Progressive Calendar 07.31.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2007 00:36:51 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R      07.31.07

1. C4CR              7.31 6:30pm

2. Cops/mentally ill 8.01 11am
3. Organic farm      8.01 6pm
4. Uhcan-mn          8.01 7pm
5. Ireland/rights    8.01 7pm

6. NWN4P New Hope    8.02 4:30pm
7. Eagan peace vigil 8.02 4:30pm
8. Northtown vigil   8.02 5pm
9. Stadium braack!   8.02 6pm
10. Screen print     8.02 7pm
11. Irish speaker    8.02 7pm

12. Jesus at Gitmo   8.03 7pm
13. Manna fest       8.03-12
14. Fringe fest      8.03-11 7pm
15. Cornstalk fest   8.03-05 Dunnell MN

16. Stephen Lendman - Review: Michael Parenti's Democracy For the Few 1of2
17. ed              - Coprophilic rooster  (poem)

--------1 of 17--------

From: John Karvel <johnkarvel [at]>
Subject: C4CR 7.31 6:30pm

C4CR General Meeting
Tuesday July 31st, 6:30 PM
2041 Thure Avenue, St Paul, MN
VISITORS ARE WELCOME. Come learn about our new bill and how to support it.
See our website for a map:

--------2 of 17--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Cops/mentallyIll 8.01 11am

LISTEN WEDNESDAY, August 1 @ 11:00 AM:
TTTıs Andy Driscoll and guest co-host Ann Alquist talk about Cops and the
Mentally Ill with Mark Anderson, Executive Director of the Barbara Schneider
Foundation (named for the woman police shot and killed in Minneapolis in
2000); Advocate Renee Jenson of the Ramsey County Human Services Advisory
Subcommittee on Mental Health and a consumer of mental health services; plus
another guest.
(Call in with questions and comments: 612-341-0980).

KFAI, FM 90.3 in Minneapolis, 106.7 in St. Paul, streaming online at
CALL IN: 612-341-0980
All archived Truth to Tell programs - including our pilot shows - here:

--------3 of 17--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Organic farm 8.01 6pm

August 1: Women's Environmental Institute Organic Farm School with Mark
Ritchie (Minnesota Secretary of State and former President of Institute
for Agriculture and Trade Policy) The True Cost of Organic. 6PM- 8:00PM
p.m. at Amazon Bookstore, 4755 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis MN.

--------4 of 17--------

From: Joel Albers <joel [at]>
Subject: uhcan-mn 8.01 7pm

Health Care Activists,
The next UHCAN-MN meeting is scheduled for:

Weds, August 1, 7PM, Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S, Mpls, lower level
lounge. (Walker is 1 block from Lake Str and Bloomington Ave). (Note this
is a change from our regularly scheduled first tuesday mtgs, which in
august is National Nite Out).

Several people called who want to organize, and we'd love to have you

Suggested items (yours' are welcome):

-Welcome, intros,
-Orientation, background
-Reportbacks: Health Insurance Cooperative
-Retreat: relaxation, Strategic Planning
-Flyering for Sicko
-Building a huge Network of citizen action, labor, practitioner groups

Thanks for all the hard work by several people, esp flyering at the "Sicko"
film. That has helped a lot.

--------5 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Ireland/rights 8.01 7pm

Alan Brecknell Of the Pat Finucane Centre, truth and Rencilliation
Commission Derry, Ireland
Wednesday, August 1,7 p.m.
St. Joan of Arc
4537 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55419

Sponsored by:DoPeace Minnesota
Minnesotans for a United Ireland
Saint Joan of Arc

Northern Ireland was once defined by a conflict many thought would ever be
resolved, yet today they have for the most part successfully ended that
conflict. This presents unique opportunities to learn what was successful in
that process as well as what didn't work.

At this time people on all sides of the conflict are struggling with how to
handle justice for the human rights issues that occurred during the war. For
example, there are a large number of cases where it is suspected that the
Government colluded with paramilitaries in the murder and injury of
civilians. On all sides it is common to find people who think there needs to
be a truth commission, people who would only be in favor of a truth
commission if it was likely to result in prosecutions, and people who think
that the best thing to do is let the past go and move forward. There is a
significant amount of discussion occurring as to how to best address the
remaining human rights concerns.

One of the wonderful things about the Twin Cities is that there are a large
number of organizations who have worked directly on transitional justice
issues. Many of you have direct experience on these issues. If you have
direct experience on transitional justice issues and would be willing to
meet with Mr. Brecknell and share your experiences and insights, we would
welcome that as well.

visit the Pat Finucane Centre website at

Rebecca McConkey Minnesotans for a United Ireland FFI: Mary Jane LaVigne

--------6 of 17--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P New Hope 8.02 4:30pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of
Winnetka and 42nd.  You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near
McDonalds; we will be on all four corners.  Bring your own or use our

--------7 of 17--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.02 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------8 of 17--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.02 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------9 of 17--------

From: Shar in Minneapolis <sharinminneapolis [at]>
Subject: Stadium braack! 8.02 6pm

The official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for this Thursday
evening (August 2) .

We are making plans to be present ...  :)  And we are planning to have
some fun with it.

This event is free and open to the public, and since we (the public) are
paying for it, we plan to attend.  We plan to be front and center for the
festivities, and we need as many of you as possible to come along.

This is just a preliminary email to get commitments from those of you who
will definitely be showing up. HOWEVER, We need to organize our efforts as
a group, and we need about 5 to 10 people we can count on as our core
group -- but the more the better.

