Progressive Calendar 01.17.12 /2
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 14:18:35 -0800 (PST)
*P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   01.27.12*

1. Palestine vigil   1.27 4:15pm
2. Gaza/life          1.27 6:30pm
3. Poetry/our life   1.27 7pm

4. Money/us/earth 1.28 1pm
5. CUAPB            1.28 1:30pm
6. Northtown vigil   1.28 2pm
7. Nader/ CSPAN  1.28 7pm
8. Nader book       1.28 7pm
9. Starhawk/CTV   1.28 9pm

10. Matt Taibbi      - Is Obama's 'Economic Populism' for real?

11. Robert Herrick - Upon Julia's Clothes
12. ed                  - Disorganized  (haiku)

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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 1.27 4:15pm

The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs

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From: WAMM
Gaza/life  1.27 6:30pm

Third Annual Gaza Commemoration Campaign: “Gaza Teaches Life, Sir”
Friday, January 27, 6:30 p.m.
Mounds View Community Center, 5394 Edgewood Drive, Mounds View.

Speakers: poet, writer and activist, Remi Kanazi and American Muslims. For
Palestine (AMP) board member and editor of “Al-Mezan” newspaper, Osama
Abuirshaid. Free and open to all. Sponsored by: AMP and Aqsa Institute.
FFI: Call 612-234-7250 or email mn [at]

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From: AWE
Poetry/our life  1.27 7pm

Exploring the Human Experience Through Poetry
Friday, January 27, 7:00pm
First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, 900 Mount Curve Avenue,
Minneapolis, MN 55403

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From: Ken Pentel <kenpentel [at]>;
Subject: Money/us/earth  1.28 1pm

A Monetary Conversation: "Money, Humanity & the Earth".

Dear Supporters and Trackers of the Ecology Democracy Network,

I feel the 2008 bank meltdown and Ron Paul are tweaking people’s curiosity
about the money economy more and more.

Below is an opportunity to develop our understanding and direction of the
monetary system. I need your help inviting groups, social networks and
others to the gathering below.

Saturday, January 28th
A Monetary Conversation: "Money, Humanity & the Earth".
The special guest is monetary theorist Richard Kotlarz
Downtown Central Library-Room 304
300 Nicollet, Minneapolis 55401

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From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB 1.28 1:30pm

Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue
South <>
Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 1.28 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm

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Nader on CSPAN 1.28 7pm

on cable CSPAN 2 BOOK TV/online:
Saturday, January 28th at 7pm (ET) 6 pm CENTRAL
Sunday, January 29th at 10:30am (ET) 9:30 am CENTRAL
Monday, January 30th at 1am (ET) MIDNIGHT CENTRAL

"Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build it Together to Win"
Ralph Nader
About the Program
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader presents his thoughts on what he considers is
the misbehavior of national and international corporations.  Mr. Nader
examines numerous big businesses that range from the health insurance
industry and pharmaceutical corporations to nuclear power and national
retail chains.  Ralph Nader speaks at Busboys & Poets in Washington, D.C.
About the Authors
Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader ran for President of the United States on the Green Party
ticket in 1996 and 2000 and as an independent in 2004. He is the author of
several books, including Unsafe at Any Speed, an indictment of the auto
industry published in 1965.

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Amber Garlan agarlan [at]
Nader book 1.28 7pm

The next Green Party book club meeting is this Saturday, 1/28/12, at 7:00
in the community room between 161 and 163 Erie Street in St. Paul.

This month we are discussing two books because we took a hiatus for two
months.  We are discussing “The Seventeen Traditions” by Ralph Nader and
“This Changes Every Thing” edited by Sarah van Gelder and the staff of YES!
Magazine. These are short wonderful books!

  “The Seventeen Traditions” by Ralph Nader is a wonderful book about his
parents Nathra and Rose Nader.  One of my favorite traditions is the
tradition of education and argument.  Ralph Nader writes about questions
his father would ask him when he came home from school. “What did you learn
today, Ralph?  Did you learn how to believe or did you learn how to
think?”…Is this new movement or politician trying to make us believe, by
using abstractions and slogans or advertising gimmicks, or inviting us to
think through the issues, using facts, experience, and judgment?
father’s point was that we should reach our beliefs by thinking them
through.  In public school we received instruction, which was largely a
mater of belief; it was at home that we received our real education, which
had more to do with thought. “The Seventeen Traditions” by Ralph Nader,
page 69 & 70

“This Changes Every Thing” edited by Sarah van Gelder and the staff of YES!
Magazine is a collection of short essays by different authors writing about
the Occupy Wall Street movement.  I love this little book!  One of the
writers is Ralph Nader. “What took them so long-these jobless, poor,
voiceless, excluded, defrauded, disrespected, fed up thousands, who are
learning that half of what democracy means is showing up and staying-in
this case-in the parks and the streets?  Isn’t that the lesson of American
history?...The Wall Street fat cats, in their private conversations, must
have been wondering how a collapsed economy, the direct loss of eight
mission jobs, trillion of dollars in pensions and savings, and a
taxpayer-funded bailout of the crooks and speculators who continue bad
practices without remorse could persist without sustained protests by the
victims.  They now have the first stage of their answer. “This Changes
Every Thing” edited by Sarah van Gelder and the staff of YES! Magazine,
page 74 & 75

