|Progressive Calendar 07.20.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2008 05:12:52 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.20.08 1. Atheists/AM950 7.20 9am 2. Lake Superior 7.20 10am Duluth MN 3. Mpls Greens 7.20 12:30pm 4. Stillwater vigil 7.20 1pm 5. RNC/health care 7.20 1pm 6. Amnesty Intl 7.20 3pm 7. FightinBob/AM950 7.20 3pm 8. Theater v RNC 7.20 3pm 9. Chile/kids/book 7.20 6pm 10. Peace walk 7.21 6pm RiverFalls WI 11. Organic farm 7.21 6pm 12. RNC/Rovics 7.21 6:30/8:30pm 13. E-workshops 7.21 7pm 14. Ralph Nader - D.C. socialists save crashing capitalists 15. Roger Cuthbertson - Trickle up 16. Stacy Mitchell - Wal-Mart: low pices, but at what cost? 17. Lorna Salzman - Compassionate capitalism: ecocide w/a smiley face 18. Moyers/Winship - Fanny Mae & political graft --------1 of 18-------- From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at] gmail.com> Subject: Atheists/AM950 7.20 9am Minnesota Atheists' "Atheists Talk" radio show Sunday, July 20, 2008, 9-10 a.m. Central Time Erin Davies discusses her cross-country campaign against homophobia, driving her "Fagbug" Volkswagon Beetle car. Also, Hector Avalos discusses his book "The End of Biblical Studies." "Atheists Talk" airs live on AM 950 KTNF in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. To stream live, go to http://www.am950ktnf.com/listen. Podcasts of past shows are available at http://MinnesotaAtheists.org or through iTunes. Program Notes are available at http://MinnesotaAtheists.org. --------2 of 18-------- From: Nukewatch <nukewatch [at] lakeland.ws> Subject: Lake Superior 7.20 10am Duluth MN LAKE SUPERIOR ADVOCATES TO WALK & RALLY FOR CLEAN UP OF ARMY BARRELS DULUTH, Minn. --- A coalition of groups and Native American activists will conduct a free public "Walk & Rally for the Lake," Sunday, July 20 to draw attention to the nearly 1,500 barrels of hazardous military waste that were dumped by the Army Corps of Engineers into Lake Superior near Duluth in the late '50s and early '60s. The free Lake Superior Day event is also a celebration of the success of the Red Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in being awarded a $603,000 grant to expand its investigation of the status of the aging barrels. The 5-mile walk will move along London Road from Brighton Beach (63rd Ave. E. & Congdon Blvd.), and end with a rally and music at Leif Erikson (11th Ave. E. & London Road). In case of bad weather the rally will take place at the (Quaker) Friends Meeting House, 1802 E. Superior St. At 10:00 a.m. walkers will gather at Brighton Beach, just past Lester River , and the walk will start at 11:00 a.m. It will finish at Leif Erikson Park at about 1:30 p.m. with the rally and music beginning at 2:00 p.m. Speakers for the event include Rick Defoe of the Duluth American Indian Commission, Jean Buffalo of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Committee, former Chairwoman of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Duluth City Councilor Sharla Gardner, and Wisconsin State Representative Frank Boyle of Superior. Jan Conley of the Lake Superior Greens will MC and the musical entertainers are Duluth's own singer/songwriter Rachael Kilgour and internationally renowned folk singer David Rovics. The event's endorsers and sponsors include the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, Earth Protector, Don't Waste Michigan, Grannies for Peace, Great Lakes United, Great Northern Solar, Lake Superior Greens, Loaves & Fishes Catholic Worker, the Northern Futures Foundation, Nukewatch, North American Water Office, Northland Anti-war Coalition, Duluth's /Northland Reader/, Seeds of Peace, the Progressive Foundation and Veterans for Peace Chapter 80. The Walk and Rally for the Lake are part of the annual Lake Superior Day celebration promoted by the Lake Superior Binational Forum. --30- --------3 of 18-------- From: Eric Gilbertson <aleric [at] tcq.net> Subject: Mpls Greens 7.20 12:30pm 5cd Membership Meeting Sunday, July 20th 2008 Park House - 2120 Park Ave 12:30 - 5:30 12:30 - 12:45 - Welcome and Introduction 12:45 - 2:00 - Structure and future of 5cd discussion (No bylaw changes this meeting) 2:00 - 2:45 - Discuss endorsing the Minneapolis school referendum 2:45 - 3:00 - Break 3:00 - 3:30 - 5cd Steering Committee elections - 4 seats 3:30 - 3:45 - Discuss upcoming events 3:45 - 4:15 - Elected officials report 4:15 - 5:30 - General discussion (Chicago convention recap, Local and National Races and Issues...) --------4 of 18-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 7.20 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------5 of 18-------- From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: RNC/health care 7.20 1pm As you know, the 2008 Republican National Convention will be held at the Excel convention Center in St Paul Sept 1 thru Sept 4th. Thousands of people from all spectrum of life, from all over the U.S. will be converging on a variety of points of unity to voice a broad spectrum of concerns and outrage, and flood the streets with justice. Call it the Not-on-the-guest-list-coalition, if you will. It will be for people to take back Medicare for our seniors,take back S- CHIP for our kids, take back the health care system itself, and our country too. Resistance to the RNC is not just about human beings locking arms in non-violent direct action at the main thoroughfares and the ten bridges over the Mississippi leading to the Convention center, important as that may be. It's really about creating space for social transformation, networking, painting a picture about what's possible, and building the alternative, which to us is a fundamentally just and humane health care system, of the public, by the public; in mutual aid of one another. The RNC Welcoming Committee (www.nornc.org) has created a framework by which people can express themselves creatively at whatever level and whichever way they feel comfortable along points of unity of participatory democracy. The RNC convention will be an opportunity for all health care reform groups, and individuals to link, network, form a cluster of affinity groups, and see how we can fit into the total picture. Here are some ways health care reform advocates can "plug-in" to these events: 1. Next RNC Welcoming Committee meeting sunday,1:00pm to 4:00 pm Powderhorn Park on 35th St. and 15th Ave. S. in Minneapolis. Gather at the Rec Center. We can coordinate within this meeting and plan events autonomously or within the larger picture. www.nornc.org Some of the events being coordinated (details TBA) include: sept 1 block the convention sept 1 National Truth Commission on Health Care and Housing 6PM, personal story testimonies. sept 2 March for health care and housing the North Star Health Collective is also inviting folks for training as medics in basic first aid. --------6 of 18-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 7.20 3pm GROUP 37 JULY MEETING REMINDER: SUNDAY, JULY 20 - 3 TO 5 P.M. Join us for our regular meeting on Sunday, July 20th, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. We will spend some time discussing the new "Campaign, to Ban Torture," launched on June 26 (the UN International Day to support torture survivors) by a partnership that includes the Center for Victims of Torture. Subtitled "American Voices for American Values," the campaign includes a bipartisan group of former Cabinet members, military and religious Leaders who have called on President Bush to ban all forms of torture by all members of the military, the CIA, private contractors or any other person in the service of the government. For the remainder of the meeting, we will share actions on human rights cases around the world and get updates on the work of our sub-groups. All are welcome, and refreshments will be provided. Location: Center for Victims of Torture, 717 E. River Rd. SE, Minneapolis (corner of E. River Rd. and Oak St.). Park on street or in the small lot behind the center (the Center is a house set back on a large lawn). A map and directions are available on-line: http://www.twincitiesamnesty.org/meetings.html --------7 of 18-------- From: James Mayer <jmayer [at] academymayer.com> Subject: Fighting Bob/AM950 3pm Of the People: This Sunday, July20th at 3 p.m. on AM 950--Air America Minnesota's new name; call letters: ktnf--with Host James Mayer. What we need are fighting progressives, the likes of "Fighting Bob La Follette", Governor and Senator from Wisconsin in the early 1900's. La Follette fought for democracy and economic fairness, believing that people and ideas should govern instead of Big Money, trusts, and "robber barons". Join me, James Mayer, and Ed Garvey, Director of Wisconsin's Fighting Bob Fest as he shows us, calling on experience, what it means to take action and fight for progressive principles. He will tell about the Fighting Bob Fest's purpose and key role in showing the way to action in the fight for progressive principles. Join us: Tune into Of the People this Sunday at 3 P.M. on AM 950, KTNF. --------8 of 18-------- From: YAWR <against.war [at] gmail.com> Subject: Theater v RNC 7.20 3pm Help Create Giant Puppet Theater to confront the Republican National Convention! TRAINING for VOLUNTEERS Sunday, July 20th, 3-9pm Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association 821 E 35th St, Minneapolis off Chicago Ave, in an old firehouse building, behind Pillsbury House) The Project: A theatrical "March to Arrest the War Criminals" and Student Strike On September 4th, the final day of the Republican National Convention, high school and college students across the Twin Cities are planning a mass student strike organized by Youth Against War & Racism <http://www.yawr.org/strike>, among others. Student strikers will gather at Noon at the State Capitol, just blocks from the Xcel Center, for an antiwar festival and a theatrical "March to Arrest the War Criminals." Conceived as an interactive puppet theater play, in which the audience is transformed into the actors, the afternoon will culminate in a mass mock trail of the Republican "war criminals" on the west steps of the Minnesota State Capitol. The Training: A workshop with Chris Lutter of Puppet Farm Arts At the July 20th training we aim to bring together a team of volunteers, artists, and actors to design, build, and produce the September 4th "March to Arrest the War Criminals." The workshop will be led by Chris Lutter, Artistic Director of Puppet Farm Arts, who has extensive experience facilitating the process of collaborative art-making, from conceptualization through to final presentation (Check out Chris's bio at: http://puppetfarm.org/lutter.html ). Following the July 20 training, we'll schedule regular drop-in volunteer hours and, as September 4th approaches, regular play rehearsals. Please send us an RSVP if you can attend the July 20 training by emailing tytymo [at] gmail.com so we know how many folks to plan for. Bring some food to share if you can - if needed we'll order pizzas or something to ensure all volunteers get fed! Volunteers are encouraged to attend the entire six hour workshop, but if you can only make part you are also welcome. If you want to volunteer but can't come on July 20th, contact Ty at 612.760.1980 or tytymo [at] gmail.com with your availability. This project is a collaboration of Puppet Farm Arts <http://puppetfarm.org/>and Youth Against War & Racism <http://www.myspace.com/yawrmn> --------9 of 18-------- From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at] gmail.com> Subject: Chile/kids/book 7.20 6pm Sunday July 20, 6pm at Magers and Quinn Booksellers Steve Reifenberg reads from his new book Santiago's Children: What I Learned About Life at an Orphanage in Chile "It's hard to imagine someone who finds himself an outsider in one of the tougher neighborhoods of Latin America or Africa or other 'foreign' parts of the world - or someone interested in learning about one of those places - who would not find this book immensely instructive and moving." - Paul Farmer, from the foreword "This book is a gem and offers a wonderful roadmap for students of any age who are thinking about engaging in a complicated world. It should make its way to every university career counseling office across the country." - Abraham F. Lowenthal, Professor of International Relations, University of Southern California "Urgent and moving . . . The narrative fairly leaps from the pages when the political