|Progressive Calendar 02.13.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 04:15:24 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 02.13.08 1. Local govt/KFAI 2.13 11am 2. Second chance 2.13 11am 3. V war teach-in 2.13 12noon Superior WI 4. Water rights 2.13 12:15pm 5. Angela Davis 2.13 5pm 6. Intellectuals/war 2.13 5pm 7. Happy NOWr 2.13 5pm 8. LWV planning 2.13 6pm 9. V war teach-in 2.13 6pm Duluth MN 10. Women's rights 2.13 7pm 11. Vagina monologs 2.13 7:30pm 12. Eagan vigil 2.14 4:30pm 13. Northtown vigil 2.14 5pm 14. PoliticalTheatre 2.14 6pm 15. MidEast water 2.14 7pm 16. Andy Birkey - Minnesota Health Plan 17. Ronnie Cummins - Corporate globalization/at the end of the road 18. Naomi Klein - Police and tasers: hooked on shock 19. Jos M. Tirado - A socialist alternative? Going from Green to Red 20. Ben Tripp - Thus I refute critics 21. ed - Half-truths (poem) --------1 of 21-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Local govt/KFAI 2.13 11am Wednesdays at 11:00 AM KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis/106.7 St. Paul 11:00 AM WEDNESDAY, FEB 13: LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING: How will cities cope in 2008 and Beyond? Eight years of budget cuts, especially state LGAs Local Government Aids may have satisfied conservative tax-cutters and allowed Gov. Pawlenty to live up to his nasty pledge to one organization never to raise revenue. But municipalities, especially the urban core cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, have been left to severely cut services, which they have (much to the consternation of their constituents) and/or raise property taxes (much to the consternation of their constituents). But most constituents donıt understand how cities are financed and why lowering one tax must push up the balloon on the other end. TTTıs Andy Driscoll and Lynnell Mickelsen try to sort out this mess with officials forced to deal with the exigencies of state and local government funding. GUESTS: State Sen. Dick Cohen, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee; Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak; St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman; Minnetonka City Manager John Gunyou, Former State Finance Commissioner AND YOU: Call in: 612-341-0980 Wednesday at 11:00AM. --------2 of 21-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] minn.net> Subject: Second chance 2.13 11am JOIN CUAPB AT SECOND CHANCE DAY ON THE HILL Second Chance Day on the Hill February 13, 2008 11:00 a.m. rally 12:00 noon lobbying State Capitol Rotunda 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr., St. Paul Transportation available: see below Over 50 organizationsincluding CUAPBare coming together for the first ever Second Chance Day on the Hill to demand justice system reforms that will make it easier for ex-offenders to reintegrate into society. Over 1000 ex-offenders, their families and supporters of justice reform will be present to highlight the importance of second chances. We will be raising statewide and national attention to barriers facing individuals with criminal records that affect the social, civic and economic stability of families and communities. There are currently 155,000 Minnesota adults under some form of correctional supervision; 142,000 on probation, 4,200 on some level of supervised release, and 9,100 in prison. And there are at least as many with a criminal record who have satisfied all the requirements of their sentence. This equates to one in every sixteen Minnesotans having the stigma of a conviction they must overcome to qualify for housing, employment and student loans, among other things. Legislatively we have created nearly 200 collateral sanctions over and above the penalties associated with a conviction. These collateral sanctions limit the ability of people to reintegrate into society and to survive in the mainsteam economy and are the leading cause for recidivism. CUAPB is proud to be part of this organizing and we urge you to attend this important event. For transportation: There will be a bus at each of the following Minneapolis locations: Sabathani Community Center, 310 E 38th Street Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Avenue Buses will load at 10:00 am from both locations and leave at 10:15 for the Capitol Buses will load at 1:00 PM at the Capitol and leave at 1:15 PM to return to Sabathani and the Urban League. -- For our families, communities and public safety, give ex-offenders a Second Chance by Charles Hallman Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder Originally posted 1/30/2008 There are currently 155,000 Minnesota adults under some form of correctional supervision 142,000 on probation, 4,200 on some level of supervised release, and 9,100 in prison. At least 95 percent of those in prison will eventually be released. "The actual prison population is overwhelmingly male, and overwhelmingly minority," noted Sarah Walker, director of juvenile services at 180 Degrees, a Minneapolis-based organization that runs a halfway house. Eighty percent of all male prisoners have a child, she said, adding that the number of female prisoners has been rapidly increasing in the past 10 years. Getting a second chance often becomes an elusive goal for too many ex-offenders, who must face housing and employment barriers upon their re-entering society. Even getting a student loan can be difficult for someone wishing to pursue an education who possesses a criminal record. These barriers are the reason for the "Second Chance Day on the Hill" scheduled for February 13 at the State Capitol in St. Paul. On this day, several organizations, many of which are heavily involved in criminal justice issues, are calling for the Minnesota Legislature and the general public to seriously begin looking at "Second Chance" legislation. Representatives from these organizations have met weekly over the last few months to plan this event. Organizers are anticipating that at least 1,000 ex-offenders, their family members, and supporters of criminal justice system reform will attend. "This is the first time in many years that I have seen so many diverse organizations come together for one issue," Walker said. "I think we wouldn't be having this conversation 10 years ago. What we have now is a window of opportunity to look at things [in] a pragmatic way." "The Day" organizers also want the general public to be aware of the importance of Second Chance legislation, continued Walker. "Second chances are about public safety," she pointed out. "If you want to increase public safety, you need to facilitate successful re-entry [of ex-offenders]. "Everyone gets scared, and everyone wants to feel safe in their community. All I am saying is to give someone a second chance, you are going to make your community safer." Among the principles the Second Chance supporters emphasize are: Providing ex-offenders with fair access to housing, employment, credit, and higher education, along with restoring their voting rights; Making sure all criminal background checks are accurate and up-to-date; Providing treatment