Progressive Calendar 08.20.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2007 01:39:57 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    08.20.07

1. Bush here/protest 8.21 1pm
2. Health/SenMarty   8.21 7pm
3. Impeach for peace 8.21 7pm

4. Transit/KFAI      8.22 11am
5. Transit hearing   8.22 5:30pm

6. NWN4P NewHope     8.23 4:30pm
7. Eagan peace vigil 8.23 4:30pm
8. Northtown vigil   8.23 5pm
9. Impeach!          8.23 7pm

10. Saul Landau   - The FBI in peace and war: still the same
11. Ralph Nader   - Here come the corporate bailouts
12. Cindy Sheehan - Collateral damage: Bethena
13. Dave Lindorff - US military aid to Israel tops $30 billion
14. John Pilger   - Iran-Contra death squad desperate to discredit Chavez
15. PC Roberts    - Offshoring and free market ideology
16. ed            - Capitalism 101  {poem)

--------1 of 16--------

Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 14:39:44 -0600
Subject: Bush here/protest 8.21 1pm

Bryant Lake Protest Picnic

In the late afternoon of this coming Tuesday, August 21, George W Bush
will be the honored guest at a fundraising reception for Senator Norm
Coleman at the home of William and Tani Austin at 6641 Beach Road, on the
west shore of Bryant Lake, in Eden Prairie, MN.

Have you received your invitation? Perhaps not and perhaps just as well.
It costs $1,000 per person to get in the door. If you want a photo-op with
W, it will cost you $10,000 per couple at the co-host level, or you can go
for the host level at $14,000 per couple. This party is not being
organized for ordinary citizens such as you and me. The press is not
invited, either. As W once said to a similarly ritzy dinner gathering,
"This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores. Some people
call you the elites; I call you my base."

WEEP NOT! WE, THE PEOPLE, CAN HAVE A VERY IMPOSING PRESENCE AT THIS PARTY.
WE ARE PLANNING A BRING-YOUR-OWN-LUNCH PICNIC within sight and hearing of
W's party. Relative to Bush's party, we will be on the other side of a
very small stretch of water at the north end of the puddle of water called
Bryant Lake. We will be at Bryant Lake Regional Park. This park has a
public beach, a public boat launch, a picnic area, and a concession where
rowboats, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats can be rented out. It is a small
park, so there will probably be no problem finding each other. We will
probably gather at the dock near the public launch. From there, it is only
a few hundred yards across open water to the $3,000,000 Austin mansion.
BRING LARGE SIGNS and BANNERS, and what other media devices you have to
get your messages to Bush and Coleman. If you want to fly an anti war
kite, I will have a few on hand to lend out for the occasion.

 The official invitation for W's elite base says:
 Doors open at 2:30 PM
 Doors close at 3:15 PM
 Photo opportunity at 3:45 PM
 Reception begins at 4:15 PM

THE PEOPLE - THAT'S US - SHOULD GET TO BRYANT LAKE REGIONAL PARK AS EARLY
AS POSSIBLE. Experience has taught us that traffic gets blocked and
snarled at the time of the event for a miles wide area near the site. It
is helpful to get situated BEFORE the security people get set up. I would
say, try to get there by 1 PM. Then you can just hang out and party for a
while before the real fun begins. I will be there at least by noon, maybe
even 11AM.

Directions: From Minneapolis go west on hywy 394 or hywy 7 or whatever to
494. 494 runs north and south through the western suburbs. Find the
junction of 494 and Crosstown hywy #62. Go east on 62 to Shady Oak Road.
(Or, a shorter way from south Minneapolis is to just take crosstown 62
west to Shady Oak Road.) Then go south on Shady Oak Road to Old Shady Oak
Road. Go West on Old Shady Oak Road to Cherokee Trail West. Take a right
on Cherokee Trail West to Rowland Road. Somewhere along Rowland Road near
this intersection you will see a sign leading to the west for Bryant Lake
Regional Park.

During the afternoon of Aug 21, only, I will have my cell phone turned on.
The number is 612-805-9077. If last minute problems turn up with our plan
we can talk. Another number you could call is 202-321-0877. This is Leah
Olm's cell phone. Leah is with an organization called Iraq Summer. She and
her group plan to be at Bryant Lake Park to protest, also. Her group is
coordinating their plans with us. Leah can also be reached at
612-419-2570. Her email address is minnesota5 [at] iraqsummer.org
<mailto:minnesota5 [at] iraqsummer.org>

At this point, we do not have a coherent back-up plan. If you have
questions or ideas regarding this event call or write to:

Roger Cuthbertson 952-474-2476,
rojo [at] visi.com <mailto:rojo [at] visi.com>
Pass the word. Wage peace.


--------2 of 16--------

From: joel albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org>
From: Ginny Gleason <isaiah [at] isaiah-mn.org>
Subject: Health/SenMarty 8.21 7pm

WE INVITE YOU TO ATTEND THIS INTERACTIVE FORUM ON HEALTH CAREsponsored by
the ISAIAH Health Care Committee.  You will be given opportunities to ask
questions and to dialogue.  (ISAIAH Caucus leaders, please share this
flyer with members of your core teams.)

"The Political Context of Health Care Reform" with Senator John Marty
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.  Grace University Lutheran
Church 324 Harvard St SE Minneapolis, Minnesota(Just South of SE
Washington Ave. on the University of MN Campus. We will have discounted
($2) parking ramp rate in case our Lot AA (free) fills up.)

