Progressive Calendar 04.19.12 /2
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 13:41:51 -0700 (PDT)
*P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    04.19.12*

1. Intl justice          4.19 4pm
2. Forum on CRA   4.19 5:30pm
3. Corporate power 4.19 7pm

4. Jim Hightower    - The Citizens United gang executes a corporate coup
5. Ted Rall            - A president who doesn't even try
6. ed                    - Displaced persons  (haiku)

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Intl justice 4.19 4pm

Lecture: Justice Richard J. Goldstone (CLE Credits Applied)
International Criminal Justice
APRIL 19, 2012
4:00 pm.
University of Minnesota Mondale Hall Room 25 (Subplaza)
229-19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455

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From: Michelle Gross mgresist [at]
Forum on CRA 4.19 5:30pm

Thursday, April 19th
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Minneapolis Urban League
2100 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority (CRA) was formed in 1991­after
the tragic police murders of elderly couple Lloyd Smalley and Lillian
Weiss­to address complaints against police.

Fast forward to 2012: The Minnesota legislature just stripped away their
power to issue rulings on cases.  The city has hatched a secret plan to put
them under the police department.  With all of the attacks on the CRA, the
community must ask:
Is the Minneapolis CRA still relevant?

Can the CRA actually do anything about police brutality?

Should the CRA still exist?

The community deserves a properly functioning CRA.  Join us for a lively
discussion of the past and the future of the Minneapolis Civilian Review
Authority.  Learn about the legislation and proposed changes and how they
will affect the community.  Join the conversation about ideas for revising
the CRA so that it can actually serve the community.

[I imagine the mayor, city, cops, et al, are preparing to commit whatever
level of violence on us (non-persons all) is necessary to smash Occupy and
anyone else that tics off The Masters.  The cops are their hired
mercenaries, paid for by us. We 99% become non-persons, expendable targets
for night sticks, tasers, strip searches, whatever turns The Masters on.
Massively resist or see it get worse fast. -ed]

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From: Joe Schwartzberg schwa004 [at]
Corporate power 4.19 7pm

Free and open to the public. Come and bring a friend.

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church,
511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale and Hennepin). Park in church
April 19, 2012, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Our speaker will trace the history of the rise of corporate power in Europe
and North America and note, in particular, the role of the U.S. Supreme
Court in this process, indicating how corporate “persons” have become
superior to natural persons (i.e., human beings). He will then indicate
what we can do about it, focusing on the “Move to Amend” movement and
noting other hopeful signs.

Presenter: Robin Monahan. Born in Grand Rapids, MN, Robin served four years
in the U.S. Navy, including a year in Vietnam. He is currently a resident
of Shoreview having retired in 1998 from 28-year nursing career. He became
politically active in 2010, after the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United
decision declaring corporations to be legal “persons.” That year, from May
to October, h e and his brother Laird walked across the country to raise
awareness of this issue. Robin is a volunteer for Minnesota Move to Amend,
which promotes a U.S. Constitutional Amendment stating that only “natural
persons” have Constitutional rights and that money is not speech.

[As corporations become persons, we become things. -ed]

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The Citizens United Gang Executes a Corporate Coup D'etat
by Jim Hightower
Published on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 by

The Lone Ranger was a masked man who was out to bring bad guys to justice.
Ed Conard is a masked man who is out to bring bad guys to power.

A multimillionaire financier who was a top henchman in Bain Capital, Mitt
Romney's old outfit of corporate plunderers, Conard is currently riding
with the small but fearsome Citizens United Gang, which has taken over
presidential politics in our country.

Unlike the James Gang, the Dalton Boys and other robbers of yore who stole
from banks and railroads, these thieves are bankers and high-rolling
railroaders. Thanks to the Supreme Court's edict in the infamous Citizens
United case, they are now able to use unlimited amounts of their corporate
wealth to create Super PACs, which are proving to be devastating weapons
against democracy.

Conard is one of the gang of financial elites who've put a million dollars
or more into Romney's super PAC, enabling it to whack his opponents and
take the GOP nomination with an unprecedented barrage of venomously
negative advertising. Conard is known as a masked robber because he tried
to disguise his million-dollar involvement by using the fake name of "W
Spann." Incredibly, that's not illegal — but it was so glaringly odd that
Romney's campaign had to compel Conard to fess up his real name.

