|Progressive Calendar 04.12.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2008 20:32:13 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 04.12.08 1. Rights/Africa 4.13 12noon 2. KFAI/Indian 4.13 7pm 3. CritMass trial 4.14 9am 4. Lerner/capitol 4.14 9:30am 5. Grannies/peace 4.14 11:30am 6. Hmomg memoir 4.14 4pm 7. Peace walk 4.14 6pm RiverFalls WI 8. Sprogs 4.14 6:30pm 9. Podcasting 4.14 7pm 10. Fed budget 4.15 10:30am 11. Welfare/capitol 4.15 11am 12. Abstinence only 4.15 2pm 13. Immigrants/CTV 4.15 5pm 14. Open discussion 4.15 6:30pm 15. 9/11 group 4.15 7pm 16. Guns/film/talk 4.15 7pm 17. SOP/film 4.15 7:30pm 18. Post Armageddon 4.15 7:30pm 19. Greenhouse gas 4.15 20. Intl biomass cf 4.15 21. ACLU of MN - Minnesota values privacy 22. Asturias-Lochlaer - Minority Report: It's a democracy, stupid 23. Mickey Z - Hope is for suckers 24. Mike Whitney - Want to save the economy? --------1 of 24-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Rights/Africa 4.13 12noon First Annual Human Rights Conference on the Horn of Africa Sunday, April 13, Noon to 7:00 p.m. Roy Wilkins Auditorium, 175 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul. Political dignitaries, world-renown guest speakers and passionate humanitarians will be coming together to create awareness to bring peace, reconciliation and stability to the Greater Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa includes Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Eritrea. Sponsored by: Horn African Americans for Peace (HAAP). Endorsed by: the WAMM East Africa Committee FFI: Call 763-843-8589. --------2 of 24-------- From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org> Subject: KFAI/Indian 4.13 7pm KFAIıs Indian Uprising for April 13, 2008 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CDT #261 Fresh Energy of St. Paul, Minnesota is an organization leading the transition to a clean, efficient and fair energy system. Its goals are: Healthy Economies, Healthy People, Healthy Environment and Energy Independence. Fresh Energy focus areas are: Clean Electricity, Energy Efficiency, Transportation Policy, Global Warming Solutions and Energy Justice. www.fresh-energy.org "Fresh Energy is the only nonprofit in Minnesota whose sole focus is a clean, just energy future for the Upper Midwest. Often, the economically disadvantaged are the most adversely affected by energy decisions. The Energy Justice program at Fresh Energy works to pass policies that help build the capacity of low-income individuals to have a strong voice in those decisions." Green is the new black. Itıs now possible to be hip, stylish, and environmentally friendly. But like the latest fashions, most green innovations and technologies are beyond the reach of low-income families those who, ironically, need them the most. Household weatherization is a grim example, with some of the worst cases on tribal lands. Currently in Minnesota, many tribal members spend as much as 25 percent of their household incomes on energy. Itıs a combination of low monthly incomes and deplorable housing conditions drafty windows, un-insulated walls. Existing assistance programs do not meet the needs of many of these Minnesotans. To illustrate: there are 1,500 houses on Minnesotaıs Red Lake Indian reservation, and of that number, itıs estimated that 70 percent are in need of weatherization. Currently, the Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program provides enough funding to insulate 18 homes a year. At this rate, it would take more than 50 years to meet the current weatherization needs of the Red Lake Nation. Guests: Daryl Sager (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), Energy Justice Program Associate, Fresh Energy, Inc. Others: TBA Indian Uprising a one-hour radio Public & Cultural Affairs program relevant to Native Indigenous people, broadcast each Sunday at 7:00 p.m. CDT over KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Producer and host is volunteer Chris Spotted Eagle. To receive or stop getting announcements, message Chris to radio [at] spottedeagle.org For internet listening, visit www.kfai.org, click Play under ON AIR NOW or for listening later via their archives, click PROGRAMS & SCHEDULE > Indian Uprising > STREAM. Programs are archived only for two weeks. --------3 of 24-------- From: mpls-cm-cupport [at] riseup.net Subject: CritMass trial 4.14 9am The trial of Gus Ganley continued on Friday with witnesses for Gus' defense being called to the stand. Ten different eyewitnesses testified to the series of events around Gus' arrest and the August Critical Mass as a whole. Unlike the contradictory police accounts, the testimony from the eyewitnesses directly correlated with video and photographs taken at the mass. Witnesses testified to the aggressive police presence throughout the mass and their brutal misconduct during the ensuing police riot. It also became plainly obvious that the interactions between officer Craig Williams (#7769) and Gus which Williams claimed took place couldn't have happened and are not shown in any of the many video recordings of Gus' arrest. As the city's accusations against Gus became less and less believable with each new eyewitness, the prosecuting lawyer asked fewer and fewer questions to the point where he didn't even bother to cross examine the final witnesses who took the stand. The city's case seems to be completely unraveling but Gus isn't out of hot water yet! The trial will resume on Monday, April 14th, at 9 AM and it may be the final day of the trial. Don't let the city and the police get away with scapegoating Gus and dragging him through this politically motivated waste of time. Supporters are welcome to attend Gus' trial to show their solidarity as he stands up for what is right. Your donations are also EXTREMELY helpful to help cover the costs of Gus' and others' legal defense. Get more information on attending and donating online at the site below. http://cmsupport.wordpress.com/ --------4 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Lerner/capitol 4.14 9:30am Monday, 4/14, 9:30 am, Rabbi Michael Lerner speaks to legislators and public officials in room 118, State Capitol Building, 75 Rev Dr ML King Blvd, St Paul. Dickemail [at] aol.com or 952-476-6126. From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Particularly