See everybody this Saturday, 1/28/12, at 7:00,I will bake

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Eric Angell eric-angell [at]
Starhawk/CTV 1.28 9pm

"Starhawk: A Guide for Collaborative Groups"
longtime activist Starhawk talks about her timely new book: "The
Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups".  relevant to
struggle within the Occupy Movement, Starhawk's discussion includes
strategies for maintaining horizontal/non-hierarchical organizing. (filmed
Dec, 2011, Mpls)

"Starhawk: A Guide for Collaborative Groups"
available now at:

MTN 17 viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on Minneapolis Television Network (MTN)
Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!
Households with basic cable may watch.
** TOMORROW, Sat, 1/28, 9pm and Tues, 1/31, 8am
"Starhawk: A Guide for Collaborative Groups"

SPNN 15 viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN)
Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am,
after DemocracyNow!  Households with basic cable may watch.
** Tues, 1/31, @ 5pm & midnight + Wed, 2/1, 10am
"Starhawk: A Guide for Collaborative Groups"

"Our World In Depth" features analysis of public affairs with
consideration of and participation from Twin Cities area activists.  "Our
World In Depth" is locally produced and not corporately influenced.  Order
a dvd copy or contact us at ourworldindepth [at]

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Is Obama's 'Economic Populism' for Real?
by Matt Taibbi
Published on Friday, January 27, 2012 by Rolling Stone

There is a lot to digest in a recent series of events on the Prosecuting
Wall Street front – the two biggest being Barack Obama’s decision to make
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman the co-chair of a committee to
investigate mortgage and securitization fraud, and the numerous rumors and
leaks about an impending close to the foreclosure settlement saga.

There is already a great debate afoot about the meaning of these two news
stories, which surely are related in some form or another. Some observers
worry that Schneiderman, who over the summer was building a rep as the
Eliot Ness of the Wall Street fraud era, has sold out and is abandoning his
hard-line stance on foreclosure in return for a splashy federal posting.

Others looked at his appointment in conjunction with other recent
developments – like the news that Tim Geithner won’t be kept on and Obama’s
comments about a millionaire’s tax – and concluded that Barack Obama had
finally gotten religion and decided to go after our corruption problem in

At the very least, Obama’s recent acts were interpreted as a public move
toward economic populism: if the president was looking to associate himself
with that word, he did a good job, since there were literally hundreds of
headlines about Obama’s "populism" the day after his State of the Union

I think it’s impossible to know what any of this means yet. There is a lot
to sort out and a lot that will bear watching in the near future. Just to
recap, here’s what’s at stake right now:

The impending, much-discussed foreclosure settlement is the Obama
administration’s great bailout initiative. If it goes through with the kind
of tiny numbers being discussed ($25 billion from the banks if California
is in the deal, $19 billion if California AG Kamala Harris stays out), then
what we’re talking about is a bailout on par with TARP.

The potential liability each of the banks faces from foreclosure litigation
is vastly greater than $25 billion, and uncertainty surrounding that
litigation is holding the stock prices of all of the major companies (in
particular struggling ones like Bank of America) down.

A settlement would release those firms from that potential liability and
likely bring massive surges in stock-market investment. It would therefore
have a profound strengthening effect on the Too-Big-To-Fail banks. If the
Obama administration wanted to be 100% real on the Wall Street crime front,
it would suspend this deal pending the investigation by the new mortgage
committee. But if the deal does indeed go through, we’ll know that the
banks still have major influence with our populist president.

Some people have been confused about Schneiderman’s new role. The new Unit
on Mortgage Origination and Securitization Abuses will not be investigating
the same abuses covered in the foreclosure settlement. When the public
thinks about corruption in the housing markets on the part of the big
banks, what it mostly thinks of is robosigning and the other mass-perjury
issues, which is the stuff targeted in the foreclosure settlement.

But in fact those problems were a tawdry little sideshow to the more
serious crimes of the housing crisis. Schneiderman himself outlined the
difference after the announcement of the new unit’s creation:

Schneiderman said Wednesday his dual roles — raising concerns about a
multi-state settlement with the major banks and investigating the mortgage
problem — wouldn’t be at odds.

“These are abuses in the foreclosure process. Our working group is focusing
on the conduct related to the pooling and the creation of mortgage-backed
securities and issues relating to the conduct that created the crash, not
the abuses that happened after the crash.”

My first thought, when I heard about this deal, was that Schneiderman was
deciding to compromise on robosigning and other post-securitization abuses,
in exchange for a mandate to go after the much bigger crimes, which took
place in the origination/securitization stages.