programs in correctional facilities, including improved prison mental-health intervention programs, and providing diversionary community-based programs for first offenders; Eliminating collateral punishment so that once offenders have served their time, they do not face unnecessary and unfair side effects once they are back in society; Providing rehabilitative opportunities for offenders while incarcerated, and preparing willing individuals to become productive members of their communities when they are released; Ensuring that punishment falls on the offender and not on the offender's children, other family members, and communities; and Developing pragmatic and cost-effective approaches to public safety. Upon their release from prison, most ex-offenders then experience a vicious cycle of circumstances, Walker explained. "If you don't have stable housing, you have trouble finding a job because you don't have a regular residence. However, you have trouble finding stable housing if you don't have any income. "I think the two most important things [facing ex-offenders] are barriers to employment and opportunities to stable housing," said Walker. A University of Minnesota doctoral student, Walker has been involved in criminal justice issues for a long time. "I have been interested in this all through my undergraduate years," she noted. "Criminal justice is where all issues of disparity come in: poverty, mental health, inequality and racism. If you want to address all these issues, they all end up in prison." Also, Walker has a personal stake in second chance issues. "I stole something, and I ended up in big trouble," she admitted. "I was able to not go to prison or spend any significant time in jail." Nonetheless, Walker now has a criminal record. "I am still not eligible for many types of employment. There were many schools who wouldn't accept me [for graduate school] because I have a criminal record." The U.S. House of Representatives last November passed a Second Chance bill (H.R. 1593). Now awaiting U.S. Senate action, the bill calls for federal funding for ex-offender reentry services and job training. Now it is Minnesota's turn to do something as well, Walker concluded. Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman [at] spokesman-recorder.com, or read his blog, www.wwwchallman.blogspot.com --------3 of 21-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: V war teach-in 2.13 12noon Superior WI Wednesday, 2/13, noon, Iraq Veterans Against the War teach-in, UWS Rothwell Student Center, rm. 111, Superior, Wisc. daniel5points [at] gmail or northlandiguana [at] gmail.com --------4 of 21-------- From: Human Rights Events Update <humanrts [at] umn.edu> Subject: Water rights 2.13 12:15pm The Human Right to Water -A Five-Part Human Rights Center Lecture Series (Cosponsors: Program in Human Rights and Health / School of Public Health) All lectures Wednesdays: 12:15-1:15 p.m., 30 Mondale Hall 2/13 Water and the Human Right to Health (Jim Toscano, PhD, Environmental Health Sciences, SPH) - Room 65 2/27 Water Distribution: Public, Private, or Both? (William Easter, PhD, Applied Economics) 3/12 Making it Happen: Practical Strategies for Fulfilling the Human Right to Water (Paige Novak, PhD, Civil Engineering) 3/26 Water and the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples --------5 of 21-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> ubject: Angela Davis 2.13 5pm Must have (free)tickets for this event--the tickets are now available. from The GIVENS FOUNDATION Angela Davis: A Socially Conscious Conversation with the Legendary Activist & Author Wednesday, February 13, 2008 5:00pm Alexander G. Hill Ballroom Angela Davis, a renowned social activist for over 30 years who is deeply involved in our nation's quest for social justice, is the first speaker in a new Lealtad-Suzuki Center initiative entitled "SPEAK! A Series of Conscious Conversations." This will be an engaging opportunity for the Macalester community to be a part of an intimate dialogue with Ms. Davis. This event is free, however, tickets will be required and available for pick up at the Macalester Campus Center Information Desk beginning on February 6. --------6 of 21-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Intellectuals/war 2.13 5pm WEDNESDAYS thru MAR.12:5pm-7pm MAY DAY BOOKS 302 Cedar Ave,S.(basement HUB Bikes, door frway side og bldg) WEST BANK, Minneapolis (612)333-4719 INTELLECTUALS IN A TIME OF WAR a free class facillitated by Prof. Rich Martinez of the U of MN What are academics & other intellectuals doing to support or oppose war? How can dissent be encouraged? NO Books! NO grades! Only requirement: an OPEN MIND! This is an EXCO course:EXCO stands for Experimental College. For more info on other EXCO free classes: http://www.excotc.org --------7 of 21-------- From: Trisha Hasbargen <thasbargen [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Happy NOWr 2.13 5pm [ed head] UPTOWN NOW Grrrl Power Happy Hour Join the Uptown chapter of National Organization for Women for its monthly happy hour- an opportunity to network and get to know other like-minded people in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. Join us for some boisterous conversation and a little trouble-making! We'll save you a spot! This event is open to members and non-members alike- bring a friend! 5:30-7:00: Wednesday, February 13 Aura in Calhoun Square in Uptown, For more information: Go to www.myspace.com/uptownnow or email nowuptown [at] yahoo.com. --------8 of 21-------- From: Amy <amy [at] minofamily.net> Subject: LWV planning 2.13 6pm League of Women Voters of Saint Paul Meets to Set Direction For Local and National Policy Positions The League of Women Voters of Saint Paul (LWVSP) invites all interested members of the public to listen in for League "Program Planning" on Wednesday, February 13, 2008. This Member Meet-up will be held at 6:00pm at the Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul. Hot soup will be served by LWVSP. Program Planning for Local and National LWV Wednesday, February 13, 2008, 6:00-7:30 pm Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul. On-street parking is available around the building. Program planning is an annual event in Leagues around the country. It is the core of why League is considered a grassroots organization. All positions on which the League takes action - whether it be the national, state or local level of League - have been studied by league members whose joint opinions come together to form a consensus. In addition, the February 13 Member Meet-up will begin the process of proposing issues to be studied at the local and national level. Members will consider topics of interest to the St. Paul League and those topics that should be sent on to the National League for consideration at the League's annual convention in June. All Member Meet-ups are free and open to both League members and the general public. To RSVP for the meet-up or for more information, please contact Amy Mino at amy [at] minofamily.net or 651-430-2701. For more information on the League of Women Voters of St. Paul, please visit: www.lwvsp.org. [I suggest forums that include Green Party candidates, even in the face of DFL candidates who say they will not come if the GP is invited. Call their bluff. Don't let the Dems trim our democratic choices. Does the LWV want to be known as a corporate party patsy? -ed] --------9 of 21-------- From: Charles Underwood Subject: V war teach-in 2.13 6pm Duluth MN Wednesday, 2/13, 6 pm, Iraq Veterans Against the War teach-in, UMD, Duluth. daniel5points [at] gmail.com --------10 of 21-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Women's rights 2.13 7pm Wednesday, February 13: Women's Programs at Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. Women's Human Rights Film Series. Features "Not for Sale & So Deep a Violence." 