Senator John Marty is dedicated to the people of Minnesota. He has
carefully analyzed the problems with our present health care system. He is
very familiar with the political tensions that surround proposals for real
change in the system. He is developing a vision for Minnesota health care,
a vision that provides an opportunity for real change in the system;
change that has the potential to benefit all Minnesotan's. We will be
asking Senator Marty to discuss his personal experience with reform, his
present vision and how we can work together to make our vision his
reality.

The issue of health care, health care reform and healthy communities is of
interest to many people in ISAIAH. People from throughout ISAIAH have been
meeting monthly since February. We have been discussing the issue of
health and health care from our world view perspective. We have also been
conducting research visits with community leaders so that we may learn
more about how to influence this process.

ISAIAH, 2720 E 22nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406, 612-333-1260, [LINK:
http://editor.ne16.com/etapestry/rd.asp?desturl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gamalial.org%2Fisaiah&name=Link2&tapMemberId=27221&tapMailingId=17966]
www.gamalial.org/isaiah


--------3 of 16--------

From: Impeach <lists [at] impeachforpeace.org>
Subject: Impeach for peace 8.21 7pm

Impeach for Peace
We meet Tuesdays at 7pm at Joe's Garage (Restaurant along Loring Park)
1610 Harmon Pl Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 904-1163


--------4 of 16--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com>
Subject: Transit/KFAI 8.22 11am

The 35W Bridge collapse changed everything in Minnesota transportation
policy. Mayor Rybak wants a new bridge to accommodate transit options. What
does that mean for the Central Corridor light rail line?

The Washington Ave. bridge was supposed to carry the new trains to the West
Bank is structurally deficient. Engineers say it cant happen without a
rebuild. Who will pay for this additional cost?

St. Paul will impose a special overlay district to control development along
the corridor. What does it mean to business and residents along the route?

Met council chair Peter Bell and his staff keep saying that the lines route
and station configuration is essentially cast in stone, unless changes lower
costs, not raise them. Others dont believe it for a minute.

Most of the 42-member Central Corridor Community Advisory Committee members
are uneasy  telling the Met Council they expect their conversations about
community impacts of the present proposal to improve access and services.
Just what do they think should happen? And is the advisory process a shell
game to keep challenges contained?

LISTEN WEDNESDAY, August 22 @ 11:00 AM:

KFAI, FM 90.3 in Minneapolis, 106.7 in St. Paul, AND streaming live at
<http://www.KFAI.org/> (Call in with questions and comments:
612-341-0980).

August 22 @ 11:00 AM: TTTs Andy Driscoll and guest co-host, Minneapolis
writer Lynnell Mickelsen will update listeners on the status of the Central
Corridor light rail project, talking line and development issues with

 Denise Fosse, Goodwill/Easter Seals and Central Corridor Community
Advisory Committee (CCCAC) member.
 Metric Giles, Aurora St. Anthony CDC, CCCAC member; fmr co-chair,
University Avenue Community Coalition (UACC)
 Jim Erkel of the MN Center for Environmental Advocacy, member of St.
Pauls University Ave. Central Corridor Development Task Force (CCDTF), and
member UACC Steering Committee
 Russ Adams, Executive Director of the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
(talking about community benefits agreements [CBAs]).
 Anne White, Vice President of District Councils Collaborative of St. Paul
& Minneapolis, member of CCCAC and the CCDTF.

The alphabet soup notwithstanding, these are key leaders in securing
community empowerment in building and operating the Central Corridor LRT
line as well as the economic and physical development expected to come with
it.

[Contrary to what I imagine is Driscoll's view, I think LRT is a disaster
- good for big boxes, chains, developers, TIF-grifters; bad for small
business and communities. -ed]

Andy Driscoll, Producer/Host Wednesdays at 11:00 AM KFAI Radio, 90.3
Minneapolis/106.7 St. Paul 651-293-9039 / Fax: (same, call ahead) / Cell:
651-492-2221 email: andy [at] driscollgroup.com


--------5 of 16--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com>
Subject: Transit hearing 8.22 5:30pm

Minnesota State Senate
The Senate Transit Subdivision and House Transportation Policy and Transit
Subcommittee will be holding a joint public hearing on the reconstruction
of the I-35W Bridge over the Mississippi River on Wednesday, August 22,
2007. The hearing will be in Pohlad Hall S-280 in the Minneapolis Central
Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, from 5:30-9:00pm.  Officials from Mn/DOT will
provide a brief presentation. The balance of the hearing is reserved for
citizen testimony on their ideas, views, and suggestions for a new bridge.


--------6 of 16-------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P NewHope 8.23 4:30pm

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


--------7 of 16--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.23 4:30pm

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


--------8 of 16--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.23 5pm

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

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

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


--------9 of 16--------

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Impeach! 8.23 7pm

"Impeachment - Diversion or Essential for the Future Health of Our
Democratic Republic?" Mikael Rudolph

Thursday August 23, 7:00 p.m. Brookdale Library, Room C, 6125 Shingle
Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center. Mikael Rudolph is with ImpeachforPeace.org
and speaks on the topic impeachment, its possibility and its necessity.

Free and open to the public. Sponsored by: Northwest Neighbors for Peace.
FFI: Call Mark Viste, 763-503-8718 or email <nwn4p [at] yahoo.com>.