struggle comes into view. . . . The tale is amazingly hopeful, in spite of, or because of, the struggles in question. . . . This is a story of Chile we will not forget." - Martín Espada, author of The Republic of Poetry & other award-winning volumes of poetry Unclear about his future career path, Steve Reifenberg found himself in the early 1980s working at a small orphanage in a poor neighborhood in Santiago, Chile, where a determined single woman was trying to create a stable home for a dozen or so children who had been abandoned or abused. With little more than good intentions and very limited Spanish, the 23-year-old Reifenberg plunged into the life of the Hogar Domingo Savio, becoming a foster father to kids who stretched his capacities for compassion and understanding in ways he never could have imagined back in the United States. In this beautifully written memoir, Reifenberg recalls his two years at the Hogar Domingo Savio. His vivid descriptions create indelible portraits of a dozen remarkable kids - mature-beyond-her-years Verónica; sullen, unresponsive Marcelo; and irrepressible toddler Andrés, among them. As Reifenberg learns more about the children's circumstances, he begins to see the bigger picture of life in Chile at a crucial moment in its history. The early 1980s were a time of economic crisis and political uprising against the brutal military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Reifenberg skillfully interweaves the story of the orphanage with the broader national and international forces that dramatically impact the lives of the kids. By the end of Santiago's Children, Reifenberg has told an engrossing story not only of his own coming-of-age, but also of the courage and resilience of the poorest and most vulnerable residents of Latin America. Steve Reifenberg lives in Santiago, Chile, where he is the Director of the Regional Office of Harvard University's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. He has worked on international education and international conflict resolution for nearly two decades. Magers & Quinn Booksellers - 3038 Hennepin Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55408 - 612-822-4611 --------10 of 18-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 7.21 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 --------11 of 18-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Organic farm 7.21 6pm July 21: Women's Environmental Institute. Organic Farm School: The Urban Livestock Movement with Jennifer Blecha, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University. 6 PM - 8 PM at Open Book, Minneapolis. Register. --------12 of 18-------- From: rnc08 [at] riseup.net Subject: RNC/Rovics 7.21 6:30/8:30pm RNC Welcoming Committee Presents an Evening with David Rovics July 21: Monday July 21 2 shows! July 21st 6:30 pm & 8:30 pm 6:30 is the raffle show. David Rovics has been called the musical voice of the progressive movement in the US. Amy Goodman has called him "the musical version of Democracy Now!" Since the mid-90's Rovics has spent most of his time on the road, playing hundreds of shows every year throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Japan. David's Music has inspired and emboldened many of us on the frontlines. Join us for an intimate evening of music. The concert is a benefit for the RNC Welcoming Committee, an anarchist/anti-authoritarian group based in the Twin Cities facilitating protests and resistance to the 2008 Republican National Convention. Tickets are $20-$30 sliding scale, and all pre-sold tickets are entered into a raffle to win a private dinner and concert for the winner and 15 friends at Bedlam Theatre before the public show at 8:30. He has loads of MP3's available for free download on his website, www.davidrovics.com, along with CDs, links, etc. More importantly, he's really good. He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, and he will make the revolution irresistible. Tickets available through our website NoRNC.org - click the paypal button and indicate David in the notes, Arise! Bookstore, Northern Sun, and Bedlam Theatre box office. The Bedlam's located at 1501 S. 6th St. in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota. --------13 of 18-------- From: Jonathan Barrentine <jonathan [at] e-democracy.org> Subject: E-workshops 7.21 7pm Rondo workshops: Mondays and Wednesdays from 7-8:30pm. July 21 Podcasting July 23 Building Your Own Website Brian Coyle workshops: Tuesdays from 10:30am to Noon. July 22 Online Tools for You and Your Community --------14 of 18-------- Another Bail Out for the Financial Elites D.C. Socialists Save Crashing Capitalists By RALPH NADER CounterPunch July 17, 2008 Here they go again! Financial capitalism is crashing. So the lights are on late in Washington.s Federal Reserve, SEC and Treasury Department trying to figure out how socialism (your tax dollars and credits) can once again bail out these big time gamblers with our money. Every cycle of casino capitalism that heads for, or goes over, the bankruptcy cliffs gets larger and larger. This year.s collapse towers over the bailout of the Savings and Loan banks in the 1980s. This unfolding cycle of the Washington to Wall Street gravy train is not based on a huge spike in interest rates that tanked so many thrift institutions nearly twenty years ago. It is based on unbridled greed by the bosses of these big commercial banks, investment banks, brokerage giants and those two goliaths.