THIS IS IMPORTANT -- If you can definitely be there, respond to this email
with your phone number (ASAP).  We will get details to you about all the
particulars of what we have planned.

We will need people who can be there from 6 pm to 8 pm.

For those of you who are not sure you can come, but just might show up if
the mood strikes, there will be another posting on Wednesday on where to
rendezvous with the rest of us.

Please make every effort to attend.  We need to make a showing on behalf
of the majority of folks who are still angry and who still believe this
30-year tax (and the lack of our vote) was one of the more shameful
violations perpetrated upon the taxpayers in this past decade.

Yep, 30 years of giving our hard-earned money to Carl Pohlad. And 30 years
of taking advantage of all the little opportunities to make sure that our
elected officials know we have not forgotten.  This Thursday evening will
be one of those opportunities.

                 "We're not giving up and we're not going away"

And hey, keep in mind, Zygi and the Vikings are knocking at the door of the
state legislature -- in fact, they were already invited in for one visit
this past session, and they are gearing up for the hard sell next spring.

So PLEASE respond ASAP if you will stand with us on Thursday!!

Details from the Twins organization:

Twins Ballpark Groundbreaking
Thursday, August 2, 2007 5 - 8 p.m.
Twins Ballpark Site

You are invited to attend this exciting event as we break ground on the new
ballpark! Join us that day at the site of the new ballpark after the Twins
host the Royals in the Metrodome starting at 5:15 p.m. where there will be a
free concert and other activities.

The official ceremony begins at 7 p.m., which is expected to be completed by
8 p.m.

--------10 of 17--------

From: Kiera Coonan <kieracoonan [at]>
Subject: Screen print 8.02 7pm

Arise! Bookstore and the Belfry present a screen printing workshop as part
of this year's "Made From Scratch" DIY Summer series.  Arrive at the
Belfry Center on Thursday August 2nd at 7:00PM for a hands on workshop on
screen printing techniques.  Event to be held at The Belfry Center.  Cost

Arise! is a collectively-run progressive bookstore and resource center
located in Uptown Minneapolis at 2441 Lyndale Ave S. 55404.

--------11 of 17--------

From: Mike Whelan <mpw4883 [at]>
Subject: Irish speaker 8.02 7pm

Speaker on Transitional Justice for Northern Ireland
August 2nd
7 pm
Merlin's Rest
3601 E. Lake St.Minneapolis, MN 55406, (612) 216-2419
Presented by:
Minnesotans for a United Ireland
Contact: Rebecca McConkey, rjmcconkey [at]
Mike Whalen, mpw4883 [at]

Transitional Justice in Ireland

In announcing the creation of the new conflict resolution center in Ireland,
Irish foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern stated that "Northern Ireland and
Ireland as whole is today renowned not for conflict but for resolving
conflict." He went on to credit the involvement of Americans in ensuring
that the north of Ireland became a priority of the Clinton administration.

While the direct conflict has ended in the north of Ireland, hundreds of
victims are left without answers about injuries and the deaths of loved
ones. This is especially true in cases where collusion between the police,
security forces and paramilitary groups are suspected.

Efforts to attain answers through enquires have been frustrated by the
Government's continual failure to provide information, the blocking of
attempts to investigate whether there was upper level government involvement
in murders, and failure to prosecute when handed evidence of police
collusion in paramilitary murders. All sides of the conflict in the north of
Ireland are currently struggling to determine how they should go forward in
attempts to secure justice

Alan Brecknell from the Pat Finucane Centre will speak at Merlin's Rest,
3601 E. Lake St.Minneapolis on August 2nd at 7 pm about their efforts to
obtain justice for victims of collusion and whether a truth commission could
benefit the conflict resolution process in North of Ireland. In addition,
Mr. Brecknell is available for interviews, and to speak to individual
groups. For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact
Rebecca McConkey at 612-978-2710 or rjmcconkey [at] or Mike Whalen at

Alan Brecknell was born in Belfast in 1968. His family moved to South Armagh
in 1974 after being forced out of their home in Belfast by loyalist
paramilitaries. Alan joined the Pat Finucane Centre as a volunteer in 1999
where he began investigating the murder of his father and two other men by
loyalist paramilitaries in a gun and bomb attack at Donnelly's Bar in
Silverbridge in 1975. Alan's father was celebrating the birth of his two
day old daughter with friends from work when he was killed.

The investigation into the murders at Donnelly's Bar became the starting
point of an investigation into a large number murders connected to the
"Glenanne Gang", a group of loyalist paramilitaries whose members included
police officers and security force personnel. The Glenanne Gang is believed
to be responsible for 32 attacks resulting in the murders of 87 people and
hundreds of injuries.

Alan has been employed full time with the Pat Finucane Centre since 2001. In
recent years the Pat Finucane Centre has given evidence to Irish Government
committees who have been investigating collusion between British security
forces and loyalist paramilitaries. The centre works on behalf of families
seeking information about the death of loved ones killed either by state
forces or by paramilitaries in collusion with state forces.

