|Progressive Calendar 04.10.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 06:02:18 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 04.10.07 1. Welfare bills 4.10 12:30pm 2. YAWR protest 4.10 6pm 3. Transit 4.11 11:30am 4. Human rights 4.11 12:15pm 5. Anti-war potluck 4.11 6pm 6. Pray for peace 4.11 6:30pm 7. AI StPaul 4.11 7:30pm 8. Transit rally 4.12 10am 9. Disability law 4.12 12noon 10. NWN4P NewHope vig 4.12 4:30pm 11. Eagan peace vigil 4.12 4:30pm 12. Northtown vigil 4.12 5pm 13. To Chicago/CIW 4.12 6pm 14. DuluthCar 4.12 6:30pm Duluth MN 15. Arid Lands/film 4.12 7pm 16. Labor stories 4.15-5.15 7pm 17. Immigrants/play 4.12-4.29 7:30pm 18. Lydia Howell - Money & militarism "choose" candidates 19. Sen John Marty - Funding schools with bake sales and boxtops 20. Joel Hirschhorn - From economic apartheid to political revolution 21. Carol Christen - How did this happen? 22. Hill Kemp - Is the Pentagon bigger than the USA? --------1 of 22-------- From: Welfare Rights Committee - Alt Email <welfarerights [at] qwest.net> Subject: Welfare bills 4.10 12:30pm Upcoming Hearings For the WRC Bills In the House and in the Senate!!!!! Welfare Rights Committee is continuing to fight for poor and working Minnesotans at the capitol. As it stands now, we need your immediate help to tell the politicians the time is now to ACT! Unfortunately, the poor of Minnesota are at risk of being sold out yet again by politicians. Come to the hearings and Support the Poor People's Bills!!!!!!!! HF912 will be heard in the Tax Committee chaired by Rep. Lenczewski on Tuesday on April 10, at 12:30 PM in room 10 at the State Office Building. HF 912 closes corporate tax loopholes and uses that money to Undo the cuts of 2003. These include the $125 MFIP cut to disabled families, the $50 MFIP cut to families in subsidized housing, the family cap, restrictions on education and the increased co-pays for poor families' childcare and basic medical. S.F. 0514 that will Outlaw workfare will be heard in the Business, Industry and Jobs Committee Chaired by Senator Metzen on April 11, at 12:30 PM in Room 123 in the Capital . Workfare forces MFIP parents to work for nopay in order to get the grant. We say, if there is a job to be done, make it a real job with real wages and benefits! If workfare is allowed to happen, it will serve to hurt all working people, as real jobs are replaced by free-labor jobs. If you have any questions please call us at 612-822-8020 Thank you for your support Welfare Rights Committee 310 E 38th St #207, Minneapolis, MN 55409 pho: 612-822-8020 Fax: 612-824-3604 welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com www.welfarerightsmn.org --------2 of 22-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: YAWR protest 4.10 6pm Student Demands on Military Recruitment Rejected Protest of St. Paul Board of Education Planned St. Paul students and community supporters are coming together at the St. Paul Board of Education meeting Tuesday night. They intend to publicly send the message that they are dissatisfied with the board's decision reject student demands on restricting military recruiters' access to schools. Students and supporters will gather at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, April 10 at the District Administration Building, located at 360 Colborne Street in St. Paul, where the board meeting is held. Students involved in Central High's chapter of Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR) have been campaigning since November for the Board of Education to pass substantial restrictions on military recruitment. On Tuesday, March 27, the board took a decision. While passing reforms that allow minors to sign opt-out forms and telling schools to make sure recruiters are better supervised, the board did not decide to implement YAWR's key demands around limiting the frequency of visits and recruiters' access to students. The demands had been unanimously endorsed by the St. Paul teachers' union, hundreds of students, and numerous community organizations. "Essentially they did very little," said Sean Foltin, a senior with Central High YAWR. "They just referred the issue [of military recruiters' heavy presence in schools] back to school principals - They took the issue of opt-out forms, which had been a very small part of our demands, and blew it out of proportion," explained Sean. "I'm definitely disappointed with the results." "This struggle is not over," said Brandon Madsen, a full-time organizer with YAWR, "The truth is that going into this campaign last fall, we didn't have a lot of hope the board would actually pass our demands. But we wanted to go through the official process and see what happened. Now we know that walkouts and more serious direct action by students will be needed to get the military out of our schools ... It seems that aggressively confronting the recruiters every time they show up is the only thing that works" to get recruiters to leave school lunchrooms. Youth Against War and Racism is a student-led organization made up of high school students across the Twin Cities who fight against the war in Iraq, military recruitment in schools, racism and attacks on civil liberties, and for jobs and education opportunities for young people. For further information, please call YAWR organizer Brandon Madsen at 952-465-5307 or email him at brandon.madsen [at] gmail.com. Contact: Brandon Madsen 952.465.5307 brandon.madsen [at] gmail.com --------3 of 22-------- From: Darrell Gerber <darrellgerber [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Transit 4.11 11:30am This is the culmination of many months of work by many people both city staff, paid consultants and volunteers. Please review the draft Downtown multi-modal transportation plan for the city and give your feedback. Two community meetings will be held. If you can not attend send your information directly to Charlene Zimmer (Charleen.Zimmer [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us) or to your regional or interest steering committee representative found at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/public-works/trans-plan. Electronic copies of the report can also be found at that site. Do you ride transit, walk, bike, or drive? The City of Minneapolis needs your input on improving transportation downtown. Give us your opinion on the draft 10-Year Downtown Transportation Action Plan for walking, cycling, transit and autos Two Community Meetings: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Central Library 300 Nicollet Mall - Doty Room Thursday, April 12, 2007 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. St. Olaf Catholic Church 215 South 8th Street - Gathering Room For more information, visit: www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/public-works/trans-plan Upon request, the City will provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities or who are in need of a translator. Please submit such requests to