|Progressive Calendar 02.17.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 12:08:51 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 02.17.07 1. Media/sprawl 2.19 9:30am 2. Vs Iraq war 2.19 12noon 3. Ground truth/f 2.19 6:30pm 4. Vs empire/film 2.19 8pm 5. Queer youth fest 2.20 9am 6. Labor choice act 2.20 12noon 7. Cuba/MN Leg 2.20 4pm 8. NVpeace carnival 2.20 5:30pm 9. Anti-recruit/YAWR 2.20 5:45pm 10. Ford site plan 2.20 6:30pm 11. Palestine 2.20 6:30pm 12. War tapes/film 2.20 7pm 13. Disobey/peace 2.20 7pm 14. News war/PBS 2.20 9pm 15. Terpstra/Thorstad - Killers in the classroom 16. PC Roberts - How the world can stop Bush: dump the dollar! 17. Ron Jacobs - March on the Pentagon, chief symbol of warmaking 18. Michael Parenti - Mystery: how wealth creates poverty in the world 19. Albers et al - MN health care --------1 of 19-------- From: erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: Media/sprawl 2.19 9:30am Monday, February 19: American Association of University Women, Minneapolis Branch Programs: 9:30-10:30 AM - Who Owns the Media?; 10:45-11:45 - Public Policy and the Arts; Noon-1:15 - Luncheon; 1:15-2:15: Urban Sprawl and the Environment. 612/870-1661 for more information or luncheon. www.aauw_galemansion.com. --------2 of 19-------- From: Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace <web [at] mppeace.org> Subject: Vs Iraq war 2.19 12noon As the Iraq War begins its fifth year, take time to honor those who have died, and to contemplate the human cost of war. Eyes Wide Open Minnesota Monday, March 19, 2007 Noon-p4:30 p.m. Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda Come anytime during the afternoon; stay as long as you are able. The Eyes Wide Open Minnesota <http://www.afsc.org/eyes/> exhibit presents a memorial to those who have fallen and a witness to our belief that no war can justify its human cost. It includes a pair of boots for each Minnesota soldier killed in Iraq, shoes representing Iraqi civilian casualties, and a visual display showing the human costs of war to our communities. Noon - Opening ceremony (speaker to be announced) 12:30 - Reading of the names of all 3,000+ American casualties, as well as Iraqi civilian casualties 4:00 - Closing ceremony (speaker to be announced) Watch for details as they become available at www.mppeace.org/march19. Sponsored by Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace <http://www.mppeace.org/> and Crocus Hill/West 7th Neighbors for Peace<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crocushillpeace/>. Co-sponsored by Women Against Military Madness (WAMM)<http://www.worldwidewamm.org/>, Veterans for Peace - Chapter 27 <http://www.twincitiesvfp.org/>, and Military Families Speak Out Minnesota <http://www.mfso.org/>. Flyers Download/Print a Color Flyer (PDF)<http://www.mppeace.org/march19/flyermarch19-color.pdf> Download/Print a BW Flyer (PDF) <http://www.mppeace.org/march19/flyermarch19-bw.pdf> More Information march19 [at] mppeace.org - Anne (651) 647-0580 www.mppeace.org/march19 --------3 of 19-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Ground truth/f 2.19 6:30pm FREE WAMM Monday Night at the Movies: "The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends" Monday, February 19, 6:30 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, Hospitality Hall, 4537 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis. Hear and witness U.S. soldiers in this penetrating film which takes an unflinching look at the training and dehumanization of U.S. soldiers, and how they struggle to come to terms, when they come back home, with the position U.S. foreign-policy makers put them in. While America's poor treatment of veterans is not news to most, The Ground Truth makes it so personal and real, it is impossible to dismiss its characters simply as war statistics. The film gives us glimpses into a Marine Corps boot camp and then combat footage in Iraq that shows routine, indiscriminate killing. Their jobs over, the confusion, guilt and shame that comes home with their participation is the tip of the iceberg. Foulkrod's graphic footage and still-photographs of the ground conflict in Iraq, should forever shatter the sanitized images found on the nightly news and provide a much needed wake-up call for all of us. Sponsored by: WAMM Third Monday Movies. --------4 of 19-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Vs empire/film 2.19 8pm Monday, 2/19, 8 to 10 pm, RNC Welcoming Committee presents film "We Interrupt This Empire" about direct actions that shut down the San Francisco financial district following the US invasion of Iraq, Jack Pine Community Center, 2815 E Lake St, Mpls. www.radicalendar.org --------5 of 19-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Queer youth fest 2.20 9am February 20: Family and Children Services 2nd Annual Q-Quest Youth Fest! Invitees include Minnesota high school students - lesbian gay bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersexed youth and straight allies ages 18 and under. Youth aged 19-21 are also invited to join the event and share their experiences, but the conference focuses on high school students. 9 AM-7:30 PM. Free and includes workshops, lunch, dinner and entertainment. Perpich Center for Arts Education, 6125 Olson memorial Highway, Golden Valley. www.fcsmn.org/GLBT_Kids/index.htm --------6 of 19-------- From: Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council <betsy [at] mplscluc.com> Subject: Labor choice act 2.20 12noon The Employee Free Choice Act: Tools for Engaging Members around this Legislation The Employee Free Choice Act has been reintroduced in Congress, providing an opportunity to engage and mobilize members around organizing. The University of Minnesota Labor Education Service has organized a brown bag lunch discussion on this topic scheduled for Tuesday, February 20, Noon to 1 p.m. at 312 Central Avenue, room 550 (the CLUC conference room). This is a free event, and dessert will be provided. Bring your lunch (good food is available across the street at the union-represented Lund's store and deli). Parking is available at meters or in the St. Anthony ramp, across University Avenue from the Labor Centre. --------7 of 19-------- From: Minnesota Cuba Committee <mncuba [at] usfamily.net> Subject: Cuba/MN legislature 2.20 4pm The Minnesota House of Representatives Commerce and Labor committee has confirmed the date for hearing a bill urging the Congress and the President to end the U.S. embargo of Cuba. The bill is scheduled to be heard at 4:00, Tuesday, February 20 (originally tentatively scheduled for February 22), in the Basement Hearing Room of the State Office Building. The bill (HF 828) supersedes a previously introduced resolution (H.R. 2). HF 828 can be found at http://ros.leg.mn/revisor/pages/search_status/status_detail.php?b=House&f=HF0828&ssn=0&y=2007 The bill now has 16 authors, both Republican and Democrat, and has a senate companion authored by Senator Jim Vickerman. We urge you to contact members of the Commerce and Labor committee to ask them to support this bill. A list of the members can be found at http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/committeemembers.asp?comm=8000 You can also ask your representative to support the bill. You can find your representative using the following link: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/hmem.asp. Please think about attending the hearing if you can. A significant turn-out will send a strong message to the legislature and the public. In addition, there may be an opportunity for members of the audience to testify.The State Office Building is located southwest of the Capitol. Directions to the Capitol can be found at http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/leg/faqtoc.asp?subject=14. --------8 of 19-------- From: Sue Ann [mailto:mart1408 [at] umn.edu] Subject: NVpeace carnival 2.20 5:30pm Nonviolent Peaceforce Invites you to a Carnival for Peace Tuesday, February 20, 2007 5:30 Social Hour 6:30 Festive Dinner Silent & Live Auction Dancing to the Resistors The Cedars Hall 602 University Avenue NE Minneapolis MN 55413 $45 per person/$25 is tax deductible RSVP Seating is Reserved RESERVATIONS ONLY For more information or to make reservations, call Tinka at NP, 612-871-0005 or email tkurth [at] nonviolentpeaceforce.org Checks payable to Nonviolent Peaceforce Mail to NP Dance, 425 Oak Grove, Minneapolis MN 55403 --------9 of 19-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Anti-recruit/YAWR 2.20 5:45pm Support St. Paul Students' Anti-Recruitment Efforts Tuesday, February 20, 5:45 p.m. Administration Building, 360 Colborne Street, St.Paul. Support Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR) and other students as they voice their opinions on military recruitment in their high schools. These courageous students are justly demanding that visits from military recruiters be restricted to career centers instead of the cafeteria, scheduled in advance and no more frequent than post-secondary schools. The St. Paul School Board of Education will meet on February 20 at 5:45 p.m. to discuss this matter. Open to the public, so come fill the room in support! --------10 of 19-------- From: Merritt Clapp-Smith [mailto:Merritt.Clapp-Smith [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us] Subject: Ford site plan 2.20 6:30pm Notice of Mtg # 2 - Ford Site Planning Task Force Tuesday, 2/20/2007 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Training Center on the Ford site (Enter at Ford Parkway and Mt Curve) Merritt Clapp-Smith Planner, City of St. Paul 651-266-6547 --------11 of 19-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Palestine 2.20 6:30pm Tuesday, 2/20, 6:30 to 7:30 pm, Hillel sponsors Israel-born history prof Arie Zmora and Palentinian Lou Kanavati from Hamline Univ's College for Reconciliation and Development, speaking on "Peace through Education," President's room, Coffman Union, 300 Washington Ave SE, Mpls. hillel [at] umn.edu or 612-379-4026. --------12 of 19-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: War tapes/film 2.20 7pm Tuesday, February 20th- NW Neighbors for Peace is screening the award winning film, "The War Tapes" at the Parish Community of St. Joseph, SW corner of 36th and Boone in New Hope, 7 PM. Free and open to the public. For more information, Carole Rydberg, nwn4p [at] yahoo.com --------13 of 19-------- From: awcmere <meredith [at] antiwarcommittee.org> Subject: Disobey/peace 2.20 7pm Civil Disobedience Training Tuesday, February 20th at 7 pm @ May Day Books 301 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis Come learn the skills necessary to commit and plan acts of civil disobedience. Learn how to stop this war using creative tactics. Organized by the Anti-War Committee (www.antiwarcommittee.org, 612.379.3899). --------14 of 19-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: News war/PBS 2.20 9pm Frontline/ News War: Secrets, Sources & Spin tpt2 and tpt2 Part 2: Tuesday, February 20 at 9PM President Bush tpt17Part 2: Wednesday, February 21 at 9PM America's mainstream media are under siege, facing unprecedented challenges from the Bush Administration, the courts, corporate owners, and the Internet. Frontline traces the recent history of American journalism and examines how the war on terror and other global forces are changing the role of the press in our society. --------15 of 19-------- http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17074.htm Killers in the Classroom By Dr. June Scorza Terpstra 02/15/07 "ICH <http://informationclearinghouse.info/>" During a heated debate in a class I teach on social justice, several US Marines who had done tours in Iraq told me that they had "sacrificed" by "serving" in Iraq so that I could enjoy the freedom to teach in the USA. Parroting their master's slogan about "fighting over there so we don't have to fight over here", these students proudly proclaimed that they terrorized and killed defenseless Iraqis. They intimated that their Arab victims are nothing more to them than collateral damage, incidental to their receipt of some money and an education. A room full of students listened as a US Marine told of the invasion of Baghdad and Falluja and how he killed innocent Iraqis at a check point. He called them "collateral damage" and said he had followed the "rules". A Muslim-American student in front of him said "I could slap you but then you would