Progressive Calendar 09.30.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2007 04:12:27 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     09.30.07

1. Women's bike ride  9.30 10:30am
2. Stillwater vigil   9.30 1pm
3. Art/culture/change 9.30 3pm
4. Marx in Soho/play  9.30 3pm
5. WAMM auction       9.30 5pm
6. N4Peace concert    9.30 7pm
7. Jeremy Scahill/ch2 9.30 10:30pm

8. Blog workshop      10.01 7pm
9. Truth to power     10.01 7:30pm

10. AlliantAction     10.02 7am
11. Civil liverty/war 10.02 11:30am
12. Rachel Corrie/CTV 10.02 5pm
13. Returning vets    10.02 5:30pm
14. Policy advocacy   10.02 6:30pm
15. Salon/farm bill   10.02 6:30pm
16. Farms/animals     10.02 7pm
17. Impeach for peace 10.02 7pm
18. Poems from Gitmo  10.02 7:30pm
19. Public relations  10.02

20. Denise C Breton    - Books on restorative justice
21. Alexander Cockburn - Clinton time: clocks forward or back?
22. Ralph Nader        - Free lunches, for corporations!
23. Seth Sandronsky    - Since 1980 a steady decline for most workers
24. Harold Meyerson    - The rise of the have-nots

--------1 of 24--------

From: Nicole Waxmonsky-Tu <Nickel542 [at]>
Subject: Women's bike ride 9.30 10:30am

Attention women cyclists --
If you have been looking for a group to ride with, this is the ride to
check out!  Sunday, September 30th, meet other women cyclists in the
Roseville area as we make our way out to Stillwater on the Gateway Trail.
The trip is about ~30miles round trip and will include a stop in
Stillwater for lunch.  The plan is to meet up at 10:30am at McCarron Lake
and head onto the Gateway trail from there.

Gateway Trail:

Thanks and hope to see you there!  Contact us if you have any questions!
Nicole (651-five8seven-3eight3eight)
Lisa Edstrom (651-six4seven-1three0seven)

--------2 of 24--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 9.30 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

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

--------3 of 24--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Art/culture/change 9.30 3pm

How can we use art, culture, and theater to help us organize, mobilize,
educate and win? How can we understand and counter the stories of our
oppressors? Come to a workshop at the Jack Pine Community Center (2815
East Lake Street) on Sunday September 30th from 3 to 5 p.m. and share your

See pictures of how art, theater and spectacle has been used in
large-scale mobilizations. Hear stories of how art can be used in
organizing for social change.  Participate in some theater-making
exercises to stretch your legs and your imagination! Art, culture and
theater are essential to tell our stories, win public support, keep us
hopeful, have fun, and communicate powerfully from our hearts.

David Solnit, who will facilitate, is an arts organizer and puppeteer who
uses culture, art, giant puppets, direct action and theater in mass
mobilizations, and as an organizing tool. He has worked with farmworker,
unions, environmental justice, immigrant rights, anarchist, anti-war, and
human rights groups. He is the editor of Globalize Liberation and
co-author of Army of None.

--------4 of 24--------

From:   Peter Rachleff <rachleff [at]>
Subject: Marx in Soho/play 9.30 3pm

On Sunday, September 30, at 3PM, Macalester College will host the Twin
Cities only performance of Howard Zinn's play, "Marx in Soho."  Bob Wieck
has been touring the country with this play for the past two years.  The
performance will be in the Weyerhaueser Chapel and it will be free and
open to the public.  The play runs 75 minutes, and it will be followed by
a post-show panel discussion.

--------5 of 24--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: WAMM auction 9.30 5pm

WAMM's 23rd Annual Silent Auction

Sunday, September 30, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. St.  Joan of Arc Church, 4537
Third Avenue South, Minneapolis. The WAMM Silent Auction features over 200
items such as gift certificates, vacation getaways, restaurants, health
and wellness services, theater tickets, artwork, gourmet dinners and much
more. Be sure to stop by the Hot Buys tables where you will find small
items to go. Enjoy a substantial complimentary buffet. Supervised
children's activities available. The WAMM Silent Auction is the perfect
way to celebrate peace. Admission: $5.00 to $25.00 (no one turned away).
FFI: Call WAMM 612-827-5364.

One week on Cape Cod
Second week of June, 2008. Four bedroom, four bathroom home in Wellfleet
on the Bay with three side porches and a roof top porch. The house is
equipped with bikes; bike paths that go up and down the Cape are closeby.
Great place for a family reunion; across the main highway from the
National Seashore. Value: $2000. Minimum Bid:  $1,000.

....etc others...  and

One night in Fridey. Will seems like much longer. Minimum bid: whatever.

--------6 of 24--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: N4Peace concert 9.30 7pm

Sunday, 9/30, 7 pm, fundraiser for St Anthony Park Neighbors for Peace,
featuring The Mamas in concert, St Anthony Park Lutheran Church, 2323 Como
Ave. St Paul.