Alan holds a Diploma in Conflict Management and Political Development from
Queens University in Belfast and is currently pursuing a Masters in Human
Rights Law at the University of Ulster in their Transitional Justice

--------12 of 17--------

From: PRO826 [at]
Subject: Jesus at Gitmo 8.03 7pm

Matthew Vaky's "Jesus at Guantanamo" will be showing at the  Foss
Center at Augsburg College, 22nd Ave. S and Riverside Avenue  in
Minneapolis on the following schedule:
Fri.  Aug. 3 at 7 PM
Sat. Aug 4 at 4  PM
Sun. Aug 5 at 7 PM
Wed. Aug 8 at 5:30 PM
Sat. Aug 11 at 10  PM
WARNING:  Mature themes and strong language
These  performances are a part of the Manna Fest.  For  ticket
reservations  go to or call  651-209-6689.  For
information/questions call 612-330-1507
_mannafest [at] augsburg_ (mailto:mannafest [at] augsburg)

--------13 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Manna fest 8.03-12

[This schedule will be printed here just ONCE. If you want it, save it -ed]

8/3 to 8/12, Manna Fest, a festival of spiritual performance, where the
sacred and the imagination meet, Augsburg College, Foss Center or Music
Hall, 22nd and Riverside, Mpls.  Tickets $5 to $12 from Uptown Tix at or 651-209-6799.  More info at Promising performaces include:
   "Jesus at Guantanamo" (Ed has seen and highly recommends) 8/3 (7 pm),
8/4 (4 pm), 8/5 (7 pm), 8/8 (5:30 pm) and 8/11 (10 pm);
   "Dragon's Eye" (restorative justice in the context of sexual assault)
8/4 (2.30 pm), 8/5 (5:30), 8/8 (7 pm), 8/10 (5:30) and 8/11 (8:30);
   "GanElvis" (Presley as Ganesh, Hindu god of new beginnings) 8/3 (10
pm), 8/5 (4), 8/6 (5:30) 8/10 (5:30) and 8/11 (5:30);
   "Witnessing a Murder" (a woman witnessing a death plunges into that
which separates her from horror and the voice of God) 8/4 (7 pm), 8/5
(2:30), 8/6 (7), 8/10 (10), 8/12 (4).

--------14 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Fringe fest 8.03-11 7pm


MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Right Brain Productions of Des Moines, Iowa will present
the dark musical comedy THE WORLD'S LARGEST ALUMINUM FOIL BALL at the
Minnesota Fringe Festival in Minneapolis.  A total of five performances
will be presented at Bedlam Theatre, 1501 S. 6th Street:  Friday, August
3rd @ 7:00pm; Sunday, August 5th @ 8:30pm; Tuesday, August 7th @ 5:30pm;
Thursday, August 9th @ 8:30pm; and Saturday, August 11th @ 4:00pm.

THE WORLD'S LARGEST ALUMINUM FOIL BALL is coming off a very successful
premiere at the Iowa Fringe Festival, where it was voted "Best In Show"
as determined by the Des Moines Register's online poll which asked "What
was your favorite production of the Iowa Fringe Festeival?" of the 49
productions from throughout the country that participated.  Finishing in
the top 5 in attendance, it played to nearly sold-out houses and earned
an average audience rating of 4.75 stars out of 5.

Business is slow at a roadside attraction run by a simple rural couple and
their socially-challenged son - until three mysterious strangers appear,
eager to view the main novelty item -p the world's largest aluminum foil
ball. When it is discovered that the ball has recently been included on
the Department of Homeland Security's list of likely terrorist targets,
the rural folks grow suspicious of the "un-American-looking" tourists,
their true motives, and the curious timing of their visit. A little bit
SWEENEY TODD, a little bit OKLAHOMA!, this dark musical comedy, which
features eight colorful characters and nine original songs, takes you on a
roadtrip to a red state, where the only culture is the culture of fear!
(Due to language and subject matter, may not be suitable for children
under the age of 13 or Republicans.)

Featured in the production are six actors from the Central Iowa area:
John Robinson (Storyteller/Tom Osborne), Annette Duffy (Mom), Greg
Millar (Pop), Pernell D. Ferguson (Ravi/Sheriff), Lan Le (Alcira/Deputy
Sheriff), and Max Cardenas (Jump).

The play was written, composed, directed and produced by Robert John
Ford, an award-winning theatre artist whose works have been performed or
are scheduled for upcoming productions in New York, California,
Minnesota, Alaska, New Hampshire and his home state of Iowa.  He has
written seven musicals and four plays, of which three are being produced
in theatres across the country in the current year.  His musical CAUCUS!
THE MUSICAL, an irreverent political satire about the circus-like Iowa
Caucuses, is scheduled for two major productions in 2008

"We are thrilled to be performing at the Minnesota Fringe Festival,
especially after the wildly-successful run of the play at the Iowa Fringe
Festival," says Mr. Ford.  "The show received very little advance
publicity in Iowa yet still generated such incredible buzz among audiences
that it became one of the must-see productions.  We're hoping Minnesota
audiences will welcome us with the same enthusiasm."

Tickets to the Festival can be purchased through or by
calling 651-209-6799.

--------15 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Cornstalk fest 8.03-05 Dunnell MN

8/3 to 8/5, Cornstalk festival of peace, music and art, in Dunnell, on the
SW corner of MN off I-90 exit between Fairmont & Jackson.  $20 online ticket
sales at

--------16 of 17--------

Reviewing Michael Parenti's Democracy For the Few      part 1 of 2
By Stephen Lendman
July 26, 2007

Reviewing Michael Parenti's "Democracy For the Few" - by Stephen Lendman

Michael Parenti is an internationally known speaker and award winning
author of 20 books and hundreds of articles. He's also a noted academic
having taught at a number of colleges and universities in the US and

Parenti is also one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts
and social critics. He strongly opposes US imperialism, the shredding of
our civil liberties, decline of our social state, and the Bush Doctrine of
preventive wars on the world for predatory capitalism's need for new
markets, resources and cheap exploitable labor.

