Progressive Calendar 06.01.06
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2006 03:14:55 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    06.01.06

1. Human rights      6.01-02 8:30am
2. Planned parents   6.01 5:30pm

3. Tomato labor/film 6.02 6pm
4. West bank story   6.02 8pm

5. Jason Miller - Of Faustian bargains and disposable human beings
6. ed           - Minnesota not-nice slogans

--------1 of 6--------

Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 16:45:28 -0500 [note date]
From: humanrts [at]
Subject: Human rights 6.01-02 8:30am

June 1 - Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights: 2 Conferences.
8:30am-4:30pm.  Cost: (see below).

June 1:  Explore the growing connection between the international labor
rights and human rights movements. 6 Standard CLE Credits to be applied
for this one-day conference.

-An overview of international labor law
-Labor protection mechanisms in the U.N. and the Inter-American
-Human rights fact-finding and reporting strategies to protect against
sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace
-Human rights violations against union members in Colombia
-Use of U.S. courts to address human rights violations in the U.S. and
-Labor rights advocacy in the U.S.

June 2:  Join local and national asylum experts and government officials
to learn the basics of asylum law and practice.  Experienced immigration
attorneys and asylum volunteers will get up-to-date information about new
legislation, cases, and policies affecting asylum seekers. 6 Standard CLE
Credits to be applied for this one-day conference. For more information
and brochure

The Basics of Asylum
Membership in a Particular Social Group: A Gender Analysis
Preparing the Asylum Case
Practice Before the Chicago Asylum Office
Working with Survivors of Torture
Advanced Practice: Asylum Law Legislative and Federal Court Updates
Emerging Issues in Asylum Law
Immigration Court Practice
Please see brochure for faculty.

Cost:  One day: General/$125; Non-profit or Gov't/$50; Student/$30
Both days: General/$200; Non-profit or Gov't/$100; Student/$60
To register for either or both conferences contact Kim Babine at
kbabine [at]

Pre-registration for lunch at June 1 conference:  $10.00 (space is

For more information and the brochure
Location: Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, 50 South Sixth Street, 15th
Floor, Minneapolis, Minnesota

--------2 of 6--------

Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 10:05:10 -0400
From: erin [at]
Subject: Planned parents 6.01 5:30pm

Thursday, June 1: Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
Annual spring fundraiser and kick-off to Sex in the Twin Cities seminar
series with David Eigenberg, "Steve Brady" from the TV series Sex in the

5:30-7:30pm at the home of Jean Thomson and John Sandbo, 2388 W Lake of
the Isles Pkwy, Minneapolis. Suggested donation is $100. RSVP to Allison
Frailich, 651/696-5520 or afrailich [at]

--------3 of 6--------

Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 22:17:51 -0500
From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Tomato labor/film 6.02 6pm

Friday, 6/2, 6 pm free film "El Contrato" showing tensions between workers
and govt officials in a tomato greenhouse, Resource Center of the Americas,
3019 Minnehaha, Mpls.

--------4 of 6--------

Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 14:07:08 -0400
From: Lynne Mayo <lynnne [at]>
Subject: West bank story 6.02 8pm

[Times to go with the annoucement in last PC -ed]

Sunday Matinees at 2pm.  All other shows 8pm
June: 2,3,4, ~~~~~ 8,9,10,11  ~~~~~  15, 16, 17, 18, 19 ~~~~  22, 23, 24,

First weekend of shows are "pay what you think its worth"

June 2- 25 at Mixed Blood Theater - 1501 S. 4th St. Minneapolis
please join us for a rollicking reception following the opening night
Thursdays-Saturdays 8pm and Sundays 2pm
Box Office and Reservations call 612-338-6131
tix $10-$15 (no one turned away) PLUS Pay-What-You-Think-Its-Worth all
opening weekend.