Charleen Zimmer, Project Manager, at 612-673-3166 or Charleen.Zimmer [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us no later than seven days prior to the meeting. --------4 of 22-------- From: Human Rights Events Update <humanrts [at] umn.edu> Subject: Human rights 4.11 12:15pm The Human Rights Center and the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota, and the Midwest Human Rights Coalition present: Bringing Economic and Social Human Rights Home International and Domestic Strategies for Advocacy Wednesday, April 11, 2007 12:15-1:15PM Room 25, University of Minnesota Law School Panelists: Willie J.R. Fleming -Cabrini Green resident and organizer with the Coalition to Protect Public Housing (Chicago) Cheri Honkala - National Coordinator of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (Philadelphia) Eric Tars - Human Rights Staff Attorney with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (Washington, DC) Bret Thiele - Coordinator of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Litigation Programme with the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (Geneva) Moderator: Mayra Gómez - Coordinator of the Housing and Property Restitution Programme with the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (Geneva) Free lunch will be provided by Holyland Bakery & Deli! --------5 of 22-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Anti-war potluck 4.11 6pm Solidarity Potluck Wednesday, 4/11 @ 6pm @ May Day Books, 301 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis. Socialize & share food with other interesting anti-war folks. Folks who went to DC for the 3/17 March on the Pentagon and who participated in the local 3/18 demonstration are encouraged to come and bring their pictures to share with others. --------6 of 22-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Pray for peace 4.11 6:30pm Wednesday, 4/11, 6:30 to 7:15 pm, Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet present 11th day prayer for peace, Presentation Chapel, 1880 Randolph Ave, St Paul. www.csjstpaul.org or 651-690-7079. --------7 of 22-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: AI StPaul 4.11 7:30pm There are several local Amnesty International groups in the Twin Cities area. AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, April 11th, at 7:30 p.m. Mad Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul. http://www.aistpaul.org. --------8 of 22-------- From: Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council <andrea [at] mplscluc.com> Subject: Transit rally 4.12 10am Transportation Rally Thursday, April 12th, 2007 10:00 AM State Capitol Steps/Lawn Transportation to the rally available from the United Labor Centre (312 Central Ave, Minneapolis) at 9:30 AM. Contact Todd Pufahl, Laborers District Council, for more information--(651)653-9776. Transportation - It's everybody's business! We all have a stake in keeping our state moving. Let's fill the Capitol Grounds with transportation supporters. It is more important than ever to gather together as one in support of the passage of a Substantial Transportation Funding Package this session! Labor Organizations Supporting the Transportation Alliance: AFL-CIO AFSCME Council 5 International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 49 Amalgamated Transit Union Laborers District Council of MN and ND Lakes and Plains Regional Council of Carpenters and Joiners Minnesota Teamsters United Transportation Union --------9 of 22-------- From: Darrell of Paulsen and Company <paulsenandco [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Disability law 4.12 12noon Rally at the State Capitol: Join Paulsen and Company, and The Arc of Minnesota, local chapters of The Arc, and other disability groups at Noon on April 12 in the Rotunda at the Minnesota State Capitol to rally in support of disability legislation this legislative session. Come out in support of our 2007 legislative priorities, as well as transportation, assistive technology, funding for self-advocacy statewide, and cost-of-living increases for direct support professionals. After the rally, which end at 1:00 p.m., you can visit your legislators and ask for their support for our legislative agenda. The rally flyer is on Arc MN website (www.TheArcOfMinnesota.org). The rally is sponsored by Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD), of which Paulsen and Company, Inc is a member. Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Priorities Not in Either Omnibus Bill w Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD). w Managed Care Ombudsman Staff Increase. w Dental Study. It is important at this point that all of our high priority issues have passed at least one house of the Minnesota Legislature. Now they will be discussed in the conference committees. Once the Senate and House pass their Omnibus Bills, they will be referred to Conference Committees. The committees are usually made up of ten members - five from the Senate and five from the House. The chairs of the respective budget committees will co-chair the conference committees. Once they start meeting, they rotate who chairs every other day. This is an important time to thank our legislators for their commitment to funding for services for persons with disabilities. They need your support and encouragement so they can continue to focus on our priorities until the end of the session. --------10 of 22-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P NewHope vig 4.12 4:30pm NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of Winnetka and 42nd. You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners. Bring your own or use our signs. --------11 of 22-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 4.12 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------12 of 22-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 4.12 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------13 of 22-------- From: Brian Payne <brianpayneyvp [at] gmail.com> Subject: To Chicago/CIW 4.12 6pm Twin Cities Caravan to Chicago for CIW Actions Thursday, April 12th, 6pm Resource Center of the Americas (3019 Minnehaha Ave. S., Mpls) Contact: Brian Payne, brianpayneyvp [at] gmail.com, 612-859-5750 There is still limited space on the Twin Cities Caravan to Chicago to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) for the actions in front of McDonald's HQ. If you are interested in going, check out the CIW website (www.ciw-online.org) for more info about the national mobilizations, and read on below for information about the local Caravan as well as the registration form. Contact Brian Payne with any questions: brianpayneyvp [at] gmail.com, 612-859-5750. Twin Cities Caravan to Chicago for CIW Actions: Our possee will be leaving from the Resource Center of the Americas: (3019 Minnehaha Ave S., Mpls), at 6:00pm on Thursday, April 12th and returning on the evening of Saturday, April 14th. For those staying for the LASC Conference, there will be a van returning on the evening of Sunday, April 15th. The cost of the trip will be $40 per person. Remember, our group will not turn anyone away. Grants are available for those who are unable to pay for the trip. After we receive your registration we will contact you in order to arrange payment for the trip. Please consider that we have to pay for the vans before we leave for Chicago! Registering for your seat on the caravan guarantees you the following: 1. Round trip to Chicago and back to the Twin Cities 2. Option to stay one day for LASC conference 3. Sleeping accomodations for the full weekend 4. Some meals provided in Chicago 5. A historic and fabulous event you'll never forget! To reserve your spot on the van, please copy and paste the following with your response, and send it to brianpayneyvp [at] gmail.com: 1. Full name: 2. Contact phone number: 3. Email address: 4. Are you planning to attend the LASC conference (y/n)? 