,
some outside of religious systems and some within them, to interpret
mystery and transcendence.

The sacredness of the other is anathema for the Christian right, which
cannot acknowledge the legitimacy of other ways of being and believing. If
other belief systems, including atheism, have moral validity, the
infallibility of the movement's doctrine, which constitutes its chief
appeal, is shattered. There can be no alternative ways to think or to be.
All alternatives must be crushed.

Ideological, theological and political debates are useless with the
Christian right. It does not respond to a dialogue. It is impervious to
rational thought and discussion. The naive attempts to placate a movement
bent on our destruction, to prove to it that we too have "values," only
strengthens its legitimacy and weakness our own. If we do not have a right
to be, if our very existence is not legitimate in the eyes of God, there
can be no dialogue. At this point it is a fight for survival.

Those gathered into the arms of this Christian fascist movement are
desperately struggling to survive in an increasingly hostile environment.
We failed them; we owe them more: This is their response. The financial
dislocations, the struggles with domestic and sexual abuse, the battle
against addictions, the poverty and the despair that many in the movement
endure are tragic, painful and real. They have a right to their rage and
alienation. But they are also being used and manipulated by forces that
seek to dismantle what is left of our democracy and abolish the pluralism
that was once the hallmark of our society.

The spark that could set this conflagration ablaze could be lying in the
hands of a small Islamic terrorist cell. It could be in the hands of
greedy Wall Street speculators who gamble with taxpayer money in the
elaborate global system of casino capitalism. The next catastrophic
attack, or the next economic meltdown, could be our Reichstag fire. It
could be the excuse used by these totalitarian forces, this Christian
fascism, to extinguish what remains of our open society.

Let us not stand meekly at the open gates of the city waiting passively
for the barbarians. They are coming. They are slouching toward Bethlehem.
Let us shake off our complacency and cynicism. Let us openly defy the
liberal establishment, which will not save us, to demand and fight for
economic reparations for our working class. Let us reincorporate these
dispossessed into our economy. Let us give them a reality-based hope for
the future. Time is running out. If we do not act, American fascists,
clutching Christian crosses, waving American flags and orchestrating mass
recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance, will use this rage to snuff us

Copyright  2010 Truthdig, L.L.C.
Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated
from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign
correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books,
including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should
Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on
America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy
and the Triumph of Spectacle.

--------16 of 19--------

"Any Better Comments?"
The Ambush of Helen Thomas
June 8, 2010


White House journalist Helen Thomas, covering a Jewish American Heritage
Month celebration at the White House May 27, is accosted on the sidewalk
by someone who asks: "Any comments about Israel? We're asking everybody
today - any comments about Israel?"

Smiling in grandmotherly fashion - the way an 89 year-old woman might do
when suddenly approached by an 17 year old boy who seems sincerely
interested in her thoughts - she replies: "Tell them to get the hell out
of Palestine".

 "Oooh". responds the questioner. "Any better comments?" (A voice in the
background: "Helen is fun!")

"Hah hah hah," laughs Helen. "Remember these people are occupied, and
it's their land, not German, and not Poland".

"So where should they go? What should they do?"

"They could go home. Poland. Germany".

"Where's home? You're saying Jews should go back to Poland and Germany?"

"And America and everywhere else".

A week later this video of the impromptu interview appears on
"," website of Rabbi David Nesenoff. (Who by the way is this
"live rabbi"? Who is this rabbi character who's terminated the career of a
Washington press icon? How many journalists are even asking?)

The clip begins and ends with strident musical accompaniment, and
concludes with the caption: "Six million Jews were killed in Germany and
Poland. Does Helen know that Jews have lived in Israel way before the
Holocaust. How can Helen report unbiased?"

According to one report the questioner was Adam Nesenoff, David's son. The
latter supposedly "sat on the Thomas scoop" for a week while his
"webmaster son" Adam took final exams.

"So we waited," Rabbi Nesenoff told Yahoo News. "And of course, during the
waiting of it, the flotilla happened". Nesenoff doesn't explain how the
Israeli assault on the Gaza aid flotilla connects to Helen or the timing
of the video release. But clearly it (and perhaps Thomas's comments about
it?) influenced the timing of the video. And once it was online, the White
House - which was not outraged at all by the murder of 9 aid workers by
the "Israeli Defense Forces" last week - immediately condemned the

Nesenoff contacted her employer, Hearst Newspapers, telling them they had
"to get rid of her". They did.