if you know your legislator personally, please let her/him know about this. If they have the time open on their calendar that day, I'd really recommend this opportunity to them . I've been a member of Tikkun for a number of years and have heard Rabbi Lerner in person several times. He is a positive force for change in this country. www.tikkun.org <http://www.tikkun.org> is his organization. Note, they ask for an RSVP. The Network of Spiritual Progressives Senator John Marty, Representative Carolyn Laine, Representative Frank Hornstein, and the Minnesota chapter of the Network of Spiritual Progressives invite you to an open discussion with Rabbi Michael Lerner Editor of Tikkun Magazine Author of /The Left Hand of God/ Founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives Monday, April 14, 2008 9:30 AM Room 118 at the Capitol Talk with one of the visionary leaders in the spiritual progressive movement about a new bottom line, a spiritual covenant with America, a strategy of generosity, the Global Marshall Plan, and issues of concern to you. Please RSVP by April 12 to Dick Kroeger at Dickemail [at] aol.com <mailto:Dickemail [at] aol.com> or 952-476-6126 --------5 of 24-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Grannies/peace/eat 4.14 11:30am Grandmothers for Peace Luncheon Monday, April 14, 11:30 a.m. The Seafood Palace, 2523 Nicollet Avenue South, Minneapolis. A Canadian member of Grandmothers for Peace will be in the Twin Cities on April 14th as a guest of former WAMM director, Lisa Pierce. If you are interested in joining a group of the Twin Cities Grandmothers Peace Brigade who will be having lunch with them at The Seafood Palace in Minneapolis, please call to register. FFI and to Register: Call 612-871-2229. --------6 of 24-------- From: Jeff Hartman <hartm152 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Hmomg memoir 4.14 4pm "Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir" - Reading and discussion with author Kao Kalia Yang Monday, April 14, 4:00 PM Institute for Advanced Study, 125 Nolte Center 315 Pillsbury Dr. SE, Minneapolis Author Kao Kalia Yang will read from her new memoir, Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir (Coffee House Press, April 2008), in conversation with Mitchell P. Ogden. She is a Twin Cities-based writer whose most recent collaboration is the film The Place We Were Born, which documents the experiences of Hmong American refugees, and is the co-founder of Words Wanted, an agency dedicated to helping immigrants with writing, translating, and business services. --------7 of 24-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 4.14 6pm RiverFalls WI River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from "Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact: d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls, Wisconsin 54022 --------8 of 24-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Sprogs 4.14 6:30pm Monday, 4/14, 6:30 social hour, 7 pm, monthly meeting Network of Spiritual Progressives, viewing Barack Obama's entire speech on race, followed by discussion led by Rev Jim Gertmenian, Rev David Belton and others, Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet, Mpls. --------9 of 24-------- From: Jonathan Barrentine <jonathan [at] e-democracy.org> Subject: Podcasting 4.14 7pm Podcasting and Audacity Our next workshop will be a repeat of our popular podcasting workshop. Podcasts are essentially radio-style shows distributed over the internet to anyone who wants to listen. This workshop will introduce you to the basics of podcasting, and will show you how to record your own podcast and publish it online. You will also gain hands-on experience with the popular sound-editing software Audacity, which is used by many veteran podcasters. If you've ever been curious about podcasting, if you're familiar with the basics and want to learn a little more, or if you have no idea what a podcast is, then come to Rondo Library this Monday to have your questions answered. Podcasting and Audacity FREE WORKSHOP Monday, April 14th 7:00 - 8:30 PM Rondo Community Outreach Library 461 North Dale University & Dale, St. Paul As always, the workshop is free, all are welcome to attend, and no registration is needed. Full workshop schedule available online: http://pages.e-democracy.org/SPED-Outreach Contact sped-outreach [at] e-democracy.org with questions. --------10 of 24-------- From: Bonnie Watkins <bonnie [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Fed budget 4.15 10:30am Fixing the federal budget 4.15 10:30AM - noon Do you feel like the federal budget is too hard to understand, and the decisions are made far away? Get a fast, friendly understanding at this event, and get connected with people and groups interested in making change at the state and national level. Our Nation's Checkbook: Who We Are and What We Care About This presentation examines U.S. federal budget priorities in the belief that the federal budget is a moral document, revealing national values and calling citizens to be informed and to act. Focus is on the $502 billion FY08 military budget, seeking to understand why the Pentagon consumes well over a billion dollars per day, and what this means for our own lives. This informative presentation is lively and engaging, building toward constructive dialogue about how we can work together for change. the presenter is Bobbie Wrenn Banks of Women's Action for New Directions (WAND) which empowers women to act politically to reduce violence and milutarism and redirect excessive military resources toward unmet human and environmental needs. (www.wand.org) The Minnesota Women's Consortium will host the 10:30 - noon training session on Tuesday, April 15, at the Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul 55103 (men and kids are also always welcome). The event is free and open to everyone. RSVPs are much appreciated. More info: Bonnie [at] mnwomen.org or 651/228-0338. --------11 of 24-------- From: Welfare Rights Committee - Alt Email <welfarerights [at] qwest.net> Subject: Welfare/capitol 4.15 11am Speak out against stealing from the poor! This legislative session, both Democrats and Governor Pawlenty teamed up to steal tens of millions of dollars from the poor (see below). There are two ways you can speak out against this heinous theft. 