5. I am able to pay the full $40 for my seat (y/n): 6. I am financially unable to pay the full amount, but will pay this much: 7. Do you need special accommodations? Fair food that respects human rights, not fast food that exploits human beings. www.sfalliance.org --------14 of 22-------- From: Kurt Fischer <kffischer [at] earthlink.net> Subject: DuluthCar 4.12 6:30pm Duluth MN DuluthCar Car-sharing Program Informational/Brainstorming Meeting Thursday, April 12th 6:30 pm Chester Creek Cafe (at Sara's Table) corner of 19th Ave East and East 8th St More info: Mike Nordin DuluthCar [at] gmail.com For anyone interested in learning more about how to get going in Duluth a nonprofit car-sharing program similar to the Twin Cities' HOURCAR. Attend this informational and brainstorming meeting to learn more and help make DuluthCar car-sharing happen! --------15 of 22-------- From: Josh Wallaert <josh [at] sidelongfilms.com> Subject: Arid Lands/film 4.12 7pm Arid Lands (Documentary Film) @ The Bell Museum. April 12, 7 pm. Arid Lands is a documentary feature about the land and people of the Columbia Basin in southeastern Washington state. Sixty years ago, the Hanford nuclear site produced plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, and today the area is the focus of the largest environmental cleanup in history. Arid Lands takes us into a world of sports fishermen, tattoo artists, housing developers, ecologists, and radiation scientists living and working in the area. It tells the story of how people changed the landscape over time, and how the landscape affected their lives. Followed by a discussion with co-director Josh Wallaert and University of Minnesota geographers Bruce Braun and George Henderson. Tickets $5 and $7 at the door. Thursday, April 12, 7 pm. Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St SE Minneapolis. For more information, or to watch the trailer, go to http://www.sidelongfilms.com --------16 of 22-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Labor stories 4.15-5.15 7pm EXPLORE WORKING LIFE THROUGH UNTOLD STORIES Untold Stories returns for the ninth year complete with lectures, tours, community discussions, performances and more. Untold Stories is a national award-winning labor history series sponsored by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. The series kicks off this year with the 2007 David Noble Lecture at the Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd., Saint Paul. On Tuesday, April 12 at 7 p.m., Professor Nan Enstad examines the history of today's global market in cigarettes in "The Jim Crow Cigarette: Tracing Cultures of Transnational Capitalism before World War II." As a key industry in transnational capitalism, the cigarette industry reveals connections between corporations and individuals, labor and consumerism, and pleasure and vulnerability in the early 20th century. For more information call 651/259-3015. This program is presented by the Minnesota Historical Society, and co-sponsored by The Friends and the Departments of American Studies and History at the University of Minnesota. Untold Stories events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.thefriends.org or call 651/222-3242. Untold Stories is coordinated by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. --------17 of 22-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Immigrants/play 4.12-4.29 7:30pm 4/12-29, Thur-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm, play "From the Ashes," stories of immigrants and refugees in the Twin Cities based on MN Advocates for Human Rights report on impact of 9/11, Pangea World Theater, 711 W Lake St, suite 102, Mpls. pangea [at] pangeaworldtheater.org --------18 of 22-------- Money & Militarism "Choose" Candidates by Lydia Howell Like looking at how much money is spent for Christmas, underpinning the consumer economy, we got the campaign fundraising figures for Democrats seeking to be president in 2008. Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama are running neck and neck, with Clinton's $26M and Obama's $25M. John Edwards is in third place with about $16M. Couple this - what campaign junkies call "the money primary" - with various states moving up their primary voting days, the presidential nominees will likely already be chosen by March 2008 - with the national convention at the end of summer. These are undeniable signs that our electoral politics are more rigged than ever. A shallow "difference" marks this presidential campaign: will we have a woman or an African-American on the ballot representing one of the two corporate-sponsored parties? Clinton just got the National Organzation of Women's endorsement and it probably won't be long before Obama gets civil rights' organzations' endorsements. My Congressman, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress and the first African-American Minnesota has sent to Washington just announced his support for the Senator from Illinois. (Ellison also voting for Pelosi's fake "anti-war bill). But, what exactly do either of these frontrunners actually stand for? Neither has broken with the Demcoratic Leadership Conference's mushy pro-war position. Clinton supported Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's war-funding bill, with enough loopholes to keep Bush's war going into 2009 and Obama is likely to support the Senate version.. Both Clinton and Obama can talk about the need for healthcare - but, will either break with insurance companies, HMOs and Big Pharma to join the rest of the Western industrial nations (and Cuba!) to finally make good on Harry Truman's promise of universal, single-payer healthcare? It says something pretty dismal about American "democracy" that while almost 70% of We The People want the troops to be brought home, an actual pro-peace candidate like rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) - who also ran for the democratic nomination in 2004 - is considered to "have no chance" at the nomination. Kucinich was called "unelectable" by