Outrage! About what? A journalist is suddenly approached on the sidewalk
by two high school students who say they're asking everybody today if they
have comments about Israel. (Might I ask: Why did this happen in the first
place? Was this for a school project? Are there other filmed interviews
young Adam would like to share, to prove that he and his friend were
really fact "asking everybody" and not just Helen?)

"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine". This was obviously a totally
spontaneous statement, and could mean simply, "Tell them to withdraw from
the occupied territories, as demanded by the entire world".

The interviewer responds with apparent humor, asking for more comments. So
the veteran journalist says, "Remember these people are occupied, and it's
their land". It is of course absolutely true that Zionists occupy
Palestinian land. This fact, not the comment, is outrageous. Most people
on the planet understand this.

"Where should they go?" asks the youth rhetorically, perhaps psyched for
his gotcha moment.  In this elliptical conversation, the "they" could have
been interpreted by Helen, who has just mentioned "occupied" land, as
referring to settlers on the West Bank or on the Golan Heights. The topic
under discussion is Palestine, which in U.S. journalistic useage is more
likely to refer to a future Palestinian state than to the state of Israel
in its 1967 borders. But the video is skewed to make it seem as though
Thomas said all Jews in Israel and the occupied territories should leave,
and go back to places where mass murder occurred.

To those who care about fairness, I suggest that's unfair. That's not what
Helen Thomas said. She said Israel should leave Palestine. When prompted
to say where those referenced should go, she referred to countries with
historically large Jewish populations. Lots of Israelis are in fact
leaving Israel for those countries.  (About 14,000 Israeli Jews left
annually between 1990 and 2005. According to a 2007 poll, half of Israeli
youth between ages 14 and 18 express the desire to live outside of Israel,
which they see as having a bleak future. A huge percentage of Israelis has
or plans to inquire about obtaining foreign nationality; many Europeans
offer this generously to descendents of citizens who can prove their
ancestry. The Berlin synagogue has 12,000 members and is flourishing.
There are now maybe 55,000 Jews in Poland, many emigrating from Israel
following Poland's admission to the EU.)

It's not clear exactly what Thomas was saying in this spontaneous,
fragmentary sidewalk conversation with kids who said that they were, for
some reason, asking "everyone to comment about Israel". Rabbi Nesenoff
says there are more excerpts to come, but it's likely that the above piece
is the most "controversial".

But let's just suppose that Thomas is saying that the establishment of the
Jewish state in 1948 was itself a bad thing, a catastrophe for the
indigenous Palestinian people. (These by the way almost surely include
descendents of the ancient Judaeans. There was never a total
dispersion - diaspora - of Jews from Roman Judaea. Following the
rebellions against Roman rule in the province between 66 and 135, a large
but undetermined number of Jews were driven from Judaea as punishment. But
the Romans did not, and probably couldn't have, thoroughly "dispersed" the
Jews. Many remained, some becoming Christians and later, Muslims.  It is
altogether likely that the DNA of many Palestinians is closer to that of
the first century Judaeans than to that of Jews with centuries of European
ancestry. And by the first century there were already huge numbers of Jews
outside Judaea, many voluntarily, constituting trading communities from
Britain to India. St. Paul visited many synagogues in Anatolia and Greece
and dreamed of preaching the Christian gospel to the Jews of Spain.)

Let's say Thomas is saying that the Zionists should have stayed in Europe
(where anti-Semitism has greatly diminished in the last half-century,
typically flourishing now mainly as a result of Israeli policy towards
Palestinians) rather than pursuing their agenda in Palestine under Turkish
rule or the British mandate. Maybe she's saying that it was wrong for the
Zionists to terrorize Palestinians into fleeing their villages in the
diaspora of 1948. Maybe she's saying that it's wrong for Israel to accept
any Jew (as defined by the rabbinical establishment) as a citizen while
denying hundreds of thousands of Arabs the right to return to their
homeland. If so, many agree with her. I do, certainly.