kill me". A young female Muslim student gasped "I am a freshman; I never thought to hear of this in a class. I feel sick, like I will pass out." I knew in that moment that this was what the future of teaching about justice would include: teaching war criminals who sit glaring at me with hatred for daring to speak the truth of their atrocities and who, if paid to, would disappear, torture and kill me. I wondered that night how long I really have in this so called "free" country to teach my students and to be with my children and grandchildren. The American military and mercenary soldiers who "sacrificed" their lives did not do so for the teacher's freedom to teach the truth about the so-called war on terror, or any of US history for that matter. They sacrificed their lives, limbs and sanity for money, some education and the thrills of the violence for which they are socially bred. Sacrificing for the "bling and booty" in Iraq or Afghanistan, The Philippines, Grenada, Central America, Mexico, Somalia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any of the other numerous wars and invasions spanning US history as an entity and beginning with their foundational practice of killing the Indians and stealing their land. Many of the classes that I teach now include students who "served" in the US military and security corporations. There are also many students who intend to join the US military upon completion of a degree because with the degree they get a bigger "sign on" bonus of ten to fifty thousand dollars. Their position is supported by many of the student body, who, vegetating according to the American Plan, believe they should "support their troops". The excuses that they give for joining or intending to join the US military terrorist training camps are first and foremost motivated by a desire for money. One student proudly said that he is willing to kill for money, a better standard of living and an education. Another student, who had done two tours of duty to the Empire in Iraq, justified killing and torture, citing the importance of staying on top as the world's number one super power so that his family could have the highest standard of living and unlimited access to the world's oil supplies. Yet another soldier-student said that there would always be wars and someone had to do it. The "it" is killing, rape, and plunder for profit. Some of the soldier-students agreed that military terrorism was thrilling. Stopping and killing people at checkpoints in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in the USA was worth the risk of being killed or maimed. Little did they know that the very education they would kill for could include a course on social justice in which they would be compelled to examine their motives, beliefs and actions in an evil, illegal, immoral and unjust invasion and occupation of a people who never hurt or harmed them or any of their fellow citizens. To be fair, in this week's discussion in class there was some mention that some of the student's intentions had been honorable at the time that they joined the military. They wanted to "help other people". A few woman students who want to join the military commented that they would be working to "free and defend" people here and abroad. However, for the most part and by their own admission, personal financial gain was their main focus in signing on. Their bottom line was getting the money and their thrills by joining and belonging to the biggest terrorist organization in the world, the USA. What appears to trouble the soldier-student is that the rhetoric of fighting for freedom and democracy is a lie that cannot blanket the horror and guilt of their terrorism. They do not want to hear that participation in invasion and occupation, murder and pillaging, is logically inconsistent with any legitimate concept of freedom or liberation. They know the greed and programmed lust for violence that motivates them. They expect that if they can make it out alive, they get some money, a comfortable lifestyle and an education. Their plan is to secure the oil, the diamonds, the gold, the water, the guns, the drugs, and the bling for their masters, who they hope will cut them in on the swag. They say that someone has to be on top and they want to be on the side of the strong, not the weak. Robbing Hoods, not Robin Hoods. And now, here they sit in my course on social justice, terrorist war criminals, wanting high paying "criminal justice" jobs in a university Justice Studies program. They want approval, appreciation and honors for terrorism, torture, and murder. They want a university degree so they can get an even higher salary terrorizing more people around the world with security companies such as Blackwater or Halliburton. They want that appropriately named "sheepskin" so they can join the CIA, FBI, and other police and track down and terrorize US residents here. These military and mercenary terrorist-students are trained in terrorist training camps all under the USA, funded by American taxpayers. In fact, people under the USA are "sacrificing" their health care and their children's educations while donating their tax dollars to these terrorist training camps. These terrorist camps train money-hungry working class stiffs to murder, steal and plunder for the power-hungry US corporate war lords. There is a saying that "if you do the crime, you do the time". My response is that "If you do the war crimes, you will do time in hell," whether the hell of war trauma and shock, of diseases such as those caused by depleted uranium, the old-fashioned traditional hell, fire and brimstone assigned to malefactors - or the hell of sitting in a social justice class and discovering what the hell you are in hell for, or are about to be. Please visit Dr Terpstras' website www.juneterpstra.com <http://www.juneterpstra.com/>/ --- comment Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 15:59:41 -0600 From: David Thorstad <binesi [at] gvtel.com> Subject: [Fwd: Tr: America's Iraq Warriors in the Classroom] It's hard to believe that American youth/aka war criminal wannabes would actually join the imperialist military "to help people," as some state in this report. A friend of mine teaches