The securitization offenses were massive criminal conspiracies, identically
undertaken by all of the big banks, to defraud investors in mortgage-backed
securities. If you’re looking for an appropriate target for a massive
federal investigation, one that would get right to the heart of the
corruption of the crisis era... well, they picked the right target here.

If they were to do a real clean sweep on securitization, the federal
prisons would end up literally teeming with senior executives from the
biggest banks. A lot of very big names would end up playing ping-pong and
cards in Otisville and Englewood.

The question is, how real of an investigation will we get? The fact that
Schneiderman’s co-chairs are Lanny Breuer and Robert Khuzami make me
extremely skeptical. I’m actually not sure that both men, in an ideal
world, wouldn’t be targets of their own committee’s investigation.

Before joining the SEC, Khuzami was senior counsel of the fixed-income desk
at Deutsche Bank, which was creating exactly the sort of dicey CDOs that
this investigation ought to be targeting.

Breuer, meanwhile, worked for the hotshot defense firm Covington and
Burling, which among other things provided legal help that led to the
creation of the electronic mortgage registry system MERS.

The MERS issues are probably more the province of the foreclosure
settlement, but the banks’ joint efforts to evade the paper registry system
are certainly an element of the larger effort to defraud MBS investors that
will be covered by this committee. In fact, I’m not sure that mortgage
securitization and the proliferation of CDOs and CDS could have taken place
on anywhere near the scale that it did without MERS.

So having those two guys attached to Schneiderman’s hip makes me wonder
what is going on here. Khuzami’s presence is especially odd. The
theoretical reason we need a committee like this in the first place is
because the federal agency that is supposed to be doing this work – the SEC
– has stubbornly refused to do so.

If as SEC enforcement chief Bob Khuzami has not investigated the vast
corruption involved with the creation of mortgage backed securities (it’s
called “securitization” – it should be policed by the SECURITIES and
exchange commission), then why would he start now? Even leaving out his
potential culpability from his Deutsche days, Khuzami has been part of the
problem, if anything.

I would feel better about a committee that not only didn’t have a White
House flack and a failed/compromised SEC enforcement chief sitting on it,
but had nobody with any ties to Wall Street at all. The argument for them
would be that we need someone with expertise on the committee, but I’m not
buying it. I’d rather see Schneiderman hole up in an abandoned warehouse
with ten vice detectives from someplace like Detroit or Miami. And Charles
Martin Smith, if they can get him.

Seriously: despite what people think, the crimes we’re dealing with are not
terribly complicated, and any veteran investigator would grasp the basic
concept – taking worthless crap and selling it as high-end merchandise –
within ten minutes. The most important element contributing to the success
of a committee like this is a locked room full of clean hands. And Breuer
and Khuzami are not a good start.

But it’s too early to say what is going on. Everything that I’ve heard
about Schneiderman in the last year leads me to believe that he’s the
genuine article. I haven’t heard a single thing suggesting otherwise. But
there are certainly a lot of curious elements here. For one thing, as Yves
Smith points out, Schneiderman really isn’t getting much extra authority by
taking this post. As New York AG he could already have taken this
investigation anywhere he wanted:

It’s clear what the Administration is getting from getting Schneiderman
aligned with them. It is much less clear why Schneiderman is signing up. He
can investigate and prosecute NOW. He has subpoena powers, staff, and the
Martin Act. He doesn’t need to join a Federal committee to get permission
to do his job. And this is true for ALL the others agencies represented on
this committee. They have investigative and enforcement powers they have
chosen not to use. So we are supposed to believe that a group, ex
Schneiderman, that has been remarkably complacent, will suddenly get
religion on the mortgage front because they are all in a room and
Schneiderman is a co-chair?

One thing we do know: Obama’s decision to tap Schneiderman publicly, and
dump Geithner, and whisper about a millionaire’s tax, signals a shift in
its public attitude toward the Wall Street corruption issue. The
administration is clearly listening to the Occupy movement. Whether it’s
now acting on their complaints, or just trying to look like it’s doing
something, is another question. It’s way too early to tell. But it’s
certainly very interesting.

© 2012 Rolling Stone

As Rolling Stone’s chief political reporter, Matt Taibbi's predecessors
include the likes of journalistic giants Hunter S. Thompson and P.J.
O'Rourke. Taibbi's 2004 campaign journal Spanking the Donkey cemented his
status as an incisive, irreverent, zero-bullshit reporter. His books
include Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious
Power Grab in American History, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True
Story of War, Politics, and Religion, Smells Like Dead Elephants:
Dispatches from a Rotting Empire.

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Upon Julia's Clothes

Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
The liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes, and see
That brave vibration, each way free,
Oh, how that glittering taketh me!

        -- Robert Herrick  (1591-1674)

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People being killed
for their organs is the new
mined-body problem.


  Shove Grove
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