But there are some who demand that we all accept a certain understanding
of Israel. Everyone must, to avoid charges of anti-Semitism, agree on
these points:

1. The establishment of the state of Israel was absolutely necessary, to
prevent the annihilation of the Jewish people in a future holocaust. (This
is of course an unproveable assertion. The global Jewish population today
is about what it was in the 1910s - about 16 million - and if it is
declining it's mostly because of birth control and intermarriage. The
prospect for future Auschwitzes seems minimal.)

2. The Jewish state must be within the boundaries of the ancient state of
Israel, as it existed during the (legendary) reign of King David, as
described in the Bible. It is the right of Jews to reconstitute that
state, from which they were wrongly driven. It has always been theirs, no
matter where they roamed. It is their "birthright" to live in Israel.
(Tens of millions of Christian Zionists embrace this notion, noting that
God, in the Bible, made the Jews his Chosen People and gave them that
land. Enough said!)

3. The establishment of the modern state of Israel was the result of a
just and humane struggle. The displacement of hundreds of thousands of
Palestinian Arabs was their own fault, or a consequence of propaganda from
Arab regimes urging them to flee. (Israeli historians like the estimable
Ilan Pappe have effectively disproven this.)

4. The occupation of the lands invaded in 1967 is necessary as a security
measure against Arab anti-Semitism, irrational anti-Jewish hate. (You can
maybe advocate withdrawal from the territories, and even promote a
two-state solution, without being called anti-Semitic. But if you note
matter-of-factly that the occupation is against international law, is
cruelly implemented, and produces enormous suffering, expect charges of

If you don't agree that Israel is a moral exemplar and light to the world,
"the only democracy in the Middle East" just attending reasonably to its
security needs against a world that is (for no good reason) hostile to
itself, you can be hounded, harrassed, intimidated, discredited, denied
tenure, fired.  Helen was fired.  That's the real outrage here.

"So we waited. And of course, during the waiting of it, the flotilla
happened". Yes. A 19 year old Turkish-American boy (among nine others) was
shot to death at close range in the head and back in international waters
by Israeli hijackers who've subsequently claimed that that their victims
wanted to "lynch" them. They effectively conveyed the message: "Don't mess
with Israel".  And then 89 year old Helen got ambushed (lynched?) by this
innocent-looking kid on the street.

The message? Shut up, you critics of Israel, you terrorists, you

I hope Helen Thomas keeps talking and writing. She's understood and
exposed the brutal realities of recent history, and is much too young to
shut up now.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a
secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of
Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male
Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and
Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900.
He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars
on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades. He can be reached
at: gleupp [at]

--------17 of 19--------

Did the IDF Execute Mavi Marmara Victims?
Shot in the Back
June 7, 2010

You want to know why we need independent journalism, and why those of you
who are reading this article need to support the publication in which it
is appearing and the article in which it originally appeared? Because if
you rely for your news on the US corporate media, whether ad-supported or
underwriter-supported, you won't learn that Furkan Dogan, the 19-year-old
American citizen slain by Israeli commandos in the raid on the Gaza-bound
flotilla May 31, was shot in the back and in the back of the head, as well
as multiple times in the face.

This is the conclusion of the autopsy conducted by the Turkish Council of
Forensic Medicine, which also did autopsies on the eight other Turkish
citizens killed in the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara ferry and five
other smaller boats in the so-called Freedom Flotilla. Of the other eight
dead, the medical examiners found that five had been shot in the back, or
in the back of the head.

This critically important information has not appeared in US news reports.
Some American news organizations have left out the autopsy information
entirely from their reports as of Saturday. CNN, in its report on Friday,
did note that five of the nine were shot in the head, and at close range,
but the all-important fact that most of the victims were shot from behind
was left out. ABC had the same information on Thursday, again without
mentioning the shots from behind. In its article on Friday, the NY Times
had yet to even name Dogan, the American victim, much less mention the
bullets that hit him or how he was shot.

And yet, if you're trying to establish what happened on that ship, the
direction of the firing, not just the number of bullets, or the distance
from which they were fired, is crucial.

I had some experience with this as a reporter in Los Angeles, back in the
1970s. There was a story that ran in all the local papers, including the
LA Times, and my paper, the LA Daily News, about a 14-year-old kid killed
by police while he was burglarizing an empty house in the San Fernando
Valley. All the papers reported the police story that he had been shot and
killed when police entered the house on a call of a burglary, and he
"turned and appeared to be carrying a gun" (it turned out to be some
camera equipment he was trying to cart off).