--------7 of 24---------

From: Ahmed <ata200221 [at]>
Subject: Jeremy Scahill/ch2 9.30 10:30pm

.. is BelAhdan this Sunday
Guest of this week
Belahdan interviewed Jeremy Scahill, regular contributor to the Nation and
Democracy Now and author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most
Powerful Mercenary Army," Please watch his interview  on Sunday , public TV <>

Ahmed Tharwat/ Host
<> BelAhdan
TV show  airs on Public TV
Sundays at 10:30pm

--------8 of 24--------

From: Jonathan Barrentine <jonathan [at]>
Subject: Blog workshop 10.01 7pm

Blogs: Sharing Your Story
Rondo Library (University and Dale)
Monday, October 1
7:00 - 8:30 pm

As part of our ongoing E-Tools For All series at the Rondo Library, 
theSPED-Outreach committee will be offering a workshop on blogging this
Monday, October 1, 7:00 - 8:30 pm.

In this workshop, SPED volunteers will help you set up your own blog (if
you don't already have one), and will teach you how to use it to publish
your thoughts and ideas online.  We are happy to accommodate both advanced
and novice bloggers, as well as those unsure what a blog is and why they
might want one. Come to our workshop, leave with a free blog!

As always, the workshop is free, all are welcome to attend, and no
registration is required.

Please go to for a
complete schedule.

--------9 of 24--------

From: Human Rights Events Update <humanrts [at]>
Subject: Truth to power 10.01 7:30pm

October 1, 2007 - Speak Truth To Power: Voices >From Beyond The Dark.
Time: 7:30pm

Performance of
Speak Truth To Power: Voices From Beyond The Dark
Monday, October 1st
7:30 PM
The Children s Theatre

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ariel Dorfman was inspired to write a
theatrical presentation based on interviews with over fifty human rights
activists from around the world. The resulting play, Speak Truth to Power:
Voices from Beyond the Dark, was presented at the Kennedy Center for
Performing Arts in Washington D.C. in September 2000, and broadcast as
part of PBS's The Kennedy Center Presents. In the essay found here, the
playwright describes how these long suppressed voices have come to be

The play has been performed at theaters across America and around the
world, including Geneva, London, Helsinki, Athens, Madrid, Rome, and
Sydney. Upcoming performances are being planned in New York and in

Tickets are available through
The Children s Theatre
Ticket Office
tickets [at]
Phone: 612.874.0400
FAX: 612.872.5170

Location: The Children's Theatre, 2400 Third Avenue South   Minneapolis,
MN 55404-3597

--------10 of 24--------

From: AlliantACTION <AlliantACTION [at]>
Subject: AlliantAction 10.02 7am

Second Annual Nonviolent Action on the Birth of Mahatma Gandhi "The force
generated by nonviolence is infinitely greater than the force of all the
arms invented by man's ingenuity."  Gandhi

Please join us as we honor Gandhi on his Birthday outside Alliant
Techsystems, Minnesota's largest based military contractor producer of dU
munitions, landmines, cluster bombs, trident II and minuteman. We call for
Peace Conversion with No Loss of Jobs. All will have an opportunity to
present their idea to ATK for Peace Conversion.

Requested but not required: Bring a child's toy or doll or game or book or
instruments or _______ to be donated to a local family shelter. Press
conference TBA at site of recipient.

Tuesday, October 2
7 am
Alliant Techsystems
5050 Lincoln Drive, Edina.

Gather in park across and up the street.
Info and map online:

--------11 of 24--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Civil liverty/war 10.02 11:30am

Tuesday, 10/2, 11:30 to 1 pm, lecture "America's Civil Liberties: The
First Casualty of a Nation at War," Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, 2800
LaSalle Plaza, 800 LaSalle Ave, Mpls.

--------12 of 24--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Rachel Corrie/CTV 10.02 5pm

Revered St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesday evenings and
Wednesday mornings.  All households with basic cable can watch!

** 10/2 5pm and midnight and 10/3 10am **

"Rachel Corrie: A Life for Others".  On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, an
American activist with the International Solidarity Movement, was killed
while attempting to prevent the destruction of the home of a Palestinian
family.  This show is a recording of a local theatrical performance
telling the true story of Rachel Corrie.

--------13 of 24--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Returning vets 10.02 5:30pm

Tuesday, 10/2, 5:30 pm, the Citizens League sponsors program "Civic Minds:
New Thinking on Civic Life" concentrating on the Warrior to Citizen
campaign, which attempts to integrate returning vets into civic
leadership, Humphrey Center atrium, 301 - 19th Ave S, Mpls.

--------14 of 24--------

From: Rick Mons <Rick [at]>
Subject: Policy advocacy 10.02 6:30pm

Speak up for Special Education
Practical Tips to Influence Public Policy
Tuesday 10/2/2007      6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Roseville City Hall (County C and Lexington Avenue)

This privately funded workshop is for parents who want to learn how to
become public policy advocates.

