Progressive Calendar 06.26.12 /2
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2012 14:01:20 -0700 (PDT)
*P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R  06.26.12*

1. End drone wars 6.26 4:30pm
2. Torture              6.26 5:30pm
3. Collins/1v99      6.26 7pm
4. Right vs kids     6.26 7pm
5. Israel lobby       6.26 7pm Northfield MN

6. Shamus Cooke - Machinations in Paraguay: Obama’s second Latin American
coup?  [Just like him - ed]

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From: WAMM wamm [at] via
End drone wars 6.26 4:30pm

Protest: No New Wars! No war in Iran and Syria! End the Drone Wars!
Tuesday, June 26 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Minneapolis Federal Building, 4th Avenue and 4th Street, Minneapolis

Recent weeks have seen an explosion of U.S. militarism, with nearly daily
threats of new U.S. wars and interventions in Iran and Syria, an escalating
number of Drone attacks, especially in Pakistan, as well as in Yemen and
other countries. And, we have now learned that the president has a "kill
list." We say enough is enough! No more wars. No more blood shed. We demand
money for human needs not war. We don't want another Iraq or another
Initiated by: the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition
Torture  6.26 5:30pm

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From: WAMM
Torture 6.26 5:30pm

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture Tuesday, June 26, 5:30
to 7:30 p.m. The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), 717 East River
Parkway, Minneapolis. Please join CVT for a program at 6:00 p.m. and light
refreshments. Meet CVT’s new executive director and join others in support
of torture survivors. Organized by: CVT. FFI: Call Nora at 612-436-4820 or
email nradtke [at]

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Collins/1v99  6.26 7pm

99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do
About It
with author Chuck Collins
Tuesday, June 26 7 p.m.
Open Book Center - Target Performance Hall
1011 Washington Avenue South, Mpls.

Join author Chuck Collins and Growth & Justice, Headwaters Foundation for
Justice, On the Commons and Wealth for the Common Good as we address many
of the central questions of our time:
Who are the 99 percent? Who are the 1 percent? How extensive and systemic
is inequality in different areas of society? How is inequality changing our
world? Do we dare be hopeful about changing it?

Chuck will share the hard truths of what inequality has done and is doing
to our society and to others around the globe.  But he will also share
signs of hope:
The promise of an American Spring:  "Followers" lead the "Elites"
Allies in the 1%:  Stepping forward, making a difference
Global Awakening:  Leveraging the power of personal transformation.
Join the dialogue as panel members Julie Ristau of On the Commons, Maureen
Ramirez of Growth & Justice, Trista Harris of Headwaters Foundation for
Justice, and moderator Ann Manning of Wealth for the Common Good explore
with Chuck and you, the audience, how we can work together to shift the
dominant paradigms we now live with to those of caring for each other and
the planet.

About the author:  Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for
Policy Studies (IPS) and directs IPS's Program on Inequality and the Common
Good and co-edits, the premier research and commentary
web portal on inequality issues. He is co-founder of Wealth for the Common
Good, a network of business leaders, high-income households and other
partners working together to promote shared prosperity and fair taxation,
as well as co-founder of United for a Fair Economy (UFE). He lives in
Boston, MA.

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From: AWE
Right vs kids 6.26 7pm

Tuesday, June 26, 7:00 pm  Katherine Stewart Reading
Common Good Books, 38 Snelling Ave. S., Saint Paul, MN 55105

Author Katherine Stewart will discuss her new book “The Good News Club: The
Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children.” Free and open to
the public.  Sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of Americans United for
Separation of Church and State.  For additional information contact:
minnesotaau [at]

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Israel lobby 6.26 7pm Northfield MN

  Holy Land Film Festival, sponsored by Northfielders for Justice in
Palestine/Israel, Tuesdays at 7pm, Bethel Lutheran, 1050 Cedar Av.,
Northfield. Free and open to public. More info: Bill McGrath at 507-645-7660.
The films:

• Tuesday, June 26: “The Israel Lobby,” based on a 2006 article of the same
name, this documentary sheds light on the strong governmental ties between
the US and Israel. It examines the powerful pro-Israel lobby, and the
lengths to which the lobby goes to stifle any criticism of Israel by those
in public office. Also at this event: Chris Cowan
   Chris Cowan, who served 3 months in Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme
in Palestine/Israel late last year, speaks at 4 Minnesota venues in late
June: “Razing Human Rights: Demolition and Dispossession in the West Bank.”
She’ll share her experience in the South Hebron Hills among Bedouins being
uprooted by Israelii occupying military. A resident of Ames, Iowa, Chris is
a student at Luther Seminary, St. Paul.