7 PM. Highland Park Branch Library, St. Paul. Free & open to the public. --------10 of 21-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, February 13th, at 7:30 p.m. Mad Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul. --------11 of 21-------- From: Kiera Coonan <kieracoonan [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Vagina monologues 2.13 7:30pm [This is the only listing of these events; SAVE it if you want it] MPIRG to put on 2008 production of The Vagina Monologues Twin Cities, MN : The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group presents the annual theater production of The Vagina Monologues, by Eve Ensler. This event is a part of the V-Day movement which calls for respect and appreciation for women, but also an end in violence towards women. The proceeds from these performances go to programs that work to end violence against women and girls, including crisis centers and women's shelters. One performance per day will take place from Wednesday, February 13th 2008 to Sunday February 17th 2008. Tickets are $12.00 for students, $15 general admission. Feb. 13th: AUGSBURG- Sateren Auditorium @ 7:30 PM 2211 Riverside Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55454 Feb. 14th: UMN ST PAUL- Student Union Theatre @ 8:00 PM 2017 Buford Ave # 42 St Paul, MN 55108 Feb. 15th: HAMLINE- Kay Fredericks Rm in the Klas Center @ 8:00 PM 1536 Hewitt Avenue Saint Paul, MN 55104 Feb. 16th: MACALESTER- Weyerhaueser Chapel @ 8:00 PM 1600 Grand Ave St. Paul, MN, 55105 Feb. 17th: UMN MPLS- Coffman Theatre @ 4:00 PM 300 Washington Ave Se Minneapolis, MN 55455 The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group is a grassroots, non-partisan, nonprofit, student-directed organization that empowers and trains students and engages the community to take collective action in the public interest throughout the state of Minnesota . For more information go to www.vday.org or contact Karmann Peters at karmann [at] mpirg.org --------12 of 21-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 2.14 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------13 of 21-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 2.14 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------14 of 21-------- From: Julie Bates <julie [at] intermediaarts.org> Subject: Political theatre 2.14 6pm TEATRO DEL PUEBLO, in collaboration with INTERMEDIA ARTS, and in association with the UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA and the RESOURCE CENTER OF THE AMERICAS, PRESENTS THE 7th ANNUAL POLITICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL February 14, 2008-March 2, 2008 Politics join forces with the theatre for a three weekend exploration of Latino Identity on stage! In the true tradition of Latin American theatre, Teatro del Pueblo collaborates with Intermedia Arts, the University of Minnesota, and the Resource Center of the Americas, to bring six new plays to the stage that take a fresh look at the politics of identity among the Latino community here, in the United States, and abroad. Using interactive theatre techniques unique to Teatro, audiences are engulfed within play subject matter and are engaged into in-depth conversations regarding hot topics affecting both the Latino and non-Latino community today. Also, Teatro brings two brand new interactive pieces to life, including the return of the very popular 2007 piece American Immigrant!, based on American Idol, with American Latino!. February 14-March 2, 2008 | Thurs-Sat at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm and 7pm Thursday, February 14: 6pm-8pm; Santiago Zarzosa: Illustrating Action exhibit opening reception (exhibit runs February 14 - March 15, 2008 School Matinees: February 15, 20, 29 at 9:30am, call 651-224-8806 for more info on School Matinees All activities, unless otherwise noted, take place at Intermedia Arts 2822 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408 TICKETS $15 General, $13 Students/Seniors/Fringe, $10 for groups of 10 of more; call 612-871-4444 ABOUT THE POLITCAL THEATRE FESTIVAL The Political Theatre Festival was founded as a portal for creating a greater understanding of the Latin American experience through the eyes of the Latino. The Festival unites weighty political issues with theatre as a forum for communication and has become a lab for experimentation with audience engagement in public discourse using various techniques such as theatre of the oppressed, forum theatre, animating democracy philosophy, games with the audience, and, most successful, interactive theatre. A growing tradition in the community, the Festival allows Teatro del Pueblo to better serve its mission to this community by providing an outlet for Latino voices and direct participation in our programming. CONTACT Alberto Justiniano 651-224-8806 al [at] teatrodelpueblo.org --------15 of 21-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: MidEast water 2.14 7pm Dr. D.J. Mulla: "The Role of Water in Middle East Conflicts" Thursday, February 14, 7:00 p.m. Plymouth Presbyterian Church, 3755 Dunkirk Lane North (north of the intersection of County Road 9 and Highway 55), Plymouth. Dr Mulla is a Professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate at the University of Minnesota and has worked in over a dozen countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and India. Is it possible that water plays as important a role in Middle East politics as oil? Sponsored by: Northwest Neighbors for Peace and hosted by the Peace and Justice Committee of Plymouth Presbyterian Church. FFI: Call Linda, 763-478-4956. --------16 of 21-------- From: Andy Birkey <andy.birkey [at] gmail.com> Subject: Minnesota Health Plan I think the mainstream coverage of the Minnesota Health Plan leaves a bit to be desired. They keep calling it government run health care, when it's really simple to figure out : government run HEALTH INSURANCE. Both the strib and KSTP got it a bit off. Here's my summary of what's been said. I plan to follow this bill closely and write as much as I can about it in the forums I have available. It's fairly simple and straight forward, and the benefits would seem to far, far outweigh the risks. http://minnesotamonitor.