Progressive Calendar 05.12.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sun, 13 May 2007 00:37:28 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     05.12.07

1. Mom/peace/cards  5.13 10am Duluth
2. RNC antidotes    5.13 1pm
3. Stillwater vigil 5.13 1pm
4. Mom/peace/park   5.13 2pm
5. KFAI Indian      5.13 4pm
6. Vets 4 peace     5.13 6pm
7. Humanism/choice  5.13 6:30pm
8. Transgender play 5.13 7pm

9. Coleman/labor    5.14 9:45am
10. Protest Norm    5.14 10am
11. You/YouTube     5.14 6:30pm
12. Immigrants      5.14 7pm
13. Rail safety     5.14 7pm
14. Sami/Iraq       5.14 6:30pm
15. Labor v war     5.14 7pm
16. Climate crisis  5.14 7:30pm
17. Rsvl lot split  5.14 evening

18. Kip Sullivan       - Bush's solution to the health care crisis
19. Patricia Goldsmith - The ecology of impeachment
20. Jean Bricmont      - Sarkozy & the "decline" of France
21. Marcus Breen       - The US media & the rightwing takeover of France

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From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Mom/peace/cards 5.13 10am Duluth

Sunday, 5/13, 10 to 2, peace table with Mothers Day Proclamation cards,
grassy area between lift bridge and Canal Park, Duluth.
obedsinduluth [at] yahoo.com or 718-0629.


--------2 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: RNC antidotes 5.13 1pm

Sunday, 5/13, 1 pm, anti-authoritarian Republican National Convention
Welcoming Committee meeting, Jack Pine Community Center 2815 E Lake St,
Mpls.  www.nornc.org


--------3 of 21--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 5.13 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


--------4 of 21-------

From: Betty Tisel <betty [at] tiselfarley.com>
Subject: Mom/peace/park 5.13 2pm

we at MOMbo are proud to present our second annual live celebration of
Mother's Day. The centerpiece of the show is a dramatic reading of the
Mother's Day Proclamation for Peace, a stirring antiwar/nonviolence
message that all mothers and their families should hear.

the second annual MOMbo Mother¹s Day Celebration
Sunday, May 13, 2007, 2pm  FREE
Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis
rain or shine

hosted by Nanci Olesen
For moms and grandmas and their kids, partners, families and friends!

Join us for an hour of music, stories, humor, history, and a dramatic
reading of the MOTHER¹S DAY PROCLAMATION FOR PEACE written by Julia Ward
Howe in 1870. Hear the Brass Messengers, the Twin Cities Women¹s Choir,
Leslye Orr, Thomasina Petrus, and more.

www.mombo.org  info [at] mombo.org  612-822-2351


--------5 of 21--------

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org>
Subject: KFAI Indian 5.13 4pm

KFAI's Indian Uprising for May 13, 2007  #213

MELISSA OLSON (Ojibwe), guest host, presenting a variety of subjects, such
as music by True V (Navajo), a Minneapolis based Hip Hop artist ~ an
interview of Quese IMC (Seminole) and his music, a West-coast based Hip
Hop artist ~ origin of Mother's Day and a poem by Mother¹s Day founder
Julia Ward Howe ~ Sherman Alexie¹s new novel ³Flight.² Alexie said,
³Minneapolis is the center of Urban Indian America" ~ Jerome Fellow Rhiana
Yazzie (Navajo) playwright having a Native Playwright's festival at the
Minneapolis American Indian Center ~ a Coming Home powwow.

Indian Uprising a one-half hour Public & Cultural Affairs program is for
and by Indigenous People broadcast each Sunday at 4:00 p.m. over KFAI 90.3
FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul.  Producer and host is volunteer
Chris Spotted Eagle.  KFAI Fresh Air Radio is located at 1808 Riverside
Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55454, 612-341-3144.  www.kfai.org
<http://www.kfai.org>

KFAI's website's "Program Archives² of current programs are available for
two weeks. Programs can also be heard via KFAI's "live streaming" using
RealAudio or MP3.  Go to www.kfai.org and click "KFAI Live Streams."


--------6 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Vets 4 peace 5.13 6pm

Sunday, 5/13, 6 pm (and the 2nd Sunday of each month), Veterans for Peace
chapter 24 meeting, St Stephens School basement, 2130 Clinton Ave S, Mpls.
waynewittman [at] msn.com


--------7 of 21--------

From: Humanist Center Minnesota <humanistcenterofmn [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Humanism/choice 5.13 6:30pm

Please join the Humanist Center of Minnesota on Sunday May 13 for its
first spring event when Dr Barbara Koenig, Professor of Medicine at the
Mayo College of Medicine and Faculty Associate at the University of
Minnesota Center for Bioethics speaks on the topic "Technology,
(Im)mortality, and the Rhetoric of 'Choice'."  The event is free and open
to the public.  The evening begins with social time at 6:30 and the
program will begin at 7pm in the Lower Assembly Hall of the First
Unitarian Society, 900 Mount Curve Ave in Minneapolis

The Minnesota Humanist Center is organized by the First Unitarian Society,
www.firstunitariansociety.org , the Humanist of Minnesota,
www.humanistviews.org and The Humanist Institute,
www.humanistinstitute.org .

