Progressive Calendar 10.14.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 13:08:40 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    10.14.08

1. Poor people/CTV   10.14 5pm
2. RNC court watch   10.14 6pm
3. Sicko/film        10.14 6:30pm
4. Dorothy Day/film  10.14 6:30pm
5. Full moon howl    10.14 7pm
6. US warfare        10.14 7pm
7. US/Iran           10.14 7pm

8. Election/KFAI     10.15 11am
9. Womens rights     10.15 7pm

10. James Keye  - Capitalism without rules
11. Chris Floyd - The 30-year lie of the market cult: The God That Failed
12. David Green - This just in: greed is not good
13. Mark Drolette - You can cry for us, Argentina
14. ed          - The American Kiss  (poem)

--------1 of 14--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Poor people/CTV 10.14 5pm

St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 10/14, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 10/15, 10am
RNC 08: Stories from the Streets: Poor People's Economic Human Rights
Campaign

Footage from the streets of St. Paul during the "March for Our Lives".
Cheri Honkala and Deeq Abdi share their experiences during the 2008 RNC.
Hosted by Karen Redleaf.


--------2 of 14--------

From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com>
Subject: RNC court watch 10.14 6pm

RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing
court information, documentation and etc.  RNC Court Watchers Meetings are
every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our
meetings.

Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the
streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately
used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to
disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The
RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this
intimidation, harassment and abuse!

Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to
find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent
people.

Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street,
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M
participate and help organize RNC court solidarity.
For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at] gmail.com
THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!


--------3 of 14--------

From: dgr [at] umn.edu
Subject: Sicko/film 10.14 6:30pm

Tuesday, Oct. 14th, 6:30 PM, Rondo Community Library in St. Paul (corner
of Dale & University, free parking below library). FREE showing of Michael
Moore's film SiCKO sponsored by the University of MN Labor Education
Service. Explores what's wrong with the U.S. healthcare system through the
stories of real people. Discussion to follow. All are welcome. Part of the
monthly Labor & Community Film Series. For more information about the film
series, email dgr [at] umn.edu


--------4 of 14--------

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Dorothy Day/film 10.14 6:30pm

Pax Salon: Film on Dorothy Day "Don't Call Me a Saint"

Tuesday, October 14, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 West
7th, St. Paul. Steve Pastic will show the film on Dorothy Day, titled
"Don't Call Me a Saint." The film will be followed by a discussion on how
Dorothy Day became a worker with the poor and destitute, as well as a
pacifist. FFI: Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511.


--------5 of 14--------

From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Full moon howl 10.14 7pm

Sacred Spring Full Moon Walk
to Coldwater Spring
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Gather at 7 PM, south end of Minnehaha Park at 54th Street

Honest to Earth - this is something to celebrate!
First ever Full Moon Walk to Coldwater Spring - no more locked gates at
Coldwater. The security contract was not renewed. The gates will be open
24/7.

We will walk from the parking lot at 54th St. to Coldwater Spring!
Traditional group howl!

Directions: From Hwy 55/Hiawatha in south Minneapolis, turn East (toward the
Mississippi) at 54th Street and circle around to your left into the pay
parking lot.  Or park on the west side Hwy 55 for free.


--------6 of 14--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com>
Subject: US warfare 10.14 7pm

Teach in: Learn More About US Warfare
TUES, 10/14 @ 7pm @ May Day Bookstore @ 301 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis
Learn more about the occupation of Iraq and beyond. Find out more about the
war so that you can persuade others to join the anti-war movement and so
that you can get your questions answered. Organized by the Anti-War
Committee.


--------7 of 14--------

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: US/Iran conflict 10.14 7pm

"The U.S.-Iran Conflict in a Changing World:" Talk by William Beeman
Tuesday, October 14, 7:00 PM, St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland
School Rd, Wayzata.

Professor Beeman is Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the
University of Minnesota and President of the Middle East Section of the
American Anthropological Association. Book Signing follows. Copies of Dr.
Beeman's most recent book "The Great Satan vs. the Mad Mullahs: How the
United States and Iran Demonize Each Other" available for purchase.
Cosponsored by St. Luke Presbyterian Church and Women Against Military
Madness.


--------8 of 14--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com>
Subject: Election/KFAI 10.15 11am

TRUTH TO TELL
OCTOBER ELECTION WIND-DOWN COVERAGE
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15  11:00AM:
MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOLS FUNDING REFERENDUM
and
KIDS VOTING  MINNEAPOLIS & ST. PAUL

1) Minneapolis Voters face two important ballot questions in November.

THIS WEEK WE COVER (1): the largest of several referenda around the state
to raise revenue in the face of declining state aid and increased costs;
GUESTS:
 TOM MADDEN, Minneapolis School Board member
 STEVE KOTVIS, Communication Chair, Strong Schools, Strong City Steering
Committee

***
2) Kids Voting is the quadrennial exercise giving children their first taste
of civic responsibility  even when it doesnt really count right now. Hear
some kids talk about the experience as well program coordinators
encouraging words.

GUESTS:
 ROBERTA WORRELL  Executive Director, Kids Voting Minneapolis
 JANE KOSTIK - Former IB (Intl Baccalaureate) Program Coordinator for
Patrick Henry High, Kids Voting recruiter
INVITED: SAM QUINCEY  Kids Voting Alumnus now casting first real ballot.
INVITED:  TRACI WARNBERG-LEMM - Executive Director, Kids Voting Saint Paul


--------9 of 14--------

From: Lauren Merritt <merri350 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Womens rights 10.15 7pm

October 15, 2008 - Women's Human Rights Film Series:  "Finding Dawn".
Time: 7:00 PM.  Cost: Free and open to the public.