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=3187 Single-payer health plan could create savings, more choices for Minnesotans by: Andy Birkey Several members of the Minnesota Legislature have embarked on a mission to build political support for the Minnesota Health Plan, a proposal that would create a central entity to manage the health insurance of every Minnesotan. The proponents of the plan say it would reduce health insurance premiums, provide universal coverage, reduce health care costs in the state by 20 percent, provide greater freedom of choice, end employer-tied insurance and increase preventative health. This weekend, legislators took the plan to seven Minnesota cities: Duluth, Bemidji, Northfield, Winona, Hibbing, Brainerd and Mankato. The plan is ambitious and would fundamentally change how health insurance is managed in Minnesota, but proponents say that change is welcome and needed in a system that needs a lot of work. Rep. Shelley Madore, DFL-Apple Valley, spoke about her experiences at a press conference at the State Capitol on Monday and while touring the state. Two of her children were diagnosed with disabling medical conditions, and after one underwent a $60,000 surgery, she was told it wasn't covered by her insurance plan. "For those Minnesotans that think they are insured, I challenge them to go back and read their health insurance policy and see what is not covered, because insurance is great until you really need it. And that's the lesson that I learned and the reason I decided to run for the state Legislature." The Minnesota Health Plan would essentially take health insurance out of the private sector and have the state run the system. Everyone would pay premiums according to their ability to pay. "One of the problems that our rural hospitals have is that under the current system, unlike what is being proposed here, we have so many different payment rates depending on who's paying," Sen. Mary Olson, DFL-Bemidji, told a group gathered in that city. "The government is not paying enough for poor people's health care, which is why it is so hard for them to get access to health care. "But basically it's not the government paying those bills, it's taxpayers who are paying those bills. In order to raise those rates, you have to raise taxes to pay for them." Sen. John Marty outlined the ways the plan, which already has the support of one-fourth of the Legislature, would save money for both the government, clinics and health care consumers. "The plan would save money though administrative efficiency. It avoids insurance company marketing and underwriting costs. It saves doctors who have to have three to four billing clerks in every clinic. It saves money by price negotiation. It saves money through prevention and early intervention. It saves money by ending the technology arms race; not every corner clinic needs an MRI machine." Madore and Rep. David Bly, DFL-Northfield, said that not only are there cost savings to be had in a centralized insurance system, but there are benefits outside that system as well, including greater clinic and doctor choice and more flexibility in career choice. "This is a public-private partnership, not a state-run medical system," said Bly. "The insurance plans that you have are often networked, and they don't allow you to go outside the network to see the doctor you want to see. And people change jobs and have a new system and have to see a doctor they've never seen before. We want people to have those kinds of choices in the clinic or doctor they want to go to." Madore said that for many disabled Minnesotans, who constitute 14 percent of Minnesota's adult population under age 65 and are often denied coverage due to preexisting condition clauses, the plan would lead to greater independence. "We haven't addressed the need to move these people out of poverty and into working jobs and allowing them to be able to stay in jobs," she said. "We have people with late onset diagnosis of things like Parkinson's and MS. People are forced to leave their jobs in their forties." For many, health insurance doesn't cover many needs and people are forced to quit their job, sell off their assets - sometimes even their homes - so that they can qualify for government aid and get the health care they need. "They cannot contribute back as a taxpayer and become classified as what is called health care welfare recipients," said Madore. "I do believe when we allow health care to not be tied to employment, self-determination is brought back and we will reduce a significant cost in social programs." The added side effect of health insurance not being tied to employment means more freedom for employers as well. "I think you'll see Minnesota will become a job magnet," she said. "People will be able to determine what they want to do with their lives" as they won't have to stay at a certain job or in a particular career just to keep health benefits. Marty said that while they think they have a great proposal, it will take a few years to catch on. In the meantime, the legislators are open to looking at short-term options as well and proposals that can have a similar impact on cost savings, choice and increasing prevention. More information on the bill can be found at www.mnhealthplan.org. - Andy Birkey Reporter - Minnesota Monitor www.minnesotamonitor.com MInnesota's LGBT Blog - 11th Avenue South www.eleventh-avenue-south.com Phone: 612-387-5460 --------17 of 21-------- Corporate Globalization Standing at the End of the Road By RONNIE CUMMINS CounterPunch February 11, 2008 Mexico City. Standing at the end of Avenida Madero (Madero Avenue) on the last day of January 2008, a stone throw from the Zocalo or City Center of Mexico City, I am swept along in a sea of thousands of farmers and laborers, carrying signs and banners. Streaming from the historic statue of the Angel of Independence, symbolically setting fire to a decrepit tractor, one hundred and fifty thousand small farmers, teachers, workers, and neighborhood activists are marching to repeal the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and end the illegal "dumping' by Cargill, ADM, and Monsanto of billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidized U.S. agricultural crops-beans, rice, sugar, powdered milk, soybeans, and genetically engineered corn - onto the Mexican market. NAFTA, pushed through in Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. in 1994 over the opposition of the majority of North Americans, is literally driving Mexico's thirty million small farmers and villagers off the land and into the slums of Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, Juarez, and other cities; or else, following the path of twelve million others before them, across the increasingly dangerous border into the United States to find work. Rural villages in Mexico have become literal economic ghost towns of women, children, and the elderly. In some municipalities, 80-90% of the men and boys are gone, increasingly joined by the young women. A dark-skinned peasant woman, wearing her kitchen apron, approaches me. I stand out in the crowd, an obvious gringo with my Code Pink anti-war T-shirt and my Organic Consumers Association baseball cap. The farm woman patiently explains to me how