For further information please contact Matt Stark:  612-377-2211 or email
humanistcenterofmn [at] yahoo.com


--------8 of 21--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Transgender play 5.13 7pm

NEW ENGLAND PLAYWRIGHT BREAKS GENDER BARRIERS IN "STANDARDS OF CARE"

a staged reading of Standards of Care  by Tobias K. Davis
Sunday and Monday, May 13 and 14 at 7pm
SUNDAY @ District202: 1901 Nicollet Avenue S , Minneapolis and
MONDAY @ Acadia Café: corner of Franklin and Nicollet Avenues; Both
performances include Q&A Session with playwright!
Tickets: FREE (suggested donation of $2-$5)
Please call (612) 227-1188 or visit www.tctwentypercent.org for more
information.

Minneapolis?The 20% Theatre Company, Twin Cities, completes its
first-annual New Works Playreading Series with a ground-breaking new play
by Massachusetts? award-winning transgender playwright, Tobias K. Davis
("Toby").

COLLABORATION: For this staged reading, the 20% Theatre Company, Twin
Cities, is collaborating with District202, Minneapolis ? queer youth
center. The staged reading, directed by 20%?s Artistic Director, Claire
Avitabile, will include young actors from District202, as well as actors
from the Twin Cities community. The playwright will be flying in to sit in
on rehearsals and to offer Q&A talk-back sessions for the audience and
actors following both performances. Playwright Toby Davis and director
Claire Avitabile also have a history of working together ? as Smith
College students in the theatre department, and also co-directing the
world premiere of Davis ? The Naked I: Monologues From Beyond the Binary.

THE PLAY: Nancy is a therapist who specializes in transgender clients.
David is a transgender female-to-male (?FTM?) who needs a letter from a
therapist in order to pursue genital surgery. Both of them are taken by
surprise when their relationship threatens to expand beyond the boundaries
of what is appropriate for a therapist and her client. Meanwhile, Nancy 's
16 year old "daughter," Jessica, is beginning to discover his own
transgender identity: Jason. When Nancy refuses to accept that her own
rhinestone-loving child could be FTM, Jason looks for support at the local
LGBT youth center and finds a supportive FTM mentor in David. What will
happen when Nancy 's two worlds collide? Standards of Care is a harsh and
honest exploration of some of the realities that face the transgendered
community ? from the battle of gender dysphoria to the trials of therapy,
family support, and gender reconstructive surgery.

THE PLAYWRIGHT:  Tobias K. Davis (?Toby?) currently works, lives, and
writes in Massachusetts and Connecticut. A graduate of Smith College in
Northampton, Massachusetts, he has received First Prize in the 2003
Five-College Denis H. Johnston Playwriting Competition for The Naked I:
Monologues From Beyond the Binary, which was also selected for the 2003
National Transgender Theater Festival at the WOW Café in New York City.
Davis? short piece The Best Boyfriend was selected for Native Aliens
Theatre Collective?s Short Stories 5 Festival. Davis is also the author of
Crossing, a transgendered take on the story of Jesus? crucifixion.

THE COMPANY: The 20% Theatre Company, Twin Cities, strives to properly
reflect the female majority in the theatre by focusing on the voices of
contemporary female playwrights while simultaneously tapping into the
grossly under-represented population of female directors, producers,
technicians, and designers. The 20% Theatre Company welcomes and supports
transgender, transsexual, and gender-queer theatre artists, and includes
self-identified women in their push for a voice in performing arts. 20%
Theatre Company also recognizes that men in the theatre are one of our
greatest allies and resources in helping to achieve our goals, and we
welcome them in our work on stage.

We search for the progressive, and will produce works solely written
within the past 20 years, often featuring local or new playwrights.

For more information about the 20% Theatre Company or this production of
Standards of Care, contact Claire Avitabile at (612) 377-6288 or
claire [at] tctwentypercent.org.


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From: Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council <jgeorge [at] mplscluc.com>
Subject: Coleman/labor 5.14 9:45am

Let Senator Coleman know that the Employee Free Choice Act is important to
you!

Join us in an action to let him know how much the Employee Free Choice Act
means to working people. We will be gathering at 9:45am to catch him on
his way into the speech. The action will only take 15 minutes.

Monday, May 14
9:45am
Humphrey Institute UofM campus in Minneapolis - entrance off of 19th Ave S
Time commitment: 15 minutes
Please join us!
If you have any questions you can contact Jason George at 612-379-4206


--------10 of 21--------

From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Protest Norm 5.14 10am

The following is a list of upcoming events sponsored by the Hubert H.
Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Monday, May 14, 10-11:15 a.m.: Senator Norm Coleman will talk about
renewable energy from 10 to 11:15 a.m. on Monday, May 14, in Cowles
Auditorium. His public presentation is part of Connecting with Government,
a program series sponsored by the Center for the Study of Politics and
Governance. Registration is not required. [But healthy skepticism is. -ed]


--------11 of 21--------

From: Tim Erickson <tim [at] e-democracy.org>
Subject: You/YouTube 5.14 6:30pm

Next Monday, St. Paul E-Democracy will be sponsoring a workshop on how to
use YouTube. We'll show you how easy it is to record and upload a video to
YouTube.Com - in addition, we'll show some creative examples of how
individuals or groups are using YouTube to build community, create
awareness of local issues, or engage people in their community.

We'll cover the following:
   * What you need to upload your own videos to YouTube?
   * How your community organization can take advantage of
     YouTube?
   * Why is YouTube an important tool for community organizers
     and activists?

