|Progressive Calendar 08.01.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 00:44:46 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 08.01.07 1. UM AFSCME pay 8.02 12noon 2. Patriotism satire 8.02 5:30pm 3. Stadium event 8.02 6pm CANCELLED 4. Mn Cuba 8.02 7pm 5. Impeach/Mpls CC 8.03 8:45am 6. 3rd CD GP 8.04 10am 7. Homeless vets 8.04 10am 8. $$$ 4 RNC/dinner 8.04 8pm 9. Venezuela/CTV 8.04 9pm 10. Belfast poets 8.04-12 11. Stillwater vigil 8.05 1pm 12. Hiroshima 8.05 4:30pm 13. Hare, Repke - No new taxes = bridge collapse 35W 14. Stephen Lendman - Review: Michael Parenti's Democracy For the Few 2of2 15. ed - J Skylar Newport - his haiku --------1 of 15-------- From: Marie R Milsten-Fiedler <m-fied [at] umn.edu> Subject: UM AFSCME pay 8.02 12noon [This notice will be printed just this ONCE. If you want it, SAVE it -ed] Since 2002, AFSCME workers at the U of M have lost nearly 5% of our purchasing power to inflation. At the same time, U administrators' salaries increased between 8% and 79% above inflation. Told of our struggles, the University now proposes to give AFSCME workers only a 1% increase in wages in each of the next 2 years. If inflation holds steady, workers will lose another 5% of our purchasing power. AFSCME Workers Want to Know What's Their RATionale? AFSCME from the U of M continues to stand up in support of our contract negotiations, which continue August 9 and August 10. Starting August 1 and going through August 9 activities, actions and rallies have been planned by our members to take us into negotiations. If you think we all deserve to make economic progress, come out to show support for our standard of living during the following events: NOON Rallies Thursday, Aug 2 Coffman Plaza Friday, Aug 3 Moos Tower Steps Monday, August 6 Gateway Plaza The grand finale will be the Noon rally on Wednesday, August 8 At Morrill Hall -- East Bank U of M Campus http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/MorH/MorH-map.html On Thursday, August 9 at 9:00 a.m. members will join us on the St. Paul Campus at Coffey Hall to show support for our contract negotiations as we go back to the negotiating table. http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/CofH/CofH-map.html For more information about any of these events, contact Phyllis at 612-251-9987. For a timely response don't send e-mail to the Union office, instead make a phone call. http://afscme3937.org/ or http://afscme3937.org/ Marie Milsten Fiedler --------2 of 15------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Patriotism satire 8.02 5:30pm AMERICAN CAKE a solo satire about patriotism written and performed by Jonathan Pereira at the 2007 Minnesota Fringe Aug 2 at 5:30 pm Aug 3 at 7:00 pm Aug 5 at 2:30 pm Aug 6 at 10:00 pm Aug 12 at 7:00 pm Interact Center, 212 3rd Ave N #140 "...Pereira has charm in spades - not to mention insight, a willingness to go deeper and an ability not to take it all too seriously... [he] doesn't use the cliche... but makes a very personal journey... His manic-but-unforced style... creates a momentum that may just make you stick around for dessert." ---TIME OUT CHICAGO FREE CAKE AT EVERY SHOW!! Participating bakeries: Keyes Cafe, Turtle Bread Co., Denny's Wedding Cakes, Birchwood Cafe --------3 of 15-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Stadium event 8.02 6pm CANCELLED The Twins CANCELLED their groundbreaking for Thursday, August 2, 5pm-8pm - due to the bridge collapse...they will announce re-schedule later. Saw it on Channel 4 tv news. Please share widely with others who were planning to go to the protest [Imagine if the public money going for Pohlad's stupid stadium had instead gone for bridge repair. But that would be so uncapitalistic it would never fly in Richmerica. We'd rather die than limit a billionaire's mountain of gold. See item 13 below. -ed] --------4 of 15-------- From: Minnesota Cuba Committee <mncuba [at] usfamily.net> Subject: Mn Cuba 8.02 7pm The Minnesota Cuba Committee will meet on Thursday, August 2, at 7:00 Holy Trinity Church, 2730 E. 31st Street, Minneapolis. Agenda items will include a report-back from participants in the Pastors for Peace caravan to Cuba, sister cities initiative, upcoming movie showings. For more information call 612 623-3452 or 651 983-3981 http://groups.msn.com/minnesotacubacommittee --------5 of 15-------- From: Kucinich to Impeach <lists [at] impeachforpeace.org> Subject: Impeach/Mpls CC 8.03 8:45am *Friday [at] Minneapolis City Council* Minneapolis citizens, it's our time. For some time, pressure and support have been building for our city to defend the constitution through impeachment. And today we're asking for your help to get us to the finish line. According to sources on the Minneapolis City Council, they will be taking up impeachment in the next few weeks. Council Member Remington has shown support for this cause. Council Members Cam Gordon and Elizabeth Glidden also attended an impeachment townhall forum a few weeks ago. Join us on Friday, August 3rd at 8:45am when we will again be a presence at the Minneapolis City Council Meeting: http://impeachforpeace.org/impeach_bush_blog/?p=2172 Additionally, we need you to contact your City Council Member with a request for an impeachment resolution. Forward this email to all your friends, and let's finish what we've started. Below you'll find contact information for the City Council Members as well as talking points. Here is the contact info for city council people: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/ WARD 1, Paul Ostrow, 612-673-2201, paul.ostrow [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us <mailto:paul.ostrow [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us> WARD 2, Cam Gordon, 612-673-2202, cam.Gordon [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us <mailto:cam.Gordon [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us> WARD 3, Diane Hofstede, 612-673-2203, diane.hofstede [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us <mailto:diane.hofstede [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us> WARD 4, Barbara Johnson, 612-673-2204, barbara.johnson [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us <mailto:barbara.johnson [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us> WARD 5, Don Samuels, 612-673-2205, don.samuels [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us <mailto:don.samuels [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us> WARD 6, Robert Lilligren, 612-673-2206, robert.lilligren [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us <mailto:robert.lilligren [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us> WARD 7, Lisa Goodman, 612-673-2207, http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-goodman.asp WARD 8, Elizabeth Glidden, 612-673-2208, http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-glidden.asp WARD 9, Gary Shiff, 612-673-2209, http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-schiff.asp WARD 10, Ralph Remington, 612-673-2210, ralph.remington [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us <mailto:ralph.remington [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us> WARD 11, Scott Benson, 612-673-2211, scott.benson [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us <mailto:scott.benson [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us> WARD 12, Sandy Colvin Ray, 612-673-2212, http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-roy.asp WARD 13, Betsy Hodges, 612-673-2213, http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-hodges.asp Reasons for impeachment: http://impeachforpeace.org/evidence/ A copy of the impeachment resolution we're suggesting is here: http://impeachforpeace.org/impeach_bush_blog/?p=2195 Is Bush/Cheney Impeachment a City Council's Job? - City Council members take an oath of office promising to "protect and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. They don't take an oath to fix potholes. If the Constitution is in danger then their primary duty is to defend it. - Cities and towns routinely send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all across America. Is Impeachment a Local Issue? - If a federal action has a significant negative impact on this city, then it is appropriate for this city to defend itself. - Citizens from this city may be sent, or have been sent, to Iraq to fight in an illegal and unjustified war. - Tax funds from this city that could have been spent locally have been spent in Iraq for war. Tax money from this city has been wasted in no-bid contracts with companies like Halliburton with deep ties to the Bush administration. Yet this city can barely afford the emergency services, libraries, and schools that we need. - The State National Guard should be available to protect this city from floods or other disasters. But instead, President Bush has sent them to Iraq. --------6 of 15-------- From: David Strand <mncivil [at] yahoo.com> Subject: 3rd CD GP 8.04 10am You are invited to a meeting of the 3rd Congressional District Green Party Come spend time with like-minded progressives from your area, discuss issues that concern you, and take a look toward the 2008 election year Be a part of the decision as we choose a Green to represent our area to the Green Party of MN Coordinating Committee. Your voice and vote can make a difference in these matters. Aug 4th, 2007 10:00 AM Ridgedale Library 12601 Ridgedale Dr. Minnetonka, 55305 For more info: Danene 952-994-3085 PRO826 [at] aol.com --------7 of 15-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Homeless vets 8.04 10am Saturday, 8/4, 10 to 11:30 am, meeting of Homeless Veterans for Peace, Peacehouse, 510 E Franklin, Mpls. Bob 612-789-9020. --------8 of 15-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: $$$ 4 RNC dinner 8.04 8pm You are cordially invited to a "Billionaires for the RNC" dinner. A fundraiser dinner to raise money for building infrastructure to oppose the RNC. Seward Cafe, 2129 E Franklin Ave Saturday, August 4th, 8 pm Cost per plate will be on a sliding scale from $10 - $1 billion. Vegan and Vegetarian 4 course meal, with professional-quality waiters/waitresses and speeches by guest politicians. Music will be provided by Roma di Luna. --------9 of 15------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Venezuela/CTV 8.04 9pm Dear Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and Tuesdays at 8am. Households with basic cable can watch! 8/4 9pm and 8/7 8am "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" (Conclusion). Amazing documentary film shot during the 2002 coup in Venezuela. --------10 of 15-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Belfast poets 8.04-12 The Belfast Poets Touring Group are coming to Minnesota: In early 2006, after reading and performing for a number of years in Belfast and Derry, a bold suggestion was made that a group of poets from Northern Ireland would tour Australia later on in the year. After 6 months of meetings, emails, letters, applications for funding (almost all rejected) and endless cynicism, a group of poets finally arrived in Australia. The core of that group, Gordon Hewitt, Chelley McLear, Aisling Doherty, Ellen Factor, and Phatbob (aka Robert Rainey) remain as the Belfast Poets Touring Group. Their tour of Australia which included Melbourne, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth and their subsequent tour of Ireland forced them to develop a poetry show which incorporated the strengths of each writer and in the process look at connecting rhythms, style of presentation and the connection of writing and subsequent performance to an audience. Since the tour of Australia they have added music, image and film