1. PROTEST - Tuesday, April 15, 11:00 a.m. Minnesota State Capitol. We will start on the front steps then move inside to bring our message to the governor and the House and Senate leadership. 2. CALL and express your disgust with using TANF money to balance the budget. Call you own representative, as well as Rep. Kelliher (651-296-0171), Sen. Pogemiller (651-296-7809) and Gov. Pawlenty (651-296-3391). Tell them: "Stop balancing the budge on the backs of the poor! Make the RICH pay for the budget deficits." WE CANNOT BE SILENT ON THIS ISSUE! We will keep fighting to return poor people's money. Background: The Democrat leadership and their budget proposals steal well over $50 MILLION from the TANF fund. The TANF fund is a block grant from the federal government that is supposed to be used for welfare for poor families. It is a crime to take poor children's money and dump it into the state's general fund. We are sick of the politicians balancing the budget on our backs! Legislators should be taking the money from those who are well off, not from the poorest of the poor. The Finance bill is in conference committee now - but the House version proposes a $57 million TANF theft and the Senate version proposes a $51 million TANF theft. Despite the bill being heard in the full House and the twice in the full Senate, NO ONE SPOKE OUT AGAINST taking the TANF money. It is like they are deliberately trying to keep the theft secret. It is up to us to break this conspiracy of silence. This is the theft that will "keep on thieving." By taking every dime of the TANF surplus, it means the state will not have the funds when the economy goes south and caseloads go up. ALSO, our families are still suffering in extreme poverty because the of the cuts made in 2003. Rather than spend the less than $3 million a year in TANF needed to make up for some of these cuts, the legislators took away $50+ million! Now the money to do undo any cuts in the future is gone. Welfare Rights Committee PO Box 7266, Mpls MN 55407 (3104 16th Ave S) pho: 612-822-8020 main email: welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com alt email: welfarerights [at] qwest.net --------12 of 24--------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Abstinence only 4.15 2pm April 15: Women's Center St. Cloud State University, Women's Action & Students for Sexual Consent. "Sex Across the Curriculum - Mrs. Glasscocks Last Day of Teaching!" One-woman show in which a disgruntled high school sex ed teacher throws the abstinence-only curriculum out the window & tells the kids what she always wanted them to know. 2-3 PM. Atwood Little Theatre. --------13 of 24-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Immigrants/CTV 4.15 5pm St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesdays at 5pm, after DemocracyNow!, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am. All households with basic cable may watch. Tues, 4/15, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 4/16, 10am "Thinking Outside the Borders" Interview of Patrick Leet, an American activist who shares insights from his recent years living in Cuba and Mexico. Hosted by Karen Redleaf. (repeat) --------14 of 24-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Open discussion 4.15 6:30pm Hi, next Tuesday, April 15, we will be having open discussion. Perhaps we can talk about where our taxes go. [Fridley?] Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------15 of 24-------- From: Leslie Reindl <alteravista [at] earthlink.net> Subject: 9/11 group 4.15 7pm Next Tuesday, April 15, is the third Tuesday of April, and we'll be meeting at Lori's coffee shop/Mims Cafe at 7 pm. MN9/11 truth. --------16 of 24-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Guns/film/talk 4.15 7pm April 15: Citizens for a Safer Minnesota Film & Discussion: There Ought to Be a Law. When Cathy Crowley's 18-year-old son bought a shotgun & killed himself, Cathy went to the store to learn how her son could buy a weapon so easily. They said that selling her son a gun was legal. If she didn't like it, she should try to change the law. So, Cathy said she would do just that. 7 PM at Merriam Park Library, St. Paul. --------17 of 24-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: SOP/film 4.15 7:30pm Errol Morris' "Standard Operating Procedure" investigation & real-life horror film reviewed by Lydia Howell It's said that one picture is worth a thousand words. The image of a black-hooded man, standing on a box with electric wires attached to him, his arms outstretched (echoing a crucification), is burned into the collective psyche and immediately communicates its origin: Abu Graibe, the U.S.-run Iraqi prison for so-called "terrorists" and "insurgents", known for the fall 2003 torture scandal. The film "Standard Operating Procedure" probes these painful events, part detective story, part philosophical questions about the nature of evil, responsibility, and how to find the truth. Film-maker Errol Morris spent over two years investigating: he amassed a million-and-a-half words of interviews with soldiers who took the Abu Graibe photographs and others involved, got thousands of pages of un-redacted government reports and hundreds of photographs. Morris' last film "Fog of War" explored similar questions in the context of the Vietnam War but, focused it's questions of responsibility and truth on powerful people at the top - specifically one of the architects of that war, Secretary of the Defense, Robert McNamara. "Standard Operating Procedure" focuses on the grunts on the ground who make none of the policies they're ordered to carry out - and some were prosecuted and did jail time for. The most well known of these low-level soldiers is Pvt. Lyndie England, a 20 year-old, who was most notorious for being pictured holding a dog leash attached to a naked Iraqi man and giving a "thumbs up" in front of a naked "pyramid" of prisoners. Tabloid media turned England into one part ignorant "white trash", one part evil slut, given her pregnancy by Col Charles Grainer, who was convicted as the highest officer on duty, sentenced to 10 years in prison and married a Abu Graibe Megan Ambuhl. England was sentenced to three years in prison and paroled after 18 months. She comes across as more intelligent than one expects yet blames being