Progressive Calendar 10.29.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2007 06:05:00 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    10.29.07

1. Health screening 10.29 3:30pm
2. Don't bomb Iran  10.29 4pm
3. Cluster bombs    10.29 7pm
4. Muslim/peace     10.29 7pm
5. Podcasting       10.29 7pm

6. Iran/CTV         10.30 8am
7. Che/socialism    10.30 4:30pm
8. Iran/CTV         10.30 5pm
9. River critical   10.30 6:30pm
10. Grace Paley     10.30 6:30pm
11. Chicano writing 10.30 7pm
12. Maplewood SchBd 10.30 7pm
13. Nonprofit class 10.30

14. StP SkoolB/KFAI 10.31 11am
15. Iran agenda     10.31 4pm
16. X college       10.31 4:45pm

17. Ralph Nader   - Concentrated power/beyond the rule of law
18. Cindy Sheehan - The morning after
19. Jim Fuller    - No "lesser evil" in Democratic evil
20. Girish Mishra - Implications of plutonomy
21. ed            - Good ship Dem  (poem)

--------1 of 21--------

From: Joel Albers <joel [at]>
Subject: Health screening 10.29 3:30pm

Universal Health Care Action Network - MN and African Health Action are
holding a Mobile Community Health Screening consisting of cholesterol,
diabetes and blood pressure tests.

Monday, Oct 29, 3:30 PM to 5:30PM

African Health Action, 1931 1st Avenue South, Suite 100, Mpls. (on corner
of 1st avenue and Franklin, just 1 block east of Nicolet and Franklin).

For Somali community, but open to the general public.

Why:Basic preventive services are often not covered by health insurers or
are not affordable for many people (a typical total cholesterol test is
$40 at least). Cost: $10 for all three tests. Contact: Dr. Alvine Siaka, c
612-229-2679, office 612-216-3886, or Janet Asanchayev 651-228-9990

--------2 of 21--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Don't bomb Iran 10.29 4pm

DON'T BOMB IRAN! Demos: Monday, October 29, drive time!!!
All-out Emergency DEMOS throughout the Twin Cities
Evening Drive Time
Demos on Overpasses throughout Twin Cities: Don't Bomb Iran Demos!

Monday, October 29, 4:00 P.M. throughout commuter drive-time. Demos on
overpasses throughout the Twin Cities. If you can't come to the
participate in prep at the Rowley's on Sunday, go to an overpass with your
own sign/s. Hanging signs on overpasses is legal in the state of Minnesota
FFI: Ross' cell phone 952 465-2866)

--------3 of 21--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Cluster bombs 10.29 7pm

Cluster Bomb Speakers' Tour

 Monday, October 29, 7:00 p.m. William Mitchell College of Law,
Auditorium, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul.
 Tuesday, October 30, 4:00 p.m. University of St. Thomas, 2115 Summit
Avenue, St. Paul.
 Tuesday, October 30, 7:00 p.m. Luther Seminary, Northwestern Hall,
Auditorium, 2481 Como Avenue, St. Paul.
 Wednesday, October 31, 12:30 p.m. University of St. Thomas School of Law,
Room 235, 1000 LaSalle Avenue, Minneapolis.

The Cluster Bomb Speakers Tour brings representatives from Laos and
Lebanon who have personally experienced the tragic effects of cluster bomb
use in their countries. Laos and Lebanon represent the very first and the
most recent widespread use of cluster bombs in warfare. Between 1964 and
1973 the U.S. Air Force dropped 260 million cluster bomblets on Laos,
killing and injuring thousands of Lao villagers both during and after the
war's end.

In the 33-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, Israel dropped an
estimated 4 million cluster bomblets on southern Lebanon. Roughly 1
million of these bomblets failed to explode on impact, and pose a
continuing threat to villagers there. Hezbollah is also reported to have
fired a smaller number of cluster munitions on unguided rockets into
Northern Israel, making them one of the only non-state actors to use the
weapon in combat.

Cluster bombs have been used in more than 20 countries, including Iraq and
Afghanistan. More than 90% of known cluster bomb casualties are civilians.
Current legislation in the U.S. (S.594, HR 1755) would greatly restrict
the use, sale, and transfer of cluster weapons by the U.S. In addition,
upcoming international meetings in Vienna will bring together some 80
countries committed to negotiating a treaty banning the use of cluster
bombs by the end of 2008. The U.S. is not a participant in these

The speaker's tour is a public education effort to encourage broader
public awareness and action to end the production, sale, and use of
cluster bombs. Sponsored by: the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). FFI:
Visit <>.

--------4 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Muslim/peace 10.29 7pm

Monday, 10/29, 7 to 9 pm, two Muslim perspectives on Peace and Violence in
Our Religious Traditions with Imam Hesham Hussein and Imam Makram Nu'Man
El-Amin, Temple of Aaron, 616 Mississippi Blvd, St Paul. or 651-789-3840.