Mixed Blood Theater @ 1501 s. 4th St.   Mpls.
Reservations: 612-338-6131

--------5 of 6--------

American Capitalism and The Moral Poverty of Nations
Of Faustian Bargains and Disposable Human Beings
by Jason Miller
May 30, 2006

(I am dedicating this essay to the memory of the millions of victims of
the Capitalist Imperial wars of conquest waged by the United States under
the patently false pretexts of spreading freedom and liberty).

Rolling through virtually any reasonably populous city or town in America,
one encounters a surreal landscape blighted by grotesque temples to
America's twin gods of Capitalism and Consumerism. As an increasing number
of individual proprietors are driven to extinction, Wal-Mart, McDonald's,
and hundreds more leviathan corporations continue their rapid construction
of more houses of worship to serve their zealous congregation. Once
inside, many Americans gleefully sacrifice an abundance of their
greenbacks at altars attended by Consumerism's unwitting acolytes.

For appallingly meager wages and benefits, the cashiers tending the sacred
Churches of Capitalism and Consumerism gather the offerings which enable
their fellow faithful to reap the fruits of practicing their devotion.

Good little Consumers can receive a veritable cornucopia of "blessings"
which include working in jobs amounting to indentured servitude, obesity,
insurmountable debt, insularity from the rest of the world, unwitting
support of a merciless militaristic regime which is evolving into fascism,
idolatrous worship of celebrities and money, facilitation of obscene
concentration of wealth into the hands of a few, and participation in the
severe desecration of our environment.

They may exist in a spiritual wasteland, but at least those Americans who
are fortunate enough to find themselves in the shrinking middle class have
access to basic human necessities, some creature comforts, and relative
stability and safety (at least for the short term).  However, a growing
number of Americans find themselves wandering in a barren desert, lacking
both sustenance for the soul and the corporeal "blessings" bestowed upon
the middle class wage earners by the high priests of Capitalism and

How did this nightmare evolve?

As the Magna Charta emerged and evolved, and the United States
Constitution was conceived and implemented, "feudalism" and monarchy began
to gasp their dying breaths. Ostensibly, the rule of law was superseding
the rule of men to deliver a sound measure of justice and equality.

In truth, humanity simply traded one set of tyrants for another. To this
day many still cling to the myth that the United States is the nexus of
freedom, equality and human rights. Yet the constitutional republic of the
United States was forged primarily by White men, many of whom were wealthy
land-owners looking to free themselves from the tyranny of King George
while preserving their narrow interests. The fact that there was
significant resistance to the inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the
Constitution speaks volumes of the priorities of many of our Founding

In creating a powerful federal government, minimizing the decision-making
power of the poor and working class to occasional elections of
representatives (while limiting the impact of their votes by forming the
Electoral College), barring women from political participation, ignoring
the Native American population, and maintaining the legality of slavery,
our founders created a nation which afforded freedom and equality almost
exclusively to White males who possessed a measure of wealth.

America's propertied ruling class quickly learned to manipulate their laws
to exploit the rest of the population in ways not unlike their
predecessors who reigned from thrones. As they lived like lords and kings,
the elites of the United States basked in the glow of admiration of their
"enlightened values". Over the years they showed their true colors to the
world by engaging in numerous imperialistic endeavors, nearly wiping out
the Native American population, and fighting progressive movements like
Abolition and Women's Suffrage with virtually every fiber of their
collective being.

Capitalism: Economic Rule of the Rich, by the Rich, for the Rich

Founded on the principles of individual liberty and self-determination
(for White male property owners), the nascent United States provided
fertile ground for the seeds of Capitalism. Conditions such as slavery,
explosive growth in the number of banks, America's powerful drive to
expand its territory, neutral trade during the war between Great Britain
and France, and ultimately, the Industrial Revolution enabled American
Capitalism to grow into a thriving jungle.

By the late Nineteenth Century, trusts and monopolies flourished.
Laissez faire economic policy prevented the government "of the people"
from meddling in the wealthy elite's obscene human and environmental
exploitation. America's plutocracy was living large while the rest of the
population struggled and suffered.