Parenti's latest book, and subject of this review, is the newly updated
eight edition of one of his most noted and popular earlier ones -
Democracy For the Few. In it, he shows how democracy in the nation really
works. It dispels the fiction Americans are practically weaned on from
birth, taught in school to the highest levels, and get daily from the
dominant media.

Parenti's view is quite different from the mainstream's suppression of the
"shadier sides of US political life." He explains "proponents of the
existing social order have tried to transform practically every deficiency
in the US political system into a strength." They want us to believe
"millions of nonvoters are content with present social conditions, (and)
the growing concentration of executive power is a good thing because the
president is democratically responsive to broad national interests (ones
affecting the public)." They tell us "exclusion of third parties" makes
our system work better, and all state vices are, in fact, virtues. Those
popularly presented views turn reality on it head in a nation dedicated to
wealth and power interests since inception. It only ever yields a little
(and grudgingly) when forced to by grassroots activism or in periods of
social crisis like The Great Depression to save what elitists value most -
the soul and substance corporate capitalist America.

Parenti addresses the nature of American capitalism that's the beating
heart of our politico-economic system. He covers our political
institutions, the "foundations and historical development of American
political politics....Who governs....Who gets what, when, how and why."
Central to ask is cui bono? Who benefits and who doesn't is key to his
core theme showing how power, wealth and class dominate America and the
notion of real democracy is pure illusion. Today, America the beautiful
only exists for the privileged few and no one else. But it's always been
that way in a nation ruled by rich white, predominantly Christian elitist
men from birth. Parenti deconstructs our system, from its roots, in 19
incisive, thought provoking chapters, encyclopedic in depth, and up to
date to the current age of George Bush neocon rule.

This review covers them all briefly to convey a full flavor of his
important book, all of which needs to be digested and understood. It's
must reading and should be kept as an essential reference guide for future
examination and reflection. Knowing its contents is key to arousing enough
public concern for change in our own self-interest. In the age of George
Bush's America, and his coterie of extremist rogues, the issue is now
survival at a time a reckless leadership threatens everyone with potential
nuclear or ecological Armageddon because of their lust for wealth, power
and empire.

Without public awareness, angst and plain determination not to take it any
more, this agenda will continue with potential consequences too disturbing
to ignore. It doesn't have to happen if enough people know the danger,
collectively act to defuse it in self-defense, and decide to make the
country work for everyone. Parenti dedicates his book to them - "To all
those who struggle for peace, social justice, and real democracy. May
their numbers continue to grow."

                 Partisan Politics Favoring the Privileged

Privilege always counted most from the time the nation was founded. The
prevailing fiction then and now is an egalitarian country "free from the
extremes of want and wealth that characterized (18th century) Europe" and
most parts of the world today. It was as untrue then as now with wealthy
18th century colonialists having vast disproportional land holdings and
control of banking, commerce and industry, such as it was back then.

These "wealthy and powerful 'gentlemen,' our founding fathers," gathered
in 1787 in the same Philadelphia State House where the Declaration of
Independence was signed 11 years earlier. They came to draft a
Constitution intended to last into "remote futurity" for their interests
alone. Democracy for the many was not on the table in 1787.

Yet, they nominally managed to include unimaginable freedoms, up to that
time, in the Bill of Rights ratified in 1791. They gave people the rights
of free expression, religion, peaceable assembly, protection from illegal
searches and seizures, due process and more even though it only got done
through compromise after these ideas were twice rejected earlier. The
delegates finally agreed out of necessity to get their document ratified
and avoid a second convention some states wanted. To do it, they had to
win over dissenting state representatives who wanted Bill of Rights
protections for their own propertied interests.

They weren't added to the Constitution as a democratic gesture to "the
people" who were nowhere in sight then or henceforth. As history later
showed repeatedly, the entire Constitution was flawed from the start as
governments, then and later, freely and willfully ignored and set aside
these less than inviolate freedoms as Presidents Adams, Lincoln, Wilson,
Johnson, Nixon, George W. Bush, and many others easily were able to do and
often did.

Overall, "the Constitution was consciously designed as a conservative
document" the way the framers wanted it to be. They achieved their aims
with provisions in it, or omitted by intent, to "resist the pressure of
popular tides" and protect "a rising bourgeoisie('s)" freedom to "invest,
speculate, trade, and accumulate wealth" the way things work for capital
interests today. It was to codify the law to let the country be run the
way politician, jurist and nation's first Chief Supreme Court justice,
John Jay, said it should be - for "The people who own the
run it (for their benefit alone)."

Benjamin Franklin was reportedly asked at the end of the Constitutional
Convention whether the 55 attending delegates created a monarchy or
republic. He responded "A republic, if you can keep it" without
acknowledging notions of an egalitarian nation were stillborn at its
birth. It was true then and now in spite of all the pretense contrived to
portray an idealized society, in fact, always out of reach for most in it.

This is Parenti's dominant theme - of a government, since inception,
serving the privileged few at the expense of the neglected or exploited
many. That's hardly a textbook definition of democracy, yet it's the model
one we're taught to believe we have serving everyone equally. Parenti says
his book is intended to show how vital it is for everyone to critically
examine our society as a step toward improving it. He stresses a nation's
greatness is measured by its freedom from "poverty, racism, sexism,
exploitation, imperialism....environmental devastation," and a fundamental
opposition to war and pursuit of peace everywhere. Benjamin Franklin also
said "There never was a good war or bad peace," a notion unimaginable to
our leaders today.