This workshop will be "hands on" and fun for all. Please consider joining
us. Please, let me know if you are interested in attending (although pre-
registration is NOT required).
    WHAT:  YouTube: How to Upload your own video to YouTube.Com
    TIME:  6:30 - 8:00 (Mon, May 14)
    WHERE: Electronic Classroom
           Rondo Library (Dale and University, St. Paul)


--------12 of 21--------

From: bkucera [at] csom.umn.edu
Subject: Immigrants 5.14 7pm

Monday, May 14: The University of Minnesota Labor Education Service is
sponsoring a dialog on immigration with author David Bacon. It will be
held from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 216 of the Minneapolis Labor Center, 312
Central Ave. S.E.

Bacon, a California-based journalist who documents the lives and realities
of immigrant workers will speak about immigration reform, strategies for
organizing and ways to build solidarity across lines of difference. All
members of the community are invited to participate in this open
discussion.


--------13 of 21--------

From: Shoreham Area Advisory Committee <saac-mpls [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Rail safety 5.14 7pm

Rail Safety and Hazardous Cargo Are Focus of May 14 Community Forum
Neighbors seek answers on what¹s traveling through Minnesota¹s communities

Rail safety and hazardous cargo will be the focus of a May 14 community
forum hosted by the Shoreham Area Advisory Committee (SAAC).
Representatives of state and federal lawmakers, first responders, rail
workers, Canadian Pacific Railway and community safety advocates are
scheduled to participate.

The U.S. has 1.3 million rail cars, 1.7 million train shipments of
hazardous waste a year, and 100,000 tank cars filled with toxic materials,
according to Citizens for Rail Safety, a non-profit public-interest group
based in Massachusetts. Between 2003 and April 2006, there were 17,908
rail accidents/incidents. Approximately 60 times more money is spent on
airline security compared to rail security, says the organization.

Patricia Abbate, executive director of Massachusetts-based Citizens for
Rail Safety, will be a featured speaker at the May 14 forum in
Minneapolis. She will be joined by Minneapolis Fire Chief Jim Clack,
Assistant Chief of Operations John Fruetel, Canadian Pacific Railway Area
Manager of Hazardous Materials and Emergency Response Phil Marbut, United
Transportation Union Minnesota Legislative Director Phillip Qualy and
State Rep. Scott Kranz, author of a community rail safety bill introduced
in this legislative session. Alana Petersen, aide to Congressman James
Oberstar, will discuss a new bill being authored on rail issues.
Congressman Tim Walz¹s office has also expressed interest in
participating. The panel will discuss the safety and security implications
of cargo moving by rail through and stored in Minnesota¹s neighborhoods,
emergency response, and proposed changes in state and federal regulations.

The Shoreham Area Advisory Committee, formed by a 1998 court order, is
composed of Minneapolis residents who meet monthly with Canadian Pacific
Railway and government representatives to discuss issues related to the
230-acre Shoreham Yards in northeast Minneapolis. Recent rail accidents in
Minnesota, New York and North Dakota, plus national news reports of
alleged holes in national security stemming from rail transportation,
prompted the residents to look into the subject in depth at the May 14
forum.

The forum, open to all free of charge, will be held at the Salvation Army
King Family Foundation Community Center, 2727 Central Ave. NE,
Minneapolis. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Program begins at 7 p.m.

For further information contact SAAC at saac-mpls [at] earthlink.net or see
www.shorehamyards.org.


--------14 of 21--------

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Sami/Iraq 5.14 6:30pm

Iraqi-American Peacemaker Sami Rasouli: Every Church a Peace Church

Monday, May 14, 6:30 P.M. (Potluck) 7:00 P.M. (Presentation) Lake Harriet
United Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Avenue South, Minneapolis.

Very recently returned from Iraq with a view not heard in the mainstream
media is Sami Rasouli. A native of Iraq, Sami spent many years in
Minnesota and was the successful businessman when, in 2004, he decided to
sell his restaurant and returned to his native country. He worked with
Karbala Human Rights Advocates. In January of 2005, he began Muslim
Peacemaker Teams (akin to the Christian Peacemakers) which seek common
ground and intercultural understanding. These teams provide weekly
training in the non-violent roots of Islamic teaching, seek common ground
through exchanges between mosques, synagogues, and churches, and make
emergency response calls throughout the country. Sponsored by: Every
Church a Peace Church. FFI: Call Rod, 651-228-7224 or email
<rolsen6376 [at] visi.com>. Endorsed by WAMM.


--------15 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Labor v war 5.14 7pm

Monday, 5/14 (and every second Monday of the month), 7 pm, US Labor Against
War,, Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marchall Ave, St Paul.  Thomas Dooley at
651-645-0295.


--------16 of 21--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Climate crisis 5.14 7:30pm

Regular meeting of the Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities (3CTC).
 EVERY 2nd and 4th Monday at 7:30 pm.  The Freight House Dunn Brothers,
201 3rd Ave S, next door to the Milwaukee Road Depot, Downtown
Minneapolis.  Stop global warming, save Earth!

Eric 651-644-1173


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From: Tim Pratt <tim.pratt [at] ci.roseville.mn.us>
Subject: Rsvl lot split 5.14

The Lot Split Advisory Group's final report (and appendices) have been
posted on the City's website
http://www.ci.roseville.mn.us/info/lot_splits.htm

The recommendations will be presented to the Council on Monday, May 14.