--------10 of 16-------

Still the Same
The FBI in Peace and War
By SAUL LANDAU
CounterPunch
August 18 / 19, 2007

When I read a news story about the FBI "taking cues from the CIA to
recruit thousands of covert informants in the United States as part of a
sprawling effort to boost its intelligence capabilities," (ABCNews.com
July 25) I had a deja vu experience.

As a kid, I listened to the radio show "The FBI in Peace and War," in
which the Bureau always got its man and whose Agents operated under strict
codes of decency. In the 1960s, "The FBI" morphed to television. Toward
the end of each episode, Inspector Erskine, the heroic FBI Agent, played
by Efrem Zimbalist Jr., would show photos of "the most wanted criminals"
and ask the TV public to become informers to help capture them - like
America's Most Wanted today. Coincidentally, the TV FBI agents and the bad
guys drove new Fords. Coincidentally, Ford sponsored the show. J. Edgar
Hoover, who directed the FBI for 48 years until he died in 1972, approved
the script for every episode.

My father corroborated the real messages of both programs: "Don't screw
around with the FBI. They're powerful and hate Bolsheviks." (He referred
to his own childhood in Kiev when the Tsarist secret police went after the
Reds. His experiences in "the old country" led him to try to scare me away
from activities that might bring me into conflict with any form of
police.)

He was generally correct in his assessment. As a kid growing up in the
Bronx, I recall the patrol car screeching to a halt during stickball
games. The cops would jump from the car, grab our stick and break it in
half. This proved more of a deterrent to continuing our game than the
droppings of the fruit and vegetable man's horse, which inevitably fell on
third base (a manhole cover).

In eighth grade I went into Manhattan to sell pennants and flags during a
Thanksgiving Day parade. An oversized cop threw me into the paddy wagon
along with two other hopeful vendors and my board full of supplies --
until the parade ended. I had neglected - I subsequently discovered - to
pay the proper toll to the police that vendors had to cough up before the
cops granted you their "license" to sell at the parade.

In 1952, we Stuyvesant high school students marched in sympathy with
striking teachers. As we arrived at City Hall the Cossacks charged. The
cops on horses swung clubs at students. One cop grabbed the school
newspaper's photographer camera and tossed the Leica under his horse,
which trod on it.

In 1954, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily Cardinal, the
University of Wisconsin Student Newspaper. I argued the campus left youth
group deserved the right to bring Communist speakers to campus. It got
published and the Bureau opened a file on me. From then on, the FBI
collected my public and private correspondence, tapped my phone and had
informants writing reports about my activity. A typical phone intercept
reported that "subject spoke with father" and detailed my plans to travel
with my family from San Francisco to Santa Monica. Then, "subject appeared
at father's house and was seen talking with father through window. Topic
of conversation unknown."

How depressing to receive in 1974 1000 plus pages of my file after making
a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Hundreds of blacked out pages
stared at me along with public statements I'd made and articles I'd
written - including transcripts from informants and telephone intercepts.

The CIA also collected files. In 1982, in response to an FOIA request, the
Agency sent me copies of letters I had written to and received from
friends in the Soviet Union and Cuba. From the 1950s on, the CIA spied on
thousands of US citizens. In June 1970, President Nixon brought together
Hoover, CIA Director Richard Helms and other intelligence heavies to
expand and "coordinate efforts against domestic dissenters," (Verne Lyon,
former CIA undercover operative, Covert Action Information Bulletin,
Summer 1990.)

The FBI's COINTELPRO (1956-1971) became public thanks to a mysterious
group that in August 1971 stole the files from the FBI Media, Pennsylvania
office and circulated them. The archives provided a context for the
Bureau's and its obsessed director's intentions: disrupting opposition
within the United States. Proven non-violent civil rights leaders like
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. along with thousands of others became targets
of FBI surveillance and harassment. Indeed, the COINTELPRO order directed
FBI agents to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise
neutralize" actions of certain key leaders of anti-war and civil rights
movements.

In 1971, I co-produced with Paul Jacobs a ten minute segment for "The
Great American Dream Machine," a Public TV magazine show in which three
former FBI informants spoke on camera that they had followed orders by
their Special Agent handlers to commit crimes: burn down University of
Alabama dormitories and bomb a Post Office and bridge in Seattle. The
stolen documents verified our claim that FBI "informants" often served as
"agent provocateurs."

We invited an FBI spokesperson to rebut our charges. The Bureau refused.
Instead, a high FBI official visited the head of Public Broadcasting and
told him our segment was communist inspired. The brave head of public
television cut it from the show, which ran ten minutes shorter that week.
Other producers, in solidarity with us, refused to offer a segment to fill
it up. Subsequently, the New York public TV station aired the segment
wrapped inside of a panel. (The Bureau got our show cut, but never found
the burglars who stole the incriminating files.)

In a similar case, "The Camden 28," Catholic activists broke into a draft
board in Camden, New Jersey in August, 1971 to destroy draft records. A
recent film about the case showed the ineptitude of the Bureau to garner
sufficient evidence - and sympathy from a jury - to convict the accused
even though they were caught in the act.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, the Bureau turned to radical
environmentalists and botched a California case against Judy Bari. The
government paid millions of dollars to compensate victims of the FBI's
unconstitutional acts.