in love with Grainer for her participation in the Abu Graibe abuses. While Ambuhl was convicted of not reporting abuses and did no jail-time, MP Sabrina Harman was sentenced to 6 moths in jail for taking the photographs that she asserts were intended as "evidence" of the abuses she felt no one would believe happened without documentation. The soldiers are pretty much like any of us, just trying to get by doing an awful job. The highest officer held accountable was Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, relieved of command and reduced in rank to colonel. It's hard not to conclude that , as a female officer in a combat zone, she wasn't used as a scapegoat for higher-ups in both military and civilian command . Morris also includes a contraster along with other observers at Abu Graibe. None of those who created the "enhanced interrogation policy" - Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, DOJ lawyer John Yoo who "legalized" torture or General Ricardo Sanchez who "took over" Abu Graibe have faced any repercussions at all. Morris shows the kind of investigative tenacity that he used to exonerate an innocent man on Death Row in his film "The Thin Blue Line". He pursues whether what happened on the night shift was "a few bad apples", soldiers under extreme stress and/or official policy. He asks :how can we know WHAT actually happened? and what does what we discover mean? Have we exposed crimes or engaged in a cover-up? What can photography reveal and what does it conceal? "Standard Operating Procedure" doesn't approach any of this in a clinical way. Morris uses the Abu Graibe photographs to devastating effect and re-creates the prison as a chilling nightmare of blood-soaked floors, screams echoing off the walls of dirty, dark cells and a visceral sense of terrorized isolation. The film's title refers to a label stamped on some of the Abu Graibe photographs. I won't reveal which ones, so as to take none of the impact away from that revelation. Suffice it to say , it is shocking to see which images got that designation. Errol Morris is once again acting as a national conscience who's film should ignite the rest of us to reject these hideous policies being done in our name. Errol Morris will be present for Q & A after a screening of "Standard Operating Procedure", Tues. April 15, 7:30pm, at Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin in Minneapolis. Tickets are$12 ($10 Walker Art members). For more information: 612-375-7600 http://www.walkerart.org "Standard Operating Procedure" will have a theatrical run at the Landmark Cinemas in May. Lydia Howell is a Minneapolis independent journalist and winner of the 2007 Premack Award for Public Interest Journalism. She is also producer/hsot of CATALYST:politics & culture, Fridays, 11am on KFAI Radio, archived at http://www.kfai.org --------18 of 24-------- From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at] gmail.com> Subject: Post Armageddon 4.15 7:30pm Tuesday, April 15, 7:30pm - Magers And Quinn Booksellers James Howard Kunstler discusses his new book World Made by Hand In his first book since The Long Emergency, James Howard Kunstler follows the residents of a small New York town through an eventful summer, as they struggle with life after a series of global catastrophes. "What's after Armageddon? No government, no laws, no infrastructure, no oil, no industry....and sometimes a sense of relief. In James Howard Kunstler's richly imagined World Made by Hand, the bone-weary denizens of Union Grove (with its echo of Our Town's Grover's Corners) cope with everything from mercenary thugs to religious extremists, yet manage to plant a few seeds of human decency that bear fruit." - Cathleen Medwick, O--Oprah's Magazine "Kunstler is most engaged when discussing the fate of the status quo and in divulging the particulars of daily life. Kunstler's world is convincing" - Publishers Weekly --------19 of 24-------- From: Institute on the Environment <danie419 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Greenhouse gas 4.15 April 15: What States Can Do to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Seminar) http://www.environment.umn.edu/events/view_event.php?type=event&id=248 --------20 of 24-------- From: Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment Subject: Intl biomass conf 4.15 APRIL 15-17, 2008 International Biomass '08 Conference & Trade Show Minneapolis, MN For more information and registration, please visit www.biomassconference.com --------21 of 24-------- From the Desk of Charles Samuelson Executive Director, ACLU of Minnesota Minnesota Values Privacy Minnesota is leading the charge against Real ID -- the federal effort to create a national identity card. Real ID would take us one step closer to a surveillance society, erode our right to privacy and put our personal information at risk. As early as Monday, the Minnesota legislature will be voting on H.F. 1351, which will reject Real ID unless the federal government builds in privacy protections and pays the program's exorbitant costs at least $9.9 billion nationwide. Right now, states are responsible for the vast majority of the costs. Minnesota's share is expected to be at least $83 million. Even though this bill is moving in the Minnesota legislature, and even though 18 other states have passed legislation either opposing REAL ID or opting out of the program altogether, Governor Tim Pawlenty has said he wants to veto the measure and cave in to bullying by the Bush Administration. Please, call Governor Tim Pawlenty toll free in Minnesota at (800) 657-3717 and tell him something like this:"I support H.F. 1351 and urge you to sign it into law when it passes the legislature. I oppose Real ID and I'm counting on you to keep our state out of a program that will compromise our privacy without making us any safer. Please protect Minnesota citizens from government snoops and identity theft." Then, email your state legislators and ask them to pass this important bill right away at: http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=2TxaRWF-OjVNA3a0dKv-6A.. This legislation would send a clear signal to Washington, DC, that Minnesotans will not tolerate this intrusive, expensive, and unnecessary federal mandate, which will do nothing to improve security. To make sure Minnesota fights