For years, America's schools and media have inculcated us with the notion
that Capitalism is the superlative socioeconomic system in the history of
humankind. In spite of the "feel good" propaganda intended to keep us
pacified, working, and consuming, there is a very dark side to the much
vaunted American Way.

"America's abundance was created not by public sacrifices to the common
good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own
personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes."

Thank you, Ayn Rand, for affirming the naked brutality and avarice of
America's socioeconomic system, a system which enables a privileged few
who "play the game" well to mercilessly pursue their personal interests,
amass private fortunes, and hoard the lion's share of "America's

The economy of the United States, which possesses many elements of
commonly accepted definitions of Capitalism, is tempered to some degree by
components which would more appropriately be attributed to Socialism or
Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT), socioeconomic systems devoted in
large part to ensuring the welfare of society as a whole and which value
humans as sentient beings rather than commodities.

Unfortunately, by and large, Capitalism predominates in the American
socioeconomic system and represents a substantial portion of our national
character (or lack thereof). America embodies ruthless exploitation of
humanity and the Earth. In the capitalist paradigm, human beings and the
planet are simply material objects which exist to fulfill the desires of
the bourgeoisie masters. Imperialism and Neoliberalism go hand in glove
with Capitalism. Insatiable greed and objectification do not respect
borders or boundaries.

Cruel and brutal as the United States is, imagine how ruthless it would be
were the Social Darwinists of the upper stratum of our society given free
rein to implement their Hobbesian vision.

Relentless Momentum

After years of gains for the poor, women, minorities, and labor throughout
the Twentieth Century, a champion arose for America's White Capitalist
Patriarchy in 1980. When Ronald Reagan took the driver's seat, he wasn't
content to simply return justice and compassion to the back seat. He threw
them in the trunk and left them there to rot.

Reagan's successors, Republican and Democrat alike, have worked feverishly
to refortify the Capitalist bulwarks of privatization, property laws,
deregulation, cuts in social spending, and free trade agreements.

American Capitalism is a pyramid scheme shaped and forged over time to
ensure that a small minority of principally White males garner a majority
of the wealth. A few token minorities are allowed to "join the club" while
some women enter the upper stratosphere (usually by virtue of their
birthright and inheritance), but by and large, the White Patriarchy
maintains its strangle-hold on choice properties like Boardwalk and Park
Place. A majority of Americans wind up holding Mediterranean and Baltic.

You Might as Well Stand Around Waiting to be Struck by Lightening

Horatio Alger wrote over 130 very popular fiction novels in the Nineteenth
Century. Unfortunately, his ideal notions of attaining "rags to riches"
success through hard work and determination in the Capitalist system were
principally fiction too. Calling him a useful idiot would be unfair
because his heart was in the right place, but his works did provide very
useful propaganda for the wealthy ruling class who wanted their modern day
serfs to believe they had a realistic chance of rising to the top of the
economic or political food chain. Undeniably there are those who started
with virtually nothing and accrued vast fortunes or became powerful
people, but for each one who did, millions failed. And the same is true

He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules

Consider that over half of our presidents came from families ranking
amongst the wealthiest 3% of Americans while at least a dozen sprang from
the loins of elitists in the top 1%.

In 2005, 143 of 435 US Representatives and one in three Senators were

Statistics from 2002 indicate that eight of the fifteen wealthiest
individuals in America had acquired their fortunes through inheritance.
Five of these eight were Waltons. The other three were progeny of the
founder of the Mars Candy empire. Three of the top fifteen derived their
fortunes from the same company, Microsoft. No concentration of wealth in
the hands of a few there, is there?

Reports from 2002 also indicate that Bill Gates had acquired as much
wealth as the bottom 40% of US households. And the Walton clan possessed
771,287 times the wealth of the average US household. Here is to the land
of equal opportunity!

In 2004, the United States had 374 billionaires and 7.5 millionaires
(about 2% of the population). The wealthiest Americans possessed $11
trillion in assets. Meanwhile 13% of Americans lived below poverty level.
What was that Horatio Alger myth again?

Yes, the bourgeoisie is thriving and dominating in the United States. We
are indeed experiencing the dawn of the Second Gilded Age.