to the performances and have most recently been responsible for Love Poetry Hate Racism which, initiated from Belfast, saw events held in over 50 cities and towns all around the world. They will now perform at the Minnesota Fringe Festival at the Red Eye Theatre from 4-12th Aug 2007. Come and see why they have been named the 'premier group of touring poets in Ireland' For further details / interviews please contact Aisling Doherty at this email address. --------11 of 15-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 8.05 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------12 of 15-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Hiroshima 8.05 4:30pm Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration Events: Sunday, August 5-Thursday, August 9. Hiroshima events take place in Minneapolis. Nagasaki events take place in St. Paul. The Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration Committee offers events to the community to encourage reflection on the past and hope for the future through action in the present. It calls for the total abolition of nuclear weapons throughout the world as one measure of ensuring a just and lasting peace. Sunday, August 5 Minneapolis 4:30 p.m. Women in Black Procession, led by Womens International League of Peace & Freedom (WIFL-MN Arts Committee). Begins at W.40th St. & Bryant Ave. South and concludes at Spirit of Peace sculpture in Peace Garden, Lyndale Park Peace Garden, Roseway Road (Just North of Lake Harriet), Minneapolis. The following events take place here at the Peace Garden: 5:00 p.m. Intergenerational Event at Spirit of Peace sculpture. The Sadako Story by Key of See Storytellers. Peace songs with Marcia Sanoden. Origami paper-crane folding. Recorder music. 6:00 p.m. Japanese Tea Ceremony. Commemoration to coincide with time of commemoration events in Hiroshima, Japan. --------13 of 15-------- --1-- Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2007 22:28:54 -0500 (CDT) From: hare [at] tcfreenet.org To: mn-politics-discuss [at] yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: MPD: No New Taxes = Bridge Collapse 35 W http://media.startribune.com/smedia/2007/08/01/21/bridges200110.source.prod_affiliate.2.pdf The primary concern in 2001 was avoiding the high expense of replacing the bridge. But Page 13 (bottom) notes that: "Concern about fatigue cracking is heightened by a lack of redundancy in the main truss system. Only two planes of main truss support eight lanes of traffic. The truss is determinate and the joints are theoretically pinned. Therefore, if one member were severed by a fatigue crack, that plane of the main truss would, theoretically, collapse." Avoiding the high cost of fixing this was not the right path to take. Governor Pawlenty's policies have indeed killed people, and seeing his face on the news saying that the bridge had a "clean bill of health" only enrages me. It's time to hold this bastard accountable. If we can't do it through normal means, we should start a revolt. People die because of his bullshit, and he's already on teevee trying to cover his sorry ass. Erik Hare St Paul --2-- Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2007 23:00:56 EDT From: Chuckrepke [at] aol.com You can all scream at me for being the first to throw stones, but here is what I know this bridge was inspected in May of 2006 and found to have cracks in the supports. It was placed on the watch category. One only can wonder if it should have been put on the critical list. It had been listed as having fatigue details from as long as 2001 and by 2006 they were able to take pictures of the fatigue cracks. Governor NO MORE TAXES AND LET THE RABBLE DIE was just on the tube claiming that the bridge was given a "clean bill of health.' He knows that what he was saying is as full of crap as he is. This is the result of Minnesota not raising the gas tax in years. The Governor has now directly killed people by his policies. Chuck Repke Saint Paul --3-- Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 00:38:16 EDT From: Chuckrepke [at] aol.com In a message dated 8/1/2007 10:44:29 PM Central Daylight Time, hare [at] tcfreenet.org writes: The primary concern in 2001 was avoiding the high expense of replacing the bridge. But Page 13 (bottom) notes that: "Concern about fatigue cracking is heightened by a lack of redundancy in the main truss system. Only two planes of main truss support eight lanes of traffic. The truss is determinate and the joints are theoretically pinned. Therefore, if one member were severed by a fatigue crack, that plane of the main truss would, theoretically, collapse." - And when the 2006 report comes out there will be pictures of the actual cracks in the bridge that was predicted in 2001. After it did what was expected to do five years earlier (start to have fatigue cracks) they put it on a watch list... and the Governor said tonight, "Clean bill of health." I got no issues with Republican's folks this isn't partisan politics. This is about fixing the bridges that we all drive over folks. These are real problems caused because we are at least five and maybe closer than ten years behind in repairs in very dangerous roads and bridges. So, go give blood if it makes you feel better, but I am going to hold the people accountable that are killing us. Chuck Repke Saint Paul --------14 of 15-------- Reviewing Michael Parenti's Democracy For the Few part 2 of 2 By Stephen Lendman Znet July 26, 2007 The Shame of the Mass Media That's A Mess Corporate giants rule the nation, the world and the nation's dominant means of communicating to the people through the mass media using public airwaves and the large print publications they control. In that capacity, they're the nation's thought control police gatekeepers filtering in information they want reported and suppressing what's hostile