NAFTA has broken up her family. Her two sons and her daughter, like millions of other jovenes (young people), she explains, desperate for a living wage, did not want to leave their community or abandon their families, but they had no choice. And now, with the militarized border, so-called illegal aliens, like her children, can no longer take the risk of coming back home to visit. Her spons amnd daughter, like most other immigrants, send back remesas (money) to help support their families. This twenty-four billion dollar annual lifeline is the only thing standing between Mexico's rural population and utter poverty. Moving up behind the farmers, flanked by banners protesting the imminent sell-off of Mexico's publicly owned electricity and oil industries, union workers and students fill the massive square in front of the National Palace. Mexican workers, whose minimum wage is 1/12 that of the U.S., are already suffering from high prices for electricity and gasoline. But once U.S. and European corporations take over the petroleum and electricity sectors, prices will inevitably skyrocket. Passionate speakers from the podium call for a repeal of NAFTA and the restoration of food and energy sovereignty, but everyone knows that Big Business and Agribusiness call the shots in Mexico City, Ottawa, and Washington. Short of a miracle, rural and urban poverty will increase, as will the power and obscene wealth of the industrial agriculture, oil, and utilities multinationals. In July 2006 Mexicans launched an impressive though ultimately abortive ballot box revolution, turning out in droves for the anti-NAFTA presidential candidate, Manuel Lopez Obrador, from the left-of-center PRD (Party of Democratic Revolution). Although Obrador won the popular vote, according to reliable exit polls and election experts, in a U.S.-style electronic vote theft, the elections were stolen, and Felipe Calderon, a pro-NAFTA corporatist was installed as President. As a Mexican activist friend reminds me today, we are at the end of the road for polite protest. Nothing short of a second Mexican (and American) revolution will save us. Corporate globalization, savagely embodied by NAFTA, is not just a threat to Mexican farmers and rural villagers. The economic, health, and social damage created by industrial agriculture, corporate globalization, and the patenting and gene-splicing of transgenic plants and animals, are inexorably leading to universal "bioserfdom " for farmers, deteriorating health for consumers, a destabilized climate (energy intensive industrial agriculture and long-distance food transportation and processing account, directly or indirectly, for 40% of all climate-disrupting greenhouse gases), tropical deforestation, and a rapid depletion of oil supplies. Lest we forget, forty percent of the world's population are still small farmers and rural villagers. If we allow corporate agribusiness and so-called "free traders" to continue to drive these last two billion peasants from the land, replacing them with chemical and energy-intensive, climate disrupting industrial farms, cattle ranches, and agrofuels plantations, we are doomed. Fortunately practical solutions are at hand, although implementing these obvious alternatives will require nothing short of a global grassroots rising. The simple solution to all this is to scrap NAFTA, make organic and sustainable farming once more the dominant practice in agriculture (as it has been for most of the last 10,000 years), help the globe's two billion farmers stay on the land, make healthy organic foods and lifestyles the norm, and restructure global agriculture and commerce so that sustainable local and regional production for local and regional markets and Fair Trade become the norm, not just the alternative. And of course as we begin this great turning away from corporate control, we will also begin to be able to address and solve the global energy crisis (at the root of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) as well as the global climate crisis, through conservation, economic re-localization, and drastic greenhouse gas reduction in the agriculture, transportation, and utilities sectors. Unfortunately none of the "major contenders" for the White House are offering any real alternatives, other than rhetoric, to address the current Crisis. Our job is daunting, but standing here at the end of the road, it appears we have no choice. Ronnie Cummins is director of the Organic Consumers Alliance. He can be reached at: ronnie [at] organicconsumers.org --------18 of 21-------- Police and Tasers: Hooked on Shock by Naomi Klein Published on Monday, February 11, 2008 by CommonDreams.org The past couple of weeks have been rocky on the stock market, but one company that hasn't been suffering too much is Taser International. At the end of January, its stock jumped by an impressive 8 per cent, and it's even higher today. Matthew McKay, a stock analyst at Jeffries & Co. in San Francisco, cites a simple cause: news that the Toronto Police Services Board plans to buy 3,000 new Taser electroshock weapons, at a cost of $8.6 million for gear and training. If the deal goes ahead, tasers would become standard issue weaponry for all of Toronto.s frontline officers, right next to their handcuffs and batons. On Wednesday night, I participated in a public forum about the prospect of a fully taser-armed police force, organized by the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition. One speaker, who had a history of psychiatric illness, told the room: "We're worried because we're the people who are going to get shocked". It's a concern grounded in experience. According to Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair's own analysis, in 2006, city cops deployed the devices in 156 incidents. In all but nine, the subject appeared "to have a mental disorder" or was in some sort of "crisis". Several speakers at the forum pointed out that $8.6 million would be better spent keeping people out of crisis - by opening more beds and providing better mental health and addiction services. Instead, four homeless shelters were closed last year, at a loss of 258 beds. But the most troubling remark of the evening was this: "Why is this happening now?" The timing is indeed baffling. It was only three months ago that video of the death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver International Airport caused an international furor. The tragedy exposed the most prevalent misconception about tasers: that they are used primarily as an alternative to guns. As former Toronto mayor John Sewell told me, "the taser is not the thing that replaces the gun, it's what replaces all the other things that police might do other than use a gun, like talk to you". That certainly appears to have been the case with Mr. Dziekanski. When the RCMP approached him, they made no attempt to calm the unarmed Polish man, or to discover the source of his extreme agitation. Within 25 seconds, he was getting zapped. Mr. Dziekanski's death also put a spotlight on the other post-taser deaths, the ones not caught on film. According to Amnesty