In 1971, Robert Wall, an FBI Special Agent, quit. In a filmed interview,
he told me that in the late 1960s his supervisor in the Washington DC
Field Office ordered him to spy on the Institute for Policy Studies -
where I have been a fellow for thirty plus years - and on Stokely
Carmichael of SNCC and the Black Panthers. "Stokely hadn't committed a
crime, nor did we have any evidence that he planned to commit any. But he
couldn't take a shit without us looking in on him."

The late FBI Special Agent Robert Scherrer told me how humiliating it was
in the late 1960s to visit elderly Jewish grandmothers. "They always
served me tea and cookies. "I hoped my face didn't turn red from
embarrassment." Scherrer, who played a key role in solving the 1976
Letelier-Moffitt assassinations, said "I joined to become part of a
professional police organization, not to spy on old ladies. They may have
believed in Marxism. Big Deal. They also invited me to their grandson's
Bar Mitzvahs."

After years of scandals involving infringement on people's constitutional
rights and unsolved high profile cases - remember the anthrax scare?" --
has the Bureau changed?

In its recent unclassified report to Congress, the FBI anticipates a new
national ring of informants that will provide secrets about terrorists.
Like COINTELPRO, this effort will aid in "intelligence and
counterterrorism efforts."

Bureau officials also propose expanding the already massive collection of
data on U.S. citizens, keeping old wire tape transcriptions, and doing
more "black bag" jobs  break-ins. We know from news stories that the FBI
failed to integrate its data about plans of the 9-11 fiends. It has not
disclosed whether existing telephone taps have led to countering any
terrorist plots. Why would Congress believe that more FBI intrusion into
citizens' lives and more rat finks among the public would make us safer?

According to ABC's "The Blotter," a recent unclassified report told
Congress that the FBI, driven by a 2004 directive from President Bush,
wants to recruit more than 15,000 informants in the US, entailing a
complete overhaul of its database systems at a cost of around $22 million.
The FBI apparently wants to maximize the information provided by "more
than 15,000" informants. Many of the new and old informants will
apparently be U.S. citizens and residents, but the FBI also wants to go
overseas.

As Yogi Berra would say: "it's deja vu all over again." Bush's "new"
initiatives under the guise of fighting terrorism repeat the Palmer Raids
of 1920 - against Bolsheviks - and the Cold War COINTELPRO. The
anti-Bolsheviks are at it again in the very post Bolshevik era. Hey, it's
safer doing surveillance on law abiding citizens than it is trying to
catch hardened criminals!

Saul Landau writes a regular column for CounterPunch and
progresoweekly.com. His new Counterpunch Press book is A BUSH AND BOTOX
WORLD. His new film, WE DON'T PLAY GOLF HERE (on globalization in Mexico)
is available through roundworldproductions [at] gmail.com


--------11 of 16--------

[Money for the master bastards -ed]

Here Come the Corporate Bailouts
Greed and Folly on Wall Street
By RALPH NADER
CounterPunch
August 18 / 19, 2007

The corporate capitalists' knees are shaking a bit. Their manipulation of
the sub-prime housing market has led to a spreading credit crunch and
liquidity crisis. So it is time for them to call on Uncle Sam - the all
purpose bailout man.

Only don't call it a bailout yet. It is just an injection of over $200
billion in the past week to stabilize the heaving financial markets by the
European Central Bank and our Federal Reserve. Governments to the
rescue - again.

My father many years ago asked his children during dinner table
conversation: "Why will capitalism always survive?" His answer: "Because
socialism will always be used to save it." As a small businessman himself
(a restaurateur), he was not referring to the little guys on Main Street.
He was talking about the Big Boys. Today, we call these self-paying CEOs
"corporate capitalists."

Central Banks are government regulators after all. Among other impacts,
they regulate interest rates. But they are so saturated with banking
executives or former banking officials on their Boards, Committees and at
the helms, that they see themselves as part and parcel saviors of their
banking brethren.

Brother Henry M. Paulson, formerly with the Goldman-Sachs investment giant
and now U.S. Treasury Secretary just said: "The markets are resilient.
They can absorb those losses. We've gone through challenging times in the
markets, and we will rise to the challenge."

We? Paulson is a government official who is supposed to be worrying about
the people first - such as the millions of homeowners who are slated to
lose their homes in the next 18 months.

How to help these "borrowers, not the wheeler-dealers," as columnist Paul
Krugman described his "workouts, not bailouts" plan in The New York Times
(August 17, 2007) should be Paulson's chief concern.

Secretary Paulson did tell The New York Times that federal regulators
should try to eliminate fraud and market manipulation and that there needs
to be more disclosure of the holdings and actions of hedge funds and other
private pools of capital.

Well, that's talk. Where is the action? Krugman, an economist, believes
that the current real-estate bubble was "both caused and was fed by
widespread malfeasance. Rating agencies like Moody's Investors Service,
which get paid a lot of money for rating mortgage-backed securities,"
seemed to be performing much like the major accounting firms that
rubber-stamped the inflated, deceptive financial statements of the Enrons
and the Worldcoms.

Passing on the risks of these mortgage loans through more and more
complicated financial transactions, which are in turn bet on by the huge
derivatives markets, allows wider transmission of these risk viruses
throughout the national and the global financial markets.

A kind of dominoes effect sets in and induces panic selling and panic
inability to obtain daily commercial loans in the stiffening credit
markets.