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Machinations in Paraguay
Obama’s Second Latin American Coup?
June 25, 2012

The recent coup against Paraguay’s democratically elected president is not
only a blow to democracy, but an attack against the working and poor
population that supported and elected President Fernando Lugo, whom they
see as a bulwark against the wealthy elite who’ve dominated the country for

The U.S. mainstream media and politicians are not calling the events in
Paraguay a coup, since the president is being “legally impeached” by the
elite-dominated Paraguayan Congress. But as economist Mark Weisbrot
explained in the Guardian:

“The Congress of Paraguay is trying to oust the president, Fernando Lugo,
by means of an impeachment proceeding for which he was given less than 24
hours to prepare and only two hours to present a defense. It appears that a
decision to convict him has already been written…The main trigger for the
impeachment is an armed clash between peasants fighting for land rights
with police…But this violent confrontation is merely a pretext, as it is
clear that the president had no responsibility for what happened. Nor have
Lugo’s opponents presented any evidence for their charges in today’s
‘trial.’ President Lugo proposed an investigation into the incident; the
opposition was not interested, preferring their rigged judicial

What was the real reason the right-wing Paraguay Senate wanted to expel
their democratically elected president? Another article by the Guardian
makes this clear:

“The president was also tried on four other charges: that he improperly
allowed leftist parties to hold a political meeting in an army base in
2009; that he allowed about 3,000 squatters [landless peasants] to
illegally invade a large Brazilian-owned soybean farm; that his government
failed to capture members of a [leftist] guerrilla group, the Paraguayan
People’s Army… and that he signed an international [leftist] protocol
without properly submitting it to congress for approval.”

The article adds that the president’s former political allies were “…upset
after he gave a majority of cabinet ministry posts to leftist allies, and
handed a minority to the moderates…The political split had become sharply
clear as Lugo publicly acknowledged recently that he would support leftist
candidates in future elections.”

It’s obvious that the President’s real crimes are that he chose to ally
himself more closely with Paraguay’s left, which in reality means the
working and poor masses of the country, who, like other Latin American
countries, choose socialism as their form of political expression.

Although Paraguay’s elite lost control of the presidency when Lugo was
elected, they used their stranglehold over the Senate to reverse the gains
made by Paraguay’s poor. This is similar to the situation in Egypt: when
the old regime of the wealthy elite lost their president/dictator, they
used their control of the judiciary in an attempt to reverse the gains of
the revolution.

Is it fair to blame the Obama administration for the recent coup in
Paraguay? Yes, but it takes an introductory lesson on U.S. – Latin American
relations to understand why. Paraguay’s right wing – a tiny wealthy elite –
has a long-standing relationship with the United States, which has backed
dictatorships for decades in the country – a common pattern in most Latin
American countries.

The United States promotes the interests of the wealthy of these
mostly-poor countries, and in turn, these elite-run countries are obedient
to the pro-corporate foreign policy of the United States (The Open Veins of
Latin America is an excellent book that outlines the history).

Paraguay’s elite is incapable of acting so boldly without first consulting
the United States, since neighboring countries are overwhelmingly hostile
to such an act because they fear a U.S.-backed coup in their own countries.

Paraguay’s elite has only the military for internal support, which for
decades has been funded and trained by the United States. President Lugo
did not fully sever the U.S. military’s links to his country. According to
Wikipedia, ”The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) provides technical
assistance and training to help modernize and professionalize the

In short, it is not remotely possible for Paraguay’s elite to act without
assurance from the United States that it would continue to receive U.S.
political and financial support; the elite now needs a steady flow of guns
and tanks to defend itself from the poor of Paraguay.

The Latin American countries surrounding Paraguay denounced the events as
they unfolded and made an emergency trip to the country in an attempt to
stop them. What was the Obama administration’s response? Business Week

“As Paraguay’s Senate conducted the impeachment trial, the U.S. State
Department had said that it was watching the situation closely.”

“We understand that Paraguay’s Senate has voted to impeach President Lugo,”
said Darla Jordan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of
Western Hemisphere Affairs…“We urge all Paraguayans to act peacefully, with
calm and responsibility, in the spirit of Paraguay’s democratic principles.”

Obama might as well have said: “We support the right-wing coup against the
elected president of Paraguay.” Watching a crime against democracy happen –
even if it is “watched closely” – and failing to denounce it makes one
complicit in the act. The State Department’s carefully crafted words are
meant to give implicit support to the new illegal regime in Paraguay.

Obama acted as he did because Lugo turned left, away from corporate
interests, towards Paraguay’s poor. Lugo had also more closely aligned
himself with regional governments which had worked towards economic
independence from the United States. Most importantly perhaps is that, in
2009, President Lugo forbid the building of a planned U.S. military base in

What was the response of Paraguay’s working and poor people to their new
dictatorship? They amassed outside of the Congress and were attacked by
riot police and water cannons. It is unlikely that they will sit on their
hands during this episode, since President Lugo had raised their hopes of
having a more humane existence.

President Lugo has unfortunately given his opponents an advantage by
accepting the rulings that he himself called a coup, allowing himself to be
replaced by a Senate-appointed president. But Paraguay’s working and poor
people will act with more boldness, in line with the social movements
across Latin America that have struck heavy blows against the power of
their wealthy elite.

President Obama’s devious actions towards Paraguay reaffirm which side of
the wealth divide he stands on. His first coup in Honduras sparked the
outrage of the entire hemisphere; this one will confirm to Latin Americans
that neither Republicans nor Democrats care anything about democracy. [Not
with their noses stuck in ruling class butts - ed]

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


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