|Progressive Calendar 11.24.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 15:26:47 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 11.24.08 1. Peace walk 11.24 6pm RiverFalls WI 2. 3CTC env forum 11.24 7pm 3. Amnesty Intl 11.24 7pm 4. 3CD Green Party 11.24 7pm 5. RamseyCoWebSite 11.24 7pm 6. WAMM shopping 11.25 5pm 7. Rovics concert 11.25 5pm 8. Salon party 11.25 6:30pm 9. MILK!/LGBTfilm 11.26 10. Ralph Nader - Changing with retreads: the third Clinton administration 11. Ramii Kysuia - An administration in search of a progressive 12. Missy Beattie - Oh, for the lesser of two goods... Why vote, anyway? 13. Doug Page - The undiagnosed "cancer" that has killed capitalism 14. James Petras - West "progressives" cry for victims, condemn fighters 15. ed - Continuity (poem) --------1 of 15-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 11.24 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 --------2 of 15-------- From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at] visi.com> Subject: 3CTC env forum 11.24 7pm WHY WE NEED TO STOP THE CAP-X 2020 HIGH-VOLTAGE TRANSMISSION LINE There will be two speakers at this program, which will focus on why we need to stop the CAP-X 2020 High-Voltage Transmission Line that is proposed to run across Minnesota, bringing more dirty, coal-fired power into the state. Paula Maccabee is an environmentalist and attorney for the Citizens Energy Task Force (CETF), the group that is leading opposition to the CAP-X 2020 Power Line and will present CETF's position. Adam Ritscher is a grassroots activist with Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL). He has served as past District 6 Representative on the Douglas County Board of Supervisors in Superior, WI and is a member of United Steelworkers Local 9460. He will be speaking on SOUL's past struggle to stop the power line that is being run through Wisconsin from Canada to Chicago. There will also be a discussion about the need for locally-generated clean, renewable energy as the sensible alternative. The forum will take place on Monday, November 24th at 7:00 PM at Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Avenue South, West Bank, Minneapolis. It is free and open to the public. The sponsor is the Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities (3CTC). The Clean-Energy Vigil to Cool Down the Planet will take place at 5:00 PM out on the Plaza, followed by the 3CTC Business Meeting at 6:00 PM. All are welcome. For more information, EMAIL: christinefrank [at] visi.com or PHONE: 612-879-8937. --------3 of 15-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 11.24 7pm Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, November 24th, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street, Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at 612/378-1166 or johns779 [at] tc.umn.edu. --------4 of 15-------- From: "Allan Hancock" <3rdcdgreenparty [at] gmail.com> Subject: 3CD Green Party 11.24 7pm 3rd Congressional District Green Party Local Meeting, Monday, November 24 at 7PM. Rm 172 at Ridgedale Library All 3rd Congressional District Green Party members and anyone interested in learning about the Green Party values are invited to a meeting at the Ridgedale Library Rm 172 Agenda: To talk about election results and plans for Green Party advocacy for the coming legislative session in January. Allan Hancock, Chair 3rd Congressional District, Green Party Minnesota --------5 of 15-------- From: Tim Erickson <tim [at] politalk.org> Subject: Ramsey Co web site 11.24 7pm I encourage folks to attend this presentation. This is the second workshop in a series of 4 workshops designed to help folks better understand the diversity of government information and services that are available on the web. Last week, we had a personal tour of the city website by the city webmasters. We were able to ask questions about the city website and offer feedback. It was a very interesting presentation. I was a bit surprised about the ability for citizens to watch city council meetings live via the internet, or watch archived editions of recent meetings. See: http://www.stpaul.gov/index.asp?NID=2128 Does anyone use this service? If so, has it been helpful? This coming Monday, we have scheduled a tour of the county website. While county government is less understood than city government, Ramsey county is responsible for a much larger budget and delivers many of the key services that we all count on. This coming workshop will be a great opportunity to learn more about what the county does and how to access online information about those services. WORKSHOP: Tour the Ramsey county website Monday, November 24th, 7:00-8:30 PM Rondo Community Outreach Library in the Electronic Classroom University & Dale (Free Indoor Parking) FREE Questions: Call Tim 651-246-5045 --------6 of 15-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: WAMM shopping 11.25 5pm WAMM Benefit FAIR TRADE Shopping Night: Ten Thousand Villages Tuesday, Nov. 25, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., 867 Grand Ave., St. Paul. Benefit WAMM by shopping at Ten Thousand Villages in St. Paul. Make an evening of it and visit one of the many restaurants located nearby. Ten Thousand Villages is a fair-trade retailer of artisan-crafted home decor, personal accessories, chidlren's items and gift items from across the globe. As one of the world's oldest and largest fair-trade organizations, Ten Thousand Villages has spent more than 60 years cultivating trading relationships in which artisans receive a fair price for their work and consumers have access to distinctive handcrafted items. 