The European Central Bank recently has poured tens of billions of Euros
into the global financial system after the giant French bank BNP Paribas
SA froze three of its investment funds.

If matters get worse, the Central Banks will inject more money into the
system. If financial markets start collapsing along with investor
confidence, then Uncle Sam will certainly adopt additional direct bailout
options.

One man - Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, is the lone
central banker who resists intervening in the markets. "Interest rates,"
he asserts, "aren't a policy instrument to protect unwise lenders from the
consequences of their unwise decisions."

Bailing out investors and their risky investments would just induce them
to take on bigger risks next time, expecting another bailout, he believes.

More and more, corporate capitalists in side and beyond the financial
markets do not want to behave as capitalists - willing to take the losses
along with the profits. They want Washington, D.C., meaning you the
taxpayers, to pay for their facilities (as with big time sports stadiums)
or take on their losses because they believe that they are too big to be
allowed to fail (as with large banks or industrial companies).

These corporate capitalists should be exposed when they always say that
government is the problem whenever it moves to help the little guys with
health and safety regulations, for example, but government is wonderful
when the bureaucrats are summoned to perform missions to rescue them from
their own greed and folly.

Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions


--------12 of 16-------

Collateral Damage: Bethena
by Cindy Sheehan
August 19, 2007

Amman, Jordan -- Last month when Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Ray McGovern and I
took over 300 people and a petition with over a million signatures to
Congressman John Conyers (D-Mi, Chair House Judiciary Committee) demanding
impeachment, we believed we were morally correct then. Despite Rep.
Conyers' long record of public service to our nation and several private
meetings that went absolutely nowhere, and despite the mild to severe
criticism we have received, we believed then and still believe now that
impeaching BushCo is a Constitutionally mandated requirement and a
necessary tool to reclaim our representative republic, end the occupations
of Iraq and Afghanistan ("The troops aren't coming home while I'm
preznit," GWB), and to hold the monsters accountable who have wreaked
havoc on our planet.

I believe what we did on July 23rd was the right thing to do because we
are all required to be active participants in our democracy. One of the
reasons that all branches of our government are so out of control, Dems or
Repugs, is that we have been passive voters who have allowed our elected
officials to get away literally with murder for generations. The human
element of "We the People" has been suppressed by the fascist elite and
all but forgotten by an American public that has been lulled into an
uncomfortable apathy by the "vast wasteland" of TV and its byproduct: a
seductive, yet destructive consumerism that has us constantly striving not
only to "keep up with the Joneses," but "smash the Joneses" in our quest
for more, more, more. We have thousands, if not millions of Susie Soccer
moms in their huge SUVs to NASCAR dad Nick watching high performing, gas
guzzling cars go round and round in circles wasting precious oil for our
dubious entertainment, while people are dying, being injured and displaced
and while our troops receive no more support than a yellow magnetic ribbon
on Susie's SUV.

The Rev and I had another dose of reality the other day and our actions in
Conyers' office were confirmed for both of us when we visited Bethena in
al Jazeera hospital in Amman.

An American fired mortar shell hit twenty-eight year old, former Baghdad
resident, Bethena on June 1st of this year. Her husband was also injured
in the abhorrent attack and her mother-in-law and sister-in-law were
killed. Due to lack of medical care at first, Bethena still has a large
hole in her stomach. She was allowed to stay in an American hospital for 7
days, and then told she had to leave. With a smashed arm, broken leg, and
another leg amputated above the knee, Bethena had to make her way to Amman
for medical help with her sister. She laid in her bed gazing at us with
pain-filled, yet very aware eyes and she graciously allowed us to look at
her wounds and record them on film. The entire time we visited with her, I
couldn't help but reflect that Casey would have been the same age as
Bethena just three days before she was mortared, if he hadn't already been
killed not too far from where Bethena and her family were hit.

Besides the incontrovertible fact that Bethena was no threat to the USA
and we are occupying her country illegally and immorally, her hospital
bills are costing the family 750.00 to 1000.00 a day and she still
requires two more surgeries. The family had to sell their home in Baghdad
and is rapidly going through their savings. Bethena's sister told us that
a woman who suffered a heart attack from fright in the same mortar attack
had her bills covered by the US, but we won't cover Bethena's bills
because she was hit by an American bomb!

We are going to the American Embassy here in Jordan to ask the same simple
question: "Why?" Why is the government who harmed her not paying her
bills?" and she is just one of thousands. As the war crimes compound in
Iraq, the resistance heightens and no one wins in "lose-lose" land.

My campaign for Congress' slogan "People Before Politics" is the exact
opposite of what John Conyers told me and my staff in a meeting prior to
the July 23rd sit-in: "It is more important to me (Conyers) to put a
Democrat back in the White House in '08 than to end the war!" (Even if it
is Hillary "If Saddam won't disarm, will we disarm him" Clinton") I can
guarantee him that it is not what's most important to Bethena, the people
of Iraq and the thousands of mothers in our own country who can't sleep at
night, concentrate, eat or do much else for worry of their son or daughter
in Iraq for the lies of BushCo and the criminal complicity of Congress,
Inc.

I wept in John Conyers' office that day as I wept over Bethena and her
plight.