          Wealth and Want in the United States Getting More Extreme

Parenti distinguishes between society's owner and worker classes with the
latter paid much less than the value they create. He calls corporations
"organizational devices" to exploit labor and accumulate capital with
working people being society's real producers. Publicly owned corporations
are the dominant institution of our time existing for one purpose only,
mandated by law - to maximize the value of shareholders' equity by
increasing sales and profits, securing new markets, and continuing to grow
in size and dominance or be left behind. Their success is measured by
their concentrated, virtual-monopoly size today. Of the world's 100
largest economies, 51 are corporations, more US-based ones than from any
other country. Noam Chomsky calls them "private tyrannies."

They're run by wealthy and powerful figures comprising, along with other
elites, the top 1% of the nation's affluent. Today they own 40 - 50% of
the country's wealth in the form of stocks, bonds, land, natural
resources, business assets and other investments. In contrast, 90% of
American families have little or no net worth after mortgage and other
debt burdens are taken into account. Parenti stresses America has the
highest level of inequality of all developed nations, the country is
rigidly structured by class, and most people die in the same class they
were born into. It debunks the notion of "a land of opportunity" for

It's for CEOs who are practically deified in today's business press. [Let
us all say together, "Up the CEO's butt!" -ed] They're hugely over-paid
powerful figures gaining wealth at the expense of their rank and file. In
1965, they earned, on average, 24 times more than workers, in 1973 it was
45 times, in 1990 85 times, and in 2004 an astonishing 431 times as the
disparity in wealth continues growing to levels economist Paul Krugman
calls "unprecedented." In the last generation, worker productivity grew,
but wages didn't keep up with inflation, and essential benefits declined
and are disappearing. Corporations rely on downsizing and offshoring
manufacturing and other high-paying jobs to cheap labor markets to reduce
costs and raise profits. They maintain lean labor forces, rely heavily on
part-time workers, are hostile to unions, and achieve the benefits of a
huge reserve army of unemployed or underemployed to contain wage
pressures. [And the DP, the "party of the people", does nothing to change
it. We voters must be incurable masochists. -ed]

Working people suffer the effects. Since 1999, consumer debt grew at twice
the rate of their income, millions live in poverty, many more millions
just above it, far more still have inadequate or no health insurance or
other safety net protections, and defenseless children and single mothers
(many black and other minorities) suffer most. Parenti sums up America's
dark side, unreported in the mainstream. Our nation "squanders our
national resources, exploits and underpays our labor, and creates
privation and desperate social needs serving the few" at the expense of
the many. It mocks the notion of a egalitarian democratic society serving
all its people and shames the nation for unjustifyably claiming it.

          Our Plutocratic Culture Defiles Our Nominal Democracy

Parenti stresses America is a plutocracy, run predominantly by hugely
affluent business people in industry and commerce, the dominant media as
well as others in academia, entertainment, the clergy, and private
foundations and charities. They spread the false gospel that "capitalism
breeds democracy and prosperity" ignoring how democratic freedoms are
incompatible with acquisitive corporate free-enterprise thriving on the
exploitation of the majority everywhere.

Parenti asks "What about (forgotten) values relating to justice, health,
occupational and consumer safety, regard for future generations, and
accountability in government" along with concern for the environment, an
educated and informed citizenry, affordable housing, worker rights, and
peace on earth and an end to wars and conflict. In a "capitalist
democracy," we're on our own, able to have anything if we can pay for it.
The result is an enormous growing disparity between haves and have-nots
and an uncaring government unwilling to help the ones in greatest need.
That's "The Other America" Michael Harrington wrote about 45 years ago
that aroused John Kennedy's concern in ways unimaginable in today's age of
greed and imperial arrogance.

                A Constitution for the Privileged Few Alone

The origins of republican America were addressed above - to create a
nominally democratic government Adam Smith said should be "instituted for
the defense of the rich against the poor." The nation's founders achieved
mightily, handing down their legacy to succeeding generations of leaders
always mindful of who gave them power and who they had to serve. At the
nation's birth, only adult white male property owners could vote; blacks
were commodities, not people; and women were childbearing and homemaking
appendages of their husbands.

Religious prerequisites existed until 1810, and all adult white males
couldn't vote until property and tax requirements were dropped in 1850.
States elected senators until the 17th amendment in 1913 gave citizen
voters that right, and Native Americans had no franchise in their own land
until the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act gave them back what no one had the
right to take away in the first place. Women's suffrage wasn't achieved
until the 19th Amendment passed in 1920 after nearly 100 years of
struggling for it.

The 1865 13th Amendment freed black slaves, the 1870 15th Amendment gave
them the right to vote, but it wasn't until passage of the landmark Civil
and Voting Rights Acts in the mid-1960s, abolishing Southern Jim Crow
laws, that blacks could vote, in fact, like the Constitution said they
could decades earlier. Today those rights are gravely weakened for all
through unfair laws still in force and a nation growing more repressive
and less responsive to the needs of ordinary working people and the
nation's least advantaged. The limited high-water mark of Lyndon Johnson's
Great Society has steadily eroded since in loss of civil liberties and
essential social benefits.

      Rise of the Corporate State that Rules Our Lives and the World

Parenti explains how, contrary to popular view, the history of America was
marked by "violent class struggles, with the government" siding with "big
business." Native peoples were slaughtered for their land and resources,
large landowners and corporations exploited slave labor, and limited labor
rights were only won through pain and struggle. Government always sided
with business interests "gorg(ing) themselves at the public trough,
battening on such government handouts and protections as tariffs,
subsidies, land grants, and government contracts." Along the way, the
public got pathetically little.