Tim Pratt Communications Specialist City of Roseville 2660 Civic Center
Drive Roseville, MN 55113
(Phone) 651-792-7027 (Fax) 651-792-7030
Visit our website http://www.cityofroseville.com

From: Mary Bakeman <mbakeman [at] parkbooks.com>

I participated in the Study Group for this topic, and wish that Tam
McGehee would have been more specific in telling the Forum what
recommendation(s) she thought were "making ground rules" that were
destructive to neighborhoods.

You can see for yourself. The final report for this study, including the
data and maps from the appendices, has now been posted on the City's
website
<<http://www.ci.roseville.mn.us/development>www.ci.roseville.mn.us/development
 >. The report will be presented to the City Council at their meeting on
Monday night, May 14th. Council meetings are televised, and of course,
people always welcome in the audience.

Mary Bakeman, Chair Roseville Planning commission


--------18 of 21--------

Bush's solution to the health care crisis
By Kip Sullivan
Z Magazine, April 2007
http://zmagsite.zmag.org/curTOC.htm

When he made his State of the Union address last January, George W. Bush
knew he would soon be announcing sizable cuts in Medicare and Medicaid
just two weeks later. He chose to say nothing about that. Apparently he
understood that a $101.5 billion cut over five years in Medicare and
Medicaid is not the sort of thing that provokes standing ovations from
members of Congress on prime time TV.

What Bush did mention were "two new initiatives" that would merely shift
federal subsidies from some Americans to other Americans. His first
"initiative" called for raising taxes on some Americans who have
employer-sponsored health insurance in order to lower taxes on Americans
who buy health insurance on their own. His second proposal called for
shifting federal tax subsidies from hospitals that serve disproportionate
numbers of uninsured patients to insurance companies (which, obviously,
are not in the business of serving uninsured patients). The White House
estimated the first proposal would lower the nation's number of uninsured,
now at 47 million, by 3 to 5 million in 2009 when these proposals would
take effect. The White House offered no estimate of what the second
proposal would do.

Bush's proposal to raise taxes on some people with employer-sponsored
health insurance rests on the assumption that health care inflation in the
US is driven by "overuse" of medical services, and that overuse is in turn
driven by health insurance with "low" deductibles and copayments.
According to the right wing in this country, medical care is no different
from any other commodity: If insurance pays for most of your medical
costs, then you'll consume far more medical services than you need.

To make this point, advocates of high-deductible policies like to ask
audiences to imagine what would happen to food prices if all Americans had
grocery insurance that paid for 95 percent of their grocery bills. The
problem with the grocery-insurance analogy is that medical services,
unlike food, are rarely pleasurable and are often painful and even
life-threatening. Would you rush off to have your uterus or prostate
removed if it was not cancerous just because you are insured and would pay
only a minor portion of the bill? Would you endure radiation and
chemotherapy if you did not have cancer? Or, to take a service that is not
painful but just plain boring, would you take time off work to have blood
drawn for a cholesterol test you didn't need just because you didn't pay
the full price?

Research demonstrates that Americans, including insured Americans, vastly
underuse medical services. To take just two examples: (1) half of all
insured Americans with high blood pressure are not being treated for it;
(2) one-fourth of insured Americans who have had an angiogram that
demonstrates they need either bypass surgery or angioplasty have neither
done. A large study conducted by the Rand Corporation that was published
in the New England Journal of Medicine late in 2003 demonstrated that
underuse of medical care occurs four times as often as overuse. The
problems of over- and underuse will not be fixed by imposing even more
cost-sharing on patients. The high-deductible policies advocated by Bush
and the Republican Party ($5,000 to $10,000 per year for families) might
or might not reduce overuse (patients are not doctors, after all), but
they will definitely aggravate the underuse problem. And, of course,
high-deductible policies will not address the enormous waste generated by
the health care industry in the form of excessive administrative costs,
excessive prices for specialist services and drugs, and fraud.

Bush nevertheless invoked the myth of the "overinsured" American in his
call for higher taxes on some Americans who have employer-sponsored health
insurance. He argued that some unspecified portion of the populace has
"gold-plated" health insurance and he implied that overuse by these people
was a primary cause of health care inflation. To discourage the purchase
of "gold-plated" health insurance, whatever that is, Bush proposed to
raise taxes on those who purchase it.

Under Bush's proposal, employer contributions toward employee health
insurance would, for the first time, be treated as income, just like wages
and salaries are now. Employer contributions would show up on your W-2
forms, just like other forms of income. However, Bush would offset this
new liability with a deduction worth $15,000 for families and $7,500 for
individuals. Thus, as long as you keep your insurance premium below the
deduction, you would not have to report your employer's payments for your
health insurance and, therefore, you would not owe more taxes. One way to
do that, of course, is to buy health insurance with a very high
deductible.

According to White House estimates, the average cost of family insurance
in 2009 will be $13,500, which is just below the $15,000 deduction Bush is
proposing. Bush announced during his State of the Union address that 80
percent of Americans with employer-sponsored insurance will pay no new
taxes. What Bush did not mention was that this 80-percent figure, while
accurate for 2009, will fall as time goes by because the $7,500-$15,000
deduction is pegged to the general inflation rate, while health insurance
inflation zooms along at three to four times the general inflation rate in
most years. Within a few years after 2009, the average price of health
insurance will surpass the deduction. According to the Tax Policy Center,
the percent of Americans with employer-sponsored coverage who will pay
more taxes will rise to 40 percent within a decade.