Dawn Crey. Ramona Wilson. Daleen Kay Bosse. These are just three of the
estimated 500 Aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered in
Canada over the past thirty years. Directed by acclaimed M tis filmmaker
Christine Welsh, Finding Dawn is a compelling documentary that puts a
human face to this national tragedy.

This is an epic journey into the dark heart of Native women s experience
in Canada. From Vancouver s skid row, where more than 60 women are
missing, we travel to the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia,
and onward to Saskatoon, where the murders and disappearances of Native
women remain unresolved.

Along the road to honour those who have passed, we uncover reason for
hope. It lives in Native rights activists Professor Janice Acoose and Fay
Blaney. It drives events such as the annual Women s Memorial March in
Vancouver and inspires communities all along the length of Highway 16 to
come together to demand change.

Finding Dawn illustrates the deep historical, social and economic factors
that contribute to the epidemic of violence against Native women in this
country. It goes further to present the ultimate message that stopping the
violence is everyone s responsibility.

Location: Hayden Heights Branch Library, 1456 White Bear Ave, St Paul, MN


--------10 of 14--------

Capitalism Without Rules
by James Keye
October 11th, 2008
Dissident Voice

What would capitalism without rules look like? What "invisible hand"
guides capitalism's actions and to what result?

There is an invisible hand guiding the physical world to all the forms and
processes of our "world". It is the in the laws that control the rates,
that set the proportional relations of the various forces. But this
fundamental reality is only metaphor for other "invisible hands" in
evolution, social relations or economics. Appeal to invisible hands in
these situations are no more than the failure to illuminate the designs of
process.

The appeal of capitalism exists largely in its making acceptable the
concentration of wealth and in its religion-like faith in a common,
generally negative human attribute as a positive guiding principle: human
greed. Capitalism is a social and economic design that gives great freedom
to the most greedy. Greed and wealth concentration are intellectually
supported under the argument that the invisible hand of greed will design
the best possible distribution of wealth based on the most efficient use
of resources. And it denies that humans have the power, or should have the
power, to control wealth and resources.

This "leave it to the market" argument overtly suggests that we should not
trust other people to control the process of wealth distribution while
hiding the fact that the very most acquisitive and ruthless of us are
doing exactly that under the cover of "the market". Trillions of dollars
of wealth have been taken by the tax and credit system over the last 8
years (and for many years before) and "redistributed" to the economic
elite, a polite term for the greedy sociopaths at the core of these
economic actions. This is being done primarily with war, the healthcare
(sic) system and the credit system.

The "bailout" of Wall Street is not a bailout at all. Embezzling is slow.
To get big bucks in a hurry requires a robbery and a robbery requires the
hold-up note. All the planning can be done in secret, but with a robbery
there comes the moment when intentions must be made clear: "Fill this bag.
I have a gun in my pocket". We have just been through such a moment, with
the note written in all capitalism, so most people missed its true
meaning.

"Fill this bag. If you don't your lives will be ruined and children's
lives will be ruined". In capitalism the note reads: "The Market has been
damaged by excessive attempts of foolish people to regulate it and so
trillions of dollars must be given to the managers who are guided by the
True Invisible Hand to save us from a great depression, social unrest and
civil war".

What this boils down to is that capitalism, as an economic process, seeks
to remove the rules that guide economic behavior, and as economic
capitalism melds into political capitalism, what ever form of governance
was in place is replaced with fascism. This has been the major movement of
historical process in competition with democratization. Global
corporations have championed democracy as a way to gain deep power in
government, to take control of taxation, reduce political restraints from
popular autocrats and manipulate political process.

Capitalism restrained by democratic socialism, capitalism used as resource
distributing economic device and not as a religion is a functional design.
But it is a little like having a gorilla guarding your house; he might at
any moment realize his power to take over the whole place.

This is what has happened and, I fear, that we will see the full effect of
capitalism without rules for the next many years. It will look a lot like
other times in history when the powerful separate from and dominate the
great middle by reducing them to servitude. Only this time we are facing
an ecological end of track. How the elite will handle this reality as it
manifests more and more clearly will, I suspect, not be pretty.

James Keye is the nom de plume of a biologist and psychologist who after
discovering a mismatch between academe and himself went into private
business for many years. His whole post-pubescent life has been focused on
understanding at both the intellectual and personal levels what it is to
be of the human species; he claims some success. Email him at:
jkeye1632 [at] gmail.com. Read other articles by James, or visit James's
website.

This article was posted on Saturday, October 11th, 2008 at 7:00am and is
filed under Capitalism, Economy/Economics. ShareThis


--------11 of 14--------

The 30-Year Lie of the Market Cult
The God That Failed
By CHRIS FLOYD
CounterPunch
October 13, 2008

Perhaps the most striking fact revealed by the global financial crash - or
rather, by the reaction to it - is the staggering, astonishing, gargantuan
amount of money that the governments of the world have at their command.
In just a matter of days, we have seen literally trillions of dollars
offered to the financial services sector by national treasuries and
central banks across the globe. Britain alone has put $1 trillion at the
disposal of the bankers, traders, lenders and speculators; and this has
been surpassed by the total package of public money that Washington is
shoveling into the financial furnaces of Wall Street and the banks. These
radical efforts are being replicated on a slightly smaller scale in
France, Germany, Italy, Russia and many other countries.

The effectiveness of this unprecedented transfer of wealth from ordinary
citizens to the top tiers of the business world remains to be seen. It
will certainly insulate the very rich from the consequences of their own
greed and folly and fraud; but it is not at all clear how much these
measures will shield the vast majority of people from the catastrophe that
has been visited upon them by the elite.

But putting aside for a moment the actual intent, details and results of
the global bailout offers, it is their very extent that shocks, and shows
- in a stark, harsh, all-revealing light - the brutal disdain with which
the national governments of the world's "leading democracies" have treated
their own citizens for decades.