Governments also handed down friendly legislation and court decisions
favoring wealth and power over ordinary people consigned to low wages, few
or no benefits, unemployment, unsafe work conditions, child labor,
poverty, and few of the rights democratic states are supposed to afford
but don't in America. It hardly mattered who was president, Democrat or
Republican, Teddy Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft or
Calvin Coolidge. "Silent Cal" belied his reticence proclaiming what all
presidents swear allegiance to - that "The business of America is
business," and government officials, chief executives and others in high
places better not forget it.

They never did, even during Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, "an era
commonly believed to have brought great transformations on behalf of (what
FDR called) 'the forgotten man.' " Roosevelt was a patrician allied with
business interests trying to save capitalism in America from meeting the
same fate as in Czarist Russia in 1917. That was job one, and giving a
little to save the system was a small price to pay.

It showed in the National Recovery Act (NRA) benefitting corporations by
restricting production and setting minimum price requirements. "The
federal housing program subsidized construction firms and loan insurance
for mortgage bankers." Price supports and production cutbacks advantaged
corporate agriculture. Only faced with mass unrest were relief programs
created to relieve human need. So some real democratic gains were
achieved, most notably essential social welfare legislation. Key but
short-lived was the passage of the landmark Wagner Act in 1935
establishing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It gave labor the
right to bargain collectively on equal terms with management for the first
time ever, an achievement the repressive 1947 Taft-Hartley Act began
undoing that's now lost altogether.

Parenti sums up the era as follows: "the New Deal era hardly adds up to a
great triumph for the common people" with government mostly being
responsive to the will and needs of corporate capitalism. It was true then
but far more so now through "subsidies, services and protections that
business could not provide for itself" and even plenty of them they can
but don't have to because government largess (with our tax dollars) does
it for them.

                 Politics: Who Gets What? Who's Left Out?

Parenti explains today we have a corporate state writ large with
government taxing the many (the public) to subsidize the few (the
privileged). This practice has been especially pernicious since WW II when
the US emerged as the only dominant nation left standing. "Moderate"
Republican Dwight Eisenhower gave private corporations the equivalent (in
today's dollars) of $300 billion worth of offshore oil reserves, public
lands and utilities, atomic installations and much more in what Parenti
and others call "socialism for the rich." The rest of us are on our own,
sink or swim, under free-market capitalism. It's heralded as the American

Today, corporate giants get multi-billions in all kinds of handouts we pay
for. They come in tax breaks, price supports, loan guarantees (many never
repaid), bailouts, marketing services, export subsidies, R & D grants,
free use of the public broadcasting spectrum, and huge subsidies and other
government-directed benefits proving "big government" works great and
business loves it. The system works by socializing costs and privatizing
profits "in an enormous upward redistribution of income from the working
populace to the corporate rich."

Even the tax system works to corporate advantage with corporations today
paying, on average, a tiny 7.4% of their revenues compared to 49% in the
1950s. No need asking who makes up the difference in revenue lost, but
it's even worse than that. Sixty percent of US corporations pay no income
taxes, and many profitable ones get rebates. That's reality in today's
America with government showering business with a tsunami of benefits and
ordinary working people paying for them in a huge upward distribution of
income now way exceeding one trillion dollars annually and rising.

             The US Global Military Empire Threatens Everyone

The US emerged from WW II as the world's dominant superpower. Today it's
the only one, and it throws its weight around recklessly proving it.
First, it spends more on the military than all other nations combined. It
has many hundreds of military bases worldwide including many secret ones
that by some unofficial estimates number around 1000 large, medium and
smaller ones. In Iraq alone in May, 2005, the Pentagon acknowledged having
106 bases including permanent super ones the size of small towns with all
their amenities included.

Further, the US is recklessly embarked on new super-weapons building
programs, including nuclear ones, in defiance of arms control and
reduction and other treaties it renounces unilaterally. Its aim is "full
spectrum dominance" of all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space,
electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with intent to fight
preventive wars of aggression against any potential challengers to its
status as lord and master of the universe.

Money is no object or restraint toward this aim with the Pentagon unable
to account for multi-billions annually from waste, fraud and abuse no one
in government cares about. After all, it's taxpayer money payouts to
corporate fraudsters in lieu of funding essential public services and
having regard for environmental protections. It's spent on a reckless
imperial agenda claimed for national security at home and to spread
democracy abroad to nations having none. In fact, it's what Parenti calls
"defending the capitalist world from social change" - even the peaceful
and democratic kind seen as a threat to corporate interests.

Since WW II, it's been a US-led "global bloodletting" through wars of
aggression, CIA-instigated coups and political assassinations, and
supporting a rogue's gallery of S.O.B. tyrants as long as they're our
S.O.B.s. The list of them earlier and now is near-endless. They serve the
US empire well and its corporate giants hugely at the expense of ordinary
people everywhere. Parenti rightfully calls America "the greatest
imperialist power in world history." It's also the greatest of all threats
to humanity from possible nuclear or environmental Armageddon.

        Health and Human Services - Victims of Corporate Capitalism

Parenti explains even plutocratic rulers have to make concessions at
times, but for the last generation hard won earlier gains have eroded. He
names some of them:

-- the WIC program aiding women, infants and children;

-- AFDC aid to needy families with dependent children wiped out by
Clinton's welfare reform;

-- SSI supplemental income for the blind, disabled and low income persons;

-- food stamps;

-- child nutrition help and school lunch program;

-- nursing home assistance for indigent elderly;

-- legal services for the poor;

-- remedial education;

-- maternal and child health care;

-- student grants and other aid;

-- drug treatment;

-- Medicare and Medicaid reductions, and much more.