Bush is not proposing that the new tax revenues go to the government. He
would use the revenue raised from Americans with "gold-plated"
employer-sponsored insurance to create a new tax break for Americans who
currently buy health insurance on their own. (There are about 18 million
of these people as compared with about 160 million who get insurance from
an employer.) Under current law, people who buy health insurance for
themselves (for example, a farm family or a musician) cannot deduct their
premium payments from the income they report to the IRS; but people who
get insurance for an employer can. There is no question that that
disparity in tax treatment is unfair and that Bush's proposal would end
that disparity. Bush would end the current practice of discriminating
against individually purchased insurance by giving individual
(non-employer) purchasers the same deductions he proposes to give to
people with employer-sponsored insurance - $7,500 for individuals and
$15,000 for families.

But the justice done for individual buyers will be offset by new
injustices done to the sick and the lower-income. Bush's crude definition
of "gold-plated" - any premium higher than the $7,500-$15,000 deduction -
makes no allowance for the fact that the health insurance industry charges
higher premiums for sicker groups and individuals. The sick are far more
likely to wind up paying a disproportionate share of the new taxes. And,
as is the case with all tax deductions, the deductions Bush is proposing
will mean a lot more to the rich than they will to the middle and
lower-income classes.

The White House estimates that making the new deduction available to
individual buyers will cause 3 to 5 million of the 47 million Americans
who currently don't have health insurance to buy it on their own. Whether
the proposal will have even this much effect is debatable. The reason the
new tax break will have a small effect is obvious. Many of the uninsured
pay so little in income and payroll taxes (payroll taxes are also reduced
under Bush's proposal) that the Bush deductions are meaningless. Even
among those households that will enjoy a substantial reduction in their
taxes, say $5,000, many will still be unable to fork over $13,000 or more
to the insurance industry.

Steven Colbert articulated this defect in Bush's proposal quite
succinctly. "It's so simple," he said. "Most people who can't afford
health insurance also are too poor to owe taxes. But if you give them a
deduction from the taxes they don't owe, they can use the money they're
not getting back from what they haven't given to buy the health care they
can't afford."

Whereas Bush's deduction proposal at least has the redeeming value of
eliminating the disparate tax treatment of employer- versus
individually-sponsored insurance, Bush's second "initiative" has no
redeeming value at all. Under this proposal, federal dollars that
currently go to public and teaching hospitals that treat an above-average
portion of the uninsured would be funneled to insurance companies via the
states. The money, which the White House calls "affordable choices
grants," would go only to states that promise to use the money to
subsidize the purchase of high-deductible policies from insurance
companies. High-deductible policies are "affordable," get it?

Bush's rationale for shifting money from hospitals to insurance companies
is that if people have insurance they won't be showing up at hospitals
seeking free care. But by shifting money from hospitals to insurance
companies, the actual dollars available for patients shrinks. That's
because hospitals use nearly all of the money for patient care, whereas
insurance companies will waste 20 percent of the money on non-medical
expenses such as advertising, underwriting, "managing" care, profit,
lobbying and rich perks for executives. The hospitals can ill afford to
see 20 percent of any portion of their revenues siphoned off to pay for
insurance industry overhead.

The minor effect of the two money-shifting "initiatives" Bush announced
during his State of the Union address will be swamped by his proposed cuts
in Medicare and Medicaid. Granted, these cuts are not reductions in total
dollars for Medicare and Medicaid but are, rather, cuts in the projected
rates of growth in expenditures if current law governing coverage and
eligibility is not altered. Nevertheless, we may call them cuts because
enrollment in both programs is growing and inflation in health care costs
these programs have to pay for is high and unrelenting.

Rising expenditures on Medicare and Medicaid are essential to our
increasingly sick health care system for the same reason an ever-expanding
tourniquet is essential to someone with an ever-expanding wound. The
unrelenting increase in health care costs, a problem Bush has done nothing
to address in his six years in office, is driving employers and
individuals from the health insurance market. If it weren't for
government-financed health insurance programs, of which Medicare and
Medicaid are by far the largest, the percent of the American population
without health insurance would be much higher.

To give you some idea of the protective role Medicare and Medicaid play,
consider the results of a study that examined how insurance status changed
in this country between 2000 and 2004. Over that period, the percent of
nonelderly Americans without health insurance rose from 16.1 to 17.8. The
2004 figure would have been 20.4 percent, not 17.8 percent, if Medicare,
Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and
smaller public health insurance programs run by the states had not acted
as the safety net for some of the 4 million Americans jettisoned by the
private health insurance industry during the 2000-2004 period. At a time
when our safety net is not big enough to catch all the people being tossed
from the ranks of the insured, it is irrational to propose cutting the
safety net.

Judging from the contemptuous reactions of the Democrats who chair the
health committees in Congress, Bush's little money-shifting "initiatives"
are going nowhere. Pete Stark (D-CA), who chairs the health subcommittee
of the House Ways and Means Committee, dismissed Bush's plan to tax
"gold-plated" insurance as a "new tax proposal [that] would shift health
care costs to working families." Even some Republicans agreed.

But Democrats will find it more difficult to ward off all of Bush's
proposed cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. They would find it slightly easier
to do so if they were to stop the overpayments to HMOs that participate in
Medicare and Medicaid, and much easier to do that if they brought the Iraq
war to a quick end and let a substantial portion of Bush's 2001 tax cuts
expire in 2010 as scheduled. Americans would be well advised, however, not
to hold their breath until these events come to pass.