--------5 of 21--------

From: Jonathan Barrentine <jonathan [at]>
Subject: Podcasting  10.29 7pm

Podcasting: Telling the World
Rondo Library (University and Dale)
Monday, October 26
7:00 - 8:30 pm

As part of our ongoing E-Tools For All series at the Rondo Library, St.
Paul E-Democracy will be offering a workshop on Podcasting Monday, October
29, 7:00 - 8:30 pm. Participants will learn the basics of podcasting and
get hands-on experience recording and publishing audio online.

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

Please go to for a
complete schedule.

--------6 of 21--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Iran/CTV 10.30 8am

Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am.  Households with basic cable can watch!

10/30 8am "Iran and the US: Myths and Reality"  Interview of Nasrin
Jewell, Iranian born professor at the College of St. Catherine.
Co-hosted by Karen Redleaf and Eric Angell. (a repeat)

--------7 of 21--------

From: Socialist Alternative <mn [at]>
Subject: Che/socialism  10.30 4:30pm

40 Year Anniversary of Che's Assassination:
Guevara's Legacy and the Struggle for Socialism in Latin America Today

Tuesday, October 30th
Coffman 323, U of M East Bank

This October marks the 40-year anniversary of the CIA-backed execution in
Bolivia of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the Argentinian-born revolutionary who
played a heroic role in the Cuban revolution and dedicated his life to
spreading the socialist revolution to the rest of Latin America. Far from
eradicating Che and his ideas, his execution made him a legend, while his
image has become one of the most famous of modern times, still
representing for many the principled dedication to socialist struggle that
Che embodied. But why was the Cuban revolution unsuccessful in spreading
to the rest of the continent? What does that mean for today in the context
of the resurgence of socialist ideas in Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, etc.?
How do we continue the struggle where Che left off? Come join the
discussion as Socialist Alternative marks this important anniversary in
the history of the socialist movement.

Alec Johnson - Alec, a Twin Cities member of Socialist Alternative,
attended the World Social Forum in Brazil in 2005 as part of an
international contingent of the Committee for a Workers' International
(Socialist Alternative's international affiliate).

Dan DiMaggio - Dan, who recently moved to Minneapolis, was a leading
activist in Socialist Alternative's branch in Boston and was a graduate
student of Latin American History at Tufts University in Boston. <> / <>
mn [at] / 612-760-1980

--------8 of 21--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Iran/CTV 10.30 5pm

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!

10/30 5pm and midnight and 10/31 10am "Iran and the US: Myths and Reality"
Interview of Nasrin Jewell, Iranian born professor at the College of St.
Catherine.  Co-hosted by Karen Redleaf and Eric Angell. (a repeat)

--------9 of 21--------

From:    "Tom  Dimond" <dimondt [at]>
Subject: River critical area 10.30 6:30pm

Public input is needed from supporters of the Mississippi River Critical
Area. Many have been frustrated that the Mississippi River Critical Area
has not been adequately supported. Some of us have been talking with
legislators on how we can improve the situation. Representatives Rick
Hanson and Sheldon Johnson got funding to provide recommendations.

Friends of the Mississippi River will be holding meetings to seek public
input. I would encourage supporters of the Mississippi to provide
suggestions on how we can protect and enhance this wonderful resource.

There is a meeting at the Neighborhood House 179 Robie St E, St Paul from
6:30 - 9:00 PM, Tuesday October 30. If you can not attend you may want to
submit written comments. Their web site is

FMR is taking input but the DNR will be making recommendations to the
Legislature. When the Critical Area was established it was considered a
first step in providing comprehensive protections and enhancements  for
the river corridor. Instead of increased protections and enhancements
there has been a lot of back sliding.

For those of us who believe in natural resource protections and
enhancements it is important to speak up on behalf of the river corridor.

I believe there needs to be a clear vision and goals that guide our
effort. It is important that we have clear, understandable and enforceable
standards. Opportunities for restoring and enhancing the environment need
to be clearly defined. Priorities should be established. Funding sources
need to be identified.

If you have any questions Irene Jones or Whitney Clark at FMR would be
good contacts 222-2193.

--------10 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Grace Paley 10.30 6:30pm

Tuesday, 10/30, 6:30 to 7:30 pm, Pax-Salon invites Lucia Wilkes-Smith to
help remember Grace Paley, poet, short-story writer, and peace activist,
Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul.

--------11 of 21--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Chicano writing 10.30 7pm

Chicano & Latino Writers Festival Celebrates 10 Years
Festival dates are October 30-November 15
Events are free and open to the public.
For more information, call 651-222-3242 or friends [at]

Since beginning in 1997, the Chicano & Latino Writers Festival has a
tradition of working with local and national talent to present the only
Twin Cities literary festival focusing on Chicano and Latino writers.
Help us celebrate 10 great years in 2007, with returning favorites and new
writers to experience!

The Festival kicks off on Tuesday, October 30, with a special reception
and 10th anniversary celebration, featuring a reading from Michele
Serros, author of the newly released ĄScandalosa!  Named by Newsweek as
"one of the top young women to watch for in the new century," Serros is
the author of Honey Blonde Chica, a young adult novel set in Southern
California, and its sequel, ĄScandalosa!  In addition to being an
award-winning poet, Serros has been a featured contributor for the Los
Angeles Times' children's fiction section and a commentator for National
Public Radio.  Serros is also the author of Chicana Falsa and How to Be
a Chicana Role Model, which became a Los Angeles Times bestseller.  The
celebration and reading takes place at the Paul & Sheila Wellstone
Center, 179 E. Robie Street, Saint Paul, at 7 p.m.