Beginning with Margaret Thatcher's election in 1979, government after
government - and party after party - fell to the onslaught of an extremist
faith: the narrow, blinkered fundamentalism of the "Chicago School."
Epitomized by its patron saint, Milton Friedman, the rigid doctrine held
that an unregulated market would always "correct" itself, because its
workings are based on entirely rational and quantifiable principles. (See
John Cassidy in the NY Review of Books for more.) This was of course an
absurdly reductive and savagely ignorant view of history, money and human
nature; but because it flattered the rich and powerful, offering an
"intellectual" justification for rapacious greed and ever-widening
economic and social inequality, it was adopted as holy writ by the elite
and promulgated as public policy.

This radical cult - a kind of Bolshevism from above - took its strongest
hold in the United States and Britain, and was then imposed on many weaker
nations through the IMF-led "Washington Consensus" (more aptly named by
Naomi Klein as the "Shock Doctrine"), with devastating and deadly results.
(As in Yeltsin's Russia, for example, where life expectancy dropped
precipitously and millions of people died premature deaths from poverty,
illness, and despair.)

According to the cult, not only were markets to be freed from the
constraints placed on them after the world-shattering effects of the Great
Depression, but all public spending was to be slashed ruthlessly to the
bone. (Although exceptions were always made for the Pentagon war machine.)
After all, every dollar spent by a public entity on public services and
amenities was a dollar taken away from the private wheeler-dealers who
could more usefully employ it in increasing the wealth of the elite - who
would then allow some of their vast profits to "trickle down" to the lower
orders.

This was the cult that captured the governments of the United States and
Britain (among others), as well as the Republican and Democratic parties,
and the Conservative and Labour parties as well. And for almost thirty
years, its ruthless doctrines have been put into practice. Regulation and
oversight of financial markets were systematically stripped away or
rendered toothless. Essential public services were sold off, for chump
change, to corporate interests. Public spending on anything other than
making war, threatening war and profiting from war was pared back or
eliminated. Such public spending that did remain was forever under threat
and derided, like the remnants of some pagan faith surviving in isolated
backwaters.

Year after year, the ordinary citizens were told by their governments: we
have no money to spend on your needs, on your communities, on your
infrastructure, on your health, on your children, on your environment, on
your quality of life. We can't do those kinds of things any more.

Of course, when talking amongst themselves, or with the believers in the
think tanks, boardrooms - and editorial offices - the cultists would
speak more plainly: we don't do those things anymore because we shouldn't
do them, we don't want to do them, they are wrong, they are evil, they are
outside the faith. But for the hoi polloi, the line was usually something
like this: Budgets are tight, we must balance them (for a "balanced
budget" is a core doctrine of the cult), we just can't afford all these
luxuries.

But now, as the emptiness and falsity of the Chicago cargo cult stands
nakedly revealed, even to some of its most faithful and fanatical
adherents, we can see that this 30-year mantra by our governments has been
a deliberate and outright lie. The money was there - billions and
billions and billions of dollars of it, trillions of dollars of it. We can
see it before our very eyes today - being whisked away from our public
treasuries and showered upon the banks and the brokerages.

Let's say it again: The money was there all along.

Money to build and generously equip thousands and thousands of new
schools, with well-paid, exquisitely trained teachers, small teacher-pupil
ratios, a full range of enriching and inspiring programs.

Money to revitalize the nation's crumbling inner cities, making them safe
and vibrant places for businesses and families and communities to grow.

Money to provide decent, affordable and accessible health care to every
citizen, to provide dignity and comfort to the elderly, and protection and
humane treatment for the mentally ill.

Money to provide affordable higher education to everyone who wanted it and
could qualify for it. Money to help establish and sustain local businesses
and family farms, centered in and on the local community, driven by the
needs and knowledge of the people in the area, and not by the dictates of
distant corporations.

Money to strengthen crumbling infrastructure, to repair bridges, shore up
levies, maintain roads and electric grids and sewage systems.

Money for affordable, workable public transport systems, for the pursuit
of alternative sources of energy, for sustainable, sensible development,
for environmental restoration.

Money to support free inquiry in science, technology, health and other
areas - research unfettered from the war machine and the drive for
corporate profit, and instead devoted to the betterment of human life.

Money to support culture, learning, continuing education, libraries,
theater, music and the endless manifestations of the human quest to gain
more meaning, more understanding, more enlightenment, a deeper,
spiritually richer life.

The money for all of this - and much, much more - was there, all along.
When they said we couldn't have these things, they were lying - or else
allowing themselves to be profitably duped by the high priests of the
market cult. When they wanted a trillion dollars - or three trillion
dollars - to wage a war of aggression in Iraq, they found it. Now, when
they want trillions of dollars to save the speculators, fraudsters and
profiteers of greed in the global market, they suddenly have it.

Who then can believe that these governments could not have found the money
for good schools, health care, and all the rest, that they could not have
enhanced the well-being and livelihood of millions of ordinary citizens,
and helped create a more just and equitable and stable world - if they
had wanted to?

This is one of the main facts that ordinary citizens around the world
should take away from this crisis: the money to maintain, secure and
improve the lives of their families and communities was always there -
but their governments, and their political parties, made a deliberate,
unforced choice not to use it for the common good. Instead, they
subjugated the well-being of the world to the dictates of an extremist
cult. A cult of greed and privilege, that preached iron discipline to the
poor and the middle-class, but released the rich and powerful from all
restrictions, and all responsibility for their actions.

This should be a constant - and galvanizing - thought in the minds of
the public in the months and years to come. Remember what you could have
had, and how it was denied you by the lies and delusions of a powerful
elite and their bought-off factotums in government. Remember the trillions
of dollars that suddenly appeared when the wheeler-dealers needed money to
cover their own greed and stupidity.