The result is "more hunger, isolation, unattended illness," homelessness,
untreated illness and more "for those with the fewest economic resources
and the least political clout."

The picture's even bleaker with states and private charities unable to
make up for what Washington eliminates, and rising costs of essential
services like health care means tens of millions unable to afford what
everyone must have. The plutocrats' solution: privatize everything
including the most successful government poverty-reducing program ever -
Social Security. For now, efforts to do it stalled, but the scheme won't
go away. Wall Street is drooling over the possibility of getting a huge
cut out of what seniors, "survivors," and the disabled badly need in
retirement and/or supplemental income. The plutocratic sharks will be back
trying again to steal what they haven't gotten so far.

Parenti covers other areas where public need and welfare are sacrificed to
plutocratic greed - occupational safety, ergonomic standards, untested
chemicals and additives in foods, factory farms polluting ground water,
minimum wages kept low in spite of the recent inadequate increase taking
10 years to get, disappearing low-cost housing, and education falling
victim to reduced funding and efforts to let private pirates teach our
kids wanting only to profit most by doing the least.

Then, there's what Parenti calls "mess transit." Mass transit rails
efficiency and low fuel consumption got Big Oil and Big Auto to doom the
system, another victim of plutocratic greed. It got us dirty air, global
warming, 42,000 annual needless highway deaths and huge numbers of
accidents and injuries, clogged highways, congested inner-cities, and an
enormous expense to many car owners struggling to afford what many
wouldn't need if efficient mass transit served them. Parenti's conclusion
- "Once again public service was treated as something to be eliminated
rather than be improved." The public ends up the loser.

               The Last Environment Becoming the Lost One

Parenti explains privilege and power give plutocrats the right to
"expropriate and use....whatever natural resources" they want, "while
passing off their diseconomies (or externalities) onto others." He means
maximizing profit and minimizing costs by dumping huge amounts of deadly
toxins on land, in water, and in the air. Corporate giants are licensed to
strip mine rapaciously, clear-cut forests, turn rain forests in
wastelands, harm natural species and wildlife, erode topsoil by harmful
chemical farming, sell unsafe and untested foods and drugs, destroy the
ozone layer, increase global warming, and threaten human health and
welfare, all for the sake of greater profits.

For their crimes, "corporate polluters are more often rewarded than
punished" with lucrative contracts to clean up the mess they made. They
gain at public expense twice over. They're allowed to foul the
environment, then get us to pay the cost "for the private sector's
diseconomies." The alternate approach is obvious but untaken because it's
bad for business. So Parenti concludes "An infinitely expanding capitalism
and fragile, finite ecology are on a calamitous collision course. Our very
survival hangs in the balance." But for corporate predators, that's
someone else's problem after they're gone.

                   Unequal before the Law Favoring Elites

Crime in the suites prevails in America because the law is usually written
and enforced "to favor the very rich over the rest of us." Put another
way, the rule of law depends on who it's intended for or aimed against.
Corporate crime is far more costly in lives and money than crimes on
streets. Even worse, what's uncovered is the tip of the iceberg, and the
worst corporate crimes go unpunished - exploiting people everywhere for
profit, fouling the environment, and profiting hugely from destructive
wars. Then there's growing mass poverty from neoliberal globalized trade;
turning a blind eye to corporate complicity in drugs trafficking; money
laundering; underpaying employees; union busting; waste, fraud and abuse
on government contracts generally ignored; insider trading rarely caught
or prosecuted, and more and more.

In contrast, steal a few tomatoes to feed your hungry kids and face stiff
prison terms, and do it three times in states like California and many
others and get life sentences. In an age of neocon rule, it's hardly
surprising the Supreme Court ruled 5 - 4 in March, 2003 such harsh
sentences don't violate the Constitution's Eight Amendment prohibition
against cruel and unusual punishment. Parenti cites the cases of a
Virginia man sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for stealing 87 cents and
a Houston youth getting an incredible 50 years for robbing two people of a

A nation treating its people this way is one gone mad by its brazen
defiance of democratic justice exposed as a pipe dream for ordinary people
and an impossible one for the least advantaged, people of color and anyone
happening to be Muslim in an age of the concocted "war on terrorism." Then
there's the other phony "war on drugs" that's just an ugly scheme to fill
prison cells, take restless minorities off the streets so they don't get
more restless, and build a huge criminal justice system as another avenue
for profit. Those homeland wars and the long-standing one on the poor and
least advantaged left the US with the largest prison population in the
world at 2.2 million that's rising by 1000 new inmates weekly.

It's the shame of the nation and was the subtitle this writer used in 2006
for an in-depth article called "The US Gulag Prison System" referring to
the one at home. Everyone pays for it including taxpayers and the mothers
and children left behind on their own to fend for themselves. Not the
families of corporate fraudsters, however, whose offending members rarely
serve time if caught, do it in country club prisons if they do, and get
short sentences and affordable fines made easier by automatic early

Then there are government criminals caught, tried and convicted. They just
enter the presidential commutation and pardon queue awaiting their turn,
like I. Lewis Libby, that usually comes up before they ever serve a day in
soft-on-crime prisons. In America, it's called justice. In this review,
it's called outrageous.