Participants will have an opportunity to meet with elected officials and learn:
     Skills and techniques to communicate with elected officials;
     What happened in the '07 legislative session; and,
     Potential issues facing Minnesota's special education system in 2008

No cost.  Register by contacting PACER Center at 952-838-9000
Other workshop offerings?  See

--------15 of 24--------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Salon/farm bill 10.02 6:30pm

Tuesday our guest will be Llewellyn Hille, Minnesota organizer for Oxfam,
America.  He will be speaking about "Why the Farm Bill is so Important at
Home and Abroad."  I hope you can come as this is a very important bill in
Congress and there still is time for input.

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

--------16 of 24--------

From: Gilbert Schwartz <gil [at]>
Subject: Farms/animals 10.02 7pm

"Farm Sanctuary: Changing Our Hearts and Minds About Animals" with Gene

Propelled by eloquent testimony, Gene Baur (formerly Bauston) will use
firsthand accounts to illustrate how human and animal lives are caught in
today's out-of-control factory farms. Just as cruelty to animals can lead
to a broader callousness and disregard for life, empathy and compassion
can awaken understanding, create hope, and give rise to greater awareness
of the decisions that affect our world.

This is a free event sponsored by Compassionate Action for Animals, and is
open to the public. It will be followed by a free, catered reception and a
chance to interact one-on-one with Baur. Academics, animal lovers, and
anyone looking for a relaxing, fun-filled evening is invited to the event.

Tuesday October 2, 2007
7:00- 9:00pm
Coffman Theater, on the East Bank of the University of
Minnesota, 300 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis
Info: Details, directions, and promo poster can be found here,

Baur is the co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary
<>, America's leading farm animal protection
organization. He holds a masters degree in agricultural economics from
Cornell University and has conducted hundreds of visits to farms,
stockyards, and slaughterhouses to document conditions. Baur played an
important role in passing the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming
methods -- including bans on pig gestation crates, veal crates, and foie
gras. His efforts have been covered by leading news organizations,
including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal,
Washington Post, NPR, and CNN.

For more information, please email us at info [at] or visit

--------17 of 24--------

From: Impeach <lists [at]>
Subject: Impeach for peace 10.02 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

--------18 of 24--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Poems from Gitmo 10.02 7:30pm

Tuesday, 10/2, 7:30 pm, readings from book "Poems from Guantanamo: The
Detainees Speak," Magers and Quinn Books, 3038 Hennepin, Mpls.

--------19 of 24--------

From: Tim Erickson <tim [at]>
Subject: Public relations 10.02

A series of free workshops in nonprofit leadership offered by Hamline
University and the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. Registration
is required but there's no fee. Word following the first on Tuesday is
that it was excellent.
More info:

Here are some of the sessions coming up:

   Oct 2  - Public relations planning
   Oct 9  - Finance - what the law requires
   Oct 16 - Nonprofit ethics
   Oct 23 - Human resources performance appraisals
   Oct 30 - Marketing & communications
   Nov 6  - Nonprofit accountability & transparency
   Nov 13 - Strategic planning for board & management
   Nov 20 - Conflict resolution
   Nov 27 - Nonprofit fundraising: research methods
   Dec 4  - Grant writing

--------20 of 24--------

From: DeniseCBreton [at]
Subject: Books on restorative justice

Living Justice Press, a nonprofit publisher in restorative justice, is
happy to announce the release of our fourth book, "Building A Home for the
Heart:  Using Metaphors in Value-Centered Circles," by Pat Thalhuber,
B.V.M., and Susan Thompson.  Since discussing values is so central to the
restorative justice process, this book serves to facilitate this aspect of
the work.

Living Justice Press is also announcing the third printing of our first
book, "Peacemaking Circles: From Crime to Community" by Kay Pranis, Barry
Stuart, and Mark Wedge - a reprint spurred by an order of 200 copies from
the Supreme Court of a Native Nation for their Peacemaking Court.

Information about these and other LJP books is available on our Web site:

--------21 of 24--------

Clinton Time: Do We Set Our Clocks Forward or Back?
September 29 / 30, 2007

Just like the architect of the Tower of Babel bustling out of his studio
with a fresh set of drawings, Hillary Clinton has produced a new health
plan. Politicians don't care to admit they messed up, and Mrs Clinton is
no exception to this rule. In fact she is entirely incapable of conceding
error. The most she would concede during the rollout ceremonies earlier
this month is that the last time she took on the health industry, she was
too ambitious. This is a most forgiving posture towards one of the great
political disasters of the 1990s.

In the dawn of the Clinton era, many Americans believed the new president
might actually do something to fix the mess optimistically described as
the health care system. Bill Clinton's pledge to do so was a prime reason
why he got elected. In the first hours of his presidency, he announced he
was handing the big assignment to his wife. The political conditions were
favorable. In early 1993, nearly 70 per cent of all Americans wanted a
system of national healthcare, a sound base on which to build a national
coalition powerful enough to cow the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies
- two of the most powerful forces on the American political scene.