--------12 of 21--------

From: John Kysylyczyn <john [at]>
Subject: Maplewood SchBd 10.30 7pm

The League of Women Voters will be hosting the following candidate forum
October 30, 7pm, Maplewood City Council at Maplewood City Hall

--------13 of 21--------

From: Tim Erickson <tim [at]>
Subject: Nonprofit class 10.30

I just heard about 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 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

--------14 of 21--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: StP SB/KFAI 10.31 11am


The eight candidates for St. Paul City Council have debated each other in
several venues and seven of the eight School Board candidates showed up
for a major debate Thursday, Oct. 25th. Those debates have been recorded,
thanks to St. Paul Neighborhood Network. SPNN has graciously supplied
those recordings to us and each will be excerpted for positions and
comments on key issues facing voters in the November 6th election. Wešll
bring in a few concerned commentators on these races and on the
extraordinary level of disengagement voters are demonstrating in this

JAY BENANAV ­ outgoing St. Paul Ward 4 City Councilmember
ELONA STREET-STEWART - Chair, St. Paul School Board
ROGER BARR - Executive Director, Support Our Schools
JOE MANSKY ­ Director, Ramsey County Elections Bureau

with ANDY DRISCOLL, Host and Producer and LYNNELL MICKELSEN, Co-host
Minneapolis 90.3/106.7 Saint Paul CALL IN: 612-341-0980 ONLINE @ KFAI.ORG:

--------15 of 21--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Iran agenda 10.31 4pm

Wednesday, 10/31, 4 pm, journalist Reese Erlich discusses his new book
"The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East
Crisis," Nolte Center for Continuing Education, 315 Pullsbury Dr SE, Mpls. or 612-626-5054.

--------16 of 21--------

From: Miriam Larson <mlarson [at]>
Subject: X college 10.31 4:45pm

Greetings EXCO list!

It is that time of year for recruiting next semester's Experimental
College teachers! Next semester's classes will begin the first week of
February and we are having a workshop for folks who are interested in
teaching. Please note that it has been rescheduled from what was
previously advertised:

Workshop: Tips and Tricks for Teaching an EXCO Class
Wednesday, October 31st, 4:45-6pm
Macalester College
Campus Center 215

Come chat with teachers and organizers and find out how easy it is to
teach an EXCO class. People who have never thought of teaching are
particularly encouraged to come! You do not have to attend the workshop
in order to submit an application.

[You will however have to submit your firstborn son. -ed]

Please take a moment to look at the application for teachers available
at and consider applying or passing the opportunity along
to a friend.

Want to help out in other ways? *We are much in need of EXCO Contacts*,
people to put up info and tell their peers in their work, organization,
or neighborhood - there is nothing easier you can do to help EXCO grow! We
also have an upcoming Pizza Party Training for those interested in being
EXCO contacts but wanting to learn more about our program: Thursday,
November 8th from 5:30 to 7:00PM on the 4th floor of Old Main.

Imagine yourself as a teacher. What could you teach? Teaching a class
allows you to share a unique skill or share your knowledgeable about an
important issue, it offers you the opportunity to create reflection around
a set of already planned events or form a collective of people with a
common interest (i.e.: screenwriting, beer brewing, or organizing
community solutions). These are just suggestions; the Experimental College
is always open to new class models so the sky is the limit!

There is no such thing as a typical EXCO class. Past classes have
included: Latino Labor Organizing for Alternatives to Globalization,
Basic Songwriting, Climate, Development and Energy: Renewing Our Future,
The Social Responsibility of African American Music, Avant Garde and
Experimental Film, Bike Feminism: Movements and Bike Mechanics,
Anarchist Anthropology, etc! [Writing Dumb Editorial Comments, etc -ed]

At EXCO our basic principal is that anyone can teach or take a class and
all classes are free. Started by Macalester students in Fall 2006 we
strive to offer Twin Cities communities an opportunity to teach or learn
in an inclusive space open to all types of skills and knowledge, including
and beyond academic knowledge.

We see this as creating an open space to engage with the issues we find
important or interesting, and as a basis for creating a community to
empower each other in facing challenges and making good in the world. We
believe education is a powerful tool for social change, one that can build
equality and justice in our communities when we value the knowledge of
each and every person, particularly those whose voices have been
historically marginalized.

Most classes run for 10 weeks, meeting once a week on evenings or
weekends. Classes can meet anywhere in the Twin Cities and we encourage
you to meet in a place accessible to you and the communities to which you
belong. Teachers are volunteers though if you cannot teach without some
monetary support we are able to offer up to $300 to support you. We also
are able to fund class materials or other classroom costs upon request.

Please contact EXCO at excotc [at], 651-696-8010, or go to with any questions or suggestions.