International, 310 people in North America have died after being shocked with a taser since 2001. Were these deaths caused by the device or by something else? Taser's aggressive lawyers make it tough to know. The company has been hit with roughly a hundred wrongful death and injury lawsuits and claims it hasn't lost one yet. But in August, Bloomberg News reported on "several mysterious dismissals" - instances where the plaintiffs asked for the cases to be thrown out. Though Taser denies paying off all its accusers, it admits to paying in some, "where the settlement economics were significantly less than the cost of litigation". Taser has consistently claimed that something else is causing the deaths. The company points to a report saying that that death by electrocution happens within seconds. Yet in many cases, subjects have died minutes, even days, after being shocked. A recent study may explain the discrepancy. Trauma researchers at Chicago's Cook County Hospital conducted an experiment on 11 pigs, zapping each for 40 seconds; then zapping them again 10 or 15 seconds later. (This mimics how tasers are actually used, since Amnesty reports that those who have died after being Tasered were frequently "subjected to multiple or prolonged shocks".) The study found that all the pigs exhibited heart problems after the shocks and two of them died of cardiac arrest, one three minutes later. Taser CEO Rick Smith has brushed off the study, saying human research is more relevant. However, according to Bob Walker, one of the lead researchers, it shows "that the effect of the taser shot can last beyond the time when it's being delivered". So back to that question: Why now? In addition to the troubling new scientific evidence and the disconcerting lawsuits, there are several public investigations in Canada that are still ongoing. In addition to those sparked by the Dziekanski death, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia are all conducting taser reviews. Surely it would be wise for Toronto's police chief to wait for those findings before ordering a seven-fold taser increase. But something more powerful than reason appears to be at play here, and I believe it has to do with the seductive promise of no-touch policing. No other method of controlling unruly suspects offers police the same kind of all-encompassing, instant effect. Talking, calming, negotiating are all messier and take time. Other physical techniques put officers' own bodies at risk. Then there is the taser. The company boasts that its technology, which allows electrified darts to be fired from more than 10 meters away, "temporarily overrides the command and control systems of the body". At the push of a button, even the strongest, angriest subject drops to the floor. In a way, firing a taser is the maximum power one person can exert over another. As an Ottawa Police officer reportedly said after tasering protesters at the ministry of immigration back in 2003: "Less mess, more fun". Few would argue with an officer's right to use an electroshock weapon when lives are in danger and the only alternative is a gun. Many Toronto police officers, particularly those on the Emergency Task Force, clearly use them with restraint. Yet there is also plenty of evidence that some officers get hooked on shock. In Edmonton, in 2001, reports of taserings averaged less than once a week. Three years later, they were coming in daily. In another part of the country, a mother in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia called police when she and her 17-year-old daughter were having an argument. Three officers showed up and tasered the teen in her own bed. In a recent court ruling, the judge called these actions "very disturbing and disconcerting". It may well be possible to prevent shock-happy policing with tighter controls. Yet, despite repeated calls for stricter regulations for police, Taser International is racing to get its devices in the hands of civilians, marketing the product as not just safe but fun. In the United States the company has been aggressively pushing its line of C2 "personal protectors" - available in pink, leopard print, and in holsters with built-in MP3 players. (The weapon is nicknamed the "iTaser".) Tupperware-style taser parties are springing up in the suburbs of Arizona. Taser International is a company whose executives present themselves as serious experts in public safety. Yet it has launched this foray into fashion at the very moment when the safety of its devices is being questioned on multiple fronts. Valentine's Day is coming and Taser's website is busily hawking the C2 in flaming red. "Love her? Protect her," goes the slogan. This is what corporations do: whatever they can get away with to sell more product. From Taser International, we should expect nothing less. From our police we have a right to expect much more. Naomi Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. www.naomiklein.org --------19 of 21-------- A Socialist Alternative? Going from Green to Red by Jos M. Tirado / February 11th, 2008 The recent election primaries have stolen much of the progressive thunder-badly. Barrack Obama's stentorian voice and uplifting rhetoric, two qualities often passed as "progressivism" in the United States, gets incredible press while the personal venality of the Clintons and their surrogates, (which mask serious policy choices anathema to a truly progressive agenda) is overly analyzed. Some substance! Both candidates are imperial Democrats, supporting the 800 or so military bases around the world, and the hegemonic dominance that assures. Both candidates will not support an end to insurance company mobsterism in health care, and instead opt for what most modern Western democracies have: a single-payer health system. Both candidates talk only in the vaguest of generalities about the importance of unions (but neither support an end to Taft-Hartley), the environment (yet both support nuclear power and neither will reign in destructive corporate agriculture), or "working families" (but neither supports a living wage). What all this means is that, simply put, a progressive agenda is once again relegated to the backburner in exchange for the maddeningly inevitable mantra of "change", which in American politics means changing the prison guards and keeping the Left locked away from mainstream debates. Here in Iceland where I live, the Left-Green Movement, a Green-Socialist-Feminist coalition, is part of the government, and its leader Steingrmur Sigfsson delivers the most impassioned and inspiring speeches, winning respect from even opponents for his integrity and vision. But they represent only 14.3% of Parliament. The Socialist Alliance, a Social Democratic, center-left coalition (perhaps the equivalent of a more liberal version of New Deal Democrats) holds 26.8% of Parliament and so between them, almost half of the total seats. Together they get attention and more importantly, some legislation passed that fits a progressive description. While this is not the place to recommend a proportional system of representation for the US (though I do) or a whole