REAL ID, both Governor Pawlenty and your legislator need to know how many people oppose REAL ID, and support the legislature's move to opt out of the program. Please, make a toll-free call to Governor Tom Pawlenty at (800) 657-3717 and urge him to support H.F. 1351 and sign it into law. Then, email your state legislators and ask them to pass this important bill right away at: http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=gfVwW7DG85DOh5Cl1qXgQQ.. Charles Samuelson Executive Director ACLU of Minnesota P.S. If you can't call Governor Tim Pawlenty, or would like to follow up your phone call with an email urging him to support H.F. 1351 and sign it into law, his email address is tim.pawlenty [at] state.mn.us. To learn more about REAL ID, visit www.realnightmare.org --------22 of 24-------- Minority Report: It's a democracy, stupid By Marjorie Asturias-Lochlaer Minority Report April 9, 2008 I stopped following the presidential campaigns several weeks ago. Sure, I faithfully listen to NPR and occasionally tune in to the "Today" show (although the so-called morning show banter grates after about five minutes, after which I'm forced to turn off the TV for fear that my ears would start bleeding) and even glance over the headlines in The New York Times. Most of the time, though, it seems that the vast majority of campaign-related news have dwindled to He Said/She Said accusations, with one side claiming moral and numerical victory over the other. Quite frankly, all this pointless vitriol is starting to bore me, and I suspect it does the media as well. Without a Gennifer Flowers-like scandal, reporters are resorting to writing articles about how the children of superdelegates are waging their own campaigns to get their parents to vote for their favored candidate. Yawn. One campaign that HAS attracted my attention, however, is that of Ralph Nader. Readers may remember my open letter to Mr. Nader several weeks ago asking him why he should choose to run now, so late in the campaign season. As in previous election cycles, Nader has chosen once again to formally announce a presidential bid well after many voters have already staked their futures on a particular candidate. There's still plenty of money available for the asking, but with less than 10 months to go before election day, it was awfully shortsighted of Nader to throw his hat into the ring now that many voters have less money in their pockets, especially with a recession in full swing. On the other hand, you gotta hand it to the man: He's tenacious. He's enjoying the "honeymoon" period of his campaign, with media outlets from NPR's "Talk of the Nation" to the CBS "Morning Show" to NBC's "Meet the Press" giving him an opportunity to state his case to the American people. He should enjoy it as much as he can, for if history is any guide, he'll be seeing fewer and fewer media opps available to him as we lurch closer to the November election and the national focus turns to the final two candidates duking it out for the chance to sit in the Oval Office for the next four years. It's a shame, really. I may have had doubts about Nader's umpteenth bid for the White House, but I admire the man for trying yet again in the face of overwhelming odds and the inevitable backlash he's already getting from misguided voters. Indeed, the latter should be the ones feeling shame for denying him the right to run for office. Both in this election and that of 2004 and 2000, I heard more than I needed to hear from people who felt that Nader's votes had "given" the White House to Bush, that he was the "spoiler" who should be held responsible for the Iraq War. Well, I was one of those who voted for and supported Nader in 2004. I have yet to hear a truly cogent argument explaining to me in rational terms why someone who followed the rules should be considered a "spoiler." Unlike many of you, I earned my citizenship. I wasn't born into it by accident. I chose to become an American citizen and took the citizenship exam as well as the oath of loyalty to the United States and the Constitution. If that doesn't allow me the privilege of voting for whomever I wish in the presidential election, I don't know what would. I have yet to understand the connection between my vote and the election of George W. Bush. I voted for Nader because I felt that he alone understood the needs of the American people, from the poor to the middle class. He alone addressed the issues in concrete terms rather than spouting platitudes aimed at attracting votes and corporate funding. He alone listens to the youth of today not as someone merely courting votes, but as someone who genuinely cares about our voice and what we have to say. Since when did voting your conscience mean "throwing away your vote?" I thought throwing away your vote meant not voting at all. If a voter feels that neither of the candidates on offer by the two major political parties addresses her needs, then why shouldn't she be free to vote for a third candidate? Why should she be forced to choose one of the bigger names simply because that name is the lesser of two evils? When did voting become such a political calculation rather than a way to express one's support for particular issues? Is that what our so-called democracy has become? I haven't yet made my final decision as to whom I will vote for in November. I'm waiting to see what happens in Denver this summer. I'm not counting out Nader, though. He may be facing even more of an uphill battle now than ever before, but the man has a lot of great things to say. If he can hang in there through the election, he may still catch the eye of many looking for genuine change. There may be hope for him yet. Marjorie Asturias-Lochlaer is a freelance writer living in Grand Junction. Reach her at _marjorie.asturias [at] gmail.com_ (mailto:marjorie.asturias [at] gmail.com) . --------23 of 24-------- Hope is for Suckers by Mickey Z. / April 11th, 2008 Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man. - Friedrich Nietzsche [AMEN] We can't give up hope, I'm often told. Keep hope alive, the saying goes. If we lose hope, nothing will ever change. or so they believe. Well, I'm here to say: Fuck hope. We live on a planet brimming with hope yet that same planet is under perpetual assault. and the hopers are losing. The corporations raping