|Progressive Calendar 05.12.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|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 --------1 of 21-------- 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. --------9 of 21-------- 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 --------17 of 21-------- 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 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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