On a hunch, I decided to look more into the story, and as my beat was
county government, I went to visit the coroner's office. There I was
shown, at my request, the drawings and report on the boy's autopsy. What I
discovered was that all the police bullets entered the boy's back. He was
shot while fleeing the police, not while turning to face them.

If you're a real reporter, not a stenographer to power, you've got to ask.
A reporter from the Guardian did ask. US reporters did not ask. Or if they
did ask, they didn't put the answer in their reports. Or if they did put
the answer in their reports, editors removed the answer. And so far, no
reporter has come forward to protest this news blackout, even anonymously.

In this current case of the Israeli commando assault on the Gaza aid
flotilla, if victims were shot in the back or in the back of the head,
then one is left really with only two possible conclusions: either the
shooters, who were the Israeli commandos (according to Israel, no Israeli
soldiers were themselves shot, plus all the recovered bullets were 9 mm,
the type of shells in the Israeli weapons, making it clear who had the
guns), fired at people who were fleeing from them, or alternatively they
shot people from the front, and later executed them with shots to the back
of the head, which is maybe even worse (certainly a war crime).

There aren't many other possible explanations, and either way we're
talking about criminal behavior on the high seas in what many are calling
an act of piracy, or else an act of war against a NATO nation.

I suppose if only one of the nine victims had exhibited a rear head wound,
one might at least theorize a scenario in which he might have spun around
upon being shot in the face, and the commando, firing rapidly, might have
gotten off one unneeded extra round that caught the victim from the rear.
But for that to happen five times requires a tremendous suspension of

So much for the Israeli government propaganda about its poor and
unprepared commandos being surprised and set upon by vicious "terrorists"
on the boat, armed with kitchen knives, sticks and metal rods, when they
were anticipating nothing but peaceful resistance. (This absurd story line
was contradicted by Israel's other story line, that it considered the
organizer of the flotilla, the Turkish IHH charity, to be linked to Hamas
and Hezbollah, and that it "knew" that Palestinian terrorists had
insinuated themselves among the boat's activists - a claim which, if true,
means the commandos would have been, and surely were, well-armed and
prepared for a truly violent reception.)

In any event, what the autopsies reveal is a massacre, with commandos
deliberately murdering activists on the boats - either directly, or after
initially wounding them.

What they also reveal is the shameless pro-Israel bias of the US media,
which has simply decided that facts uncomfortable to Israel and its US
government backer are not news that's "fit to print".

You can read about the autopsies in the U.K. Guardian newspaper, or in
Switzerland (SwissInfo) or in Australia (the Melbourne Age), and you can
even read it in a Reuters report (which is a news service that most
American news organizations subscribe to, but which they actually show
their readers only selectively), but you cannot read it or hear about it
in the mainstream US media, where most Americans unfortunately still turn
for their information.

That is unacceptable.

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest
book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin.s Press, 2006 and now
available in paperback). He can be reached at dlindorff [at]

--------18 of 19--------

Cowardly Progressives
by Joel S. Hirschhorn
June 8th, 2010
Dissident Voice

After listening to a number of speeches at a national conference of
progressives I come to this conclusion: Progressives are more than eager
to take credit for electing President Obama and even to complain about the
many failures of him and his administration.  They overwhelmingly feel
that his campaign promises were far, far better than what he has
delivered.  They are disappointed.  They are frustrated.  They are sad.
But ultimately they are also cowards.

Why do I say this?  Because they seem completely incapable of using
straightforward language to criticize Obama.  They resist saying he has
lied to the public, betrayed progressives and sold out to corporate
interests.  Most importantly, they do not want to openly confess and
proclaim that he has been a sham government reformer.

At a time when progressives are working hard to get candidates for the US
Senate to oppose Democrats they deem unacceptable in current primaries,
they show no willingness to open the door wide to creating the
circumstances to get someone they view as a better progressive to compete
against Obama and keep him from winning a second term.