our eco-systems don't hope they can steal more land, exploit it, poison it, and make boatloads of cash. They make a plan and make it happen - damn the torpedoes. (You might even call it "direct action".) Monsanto doesn't put its faith in candlelight vigils or humans standing in the shape of a peace sign. They get busy putting their people into positions of power, writing legislation, and bullying and smashing anyone opposed to their insane agenda. General Motors doesn't reserve its opinions for government sanctioned "free speech zones". The television, Internet, magazines, movies, songs, radio, etc. are all inundated with GM's taxpayer-subsidized propaganda - just as the planet is inundated with GM's output. McDonald's doesn't waste time hoping things will go its way when its days are chock filled with brainwashing, killing, poisoning, destroying. and counting its profits. Hope never enters into the equation. "Hope is a bad thing," sez Henry Miller. "It means that you are not what you want to be. It means that part of you is dead, if not all of you. It means that you entertain illusions. It's a sort of spiritual clap, I should say". Author Derrick Jensen explains the impotency of hope as good as anyone: "I'm not, for example, going to say I hope I eat something tomorrow. I just will. I don't hope I take another breath right now, nor that I finish writing this sentence. I just do them. On the other hand, I do hope that the next time I get on a plane, it doesn't crash. To hope for some result means you have given up any agency concerning it. Many people say they hope the dominant culture stops destroying the world. By saying that, they've assumed that the destruction will continue, at least in the short term, and they've stepped away from their own ability to participate in stopping it". If Jensen makes it sound an awful lot like religion, well, for most folks, the verb "hope" is virtually synonymous with "pray," while "hope" the noun is often interchangeable with "faith". Hope is for suckers. [amen amen amen] How about some good old-fashioned anger, rage, and passion? (Che sez: "If you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine".) Let's forget hope and aim for vision, clarity, strategy, courage, and finally: some goddamned results. "Creativity comes from trust," sez Rita Mae Brown. "Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work" (as they say in South Florida: bingo). At its worst, hope is a dangerous cop-out. At best, it's a frivolous idea. But even so, as Henry Miller sez: "Ideas have to be wedded to action". Wedded, huh? Repeat after me: "I do". Mickey Z. is the author of the forthcoming novel, CPR for Dummies (Raw Dog Screaming Press). He can be found on the Web at MickeyZ.net. Read other articles by Mickey, or visit Mickey's website. This article was posted on Friday, April 11th, 2008 at 4:58 am and is filed under Activism, Culture. Send to a friend. --------24 of 24-------- Spread the Wealth and Give Workers a Raise Want to Save the Economy? By MIKE WHITNEY CounterPunch Apri1 12 / 13, 2008 Insolvency's dark shadow hangs over Wall Street. One major player, Bear Stearns, has already gone under, and from the looks of it, another investment giant may be on the way down. It's getting ugly out there. The so-called TED spread*, which measures the reluctance of banks to lend to each other, has begun to widen ominously suggesting that the money markets think another dead body will be floating to the surface any day now. The ongoing deleveraging of financial institutions and the persistent downgrading of assets has the Fed in a tizzy. Bernanke has backed himself into a corner by stretching the Fed's mandate to include everyone on Wall Street with a mailing address and a begging bowl. Now he's taken on the even larger task of fixing the plumbing that keeps credit flowing between the various investment banks. Good luck. There's plenty of more pain ahead. The IMF expects the final tally will be $945 billion, that means $3 trillion in lost loans for the banks. Bernanke better pace himself; this mess could last for years. Weekend Edition Apri1 12 / 13, 2008 Spread the Wealth and Give Workers a Raise Want to Save the Economy? By MIKE WHITNEY Insolvency's dark shadow hangs over Wall Street. One major player, Bear Stearns, has already gone under, and from the looks of it, another investment giant may be on the way down. It's getting ugly out there. The so-called TED spread*, which measures the reluctance of banks to lend to each other, has begun to widen ominously suggesting that the money markets think another dead body will be floating to the surface any day now. The ongoing deleveraging of financial institutions and the persistent downgrading of assets has the Fed in a tizzy. Bernanke has backed himself into a corner by stretching the Fed's mandate to include everyone on Wall Street with a mailing address and a begging bowl. Now he's taken on the even larger task of fixing the plumbing that keeps credit flowing between the various investment banks. Good luck. There's plenty of more pain ahead. The IMF expects the final tally will be $945 billion, that means $3 trillion in lost loans for the banks. Bernanke better pace himself; this mess could last for years. The US subprime fiasco has spiraled into what the IMF is calling "the largest financial shock since the Great Depression." America's capital markets are on the fritz. The corporate bond market is frozen, the banks are buckling from their losses, and the housing market is in a shambles. No one is buying and no one is lending. Private equity deals are off 75 per cent from last year and no one will touch a mortgage-backed security (MBS) with a ten foot pole. The mighty wheel of modern finance is grinding to a standstill and no one's quite sure how to rev it up again. The US consumers are feeling the pinch, too. Credit cards are maxed out, student loans overdue, car payments in arrears, and mortgages entering foreclosure. Also, wages haven't kept pace with production and and the home-equity ATM has been shut down. Now that the credit tap has been turned off; the American worker is hurting, but no one is offering a bailout or a even helping hand; just a few table-scraps from Bush's "surplus package". 