20% of the evening's sales will be donated to WAMM. WAMM members will table outside the door to provide more information on the organization for those interested Sponsored by: Ten Thousand Villages and WAMM.. FFI: <http://stpaul.tenthousandvillages.com>. Parking: On-street free on Grand Ave. or free in lot behind the building (if you can find a space). Also free one block north of Victoria on Summit Avenue on street . Pay parking in lot on southwest corner of Grand and Victoria (enter on Victoria). --------7 of 15-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Rovics concert/CTV 11.25 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, 11/25, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 11/26, 10am "David Rovics Live from the Bedlam" Folk singer/song writer extraordinaire. Concert recorded in July. (repeat) --------8 of 15-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Salon party 11.25 6:30pm Nov. 25 we will have our 6th year anniversary party for the salon. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------9 of 15-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: MILK!/LGBTfilm 11.26 LANDMARK CINEMAS is screening this film in various major cities across the US (LA, NYC, Seattle, SF etc) MILK starts this WED. NOV. 26 at the UPTOWN CINEMA on Hennepin @ Lagoon in uptown MINNEAPOLIS http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/11/19-7 Published on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 by the Daily News (Los Angeles) <http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_11018151> 'Milk' Relevant to Today's Politics by Greg Hernandez For anyone who's old enough to remember, the current uprising against the passage of California's Proposition 8 mirrors something that happened 30 years ago: In 1978, San Francisco County Supervisor Harvey Milk led a crusade against the state's Proposition 6, a measure that would have banned gay people from teaching in public schools. A movie about his successful fight - and subsequent murder - are the focus of the upcoming feature film "Milk," starring Sean Penn in a performance that is already generating lots of Oscar talk. The film hits theaters less than a month after California voters narrowly approved Proposition 8, which overturned the legalization of same-sex marriages in the state. Plenty of Proposition 8 opponents have been wondering aloud in recent weeks what would have happened if "Milk," out in limited release on Nov. 26 (the day before the 30th anniversary of Milk's assassination), had instead been released in the weeks leading up to the election. Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), saw "Milk" at its premiere in San Francisco a few weeks ago and said of the film's potential impact: "When audiences get to know someone who is gay or lesbian and is portrayed in a fair, accurate and inclusive way, hearts and minds are changed ... Regardless of how you feel about gay people or marriage for same-sex couples, it's wrong to treat anyone differently under the law and prevent same-sex couples from taking care of each other. "Nonviolent demonstrations seen in the film and over the past week inspire the LGBT community and can impact change." So could a pre-election day release of "Milk" have helped to stave off passage of the measure with its message? Could it have offset the influence of the steady stream of "Yes on 8" commercials that flooded the airwaves for months? Maybe. Maybe not. But Focus Features, which is distributing the Gus Van Sant-directed film, could hardly have been expected to move up its release date to try to sway voters in the fight against Proposition 8. This is show "business," remember? Co-producer Dan Jinks points out that the movie was planned and in production before the California Supreme Court overturned the state's ban on gay marriage last spring, so its release date in proximity to the vote is simply a coincidence. "The most important thing as we were talking about making this movie ... was that an audience would see it," Jinks said. "And if all that buzz helps put bodies in seats and helps create an interest beyond what will be the core audience for this movie, that's what we're hoping for, that's what our great dream is." Box office aside, it seems clear that there is still much that can be learned from "Milk" and its unmistakable parallels to today's political landscape. "The echoes have