folks who tout themselves as "realistic" and so we got the 'electable" John Kerry if we wanted George Bush out of office. Of course, Kerry didn't promise to get us out of Iraq - only to "manage the war more effectively". This is what Hillary Clinton seems to promise: Kerry in a dress. It's not exactly clear what Obama is promising on anything. So far, his appeal comes down to having "rock star charisma" and campaign speeches that speak to Americans' hunger to be "united". "United" for WHAT? Attacking Iran next? Continuing the so-called "free trade" policies that Hillary's husband pushed through, that keep outsourceing decently paying jobs? What about the ever-expanding (and also "privatizing") U.,S. prison-industrial complex that now incarcreates more people than any other country on Earth? Will Obama break the silence on THAT issue - which is having a disproportionate impact on communites of color and the poor? can we count on Hillary to restore any of the social safety net that her husband and Bush have steadily CUT? Or would that hurt the careful image of being as "tough" as any man runing for the White House? Once again, I figure the only TRUE "choice" I'll have is to vote for a third party candidate. Of course, Most Americans only love "winners". So, the candidates who have integrity and actually represent positions that are in the public interest will usually be dismissed with that label of ultimate contempt - "losers". The funny thing is that We The People are the REAL "losers" in the electoral politics game because half the Americans who actually vote still go along with the Corporate-sponsored militarists that are chosen FOR us. The other half stay home. Plenty of people said that Kucinich or Ralph Nader "represent my positions, but, they can't win so I can't vote for them." Seems like it would be a pretty obvious conclusion to draw that, if people voted for the candidates that actually represent their own positions - instead of throwing away their votes on those who only represent Corporations and militarism - we'd have a lot more of a chance to get what we want. (That includes those who don't bother to vote at all.) It says something very disturbing about the U.S. "spreading democracy" to other countries when our own is so tainted. We can blame the leaders but, We The People have some responsibility, too. People like Kucinich and Nader - who've devoted their lives to the public interest and NOT lining their own pockets, are dismissed - not just by pundits but by many 'progressives' - as "not having a chance of winning" almost from the beginning of their campaigns. But, if people voted their principles and more voters turned off the remote and got engaged (at least went to the polls once every four years!), the presidential campaign season might look very different. Do the math. --------19 of 22-------- From: Senator John Marty <jmarty [at] apple-pie.org> To the Point! Funding Schools with Bake Sales and Boxtops by Senator John Marty April 9, 2007 At a recent community meeting hosted by the Roseville School district, parents spoke out about the economic problems facing the schools their children attend. Class sizes are too large, budget cutbacks have removed teacher's aides from classrooms. Even funds for basic supplies are lacking. Roseville is a typical case. Schools throughout Minnesota have eliminated many educational programs, laid off teachers, postponed building maintenance, and cut corners when purchasing supplies. Many teachers dig deep into their own pockets to provide school supplies for their classrooms and students. Governor Pawlenty refuses to see this as a problem. He contends his budget provides adequate funding for schools. In fact, he claims that in the last budget cycle, the state provided "one of the largest boosts for schools in state history." Regardless of his rhetoric about big increases, the reality is that many schools were forced to lay off teachers under that budget. PS Minnesota, a coalition of statewide education organizations and parents, hired some consultants to follow-up on and analyze a report issued two years ago by a Pawlenty task force on education funding. Based on their analysis of the Governor's task force report, the consultants estimated that the state needs to invest at least an additional $1 billion a year, above inflation, to adequately fund education, or almost $1.8 billion per year above inflation to meet the future standards of the federal "No Child Left Behind" law. Governor Pawlenty ignored those findings and recently submitted a budget that would provide an amount slightly less than projected inflation. Nothing more. This from a Governor who has called education "our most important investment." In contrast, legislators have proposed increases in education funding a bit more than inflation, though not close to the needed levels. But these proposals would rely on state income tax increases to pay the bills. The Governor is trying to score political points by attacking the tax increases as totally unnecessary. He is even running radio ads on the issue, and is likely to succeed in stirring up opposition to the increases among many voters. After all, politicians of both parties have promised to cut taxes without affecting government services for years. They have convinced some people to believe you can get something for nothing. The Governor expresses outrage at these tax proposals. But there are consequences for failing to raise the funds that schools need. The parents at the Roseville community meeting talked about their efforts to secure more funding for schools. They spend much of their volunteer time pushing local referenda to get funds, as well as organizing school carnivals and bake sales. School kids are asked to peddle magazines, candy and other products. Parents and kids collect boxtops, soup can labels, even used printer cartridges, just to earn money to help pay basic operating costs for schools. Think about this. We expect parents and students to spend countless hours begging for money to keep their schools open while cutting corners on their educational quality. That's an outrage. And there are similar stories from other schools. Two years ago parents in Vadnais Heights were so desperate about the lack of funds for their local school that they raised money to hire an additional fourth grade teacher. How do we best use the time and talents of parents willing to volunteer in our schools? I'd rather see them helping out in school classrooms than spending their time collecting soup labels and organizing fundraisers. It hasn't always been this way. When I was a student, we weren't asked to sell products door-to-door to pay for our public schools. Yes, we had an occasional bake sale to raise money, but that wasn't to keep our school open, it was for a student council project to help build a school in Africa through UNICEF. It has always been part of the American dream that parents want their kids to