--------17 of 21--------

Concentrated Power
Beyond the Rule of Law
October 27 / 28, 2007

Every law student promptly learns the national ideal that our country is
governed by the rule of law, not the rule of men. Today, the rule of law
is under attack.

Such activities have become a big business and, not surprisingly, they
have involved big business.

On October 25th, Secretary Condoleeza Rice officially recognized before a
House Oversight Committee that, remarkably, there was no law covering the
misbehavior of Blackwater Corporation and their private police in Iraq.

Any crimes of violence committed by Blackwater and other armed contractors
commissioned by the Defense and State Departments to perform guard duty
and other tasks, fell into a gap between Iraqi law, from which they have
been exempted by the U.S. military occupation and the laws of the United

Since the United States government is ruled by lawless men in the White
House who have violated countless laws and treaties, Bush and Cheney
clearly had no interest in placing giant corporate contractors operating
inside Iraqi jurisdiction under either the military justice system or the
criminal laws of the United States.

Presidential power has accumulated over the years to levels that would
have alarmed the founding fathers whose constitutional framework never
envisioned such raw unilateral power at the top of the Executive branch.
Accordingly, they only provided for the impeachment sanction. They neither
gave citizens legal standing to go to court and hold the Presidency
accountable, or to prevent the two other branches from surrendering their
explicit constitutional authority - such as the war-making power - to the
Executive branch. The federal courts over time have refused to adjudicate
cases they deem "political conflicts" between the Legislative and
Executive branches or, in general, most foreign policy questions.

Being above the law's reach, Bush and Cheney can and do use the law in
ways that inflict injustice on innocent people. Politicizing the offices
of the U.S. Attorneys by the Justice Department, demonstrated by
Congressional hearings, is one consequence of such Presidential license.
Political law enforcement, using laws such as the so-called PATRIOT Act,
is another widespread pattern that has drag netted thousands of innocent
people into arrests and imprisonment without charges or adequate legal
representation. Or the Bush regime's use of coercive plea bargains against
defendants who can't afford leading, skilled attorneys.

Books and law journal articles have been written about times when
government violates the laws. They are long on examples but short on
practical remedies of what to do about it.

Corporations and their large corporate law firms have many ways to avoid
the laws. First, they make sure that when Congress writes legislation, the
bills advance corporate interests. For example, numerous consumer safety
laws have no criminal penalties for the violations, or only the most
nominal fines. The regulatory agencies often have very weak subpoena
powers or authority to set urgent and mandatory safety standards without
suffering years or even decades of corporate-induced delays.

If the laws prove troublesome, the corporations make sure that enforcement
budgets are ridiculously tiny, with only a few federal cops on the beat.
The total number of Justice Department attorneys prosecuting the corporate
crime wave of the past decade, running investors, pensioners and workers
into trillions of dollars of losses and damaging the health and safety of
many patients and other consumers, is smaller than just one of the top
five largest corporate law firms.

Out in the marketplace, environment and the workplace, the corporations
have many tools forged out of their unbridled power to block aggrieved
people from having their day in court or getting agencies or legislatures
to stand up for the common folk.

Companies can wear down or deter plaintiffs from obtaining justice by
costly motions and other delaying tactics. When people get into court and
obtain some justice, the companies move toward the legislature to restrict
access to the courts. This is grotesquely called "tort reform" -  which
takes away the rights of harmed individuals but not the corporations'
rights to have their day in court.

Lush amounts of campaign dollars grease the way for corporations in the
legislatures in the fifty states and on Capitol Hill.

As if that power to pass their own laws is not enough, large corporations
become their own private legislatures. You've been confronted with those
fine-print standard form agreements asking you to sign on the dotted line
if you wish to secure insurance, tenancy, credit, bank services, hospital
treatment, or just a job.

Those pages of fine print are corporations regulating you! You can't cross
any of them out.

You can't go across the street to a competitor - say from Geico to State
Farm, or from Citibank to the Bank of America, because there is no
competition over these fine-print contracts, with their dotted signature
lines. Unless, that is, they compete over how fast they require you to
give up your rights to go to court or to object to their unilaterally
changing the terms of the agreement, such as in changing the terms of your
frequent flier agreement on already accumulated miles

Oh, for the law schools that provide courses on the rule of men over the
rule of law.

Oh, for the time when there when there will be many public interest law
firms working just on these portentous dominations of concentrated power
to deny open and impartial uses of the laws to achieve justice and

Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions

--------18 of 21--------

The Morning After
by Cindy Sheehan
Published on Sunday, October 28, 2007 by

As I sit sipping my morning cup of coffee and reflect on the anti-war
protests sponsored by the Oct27 coalition (where I saw some good
collaboration between UFPJ and ANSWER - at least in San Francisco - yea!),
I have a few thoughts.

Yesterday, tens of thousands of activists from around Northern California,
Northern Nevada and some from Southern Oregon attended the rally in my new
hometown, San Francisco. Despite weather in the Eastern part of the
country, I hear that the rallies all over the rest of the country were
extremely well attended and the energy was high.

The throngs of humanity in San Francisco stretched out between the Civic
Center to Dolores Park in a line that was over two miles long and it took
over an hour for the last marcher to reach the endpoint. However, what
does this all mean?