been so profound as to how much has changed from 1978 to today and how much is the same," said co-producer Bruce Cohen, who was married to Gabriel Catone in June by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "We're hoping that people will really appreciate that and understand it and that it will open everyone up to think of all the work that we have in front of us. I think politics will still be very much on people's minds when the movie comes out. Most people don't know the story and don't know anything about the politics of 1978 so it will be really exciting to see people learn this whole new era." For "Milk" screenwriter Justin Lance Black, Proposition 8's passage has turned him into an activist who last week launched "Seven Weeks to Equality." In a widely published editorial, he called for a nationwide campaign of mass protests and nonviolent civil disobedience for seven weeks - beginning Nov. 27 and culminating in a mass gathering on Jan. 20 to honor the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. "There are rare moments in human history when, suddenly and unexpectedly, the opportunity for great change and progress becomes possible," Black wrote. "Obama has shown us the power of hope and the urgency of seizing that moment. `Milk' has shown us the power we possess when we make our voices heard." Black said in an interview that he hopes people will draw inspiration from the movie just as he drew inspiration from the man as he began writing the script four years ago. "Getting to know him posthumously through all of his friends, through all of this research, was really profound, really deep," Black said. "When I first heard about Harvey Milk, I was a closeted young guy from a very conservative home in Texas, and you get a little (despondent). You think about if it's really worth it to keep going. I was really lucky that we moved to the Bay Area and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. His message was one of hope, which we're hearing echoes of today." © 2008 Los Angeles Daily News --------10 of 15-------- Changing With Retreads The Third Clinton Administration By RALPH NADER CounterPunch November 21 / 23, 2008 While the liberal intelligentsia was swooning over Barack Obama during his presidential campaign, I counseled "prepare to be disappointed". His record as a Illinois state and U.S. Senator, together with the many progressive and long overdue courses of action he opposed during his campaign, rendered such a prediction unfortunate but obvious. Now this same intelligentsia is beginning to howl over Obama's transition team and early choices to run his Administration. Having defeated Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primaries, he now is busily installing Bill Clinton's old guard. Thirty one out of forty seven people that he has named so far for transition or appointments have ties to the Clinton Administration, according to Politico. One Clintonite is quoted in the Washington Post as saying "This isn't lightly flavored with Clintons. This is all Clintons, all the time". Obama's "foreign policy team is now dominated by the Hawkish, old-guard Democrats of the 1990," writes Jeremy Scahill. Obama's transition team reviewing intelligence agencies and recommending appointments is headed by John Brennan and Jami Miscik, who worked under George Tenet when the CIA was involved in politicizing intelligence for, among other officials, Secretary of State Colin Powell's erroneous address before the United Nations calling for war against Iraq. Mr. Brennan, as a government official, supported warrantless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition to torturing countries. National Public Radio reported that Obama's reversal when he voted for the revised FISA this year relied on John Brennan's advise. For more detail on these two advisers and others recruited by Obama from the dark old days, see Democracy Now, November 17, 2008 and Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet, Nov. 20, 2008 "This is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama's White House". The top choice as White House chief of staff is Rahm Emanuel - the ultimate hard-nosed corporate Democrat, military-foreign policy hawk and Clinton White House promoter of corporate globalization, as in NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. Now, recall Obama's words during the bucolic "hope and change" campaign months: "The American people...understand the real gamble is having the same old folks doing things over and over and over again and somehow expecting a different result". Thunderous applause followed these remarks. "This is more "Groundhog Day" then a fresh start," asserted Peter Wehner, a former Bush adviser who is now at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. The signs are amassing that Barack Obama put a political con job over on the American people. He is now daily buying into the entrenched military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned Americans about in