In other words, they seem intellectually incapable of concluding that
Obama no longer deserves their support based, for example, on the hard,
painful facts that he has persisted in wasting the country's wealth and
lives on two useless wars, he never cleaned up the regulatory system in
the Department of Interior that allowed BP and other companies to escape
effective regulation in the public interest, and he never fought for a
public option in the health care reform legislation.  While he was eager
to bail out Wall Street he has shown no courage in saving Main Street.  He
has accomplished nothing effective to create private sector jobs and
stands idly by as the middle class continues to slip down into the lower

Progressives admit that Obama is a consensus builder while hesitating to
go all the way and scream that bipartisanship chasing and consensus
building have overwhelmed adherence to reformist and populist principles.
They seem blind to the reality that the success of the tea party movement
results from a failure by Obama to seek necessary government reforms that
would show him to be a true change agent working to create better rather
than bigger government.

If progressives do not have the courage of their convictions how can they
expect Obama to have the courage of his supposed convictions?

The hard truth for progressives is that Obama has shown that he is just
another politician playing the same old, corruption games and caving in to
many special and corporate interests.  Obama surrounded himself with a
number of people who had no progressive credentials whatsoever, including
his Chief of Staff, Treasure Secretary and top economic advisor.  No
surprise therefore that the Obama White House plays all the same old games
that maintains corrupt and dysfunctional government.

Just as so many Americans have woken up and are demanding criminal
prosecution of BP and making them pay fully for all of the terrible
environmental and economic impacts their greed has produced, progressives
should be leading the nation in condemning Obama.  Now is the time for
progressives to admit that they are not getting the changes they were
waiting for and never will get them from Obama.  Progressives need to find
the courage to openly say that one term is enough for Obama.

Better to create the conditions for someone else to become the reformer so
many Americans want in the White House.  Otherwise progressives may wake
up to Republicans scoring very big in the coming mid-term elections and
also offering up someone to take over the White House.  Unless progressive
are willing to take some risk they risk losing even more than they already
have lost.  Don't stay with a loser.  Seek a real winner.  Someone people
in the tea party movement might support.

Joel S. Hirschhorn has a new book, Delusional Democracy: Fixing the
Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, which supports
constitutional conventions and other peaceful ways to restore American

--------19 of 19--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama/06.08.10

[Here, after a 4 month rest, is your chance to pledge no vote for Obama in
2012. Each month, week, day, gives more reasons for the pledge. -ds]

Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama

Some of Barack Obama's bad actions:
 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan
 record high military budget
 bombing by unmanned drones in Pakistan
 continued Iraq war
 rejection of landmine treaty
 continued torture and coverup of past torture
 support for Honduras coup
 support for Israeli occupation of Palestine
 suppression of Goldstone Gaza war report
 bank bailout
 no prosecution or even investigation of Bush & Co
 reaffirmation of Patriot Act
 for insurance companies & vs single payer
 support for expanded nuclear power

For these, and many other bad actions,

 We the undersigned publicly pledge not to vote for Barack Obama for
 US president in 2012.

 Robert Halfhill
 Amber Garlan
 Tom Cleland
 David Weisberg
 Dave Bicking
 Andy Hamerlinck
 Doug Mann
 Ted Dooley
 Melissa Hill
 Dori Ullman
 Ryan Carey
 Jan McGee
 Bill Oldfather
 Carol Mellom
 Michelle Gross
 Mike Whelan
 Robert Palmer
 Tom Dooley
 Tim Nolan
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 Suzanne Linton
 Michael Cavlan
 Steven Boyer
 John Simcox
 Louise Bouta
 Vanessa Vogl
 Lisa Grant
 M J Schoen
 Clinton Dietrich
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 Farheen Hakeem
 Jan Nye
 Margaret Beegle
 Dave Berger
 Brandy Baker (MD)
 Myles Hoenig (MD)
 Danene Provencher
 Donald L Maxwell
 Neil Lageson
 Molly Reiter
 Mustafa Adam
 Bob Schmitz
 Mary Metchnek
 Dan Dittman
 David Shove

 [room for YOUR name]

==end of pledge

To sign this pledge, send to shove001 [at] an email from your
standard personal email address, with your name, and the words: No Obama
2012 vote.

The above will be published regularly on the Progressive Calendar, Green
Party lists, etc. Continuing chances for additional people to sign.

 If you need to research any topic raised here, go to eg:
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 Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones

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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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