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. .Unbridled. because the financial institutions got themselves unregulated during the reign of Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Rubin skipped out of town to become a wildly overpaid official with Citigroup.the leading lobbyist for his disastrous, so called Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. Fannie and Freddie have been deeply unregulated for decades which allowed their capital ratios to be lower.far lower.than even investment banks like Morgan Stanley. With that long-time implicit guarantee by the federal government, these two secondary marketers for home mortgages became more and more reckless so as to raise the corporate profits that their top executives need to skyrocket their personal compensation packages! In 1991, lawyer Tom Stanton warned about the risks and non-regulation of Fannie and Freddie in his prophetic book.A State of Risk (Harper Business). A decade ago, our banking specialists warned about the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) under assessing its member banks thus leaving its reserves at the risk of being perilously low when needed. Today, these reserves are very much needed and perilously low. Combined with the limitless greed, unbridled corporate power can wreak havoc with our entire economy. As it is doing now. The domino effect is underway. So the Bush boys and the Congressional leaders, so to speak, are busy reassuring the investors that they will in some way make things stable. This time, however, they seem to be offering too little too late and the investors aren.t buying. The stocks of the banks keep plunging down anywhere from seventy to ninety percent from their last year.s high. The nation.s largest savings bank.Washington Mutual.closed at under $4.00 per share down from over $40 last year. Again and again, year after year, the CEOs and the patsy federal agency heads have lied to the people about the financial status of these corporations. There is no credibility left and therefore no confidence. Over three trillion dollars is sitting in disbelief on the sidelines. Trillions of dollars have been looted or lost in the meantime, draining worker pension funds, mutual funds and the savings of small investors. None of this had to happen. Regulation against conflicts of interest and hyper risk taking could have stopped it, including preventing the housing mortgage crisis. Empowering investor-owners could have headed it off. But Washington-based right wing corporate funded think tanks and the banking lobbies battered down the regulatory guards and the federal cops. So now only the American taxpayers and their creditworthiness inside a deficit-ridden government and a debt-loaded Federal Reserve stand in the way of a far bigger financial collapse than the stock market crash of 1929. Will it be done smartly this time around? Reckless, self-enriching capitalists get on your knees and thank the rescuing Washington socialists, for without them, you would surely be in chains. Ralph Nader is running for president as an independent. --------15 of 18-------- By Roger Cuthbertson Trickle Up Free Speech Zone July 16, 2008 What a Monday morning surprise! After months of telling us that the economy is not really that bad, and that you really can't call it something as bad as a recession, the Bush administration tells us that Congress must use the people's money to bail out the two largest mortgage lending companies in the nation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And this must be done, right now. The plan is to lend these companies $300 billion or so of the people's money with low interest rates and to further bail them out by buying up an undisclosed amount (possibly 3 trillion dollars) of the now nearly worthless company stock. The people would pay for the stock, but not get ownership! Apparently, massive welfare is ok for the rich but not for ordinary citizens. Socialism for the rich! Capitalism for the poor! This bailout would be a gift from taxpayers and their debt burdened children to the people that caused the mess and reaped the profits. I have a better idea! Let the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac go broke. Instead of bailing out the companies the government should seize what is left of their assets. Terminate Bush's tax cuts for the rich. Reestablish very progressive taxes. Use these revenues and the money from the auction of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac assets to bail out the people who have already lost their homes from default. Also help out people who have bad mortgages sold by rapacious lenders. Provide help to all mortgage holders and renters and homeless people that need it. Begin criminal investigations of the managers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and their regulatory accomplices, for unscrupulous lending practices. Use all fines and proceeds to help the poor. The rich can have whatever trickles up. Call it the trickle up approach. Roger Cuthbertson, Economics wizard [I'd rather we all drink a few pints and then all stand in a big circle and trickle down on the rich. Make their bodies smell like their souls. -ed] --------16 of 18-------- Wal-Mart: Low Prices, but at What Cost? by Stacy Mitchell Published on Saturday, July 19, 2008 by the Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul) Common Dreams Katherine Kersten tries to represent Wal-Mart as a hero of working families. But what Wal-Mart has saved poor and middle-income Americans - and there's reason to doubt the depth and durability of the discounts Kersten cites - it has taken that and more from them in diminished job opportunities and reduced income. It's not just Wal-Mart. Rather, it's the economic model that Wal-Mart perfected and that others, including Home Depot and Target, also follow. The rise of these powerful retailers over the past 20 years has decimated two long-standing pillars of the American middle class. One consists of small business owners, tens of thousands of whom, along with their employees, have lost their livelihoods as the big boxes have taken over. Manufacturing workers are the other. Since 1990, the United States has lost some 3 million manufacturing jobs. Many of these losses can be traced to big-box retailers and the relentless pressure they have placed on companies to cut costs by moving to countries with low wages and lax labor laws. Starting a small business or getting a union-wage production job provided a path out of poverty for generations of American families. No other company has done more to close these avenues to a middle-class life than Wal-Mart. Indeed, U.S. Census data show that the middle class has lost substantial ground over the past 20 years. The share of the nation's income flowing to families in the middle 60 percent of the income distribution fell nearly 12 percent. The share flowing to the bottom 20 percent fell even faster, while the ranks of the working poor - people who work full time but cannot afford the basics - swelled. Kersten points out that new Wal-Mart and Target stores often attract legions of job applicants. But this is less a sign of the desirability of these jobs than it is of widespread economic desperation. Lacking better options, more people are applying for retail work, giving the big chains a larger, and more easily exploited, labor pool. Opportunities for this segment of the workforce have actually declined as the big boxes expanded. That's because the chains stretch their workers, achieving the same sales with fewer people than the businesses they replace. David Neumark, an economist at the University of California, analyzed the impact of more than 2,000 Wal-Mart stores that opened between 1977 and 2002 and found that, for every new retail job created by Wal-Mart, 1.4 were lost as existing businesses downsized or closed. Consolidation has also given these chains enough market power to hold down growth in retail wages, according to many economists. Nor do big-box jobs offer much hope for advancement. Although a majority of store managers start as hourly workers, as Kersten notes, the ratio of store managers to hourly employees in a typical big-box store - roughly 1 to 350 - makes the odds of landing on the management track incredibly slim. Wal-Mart's vaunted logistical innovations only partly explain how it got to the top. It also got there by squeezing its employees and forcing the rest of us to pick up the tab. Minnesota is not the only state where Wal-Mart has systematically violated labor laws by requiring employees to miss breaks and work off the clock. The retailer has lost similar suits in California, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Stealing from your own employees, especially when they make so little, is about as low as its gets. Not surprisingly, large numbers of Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target employees and their families, unable to make ends meet, have enrolled in Medicaid and other public assistance programs. Do cheap DVD players make up for all this? Given the toll these companies have taken on earnings for both low- and middle-income families and the fact that prices for the things that matter most - housing, health care and education - have skyrocketed, it's hard to conclude that we are anything but worse off. There's also reason to doubt the depth and durability of those frequently touted big-box discounts. Declining product lifespans and the appalling number of products found tainted with lead and other toxins suggests that manufacturers, many of which make special lines solely for big-box retailers, may have achieved those low prices by cutting corners. We're paying less because we're getting less. Being left with only a handful of retailers competing for our dollars is also bound to be bad for consumers in the long run. Already there's evidence that prices at Wal-Mart and other chains are higher in areas with little local competition. Instead of shopping ourselves deeper into this economic hole, we would do well to invest more of our spending in businesses that build community wealth, rather than extract it. What characterizes such a business? Key traits to look for are local ownership, products made responsibly and even locally, and fair wages. Stacy Mitchell is a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and author of "Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses". 2008 Star Tribune. --------17 of 18-------- Compassionate capitalism: Ecocide with a smiley face Written by Lorna Salzman Culture Change "We all agree that development that pollutes and destroys in order to enrich the already-rich is morally wrong. But development that pollutes and destroys in order to help the poor is just fine. We owe it to the poor. This is Compassionate Capitalism. And it is as ruthless, unforgiving and unjust as the old kind." Imagine a crew of poor and minority construction workers. After years of poverty, lack of opportunity and discrimination they finally have secure, well-paying jobs with good benefits. They are building a new village that will house low and moderate income families, including themselves. This village is located downstream from a high dam that provides hydropower for the region. The dam is old and recent inspections have revealed serious flaws that could result in dam failure that could wipe out the village and cause severe loss of life. The exact date of such failure is unknown but the risk is large and real and engineers and geologists recommend that the village be evacuated and rebuilt elsewhere as a precautionary measure, until the dam is repaired. Repairs sufficient to guarantee dam integrity will be expensive and will take up to three or four years to complete. The costs are unknown as are the sources of funding. State revenues are scarce and the federal government has cut back on infrastructure repair. It is not known whether funds will be made available, how much and when. The villagers, which include the construction workers, do not welcome the cost and inconvenience of relocation so they decide to remain where they are, figuring that dam repair as well as village development will provide lots of jobs. Some of them distrust the engineers and geologists and their predictions. Some of them believe that the repairs can be completed in a shorter period of time. Some believe the dam is fundamentally sound and doesn't need much repair, if any. The village, county, state and federal officials meet, confer, haggle, argue, hiring consultants, holding public hearings, debating costs and benefits and wasting over two years on the problem due to conflicting opinions. While dam repair contracts are put out for bidding, the construction workers continue their work on building housing developments, schools, shopping centers, churches and light industrial structures. Investment is attracted to the area. The village expands and becomes a small city, with a larger economy and local industry, and residents prosper. Lots of cars and RVs are sold, large air conditioned homes on large lots with swimming pools are built as is an airport, and the interstate is extended to the city. Shopping malls appear