have better educational opportunities than they themselves had. We don't have to give up that dream. We shouldn't have to tell our children that we wish they could have the same opportunities we had, but that it is too expensive. Since 1999 there have been significant income tax cuts, at least for higher income Minnesotans. Governor Pawlenty is willing to accept higher property taxes and poorer schools as long as we can have lower income taxes. And that's the choice. If we want a world-class education for Minnesota students, we will need a bigger state investment. We won't get there if we expect our schools to rely on the possibility of higher property taxes and the funds that parents and students can raise from bake sales and boxtops. --------20 of 22-------- From Economic Apartheid to Political Revolution by Joel S. Hirschhorn www.dissidentvoice.org April 9, 2007 Americans have always accepted a certain level of economic inequality as the inevitable consequence of an open capitalist society where some people through their own efforts do better than others. The presumption is that there is fairness in the marketplace and economic system. What a quaint, outdated belief. Do most Americans really believe that the game is not rigged by rich powerful elites to preferentially benefit them? As certain as the law of gravity, the game IS rigged, and more than ever. We have a plutocratic corporate state that now has taken economic inequality to new levels - in fact to what now is a sick and shameful condition of economic apartheid. To a society that increasingly separates Americans into two classes: the wealthy Upper Class and the Lower Class. The Upper Class has protected and gated mansions, private vacation spots and spas, special access shopping venues, private schools, lavish entertainment options, luxurious hospital accommodations, and private jets and stretch limos. The Upper Class does everything possible to PHYSICALLY separate itself from the poor, repugnant and uncouth members of the Lower Class. This physical separation is the hallmark of economic apartheid. The only contact the wealthy have and want with Lower Class people is when the latter serve, protect and pamper them. And of course they expect the hugely larger Lower Class to keep spending and borrowing their way into economic despair and to keep sustaining the two-party mafia. Voting for Democrats and Republicans is as meaningful as voting for American Idol contestants. Nothing more than a self-destructive distraction. In Las Vegas, the truly rich have their private gambling rooms and clubs, and occupy special access suites. In sports stadiums, they luxuriate in their glass boxes high above the masses. In the Pacific and Caribbean, they have their private island hideaways. On the oceans they travel in self-indulgent yachts. They eat in private rooms in the most expensive restaurants. The biggest entertainment stars come to them in their private social functions. And, yes, they have all the access they want to high government officials in both major parties because they provide them with all the campaign money they need. And hidden from public view they - and only they - have incredible opportunities to invest their riches to easily receive 30 percent annual gains with little taxation. As they get ever richer they find it increasingly difficult to spend all their wealth - but they handle the chore with alacrity. What is remarkable about this new society is that there are MILLIONS of these super-rich, physically isolated Americans. They mingle with millions more throughout the world. As globalization has devastated the once proud middle class, it has expanded this elitist wealthy class worldwide, even in the poorest nations. Economic statistics keep solidly documenting growing economic inequality. But I fear that the most economically oppressed and barely surviving peasants have neither the time nor energy to ponder and fret over these data. Here are some new data that reveal an important historic reality. Economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have recently revealed just how horrendous the inequality gap has become. Way back in 1928, the last full year before the Great Depression began, the families that made up America's richest top hundredth of 1 percent had incomes that averaged $8.2 million, as measured in dollars inflation-adjusted to 2005 levels. That is one per 10,000 households. In 1928, that amounted to some 5,000 households. These super-rich averaged 891 times more income than families in the bottom 90 percent averaged. By 1955, in the midst of post-World War II prosperity, families in the top hundredth of 1 percent took home only $3.8 million, in inflation-adjusted dollars. They made just 179 times the average bottom 90 percent income. There was much more economic equality because of shared prosperity. Even in 1980, the richest of the rich took home 175 times more than Americans in the bottom 90 percent - still relatively good economic equality. Then things changed. Consider the figures for 2005: the top hundredth of 1 percent, about 10,000 households, averaged $25.7 million in income, three times the money in 1928. This amounted to 882 times more than the bottom 90 percent average - an economic inequality gap in 2005 that's almost identical to the 891-to-1 divide in 1928! Welcome to the modern billionaire world of the rich getting much, much richer, while everyone else stagnates. Of course, the top 1 percent of households are also extremely rich - some 1 million families or 3 million people - relatively to the bottom, majority 90 percent. Married couples with children now account for fewer than one-quarter of American households - the lowest in history. It is the Upper Class that now emphasizes marriage with children. Married households with children are twice as likely to be in the top 20 percent of income. Some 13 percent of the increase in the nation's income inequality since the 1970s results from the marriage of high income earners. Marriage is now for the rich. What does that say about American democracy and culture? That the Upper Class is like an inbred aristocracy. Children of the rich will marry other children of the rich. Another critically important change in the real (ugly) America is the bursting of the traditional fantasy-belief that people can educate themselves into wealth. Is getting more Americans educated and trained all we need to do to attack economic inequality? If so, then inequality should fall over periods of time when people become more educated. Right? Americans have become more educated over the last three decades. In 1970, only three out of four Americans aged 25-29 had completed high school. In 2004, nearly nine of ten Americans that age had a high school education. In 1970, only 16 percent of Americans in their late 20s held a four-year college degree. By 2004, that had nearly doubled to 29 percent. Something else has nearly doubled since 1970: the share