Progressive Calendar 04.28.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 23:27:03 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    04.28.07

1. Cupcakes/Arise    4.28 1pm
2. Save some dogs    4.28 2pm
3. SpanCivilWar/film 4.28 7pm

4. Colombia          4.29 9:30am
5. Stillwater vigil  4.29 1pm
6. RNC "welcome"     4.29 1pm
7. Luxton Park arts  4.29 3pm
8. Blind/play/TV     4.29 9:30pm

9. Ryan Blethen     - Big media's assault on democracy
10. Bennis/Jensen   - Moving beyond anti-war politics
11. Michael Parenti - Mystery: how wealth creates poverty in the world

--------1 of 11--------

From: "amanda [at] pinkslipmedia.org" <amanda [at] pinkslipmedia.org>
Subject: Cupcakes/Arise 4.28 1pm

CUPCAKE FUNDRAISER
Support Arise! by stopping in and purchasing delicious cupcakes on Sat.
April 28., 1-4pm. A good old-fashioned bake sale to raise money for your
favorite independent bookstore. Vegan and gluten-free cupcakes will be
available along with cupcake paraphernalia. Reasonable prices.
Arise! Bookstore - 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. - Mpls
http://www.arisebookstore.org


--------2 of 11--------

From: Jeanne Weigum <jw [at] ansrmn.org>
Subject: Save some dogs 4.28 2pm

http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=252271
http://www.kare11.com/video/player.aspx?aid=46456&bw

Animals get second chance
Just last year Humphrey was an overweight pooch with allergies and a few
other problems. The shelter he was at thought he was unadoptable so they
called another organization called Second Chance Animal Rescue.

A volunteer took Humprhey in, put him on a diet and socialized the little
guy. Now, one year later, Humphrey is ready to go to a loving home.
Second Chance Animal Rescue is a completely volunteer organization that
takes in and fosters animals that can't seem to get adopted at a regular
shelter.

Now Second Chance needs your help. Saturday, April 28 there is a
fundraiser at Dog Days in St. Paul. Dog Days is located at 2120 Myrtle
Avenue and the event runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be lots of stuff to do including a silent auction. Bring along
your favorite furry friend too!


--------3 of 11--------

From: "amanda [at] pinkslipmedia.org" <amanda [at] pinkslipmedia.org>
Subject: SpanCivilWar/film 4.28 7pm

Film Screening: Diego, Sat. April 28, 7pm
Arise! Bookstore - 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. - Mpls
presented by Arise! Bookstore & Black Dog Cafe
FREE

Diego (Dir. Frédéric Goldbronn, 1999) is a documentary about the Spanish
Civil War as told through the recollections of Diego Camacho, a.k.a. Abel
Paz.

On July 19, 1936, General Francisco Franco led an attempt to overthrow the
democratically elected Republic of Spain. In Barcelona forces from the
trade unions quickly defeated Franco's forces and went on to take direct
control of the city. Though only just fifteen, Diego Camacho participated
in this fight and went on to join the anarchist Durruti Column at the
Aragon Front. After the war, he was exiled to France where he fought in
the French Resistance and continued his struggle with the Spanish
anarchists against Franco's rule.

Writing under the name Abel Paz, Diego Camacho is the author of many
works, including Durruti in the Spanish Revolution, which has just been
released in the first-ever complete English translation by AK Press. This
biography of Buenaventura Durruti is the story of a principle
revolutionary leader told against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil war.

Discussion to follow.


--------4 of 11--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Colombia 4.29 9:30am

Sunday, 4/29, 9:30 to 10:30 am and 11 to noon, lawyer and Colombian human
rights advocate Irma Rodrigues shares her story about talking with both
paramilitaries and guerillas, at All Saints Lutheran Church's "Blessed are
the Peacemakers" series, 15915 Excelsior Blvd (corner with Woodland),
Minnetonka.  randerson5356 [at] comcast.net


--------5 of 11--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 4.29 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560


--------6 of 11--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: RNC "welcome"  4.29 1pm

MTG:Sunday, 4/29, 1 pm, Republican National Convention Welcoming
Committee meeting, Jack
Pine Community Center 2815 E Lake St, Mpls. www.nornc.org


--------7 of 11--------

From: Mary S Schieffer <magicmary2 [at] juno.com>
Subject: Luxton Park arts 4.29 3pm

Luxton Park Painters
Annual Art Show and Sale

Sunday, April 29th, 2007
3:00 - 5:00 pm
Luxton Park
112 Williams SE, Mpls

Drawings, Paintings, Prints Cards, Jewelry, Watercolors

[Both of my sisters will have works on display for you to oh and ah over
(and under). You may also comment on how two _relatively_ normal sisters
could have such an odd brother. They will smile and laugh that curious
little laugh that they're known for in five states. "Did two sisters e'er
have such a lugubrious cross to bear?" they will not so quietly lament.
This is your cue to say, slowly with great feeling, "No way, Jose". -ed]


--------8 of 11--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Blind/play/TV 4.29 9:30pm

RISING STARS is a video made with blind and visually impaired students
at Minnesota State Academy for the Blind. This stellar show will play on
public television on The Minnesota Channel, TPT-17, on Sunday April 29
at 9:30pm.