Let these thoughts guide you as you weigh the promises and actions of
politicians and candidates, and as you assess the "expert analysis" on
economic and domestic policy offered by the corporate media and the
corporate-bankrolled think tanks and academics.

And above all, let these thoughts be foremost in your mind when you hear
- as you certainly will hear, when (and if) the markets are finally
stabilized (at whatever gigantic cost in human suffering) - the adherents
of the market cult emerge once more and call for "deregulation" and
"untying the hands of business" and all the other ritual incantations of
their false and savage fundamentalist faith.

For although the market cult has suffered a cataclysmic defeat in the last
few weeks, it is by no means dead. It has 30 years of entrenchment in
power to fall back on. And the leader of every major political party in
the West has spent their entire political career within the cult's
confines. It has been the atmosphere they breathed, it has been the sole
ladder by which they have climbed to prominence. They will be loath to
abandon it, once the immediate crisis is past; most will not be able to.

So remember well the lessons of this new October crash: The money to make
a better life, to serve the common good, has always been there. But it has
been kept from you by deceit, by dogma, by greed, and by the ambition of
those who have sold their souls, and betrayed their brothers and sisters,
their fellow human creatures, for the sake of privilege and power.

Chris Floyd is an American journalist and frequent contributor to
CounterPunch. His blog, "Empire Burlesque," can be found at
www.chris-floyd.com.


--------12 of 14--------

This Just In
Greed is Not Good
By DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
CounterPunch
October 13, 2008

So, um, prolly you've heard by now that we're having this little problem
with the economy, eh?

Yeah, as a matter of fact, it's starting to look like more than just a
little problem.  It's starting to look like 1932 again.  And, who knows
beyond that?  What is there to say that 1932 is the baseline?  Just
because the Great Depression is the worst scenario we've yet to
experience, that sure doesn't mean that it is the worst we could
experience.  With astonishing amounts of governmental and personal debt
sloshing around the world in a hugely globalized economy, who's to say
that we aren't now headed for the Even Greater Depression?

Oh, and, let's also not forget that even that isn't necessarily the end of
it.  Last time the global economy imploded this bad, it got one helluva
lot worse before it got better.  The only thing that could ever have made
the 1930s look good was the 1940s.  There's no reason to necessarily
believe that that part can't happen again as well.  If we're stupid enough
to repeat the mistakes of the Gilded Age, surely belligerent, nationalist,
chauvinist Americans (and Chinese, and Frenchmen, and Russians) are also
stupid enough to launch another world war or two in order to chase down
scarce resources like oil or gold.  Or food.  Or water.

Leaving aside for the moment any threats of world war, the only good news
I see in our current economic crisis is that at least we're eighty years
down the road from when Franklin Roosevelt broke the psychological barrier
previously preventing brainwashed Americans from owning a government that
actually helped them, as opposed to allowing themselves to be owned by a
government of oligarchs who were helping themselves.  This time, if people
are hungry because there's no money, and cold because heating oil costs so
much, and weathered because they've been tossed out of their homes, and
frightened because they've got no job and no healthcare coverage - if we
arrive at that state, watch what's left of the psychological barriers
crumble like George Bush's job approval ratings or John McCain's lofty
principles about running a high-minded campaign.  Watch desperate
Americans embrace socialism as if they were the lost children of Chairman
Mao waking up from a long nightmare of capitalist errancy.

What we're witnessing now is the complete and utter repudiation of
Reaganism-Bushism, of course, but it runs even deeper than that.  Not just
the hyper-kleptocratic version of the American economic system is being
left in shreds, but even its more moderate baseline version - the
Eisenhower model of nice, gray-suited capitalism - is now also on the
chopping block.  Even that form of capitalism - quaintly tame by today's
standards of astonishing rapaciousness - was never sustainable, and part
of what we've been seeing this last decade is all the ruses by which we
had greedily squeezed out more than our fair share of the pie now angrily
biting back.  The wars, the environmental rape, the exploitation of nice
little brown people all around the world (and, after all, isn't that why
Jesus made them?), the borrowing against our children's future, the tax
avoidance free-riding, the credit card economy, the exporting of jobs to
explode profits, the gluttony of 300 pound Americans and their SUVs and
the giant screens on which they watch "reality TV" (a nice euphemism for
humiliating degradation) - these are all screaming out to us
simultaneously today, in an excruciating cacophonous harmony from Hell,
that THIS MUST END NOW.

And, boy, did we ever have it coming.  I just want to go on record and say
to any historians from the 26th century who might be reading this:  "Yes,
it does say 'American' on my birth certificate, but I want you to know I
wasn't  part of this!  I did my best and kept shouting out about our
national stupidities.  And I always voted for the Green Party!"w

Yeah, it's true, I'm afraid.  We're going down in history as the stupidist
and the shortest-lived of empires (even the Belgians did better than this,
plus, they make great beer).  And well we should be so considered, too.
Do they have Darwin Awards for countries, like they do for individuals,
who find uniquely imbecilic (though highly entertaining) ways to remove
their DNA from the collective gene pool (you know, like getting really
stoned and then playing your electric guitar in the swimming pool)?  They
should!  And who could possibly trump America, we who gluttonously slurp
up oil in order to live like global pigs, sending the proceeds to fund
terrorists with ideologies from the 13th century and weapons from the 21st
to attack us?  We who chant "Drill, baby, drill!" when the giant
planet-wrecking asteroid of global warming is headed right for us.  (Even
the real dinosaurs come off looking better than our human imitations of
them, since they at least had the excuse of actually having pea-sized
brains to explain why they behaved as though they had pea-sized brains.)
We whose government's insatiable spending sprees on high priority items,
like wars that diminish our national security and corporate welfare for
oil companies or giant agri-corporations, we fund by allowing China, our
rising rival for global power, to own our debt, and therefore to own us.