Speaking of names, the Romney Super PAC is called "Restore Our Future."
Whose future does that mean? Not yours and mine, but theirs — the
mega-donors'. This was candidly confessed by another member of the Citizens
United Gang, hedge fund hustler Ken Griffin. He says he's in Romney's super
PAC because, "I think (the ultra-wealthy) actually have insufficient
influence (in Washington). Those who have enjoyed the benefits of our
system (must) protect the system."

Rarely do you see such altruism on behalf of the selfish few!

These privileged ones have wielded their enormous wealth this year as
cudgels to batter the election process and take the Republican presidential
nomination for one of their own.

Romney — who amassed his quarter-billion-dollar fortune by borrowing piles
of cash from rich speculators to take over a host of corporations, then
firing as many workers as possible and slashing the pay of those who
remain, thus allowing him and his speculator partners to pocket the money
that had gone to the employees — is a product of the system of financial
iniquities that Griffin et al. holds so dear. No surprise then that he has
taken a blood oath to preserve and extend that largely unregulated and
tax-subsidized system. It's both a legalized mugging and grand larceny.

Ironically, Romney claims to be the man who can "fix" America's economy. Of
course, he uses fix in the same sense that veterinarians use it. If you're
unclear on the concept, ask your dog or cat for details.

Unfortunately, the mugging by the Citizens United Gang has only begun. Not
only is Restore Our Future by far the biggest presidential super PAC of
them all — dwarfing Barack Obama's, which is called Priorities USA Action —
but its attacks will be supplemented by an even bigger super-super PAC,
called American Crossroads. Created by campaign attack-meister Karl Rove
and longtime Republican operative Ed Gillespie, this political battering
ram intends to pound Obama (and America's TV viewers) mercilessly with a
staggering $200 million in bloody-ugly negative ads from now to Election

Besides sharing the same candidate, the two political funds also share a
list of heavy hitters. Just three Texas billionaires, for example — Bob
Perry, Harold Simmons and Robert Rowling — have already put $4,400,000 into
Restore Our Future and another $16,500,000 into American Crossroads. Perry
and Simmons are notorious, experienced muggers, with long histories of
using campaign money to win government favors for their corporations.

To the barricades, people! The Citizens United Gang's goal is not simply to
put Romney in the Oval Office, but to impose a plutocracy over our land.
Here are the websites of four national groups that are organizing
grass-roots people to defeat this corporate coup:,, and

© 2012 Creators Syndicate
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.

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A President Who Doesn't Even Try
Is Obama Kowtowing to the Right? Or Is He One of Them?
by Ted Rall
Published on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 by Common Dreams

The President's progressive critics blame him for continuing and expanding
upon his Republican predecessor's policies. His supporters point to the
obstructionist, Republican-controlled Congress. What can Obama do? He's
being stymied at every turn.

President Barack Obama signs an executive order closing the prison at
Guantanamo Bay, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009, in the Oval Office of the White
House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
The first problem with the it's-the-GOP's-fault defense is that it asks
voters to suffer short-term memory loss. In 2009, you probably recall,
Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. By a sizeable majority. They
even had a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate. His approval
ratings were through the roof; even many Republicans who had voted against
him took a liking to him. The media, in his pocket, wondered aloud whether
the Republican Party could ever recover. "Rarely, if ever, has a President
entered office with so much political wind at his back," Tim Carney wrote
for the Evans-Novak Political Report shortly after the inauguration.

If Obama had wanted to pursue a progressive agenda—banning foreclosures,
jailing bankers, closing Guantánamo, stopping the wars, pushing for the
public option he promised in his healthcare plan—he could have. He had
ample political capital, yet chose not to spend it.

Now that Congress is controlled by a Republican Party in thrall to its
radical-right Tea Party faction, it is indeed true that Obama can't get
routine judicial appointments approved, much less navigate the passage of
legislation. Oh-so-conveniently, Obama has turned into a
liberal-come-lately. Where was his proposed Buffett Rule (which would
require millionaires with huge investment income to pay the same percentage
rate as middle-class families) in 2009, when it might have stood a chance
of passage?