Hilary Clinton is not a populist by temperament. She had been a powerful
corporate lawyer in Little Rock, accustomed to covert deals behind closed
doors. When health care reformers, Steffie Woolhandler and David
Himmelstein urged Mrs Clinton in early 1993 to use that small window of
opportunity to take on the insurance industry and bring in a
Canadian-style system and that the majority of all Americans would support
her, she answered contemptuously to Himmelstein, "tell me something
interesting". As she embarked on her mission, all the early headlines
concerned her obsession with secrecy.

By the time Mrs Clinton's 1342-page Bill landed in Congress later in 1993,
she had managed to offend the very Democratic leadership essential to
making health reform a reality. The proposal itself, under the mystic
mantra 'Managed Competition', embodied all the distinctive tropes of
neo-liberalism: a naive complicity with the darker corporate forces,
accompanied by an adamant refusal to even consider building the popular
political coalition that alone could have faced and routed the opposition.

Fourteen years after that debacle, health care in America has got steadily
worse. Critics trumpet endlessly the bleak statistic that nearly 50
million people are without any form of health insurance at all, though it
is not clear whether this is quite the disaster it is cracked up to be,
given the lethal nature of huge portions of the "health" system. Go to a
doctor flourishing your Blue Cross card and three months later the
insurance company notifies you that deductibles and other conditions laid
out on the policy in 2-point type mean that the company is ponying up only
5 per cent of the bill. Get in a car crash - a prime reason to have health
insurance - and the surgeon debating whether to sew you together again
checks on the amount of coverage on your policy and if it's below $2
million may let you die in the waiting room. It nearly happened to a
friend of my neighbor, Joe Paff, though in that instance the hospital
found Joe's pal was covered up to $3 million and so the operation went

Costs are now so high that the middle class is being priced out of the
game. It's cheaper to head for Panama or Costa Rica or even India and pay
cash on the barrel. Many Russians now naturalized as Americans simply head
back to the former Soviet Union for any serious surgical or dental
procedure. Even taking a $2,000 Aeroflot ticket into account, it works out
far cheaper.

Those with no sanctuary in another country head for Chinese herbalists,
dose themselves with homeopathic nostrums or smoke marijuana to keep the
pain at bay.

Reformers flourish the Canadian system as the model; Michael Moore's
recent film Sicko dwelled on its allurements. But Canada has a social
democratic tradition. America has none. The sole surviving relic of the
New Deal era is Social Security, and that is under constant assault.

So 'health reform' in the present age means, at best, a slight cosmetic
adjustment, and so it is with Mrs Clinton's new plan, modelled on a scheme
adopted in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, whereby everybody is legally
compelled to have some type of health insurance.

As Drs Woolhandler and Himmelstein recently described it on this site the
Massachusetts plan spells out as compulsory ruin. A couple in their
fifties face a minimum annual premium of $8,638. Their policy has no
coverage for prescription medicines, and there's a $2,000 deductible per
person before the insurance even kicks in. In other words, they're
destroyed by the insurance costs, before they are plunged into bankruptcy
with the arrival of any serious illness.

So, for all these reasons, no one - probably not even its author - takes
Mrs Clinton's plan very seriously. They all know that in this decade, far
more than in the early 1990s, the darker forces are firmly in control. In
the health area, as Rick Hertzberg points out in an interesting piece in
the current Yorker, every Democratic presidential candidate since Truman
has pledged to reform the heath system, and every Democratic president has
swiftly collapsed in the face of the lobbies opposing reform. Whoever is
president in 2009, there's not a chance in a million that there will be
any substantive rearrangement of the furniture.

[[So why vote for the Dems?  -ed]]

The Clintons have always excited passions disproportionate to their very
modest talents as creative politicians. Looking back across the Nineties
at the frenzied Republican onslaughts on the couple, one can only wag
one's head in bemusement at the Right's hysteria. Why did they consume so
much energy in savaging a pair who had learned conclusively from their
earlier upsets in Arkansas that you don't get ahead by offending the
powerful, starting with the timber and chicken barons who controlled that
backward and impoverished state?

To be fair on Bill and Hillary, beyond some ritual freshets of campaign
rhetoric in primary season they have never advertised themselves as
anything other than reliable guardians of the basic Business Round Table
agenda that defines the programmatic vision of 99.9 per cent of all
American politicians.

The function of the Democratic Party is to sell stuff to the populace the
Republicans can't get away with on their own, like throwing single mothers
and children off the welfare rolls or exporting America's blue collar jobs
to Mexico and China. [[So why vote for the Dems?]]