According to Friedrich Engels, the bourgeoisie are:

"...the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social
production and employers of wage labour."

Whose function is:

"...the appropriation and therefore control of the labour of others and...
the selling of the products of this labour."

And who are differentiated from the small proprietors (which their massive
corporate entities often crush) by:

"capitalist production requires an individual capital big enough to employ
a fairly large number of workers at a time; only when he himself is wholly
released from labour does the employer of labour become a full-blooded

More staggering statistics demonstrate who reaps the bounty in a
Capitalist system (even one constrained by elements of more just and
humane economic systems):

More than 99% of American businesses have fewer than 500 employees and
account for less than 37% of all business sales.

Elite corporations (those employing more than 5,000 people) comprise a
fraction of the remaining 1% of American businesses, yet ring up over 40%
of sales.

Within specific business sectors, corporate monopolists shine brightly.
The fifty largest banks control over 35% of bank assets in the United

The largest 100 corporations alone account for over 46% of corporate net
income after taxes.

1% of Americans own more stock than the 90% of us who dwell at the bottom
of Bush's "ownership society".

While a tiny segment of the US population becomes increasingly powerful
both economically and politically, working class families continue to rely
on two incomes to make ends meet while 13% of the population lives below
the poverty level.

As the semblance of a meritocracy in America succumbs to the forces of
plutocratic ambition and greed under the Bush Regime, American economic
system's "noble and fair" reputation is dutifully maintained by
genuflecting mainstream media pundits. Yet there is one particularly
shameful stain which not even master propagandists can mask.

Material Prosperity/Spiritual Bankruptcy

In a self-proclaimed Christian nation awash in a sea of money, guided by
allegedly noble principles, and purported to have a Manifest Destiny to
convert the world to the American Way, a significant number of discarded,
hopelessly poor human beings are living proof of the cruel hypocrisy of
the ruling elite of the United States. America's homeless are living
testaments to the gross injustices of Capitalism, even in an economy
tempered with elements of government-funded social programs and
regulations on businesses.

"Let all bear in mind that a society is judged not so much by the
standards attained by its more affluent and privileged members as by the
quality of life which it is able to assure for its weakest members."

--Javier Perez de Cuellar (former PM of Peru and Secretary General to the

Each year 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness. Of these
unfortunates, 750,000 are chronically homeless. 49% are Black while only
35% are White (which represents an obviously gross disproportion when
compared to the racial make-up of the general population). A startling 40%
of the homeless include families.

Who are these Nameless, Forgotten, "Disposable" Human Beings?

Homelessness is not limited to the conventional notion of people sleeping
in a cardboard box or on a park bench. America's homeless people include
those who live in their cars, abandoned buildings, cheap motels called
flop-houses, and train or bus stations.

Many homeless maintain jobs making sub-standard wages. Other ways the
homeless obtain their meager incomes is through begging, street
performance, selling street magazines (written and distributed by the
homeless), and selling their blood plasma. In their desperation, some
feign illness to gain admission to hospitals while others commit crimes so
they can get "three hots and a cot".

Those with untreated mental illness are amongst the most vulnerable of our
society. Tragically, the mentally afflicted comprise 25% of the homeless
population. In the 1960's, the United States government
de-institutionalized many suffering with chronic mental illness. Our
ruling elites at multiple levels of government failed (and continue to
fail) to establish and fund adequate community service programs necessary
for these people to achieve stability in their lives. Without adequate
support systems in their communities, many mentally ill individuals wind
up living on the street.

At least 38% of the homeless are reported to self-medicate with drugs and
alcohol to escape the misery of their situation, thus greatly diminishing
the likelihood they can reclaim stable lives.

About 5% of the homeless are runaway teens. It is a travesty that due to a
dearth of government social safety nets, many of these children fall prey
to drugs, street gangs, prostitution, or the pornography industry.