We have marched. We have done sit-ins in Congress Reps offices all over
the country. We have written letters, emails and sent faxes. Some of us
have camped in ditches in Central Texas for weeks at a time. CODEPINK is
doing a marvelous job of keeping the pressure on in DC. We have had
countless numbers of rallies, teach-ins and candlelight vigils, but the
occupation is continuing and people are still dying and are forced from
their homes by the ongoing and unremitting violence.

In November of 2006, the peace movement scored a major coup but we later
discovered that the Democrats had only used our vibrant, angry and deeply
committed movement to regain both Houses of Congress. Some of us
erroneously thought that we could relax a little and allow the 110th
Congress to take some of the slack from us hard-working activists to end
the war and hold BushCo accountable. After all, that's what we pay them
for, isn't it? I, and my organization, was roundly criticized by many
people for going to Congress in January to demand that the Dems do the job
we elected them to do. "Give them a chance". "Shut the f**k up". These and
harsher epithets were hurled at us. I understand, because we wanted to
relax, too. In November, we were as shocked as everyone else was, though,
when Nancy and Harry (Bush Enablers Number One and Two) took impeachment
"off the table". We knew there would be no rest for the weary with this
Congress, and, unfortunately, I think we have been vindicated - very
regrettably for democracy around the world.

Where do we go from here?

George has asked Congress for 45 billion (to add to the 200 billion
Congress already handed him) more Chinese lent dollars for 2008 to sustain
his bloody occupations and Congress will unconditionally yield to his
request because they are puppets of the Supreme Puppet. Coincidentally,
this will keep the bloody mess going until the '08 elections where the
Dems can point their blood-stained fingers at the Repugs not even
realizing that we are not buying that load of crap anymore. Both parties
are culpable; both parties are supporting war crimes; both parties must be
held accountable. We need to run Peace Candidates against the Bush
Enablers and we need to support the Peace Candidates we already have like
Dennis Kucinich that are floundering on the decks of the USS Main Stream

The peace movement must also be held accountable. We wrangle for a limited
amount of funds and guard our "listservs" jealously and fiercely. It is
way past time that the peace movement share resources, gifts and talents
to force the established elite in DC to do our will. We are the moral
majority in this country; we are in the right; we need to work together to
funnel and focus our energies. So many times we are on parallel paths
going the same direction but rarely walking together towards our common
goals. We can be sure that the Corporatocracy is walking lock-step toward
their goal of US global hegemony which is neither peaceful nor benevolent.

In March of '08 we will be mourning the 5th anniversary of a "war" that
was going to take six months (Donald Rumsfeld), 50 billion dollars (Paul
Wolfowitz) and zero American lives (George Bush). Obviously, this is
unacceptable. The Camp Casey Peace Institute is calling for a Peace Summit
in San Francisco on the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday to
bring the leaders of the movement together so we can find ways to support
each other to our common goals of peace, sustainability and accountability
and to plan for relevant and effective actions all around the 5th

With US aircraft carrier groups in the Persian Gulf and Turkish forces
poised on the border of Kurdistan, if there ever was a time to put
differences aside and celebrate similarities, as BushCo in tandem with
Congress, Inc has brought our world to the brink of World War III, it is

--------19 of 21--------

There's no 'lesser' in the Democrat evil
by Jim Fuller
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A couple of nights ago, I watched and listened to Rep. Rahm Emanuel,
Democrat of Illinois, on CNN, arguing that despite overwhelming evidence
to the contrary, the Democrats are not abject failures in the present

He offered no facts, other than the passage of a largely meaningless
increase in the federal minimum wage, to support his claims. When the
CNN interviewer asked him why the Democrats have done nothing to halt or
even slow the war in Iraq after having been given the majority in
Congress for that purpose, Emmanuel claimed that the war was secondary
and that "other issues" put the Democrats over.

He cited the economy, job losses, protecting the Constitution and a
couple of other things; he skipped blithely over the fact that the
Democrats have done as little about those things as they have about the war.

From the first moment he began flapping his jaw, it was impossible to
shake off the image of Richard Gere as the amoral and predatory defense
lawyer in the musical "Chicago," tap dancing faster and faster to
demonstrate how he distracts the public and a jury from inconvenient facts.

Emanuel, who looks more than a little like Gere, has risen quickly in
the Democratic Party structure since his election to Congress in 2003.
The rise seems based almost entirely on his abilities as a fund raiser.
His name is on the cover of one of those political books nobody reads,
as co-author with Bruce Reed, president of the Democratic Leadership
Council. The DLC's real, though publicly unacknowledged, purpose is to
keep the party firmly under the control of corporate and other big money

His television appearance, friends, was part of his party's campaign -
begun early this time around - to persuade liberals that once again we
must swallow the manure sandwich they are about to feed us.

The propaganda is designed to make us believe that to do anything other
than vote for those calling themselves Democrats would bring disaster
upon us. That despite the obvious fact that to elect the now-almost
certain Democratic presidential candidate next year would be the essence
of disaster for the great mass of citizens.