to state and corporate interests. Today, they're more able than ever to do it. Since 1983, the number of corporations controlling most newspapers, magazines, book publishers, movie studios, and electronic media shrunk from 50 to six global media Goliaths - Time Warner, Disney, General Electric, Viacom, Germany-based Bertelsmann, and Rupert Murdock's News Corporation. Add to them cable giant Comcast and it's a not so "magnificent seven." Their owners decide what's aired and what isn't and news reporters, commentators and so-called pundits know the rules. If someone forgets, they'll end up in newspaper Siberia reporting obits or on TV off-camera at best, not on it. Those playing by the rules aren't cheated, however, even though they cheat us. On TV especially, many earn handsome salaries, good benefits and lucrative speaking engagements and book deals. Lying for the state and corporate bosses pays well. It's why the queue is long with many in it awaiting their chance for a big payday. Those of conscience and progressive leanings need not apply. Few get space in print or on-air except as setup patsies matched against hoards of conservative ideologues preaching wars are good and corporations free to pillage and plunder will make the world safe for democracy. Their job is to spread the "proper" message that excludes lots of ugliness harmful to ordinary people they ignore. There is hope, however, and it shows up in alternate media spaces - on progressive web sites, like the one you're on now, and on small and independent radio and some TV in cities throughout the country where this writer airs a weekly "News and Information Hour" that tells the truth in-depth with noted guests. They need support and space to grow, and that's where the listening public comes in. They and we also need to join the struggle to save the last frontier of press freedom - to preserve Net Neutrality and keep this space out of predatory corporate media hands that want to control. They can't be allowed to get it nor will they if enough people-power unites to prevent it. At stake is what remains of a free, open and independent media. We can't afford to lose it to corporate giants wanting to take away what belongs to us. Our Corrupted Electoral Process It almost understates the problem saying our "electoral process is in need of serious rescue and repair." In large measure, it's on life-support barely hanging on and is now little more than theater in a nominal democracy serving the privileged alone. They make the rules in a dominant two-party duopoly, effectively keep out interloper alternative choices. While differences between both sides exist, on one issue they're united. They're both committed to waging imperial wars for predatory corporate capital's right to exploit workers, gain new markets, control the world's resources, and rule it without challenge. Unless that changes, whichever party wins elections won't matter. Neither one will serve popular interests, only privileged ones. Our electoral system is structured to make it near impossible for both dominant parties to lose to a third party surprise. We have "winner take all" elections artificially magnifying major parties' strengths. Whichever party gets a plurality of votes (even if not a majority) wins 100% representation so parties on the short end getting lesser vote totals in congressional districts get no representation for their supporters. If we had a proportional representation system, it would be different as party representation would match the percent of votes it won. Redistricting, as a function of decennial reapportionment, rigs the system as well especially when its most extreme gerrymandering method is used to maximize party strength in how district lines are drawn. Then there's the issue of campaign funding and where most of it comes from. It's not from the public supporting people-oriented candidates. It's from powerful corporate donors for candidates supporting their interests, and the amounts contributed are huge. They're in unrestricted soft money amounts to parties and evasions of the $5000 limit per candidate by donating in names of other family members, relatives, staff, the corner grocer or anyone else for the multi-millions needed for federal and many state elections today. All donations come with strings. We all know what they are and what's expected of winning candidates. Then there's the issue of who gets to vote most people thought was settled long ago, but tell that to adult citizens in poor black and Latino districts and they'll say otherwise. Many are peremptorily stricken from the rolls the way many black voters in Florida were cheated in the 2000 elections. The same thing goes on in many states, it's illegal, but it happens anyway, and if discovered ex post facto it's too late to matter - case closed. In addition, 4.5 million Americans can't vote because of past criminal records, or they're currently in prison. Then there's the issue of election theft in a nation where foxes now guard the henhouse under a system of privatized elections with more than 80% of 2004 votes cast and counted on corporate-owned electronic voting machines. Three Republican-supporting large corporations own, program, operate and count the votes using machines with no paper ballot receipts. The process makes it impossible to verify vote totals through recounts that will only produce the first total gotten, real or corrupted. It also makes a mockery of free, fair and open elections. The process now is secretive and unreliable run by private interests with everything to gain if their candidates win. Based on clear evidence, that's exactly what's happening and will continue to until these machines are banned and independent civil servants run elections free from outside interference and do it with paper ballots counted by hand and saved. The