Briskly enough, Bill Clinton handed economic policy over to the Wall
Street traders, led by his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. The Clinton
years saw a bubble boom, pushed along by consumer-spending by the rich.
The ratio of wages for the average worker to the pay of the average CEO
went from 113 to 1 in l991, just before Clinton stepped into the White
House, to 449 to 1 when he quit. The overall bargaining position of labor
got worse, as did the situation of the very poor. Two thirds of Clinton's
famed fiscal turnaround stemmed from cuts in government spending relative
to GDP (54 per cent), something well beyond Republican competence. [[So
why vote for the Dems?]]

But since right-wing talk radio and the editorial page of the Wall Street
Journal depend on the daily evocation and execration of demons, the
Clintons were never given a pat on the back for their seven years of
Republican governance, following the opening year of chastisement and
collapsed expectations. Instead they were methodically haunted with
charges wild enough to make a Borgia blink, enhanced with intricate flow
charts of the serial assassination of their enemies. ....

--------22 of 24--------

NAM's Tax Plan for America
Free Lunches, for Corporations!
September 29 / 30, 2007

On September 26, 2007, the powerful National Association of Manufacturers
(NAM) bought two pages in the Wall Street Journal to tout a prosperous,
expanding group of member-companies producing products.

It occurred to me as I began the copy, that the NAM rarely bought
expensive space like this in the Journal. Then after going through NAM's
introductory message, I realized why they purchased the ad. Month after
month in hundreds of loyal editorials, the Journal's editorial writers
already have been conveying the cravings and demands of this trade

The parallels between this revenue-producing two page spread and the
Journal's opinion scribes, in contrast to its often sterling news pages,
are the stuff of the corporate state.

The editorials argue for more "clean" coal and nuclear power and emphasize
expanding production of U.S. oil and natural gas with a token tip to
renewables (with plenty of taxpayer subsidies).

So does the NAM.

NAM wants more so-called "free trade" agreements without recognizing, at
the very least, that there can be no "free trade" with dictatorships like
China. Dictatorial, oligarchic regimes determine wages, prevent free trade
unions, and otherwise through grease and no-rule-of-law or access to
justice, obstruct market-based costs and pricing.

So do the Journal's editorial writers.

In scores of frenzied editorials, the Journal assails tort law, tort
attorneys and "unreasonable awards." Having read just about all these
advertiser-friendly diatribes, I have yet to discern any data to back up
their flood of declamations about "frivolous" litigation and "wild"

Neither did the NAM produce any evidence about "lawsuit abuse" because the
evidence points to declining product defect and malpractice suits,
notwithstanding that 90% of these injured people suffer without any legal
claims filed on their behalf. (See: and

The Journal's rigid ideologues demand less regulation (read less law and
order for corporations) and the weakening of the Sarbanes-Oxley law
enacted to modestly deal with part of the corporate crime wave of the past

So does the NAM.

The NAM wants further reduction of the already reduced corporate tax rate
and more taxpayer pay-out to corporations, including super-profitable ones
like Intel, GE, Cisco and Pfizer. These latter windfalls are called
research and development tax credits. How many Americans know that they
are paying these and other super-profitable companies more money to make
still more profits? Cisco does not even pay dividends.

So also demands the big business echo chamber on the Journal's editorial

The Journal has been campaigning for years to end the estate tax which is
so diluted that less than 2 percent of all estates have to pay anything to
Uncle Sam. Conservative Republican wordsmith, Frank Luntz, in a moment of
abandon, called lobbying an effort to end "the billionaires tax."

The NAM wants an end to the estate tax, even though none of its
corporate-members ever has to pay an estate tax. For good measure, NAM
wants to keep the maximum tax rates on investment income and capital gains
at a level half of a worker's maximum tax rate. Far lower taxes on capital
than on labor suits the NAM three-piece-suits just fine.

The Journal is for brain-draining the Third World. Drain those critical
doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs from
Asia, Africa and South America. Give them permanent visas and then wonder
why those countries are having trouble fielding the skilled leaders needed
to develop their own economies. It is easier than training talented
minority youths in our country.

The NAM ad calls for "reform of the visa system to attract and retain
global talent."

And so it goes. Such a symbiotic relationship! Big business members of NAM
pour millions of dollars in ads daily into the Wall Street Journal. In
return, the dutiful and gleeful editorial writers deliver the screeds that
caress the brows and deepen the pockets of the CEOs.

There is another recurrent message in the insistent materials of NAM and
its comrade-in-greed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Enough is never

For over a quarter century, there has been more and more de-regulation
(electricity, motor vehicles, coal, drugs, nuclear, occupational safety,
pollution, aviation, rail, truck antitrust and more) with detriment to the
health, safety and economic well-being of the American people. Still not
enough, they say!

In the same period, you the taxpayer have been forced to have your tax
dollars pour out of Washington and into the coffers of Big Business in a
myriad of ways. Hundreds of billions of your dollars. Not enough, they
say! They roar for more coddling.

You want chapter and verse, evidence and data? Get ready to read Free
Lunch, a riveting new book by the Pulitzer-prize winning tax reporter for
The New York Times, David Cay Johnston. It will be out in about two
months. Just in time for your gift-giving season.

Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions

[[And in the same period mentioned above, the Dem party stopped working
for the people - they have nothing to show us but regression, eg NAFTA.
All the Dem pro-citizen acts (eg voting rights) are pre-1981; after, bad
things, or promised goods never delivered and never fought for.  We want
single payer, an end to the war, sustainable energy, etc - we will get
none of them. The age of citizens getting things from the major parties
has passed. It made sense before 1980 to prod/beg the Dems for things; 27
years of experience has shown us that it no longer does.  Voting Dem is no
longer a "practical" vote. It is now basically a "feel good" vote - it
makes one feel good to think it will bring back the good old pre-1980
days, and it works only if there's lots more feeling than thinking.]]

--------23 of 24--------

A Steady Decline in Security for Most Workers
The US Economy Since 1980
September 29 / 30, 2007

What makes the U.S. so unlike other rich nations? There is no single
answer. At the top of a list is the power of the business class to shape
policy-making and the lives of the nation's populace. In The United States
Since 1980, economist Dean Baker focuses on the policies that have set the
country on a business-friendly path. There have been far-reaching effects.

"For most of the population of the United States, the quarter century from
1980 to 2005 was an era in which they became far less secure economically,
and the decrease in security affected their lives and political
attitudes," he writes. "It is important to note that this decrease was the
result of conscious policy, not the accidental workings of the market."

Baker steers clear of ambiguous terms. This is a great help to the
layperson searching for clear-headed policy analysis of this critical
25-year period. Ruling interests' efforts to roll back the popular gains
of the vast mass of workers has marked this time.

"The change in the ground rules affecting the market distribution of
income has had a much greater impact on the country than the change in tax
and transfer policy," Baker writes. Accordingly, a changed rule of
critical impact driving the wage gap between Americans on the bottom and
in the middle and those at the top has been in employee-employer
relations. What does (not) happen at the point of production, the
workplace, matters.

Take U.S. trade policy, an area of expertise for the author. He explains,
clearly, how this policy has put the country's factory workers into job
competition with workers in developing nations paid as low as one-tenth
the wage rate in the stateside manufacturing sector. The same trade policy
leaves intact licensing and professional barriers for U.S. doctors. This
shields them from global job competition. Thus the pay structure of
American physicians is such that they earn twice and more than their
counterparts in other industrialized countries. Baker offers policy
alternatives, not just doom and gloom.

For instance, he suggests standardizing rigid licensing and professional
requirements for physicians. Of course the American Medical Association
opposes that. Meanwhile, some 800,000 U.S. doctors earn double and more
versus their European counterparts. If the licensing and professional
barriers to foreign doctors practicing stateside ended, U.S. health care
would become more affordable for those with low and middle incomes, Baker
argues. As he makes clear, high-wage earners such as doctors get
government protection. The vast bulk of the U.S. labor force is on its

As secure union jobs faded, several negative outcomes have become part of
the national landscape. One place to look is at the lives and jobs of
workers most likely to be union members, African Americans. An eighth of
the total populace, blacks make up half of the nation's prison population.
Baker, asserts, based on international data, the U.S. is totally off the
charts from other rich countries in this policy of racial imprisonment.
Such policy follows structural unemployment.

Baker's book has seven chapters and an epilogue. In chapter two, he sets
the stage, domestic and foreign, as Jimmy Carter ends his one-term
presidency. Ronald Reagan's victory in the 1980 presidential election
speeded up a national policy shift favoring uppe-income Americans at the
expense of those in the middle and on the bottom. While Reagan's fiscal
policy benefited the well-heeled, his labor-management policies were
noteworthy. For instance, he fired striking federal air traffic
controllers. The relative silence of action from the U.S. labor union
bureaucracy on this change in public policy was deafening. Later,
private-sector employers aped Reagan's anti-labor union policy,
terminating striking employees and hiring replacement workers during
contract negotiations. "Most Europeans would still consider it outrageous
that a worker would lose her job because she went on strike, as did most
people in the United States before the PATCO strike," Baker writes. He
compares and contrasts the policies of the U.S. and other developed
societies throughout the book. His use of figures and tables to illustrate
the policy impacts of such changes on most working Americans is helpful.

As the Reagan White House waged war by proxy against Nicaragua,
administration and CIA officials broke a law that barred funding of such
mercenary forces, called the Contras. Despite the efforts of a special
prosecutor who investigated this secret and illegal financing scheme, none
of the government officials were held accountable. In Baker's view, this
law-breaking helped to institutionalize a trend of unilateral deception in
the executive branch of the U.S. government. The parallels to the domestic
and foreign policy machinations of the George W. Bush White House since
the September 11, 2001 terror attacks are as plain as day.