a history course at an Eastern university whose students are almost all U.S. military war criminals learning about "terrorism" and how to combat it. The idea that U.S. soldiers are part of a "poverty draft," as too many left groups glibly put it, flies in the face of the many one sees on the evening news, wounded, missing a limb, who can't wait to go back to Iraq to do more dirty work for Wall Street. The slogan "Bring the troops home now!" from the Vietnam War period seems increasingly irrelevant. U.S. soldiers are part of a killer war machine for which they are responsible. The antiwar movement should support the Iraqi resistance instead of cozying up to Democrat politicians whose criminal war policies these soldiers are implementing. Even most U.S. left groups these days take what can only be characterized as a "social-patriotic" approach to imperialist war. The U.S. should get the fuck out of Iraq and everywhere else in the world NOW. The U.S. war machine is no better than the Nazi war machine. And the American people are no better than Germans who supported, or acquiesced in, Nazi war crimes. -- David Thorstad --------16 of 19-------- Dump the Dollar! How the World Can Stop Bush By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts02122007.html What would be the consequences of a US or Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear energy sites? At the 2006 Perdana Global Peace Forum, Australian medical scientist Dr. Helen Caldicott provided an authoritative analysis of the devastating impact on human life that would result from the radiation release from such an attack. Dr. Caldicott described the catastrophic deaths that would result from a conventional attack on nuclear facilities and the long-term increase in cancer deaths from the radiation release. Should the attack be made with nuclear weapons - as some of Bush's criminally insane neoconservative advisers advocate - the populations of many countries would suffer for generations from radioactive particles in air, water, and food chains. Deaths would number in the many millions. Such an attack justified in the name of "American security" and "American hegemony" would constitute the rawest form of evil the world has ever seen, far surpassing in evil the atrocities of the Nazi and Communist regimes. Dr. Caldicott detailed the horrible long-term consequences for the Iraqi population from the US military's current use of depleted uranium in explosive ammunition used in Iraq. Caldicott explained that "depleted" does not mean depleted of radiation. She explained that each time such ammunition is used, radioactive particles are released in the air and are absorbed into people's lungs. We are yet to see the horrific civilian casualty rate of the American invasion - or the true casualty rate among US troops. Dr. Caldicott expressed bewilderment why the rest of the world does not stand up to the US and force a halt to its crimes against humanity. One man heard her - Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. On February 10 at the 43rd Munich Security Conference, President Putin told the world's assembled political leaders that the US was trying to establish a "uni-polar world," which he defined as "one single center of power, one single center of force and one single master." This goal, Putin said, was a "formula for disaster." "The United States," Putin said, truthfully, "has overstepped its borders in all spheres" and "has imposed itself on other states." The Russian leader declared: "We see no kind of restraint - a hyper-inflated use of force." To avoid catastrophe, Putin said a reconsideration of the entire existing architecture of global security was necessary. Putin's words of truth fell on many deaf ears. US Senator John McCain, America's most idiotic and dangerous "leader" after Bush and Cheney, equated Putin's legitimate criticism of the US with "confrontation." America's new puppets - the states of central and Eastern Europe and the secretary general of NATO, no longer a treaty for the defense of Europe but a military force enlisted in America's quest for empire - lined up with McCain's argument that Russia was in fundamental conflict "with the core values of Euro-Atlantic democracies." Even the BBC's defense and security correspondent, Rob Watson, jumped on the American propaganda bandwagon, tagging Putin's speech a revival of the cold war. No delegate at the security conference stood up to state the obvious fact that it is not Russia that is invading countries under pretexts as false as Hitler's and setting up weapons systems on foreign soil in order to achieve military hegemony. The reception given to Putin's words made it clear to Russia, China, and every country not bribed, threatened or purchased into participation in America's drive for world hegemony that the US has no interest whatsoever in peace. Intelligent people realize that American claims to be a moral and democratic force are mere pretense behind which hides a policy of military aggression. The US, Putin said, has gone "from one conflict to another without achieving a fully-fledged solution to any of them." Putin has repeatedly stressed Russia's peaceful intentions and desire to focus on its economy and to avoid a new arms race. In his speech on the 60th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, Putin said: "I am convinced that there is no alternative to our friendship and our fraternity. With our closest neighbors and all countries of the world, Russia is prepared to build a kind of relationship which is not only based on lessons of the past but is also directed into a shared future." In his 2006 state of the nation speech, Putin noted that America's military budget is 25 times larger than Russia's. He compared the Bush Regime to a wolf who eats whom he wants without listening. Putin is being demonized by US propagandists, because he insists upon Russia being a politically and economically independent state. The Bush Regime has taken the US outside the boundaries of international law and is acting unilaterally, falsely declaring American military aggression to be "defensive" and in the interests of peace. Much of the world realizes the hypocrisy and danger in the Bush