And what's that old line about the first time being tragedy and the second
folly?  The most astonishing thing about the economic nightmare we're now
entering is how little we learned from having already gone through this
before.  We're not even talking about ancient or foreign history here,
people.  You don't have to force Americans to go watch some History
Channel documentary on Charlemagne to figure this one out.  It wasn't that
long ago that we went through exactly the same process, ourselves, right
here in gool ol' 'Muricah.  Christ, there are people still alive today who
experienced it first hand.  You'd think, having found out in the 1930s
precisely what happens when you let monstrously greedy people who have
their hands on the levers of the global economy go on unregulated
bacchanals of decadent self-aggrandizement, that we'd want to avoid that
sort of thing in the future, eh?  Perhaps we'd even vow "Never again",
just like we did after the Holocaust.  (But then, given the mass murderous
Soviet and Chinese purges which came after Auschwitz and Treblinka, along
with the genocides of Cambodia, Rwanda and now Darfur (not to mention
Vietnam or Iraq), maybe that wouldn't be such a great promise to make...)

And even if the American people couldn't make the connection between
present circumstances and past analogues, am I the only knucklehead who
finds the whole deregulation mania something of an odd idea just at a
conceptual level?  How is it that the same people who always jump up and
down in passionate support of tough crime laws, loads of jails and busy
state killing machines, don't seem to apply the same logic to nice,
white-collar crimes?  I mean, if you need a law to deter people from
committing murder, why don't you need regulations to prevent them from
committing greed?  And, wouldn't it make a lot of sense to have these
laws, especially in places where the capacity exists for such tremendous
harm to be done?  A murder takes a life and wrecks a couple of families.
That's horrible, and should be prevented wherever possible, and punished
where not.  But would it be too much to ask that we also have laws and
punishments and regulations to help prevent white-collar crimes that can
wreck an entire global economic system, bringing wholesale grief to
hundreds of millions of people, and no doubt producing boatloads of deaths
in their wake, all in the name of satiating the greed of already
fantastically wealthy people?  Indeed, we have the first of these victims
on the scoreboard already.  This week a Los Angeles man who lost all his
money in the stock market shot his wife, three sons and his mother-in-law
before then killing himself.  Get ready for more of the same, and most of
them won't be suicides, I can tell you.  They'll be homicides.  Murder by
greed.

And even if America's so-called justice system can't bring itself to
punish Wall Street thieves for serial homicide in this case, would it be
too much to ask for a little government regulation to prevent a handful of
kleptocrats from crashing an entire global economic order and spreading
death, destruction and misery across the planet, just so that they could
milk the last remaining pennies from the golden goose, its bloodied
carcass lying twisted and prostrate across the trading room floor, nothing
but lead spilling out of its slashed belly?  Ah, but that would not be
capitalism, eh, Mr. Graham?  That would be fettering innovation, right,
Mr. Greenspan?  That would limit Holy Growth, no, Mr. McCain?  And we
can't have that.

I don't really understand the perverse psychology of people like these
Wall Street masters of the universe, whose desire for additional wealth
seems incapable of being satiated.  Personally, I don't think I'd know
what to do even with the mere pittance of a million bucks, so it's really
hard for me to figure it out when I see them feeling so hyper-compelled in
pursuit of throwing tens of millions more on top of their existing piles
of hundreds of millions.  I mean, you can only sail on one yacht at a
time, right?  You can only live in one mansion at a time, right?  You can
only sleep with one gorgeous call girl at a time, right?  Oh, um, okay -
well, never mind that last part.  But you catch my drift here, no?

In truth, when I look around this fine country that calls itself my home,
I have to conclude that it's actually me who is the anomaly.  I'm not sure
what genetic quirk or what massive failure of the educational machine
produced a freak like me, but - apart from not wanting to go into debt,
and from owning a handful of very modest toys like a computer or guitar -
I really don't give a shit about money.  Go figure, eh?  You know, my car,
bought used, is ten years old.  I think.  I don't really remember for sure
what model year it is, though I'm pretty sure I could tell you how many
cylinders it has if I stopped to ponder the question long enough.  This
strange absence of an unending greed for Money! and Things! seems to leave
me way out in the bizarro fringe outcast category within what passes for a
culture for those 300 million inhabitants in the middle of the North
American continent.  Just 'cause I don't constantly seek cash, or measure
myself by the size of my wallet, I'm like six standard deviations from the
norm in the disaster affectionately known as America.

And just how disastrous is our national disaster?  Leave it to Sarah "The
Embarrassment" Palin to answer best.  She illustrated the other night in
her "debate" with Joe Biden how deep the country has sunk these last
decades into the miasma of a culture of petty selfishness, and an ethos of
pathetic greed.  She reminded us that in Middle America, where she and
"Todd" (hey, you scary monster, I am not on a first-name basis with your
First Dude husband, and I don't ever want to be) purport to live, paying
taxes is not patriotic.  Biden's response should have been to ask whether
all the Americans who've paid all the billions in tax increases in every
war America has ever fought prior to this one were unpatriotic, or just
suckers.  He should have asked who she expected would pay for the body
armor to protect her son in Iraq (as if they're gonna let that kid
anywhere near any real danger), for our roads, our schools, our post
offices, our Army and Navy, our Social Security benefits or our police
officers.  For that matter, he might also have asked who would pay for Air
Force One, who would pay for the tens of millions of public campaign funds
now being spent by the McCain-Palin campaign, or who would pay for the
army of bank regulators we'll need to clean up the economic mess her
ideological soul-mates have left us.