Already, the traditional Democrats who still think, or try to think,
that the party is an independent and basically liberal organization, are
echoing the DLC line. I've had a couple of notes from a good man who
buys their arguments every time, stating that I'm terribly wrong in
telling the Dems to screw off. Either we elect the Democratic nominee
for president or we're headed to hell in a handbasket, he says.

Naīve. And after several election cycles of the same thing, willfully
foolish. [Amen -ed]

Worse than naīve, because the old-line Democrats who still buy that crap
are giving the power elite everything it wants without a fight. They jump
into that handbasket rather than being pushed in. If you're going down in
a life or death struggle, I say, at least gouge an eye or break a kneecap
on the way. [They and their national party are beneath contempt. -ed]

(I understand the impulse of those old Democrats, by the way. Raised to be
a Democrat in a family that all but worshipped FDR, who's father, having
only one leg, was nevertheless ready to fight on the street for the good
name of Harry Truman, my instinct, too, is to vote for, defend and trust
the Democratic Party. However, I also can think, and analyze, and, after a
lifetime in journalism, am big on recognizing and facing facts.) [But gee
whillikers guys, denial is so much more comforting -ed]

It seems clear now that those who keep falling for the shopworn claims
of "lesser of two evils," simply cannot face the fact that they give
their fealty to a party that no longer exists - the party of Franklin
Roosevelt, Harry Truman and even the party of John F. Kennedy. [Right.
RIP. Bury the body and move on. -ed]

Repeat: It no longer exists. There's hardly a remnant of it left since
Jimmy Carter was drummed from the White House. Bill Clinton did us more
harm than any of today's gaggle of incompetent Republican candidates is
likely to do.

(Oh yeah? Yeah. Billy Boy led in destroying the economy for the poor and
middle class, and worked hard at increasing the power of the super rich
at the expense of the vast majority of citizens. And from that grow all
the other evils now afflicting us.)

Perhaps the people who keep playing the political version of three card
monte by betting time and again on corporate toadies calling themselves
Democrats simply are panicked by fact that there is no obvious place to
turn if they can't turn to the Democrats. [And that's why they remain -
mired in evil, aiding and abetting evil, collaborating with the enemy,
sinking us lower and lower into the pit. -ed]

What to do? What to do?

Pull up your socks and fight, despite the odds.

Thanks to a broken, not to say smashed, system that gives the power to
choose presidential candidates to those with assets of $30 or $40
million and more (mostly more), with the crawling collusion of the boobs
of what is called the news media, we will once again be denied a real
choice for president and for most other federal elective offices and
many state-level offices in 2008.

It is suicide to go along with that wretched game. [Amen. -ed]

Truth is, we probably already are dead and simply have failed to lie
down and take our ration of dirt in the face. But even if true, it's not
a good reason to keep slashing at our own throats with rusty blades.

Start with the presidency:

Assuming Bush/Cheney does leave office at the legally appointed time,
the Democrats want us to believe that Hillary Clinton would be a
substantial improvement.

That's flatly untrue. Clinton is worse than any of the Republican
doofuses in the running, the worst of a rotten lot. She is raw ambition
on legs, demonstrably without principles or any core of morality.
Expediency is her game, and everything not already sold is for sale.

And one other little thing, which the Democrats won't acknowledge but
for which I am grateful: Despite polls showing her way out in front, she
may be unelectable, barring some monumental unforeseen event.

A new Zogby poll shows that, already, 50 percent of American citizens
have concluded that they will not vote for Clinton under any
circumstances. They will NEVER vote for her half of poll respondents said.

Sadly, almost as many said they will never vote for Dennis Kucinich,
arguably the best candidate in the herd. I'd like to think his numbers
would change much for the better if the media ever let his views and
positions be known - it has entirely shut him out, deliberately
pretended he doesn't exist - but perhaps it's too late for that.

So the Democrats -- the perpetually losing wing of what is now the
Corporate Party, the Washington Generals to the Republicans' Harlem
Globetrotters - are going to foist on the public an unacceptable
candidate who may not be able to draw sufficient votes even in a year
when the Democrat should cakewalk into office, a year in which the
Republican wing of the party will offer a bottom-of-the-barrel dimwit as
the alternative.

Doesn't matter to the people who run the party, frankly. They also run
the "other side," and they win no matter which candidate gets the title
of president. In our present ugly parody of American government, the
money always wins.

A final point: The last, desperate argument of those who say we must
elect whoever carries the Democrat label is, "Just think how much better
things would be now if we'd only got Al Gore into office in 2000, or
John Kerry in 2004."

The answer to that is multifaceted:

First, this is not 2000 or 2004 and the 2008 candidate almost certainly
is going to be Hillary Clinton or, barring that, Barak Obama. Show me
how that's going to be better than Giuliani or any of the other
Republicans. And I warn you, I'm prepared with a whole lot of facts to
argue that Clinton probably will be worse.