To see some really cool clips, zoom to YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DRiVLc6ZlY

Directed by Media Mike with audio description by Mari Griffin and
support from Young Audiences and V S A arts of Minnesota, this film
shines in the dark wasteland we call television.

For more, call 651.227.2240.

Zoom, Media Mike http://www.thecie.org


--------9 of 11--------

Big Media's Assault on Democracy
by Ryan Blethen
Published on Friday, April 27, 2007 by The Seattle Times

"Enough" is a word that means little to corporate media. The few bloated
companies that remain atop the media food-chain have crossed the line from
growing profits to actively pushing rule and law changes that will wound
our nation.

These mega-companies move from one industry to the next in the name of
consolidation, driven by a Wall Street appetite that demands more every
quarter. Companies once devoted to a particular sector are now behemoths
that have control over almost everything read, watched or listened to.

Time Warner is a prime example. A magazine publisher and a movie studio is
now a leviathan made up of Time Inc., AOL, HBO, Time Warner Cable, New
Line Cinema, Turner Broadcasting Systems and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Each part comprises a number of other companies. Time Inc. consists of 130
magazines.

It is Time Warner that is responsible for the latest assault on a
mechanism set up to promote democracy and innovation. I am not talking
about the Internet, but the U.S. Postal Service. That's right, old snail
mail.

Our postal system is written into the Constitution and was set up in a way
that all publications, regardless of size or influence, could reach the
public. James Madison even said that publications should be sent free.

"It is really one of the great build-outs of democracy in our country,"
said Bob McChesney, professor of communication at the University of
Illinois and president of Free Press.

The mail system faces new challenges in an electronic world, but it is
still vital, and democracy will suffer if the new rates instituted by the
Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) are allowed to stand.

The Postal Service sought a modest increase that was acceptable for
magazines and periodicals. Then Time Warner got the ear of the PRC, which
thrust an incredibly convoluted pay metric written by Time Warner on the
Postal Service. The new rates are good for Time Warner because it will be
cheaper for them to send out their 130 titles, while smaller and
independent publications will be paying crippling rates.

McChesney believes this change, scheduled to go into effect July 15, is
dangerous for the nation because it will silence voices that are the
bedrock of original reporting.

"The crucial point here is that most of the original material online and
most of the articles that bloggers are blogging about come from ink on
paper," said McChesney, who is fighting the PRC's decision.

Time Warner is hardly the only Biggie to cozy up to a regulatory agency.
The consolidation of the press has been going strong for nearly three
decades. Radio contracted like an imploding sun after the
Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act allowed companies to own an
obscene number of stations in the same market, while the Federal
Communications Commission did little.

This push to collect and condense has now infringed on the Internet. Cable
and telecommunications companies such as Comcast and Verizon are fighting
the network-neutrality effort. There are currently no permanent rules
stopping these companies that supply the pipes through which the Internet
flows from tinkering with different pay scales. Without a neutrality law
and strict oversight by the FCC, companies and Web sites would have to pay
additional fees to the network provider so Web pages could load at the
speed they should. The American consumer - who already pays more than
consumers in other countries for broadband service - would pay an even
larger bill.

Progress has been made on the net-neutrality front. Late last year, AT&T
accepted a net-neutrality rule so its merger with BellSouth would be
approved by the FCC. Problem is, AT&T is only held to the rule for two
years. Net neutrality has not seemed to hurt AT&T. The company posted a
first-quarter profit of $2.8 billion, up from $1.4 billion.

Radio on the Internet is now also under attack. If a recent ruling by the
Copyright Royalty Board stands, small and independent Internet radio
stations will have to pay royalty fees so onerous that many might not
survive.

The aggression directed at democratizing systems that have long served -
and should continue to serve - our nation is worrisome. The institutions
charged to protect the public have failed.

Americans have had enough. Now is the time to get active.