Still, I can't help thinking that millions of Americans sat at home
watching this, enthusiastically nodding their head in support of her
lunacy.  Let's face it, after a generation or two of Reaganism-Bushism
permeating the culture, no politician can even talk about raising taxes in
America anymore without risking career suicide.  It has become the new
third rail of American politics.  And that says so much about us.
Because, not only do we want all the benefits of government, but polling
data clearly shows that we actually even want the government to do a lot
more than it is already doing.  And yet, at the same time, selfish,
narcissistic Americans have been well trained now by pandering right-wing
politicians to expect it all for free.  Cutting taxes without
simultaneously cutting expenditures (let alone while massively increasing
expenditures) is one of the single most recklessly irresponsible acts a
government can undertake.  Since the only solution to the deficits that
must ensue from this simple math is to borrow the difference, the polity
in question is simply taking its desire to live large and handing it off
in the form of a problem for someone else to deal with, on top of their
own problems.  Plus interest on the loans, of course.  And who is that
someone?  Faraway foreigners?  Some despised underclass? The millions
we've incarcerated as criminals, perhaps?  Not at all.  The crime runs
even deeper than that.  It's our own children who are getting the bill.

Which is precisely what we've been doing.  I saw Californian voters, when
I lived there, launch the modern taxpayer revolt movement by passing the
infamous Proposition 13, which took a meat-cleaver to property taxes in
the state.  Never mind that the effect would be the same on California's
schools, which are largely funded by property taxes.  They went from being
the best in the country to nowadays hanging around with Mississippi, down
at the bottom of the list.  But who fucking cares, anyhow?  People got
their bloody tax cuts, and they got to buy that nice, shiny new car they
wanted with the money.  So what about the kids?

And so it has gone these last decades, tax cut after tax cut in America,
which really means tax transfer after tax transfer.  And now we have a ten
trillion dollar debt we are passing along.  So that means that the next
generation will have to pay enough in taxes to run the government then,
plus the share that the current generation didn't really feel like paying
to run the government today, plus interest on that borrowed amount.  What
does that mean, up close and personal?  If, right this very moment, we
somehow stopped adding to that pile more debt and more interest every day,
and just handed out the bill for what is currently owed, it would average
out to $67,000 for each and every taxpayer.

I know what you're thinking.  That sucks, eh?  Well, at least the good
news is what you got for it.  For instance, a really expensive war in Iraq
that diminished American national security.  And the chance for really,
really rich people to become really, really, really rich people through
humongous tax breaks.  How about a GOP pork-barrel spending spree -
including the Bridge to Nowhere - of unprecedented size in American
history?  Huge oil and agricultural company subsidies?  A giant
prescription drug bill which provided corporate socialism for drug and
insurance companies?  A chance for George W. Bush to frolic in the White
House for eight years?  I'm sure every American, working some job they're
not particularly fond of, won't really mind the extra hours they have to
work to pay for all this.  Especially since, if you make, say, 15 bucks
per hour, that would only translate to 4,467 hours you'd be working to
finance your share of this past years' pig-out.  Based on a forty-hour
work week, that's roughly two-and-a-quarter years worth of your life. When
you look at it that way, it doesn't seem so bad, does it?  And, again,
that's just if we stop deficit spending now, and stop accruing interest
now.  In fact, we're actually deficit spending about another $400 billion
per year, every year, which just gets added to the pile (and lots more, as
well, if John McCain is able to slash taxes on the wealthy even further).
Moreover - maybe it's just my pessimism kicking in here, but - I don't
think the Chinese or our other creditors are going to be much inclined to
waive the interest accruals due to them for financing our decadent little
party.  So, in fact, the above accounting of our national and personal
liabilities are actually rather, ahem, conservative.  In every way
imaginable.

But, of course, America's problem is way deeper than one kleptocratic
president or even a generational binge coupled with a three decade long
vacation from responsibility, not to mention rationality.  We have
established a pervasive culture of greed, and that's one angry chicken
that has now come home to roost.  What's worse, we've lost the capacity as
a society to even imagine an alternative ethos to guide us, though the
looming economic tsunami may be just the thing - and likely the only thing
- big enough to get us thinking once again.

This massive poverty of imagination is what is killing us now, undermining
us at the most fundamental levels of societal identity.  To grasp the
magnitude of our problem, consider how we socialize our citizens and how
our culture sets the priority structure of their values and aspirations.
Sure, some Americans think it is noble and wonderful to pursue careers
which serve the public interest, but most are taught, and simply accept,
that one should aspire to making boatloads of money, and that the measure
of one's achievement is the size of their bank account and the number of
toys parked in the driveways of their McMansions.  I am constantly
astonished by the quantity of Americans whose expressed goal in life is
simply to make lots of money, which I find especially bizarre since they
don't seem to have any particular use in mind for all this cash.  What
this phenomenon has long suggested to me is a country full of sheep so
unoriginal in their thinking that they can't even figure out what to
aspire to on their own, and a society so bankrupt in its morality that it
feeds them the goal of wanton greed to fill that yawning void.

All that's bad enough, but, besides the current economic meltdown and a
society populated by moral midgets, there are also other repercussions to
this ethical failure and this poverty of imagination.  Chief among these
is the false choice we are always presented between governance in the
public interest, on the one hand, and prosperity, on the other.  This
bogus diversionary tactic forms the central argument of the economic
predators who've been bleeding the country of its wealth (and, in fact,
prosperity), as to why we can't have regulation.  You know, all that
Washington red tape (you can't profit off of pollution, you can't exploit
children as factory workers, you have to pay a minimum wage - horrible
restrictions like that) will keep innovators from innovating and
entrepreneurs from, uh, entrepreneuriating.