of national income that goes to America's richest 1 percent. That means that the share going to average Americans has dropped. Lower Class Americans in the bottom 90 percent of the nation's income distribution took home 67 percent of U.S. income in 1970, but only 53 percent in 2004, despite their greater education and productivity. American reality: We've become more unequal at the same time we've become more educated. Why? Education doesn't determine how income and wealth - or macro domestic and global prosperity - are distributed in our unfair system. The Upper Class ensures that increasing fractions of income and wealth go to them. Here is more painful statistical truth: In 2004, the most recent year with IRS data just about 25,000 taxpayers took home over $5 million. After exploiting every loophole they paid an average 21.9 percent of their incomes in federal income tax. Back in 1952, at the height of the Korean War, the comparable federal tax bite on America's richest 25,000 averaged 51.9 percent. About a decade earlier, in the middle of World War II, the 25,000 highest-income taxpayers in the United States paid 68.4 percent of their incomes in federal income tax. How things have changed for the wealthy. A greater fraction of the nation's prosperity has gone to the Upper Class AND they pay less tax! Economic power produces political power. This is worth pondering: When will the economic inequality that has morphed into two-class economic apartheid provide sufficient pain and disgust for a few hundred million Americans to fuel political revolution? When will the stranglehold of the Upper Class on the political system that criminally distorts the economic system be busted? When will Lower Class consumers that drive the economy take back their sovereign power? When will they understand they are losing the class war and revolt? It will take historically unique action, not electing different Democrats or Republicans. Our Constitution provides the tool - not used for over 200 years because the power elites do not want it used - an Article V convention outside the control of the White House and Congress to consider political and government reforms. Learn more about it at www.foavc.org. Joel S. Hirschhorn has a new book, Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, which supports constitutional conventions and other peaceful ways to restore American democracy. To join the pro-convention effort or discuss issues write the author: articlev [at] gmail.com. --------21 of 22-------- [A bit unpolished but basically on target. -ed] How Did This Happen? by Carol Warner Christen (Swans - April 9, 2007) There were times and places on this planet when no one was considered better than anyone else. Except for pockets of humans here and there, this had to have been before 10,000 years ago at minimum. Humans have been here at least four million years via DNA studies. There were so few that all the work and play were personal chores and group outings. It was anarchy, in general, with family groups bonded for reasons of necessity. Children were not disciplined; they simply played or helped or were nursed until they could share the life around them. This laissez faire attitude is still seen in many tribal groups. Women had as much equality as the men because everyone was needed for survival. Laissez faire, of course, is the policy or practice of letting people act without direction or interference - free will. Laissez faire got a bad reputation when the owners of business or industry were permitted to do as they pleased. The difference is that business and industry are not individuals; they are conglomerates of people bowing to a single master to accomplish something or another for profit. They, as a matter of course, always went too far and had to be reined in for the sake of human safety. Since we live in a time of too much incorporation and its totalitarian results, those who run these outfits have the belief that our natural humanness is not to be tolerated; it is too anarchic, what with dancing and singing and playing all day rather than working sixty hours a week for them. None of us is invited to their play places around the planet, which means we do not see the anarchic side of their behavior. In reality, they cannot help but be human, although overly groomed. Their egos are so inflated that we, except as servants paid to be quiet, may not enjoy their joie de vivre. None of us have the proper pedigree (poodle), the money, or the "taste." We work for them because they enjoy the hedonistic life our mothers told us to forego. Alas, however, they have bought the government of the United States of America because a clerk said that corporations were "persons." Corporations are not persons. They have never come out of a human womb; they grow from charters and signatures and an idea. They are subservient to the state of their incorporation. This is what we all understood until they became pseudo-persons and grew money from a tree called the Federal Reserve with branches everywhere. The US Treasury was supposed to protect our money; it now defers to a tree-like secretive group of bankers whose twigs even touch London. They print money and, what with wars and debts and covetousness, we might soon have a national crisis on our hands. War isn't cheap, although too many housing loans are. Do you think that's why the Founders limited a standing army to two years, at most, with the states providing a National Guard as a check on rampant pillaging of the world? We have pillaged the National Guard to rape the world into giving up its oil to our military bully, which needs most of it. The damage to the victims is the damage to any human raped; but the scale is colossal and the deaths an afterthought. Who really wants to read about it in the newspaper? Too much of a bad thing might anger the populace. Our current corporate big shots, on a scale larger than local business people, are ready, willing, and able to sell the People out. They pay some to be quiet; they pay others to write phony Moebius strip sound bites that seem to be one way while morphing into something else. None of them ever say it in the same article or at the same time, lest we catch on to the game. You might think the United States of America is a rigged game. I do. Look deep enough; the answers are there. No time to look? Working overtime without a personal life? Can you make ends meet at home, or is the American Dream drifting off into the sunset along with the infrastructure? Halliburton moved to one of the richest spots on the planet. Is this the beginning of the end? Who wants to bet on which comes first: Armageddon, aliens, or mass depopulation from hunger, disease, death? We'll probably reorganize if it comes to any of the above; but, why wait? We could ask the bet takers what the odds are now. Good or evil? Hatred or apathy? Death or life? Rich or poor? Heads or tails? Middle class or slavery? Wealth or bankruptcy? Right