We the People have also failed our soldiers and Bethena and rest of the
innocent citizens of Iraq by allowing the partisan politics of greed and
destruction to hijack our country. I wish every American could peer into
Bethena's eyes and have an epiphany that there are many things more
important than partisan politics as usual. I wish news cameras would show
an American mother falling on the ground screaming in agony for her
needlessly killed child. We see the devastation on Jordanian TV caused in
Northern Iraq where over 500 people were slaughtered yesterday: we need to
see that on our TVs.

Then maybe, just maybe, this monstrosity would end. View Photos of Bethena
http://www.flickr.com/photos/travlnauntie/show/

To help Bethena please go to www.electroniciraq.net and donate at the
"Direct Assistance Initiative."


--------13 of 16--------

US Military Aid to Israel Tops $30 Billion
Tossing Fuel on a Fire
By DAVE LINDORFF
CounterPunch
August 18 / 19, 2007

According to a new Associated Press report, the US is offering Israel a
record $30-billion 10-year military aid package.

Let's ignore for a moment the AP story's irony-free comment that "Under
Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said the package
was meant to back peace-seeking countries like Israel and moderate Arab
states in the region to counter U.S. adversaries such as Iran." (Israel is
a "peace-seeking" country?) We'll just focus on the amount of money that's
being promised here.

Israel is a land of only 6 million people. That works out to about $5000
in arms aid per man, woman and child, and of course, since nearly a third
of the people in Israel are Palestinian, and won't see a penny's (or
bullet's) worth of that aid, it's really closer to $7500 per person. And
remember, this is no basket case nation; this is one of the most
technologically developed and wealthiest countries on earth we're talking
about here.

Looked at another way, this aid to Israel represents a gift of $100 worth
of money and weaponry from every man, woman and child in America to the
people of Israel.

Think about that the next time you are scraping together the money to make
your next mortgage payment or rent check.

Then think about the additional $20 billion that the U.S. is offering to
the so-called "moderate" Arab states around Israel, by which we mean Saudi
Arabia (you know, the country that gave us most of the 9-11 bombers and
that is the prime country of origin of the foreign fighters we hear so
much about in Iraq attacking US troops), Jordan and Egypt. the US has to
offer that military aid if it's going to give weapons to Israel, or risk
losing the friendship of those countries.

So that's $50 billion in weapons aid to a region that is a perpetual
powderkeg. It makes about as much sense as giving a gift of matches and
lighters to a rehab center full of pyromaniacs and convicted arsonists.

Viewed another way, the new military aid to Israel, which represents a 25
percent increase over last year (a reward for Israel's brutal and
pointless invasion of Lebanon, perhaps?), which comes to about $3 billion
per year, is ten times the entire US aid budget to fight AIDS in Africa.

So not only is this aid offer stupid in the extreme, giving Israel no
reason whatsoever to work to achieve some kind of just and abiding
settlement with its neighbors and with the Palestinians inside and outside
its borders, but it's immoral for the reason that it shortchanges those
who really need the aid.

I mean, this military aid to Israel is also equal to or greater than all
US aid to Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean region.

But the news isn't all bad. At least in Latin America and the Caribbean,
Venezuela is picking up the slack (and the rewards in terms of public
acclaim) by providing the aid that the US is skimping on while it
bankrolls Israel's war machine.

Is this how you want your tax dollars used?

Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the
Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns
titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press.
Lindorff's newest book is "The Case for Impeachment",
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff [at] yahoo.com


--------14 of 16--------

The Old Iran-Contra Death Squad Gang
Is Desperate to Discredit Chavez
by John Pilger
Published on Friday, August 17, 2007 by The Guardian/UK

I walked with Roberto Navarrete into the national stadium in Santiago,
Chile. With the southern winter's wind skating down from the Andes, it was
empty and ghostly. Little had changed, he said: the chicken wire, the
broken seats, the tunnel to the changing rooms from which the screams
echoed. We stopped at a large number 28. "This is where I was, facing the
scoreboard. This is where I was called to be tortured".

Thousands of "the detained and the disappeared" were imprisoned in the
stadium following the Washington-backed coup by General Pinochet against
the democracy of Salvador Allende on September 11 1973. For the majority
people of Latin America, the abandonados, the infamy and historical lesson
of the first '9/11' have never been forgotten. "In the Allende years, we
had a hope the human spirit would triumph," said Roberto. "But in Latin
America those believing they are born to rule behave with such brutality
to defend their rights, their property, their hold over society that they
approach true fascism. People who are well-dressed, whose houses are full
of food, bang pots in the streets in protest as though they don't have
anything. This is what we had in Chile 36 years ago. This is what we see
in Venezuela today. It is as if Chavez is Allende. It is so evocative for
me".

In making my film The War on Democracy, I sought the help of Chileans like
Roberto and his family, and Sara de Witt, who courageously returned with
me to the torture chambers at Villa Grimaldi, which she somehow survived.
Together with other Latin Americans who knew the tyrannies, they bear
witness to the pattern and meaning of the propaganda and lies now aimed at
undermining another epic bid to renew both democracy and freedom on the
continent.

The disinformation that helped destroy Allende and give rise to Pinochet's
horrors worked the same in Nicaragua, where the Sandinistas had the
temerity to implement modest, popular reforms. In both countries, the CIA
funded the leading opposition media, although they need not have bothered.
In Nicaragua, the fake martyrdom of La Prensa became a cause for North
America's leading liberal journalists, who seriously debated whether a
poverty-stricken country of 3 million peasants posed a "threat" to the
United States. Ronald Reagan agreed and declared a state of emergency to
combat the monster at the gates. In Britain, whose Thatcher government
"absolutely endorsed" US policy, the standard censorship by omission
applied. In examining 500 articles that dealt with Nicaragua in the early
1980s, the historian Mark Curtis found an almost universal suppression of
the achievements of the Sandinista government - "remarkable by any
standards" - in favour of the falsehood of "the threat of a communist
takeover".