500 bucks will just about fill the tank of a normal-sized SUV. A new survey from the Pew research Center "Inside the Middle Class-Bad Times Hit the Good Life", shows that working families are in debt up to their ears and that fewer Americans "believe they are moving forward" than anytime in the last half century. The study also shows that most people believe "it's harder to maintain a middle class life style" and that "since 1999, they have not made economic gains." Average families are struggling just to make ends meet. That's why so many people bought homes when they should have opened savings accounts. They were duped into speculating on housing so they could get a chunk of money. It looked like a good way to overcome stagnant wages and crappy hours. The cheer-leading TV pundits offered assurances that "housing prices never go down". It was all baloney. Now 15 million homeowners are upside-down on their mortgages and the very same experts are scolding workers for fudging the facts on their income disclosure forms. It's all backwards. No wonder consumer confidence has dropped to record lows. Working people don't need lectures on saving money; they need a raise. The big-wigs at Bear Stearns are still dining on crab-cakes at the Four Seasons while the working folk are just trying to make their way through Greenspan's nuclear winter living on beef jerky and Big Gulps. Where's the justice? Volumes have been written about the current crisis; subprime-this, subprime that. Everything that can be said about collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) credit default swaps(CDS) and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) has already been said. Yes, they are exotic "financial innovations" and, no, they are not regulated. But what difference does that make? There's always been snake oil and there have always been snake oil salesmen. Greenspan simply raised the bar a notch, but he's not the first huckster and he won't be the last. What really matters is underlying ideology; that's the root from which this economy-busting hydra sprung. 30 years of trickle down, supply-side gibberish; 30 years of idol worship for the waxy-haired reactionary, Ronald Reagun; 30 years of unrelenting anti-labor, free market, deregulated orthodoxy which inflated the biggest equity-Zeppelin in history. Now the bubble is hissing out of the blimp and the escaping gas is wreaking havoc across the planet. There are food riots in Haiti, Egypt, and Kuwait. Wherever the local currency is pegged to the falling dollar, inflation is soaring and trouble is brewing. Also, European banks are listing from the mortgage-backed garbage they bought from brokerages in the US and need central bank bailouts to stay afloat. It's just more fallout from the subprime swindle. Finance ministers in every capital in every country are getting ready for a 1930's-type typhoon that could send equities crashing and food and energy prices rocketing into the stratosphere. And it can all be traced back to the wacko doctrines of neoliberalism. These are the theories that guide America's "screw-thy-neighbor" monetary policies and spread financial turmoil to every city and hamlet around the world. The present stewards of the system are incapable of fixing the problem because they represent the interests of the people who benefit most from the disruptions. Paulson's latest "blueprint" for the financial markets is a good example; a more pro-business, self-serving scheme has never been put to paper. Gary North sums it up in his article "Really Stupid Loans": "With the Federal Reserve System's latest proposal, presented to the public by Secretary of the Treasury Henry "Goldman Sachs" Paulson, the Fed is asking the United States government to make it the Great Protector of Capital....The new proposals will centralize power over finance in the hands of an agency that is officially run by the government but in fact is run by agents of the largest fractional reserve banks. ...Regulation by tenured staff economists will not make the system less fragile. It will make it more top-heavy and less flexible.. "Some version of this plan will probably pass in the next Congress. No matter whether it does or does not, the direction is the same: toward an economy controlled by the federal government in conjunction with titular private ownership of the means of production, that is, toward fascism." (Gary North, "Really Stupid loans" lewrockwell.com) The whole point is to put the markets in the Fed's control so that when the next financial crisis arises (from the next swindle) the Fed can bailout the bankers and hedge fund managers without consulting Congress. Paulson's plan is a power-play; nothing more. The investment Mafia wants to take over the whole financial system lock, stock and barrel. They want to liquidate the SEC and any other government watchdog and put the investment banks, hedge funds and brokerages on the honor system. It's the end of transparency and accountability which, of course, are already in short supply. Currently, Paulson and Bernanke are expanding the balance sheets of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) so that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will underwrite 85 per cent of all mortgages while FHA will cover 10 per cent more. The mortgage industry is being nationalized to save banking fellowship while the taxpayer is on the hook for another $4.4 trillion of dodgy loans. Paulson doesn't care if the taxpayer gets stuck with the bill. What bothers him is the prospect that, somewhere along the line, workers will demand higher wages to keep pace with inflation. Then all hell will break loose. Paulson and Co. would rather see the economy perish in a deflationary holocaust than add another farthing to a working person's salary. He and his ilk take class warfare seriously; that's why they are winning. But their strategy also creates problems. When wages don't keep pace with production, demand decreases and the economy falters. That's what's happening now and Paulson knows it. Workers are over-extended and can't buy the things they make. They barely have enough to feed the kids and fill the tank for work. Consumer spending (which is 72 per cent of GDP) is nose-diving at the very same time the Fed's equity bubble is exploding. Neoliberalism has a twenty-year record of producing the very same economic calamities. Why is this crisis