on the outskirts. Several banks open new branches. Sewage systems are extended to the new developments and a large water supply system to deliver water from the river is also expanded. The increase in energy demand results in construction of two new coal powered plants and plans are laid for a nuclear plant at a "safe" distance, to accommodate growth. Three years later, the dam breaks, destroying the entire city, killing most of its residents. This story is fictitious but the situation it describes is not. It is what we face now with global warming. Those who staked their own lives on the integrity of the dam were mainly low income minority workers, who had faith in "the system" and in technology. There are millions more of these among us today who doubt there is a global warming crisis and who believe that new jobs and technology to help the unemployed and the minorities should come first. To rationalize this, they denigrate the seriousness of the climate change situation and, like the village construction workers, look to technology and renewable energy development as their salvation. Meanwhile, growth continues, energy consumption expands, the consumer sector continues to spend as before, floods, droughts and wildfires run rampant, water supplies are drying up,food prices rise due to higher energy and import costs, garbage and wastes accumulate, wildlife habitat, open space and recreational lands are sacrificed for roads, malls and development, energy prices skyrocket for numerous and uncontrollable reasons, the oceans die, and the quality of life rapidly deteriorates. And what do these workers and minorities demand? More of the same things that caused the crisis in the first place: cheap energy. Why do they call for this? In order to consume more. Under all of this is an unswerving religious faith in the need for continued economic growth: for unabated production of goods and consumption, in the name of equity and social justice, to benefit those who had been left out of the country's prosperity. This is the message just delivered by Niger Ennis, a Republican strategist and head of CORE (Congress on Racial Equality), a beneficiary of Exxon ($275,000 since 1998), who is pushing for cheap energy, more fossil fuel plants and offshore oil drilling. Ennis gave an infamous Capitol Hill briefing, along with climate skeptics, titled "Eco-Imperialism: Reflections on Earth Day." He also said: "We support any candidate that is not cowed by the powerful environmental lobby." The prosperity approach is also the message delivered by the Apollo Alliance, a front for the Democratic Party and possibly for the auto industry which supports "clean coal." The affiliated 1Sky movement has fairly strong positions on reducing energy consumption (25% reduction from 1990 levels by 2020, 80% by 2050), but they have bought into the carbon trading scam instead of supporting carbon taxes, and promote that now-familiar cliche of "smart growth," without defining it. Though the term "economic growth" is not the explicit message of Green for All, headed by Van Jones, formerly head of the Ella Baker Center and its "green growth" campaign, its overall thrust of creating "5 million jobs conserving 20% of our energy by 2015" (the 1Sky objective as well), not basing its objectives on science, fails to acknowledge the need to sharply reduce energy consumption in the next three or four years (the time period remaining before we exceed several climate tipping points, according to James Hansen). In so doing it leapfrogs over the global climate crisis to that golden land of opportunity, not comprehending that no amount of renewable energy technology can ever meet our present demand, much less the future demand of the five million new workers in renewable energy who will, if past experience is a guide, use their newfound wealth to emulate the life style of profligate Americans. A 20% reduction in energy use by 2015 is barely an improvement over the ineffectual Kyoto Protocol proposal. Green for All supported the Lieberman-Boxer energy bill, with some reservations, while most environmental groups declared the bill to be woefully inadequate. Essentially Green for All is an anti-poverty effort with a green tinge, not an anti-global warming effort. And the strongest pro-growth shout emanates from the Break Through Institute, headed by neo-liberal growth and globalization fanatics Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, whose prescription for survival is one word: Prosperity. It is no accident that most of those pushing for Business as Usual are either members of a minority group or use economic justice as their justification. This is a clever move since it guarantees funding from liberal donors like the Pew Charitable Trust and the Nathan Cummings Foundation as well as the Rockefeller Foundation. It also guarantees credibility in the media and with liberal leaders and organizations, who would rather retire to a desert island than be considered racist. The subliminal theme here is this: we all agree that development that pollutes and destroys in order to enrich the already-rich is morally wrong. But development that pollutes and destroys in order to help the poor is just fine. We owe it to the poor. This is Compassionate Capitalism. And it is as ruthless, unforgiving and unjust as the old kind. It is striking that spokesmen for minority groups have for so long found little to criticize about corporate greed, profits and pollution, or capitalism in general, but had little trouble attacking their friends -- the environmental community -- for what they believed was racism and deliberate ignoring of urban minorities. So the push for millions of new minority jobs also raises the following question: since corporations have shown little or no interest in the needs of minorities or the poor in the past, how much faith can we have that in the hoped-for future renewable energy economy they will make an effort to include them? The main objective here is to distract the liberals' attention away from the breaking dam and onto the jobs being created in the city beneath the dam as it expands... to distract attention away from the global warming tipping points that we face in the next few