Second, are you sure we'd be much better off if Gore or, especially,
Kerry had been elected? On Gore, the available information somewhat
favors the belief that we wouldn't have attacked Iraq, but it's not a
100 percent bet by any means. Both Democrats would have faced the same,
or worse, Congresses and an even more idiotic press than the ones we've
been stuck with, and both were, as presidential candidates, under the
thumbs of party leaderships, "consultants," and campaign funders nearly
identical to those who rule now.

Gore, remember, didn't really find his voice until he was some years out
of the running for political office.

Also remember that Gore's running mate, whom he fully accepted as such
and who probably would be the Democratic presidential candidate this
year had Gore got into the White House, was one Joe Lieberman, right
wing extremist and unwavering supporter of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Mostly, the belief that things would have been so much better is wishful

Next: Hillary Clinton is the worst possible choice, but her candidacy is
bought and paid for.

posted by James @ 12:49 PM

[Sadly, there are a significant number of national and local Greens (my
party) who seriously entertain cross-endorsing or standing-aside for Dems.
It would move the party to the right, deprive citizens of more progressive
choices, and probably spell the end of the GP within ten years or so. (Cf
the end of the Farmer-Labor party in DFL-heaven). Cross-endorsement offers
a "quick fix", no muss or fuss or bother of running your own candidate.
Why not just use the attractive DFLer, right here and now, posing,
smiling, welcoming us into his parlor? Why make pizza yourself when you
can order out? -ed]

--------20 of 21--------

Implications of Plutonomy
by Girish Mishra
October 27, 2007

Almost two years ago, Ajay Kapur, a prominent global strategist of the
Citigroup and his two associates, Niall Macleod and Narendra Singh, came
out with a paper "Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances".
If the formulations contained in this paper are correct, they will have
far reaching implications, upsetting long-standing understandings of
economists all over the world.

Ajay Kapur and his associates assert that world is getting divided into
two blocs, namely, the Plutonomy and the rest.  The term "Plutonomy" is
derived from, Plutus, the Greek god of wealth. America, Britain and Canada
are the key Plutonomies, powered mainly by the wealthy. In Plutonomies,
the rich dominate the economy as they account for most of the consumption
expenditures, savings, current account deficits, etc. Obviously, in the
Plutonomies, economic growth is powered by the wealthy. The rest of the
population does not have much of a role in the economy.

Kapur and his associates claim: "Plutonomies have occurred before in
sixteenth century Spain, in seventeenth century Holland, the Gilded Ages
and Roaring Twenties in the U.S." Common drivers of Plutonomy in each case
have been "Disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, creative
financial innovation, capitalist-friendly cooperative governments, an
international dimension of immigrants and overseas conquests invigorating
wealth creation, the rule of law, and patenting inventions". These
conditions benefit the rich and educated of the time because only they are
in a position to exploit them. Income inequality has been a prominent
feature of Plutonomy. In the present day world Plutonomies are given birth
to and sustained by revolution in information and communications
technology, financialization, globalization and friendly governments and
their policies.

In a Plutonomy, consumers do not have their nationality. Thus there is no
U.S. consumer or British consumer. Globalization has converted the entire
world into a single integrated market. "There are rich consumers, few in
number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and
consumption they take. There are the rest, the "non-rich", the
multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of
the national pie. Consensus analyses that don't tease out the profound
plutonomy on spending power, debt loads, savings rates (and hence current
account deficits), oil price impacts etc., i.e., focus on the 'average'
consumer flawed from the start. Since consumption accounts for 65% of the
world economy, and consumer staples and discretionary sectors for the
MSCIAC World Index, understanding how the plutonomy impacts consumer is
key for equity market participants"..

Kapur & Co. assert that Plutonomy is not going to go away but will get
stronger and stronger, "its membership swelling from globalized enclaves
in the emerging world, we think a 'plutonomy basket' of stocks should
continue to do well. These toys for the wealthy have pricing power, and
staying power".

The share of the wealthy in the national income has been increasing. The
top 1% of households in America, i.e., about one million households
accounted for around 20% of overall U.S. income in 2000, slightly lower
than the share of income of the bottom 60% of households put together. In
other words, about one million households on the top and the bottom 60%
households had almost equal share in the national pie. The top one per
cent of households accounted for 40 per cent of financial net worth, more
than the bottom 95 per cent of households put together.

Kapur & Co. assert: "We posit that the drivers of plutonomy in the U.S.
(the UK and Canada) are likely to strengthen, entrenching and buttressing
plutonomy where it exists. The six drivers of the current plutonomy: (1)
an ongoing technology/biotechnology revolution, (2) capitalist friendly
governments and tax regimes, (3) globalization that re-arranges global
supply chains with mobile well-capitalized elites and immigrants, (4)
greater financial complexity and innovation, (5) the rule of law, and (6)
patent protection are well ensconced in the U.S., the UK and Canada. They
are also gaining strength in the emerging world". Further, "Eastern Europe
is embracing many of these attributes, as are China, India, and Russia".

When the top, say one per cent of households in a country see their share
of income rise sharply, a Plutonomy emerges. This is witnessed often in
times of frenetic technology/financial innovation driven wealth waves,
accompanied by asset booms, equity and/or property. Feeling wealthier, the
rich decide to consume a part of their capital gains right away. In other
words, they save less from their income, the well-known wealth effect.