way elections are run now, it's easy rigging the outcomes threatening to make our two-party monopoly "an even worse one-party tyranny" the way it's been under George Bush Republican rule with Democrat complicity helping out. The Best Congress Money Can Buy with Its Members Having Plenty of Their Own Parenti explains our founders created a system of checks and balances by separating government into executive, legislative and judicial branches, even though the idea sounded better than it actually was. Today it's barely noticeable with two branches overtly supporting the chief executive's right to do as he pleases with no effective check on his power or lawlessness. One reason is because of who gets to Congress and the courts. They're mostly plutocracy members in good standing there to take care of their own. Half of Senate members are millionaires, and one critic believes the lower body is more "a House of Lords" than a House of Representatives. They're connected in an incestuous relationship with business and high-powered influence peddling lobbyists offering "succulent campaign contributions, fat lecture fees, easy-term loans (sometimes forgotten), pre-paid vacation jaunts, luxury resorts, four-star restaurants," choice seats at major sporting events and other monetary and other inducements for easily corrupted officials quick to sell their votes and integrity for the office they want to win and hold onto. It's all legal so long as explicit promises aren't made in exchange for money or monetary favors. Even when they are, few offenders are caught with exceptions like lobbyist vJack Abramoff and Representative Duke Cunningham and others long forgotten in the past. The scoundrels come from Congress, the administration, states, police and one vice-president.....so far. Richard Nixon got off by resigning and getting Gerald Ford to pardon him as part of a shameless deal likely struck in advance with a willing seeker of the nation's highest office. So did Ronald Reagan for the Iran-Contra scandal and his vice-president, GHW Bush. Future judgment awaits the son for his crimes, far exceeding the father's that alone were pretty egregious as part of the Bush crime family's way of operating and, so far, getting off scott free. It makes it hard imagining legislators will hold him or others accountable that's made no easier by the way Congress is structured. It's in about 20 standing committees, numerous subcommittees and chairmen of each with enough influence to make or block things from happening unless they goes against congressional consensus. So deals like NAFTA, "welfare reform," and the 1996 telecom giveaway were pretty much baked in the cake, and no committee chairman dared try blocking them. Parenti explains how the "legislative labyrinth" affects the work of Congress, how staggered Senate terms of office blunt sweeping sentiment changes, and how the very structure of Congress keeps it conservative and supportive of privilege, not the electorate. He notes "legislative democracy (is) under siege," held virtual hostage by "the entire corporate social order" with its control of the nation's wealth, mass media, and whole network of powerful figures working for its interests. Under Republican/Bush neocon rule, it's even worse today from "reactionary forces within the legislature itself." Secrecy prevails, public interest is discarded, the rule of law is what the chief executive says it is, and free, open and fair elections are an illusion under a system where wealth and power choose the candidates and often determine who wins before voters go to the polls. Hail to the Chief Executive Along with his other roles as chief executive and commander in chief, the president is also the lead "promoter and guardian of global corporate capitalism," not democracy as we're made to believe. In this capacity, he surrounds himself with a coterie of corporate leaders and advisors from industry, Wall Street and other key areas of business with a dog in the fight to keep the world safe for capital. Another key presidential role is being the nation's "chief liar." It involves preaching restraint while supporting extremes, saying tax cuts benefit ordinary people when they're earmarked for the rich and corporate giants, professing to be a peacemaker while preparing for war, and claiming to be an education president and friend of the earth while slashing funding for both to give big handouts to corporate friends who don't care about societal betterments. Parenti covers much more in this section including "a loaded Electoral College" overriding the popular vote when the two disagree and individual Electors free to vote against the candidate "to whom they had been pledged." He also notes how presidents today are "would-be kings." They usurp powers far beyond what the Constitution allows like taking the nation to war when its Article I arrogates that authority solely to Congress. He freely uses executive privilege as well through executive orders, signing statements, emergency war powers and more that for George Bush means claiming "unitary executive" authority (unmentioned in the Constitution) to ignore the law and do as he pleases. Parenti sums it up saying "executive power....advances the process of 'free-market' capital accumulation." Whoever occupies the White House, there won't "be much progressive change from the top....unless there is also mass social unrest and mobilization for fundamental reforms at the (grassroots) base. Until then, presidents will pursue their prerogatives and their (imperial) wars." [The logical conclusion of capitalism is fascism. -ed] Bureaucracy in American Politics Bureaucracy exists in all parts of society, public and private, but the government kind we're told is inefficient and should be minimized. It's so private interests can run everything because they supposedly