    Political Repression and National Security Under Police State Rules

Parenti puts it this way: "The corporate-dominated state is more sincerely
dedicated to fighting dissent than fighting organized crime" including in
the suites where the worst of it's committed. So we have the FBI, CIA,
NSA, IRS, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and NORTHCOM protecting
the rich by coming down hard on the rest of us if we have "dangerous
thoughts" or support "peace and social justice organizations."
Corporations can fire employees with the "wrong political opinions."
Secret courts can order secret surveillances, render secret decisions and
keep no published records.

We can be wiretapped; illegally searched; have our possessions seized; and
now declared an "enemy combatant," denied due process and sacred habeas
corpus rights, and "renditioned" to a torture-prison hellholes for
indefinite incarceration and trial by a military tribunal with no right of
appeal or legitimate access to proper legal help. That's today's America
where anyone disagreeing with George Bush can end up a political prisoner
in a nation claiming to have none. We've always had them with shameful
examples to prove it like Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) leaders
like Big Bill Haywood who had to leave the country to avoid serving time,
others in the IWW, socialist leader Eugene Debs, and radicals Sacco and
Vanzetti made to pay for crimes they never committed.

Then there were WW II and Korean War resisters arrested for their beliefs
and 120,000 law-abiding Japanese Americans sent to US-based concentration
camps because of their ancestry in time of war with the country most were
never born in. There was repressive legislation going back to John Adams'
Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 criminalizing dissent in his day. There
cwas Woodrow Wilson's Espionage and Sedition Acts that were just as
punitive. There was the 1940 Smith Act making anti-capitalist dissent a
crime. There were jailings of African American leaders in the civil rights
struggles, and today there are mass witch-hunt roundups and unlawful
detentions of Muslims because of their faith and Latino immigrants
persecuted twice over. Destructive trade agreements like NAFTA destroyed
their livelihoods, forcing them here for work unavailable at home. Then,
once here, they're treated like criminals if caught or ruthlessly
exploited by employers as virtual serfs.

There were Black Panther leaders murdered in their sleep like Fred
Hampton, Jr. in Chicago and others imprisoned on spurious charges like
Geronimo Pratt (now a free man after being held 20 years in jail
unjustly). There's Mumia Abu-Jamal framed for a murder he didn't commit,
denied due process, confined to prison on death row for the past 25 years
still hoping for a new trial to vindicate himself. There were American
Indian Movement leaders like Leonard Peltier also framed for a murder he
didn't commit and still incarcerated after 30 years. Add to these, Puerto
Rican nationalists, peace and environmental activists, and others still
fighting for their civil rights and right to dissent.

In all the above instances, "unworthy" victims paid for the crimes of
their "worthy" victimizers. Parenti documents these and other examples of
a repressive state apparatus protecting the rich from their exploited
victims daring to resist. He sums it up saying "under the guise of
'fighting communism, fighting terrorism, protecting US interests, keeping
us safe, or defending democracy, the purveyors of state power have
committed horrendous crimes against the (innocent) people of this and
other countries, violating human rights and the make
the world safe for profit, privilege, and pillage." It's called

                   Who Governs? For Whom? Who Has No Say?

Who else? Those controlling society's wealth "exercise trusteeship over
educational institutions, foundations, think tanks, publications, (and)
mass media" as well as having political and economic power over the
nation's business. The ruling class is comprised mainly of wealthy white,
Judeo-Christian corporate elites whose mission it is "to secure the
interests of the wealthy class."

That means relations with labor are quite the opposite and quite
successful with union membership currently around 12% overall and only
7.4% in the private sector. That's down from its post-war 1950s peak of
34.7%. Today, organized labor is at its lowest ebb since the beginning of
the mass unionization struggles of the 1930s and in the private sector in
over 100 years. It's because of Democrat and Republican hostility to
organized labor as well as corporations threatening plant closures and
outsourcing forcing pay and benefit cuts and unions to lose out overall.
The situation is grim with wealth and power firmly in charge and ordinary
working people losing out. There's no mystery about how to fix the
problem. But it can only happen through mass collective action by
organized people confronting organized money. There's a lot more of us
than them.

It's not easy, however, in an age of glorified globalization promoting the
phony notion it lifts all boats. Ralph Nader explains the rising tide only
lifts all yachts at a time corporate giants' power is immense. It exceeds
the rights of all sovereign states they operate in making them the ones
that rule the world. They do it with one-sided unfair "free trade"
agreements like NAFTA and DR-CAFTA. They and the World Trade Organization
(WTO) super-state have power to "overrule or dilute any laws of any nation
deemed to burden" corporate capital. WTO rules deny their sovereignty when
it conflicts with corporate-mandated trade rules written for them. No
sovereign right is sacred and none can interfere even in cases of harmful
products and services member nations aren't allowed to prohibit. Secret
WTO panels alone have the final say in trade disputes that always side
with business because that's where their ruling members come from.

Meanwhile, the Constitution is null and void even though its preamble
nominally states power rests with the people, not a corporate-run trade
body making secret rulings putting its members above the law of the land.
Parenti calls this "a coup d'etat by international finance capital....a
logical extension of imperialism, a victory of empire over republic (and)
corporate capital over democracy" that our own government does nothing to
counteract because it supports these practices. It's not supposed to be
that way, or so we learned in school. But that's how it is and won't
change until we end "free trade" and replace it with trade that's "fair"
for "the interests of the many rather than the greed of the few." We have
miles to go and haven't even begun the journey.

end part 1 of 2

--------17 of 17--------

 Coprophilic Rooster

 Ka-ka doo-doo do!
 Ka-ka doo-doo doo-doo do!
 Ka-ka doo-doo do!


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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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