With polls indicating three-fourths of Americans support universal health
insurance and two-thirds support achieving universal coverage with a
single-payer (or Medicare-for-all) system, it is difficult to endure the
sight of Democrats dickering with Republicans over whether to cut Medicare
and Medicaid. In a democracy less influenced by money, we would be
watching Congress debate HR 676, the single-payer bill sponsored by Rep.
John Conyers (D-MI). That day is coming.


--------19 of 21--------

The Ecology of Impeachment
by Patricia Goldsmith / May 11th, 2007

The American electorate is looking more and more like the polar bear
stranded on a shrinking ice floe - still powerful but with democracy
melting out from under our feet. Unlike the polar bear, however, we should
be able to analyze our situation and take action. The first thing we have
to do is accept that certain familiar features of our habitat, which we
have depended on in the past, are just gone.

We now have more media outlets than ever before, but their mission seems
to be to drown out any molecule of truth. And our inter-dependent voting
and justice systems have been reduced to slivers of their former selves.

For example, as time has gone by, the true significance of the Supreme
Court's selection of George W. Bush as president has become more and more
painfully clear, in spite of efforts on the part of the media and across
the political spectrum to obscure the bald truth: In Bush v. Gore, the
Supreme Court shamelessly sided with a gang of Republican congressional
aides swinging baseball bats who originally shut down the vote count and
threw the case into the courts.

Jamin Raskin argued in March, 2001, in an article titled "Bandits in Black
Robes" that Bush v. Gore is easily the worst Supreme Court decision in
history - even worse than Dred Scott, because in the case of Scott,
justices could truthfully argue that the unamended 1857 (pre-Civil War)
Constitution did regard black people as less than human. It was at least
consistent. Not so with Bush v. Gore. Raskin says:

In a slapdash job of constitutional interpretation, the conservatives
ravaged four foundational relationships in our constitutional system. It
usurped the role of the Florida Supreme Court in interpreting state law.
It usurped the role of the American people by halting the counting of
ballots in a presidential election and effectively choosing the president
for them. It usurped Congress. powers to accept or reject the states.
electoral college votes. And it reversed the proper distribution of powers
in federal government by having Supreme Court justices appoint the
president rather than vice versa.

It's important to remember that this was not a recount in the usual sense.
Florida's punch machines produced a number of so-called over-votes and
under-votes. These were valid votes, but physical inspection of the ballot
was necessary - and feasible. Often the voter's intention was completely
clear.

The media had already called the election in GWB's favor, which no doubt
gave the Florida GOP legislature, under Jeb Bush, the courage and
ass-coverage to declare that they would send electors committed to George
W. Bush, no matter what the outcome of the actual vote count.

Agreeing with Jeb and going even further, the Supreme Court used the
opinion to remind the American people that the electorate does not really
have a constitutional right to vote. The Constitution only mentions
electors; the popular vote is just a custom.

Supreme Court justices appointing the president in defiance of the popular
vote - in a total repudiation of the right to a popular vote - that's
about as activist as you can get. And we already have indications that
Bush's appointees to the Court are continuing in the same direction.

Starting off his tenure with the breathtaking gall that would soon become
familiar, one of Bush's first initiatives prescribed the remedy for his
own theft of office: the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which required
every state in the union to buy electronic vote machines - from highly
partisan Republican vendors.

In spite of the crudeness of these power grabs, most of which took place
right out in the open, it is only now that we can begin to see how it all
came together. In an important article by Steven Rosenfeld and Bob
Fitrakis, "Network Hosting Attorney Scandal E-Mails Also Hosted Ohio's
2004 Election Results," we not only get more evidence that the GOP hacked
electronic voting machines in Ohio in 2004, but we see how this links up
with the firing of US District Attorneys:

There is more than ample documentation to show that on Election Night
2004, Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website - which gave the world
the presidential election results - was redirected from an Ohio government
server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites,
including the secret White House e-mail accounts that have emerged in the
scandal surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's firing of eight
federal prosecutors.

Did you get that? The servers the White House used to carry on illegal
e-mail correspondence with GOP Congress members about what they wanted
from federal prosecutors - a wish list that included demands for
prosecution of non-existent cases of voter identity theft and relief from
the legitimate prosecution of Republicans - are the same servers that
improperly hosted the 2004 Ohio election results.

Privatizing elections and allowing known partisans to run a key
presidential vote count is troubling enough. But the reason Congress must
investigate these high-tech ties is there is abundant evidence that
Republicans could have used this computing network to delay announcing the
winner of Ohio's 2004 election while tinkering with the results.

I hope with all my heart that Congress heeds Rosenfeld and Fitrakis's call
for investigations into these servers.

It seems clear that as the electorate adapted and began to clean out
partisan secretaries of state like Kenneth Blackwell, Karl Rove started
maneuvering to put corrupt US district attorneys in place who would play a
similar role in giving the GOP an illegal electoral edge.

It is very bitter to lose a tight election, particularly to right-wing
authoritarians. But those of us who respect democracy tend to suck it up.
We try, as the Honorable Justice Scalia suggested not too long ago, to
"get over it". We work to find a better candidate, we register new voters,
we march. We even accept the winners' right to select Supreme Court
justices and appellate judges who will be around long after the victors
are out of office.