do it better. Baloney. Unmentioned is private interests represent themselves, not society. That's why we need government in place serving everyone in ways private business won't because doing it hurts profits. The record makes the case. HMOs and other health insurance providers love healthy customers but discard the seriously ill; privatized, unregulated water and other utilities gouge their customers as much as they can get away with; and government-run Social Security is the most effective of all retirement programs for most people compared to private pension plan promises made and now abandoned by growing numbers of companies to save money. Government also does what private business can't or won't like running the "much maligned post office" delivering first class mail anywhere in the country for 41 cents an ounce. It used to run a more efficient military until it privatized services in it, including 100,000 hugely overpaid paramilitary mercenaries, not the 30,000 phony number told the public. The changes accomplish nothing besides running up a big bill for taxpayers in a massively bloated and growing military budget that includes tens of billions off the books and mostly out of sight. Much is done secretly with Congress helping administrations wage illegal wars, practice malfeasance and get away with all of it untouched because they're all in on the schemes. It ends up breeding a culture of unaccountability, waste, corruption, lawlessness, and no one's the wiser unless something important slips out by mistake. When it comes from whisleblowers, they're condemned and threatened making coming forward honorably a risk to their careers or worse in an atmosphere where dissent means supporting terrorism. Parenti also explains how watchdog agencies like FDA, FCC, EPA, OSHA and others protect the industries they're supposed to monitor and regulate more than ever. So FCC supports further industry consolidation; EPA ignores dirty air, polluted groundwater and global warming; and FDA allows untested drugs and unsafe foods to be sold to consumers. These and other watchdog agencies promote profits, not the public interest or safety, and they're staffed by corporate foxes guarding our henhouse. Public authority is also placed in private hands with federal lands, forests, water and other resources given to corporate interests. Then there's the so-called Federal Reserve System created in 1913 by Congress through one of their most outrageous and disastrous pieces of legislation ever, robbing the public welfare to enrich greedy bankers. The System is a privately-owned for profit enterprise, not a government-run one as most people falsely believe. It illegally gave bankers authority Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution arrogates solely to Congress - the power to create and control the nation's money supply they use to charge government interest on its own money. In its near-94 year existence, this banking cartel pulled off the largest ever financial heist in world history by far. The Federal Reserve Act gave private bankers power to transfer wealth from government to profiteers with the public paying for it through taxes. In a 2006 article titled "Dirty Secrets of the Temple," this writer explained how they did it, how the system works, and the horrific consequences. In it was mentioned what Parenti covers as well about Jack Kennedy's displeasure with the scheme that may have cost him his life. He wanted to end the Federal Reserve System to eliminate the national debt central bankers create by printing public money and loaning it to the government. On June 4, 1963, he issued presidential order EO 11110 giving the president authority to issue currency and ordered the US Treasury to print $4 billion worth of silver-backed "United States (Treasury) Notes" notes for starters replacing Federal Reserve (banking cartel) ones. Months later he was dead, and Lyndon Johnson rescinded his order. Abraham Lincoln met the same fate that may have resulted from his getting Congress to pass the Legal Tender Act in 1862. It empowered the US Treasury to issue paper money called "greenbacks" so the government had it own money for the Civil War and didn't have to pay greedy bankers 24 - 36% interest they demanded for loans Lincoln needed. Right after the war ended, Lincoln was assassinated, the so-called Greenback law was rescinded shortly thereafter, and a new national banking act was passed making all money interest-bearing again. The US "Supremes" Parenti calls the Supreme Court an "aristocratic branch" of government as its member are appointed, serve for life and have great power for good or ill. They're also well paid and "enjoy expensive gifts and lavish trips paid for by corporations and other affluent interests" courting influence and getting it. High Court justices most always side with corporate America, and their decisions show it. Today, it's more obvious than ever with Court ideology conservative to reactionary (no liberals among them) in support of business and authoritarian government. But even well into the New Deal era in the 1930s, "the Supreme Court was the activist bastion of laissez-faire capitalism" that White House and public pressure finally changed by 1937 to get the Court to accept New Deal legislation. Parenti explains how High Courts "opposed restrictions on capitalist power (overall), but supported restrictions on the civil liberties of persons who agitated against that power." In the past and now, "the Court treated the allegedly pernicious quality of a radical idea as evidence of its lethal efficacy and as justification for its suppression." So it was possible to convict communists or socialists under the Smith Act even though they only advocated a different economic system, not the forcible overthrow of the government that would be a crime. Dissenting