They claim that the rich have become the dominant drivers of demand in
many economies. They have started dominating income, wealth and spending.
According to a recent article by George Ip "Income Inequality Gap Widens"
(The Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2007):  the richest Americans have
been cornering greater and greater share of the national income. The
wealthiest one per cent of Americans earned [viz stole -ed] 21.2 per cent
of national income in 2005 while they earned 19 per cent in 2004 and 20.8
per cent in 2000. On the other hand the bottom 50 per cent earned 12.8 per
cent of national income that was less than 13.4 per cent in 2004 and 13
per cent in 2000.

Since the wealthy appropriate most of the national income, the pattern of
production is fashioned to meet their demand. It is estimated that
America's richest half-per cent consume, on an average, goods and services
worth $650 billion a year. In a Plutonomy like America, "the wealthy
account for a greater share of national wealth, spending, profits and
economic growth - the top 20 per cent of income earners account for as
much as 70 per cent of consumption in the United States. Like it or not.
spending by the rich was propping up the economy, even as the middle and
lower classes were struggling". Further, "In this new plutonomy, with
'rich' consumers and 'everyone else,' companies that serve the rich are
prospering. From department stores to hotels to automakers to
homebuilders, businesses in every industry was adapting to an increasingly
hour-glass-shaped economy, selling to the status-seeking rich, and the
penny-pinching middle and lower middle classes..

The Plutonomy thesis presented by Ajay Kapur & Co. implies that there will
be no "realization crisis" nor will there be any need for the Keynesian
prescription of an active role of the state in augmenting the volume of
effective demand. In other words, no public works and welfare activities
are to be undertaken wherever Plutonomy is in ascendancy. "New Deal" of
Roosevelt has become irrelevant. The same is the fate of William H.
Beveridge's recommendations for creating a welfare state. Mahatma Gandhi,
Nehru, and Indira Gandhi (with her slogan of "Garibi Hatao") are to become
irrelevant. Present day slogans like "Congress ka Hath Aam Adami ke Sath"
and "the inclusive growth" are nothing but hollow ones.

Karl Marx was the first to point out that capitalism was bound to face
"realization crisis", i.e., capitalists might not realize the value
inherent in commodities because they might find the total volume of demand
falling short of the volume of supply. Thus capitalists would not be able
to sell the entire volume of output. This could be due to anarchy of
production and productivity increasing much faster than the wages.

Karl Marx's claim was outright dismissed by the ruling orthodoxy because
till 1929 it continued to stick to the dictum "supply creates its own
demand," based on the law of markets put forth by the French economist
Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832) in a book published in France in 1803
(translated into English as "A Treatise on Political Economy, or the
production, distribution and consumption of wealth," and published from
Philadelphia in 1855).

Say held that there could be no demand without supply. The power to
purchase could get augmented only by more and more production. Hence there
could be no problem of unsold commodities. If everything was normal and
there was no interference by the government, trade unions and other
quarters in the functioning of market, it would clear. In other words,
economy would be self-regulating, provided all prices, including wages
were flexible enough. A free market economy was always supposed to
maintain full employment.  Hence there would be no glut. This approach
collapsed in 1929 when the Great Depression set in. This was the most
severe and prolonged General Crisis in the history of capitalism.

Keynes tore this orthodoxy to pieces. Contrary to the assertion of Say's
followers there was mass involuntary unemployment because the realization
crisis had forced the factories to down their shutters and lay off the
workers. This deepened the crisis further. Keynes demonstrated that Say
was wrong when he believed that there was only transaction demand for
money. In fact, there were precautionary and speculative demands for
money. Because of this people might not spend all their earnings on buying
goods and services. The greater this leakage, the greater was the
impending fear of the phenomenon of unsold commodities. He analyzed the
factors behind these two motives.

Keynes suggested an active role for the state in order to augment and
maintain the volume of demand to enable the market to clear and ward off
the danger of realization crisis. From this arose the strategy of welfare
state. In the course of time, state assumed the responsibility of creating
employment opportunities and poverty reduction.

This thinking remained prominent, in spite of onslaughts by Mises, Hayek
and the Chicago school, led by Milton Friedman, but the process of its
burial began with the rise of Thatcher-Reagan line of thinking, the
collapse of the Soviet Union and the Washington consensus-based
globalization, thrust indiscriminately on the entire world. Now, it
appears, the danger of realization crisis emanating from a general crisis
of capitalism is almost forgotten. Extolling the virtues of consumerism
and "shop till you fall dead" appear to be the instrument for raising the
volume of effective demand. There is, however, a catch, more so in
developing countries, where the seeds of plutonomy will take a long time
to germinate. The overwhelming mass of people lack employment
opportunities and income to survive, but they have the power to unseat the
government, notwithstanding all the propaganda about glowing future.
Didn't Keynes say, in the long run we all will be dead, so what is
relevant is the present and immediate future?

E-mail: gmishra [at]

--------21 of 21--------

 Good ship Dem goes down.
 Dems, loyal to the last, go
 down with it. Glug glug.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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