Regime's justification of the unbridled use of US military power, but no countries except other nuclear powers can challenge American aggression, and then only at the risk of all life on earth. The solution is nonmilitary challenge. The Bush Regime's ability to wage war is dependent upon foreign financing. The Regime's wars are financed with red ink, which means the hundreds of billions of dollars must be borrowed. As American consumers are spending more than they earn on consumption, the money cannot be borrowed from Americans. The US is totally dependent upon foreigners to finance its budget and trade deficits. By financing these deficits, foreign governments are complicit in the Bush Regime's military aggressions and war crimes. The Bush Regime's two largest lenders are China and Japan. It is ironic that Japan, the only nation to experience nuclear attack by the US, is banker to the Bush Regime as it prepares a possible nuclear attack on Iran. If the rest of the world would simply stop purchasing US Treasuries, and instead dump their surplus dollars into the foreign exchange market, the Bush Regime would be overwhelmed with economic crisis and unable to wage war. The arrogant hubris associated with the "sole superpower" myth would burst like the bubble it is. The collapse of the dollar would also end the US government's ability to subvert other countries by purchasing their leaders to do America's will. The demise of the US dollar is only a question of time. It would save the world from war and devastation if the dollar is brought to its demise before the Bush Regime launches its planned attack on Iran. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com --------17 of 19-------- Confronting the Chief Symbol of Warmaking Marching on the Pentagon By RON JACOBS CounterPunch February 16, 2007 The first time I remember going inside the Pentagon was in 1969 when I was 14. My dad was coming back from Vietnam and his next assignment was Germany. For some reason we had to go to the Pentagon for something having to do with our upcoming trip. The thing I remember most was its vastness. It was the largest building I had ever been in. In fact, it remains the largest building I have ever been in. A year or two earlier, I was in the locker room at the junior high I attended in suburban Maryland getting ready for gym class. A friend of mine was talking about his sister coming home from college for the weekend. Apparently, his parents were a little upset because the real reason she was leaving her school in New York was to attend the October 27, 1967 protest against the war in Vietnam at the Pentagon. I asked him what he thought and all he said was that he wished he could go. So did I. History tells us that that march in 1967 made a bit of a difference, if not to the warmakers, at least to the war protesters. One could easily argue that the October 1967 March on the Pentagon was a quantum leap forward for that movement. The publicity it garnered created a situation that pushed the numbers and the credibility of the movement into the mainstream of US society. If one wants to read about that march, they should read Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night. This book is not only some of the best reportage of the 1960s, it is some of the best reportage ever. In my mind, there are three or four journalistic scrolls that encompass the essence of the 1960s: Mailer's Armies of the Night, Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972, and Raymond Mungo's Famous Long Ago. These books stand out not only because they describe essential events, personalities and consciousnesses of that period of time, but because they extract the intrinsic properties of the period's' zeitgeist. But, let's get back to the Pentagon. For those unfamiliar with the 1967 march, let me provide a few fundamentals. The march was originally called by the New Mobe (New Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam), a loose coalition of 150 groups ranging from pacifists to socialists. The March was sure to become something more when David Dellinger, Mobe co-ordinator and radical pacifist, asked future Yippie Jerry Rubin to be project director. From there, it became something more. Rubin, originally a relatively straight New Leftist influenced by the Berkley-San Francisco counterculture picked up on an idea being spread by folks like Beat poet and leader of the iconoclastic New York rock band the Fugs Ed Sanders, included in the permit request a request to surround the Pentagon. The reason for this was because, according to various legends of the occult, the ultimate demon--the demon of war--lived inside a Pentagon and the only way to exorcise that demon was by completing a circle around the pentagon the demon was enclosed. Only then would the demon be released and leave the earth. Whether one believes this or not, it is interesting to note that the government refused to grant a permit to encircle the Pentagon. All that being as it is, my intention here is not history, but to encourage those opposed to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (and the looming war in Iran) to attend the March on the Pentagon this March 17, 2007. Sure, there are other protests planned around the country that day, but this march on the Pentagon is the most important of them all. Without going into the petty squabbles (and genuine ideological differences) between the two organizations calling for the March 17th protests (ANSWER and UFPJ), let it suffice to say that the ultimate symbol of Washington's warmaking power must be confronted by as many people as possible. After all, who cares who gets the permits, which is really the primary function of these topdown coalitions? The military leadership has been able to avoid its complicity in the mass murder occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan for too long. Unlike their troops, the military and civilian leadership that work in the Pentagon are not just following orders. They are calling the shots. It is their computer programs that plan wars and send troops off to kill and die. It is their planning sessions and contingency plans that determine how, where and when the men and women enlisted in the military for whatever reason will be deployed to carry out their design for conquest. It is their callous disregard for the individual humanity of not only their designated enemies but their own troops that has created the rising death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are as complicit as the civilians they conspire with. It is time that they be called to task for their complicity. Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs' essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch's collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is forthcoming from Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625 [at] charter.net --------18 of 19-------- Mystery: How Wealth Creates Poverty in the World By Michael Parenti Published on Friday, February 16, 2007 by CommonDreams.org There is a "mystery" we must explain: How is it that as corporate investments and foreign aid and international loans to poor countries have increased dramatically throughout the world over the last half century, so has poverty? The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world's population. What do we make of this? Over the last half century, U.S. industries and banks (and other western corporations) have invested heavily in those poorer regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America known as the "Third World". The transnationals are attracted by the rich natural resources, the high return that comes from low-paid labor, and the nearly complete absence of taxes, environmental regulations, worker benefits, and occupational safety costs. The U.S. government has subsidized this flight of capital by granting corporations tax concessions on their overseas investments, and even paying some of their relocation expenses - much to the outrage of labor unions here at home who see their jobs evaporating. The transnationals push out local businesses in the Third World and preempt their markets. American agribusiness cartels, heavily subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, dump surplus products in other countries at below cost and undersell local farmers. As Christopher Cook describes it in his Diet for a Dead Planet, they expropriate the best land in these countries for cash-crop exports, usually monoculture crops requiring large amounts of pesticides, leaving less and less acreage for the hundreds of varieties of organically grown foods that feed the local populations. By displacing local populations from their lands and robbing them of their self-sufficiency, corporations create overcrowded labor markets of desperate people who are forced into shanty towns to toil for poverty wages (when they can get work), often in violation of the countries' own minimum wage laws. In Haiti, for instance, workers are paid 11 cents an hour by corporate giants such as Disney, Wal-Mart, and J.C. Penny. The United States is one of the few countries that has refused to sign an international convention for the abolition of child labor and forced labor. This position stems from the child labor practices of U.S. corporations throughout the Third World and within the United States itself, where children as young as 12 suffer high rates of injuries and fatalities, and are often paid less than the minimum wage. The savings that big business reaps from cheap labor abroad are not passed on in lower prices to their customers elsewhere. Corporations do not outsource to far-off regions so that U.S. consumers can save money. They outsource in order to increase their margin of profit. In 1990, shoes made by Indonesian children working twelve-hour days for 13 cents an hour, cost only $2.60 but still sold for $100 or more in the United States. U.S. foreign aid usually works hand in hand with transnational investment. It subsidizes construction of the infrastructure needed by corporations in the Third World: ports, highways, and refineries. The aid given to Third World governments comes with strings attached. It often must be spent on U.S. products, and the recipient nation is required to give investment preferences to U.S. companies, shifting consumption away from home produced commodities and foods in favor of imported ones, creating more dependency, hunger, and debt. A good chunk of the aid money never sees the light of day, going directly into the personal coffers of sticky-fingered officials in the recipient countries. Aid (of a sort) also comes from other sources. In 1944, the United Nations created the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Voting power in both organizations is determined by a country's financial contribution. As the largest "donor," the United States has a dominant voice, followed by Germany, Japan, France, and Great Britain. The IMF operates in secrecy with a select group of bankers and finance ministry staffs drawn mostly from the rich nations. The World Bank and IMF are supposed to assist nations in their development. What actually happens is another story. A poor country borrows from the World Bank to build up some aspect of its economy. Should it be unable to pay back the heavy interest because of declining export sales or some other reason, it must borrow again, this time from the IMF. But the IMF imposes a "structural" adjustment program. (SAP), requiring debtor countries to grant tax breaks to the transnational corporations, reduce wages, and make no attempt to protect local enterprises from foreign imports and foreign takeovers. The debtor nations are pressured to privatize their economies, selling at scandalously low prices their state-owned mines, railroads, and utilities to private corporations. They are forced to open their forests to clear-cutting and their lands to strip mining, without regard to the ecological damage done. The debtor nations also must cut back on subsidies for health, education, transportation and food, spending less on their people in order to have more money to meet debt payments. Required to grow cash crops for export earnings, they become even less able to feed their own populations. So it is that throughout the Third World, real wages have declined, and national debts have soared to the point where debt payments absorb almost all of the poorer