Representing a particularly searing indictment of America's Capitalist
constitutional republic are the 500,000 US military veterans who
experience homelessness each year. Conscripted or manipulated by
propaganda to fight in wars of imperial aggression (like Vietnam),
homeless veterans were used by the elites and cast aside like yesterday's
garbage. The Veterans Administration only provides housing for veterans
who are chronically ill, has severely neglected the needs of those with
mental illness, and cut most Vietnam War Veterans adrift with no job
training. Risk your life to expand the American Empire and you get to
spend the rest of your days eating out of trash dumpsters.

Many choose homelessness, at least temporarily, because they are unable to
make a living wage in America's "booming" economy or find themselves
completely unemployed. Offshoring of American jobs, stagnant wages, the
soaring cost of housing, and the agonizing loss of industrial sector jobs
with healthy wages are leaving many Americans vulnerable to financial
disaster. Overwhelmed by bills and crippled by insufficient income, some
Americans are forced to choose amongst basic necessities.  Naturally
housing goes before food and clothing, leaving people living on the
street, or if they are lucky, in their cars.

Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina can add dramatically to the
number of homeless. At least 50,000 Katrina victims remain homeless. New
Orleans is a particularly instructive case because it clearly demonstrates
the Capitalist elites' obsession with property rights and their callous
disregard for humanity. Our Constitution charges the federal government
with promoting the general welfare. Yet the Bush Regime had cut funding
for the levees despite warnings of the impending disaster dating back to
2001, provided a slow and anemic relief effort by utilizing a FEMA entity
which they had gutted, and patrolled the streets with heavily armed
Blackwater contractors to secure property and assets.

Principally because of its draconian crack-down on non-violent drug-users,
particularly in the Black community, the United States has the world's
largest prison population (5% of the world's population and 25% of the
prison population: more evidence that preservation of the propertied class
and their holdings must come before all other considerations in a nation
dominated by Capitalist elites).

Since the American justice system emphasizes punitive measures over
rehabilitation, many of the two million incarcerated face bleak
possibilities once they have completed their sentences. Lacking job
training and adequate social coping skills while bearing the stigma of a
felony conviction, former convicts find it extremely difficult to
reassimilate into society. Many wind up homeless, living with the friends
with whom they got into trouble in the first place, in homeless shelters,
in flop-houses, or under bridges.

Their Milk of Human Kindness Soured Long Ago

As the moneyed class strengthens its dominance over our society, the
plight of the homeless is worsening. The US Conference of Mayors
(representing 270 cities) reported that the demand for homeless shelter
space increased by 13% in 2001 and by 25% in 2005. 22% of those seeking
shelter in 2005 were refused.

Demonstrating the depths of their compassion, our "benevolent" leaders
have begun to criminalize homelessness. Of the 224 American cities that
participated in a recent National Coalition for the Homeless survey,
approximately 30% are taking measures targeting the homeless, including
banning pan-handling and "camping", initiating frequent police sweeps of
public areas to arrest or "evict" homeless persons, and selectively
enforcing loitering laws.

While our heavily entrenched corporate elites and affluent decision-makers
cut their own taxes, reduce spending on social programs, and lavish insane
amounts of the working poor's and middle class's tax money on a military
which exists to protect and expand their pecuniary interests, they offer
the weakest members of our society, our homeless people, a quality of life
that would repulse a sewer rat.

Thanks to the pathological greed unleashed and rewarded by Capitalism,
America has forged a Faustian Pact. It is inevitable that Mephistopheles
will come to collect his due. Or perhaps he already has.

Jason Miller is a 39 year old sociopolitical essayist with a degree in
liberal arts and an extensive self-education (derived from an insatiable
appetite for reading). He is a member of Amnesty International and an avid
supporter of Oxfam International and Human Rights Watch. He welcomes
responses at willpowerful [at] or comments on his blog, Thomas
Paine's Corner, at

--------6 of 6--------

Minnesota not-nice slogans

                               Pohlad happens

                            Twins: Up both butts!

                         Can a Gopher find his hole?


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
                     over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02
              please send all messages in plain text no attachments

  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.