ideas and beliefs are lawful under the First Amendment's right of free expression, but often in the past and now people exercising their constitutional right pay a stiff price, and Supreme and other courts go along. Parenti points out "the threat of revolution in the United States has never been as real or harmful as the measures taken to 'protect' us from revolutionary ideas.... The real danger comes from those at the top who would insulate us from 'unacceptable' viewpoints. No idea is as dangerous as the force that seeks to repress it." When the nation's courts are part of that force, freedom is a nominally democratic state is on shaky ground. Parenti explains the High Court reflects "the climate of the times and....the political composition of the justices" although most often the Court leans to the right supporting the corporate state and conservative issues. It reflects its ideology in its decisions and by the cases it chooses to hear or not hear. The Warren Court was an exception ruling for the first time ever "repeatedly on behalf of the less affluent" on civil liberties, reapportionment of legislative districts, and extending the "economic rights of the poor." The Court ended state prohibitions against interracial marriage and rendered its landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 ruling "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" that was a first step toward ending racially separated schools it took until the 1960s to move forward on. Parenti continued saying post-Warren Courts reverted to form leaning "mostly in a rightward direction" on a variety of crucial issues he lists and discusses like: -- abortion and gender discrimination making positive and negative rulings; -- affirmation action and civil rights making it harder to prove discrimination; -- criminal justice weakening Miranda rights, giving child abusers more rights than their victims, weakening unreasonable searches and seizures and much more; -- the death penalty with the High Court reinstating it in 1976 but "pruning" it down thereafter; -- economic inequality by upholding laws reducing welfare aid and other rulings against the disadvantaged; -- the electoral system that was highlighted in Bush v. Gore ruling against the candidate who won and awarding it (as it turned out) to the loser; -- executive power, granting more of it to the president; -- labor and the corporate economy ruling often for business and against working Americans; -- the separation of church and state with the Court disregarding the First Amendment to rule for religious organizations' exemptions to taxation and much more in violation of the Constitution at a time Christian hard right extremists wield enormous influence over state policy. Parenti's book was published in March, 2007 before the current Court's June rulings came down, but he surely would have commented on them had he known in time. Overall, the Court affirmed how hard line it is confirming what progressives feared most about it. Call it a muscular move to the right on fundamental issues of free expression, abortion rights and more. One decision was a 5 - 4 ruling with the Court allowing the political process to become even more corrupted by corporate money by allowing ads mentioning specific candidates to appear in the immediate days before an election. It means funding an electoral campaign just went up exponentially so lesser or poorly funded candidates have even less of a chance to win. In another decision, hypocritically, it curtailed the free expression rights of public school children because they said things the Court didn't like. Even more troubling was the effective gutting of the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision affirming segregated public schools denied "Negro children the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment." The reactionary Roberts Court disagreed 5 - 4 saying instead public schools can't seek to achieve or maintain integration through measures taking explicit account of a student's race. The decision angered conservative Justice Breyer enough to emotionally denounce it in a 20 minute statement from the bench calling it a "radical" step and "It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much." Justice Stevens bristled as well saying it was "a cruel irony (that the opinion) rewrites the history of one of this court's most important decisions (and) no member of (the 1975 Court he joined) would have agreed with (it)." One other disturbing trend was the Court's placing limits on plaintiffs' ability to bring suits or appeal them. It bothered Yale Law School Professor Judith Resnik enough to label the just-ended term "the year they closed the courts." Parenti would be bothered, too, although his book stresses Courts reflect the political climate of the times and notes justices not only read the Constitution but also newspapers. When, like today, the Court and president are "militantly conservative" and Congress is complicit, justices can be inordinately activist siding against the public interest. Since they have life tenure, their jobs are secure, and the dominant media hushes up their abuses. Parenti suggests a way to "trim judicial adventurism is to end life tenure for federal judges," including those on the High Court. However, a constitutional amendment is needed to do it, and that's extremely hard to get. Democracy for the Few in America In our "pluralistic democracy," most government policies favor the privileged and work against the great majority of ordinary people. The result is social inequities and injustices prevail, civil liberties are fast disappearing, the rich get richer, the middle class is eroding, poverty and human needs are growing, and our government and dominant media say we live in the best of all possible countries in the best of all possible worlds