In the 1988 presidential campaign, GOP candidate George H.W. Bush,
racially appealed to some white voters. He linked the case of Willie
Horton, an African American convict who committed violent felonies against
a white couple during a prison furlough in Massachusetts under Governor
Michael Dukakis, also the Democratic presidential candidate. The political
use of an individual's skin color to taint an entire race harkens back to
the Reconstruction era. White racial supremacy is a feature of U.S.
society that shapes public policy.

A foreign policy outcome of the Soviet Union's decline as a superpower was
the rise of U.S. power on the U.N. Security Council, according to Baker.
The first President Bush, who inherited rising federal budget deficits
from Reagan's increased military spending against the so-called Soviet
threat, used the council to impose economic sanctions on the Iraq populace
after its leader and former U.S. ally Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring
Kuwait. The sanctions lasted 14 years and strengthened his rule until the
March 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation. For Iraqis, "many had to go
without basic necessities and medical care," Baker writes of U.S. policy
that punished civilians by design. The policy was a war crime. It should
be so named.

President Bill Clinton won the White House from George H.W. Bush in the
1992 election. Though the latter's popularity ratings rose sharply after
the U.S. defeat of Iraq, Baker notes economic pressures reversing that
jingoistic spurt. To wit, a national recession from summer 1990 to spring
1992 slowed job growth and real wage increases. A business-friendly
Democrat, Clinton's response to the American people's concern about work
and pay was to continue President Bush's drive for the North American Free
Trade Agreement.

Baker analyzes how and why Clinton's support for NAFTA was not about
freeing trade but advancing a global model of the marketplace for the
benefit of powerful domestic interests. One is the U.S. pharmaceutical
sector. It relies upon governmentgranted patent monopoles that hike the
shelf prices of prescription drugs by triple digits over their production
costs, Baker explains. This policy illustrates government protectionism
for corporate America to the harm of hourly wage earners and pensioners

Baker places NAFTA in a global context, which U.S. economic reporting
rarely does. He compares NAFTA with the European Union's "social charter."
White House policymakers crafted NAFTA in part to flood Mexico with
corporate American agriculture, which bankrupted scores of Mexican
peasants, forcing them to become laborers who earn wages a fraction of
their U.S. counterparts. By contrast, the EU provided a funding mechanism
to bring the poorer regions of Europe up to those of the richer regions.
The climb of living standards in Ireland is a success case in point,
according to Baker. NAFTA was not set up to bring Mexican's living
standards up to Americans'.

Monetary policy was a key stimulus to the economic expansion under
Clinton. Baker details how Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan
ignored the conventional wisdom of the economics profession that cutting
interest rates and allowing the unemployment rate to fall below six
percent would cause inflation. Greenspan oversaw multiple interest-rate
cuts during Clinton's second term. And the national jobless rate dropped
from just under six percent in the beginning of 1996 to four percent at
the end of 2000. There was no simultaneous climb in the inflation rate as
job creation increased.

Greenspan's cheapening of credit, however, stimulated a stock market boom
which busted in 2000. Later from its ashes emerged a housing boom. Baker
carefully details the reasons and results of both speculative bubbles. His
crisp writing style is instructive in moving below the surface structure
of the economics profession and economic reporting to flesh out the class
interests of policies behind the rise and demise of the stock and housing
markets. Baker demonstrates his assertions with data that the general
reader can comprehend.

The Clinton administration sold a U.S. aerial attack on the Yugoslav
republic of Serbia as a humanitarian intervention to rescue Albanians in
Kosovo during spring of 1999. According to Baker, "the civilian population
of Serbia incurred a substantial portion of the casualties from the U.S.
bombing." This military action under a Democratic president, like the 1991
Iraq war on the watch of a Republican president, injured and killed scores
of non-military combatants. These war policies are crimes of war, or the
legal term lacks meaning.

[[Two terms of a Dem president, and nothing positive to show for it. Why
do we imagine another Dem will give us any more? Dem congresspeople this
year wouldn't even keep their recent campaign promises to defund the

The crimes of September 11, 2001, when hijackers crashed four airlines
into East Coast targets helped the George W. Bush White House to make
sweeping changes in federal law enforcement policy. Congress, for example,
approved the Bush-backed PATRIOT Act, Baker writes. Most members failed to
read the bill's provisions. As he recounts, the White House's case to
invade Iraq"from its links to the attacks of September 11 and weapons of
mass destruction"had more holes than Swiss cheese, with fateful
consequences for both nations. One of those has been the administration's
use of the National Guard from the Gulf Coast states for duty in Iraq,
which weakened the response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in summer

Baker and his colleagues at Washington's Center for Economic and Policy
Research have been working against the political campaign to privatize the
U.S. Social Security system. The 2000 bust of the stock market harmed
workers' retirements invested in the stock market. This outcome soured
President Bush's attempt to win political support to divert Social
Security payroll taxes into the stock market. Baker's book contains a nice
summary of the case for (Wall St.) and against (Main St.) privatization of
the popular system.