Team Obama's attempt to shore up his liberal base also falls short on the
facts. Progressives were shocked by the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling,
along party lines, that legalized strip-searches and body cavity rapes by
police and private security firms who detain people suspected of any crime,
even minor traffic infractions.

"What virtually none of this…commentary mentioned," reported Glenn
Greenwald in Salon, "was that that the Obama DOJ [Department of Justice]
formally urged Court to reach the conclusion it reached…this is yet another
case, in a long line, where the Obama administration was able to have its
preferred policies judicially endorsed by getting right-wing judges to
embrace them."

"Liberals don't blame Obama for not winning. They blame him for not trying.
When he does crazy things like authorizing the assassinations of U.S.
citizens without trial, progressives have to ask themselves: Is this guy
kowtowing to the Right? Or is he one of them?"
No wonder Obama stayed mum.

Which brings us to the biggest, yet least discussed, flaw in the attempt to
pin Obama's inaction on the heads of Congressional Republicans: the bully

Whether Donald Trump likes it or not, Barack Obama is still president. If
he calls a press conference to call attention to an issue, odds are that
reporters will show up. But he's not walking tall or even talking big.

Responding to fall 2011 polls that indicated softening support among the
younger and more liberal voters who form the Democratic base, Obama's
reelection strategists began rolling out speeches inflected with
Occupy-inspired rhetoric about class warfare and trying to make sure all
Americans "get a fair shot." But that's all it is: talk. And small talk at

Instead of introducing major legislation, the White House plans to spend
2012 issuing presidential orders about symbolic, minor issues.

Repeating Clinton-era triangulation and micro-mini issues doesn't look like
a smart reelection strategy. The Associated Press reported: "Obama's
election year retreat from legislative fights means this term will end
without significant progress on two of his 2008 campaign promises:
comprehensive immigration reform and closing the military prison for
terrorist suspects at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Piecemeal presidential
directives are unlikely to make a sizeable dent in the nation's 8.6 percent
unemployment rate or lead to significant improvements in the economy, the
top concern for many voters and the issue on which Republican candidates
are most likely to criticize Obama. In focusing on small-bore executive
actions rather than ambitious legislation, the president risks appearing to
be putting election-year strategy ahead of economic action at a time when
millions of Americans are still out of work."

Of course, Obama may prevail. Romney is an extraordinarily weak opponent.

For progressives and leftists, however, the main point is that Obama never
tries to move the mainstream of ideological discourse to the left.

Obama has been mostly silent on the biggest issue of our time, income
inequality and the rapid growth of the American underclass. He hasn't said
much about the environment or climate change, the most serious problem we
face—and one for which the U.S. bears a disproportionate share of the
blame. Even on issues where he was blocked by Congress, such as when
Republicans prohibited the use of public funds to transport Gitmo detainees
to the U.S. for trials, he zipped his lips.

It isn't hard to imagine a president launching media-friendly crusades
against poverty or global warming. FDR and LBJ did it, touring the country,
appointing high-profile commissions and inviting prominent guests to the
White House to draw attention to issues they cared about.

In 2010, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez invited flood victims to move
into his presidential palace. Seven years after Katrina, Gulf Coast
residents are still waiting for help. What if Obama opened up the Lincoln
Bedroom to a homeless family? The media couldn't ignore a PR stunt like

Obama has mostly shunned the time-honored strategy of trapping your
opposition by forcing them vote against your popular ideas. In 2009, for
example, it would have been smarter politics—and better governance—to push
for real socialized medicine, or at least ObamaCare with the public option
he promised. He would either have wound up with a dazzling triumph, or a
glorious defeat.

Liberals don't blame Obama for not winning. They blame him for not trying.
When he does crazy things like authorizing the assassinations of U.S.
citizens without trial, progressives have to ask themselves: Is this guy
kowtowing to the Right? Or is he one of them?
[There's not a dime's worth of difference. Lesser-evil voters, however, to
avoid guilt for their past slime-covered cowardice, much perfer to think of
Obama as a coward, even a craven spineless lying two-faced coward, than a
knave. I say, knave. -ed]

Ted Rall is the author of the new books "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia
the New Middle East?," and "The Anti-American Manifesto" . His website is

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Displaced Persons

As corporations
become persons, with rights, we
become things, with none.


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