And, you know what?  They're actually more or less right.  They're right
if, that is, you accept as a predicate would-be innovators and would-be
entrepreneurs who are only motivated by an ethos of personal greed, which
has been duly pounded into them through the socialization processes of a
society that lost its mind and its moral bearing decades ago.  Sure, okay.
Under those conditions it's probably true that most people will only work
for themselves, and will only be motivated by self-interest.  But what if
we taught these people something different, right from the get-go when
they were toddlers, and reinforced those different values throughout their
adult lives?  What if we taught the members of this society to value the
community's welfare as much as their own?  What if we taught them that
massive personal wealth was not only not the highest achievement to aspire
to, but actually a sort of crass and tacky goal, only to be found amongst
the most juvenile and selfish in the society?  What if we strongly
imprinted the idea among our people that improving the welfare of the
country (or, gulp, the world) is an important life aspiration, and that
those who do so are considered among our most admired countrymen, rather
than those who have acquired the money to purchase bitchin' toys and
trophy wives?  Is it not possible that our citizens would innovate, and
that they would be every bit as motivated as they are today by greed?
Maybe even more so?

And, therefore, could we not transcend this false choice of good
governance versus prosperity?  (Not to mention the fact that whatever
prosperity we've experienced of late is not going to the society, anyhow.
In the last three decades, while GDP has grown at a handsome clip, the
middle class - and, of course, we've long ago now abandoned even talking
about those below middle class status, let alone fighting a war on poverty
- has not even stood its ground, but rather has actually lost overall
purchasing power.  That, of course, leaves only one mathematical
explanation for what has happened.  You guessed it.  All that growth in
national wealth has gone to the already richest Americans.)

You know, I'm not a subscriber to the prescriptions of communism for
constructing the best system of political economy, much as that might come
as a shock to any conservative reader of this piece.  And I think it's
fair to say that the world's experiments in communism to date - to the
extent they weren't actually just experiments in totalitarian
brownshirtism - failed in large part because they possessed just the
opposite flaw as that described above.  They attempted to build economic
systems on the equally false notion that selfishness can be completely
erased from human psychology as a motivating force.  It can't.  And any
system dependant on that proposition for its success will have none.
But, by the same token, a system that is built on the premise that people
are only motivated by selfish greed, and therefore can only produce
prosperity by letting every actor pursue their own self-interest,
unfettered by any societal concerns, is an equally disastrous notion.

And such a society is equally bound for the ash heap of history, just as
was the Soviet Union or Maoist China.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that's just exactly what the cosmos is screaming
in our ears, at about 150 decibels worth of volume, right at the moment.
The only question is whether we are so deaf we can no longer hear the
warning call, even when it's broadcast over a galactic PA system.

But just in case, here it is.  Newsflash for America!  This just in!
Sorry to burst your little bubble, people, but it turns out, after all,
that...

Greed is not good.

David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra
University in New York.  He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to
his articles (dmg [at] regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time
constraints do not always allow him to respond.  More of his work can be
found at his website, www.regressiveantidote.net.


--------13 of 14--------

You Can Cry for Us, Argentina
by Mark Drolette
October 11th, 2008
Dissident Voice

Having (regrettably) spent much of my life in jingoistic ignorance, I
never imagined I'd one day set foot in Argentina. Then again, I never
imagined I'd witness an American administration whose death-dealing
militarism and breathtaking corruption would dwarf those perpetrated by
even the worst Latin American dictatorship, so there you are.

And, well, here I am, visiting the grand city of Buenos Aires, and just in
time, too, to catch on Argentine TV the long, sad faces of investment
banker after investment banker insisting a $700 billion giveaway to
America's richest was what must be done, had to be done, to save the U.S.
economy. And here I also am just in time to see Congress members
predictably scream there'd be a bailout over their dead bodies (hmm.)
before they just as predictably rubber stamped that puppy.

Speaking of dogs, they love them here in Buenos Aires, a huge plus from
where I stand although I do have to be careful where I step since the
city's residents aren't keen on picking up their beloved pets' end
products which, for some reason, reminds me all over again of the bailout,
a ghastly amount of steaming hot Fed fiat money steam shoveled to, and
benefiting only, the avaricious jackals who gleefully stacked the deck of
America's house-of-cards economy as high as possible before even the
lackiest of lackeys could no longer deny the flimsiness of the
laughably-named "free market".

They're utterly shameless, these animals, still lecturing us on the
marvelous benefits of unregulated capitalism 'cause, you know, it's so
good for us. Here's World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy (per
Reuters): "The current hurricane that has hit the financial markets must
not distract the international community from pursuing greater economic
integration and openness".

Why mustn't it? Well, because, as he so thankfully informs us, "[i]n a
financial crisis and at a time of economic distress, in particular at a
time of soaring food prices, what impoverished consumers desperately need
is to see their purchasing power enhanced and not reduced".

Touching, eh? His true concern lies with impoverished consumers.

And if you believe that, I've got some lovely mortgage-backed securities
I'd like to show you.

At least history buffs are in luck these dismal days, since we've just
witnessed the most balls-out, audacious looting of a society's resources
ever. In broad daylight, too, with hideous, rammed-through, in-the-bag
legislation passed by a Congress so contemptuous of their in-name-only
constituents that there they were, splashed all over the front page of the
Buenos Aires Herald, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and a knot of others from
their bipartisan den of thieves, laughing and grinning so wildly after
having passed this monumental pile of dog shit (it's one of today's
themes) that it looked like they'd all just taken a huge hit of nitrous
oxide.

Well, we've all just taken something huge, too, but none of us are
laughing and it really hurts to sit down.