But not when the "winners" never won. Not when the system is rigged. Not
when the voting machines are sending data to the RNC to manipulate. Not
when US attorneys are partisans.

Nor does the 2006 election prove that we've restored a meaningful
connection between government and the will of the people. All it proves is
that Democrats were able to overcome pervasive vote fraud with a
sufficiently large national majority and a last-minute surge. That's not
exactly democracy.

Furthermore, accepting any electoral victory as our only redress for eight
years of illegal leadership only legitimizes BushCo's multiple, layered,
ongoing crimes against the Constitution, humanity, and the planet we live
on.

That's why it isn't enough for Democratic candidates simply to campaign
for office; they have to lead. John Edwards has done that by refusing to
debate at Fox-sponsored forums and by coming out against electronic
touchscreen voting machines - the latter being of particular importance,
given that congressional Dems still don't understand the critical
distinction between a paper trail and a paper ballot.

Mike Gravel did it in a recent debate by telling the truth about Iraq.

But most of all, Dennis Kucinich is giving the people a voice by
submitting articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney.

The push for impeachment acknowledges two simple truths: we can't wait for
2008, nor can we live with BushCo's legacy. That is to say, we must not
only remove GWB, but we must remove all the devices and stratagems his
administration has used to subvert the Constitution including: signing
statements and the concept of the unitary executive; the abrogation of the
Geneva conventions, the concept of enemy combatants, extraordinary
rendition, and Guantanamo; pre-emptive military attacks; warrantless
spying on citizens; the unlabeled exchange of government propaganda for
news; and much more.

These illegal maneuvers should not be available to future presidents of
any party. Just as SCOTUS explicitly said that their ruling in Bush v.
Gore could not be construed as a precedent, so the entire Bush presidency
must be stripped of its power to set precedent - and nothing would go
further toward that goal than impeachment.

Impeachment would also send a powerful warning to the Roberts. Court that
they, too, serve at the pleasure of the people.

Impeachment is the people's powerful roar.


--------20 of 21--------

Sarkozy and the "Decline" of France
The Great Illusion
By JEAN BRICMONT
CounterPunch
May 12 / 13, 2007

Two thirds of French people think their country is in decline. That is
without doubt the principal reason why Nicolas Sarkozy was elected
President of the Republic. Moreover, the main way the media contributed to
his triumph was by years of constant propaganda on the theme of "the
decline of France", along with the related theme of "security".

There are various ways to counter that notion. One is to show that the
selection and interpretation of the statistics used to "prove" France's
decline are extremely biased. (For example, on the subject of youth
unemployment, see Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic
and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C., "An Economist View of the French
Election".)

Another approach is to ask what solutions are proposed by the heralds of
"decline".

The declinists cleverly mix up two problems. One is the decline of France
in relation to the emerging countries, especially in Asia. The other is
the supposed decline of France in relation to other industrialized
countries, especially the United States and Britain. The first form of
"decline" is merely the reflection of a very positive development: the
fact that large parts of the Third World are catching up with the
industrialized West. But, since it would make no sense to propose
imitating China and India, the declinists propose imitating the
Anglo-American model, which is supposed to avoid decline by a series of
measures: flexible work conditions, destruction of hard-won social
protections and public services, tough security enforcement and moral
rearmament.

But let's take a closer look at their favorite model, the United States.
The Americans have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to invade Iraq.
Thousands of their soldiers have been killed, tens of thousands wounded,
and they are completely stuck. They can't win, because they have succeeded
in turning the immense majority of Iraqis against them, and they can't
leave, because it would mean the end of their empire. And so they are
going to be bogged down in Iraq for many years, losing still more men,
money and prestige, while causing unspeakable and useless suffering to the
Iraqi people. And why are they in Iraq? Among other things, thanks to
manipulation of public opinion concerning weapons of mass destruction. The
Americans have intelligence services that spy on the whole world, a free
press with immense resources, universities packed with specialists on
every conflict and problem on earth. And yet, they have not been able to
understand the most elementary realities, that even a child traveling to
the Middle East could understand, that is, that they are hated primarily
because of their support to Israel, and that their intervention in the
region is bound to provoke massive rejection.

If that blend of incapacity, ignorance and arrogance is not symptomatic of
a society in decline, then it's hard to imagine what "decline" is all
about. Slight gaps in GNP and unemployment rates are minor technicalities
in comparison. France, in contrast, which in 2003 still had an elite
described as "aging, outdated, behind the times" - but still able to
think - did not go along with that madness.

But that's not all. The rest of the world, and especially France, is
constantly called upon to do as the United States does. Now, let us
imagine that by the wave of a magic wand, the rest of the world really
starts to imitate the United States. Where will they get all the petroleum
and other raw materials that the United States imports in vast quantities,
on which its society is totally dependent to preserve its way of life?
Where will they get the immigrant workers, often undocumented, that is,
without rights, or the floods of cheap imported goods which are not even
really paid for, since they are financed by ever-expanding trade deficits,
but which enable workers who have lost their industrial jobs to continue
to consume the things they need? And finally, where will they get the
brains that the United States drains from the rest of the world; because
it is cheaper to offer high salaries to lure people who are already well
educated than to finance a genuine system of mass education?