countries. export earnings - which creates further impoverishment as it leaves the debtor country even less able to provide the things its population needs. Here then we have explained a "mystery". It is, of course, no mystery at all if you don't adhere to trickle-down mystification. Why has poverty deepened while foreign aid and loans and investments have grown? Answer: Loans, investments, and most forms of aid are designed not to fight poverty but to augment the wealth of transnational investors at the expense of local populations. There is no trickle down, only a siphoning up from the toiling many to the moneyed few. In their perpetual confusion, some liberal critics conclude that foreign aid and IMF and World Bank structural adjustments "do not work"; the end result is less self-sufficiency and more poverty for the recipient nations, they point out. Why then do the rich member states continue to fund the IMF and World Bank? Are their leaders just less intelligent than the critics who keep pointing out to them that their policies are having the opposite effect? No, it is the critics who are stupid not the western leaders and investors who own so much of the world and enjoy such immense wealth and success. They pursue their aid and foreign loan programs because such programs do work. The question is, work for whom? Cui bono? The purpose behind their investments, loans, and aid programs is not to uplift the masses in other countries. That is certainly not the business they are in. The purpose is to serve the interests of global capital accumulation, to take over the lands and local economies of Third World peoples, monopolize their markets, depress their wages, indenture their labor with enormous debts, privatize their public service sector, and prevent these nations from emerging as trade competitors by not allowing them a normal development. In these respects, investments, foreign loans, and structural adjustments work very well indeed. The real mystery is: why do some people find such an analysis to be so improbable, a "conspiratorial" imagining? Why are they skeptical that U.S. rulers knowingly and deliberately pursue such ruthless policies (suppress wages, rollback environmental protections, eliminate the public sector, cut human services) in the Third World? These rulers are pursuing much the same policies right here in our own country! Isn't it time that liberal critics stop thinking that the people who own so much of the world - and want to own it all - are "incompetent" or "misguided" or "failing to see the unintended consequences of their policies"? You are not being very smart when you think your enemies are not as smart as you. They know where their interests lie, and so should we. Michael Parenti's recent books include The Assassination of Julius Caesar (New Press), Superpatriotism (City Lights), and The Culture Struggle (Seven Stories Press). For more information visit: www.michaelparenti.org --------19 of 19-------- Single-Payer, Health Savings Accounts, or Managed Care? Minnesota Physicians' Perspectives By Joel M. Albers, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Breanna Peterson Lathrop, Kirk C. Allison, Ph.D., Charles N. Oberg, M.D., and James F. Hart, M.D. February 13, 2007, Volume 90, p.36-40 Published monthly by the Minnesota Medical Association Summary The United States is facing a health care crisis with the number of uninsured Americans exceeding 46 million and health care premiums and overall costs increasing at 3 to 4 times the rate of inflation. Proposed solutions include continuing managed care, moving to a single-payer financing system with universal coverage, and replacing traditional health plans with high-deductible policies that allow patients to draw from health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay out-of-pocket costs. Despite physicians' vital role in health care, few studies have assessed their preferences regarding health care financing systems. We surveyed a random sample of licensed Minnesota physicians to determine their preferences regarding health care financing systems. Of 390 physicians, 64% favored a single-payer system, 25% HSAs, and 12% managed care. The majority of physicians (86%) also agreed that it is the responsibility of society, through the government, to ensure that everyone has access to good medical care. Less than half (41%) said that the private insurance industry should continue to play a major role in financing health care. The accumulating knowledge about physicians' preferences for various health care financing mechanisms merits widespread inclusion in policy debates. In 2001, the Institute of Medicine reported that the U.S. health care system is failing both clinicians and patients, that their frustration levels have never been higher, and that fundamental changes are needed.1 By 2005, more than 46 million Americans, including 400,000 Minnesotans, were uninsured, and health insurance premiums and overall costs were rising at a rate 3 to 4 times that of general inflation and wages.2-4 Employers have been forced to eliminate or cut back on health benefits, often increasing employee out-of-pocket costs beyond many households' ability to pay. In 2004, the average Minnesota household spent $11,000 on health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs; that figure is projected to reach $22,000 by 2010 if current trends continue.4 For those reasons, the consensus among most observers is that urgent reform is needed. Proposed solutions to the health care financing crisis include continuing with the current managed care system, moving to a single-payer system, or moving toward one in which individuals rely on high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts (HSAs). Minnesota has one of the most established managed care systems in the United States, with 4 managed care companies insuring or handling administrative duties associated with insuring more than 90 percent of Minnesotans who have health coverage. These organizations often group physicians into price-tiered, competitive networks. Recent physician surveys document significant concerns about managed care including concern about ethical issues, physician satisfaction, effects on