years, away from the bad news, away from anything that instills doubt in economic growth and in capitalist society itself. To express doubt of traditional growth patterns smacks of hardship and sacrifice, especially for the poor. Thus, doubt must be completely abolished by drawing attention to the purported benefits of growth to the poor, by pointing to the jobs... not to the dam. Where are the jobs? We know where they are: in renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transportation, rehabilitation of buildings and infrastructure, local and regional food supplies, weatherization, and elsewhere. These are already cliches. Nothing new there. But the Good News Bears who want you to ignore the breaking dam don't tell you the truth about these jobs, particularly about how long it will take to bring them to the needy. How long will it take to replace fossil fuel and nuclear plants with wind energy systems? How long to rebuild and expand Amtrak and build new regional and local public transportation systems to replace air travel and private cars? How long to replace high-energy, processed, prepackaged and imported food with local food supplies? How long before the federal government and the private investors turn away from fossil fuels and nuclear reactors definitively and put their faith and funds into these things? If you guessed more than five years, you guessed correctly. Try twenty. Or fifty. The problem is that the dam is crumbling in the meantime. That minority leaders like Ennis and Jones are not aligning themselves with those demanding real solutions to slow down and mitigate global warming through dramatically reduced consumption of energy and goods is truly tragic. That their followers are being duped into supporting the American Dream of increasing consumption of energy and goods -- Compassionate Capitalism -- including a demand for cheaper oil, is testimony to the tragic gullibility that characterizes all Americans, not just the poor and the minorities. In a nutshell, we don't have a tough uncompromising movement or leadership with curbing global warming as its focus. We have anti-poverty and social justice groups and campaigns posing as green but with a "plentiful lack" of serious proposals to overhaul the entire capitalist/consumer society. It is quite clear that marginal and incremental economic reforms will not slow down the economic growth beast much less threaten its existence. It appears that even those members of society who have lived at the bottom are not ready or willing to admit that this society is neither sustainable nor reformable. Perhaps they are whistling in the dark. But it is more likely that these reformist groups are being encouraged in their schemes by funders and forces cemented to the concept of economic growth and to capitalism at all costs who welcome the emphasis on jobs and renewable energy as a distraction from the daily reports of accelerating climate change. The revolutionaries, however, are nowhere to be seen. I've got news for them. Nature doesn't distinguish between rich and poor. Lorna Salzman, formerly with Friends of the Earth during David Brower's leadership, writes on politics, energy and the environment. Her website is lornasalzman.com "We are already fighting World War III and I am sorry to say we are winning. It is the war against the earth." - author Raymond Dasmann Further reading: "Neo-liberals in green clothing: Nordhaus, Shellenberger and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors," by Lorna Salzman: culturechange.org Questioning the social-justice-first approach: article, "What is the grassroots' and environmental establishment's main failure?" by Jan Lundberg, Culture Change Letter #179: culturechange.org "Smart Growth: Smart or not? Debunking the myths of sustainable growth" Culture Change magazine, issue 20, 2002: culturechange.org --------18 of 18-------- The Fanny Mae Bail Out and the Art of Political Graft Mother's Milk of Politics Turns Sour By BILL MOYERS and MICHAEL WINSHIP CounterPunch July 19 / 20, 2008 Once again we're closing the barn door after the horse is out and gone. In Washington the Federal Reserve has finally acted to stop some of the predatory lending that exploited people's need for money. And like Rip Van Winkle, Congress is finally waking up from a long doze under the warm sun of laissez faire economics. That's French for turning off the alarm until the burglars have made their getaway. Philosophy is one reason we do this to ourselves; when you worship market forces as if they were the gods of Olympus, then the gods can do no wrong - until, of course, they prove to be human. Then we realize we should have listened to our inner agnostic and not been so reverent in the first place. But we also get into these terrible dilemmas - where the big guys step all over everyone else and the victims are required to pay the hospital bills - because we refuse to recognize the connection between money and politics. This is the great denial in democracy that may ultimately mean our ruin. We just don't seem able to see or accept the fact that money drives policy. It's no wonder that Congress and the White House have been looking the other way as the predators picked the pockets of unsuspecting debtors. Mega banking and investment firms have been some of the biggest providers of the cash vital to keeping incumbents in office. There isn't much appetite for biting - or regulating - the manicured hand that feeds them. Guess who gave the most money to candidates in this 2007-08 federal election cycle? That's right, the financial services and real estate industries. They stuffed nearly $250 million dollars into the candidate coffers. The about-to-be-bailed-out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together are responsible for about half the country's $12 trillion mortgage debt. Lisa Lerer of Politico.com reports that over the past decade, the two financial giants with the down home names have spent nearly $200 million on campaign contributions and lobbying. According to Lerer, "They've stacked their payrolls with top Washington power brokers of all political stripes, including Republican John McCain's presidential campaign manager, Rick Davis; Democrat