The fact is that the American model is impossible to imitate, because its
very survival depends on the existence of a world outside the United
States which is quite different. It is true that the situation of Europe
is fairly similar, but it is precisely our degree of proximity to the
"American model" that is the proper gauge of our decline. Moreover,
without the military power of the United States, neither France nor Europe
can even try to prolong a situation that is untenable in the long term.

It is rather amusing to see Sarkozy, who is supposed to embody "the France
that works hard and wins", score his greatest electoral hit among retired
voters. His program, like that of George W. Bush, is not turned toward the
future in a realistic way, but on the contrary attracts people who long
for the good old days when Europe and the United States were far more
powerful than they are today. The fantasy of power is another sign of
decadence.

Sarkozy's election is an undeniable victory for the United States and for
Israel. But it runs the very real risk of being a pyrrhic victory, because
the decisive battles of our times are taking place outside of Europe: in
Asia, in Latin America and in the Middle East. And there, the United
States is losing on all fronts. We are living in a world that we no longer
dominate and to which we shall have to adapt, and not by nostalgia for the
past.

Jean Bricmont teaches physics in Belgium. His new book, Humanitarian
Imperialism, will be published by Monthly Review Press. He can be reached
at bricmont [at] fyma.ucl.ac.be.

Translated by Diana Johnstone.


--------21 of 21--------

The US Media and the Rightwing Takeover of France
Cheering Sarkozy
By MARCUS BREEN
CounterPunch
May 12 / 13, 2007

Everybody now seems to love the French. The current President and self
serving lifetime politician Jacques Chirac will soon give way to Nicholas
Sarkozy who apparently wants to dance with, not damn the US.

Roger Cohen writing in the New York Times, May 9, "Sarkozy's Victory
Shifts French Political Truths," along with other US commentators / cheer
leaders, have suggested that the French election produced the US-friendly
President Sarkozy because the French have finally woken up to the error of
their ways!

According to this perspective, the French social safety net is
anachronistic. And so it goes, in a repetitive narrative that is tiresome
and politically misinformed. Hard won rights and adjustments managed by
thoughtful policy makers in Paris over the past 10 years, such as the 35
Whour week are bad! No explanation as to the reason the 35 hour week was
introduced  to keep people in work, for one thing. Long holidays are a
disgrace for Protestant work-a-holics writing against hard-won victories
for working people in France. No doubt, if someone argued that drinking
French wine could be shown to cause socialism, that would get a run as
well.

Where do US commentators get off providing half-informed analysis of the
election results? The short answer is that they are pathologically opposed
to social justice policies.

Watching France 24, on C-SPAN during the French election analysis on
Sunday, May 6, a Bloomberg correspondent on the panel launched a diatribe
against one of his fellow panelists who had explained the complex
relationship between various elements of the French Left.

"Wake up and smell the coffee, people," this Neanderthal bleated. He
continued that leftist political parties are irrelevant and have been for
20 years in every other country in the world and so it went.

The facts on the ground are of course, dramatically different. French
politics and the French Left is a highly fragmented, even nuanced beast.
It cannot be reduced to the Tweedledum and Tweedledee model preferred by
limited-attention-span commentators in the US. Nor can it be reduced to
the econometric madness of simplistic business school positivism - some
countries do have social policies!

For millions of people around the world, the French left has operated
since World War 2, as the academic and creative gold standard. The French
left has produced the riches of a deep and abiding intellectual inquiry,
manifested since the Revolution(s) (whether Marat Sade or even Karl Marx
writing on the Paris Commune), and in recent years by the work of Michel
Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes, Claude Levi
Strauss, Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Simone de Beauvoir, Fernand
Braudel, Andr Malraux, Jean-Franois Lyotard, Felix Guattari, Giles
Delleuze, Guy Debord, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Baudrillard
(too few women).

We could include film makers and articts, but the point stands on the
academic intellectual community alone who have made a monumental
contribution to creative and critical thought. Has any other country
offered such a diversity of perspectives for progressive knowledge
production and improved governance?

Could it be that the real agenda of the US mainstream media is to deny and
destroy the contributions that French intellectuals have made to
democratic theory and practice? Could the loud cheers in favor of
Sarkozy's election really be masking the endless efforts of the right to
roll back taken-for-granted progressive policies? In this case, destroy
the generation of 1968, in much the same way that Vice-President Dick
Chaney and Former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld wanted a victory in
Iraq to undo the liberalism they associated with the US loss in the
Vietnam War.

Sarkozy claimed during the election campaign that the the heritage of 1968
should be "liquidated," as much as for its success in reform as for what
("The Economist," May 12) claimed Sarkozy said was their "moral and
intellectual relativism."

Perhaps some solace can be taken from the substantial youth vote for
Socialist candidate Segolene Royal. Alternatively, US commentators like
Cohen failed to note that Sarkozy pickup up the votes of the racist
Jean-Marie Le Pen.

France gave the US The Statue of Liberty. This symbol of French
achievement in the quest for human dignity - liberty, equality, fraternity
- should not be permitted to turn into the Statue of Bigotry, as Lou Reed
argued in "Dirty Boulevard's" from his New York album. It remains to be
seen if Sarkozy's friendship with the US is part of a larger strategy to
undermine those other shared ambitions of liberty and equality.

Marcus Breen teaches in the Department of Communication Studies at
Northeastern University, Boston. His most recent book is Rock Dogs:
Politics and the Australian Music Industry. He can be contacted at
m.breen [at] neu.edu


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