or wrong? War or peace? My way or the highway? Surge or lose? Kill or die? It's so easy to toss coins, easy to think in dichotomies rather than develop serious thought. Each of these is a simple system. There is always a meta-system to any system. Love is the main meta-system to all of the above. Love sees all sides. Humans are a meta-system to the Earth and its creatures. However, not even one of us can ever be a meta-system to humanity itself. That's why we feel or know a higher power exists: to see all sides of humanity. Only the utterly arrogant believe they see all sides of human life and have the right to declare a position above humanity while remaining human. Nice trick. It is usually accompanied by weaponry and soldiers, led by the arrogant. I always imagine a group of equally naked humans in a large ring talking to each other. Suddenly, some of those humans climb onto the shoulders of the others and begin demanding this or that from those "below" them. Why we fall for this trick so often escapes me. Our Preamble also is a meta-system to our governmental bodies. There is no coin that has the Congress on one side and the Executive Branch on the other. If that were the case, then where would the Supreme Court fit? How do We "form a more perfect union" if "the massive defense bill (the martial law section of the 591-page Defense Appropriations Act takes up just a few paragraphs)..."? "Under these new provisions, the president can now use the military as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, disease outbreak, terrorist attack or to any 'other condition.' According to the new law, Bush doesn't even have to notify Congress of his intent to use military force against the American people, he just has to notify them once he has done so. The defense budget provision's vague language leaves the doors wide open for rampant abuse. As writer Jane Smiley noted, 'The introduction of these changes amounts, not to an attack on the Congress and the balance of power, but to a particular and concerted attack on the citizens of the nation. Bush is laying the legal groundwork to repeal even the appearance of democracy.'" "The main reason we do not want the military patrolling our streets is that under martial law, the Bill of Rights becomes null and void. A standing army, something that propelled the early colonists into revolution, strips the American people of any vestige of freedom. Thus, if we were subject to martial law, there would be no rules, no protections, no judicial oversight and no elections. And unless these provisions are repealed, the president's new power will be set in stone for future administrations to use and abuse." (1) The Preamble will then have "a more perfect union" of one man surrounded by his flunkies. How convenient! The president may then dispense with the rest of the Preamble and become the dictatorial decider he has always aspired "to be, or not to be, for that is the question." Citizens might read the entire quote from Shakespeare - it's enlightening. It speaks to us today. (2) If the meta-system is to "establish justice," why has it devolved into the "criminal justice system" and the "(summary) military justice" sides of the coin? We established justice until 1968. Then criminal justice systems became commonplace with a further injustice of establishing private jail companies for profit. With the war in Iraq, we decided some humans were not entitled to trial, only military hearings in secret at places such as Guantnamo in Cuba. The inhumane treatment of prisoners has risen within the prisons; the military simply permits torture all around the world for so-called "terrorists": untried persons. No one knows their real or alleged guilt. It is all assumed from specious but convenient circumstance. There is so much human life it is as if we have decided to waste as much as we like, forgetting that we, too, may lose ours to the grossly medieval current system. Is the church of the Middle Ages reincarnating in the criminal justice and military systems? If so, we have lost our American integrity to expedience, once again. With the militarization of the local police forces and their fear of citizens, the meta-system to "insure domestic tranquility" has changed to "kill or be killed" instantaneous decisions on the street. The sick, the mentally ill, the criminal, and the bystander are all in mortal danger. No officer merely knocks on a door politely; he brings heavily armed police militias with him and breaks down doors. How would any citizen know how to react when fear of invasion overtakes a household? Who really is out there? What happened to the Bill of Rights that protected the privacy of our homes and belongings? Is this really necessary; or, is it part of the militarization of the United States because the powers that be have other plans for us than we might appreciate in the light of day and proper hearings? "The common defence" is now National Security, which is a wholly dreadful idea and, definitely, not the other side of the coin; it is the current coin, one side domestic and the other foreign. The laws to put this in place are discussed above with a complete loss of American rights, not to mention the rights of other peoples around the world because we say so. We are also back to the "big father patriarch daddy" running the show. The one who says "do as I say, not as I do"; as he negates the world's free will for his profit and, perhaps, sadistic turn of mind. He is surrounded by armies. We have none. To those who support this hedonism, the only thing to do is to turn our backs on their concepts and start supporting ethical humans and their ideas that we thought we stood for, but never quite did fully. If the meta-system says "to establish the general welfare," have we been faithful to that concept? We have given to the rich and powerful; we have heaped goodies galore upon them. On the other side, we have taken from the majority of citizens what made the United States a beacon to the world. We let corporations go global with our wealth and called those who suddenly found themselves poorer names. As they worked many more hours than ever, we called them lazy, dirty, poor, immigrants, not true Americans. We call them names because we fear that we, too, may soon be in that class. If we are equal before the law, how did we classify some of us into classes? Why do we promote that? Or, is it the old school cry: "Nah, nah, nah, I'm better than you!" Those who claim to be Christian must face the fact that Jesus said there are only two commandments: love God, and love one another as I have loved you. How did that morph into such hatred of the Other who is, too, human? Churches often are so three-dimensional that the human bickering becomes some sort of faith in unfairness for everyone else. When will we think deeply and fairly, especially since the planet is more crowded than ever? The final meta-system command is