Ryan Blethen's column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times.
His e-mail address is rblethen [at] seattletimes.com

Copyright  2007 The Seattle Times Company

[How long are we going to take this from the bastard ruling class? How
long are we going to vote lesser-evil - and have the Dems screw us
just like the Reps do? -ed]


--------10 of 11--------

What Comes After Withdrawal?
Moving Beyond Anti-War Politics
By PHYLLIS BENNIS and ROBERT JENSEN
CounterPunch
April 27, 2007

As Congress sends its bill requiring partial troop withdrawals from Iraq
to the White House for a certain veto, it has never been clearer that
mobilizing against this war is necessary, but not enough.

Congressional Democrats may be willing to stop there, but demanding the
withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is only the first of our obligations
to help create the conditions for real justice and peace in the Middle
East and around the world. It's crucial that we also advocate for an
entirely new foreign policy based on opposition to the long U.S. drive
toward empire.

That first step is, of course, crucial. When 78 percent of the Iraqi
people oppose the presence of U.S. troops and 61 percent support attacks
on those troops, it's clear that our presence in the country is causing -
not preventing - much of the violence. Pulling out U.S. troops (including
the 100,000-plus mercenaries who back the U.S. military) won't eliminate
all Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence, but it will remove the reason many Iraqis are
fighting. That would take away the protective umbrella that the widely
supported anti-occupation violence currently gives the real terrorists -
those engaged in killing civilians for political or sectarian reasons.
Once U.S. forces are gone and the reason for the legitimate resistance to
foreign occupation is eliminated, the ugly terrorist violence will be
exposed for what it is and it will be possible for Iraqis themselves to
isolate the terrorists and eliminate them as a fighting force.

But what comes after a U.S. withdrawal? We clearly owe the Iraqi people
massive reparations for the devastation our illegal invasion has brought.
Only in the United States is that illegality questioned; in the rest of
the world it's understood. Equally obvious around the world is that the
decision to launch an aggressive war was rooted in the desire to expand
U.S. military power in the strategically crucial oil-rich region, and that
as a result the war fails every test of moral legitimacy.

As we organize against the occupation, we also must work to end U.S.
support for Israeli occupation and try to prevent an aggressive war
against Iran. But all of this is part of a larger obligation of U.S.
citizens: We must challenge U.S. empire. The U.S. troop withdrawal and
reparations should be accompanied by a declaration of a major change of
course in U.S. foreign policy, especially in Iraq and the Middle East. We
need a new foreign policy based on justice, relying on international law
and the United Nations, rather than the assertion of might-makes-right.

This takes us beyond a critique of the mendacity of the Bush
administration, to recognize that similar dreams of conquest and
domination have animated every administration, albeit in different forms.
>From the darling of the anti-communist liberal elite (John F. Kennedy) and
the champion of so-called "assertive multilateralism" (Bill Clinton), to
the crude Republican realist (Richard Nixon) and the patron saint of the
conservative right (Ronald Reagan), U.S. empire in the post-World War II
era has been a distinctly bi-partisan effort.

In his 1980 State of the Union address, President Jimmy Carter called for
domination of the Middle East: "An attempt by any outside force to gain
control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the
vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will
be repelled by any means necessary, including military force." In other
words: We run the region and control the flow of its oil.

George W. Bush took earlier administrations' power plays to new heights of
reckless militarism and unilateralism, seizing the moment after 9/11 to
declare to all nations: "Either you are with us, or you are with the
terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or
support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile
regime." In other words: We demand global capitulation.

The only way to transcend this ugly history is through an honest national
dialogue and a promise of a sea change in U.S. policy.

Look around the world at the results of U.S. strategies. Rhetoric about
democracy and free trade has masked the enforcement of political and
economic subordination to the United States and U.S.-based multinational
corporations. The people of Latin America, much of Africa and the Middle
East, and many parts of Asia can offer compelling testimony to the impact
of those policies, enforced now through more than 700 U.S. military bases
spread across the globe in over 130 countries.

Such empires are typically brought down from outside, with great violence.
But we have another option, as citizens of that empire who understand how
this pathology of power damages our country as well as the world. Imagine
what would be possible if we - ordinary citizens of this latest empire -
could build a movement that gave politicians no choice but to do the right
thing.

Imagine what would be possible in the world if an anti-empire movement
were strong enough to make it clear that ending military violence requires
a just distribution of the resources of this world.

Imagine what is possible if we work to make inevitable one day what seems
improbable today - the justice that makes possible real peace.

Phyllis Bennis is a Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and author
of Challenging Empire: How People, Governments and the UN Defy U.S. Power.
She can be reached at pbennis [at] ips-dc.org.

Robert Jensen is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at
Austin. He can be reached at rjensen [at] uts.cc.utexas.edu.


--------11 of 11--------

Mystery: How Wealth Creates Poverty In The World
by Michael Parenti
 April 26, 2007

Countercurrents.org Printer Friendly Version

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.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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