Progressive Calendar 08.01.07
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.