|Progressive Calendar 07.31.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] c4cr.org> 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: http://www.c4cr.org/nextmeeting.html http://www.c4cr.org --------2 of 17-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> 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 <http://www.KFAI.org/> CALL IN: 612-341-0980 All archived Truth to Tell programs - including our pilot shows - here: <http://www.kfai.org/node/682>. --------3 of 17-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> 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] uhcan-mn.org> 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 attend. 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] visi.com> 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 www.patfinucanecentre.org. Rebecca McConkey Minnesotans for a United Ireland FFI: Mary Jane LaVigne 651-261-6966 --------6 of 17-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> 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 signs. --------7 of 17-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> 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] aol.com 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] aol.com. --------9 of 17-------- From: Shar in Minneapolis <sharinminneapolis [at] yahoo.com> 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" www.CCARL.com 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 Free 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. NEW BALLPARK http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/min/ballpark/index.jsp --------10 of 17-------- From: Kiera Coonan <kieracoonan [at] yahoo.com> 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 $5-10. 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] yahoo.com> 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] gmail.com Mike Whalen, mpw4883 [at] yahoo.com 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] gmail.com or Mike Whalen at 651-645-9506. 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 Institute. --------12 of 17-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com 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 www.ticketworks.com 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] hotmail.com> 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 www.uptowntix.com or 651-209-6799. More info at http://www.augsburg.edu/mannafest/ 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] visi.com> Subject: Fringe fest 8.03-11 7pm VOTED "BEST IN SHOW" AT THE 2007 IOWA FRINGE FESTIVAL, THE WORLD'S LARGEST ALUMINUM FOIL BALL TO BE PRESENTED AT THE MINNESOTA FRINGE FESTIVAL, AUGUST 3-11. 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 (www.caucusthemusical.com). "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 UptownTix.com or by calling 651-209-6799. --------15 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> 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 www.cornwoman.com/corn_stalk.htm --------16 of 17-------- Reviewing Michael Parenti's Democracy For the Few part 1 of 2 By Stephen Lendman July 26, 2007 Znet 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 abroad. 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 country....to 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 everyone. 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 way. 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 dollar. 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 releases. 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 Constitution....to make the world safe for profit, privilege, and pillage." It's called democracy-American-style. 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! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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