to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our progeny." So, the coin flip is this: we and some of our progeny are on one side and, "they" are on the other and they are different than we are, less human, less worthy, more killable and have what we covet. It goes on and on and on. We do not answer to ourselves for stealing our own liberties for expediency against a chimera: terrorism. How many persons would jump off a high-level bridge because the president says to do it for the greater good? A pursuit that worthless might be an interesting study in American idiocy as a test of integrity. Maybe we can get the Congress to pass a bill encouraging the president to test us while some of us test the Supreme Court he packed to see if they care. Want to gamble with no rights or want to put your real rights back where they belong with We, the People, who wrote the Preamble for our liberty for now and for the future? Giving away any liberty is the stupidest thing a country can do to itself. So, why have we let them do it? I hope I live long enough to see a reversal in honor of my ancestors who fought for freedom for us without totalitarian overtones. Notes 1. John W. Whitehead. "The Late, Great American Nation," Rutherford Institute. http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/commentary.asp?record_id=461 (back) 2. William Shakespeare - To be, or not to be (from Hamlet 3/1). (back) --------22 of 22-------- Is the Pentagon Bigger Than the USA? Mega Lessons from Iraq War, Year 5 By HILL KEMP CounterPunch April 9, 2007 As we open year five of the Iraq war it is fitting we attempt to learn as much as we can. But we don't dare miss the "gorilla in the room" -- the big one. We've seen lots of editorializing lately covering many of the painful lessons. All the 'what if's' along the way. But there is another mega lesson. We are in a 50-year trend of a shriveling State Department and a burgeoning Defense Department. The State Department actually reduced in numbers of personnel during the 1990s. The Defense growth trend was born out of the Cold War threat of the Soviet Union and was accelerated under Robert McNamara. But it has now gotten to the point where most people in most nations around the world would say the Defense Department is definitely much bigger than the USA. It has taken the bumbling incompetence of successive Bush/Cheney administrations' prosecution of the Iraq war to make this clear. One of our generals observed recently that we can't do it all with only the military. Du-uh! We knew that sixty years ago but have forgotten it. When the face of America experienced by most of the nations around the world is someone whose paycheck comes out of the Defense budget we do not present ourselves fully. Today, for every one State Department person working abroad there are more than ten Defense Department personnel. Even the Commerce Department has a pseudo diplomatic corps that rivals that of the State Department. The State Department and Defense Department do not have the same charter. Defense is chartered to defend us from security threats using the tools of war. The State department is chartered to establish and maintain a robust, fully rounded relationship with the other nations of the world. A fully rounded relationship includes, at a minimum; economic, cultural, political and diplomatic interactions. That full relationship is best expressed in the concept of the Foreign Service. A service embodying ALL aspects of our relationship with other nations. If our State Department had the resources of a robust Foreign Service in 2002 we might have foreseen the disaster we created when we destabilized Iraq. We definitely would have had people who knew the basics like how to speak the languages(!) and something of the cultural heritage hiding under Sadaam's heel. For instance we would have known that Jeffersonian democracy might not be the right next step after Sadaam's fall. After all, the only people who held tight to their tribal heritage during the emergence of the American democracy were either killed or rounded up and put on reservations. We are in a period of American history in which the penalty for speaking truth to power has been raised to very high levels. Valerie Plame paid with her career plus the compromising of all the contacts she made during her service. The Dixie Chicks are paying in the millions of dollars. But the Iraq Study Group led the way to lowering those penalties. They were the first to openly criticize without being branded terrorists or sympathizers. The 2006 election results added to the credibility of dissent. But America needs specific action, not just dissent. Americans need to insist that the debate for the 2008 presidential election include a serious reform of our government and how we present ourselves to the world, to include the revitalization of the Foreign Service. This will not be easy. The Defense Department behemoth is strong and capable. The Defense Department budget is part of the economy in almost all the congressional districts. The defense industry lobbyists are giants on the Washington scene. The other departments, which have grown their own diplomatic corps, will resist too. But reform we must. It will take political will not often seen in this country. It will mean that the next Secretary of State has to be ready for a bureaucratic war to restore State as the face of America. The opposition will be fierce. The February 2007 paper, The Politics of National Security Budgets by Gordon Adams of the Stanley Institute, examines much of this aspect in depth. Over the last several years America's image in the world has been changed from one of a sometimes clumsy but benevolent giant to that of a rogue bully. In 2002 only the radical few would have questioned the power or doubted the fundamental decency of the United States of America. Today it is likely that a majority question the efficacy of the power and even the existence of the decency. We have permitted ourselves to be defined by fears instead of drawing our essence from hopes and dreams. We need to reconstitute both ourselves and our presence in the world, thereby recovering the huge losses of the last several years. Facing the threat of spreading terrorism we must not be engaged in weakening ourselves. HILL KEMP is a former State Representative from Texas and witnessed George Bush, Karl Rove and Paula Hughes set up shop as Texas Governor in 1995. His thriller, Capitol Offense, enshrines the dysfunction -- principles du jour -- he saw with a literary caricature of the Bush/Rove leadership style. His other publications include short story anthologies, tips for fiction writers and, out soon, a children's chapter book. His sequel to Capitol Offense is due out in 2007 and is titled A Lone Star Special. More at www.capitoloffense.com ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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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