in the USA. The preceding chapters dispelled that notion in disturbing detail so there's no confusion how things really are, and rosy characterizations won't change anything for most of us. With all its faults, its defenders say "democratic capitalism" (an oxymoron) evolved through gradual reform. Though true at times, most often an unempowered unmobilized public is no match for the power of corporate capital with government and the military allied with it. Parenti asks: -- "How can we speak of the US politico-economic system (reflecting) the democratic will?" -- What democratic mandate directed government to transfer wealth from the people to the rich; -- to lavish huge subsidies on corporate giants; -- to fight imperial wars for greater corporate profit-making opportunities; -- to endanger our environment; -- to serve the privileged alone at the expense of all others it shows contempt for; -- to roll back democracy when there's too much of it so there's only enough for the privileged few. Unless and until that changes America the Beautiful will, in fact, be George Bush's ugly America for most of us. As Parenti says in summing up, it's "no mystery what needs to be done to bring us to a more equitable and democratic society" citing specifics like: -- aid needy farmers, not rich agribusiness; -- promote conservation and ecological restoration; -- promote efficient mass transit, not inefficient polluting autos, one-fourth of which now are gas-guzzling, hugely greenhouse gas-emitting, road hogging, behemoth, dangerous SUVs no one knew they needed until Madison Avenue geniuses convinced millions they couldn't live without them; -- reintroduce a fair progressive tax system and eliminate benefits only the rich get; -- restore trust-busting and break up the corporate giants; promote the notion that small and local are good and big and global bad; -- abolish the banking cartel-owned Federal Reserve so the government can print and circulate its own money and not have to pay private predators interest on it; -- end powerful monied interests controlling the electoral process; promote public financing supporting all candidates; abolish the Electoral College and our winner take all system; abolish electronic voting and reintroduce paper ballots counted by hand by civil servants running elections; grant the District of Columbia statehood and full representation in Congress. -- establish a minimum livable wage and guaranteed income for the indigent; -- promote full employment and the right to organize and bargain on equal terms with management; -- institute abandoned or reduced social services starting with those most important and for those in greatest need but made available to everyone; -- guarantee quality national health and dental care for all and care for the elderly and indigent; -- establish free education for everyone to the highest levels; -- pay for it by ending imperial wars and promoting peace, slashing bloated military and homeland security budgets, closing hundreds of unneeded foreign-based military installations and most at home, ending expensive weapons systems development, and cutting the size of the military to levels needed for homeland defense, not imperial adventurism. -- end gender, racial, ethnic and religious discrimination and criminal justice inequities; -- abolish the CIA, NSA and other secretive, hugely expensive, roguish spy agencies operating outside the law no democratic state should allow; abolish DHS that functions as a national Gestapo; -- return the public airwaves to its rightful owner - the public and open then up fully to all views on all issues with no corporate or government censorship; -- enable seniors, the poor and disabled to have a minimum living income adjusted for inflation with an equitable Social Security program for everyone paid for by a progressively fair tax system, not the regressive payroll tax one now in place letting the rich off the hook by burdening average and low-wage earners; -- establish public ownership over the major means of production in a true social democracy. Market forces only work for the ones controlling them assuring they benefit by exploiting most others. That's not a radical idea. It's plain fact. Parenti concludes saying "Our goal should be an egalitarian, communitarian, environmentally conscious, democratic socialism (or real social democracy), with a variety of participatory and productive forms, offering both security and democracy" for everyone, not just the few the way it is now. "There is nothing sacred about the existing system." Having failed the many, it should be replaced by an alternative one that works for everyone. It can happen with a "fundamental change (to) widespread organizing not only around particular issues but for a movement" for sweeping democratic change. Perhaps the time will come, Parenti says, as it did in the past, "when those who (today) seem invincible will be shaken from their pinnacles" and revealed to have feet of clay when disrobed and exposed to the light of day. We'll all then see they represented "democracy for the few," not the rest of us, but their day is past and replaced by a new social order for everyone. That can happen if enough people believe it and mobilize effectively to get it. A later Parenti edition could then be called "The End of Democracy for the Few - How the Many Triumphed Over the Privileged." Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on The MicroEffect.com Saturdays at noon US central time. Authors Website: http://www.sjlendman.blogspot.com Authors Bio: I am a 72 year old, retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them. --------15 of 15-------- J Skylar Newport - his haiku I know what - I'll stuff gold coins up my butt! stuff unnhhh stufff unnnhhhh stuffff unnnnhhhhh glut! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.