the physician/patient relationship and on the profession itself, quality of care, and cost-effectiveness.5-10 A Medline search produced 4 randomized studies published between 1993 and 2005 that examined physicians' health care financing preferences. They indicate growing support for a single-payer model that is publicly financed and administered by a single, public payer.11-14 Such systems lower costs through economies and efficiencies of scale and streamlined administration yet still allow physicians to work in private practices and preserve quality care. State and national studies comparing financing models increasingly suggest the potential for a single-payer system to achieve universal, comprehensive coverage without increasing total health care spending.15-17 Health savings accounts, enacted by the 2003 Medicare Part D drug law, are tax-free savings accounts to which individuals and employers contribute. The money can be drawn out to pay for approved medical expenses. Individuals and families with high-deductible health insurance plans are eligible to open HSAs. Proponents of HSAs argue that patients with health insurance policies that require little or no deductible or co-pay perceive health care as being "free" and become insensitive to price. The belief is that these individuals overuse health care and drive up costs. The idea behind what is being called "consumer-directed health care" is that having a high-deductible health plan with an HSA forces consumers to spend their own money, prompting them to cut back on frivolous health care usage. This type of financing system is also designed to encourage physicians and hospitals to compete on price, theoretically lowering costs. Despite health care over-utilization by consumers being greatly overstated and the lack of evidence that consumer-directed health care actually lowers costs or improves quality, high-deductible plans with HSAs have been heavily marketed across the United States and in Minnesota.18,19 To date, no one has compared Minnesota physicians' attitudes toward single-payer, consumer-directed, and managed care systems. Thus, we developed and conducted a survey to probe which financing system physicians believe will provide the best care to the most people for a given amount of money. Discussion Despite the prevalence of managed care in Minnesota, our study finds only 12% of sampled physicians favor such systems as a way to finance health care; 25% prefer HSAs, and 64% support a single-payer system. Eighty-six percent believe it is the responsibility of society through government to ensure access to good medical care for all. Only 41% say the private insurance industry should continue to play a major role in the financing and delivery of medical care, suggesting support for comprehensive public-sector initiatives rather than private-sector approaches. Our findings are consistent with those of others who have seen a growing trend toward U.S. physicians saying they favor a single-payer health care system. In 1993, Millard et al. found only 25% of surveyed North Carolina physicians supported a single-payer system over managed competition.13 In 1996, Scanlan et al. compared the opinions of U.S. and Canadian physicians and concluded that U.S. physicians might not easily accept a Canadian-style system because of reticence toward a central government role or centralized planning.12 By 1999, a national survey of medical school residents and faculty by Simon et al. found 56% favored a single-payer system over managed care.14 A 2004 survey by McCormick et al. concluded that 64% of surveyed Massachusetts physicians believed single-payer financing would provide the best care for the most people.11 In our study, we found that physicians' views on health care financing reflect their experience with Minnesota's concentrated oligopoly of 4 managed care insurers that either enroll or administer benefits for more than 90% of insured Minnesotans.21 In a 1997 report, Borowsky et al. found fewer than 20% of physicians in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area rated 3 managed care plans as either excellent or very good on 7 quality-of-care items.9 Such findings are consistent with less favorable views of managed care and more favorable views of other systems, including those that haven't been tried. Conclusion Our survey suggests that the majority of Minnesota physicians have grown weary of the current managed care health system that places a huge administrative layer between them and their patients. Because physicians play a central role in health care, their experience with and views on system financing have the potential to significantly inform those heading reform initiatives. With more than 46 million Americans lacking health insurance and premiums and health care costs rising at 3 to 4 times the rate of inflation, reform is inevitable and necessary. Our survey shows that nearly two-thirds of Minnesota physicians favor a single-payer health care financing system. Such a majority view could be influential in public debate and in the movement of practitioners and patients toward implementing a universal health care system in Minnesota and the United States. MM Joel Albers is a clinical pharmacist and a health economics researcher with the Minnesota Universal Health Care Action Network. Breanna Peterson Lathrop is a graduate student in health care policy at Emory University. Kirk Allison is director of the program in human rights and health, Charles Oberg is an associate professor in and chair of Maternal and Child Health, and James Hart is director of the executive program in public health practice at the University of Minnesota. Funding and administrative support for this study was provided by the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota; Center for Integrative Research, St. Olaf College; and Jan Pearson, Research Assistant, University of Minnesota. References available upon request. The full article can be obtained free at: http://www.mmaonline.net/publications/MNMed2007/February/Clinical-Albers.cfm |MMA Reports |Policy Compendium |MMA Online News | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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