different? Why should the US be spared the same predatory treatment as the many other victims of the global corporate oligarchy? After the Fed's equity bubble bursts, the corporate vultures will swoop down and buy up vital resources and industries for pennies on the dollar. Economist Michael Hudson anticipated many of the present-day developments in the financial markets in an amazingly prescient interview in CounterPunch in 2003 called "The Coming Financial Reality": Michael Hudson: "Free enterprise under today's financial conditions threatens to bring about an unprecedented centralization of planning, not in the hands of government but by the financial conglomerates and money managers. Whatever government planning power is destroyed becomes available for them to appropriate, with plenty of vigorish left for the politicians whose campaigns they back and who will "descend from heaven" into high-paying private-sector jobs, Japanese style, after having performed their service for the new regime. Question: The financial regime is nothing but parasites? Michael Hudson: "The problem with parasites is not merely that they siphon off the food and nourishment of their host, crippling its reproductive power, but that they take over the host's brain as well. The parasite tricks the host into thinking that it is feeding itself. "Something like this is happening today as the financial sector is devouring the industrial sector. Finance capital pretends that its growth is that of industrial capital formation. That is why the financial bubble is called 'wealth creation,' as if it were what progressive economic reformers envisioned a century ago. They condemned rent and monopoly profit, but never dreamed that the financiers would end up devouring landlord and industrialist alike. Emperors of Finance have trumped Barons of Property and Captains of Industry." (Michael Hudson, "The Coming Financial Reality", counterpunch, interviewed by Standard Schaefer.) Bingo. Hudson not only explains how finance capitalism is inserting itself into the governmental power structure but, also predicts that "industrial capital formation" - which is the production of things that people can really use to improve their lives - will be replaced with complex debt-instruments and derivatives that add no tangible value to people's lives and merely serve to expand the wealth of an entrenched and increasingly powerful investor class. Finance capitalism has "devoured landlord and industrialist alike" and created a galaxy of seductive liabilities which masquerade as assets. Derivatives contracts, for example, represent over $500 trillion of unregulated counterparty transactions; a "shadow banking system" completely disconnected from the underlying "real" economy, but large enough to send the world into a agonizing depression for years to come. The goal should be to dismantle this corrupt Ponzi-system, which merely wraps debt in a ribbon, and rebuild the economy on a solid foundation of productive labor, worker solidarity and and above all the redistribution of income and hence purchasing power away from the system which now flow to the top two or three per cent. Political power has to be taken from the financial mandarins or the disparity of wealth will continue to grow and democracy will wither. We've already seen our main institutions - the courts, the congress, the media, and the presidency - polluted by the steady flow of corporate contributions which only serve the narrow interests of elites. Henry Liu expands on this idea in his excellent article "A Panic-stricken Federal Reserve": "In the 1920s, the wide disparity of wealth between the rich and the average wage earner increased the vulnerability of the economy. For an economy to function with stability on a macro scale, total demand needs to equal total supply. Disparity of income eventually will result in demand deficiency, causing over-supply. The extension of credit to consumers can extend the supply/demand imbalance but if credit is extended beyond the ability of income to sustain, a debt bubble will result that will inevitably burst with economic pain that can only be relieved by inflation.....More investment normally increases productivity. However, if the rewards of the increased productivity are not distributed fairly to workers, production will soon outpace demand. The search for high returns in a low demand market will lead to consumer debt bubbles with wide-spread speculation .... Today, outstanding consumer credit besides home mortgages adds up to about $14 trillion, about the same as the annual GDP. " Voila. A strong economy requires a strong workforce and an equitable distribution of wealth. When money is concentrated in too few hands, the political system atrophies and becomes unresponsive to the needs of its people. That's when the nation's laws and institutions are reshaped to reflect the ambitions of rich and powerful. The financial system is doing exactly what it was designed to do, it is crumbling from the decades-long trickle-down experiment. Social programs have been gutted, civil infrastructure is in tatters, legal protections have been savaged, and workers rights have been trounced. Is it any wonder why we're embroiled in an unwinnable war and the financial system is on its last legs? The only way to break the stranglehold of Wall Street's financial Politburo is to level the playing field through greater wealth distribution. That's the best way to rekindle democracy and make America the land of opportunity again. And it all starts with giving America's workers a raise. *Initially, the TED spread was the difference between the interest rate for the three month U.S. Treasuries contract and three month Eurodollars contract as represented by the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR). However, since the Chicago Mercantile Exchange dropped the T-bill futures, the TED spread is now calculated as the difference between the T-bill interest rate and LIBOR. The TED spread is a measure of liquidity and shows the flow of dollars into and out of the United States (Wikipedia). Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney [at] msn.com ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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
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