Barack Obama's original vice presidential vetter, Jim Johnson; and scores of others now working for the two rivals for the White House". Last Sunday's New York Times put it as bluntly as anyone ever has: "In Washington, Fannie and Freddie's sprawling lobbying machine hired family and friends of politicians in their efforts to quickly sideline any regulations that might slow their growth or invite greater oversight of their business practices. Indeed, their rapid expansion was, at least in part, the result of such artful lobbying over the years". What a beautiful term: "artful lobbying." It means honest graft. Look at any of the important issues bogged down in the swampland along the Potomac and you don't have to scrape away the muck too deeply to find that campaign cash is at the core of virtually every impasse. We're spending more than six percent of our salaries on gasoline, and global warming keeps temperatures rising but the climate bill was killed last month and President Bush just got rid of his daddy's longtime ban on offshore drilling. Only in a fairy tale would anyone believe it's just coincidence that the oil and gas industries have donated more than $18 million to federal candidates this year, three-quarters of it going to Republicans. They've spent more than $26 million lobbying this year - that's seven times more than environmental groups have spent. Follow the money - it goes from your gas tank to the wine bars and steak houses of DC, where the payoffs happen. Or ponder that FISA surveillance legislation that just passed the Senate. It let the big telecommunications companies off the hook for helping the government wiretap our phones and laptops without warrants. Over the years those telecom companies have given Republicans in the House and Senate $63 million dollars and Democrats $49 million. No wonder that when their lobbyists reach out and place a call to Congress, they never get a busy signal. Do the same without making a big contribution, and you'll be put on "hold" until the embalmer shows up to claim your cold corpse. The late journalist Meg Greenfield once wrote that trying to get money out of politics is akin to the quest for a squirrel-proof birdfeeder. No matter how clever and ingenious the design, the squirrels are always one mouthful ahead of you. Here's an example. Corporations are limited in how much they can contribute to candidate's campaigns, right? But someone's always figuring out how to open another back door. So Democrats have turned to Steve Farber. He's using the resources of his big K Street law and lobbying factory to help raise $40 million for the Democratic National Convention. Half a dozen of his clients have signed up, including AT&T, Comcast, Western Union and Google. Their presence at the convention will offer lots of opportunities to curry favors at private parties while ordinary delegates wander Denver looking for the nearest Wendy's. By the way, just as you pay at the gas pump for those energy lobbyists to wine and dine your representatives in Washington, you'll pay on April 15 for Denver - corporations can deduct their contributions. Another back door - one quite familiar to Steve Farber and his ilk - leads to presidential libraries. Bill Clinton's in Arkansas required serious political bucks, and we're not talking penny ante fines for overdue books. Again, there's no limit to the amount a donor can give and no obligation to reveal their names. Clinton's cost $165 million and we still don't know the identities of everyone who put up the dough, even though four years ago a reporter stumbled on a list that included Arab businessmen, Saudi royals, Hollywood celebs and the governments of Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Taiwan. Hmmm. Once George W. is out of the White House, he, too, plans what one newspaper described as a "legacy polishing" institute - a presidential library and think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas costing half a billion dollars. Last Sunday, The Times of London released a remarkable video of one of the president's buddies and fund raisers - Stephen Payne, a political appointee appointed to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. The Times set him up in a video sting, and taped a conversation in which Payne offers an exiled leader of Kyrgyzstan meetings with such White House luminaries as Vice President Cheney and Condoleezza Rice - provided he makes a whopping contribution to the Bush Library, and an even bigger payment to Payne's lobbying firm. Payne tells him, "It will be somewhere between $600,000 and $750,000, with about a third of it going directly to the Bush Library... That's gonna be a show of 'we're interested, we're your friends, we're still your friends.'". The White House denies any connection between library contributions and access to officials and harrumphed at the preposterous idea that Payne had a close relationship with the President. Unfortunately, there's at least one photo of Payne with the President cutting brush at his Crawford ranch. There's also one of Payne demonstrating more guts than common sense, on a rifle range with Deadeye Dick Cheney. Payne, who now is supporting John McCain, says he's done nothing wrong, but a congressional investigation intends to find out. So from the financial meltdown brought on by predatory lending to global warming to tax breaks and other favors, the late California politician Jesse "Big Daddy" Unruh got it right: Money is the mother's milk of politics. He knew what he was talking about, because Big Daddy swigged it by the gallon. Now it has curdled into a witch's brew. Bill Moyers is managing editor and Michael Winship is senior writer of the weekly public affairs program Bill Moyers Journal, which airs Friday night on PBS. Check local airtimes or comment at The Moyers Blog at www.pbs.org/moyers. [The rich cause of the poor. The few plot gray lives for the many. A "good life" costs hundreds of bad or ended ones. We can continue to suffer at their hands or we can rise up and end the charade. -ed] ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 vote third party for president for congress now and forever
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