The similarities in the campaign against the phenomenal rise of popular
democratic movements today are striking. Aimed principally at Venezuela,
especially Chavez, the virulence of the attacks suggests that something
exciting is taking place; and it is. Thousands of poor Venezuelans are
seeing a doctor for the first time in their lives, having their children
immunised and drinking clean water. New universities have opened their
doors to the poor, breaking the privilege of competitive institutions
effectively controlled by a "middle class" in a country where there is no
middle. In barrio La Lnea, Beatrice Balazo told me her children were the
first generation of the poor to attend a full day's school. "I have seen
their confidence blossom like flowers," she said. One night in barrio La
Vega, in a bare room beneath a single lightbulb, I watched Mavis Mendez,
aged 94, learn to write her own name for the first time.

More than 25,000 communal councils have been set up in parallel to the
old, corrupt local bureaucracies. Many are spectacles of raw grassroots
democracy. Spokespeople are elected, yet all decisions, ideas and spending
have to be approved by a community assembly. In towns long controlled by
oligarchs and their servile media, this explosion of popular power has
begun to change lives in the way Beatrice described.

It is this new confidence of Venezuela's "invisible people" that has so
inflamed those who live in suburbs called country club. Behind their walls
and dogs, they remind me of white South Africans. Venezuela's wild west
media is mostly theirs; 80% of broadcasting and almost all the 118
newspaper companies are privately owned. Until recently one television
shock jock liked to call Chavez, who is mixed race, a "monkey". Front
pages depict the president as Hitler, or as Stalin (the connection being
that both like babies). Among broadcasters crying censorship loudest are
those bankrolled by the National Endowment for Democracy, the CIA in
spirit if not name. "We had a deadly weapon, the media," said an admiral
who was one of the coup plotters in 2002. The TV station, RCTV, never
prosecuted for its part in the attempt to overthrow the elected
government, lost only its terrestrial licence and is still broadcasting on
satellite and cable.

Yet, as in Nicaragua, the "treatment" of RCTV is a cause celebre for those
in Britain and the US affronted by the sheer audacity and popularity of
Chavez, whom they smear as "power crazed" and a "tyrant". That he is the
authentic product of a popular awakening is suppressed. Even the
description of him as a "radical socialist", usually in the pejorative,
wilfully ignores the fact that he is a nationalist and social democrat, a
label many in Britain's Labour party were once proud to wear.

In Washington, the old Iran-Contra death squad gang, back in power under
Bush, fear the economic bridges Chavez is building in the region, such as
the use of Venezuela's oil revenue to end IMF slavery. That he maintains a
neoliberal economy, described by the American Banker as "the envy of the
banking world" is seldom raised as valid criticism of his limited reforms.
These days, of course, any true reforms are exotic. And as liberal elites
under Blair and Bush fail to defend their own basic liberties, they watch
the very concept of democracy as a liberal preserve challenged on a
continent about which Richard Nixon once said "people don't give a shit".
However much they play the man, Chavez, their arrogance cannot accept that
the seed of Rousseau's idea of direct popular sovereignty may have been
planted among the poorest, yet again, and "the hope of the human spirit",
of which Roberto spoke in the stadium, has returned.

 The War on Democracy, directed by Christopher Martin and John Pilger,
will be shown on ITV on Monday at 11pm.

John Pilger has been a war correspondent, film-maker and author, and has
twice won British journalism's highest award, that of Journalist of the
Year. He has also been named International Reporter of the Year, and won
the United Nations Association Peace Prize and Gold Medal. For his
broadcasting, he has won France's Reporter Sans Frontieres, and television
academy awards in the United States and Britain. He holds the prestigous
Sophie Award for "thirty years of exposing deception and improving human
rights".

 2007 The Guardian/UK


--------15 of 16--------

Offshoring and Free Market Ideology
China is not the Problem
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
CounterPunch
August 17, 2007

At a time when even the Wall Street Journal has disappeared into the maw
of a huge media conglomerate, the New York Times remains an independent
newspaper. But it doesn't show any independence in reporting or in
thought.

The Times issued a mea culpa for letting its reporter, Judith Miller,
misinform readers about Iraq, thus helping the neoconservatives set the
stage for their invasion. Now the Times' reporting on Iran seems to be
repeating the mistake. After the US commits another act of naked
aggression by bombing Iran, will the Times publish another mea culpa?

The Times editorials also serve as conduits for propaganda. On August 13,
a Times editorial jumped on China for "irresponsible threats" that
threaten free trade. The Times' editorialists do not understand that the
offshoring of American jobs, which the Times mistakenly thinks is free
trade, is a far greater threat to America than a reminder from the
Chinese, who are tired of US bullying, that China is America's banker.

Let's briefly review the "China threat" and then turn to the real problem.

Members of the US government believe, as do many Americans, that the
Chinese currency is undervalued relative to the US dollar and that this is
the reason for America's large trade deficit with China. Pressure
continues to be applied to China to revalue its currency in order to
reduce its trade advantage over goods made in the US.