new way of configuring movements and political parties (which I do), I think it time some of us on the US Left reassess our choice of words (and fear of others) and earnestly support where we can an openly socialist agenda electorally. What this means is giving a new look to an old friend, the Socialist Party-USA (SP-USA). Even as large numbers of progressives, including socialists joined the Green Parties in the 80s (and technically there still remains 2, without counting the arcane mergers and configurations within individual states) the Greens have been hobbled by infighting and crass manipulation by Dems in Green clothing. And while Communists (CPUSA) and other socialist parties exist, they have neither the traction (organization or ballot access) nor the independence (the CP, for example, supports the Dems as a tactical, and "practical" endeavor) to make more waves than a pond ripple. For progressives, these are disheartening signs. In addition, we have seen the movement of radicals, Leftists, and other progressives drift towards the Republican candidacy of Ron Paul. His unswerving opposition to American imperial adventurism and undeclared wars, and strong support of the Constitution make him appealing. Yet many of his other positions are questionable, to say the least. Why aren't we reassessing a group that has always opposed wars, imperialism and unjust policies at home and abroad? The Socialist Party is the USs oldest socialist party, does not favor top down "democratic centralism", is adaptable to distinctly American political realities and has a platform remarkably consistent with progressive (and Green) views without the nutty baggage that hampers any Left discussion of politics. At one time, in its heyday, the Socialist Party had numerous elected officials in office and Eugene Debs once received almost a million votes - while he was in jail! By openly supporting the Socialist Party, we would be making a statement loud and clear that can push the debate much further to the Left than it is at present. Yet, if history teaches us anything it's that movements matter and that unified struggle beats divisive sectarianism. Hopping from one political party to another is now an unfortunate, inevitable consequence of US ballot access laws. Thus, a socialist may have to vote Green in order to have her vote count (or in order to simply be able to vote) or a Green to support an Independent candidacy in order to be heard. But what if we simply agreed that what we want, at its most basic, is found pretty squarely inside that SP-USA platform and that, wherever possible, by voting Socialist we are helping a noble party get back into the consciousness of Americans and giving an alternative vision the chance it needs to compete. While I have for 20 years committed myself to Green politics, I think it may be time to shift back to where my heart says I should go for me to feel I am not wasting my vote, or my time - to the Socialist Party. And if, and when we can form our version of a Left-Green Alliance, in whatever name, I'll be right there too. Rev. Jos M. Tirado is a poet, priest and writer finishing a PhD in psychology while living in Iceland. Read other articles by Jos. This article was posted on Monday, February 11th, 2008 at 5:00 am and is filed under "Third" Party, Socialism, Solidarity. Send --------20 of 21-------- Thus I Refute Critics Beggars Collide By BEN TRIPP CounterPunch February 11, 2008 If there was a nickel for every leftie I've pissed off with the expression of my views, I would not be rifling pay phones for change. This suits me fine, as do dimes and half-dollars. I didn't start writing in hope that everyone would agree with me all the time; anybody that did agree with me all the time would have to be some kind of crank. Back in 1992 when precious few people were making even the littlest peep against the slimes and arrows of outrageous fortunates, ninety-nine out of a hundred of my irate readers were right-wingers; now they're all liberals. I guess this is because, what with Obamarama and all that, folks on the Left think their day is finally coming. On that, we agree. I just happen to think it's a different day. Maybe (certainly) I'm just a big party pooper, but in the name of Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all, knock off acting like 'hope' is something that has energy and can perform work. It doesn't and it can't. It's just an emotion. We're talking about an abstract noun. Hope is just an affective meaning we apply to future events, of no more substance than amusement, irritation, or tridecaphobia: a feeling, an idea, nothing more. The first thing the Left in this country has to do is abandon hope. Then maybe we can get something done. Here's a sample of a typical correspondence from an irritated reader whose hope my prick deflated: "To be a progressive, you have to have some hope, and you obviously have none. One question, why do you bother lecturing progressives and liberals? You know nothing they do matters. Oh, yeah of course to see your name in print." This is purest horse shavings. Who the hell says a progressive must have hope? Intentions might be better. What matters is plans, and the will to put them into action. I'm about 95% certain that I'm going to die some day. Hope otherwise as I may, it won't influence the outcome. So the plan is to stay alive as long as possible. Fair enough. But don't I hope there's an afterlife? I don't. Rather than pray a magic book turns out to be right about death and we all turn into cloud-fairies if we're very, very good, I have a plan: to cease to exist. In this world, the next world, or any other world. Which isn't a bad thing. To cease to be 'one' is to become a part of 'all' again, mingled with the rocks and trees, bowler hats, photons, dust, antimatter, stars, marmalade, and the gossamer fish-bats of Alpha Centauri. Is that so bad? To die is merely to give up the illusion of self, and join the rest of the universe in the endless atomic dance. That said, if there is another life after this one, I hope it's less expensive. But you see? There's hope again. Hope is futile. Action is what matters. Deeds, not words. Don't hope, but plan. And then act upon your plan. Make it into motion. There's an old saying, "If wishes were horses, beggars collide", or something. Hope is just another word for 'wish'. I wish a right turn on red was legal in Manhattan. What does that have to do with my credentials as a progressive? Lecturing, yes. I do that. But the beauty of the written word is that you don't have to read it! So it's not really even a lecture, is it? Rather, the problem is liberal/progressive types have been living without the slightest whiff of opportunity to make fuck-all happen in this country for so long that 1) they're surviving entirely on wishful thinking, and 2) they're forming a circular firing squad. Look, people, I would love it if Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton or Zippy the Pinhead for that matter won the presidency and announced they were going to remove human rights from corporate entities, ensure all Americans