I find it interesting being in Argentina during our collective buggering
since Argentines know a thing or several billion about battered asse(t)s.
Their country suffered a total economic meltdown at the beginning of this
decade that kicked their formerly relatively well-off large middle class
flush in its breadwinning breadbasket. However, a silver lining emerged:
The crisis led to the country defaulting on, and then getting out from
under, its crushing debt "owed" to both the (D.C.-based) World Bank and
International Monetary Fund, a couple of truly fine organizations for
those who think neo-feudalism has a lot going for it.

In 2006, Argentina paid off all loans to the predatory entities. A
sizeable part of the assistance came from Hugo Chavez, who bought
Argentina bonds. (Just a hunch, but something tells me that's not going to
happen in our case.)

Though the catalysts are different, we're in for the same ride. Don't even
think it'll end with the $700 billion. Free market leeches don't stop.
They won't stop. They can't stop. It's in their (cold) blood; they are
addicts, they got a (Dow) jones goin' on. And like addicts, they will
steal every dollar they can to feed their habits, and then come back for
more.

And also like addicts, they (gasp) lie, too! Here's Fannie Mae's former
CEO, Daniel Mudd (per Charles Duhigg of the International Herald Tribune):

"Almost no one expected what was coming. It's not fair to blame us for not
predicting the unthinkable".

And no one thought planes might be flown into buildings, either. Jesus! Is
this guy kidding? Anyone smarter than broccoli knew the bloodbath was
imminent. Admittedly, this would leave out brilliant sorts like, say,
George W. Bush, but he's never really been in charge anyway (just ask Dick
Cheney, if you can find him), so he doesn't count.

Who does count (our looted dough) are the vultures that have ripped us off
blind for years via their puppet boy president with dandy little
revenue-generating items like two senseless wars, insane tax cuts, the
Medicare/Big Pharma drug ripoff, no-bid contracts.

But that's kid stuff compared to this grand gambit, a deliberately
manufactured crisis that starts the kill for keeps. The scheme to starve
the government beast to feed the fascist monster stands naked now in all
its power-grabbing, future-stealing glory. Say goodbye to Social Security.
Say goodbye to Medicare. Say goodbye to infrastructure repair. Say goodbye
to public education, whatever shreds of it remain. With their incessant
mantra about the wonders of privatization, the moneychangers have done
their unlevel best for years now to condition the populace for the biggest
wealth-transferring heist of all-time, and every ilk to follow.

I will say that except for a few broccoli-brained Americans (my apologies
for twice now disparaging a fine vegetable), it does seem most of our
fellow citizens are hip to, and mightily pissed about, the reaming just
administered. But - no matter. Too bad. Tough luck. Oh well. The parasites
in charge couldn't care less about our pathetic moral victory. With secret
scorn, they lecture us with the best damn fake concern you'll ever see
that if we don't assume the no-time-for-lubrication position right this
instant and take what's good for us, the "system will fail".

Well, guess what? It's failing now. Since March alone, we've been
strong-armed for over a trillion bucks of funny money (the $700 billion
theft, $85 billion to AIG, $200 billion to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and
$29 billion worth of "help" to J. P. Morgan & Co. to buy Bear Stearns) and
its only effect and that of other certain larceny to come (other than
further enriching produce-nothing vipers) will be to delay the inevitable,
thus ensuring our pain cuts even deeper. More banks will fail, more
savings will be stolen, more companies will go bust, more pensions will
disappear, and unemployment, inflation and homelessness will skyrocket.

The only questions are: How profusely will we bleed, and how long will the
hemorrhaging last?

Does Argentina's experience offer guidance? Since its 2002 default, its
annual growth rate has averaged over eight percent, and a visitor to the
center of bustling Buenos Aires would see few hints of the nation's recent
horrors. Nonetheless, most Argentines would tell you their country is not
the same, having taken a gigantic hit from which it may never fully
recover. On the positive side, as a whole, South America's collective
social services-suffocating IMF debt, per YES! magazine, has nosedived
from $42.9 billion in 2004 to $108 million in 2007.

Can any of this help us better survive our own country's current
palm-greased slide into hell, or assist in predicting what may rise from
the ashes? Who knows? What is known, however, is that the reversal of
fortunes hasn't gone unnoticed.

Meeting with Argentina President Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner the other
day here in Buenos Aires, Chile President Michelle Bachelet, per the
Buenos Aires Herald, noted:

"I find it ironic that countries that used to tell us what to do (on the
economic front) should now be facing a crisis (of such proportions).
Anyway, our countries (Latin America) are strong enough to (stand up for
themselves) and fight the crisis off".

Bully for you, seoras presidentes, and a hard-earned touch of touch, too.
With our current meltdown fomented by the same species of wealth-sucking
vampires who happily bled most of your continent to within an inch of its
life, the U.S.A.'s payback bitch has, indeed, arrived. (I knew I could
squeeze in another dog reference.)

Just one question, por favor: Might either of you have a hankie handy?

Mark Drolette is a writer who lives in Costa Rica. He can be reached at:
markdrolette [at] gmail.com. Read other articles by Mark, or visit Mark's
website.

This article was posted on Saturday, October 11th, 2008 at 7:00am and is
filed under Argentina, Corporate Globalization, Economy/Economics, Humor.


--------14 of 14--------

 The French Kiss is all about sense and sexuality.
 The American Kiss is all about cents and insensibility.

 America - the
 land where we kiss rich men's butts!
 Smack! smack! smack! ker-smack!

 America won
 the Olympic GOLD medal
 in kissed rich mens' butts!

 Kiss rich men's butts - it's
 all we Americans do -
 and we do it well.

 All America's
 top leaders went to Buttkiss
 University.

 The Buttkiss U cheer:
 Butt! Kiss! Butt! Kiss! Butt! Kiss! Butt!
 Kiss! Butt! Kiss! Butt! Kiss!...


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