The pressure put on China is misdirected. The exchange rate is not the
main cause of the US trade deficit with China. The costs of labor,
regulation and harassment are far lower in China, and US corporations have
offshored their production to China in order to benefit from these lower
costs. When a company shifts its production from the US to a foreign
country, it transforms US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) into imports.
Every time a US company offshores goods and services, it adds to the US
trade deficit.

Clearly, it is a mistake for the US government and economists to think of
the imbalance as if it were produced by Chinese companies underselling
goods produced by US companies in America. The imbalance is the result of
US companies producing their goods in China and selling them in America.
Many believe the solution is to force China to revalue its currency,
thereby driving up the prices of 70 per cent of the goods on Wal-Mart
shelves.

Mysteriously, members of the US government believe that it would help US
consumers, who are as dependent on imported manufactured goods as they are
on imported energy, to be charged higher prices.

China believes that the exchange rate is not the cause of US offshoring
and opposes any rapid change in its currency's value. In a message issued
in order to tell the US to ease off the public bullying, China reminded
Washington that the US doesn't hold all the cards.

The NYT editorial expresses the concern that China's "threat" will cause
protectionist US lawmakers to stick on tariffs and start a trade war.
"Free trade, free market" economists rush to tell us how bad this would be
for US consumers: A tariff would raise the price of consumer goods.

The free market economists don't tell us that dollar depreciation would
have the same effect. Goods made in China would go up 30 per cent in price
if a 30 per cent tariff was placed on them, and the goods would go up 30
percent in price if the value of the Chinese currency rises 30 per cent
against the dollar.

So, why all the fuss about tariffs?

The fuss about tariffs makes even less sense once one realizes that the
purpose of tariffs is to protect domestically produced goods from cheaper
imports. However, US tariffs today would be imposed on the offshored
production of US firms. In the era of offshoring, corporations are not a
constituency for tariffs.

Tariffs would benefit American labor, something that the US Chamber of
Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Republican
Party would strongly oppose. A wage equalization tariff would wipe out
much of the advantage of offshoring. Profits would come down, and with
lower profits would come lower CEO compensation and shareholder returns.
Obviously, the corporate interests and Wall Street do not want any
tariffs.

The NYT and "free trade" economists haven't caught on, because they
mistakenly think that offshoring is trade. In fact, offshoring is labor
arbitrage. US labor is simply removed from production functions that
produce goods and services for US markets and replaced with foreign labor.
No trade is involved. Instead of being produced in America, US brand names
sold in America are produced in China.

It is not China's fault that American corporations have so little regard
for their employees and fellow citizens that they destroy their economic
opportunities and give them to foreigners instead.

It is paradoxical that everyone is blaming China for the behavior of
American firms. What is China supposed to do, close its borders to foreign
capital?

When free market economists align, as they have done, with foreigners
against American citizens, they destroy their credibility and the future
of economic freedom. Recently the Independent Institute, with which I am
associated, stressed that free market associations "have defended
completely open immigration and free markets in labor," emphasizing that
500 economists signed the Independent Institute's Open Letter on
Immigration in behalf of open immigration.

Such a policy is satisfying to some in its ideological purity. But what it
means in practice is that the Americans, who are displaced in their
professional and manufacturing jobs by offshoring and work visas for
foreigners, also cannot find work in the unskilled and semi-skilled jobs
taken over by illegal immigrants. A free market policy that gives the bird
to American labor is not going to win acceptance by the population. Such a
policy serves only the owners of capital and its senior managers.

Free market economists will dispute this conclusion. They claim that
offshoring and unrestricted immigration provide consumers with cheaper
prices in the market place. What the free market economists do not say is
that offshoring and unrestricted immigration also provide US citizens with
lower incomes, fewer job opportunities, and less satisfying jobs. There is
no evidence that consumer prices fall by more than incomes so that US
citizens can be said to benefit materially. The psychological experience
of a citizen losing his career to a foreigner is alienating.

The free market economists ignore the fact that a country that offshores
its production also offshores its jobs. It becomes dependent on goods and
services made in foreign countries, but lacks sufficient export earnings
with which to pay for them. A country whose workforce is being
reallocated, under pressure of offshoring, to domestic services has
nothing to trade for its imports. That is why the US trade deficit has
exploded to over $800 billion annually.

Among all the countries of the world, only the US can get away with
exploding trade deficits. The reason is that the US inherited from Great
Britain, exhausted by two world wars, the reserve currency role. To be the
reserve currency country means that your currency is the accepted means of
payment to settle international accounts. Countries pay their oil import
bills in dollars and settle the deficits in their trade accounts in
dollars.

The enormous and continuing US deficits are wearing out the US dollar as
reserve currency. A time will come when the US cannot pay for the imports,
on which it has become ever more dependent, by flooding the world with
ever more dollars.

Offshoring and free market ideology are turning the US into a third world
country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one-quarter of all
new US jobs created between June 2006 and June 2007 were for waitresses
and bartenders. Almost all of the net new US jobs in the 21st century have
been in domestic services.

Free market economists simply ignore the facts and proceed with their
ideological justifications of open borders, a policy that is rapidly
destroying the ladders of upward mobility for the US population.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal
editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor
of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:
PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com


--------16 of 16--------

 Capitalism 101

 Kill the small people.
 Take their small piles of money.
 Make a bigger pile.


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