While U.S. superiority in weapons systems is nearly useless against the
anti-occupation forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, the sun is also setting on
the nation's day as the world's biggest economy. China and India, the two
nations with bigger populations than the U.S., are gaining ground fast,
economically and politically, Baker observes. "Yet, foreign policy
planners largely assume that the United States will be the preeminent
world power for the indefinite future."

His book on the changed structure of the U.S. polity and economy between
1980 and 2005 is a must-read to better know this quarter century and grasp
the many policy challenges ahead. The debate to change the nation's system
of health care is one example. Baker's analysis of that is a good place to
grasp what is at stake for the status quo and the working many.

Seth Sandronsky is a member of Sacramento Area Peace Action and a
co-editor of Because People Matter, Sacramento's progressive paper He can be reached at: bpmnews [at]

--------24 of 24--------

The Rise of the Have-Nots
by Harold Meyerson
Published on Saturday, September 29, 2007 by The American Prospect

The American middle class has toppled into a world of temporary
employment, jobs without benefits, and retirement without security.

Last week over lunch, a friend in his 30s prodded me to explain how my
generation, the boomers, had botched so many things. While not exactly
conceding that we had, I said that the one thing none of us had
anticipated was that America would cease to be a land of broadly shared
prosperity. To be born, as I was, in mid-century was to have come of age
in a nation in which the level of prosperity continued to rise and the
circle of prosperity continued to widen. This was the great given of our
youth. If the boomers embraced such causes as civil and social rights and
environmentalism, it was partly because the existence and distribution of
prosperity seemed to be settled questions.

Nor were we alone in making this mistake. Our parents may have gone
through the Depression and could never fully believe, as boomers did, that
the good times were here to stay. They remembered busts as well as booms.
But the idea that the economy could revert to its pre-New Deal
configuration (in which the rich claimed all the wealth the nation created
while everyone else just got by), the notion that the middle class might
shrink even as the economy grew: Who, among all our generations and
political persuasions, expected that?

Yet that's precisely what happened. Median family income over the past
quarter-century has stagnated. The economic rewards from increased
productivity, which went to working-class as well as wealthy Americans
from the 1940s to the '70s, now go exclusively to the rich. The
manufacturing jobs that anchored our prosperity were offshored, automated
or deunionized; lower-paying service-sector jobs took their place.

It's no great achievement for a people to recognize that their nation's
economy has tanked, but recognizing that their nation's class structure
has slowly but fundamentally altered is a more challenging task. It's
harder still for a people who are conditioned, as Americans are, not to
see their nation in terms of class.

Which is why a poll released this month by the Pew Research Center reveals
a transformation of Americans. sense of their country and themselves that
is startling. Pew asked Americans if their country was divided between
haves and have-nots. In 1988, when Gallup asked that question, 26 percent
of respondents said yes, while 71 percent said no. In 2001, when Pew asked
it, 44 percent said yes and 53 percent said no. But when Pew asked it
again this summer, the number of Americans who agreed that we live in a
nation divided into haves and have-nots had risen to 48 percent - exactly
the same as the number of Americans who disagreed.

Americans' assessment of their own place in the economy has altered, too.
In 1988, fully 59 percent identified themselves as haves and just 17
percent as have-nots. By 2001, the haves had dwindled to 52 percent and
the have-nots had risen to 32 percent. This summer, just 45 percent of
Americans called themselves haves, while 34 percent called themselves

These are epochal shifts, of epochal significance. The American middle
class has toppled into a world of temporary employment, jobs without
benefits, retirement without security. Harder times have come to left and
right alike: The percentage of Republicans who call themselves haves has
declined by 13 points since 1988; the percentage of Democratic haves has
declined by 12 points.

This equality of declining opportunity, however, isn't matched by an
equality of perception. The percentage of Democrats who say America is
divided between haves and have-nots has risen by 31 points since 1988; the
percentage of Republicans, by just 14 points. Indeed, though that 13-point
decline in Republicans who call themselves haves has occurred entirely
since they were asked that question in 2001, the percentage of Republicans
who say we live in a have/have-not nation has actually shrunk by one point
since 2001. (It had increased 15 points from 1988 to 2001.) Apparently, so
great is Republicans' loyalty to the Bush presidency that they're willing
to overlook their own experience. And, in many cases, to attribute the
nation's transformation solely to immigration, rather than to the rise of
a stateless laissez-faire capitalism over which the American people wield
less and less power. Which helps explain why Republican presidential
candidates bluster about a fence on the border and have nothing to say
about providing health coverage or restoring some power to American

But the big story here isn't Republican denial. It's the shattering of
Americans' sense of a common identity in a time when the economy no longer
promotes the general welfare. The world the New Deal built has been
destroyed, and we are, as we were before the New Deal, two nations.

[[...with two parties on the side of one nation, and no parties on the
side of the other. If neither party will respond to us, why do we vote for

Harold Meyerson is executive editor of The American Prospect and a
columnist for the Washington Post.

 2007 The American Prospect


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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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