got free healthcare, pull our military out of Iraq within the fortnight, and instead of spending 60% of our red ink on war, we would spend it on the invention of a substance that not only cured cancer and reversed global warming, but was chock full of the good kind of cholesterol. I'd love that. But it's not going to happen, and if you're hoping one of these candidates is a stealth socialist, this would be a good time to start huffing lacquer thinner. Am I saying of progressives that "nothing they do matters"? No, I'm saying most progressives don't do diddly squat. I don't, and neither do you, probably. That is, unless you're working your little toches off right this minute to transform the way America does its business. Sure, I do a little work for change, like write essays and send letters and march in marches and sport a bumper sticker that reads "Impeachment Is Too Good For Them". Is that enough? Of course not. I need to start a political party called "The Independent American Party", with a platform consisting of human rights, revocation of corporate citizenship, the end of fossil and mineral fuels, and right on red in Manhattan. I have not started that party yet, so hoping meanwhile that Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi or whatever corporate spokesperson makes it to the White House will say, "I've lost my taste for the never-ending gravy-flavored orgasm of infinite profit", then go all Che Guevara on the Establishment, is plain embarrassing. If you think this is what the 2008 election is all about, you're not only hoping and wishing. You're dreaming. But it is easier to attack a venomous old Cassandra like me for daring to point out the incredibly obvious, than to admit you're high on a fantasy that Things Are Going To Magically Turn Around. A suggestion: rather than waste your time writing to me (except with lavish praise or book offers), get out there and do something - like found a political party. I'll work for it. The same reader quoted above continues with the following speculation: "Sometimes I think this site [Counterpunch] is paid for by the CIA or the Republican party. Goal: keep progressive activists depressed and discouraged. [A]nd inactive. And hey you're pretty good at that." With all due respect to the reader that took the time and effort to respond to my words, this is the most miserable, gutless, whimpering jelly-wobble cop-out piece of snark that it is possible to express, and also the most common. It's like listening to the non-athletic kids in gym class accusing each other of ruining their throws when they fail to get the basketball even halfway to the hoop. I know what I'm talking about. I was one of those kids. Are we on the Left such delicate flowers (pansies, for example) that we cannot face a little flinty-eyed examination of the dangerous terrain ahead? Are we so sensitive and artistic and in touch with our feelings that we can't so much as hear a word of dissent on our side without wagging an admonitory finger? How dare I fail to click my heels together three times and say, "There's no place like home!" What a bunch of wilted pussy-ass vegan guitar-plucking Birkenstock dingleberries we must be! No wonder we get the shit kicked out of us on a thrice-daily basis. We deserve it. So don't come crying to me, unless you have an interesting counterargument to make. I reserve the right to bitch and moan just as much as I see fit, which after all is one of those unalienable rights you used to hear about, and if somebody else sees fit to print it, that's nobody's business but his and mine, unless of course you're interested in reading it, in which case as always caveat lector and argle-bargle away. But if you're going to use some ill-tempered asshole like me as an excuse for not doing anything, if you're depressed, discouraged, and inactive, is it not possible I say this only out of compassion, of course, because I deeply care Is it possible you're being just an ickle bit precious? You don't really imagine the Left is in such appalling disarray because me and my radical ilk in our grubby basement Biergeschfte aren't members of the Sunshine Optimist Club. Pull yourselves together. Neither Obama nor Clinton is an authentic progressive. Not even close. Sure, you can make the best of it. That's what I'll be doing. But don't deceive yourself. "These are not", to quote the prophet Kenobi, "the droids you're looking for." That said, my grousing is probably counterproductive, guilty as charged, a moaning streak of paralyzed piss with nothing good to say about anybody, an armchair anarchist with all the spunk of a gutta percha dildo. But I'm not depressed or discouraged. Why would I be? We Americans were born in a rich and powerful land in a time of relative ease. For most of us, sacrifice has been elective and hardship largely self-imposed. We haven't been invaded or overthrown, nor have we endured pandemic or famine The U.N. has never thrown sacks of rice at us out the backs of trucks. We're so soft, so exquisitely coddled, we enjoy the incredible luxury to wince at harsh words - words that, like hopes or feelings, have no corporeal substance, no power but the power we surrender to them. The real problem is that you and me, O constant reader, are both so wrapped up in our precious little feelings and our comforts and our rainbow-colored utopian dreams that we'd rather huck blame at each other than do the hard work that needs to be done. I admit it, I'm sort of froze up myself. If these are the candidates we get, after all the Right has done to drive the public to the Left, I have no idea where to begin. But I'm also not floating in some kind of fragile, nitrous oxide-scented bubble of hope, dizzy on moon-bims. We have to be realistic about the situation. It's hope, finally, that makes us sell out. We get so downtrodden we'll do anything for a chance at that happy dreamed-of outcome: find substance in the airiest speeches, comfort in the slightest promises. Hope springs eternal. That's what makes it such a useful tool of the elites in power, better than gunpowder. For every promise they make, there's an "if": if you get me elected, if circumstances are favorable, then it will be done. The "if" is just a wish in disguise, and it almost never comes true. If we just elect more Democrats, or elect more Republicans, or send more money, maybe next time, if Whereas a well-considered plan, acted upon with vigor and determination - a robust third-party movement with a simple, encompassing platform, for example - really can make hope into reality. Until then, I console myself with the occasional check from the Republican National Committee, and of course seeing my name in print. Ben Tripp, author of Square in the Nuts, is a hack in many mediums. He may be reached at credel [at] earthlink.net. --------21 of 21-------- Bad folks say half-truths are half empty. Nice folks say say they are half-full. Super-not-nice folks ask just what the hell half-full truths are half-full of. Super-nice folks hate icky talk like that and wash out their mouths with fire. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.