his farewell address. With Robert Rubin on his side during his first photo opportunity after the election, he signaled to Wall Street that his vote for the $750 billion bailout of those speculators and crooks was no fluke (Rubin was Clinton's financial deregulation architect in 1999 as Secretary of the Treasury before he became one of the hugely paid co-directors tanking Citigroup.) Obama's apologists say that his picks show he wants to get things done, so he wants people who know their way around Washington. Moreover, they say, the change comes only from the president who sets the priorities and the courses of action, not from his subordinates. This explanation assumes that a president's appointments are not mirror images of the boss's expected directions but only functionaries to carry out the Obama changes. If you are inclined to believe this improbable scenario, perhaps you may wish to review Obama's record compiled by Matt Gonzalez at Counterpunch. Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions. --------11 of 15-------- An Administration in Search of a Progressive The Team Obama Should Have Picked By RAMZI KYSIA CounterPunch November 24, 2008 I feel cheated. I feel betrayed. And I'm not even a Democrat. Our nation hasn't yet finished counting all the election returns, but the outlines of a future Obama Administration are already clear: Clinton at State, Geithner at Treasury, Summers to head the National Economic Council, Holder at Justice, Emmanuel as Chief of Staff, General James Jones as the likely National Security Advisor, and Robert Gates likely to stay on at Defense. There not a progressive among them. Not even one. If Obama was vague about his personal politics during the primaries and general election it was for a reason: he doesn't have any. I'm not sure what I honestly expected, but I know it wasn't this. In the history of American politics we've had quite a few "conservative" administrations that didn't do much of anything save look after the interests of the powerful. We've had corrupt administrations, and reactionary administrations. We've seen the appointment of so-called centrists, alongside people so far to the right (Al Haig, James Watt, Ellen Sauerbrey, John Bolton, among many others) that they make Attila the Hun look liberal. But we've seldom seen anyone who even mildly represents working-class America. Obama is as close to a complete outsider as has ever been elected to the White House. His personal history and cultural narrative are unique and compelling. His rhetoric is uplifting. He has been elected by the largest margin of victory in twenty years. His party comfortably controls both houses of Congress. His campaign energized millions and created an incredible network of volunteers across the country who can now be called upon for continued political action. And, beyond these things, our nation now faces economic and foreign policy crises that have even our elites worried, and looking for fresh approaches. With all these advantages, if Obama can't find it in him to name even one person from the so-called "Democratic wing" of the Democratic Party, then it isn't because he's a coward, and it isn't because he's reaching out to conservatives - it's because he doesn't want to. I'm a radical. I'm an anarchist and a pacifist, and I didn't expect Obama to name bell hooks as Secretary of State, or make Amy Goodman his Communications Director, or install Michael Albert at Treasury. I'm not a fool. I expected him to reward his political supporters. Napolitano at DHS and Daschle at HHS are no surprise, and they may even do well in those positions. I hope so. I did expect Obama to name moderate Republicans and centrist Democrats to some positions as well. He should, if he intends to build a new movement in American politics. But not these people, and not just these people. With Henry Kissinger and Bill Kristol are endorsing Obama's team - you know we're in for trouble. Our nation is lost, and the problem with the team Obama is putting together isn't simply that they've generally supported (or at least acquiesced to) the Bush agenda for the last eight years - it's that they have no vision, and they leave us with seemingly no direction home. This election was an opportunity that is quickly being squandered. In the space of three weeks we've gone from change we can believe in to no change at all, and I for one feel as though I've been utterly betrayed. Some of my friends have asked me what I really expected from Obama. I don't know, but this is what I'd hoped for. President-elect Obama, if you should read this, pay attention because this is what I thought you were promising, and it's why I'm so heartbroken today: The Team Obama Should Have Picked Secretary of State: Joseph Stiglitz Deputy Secretary: Tony Hall Secretary of the Treasury: Tom Campbell Deputy Secretary: Gar Alperovitz Secretary of Defense: Chuck Hagel Deputy Secretary: Lawrence Korb Attorney General: Gabrielle Kirk McDonald Deputy Attorney General: Joel Rogers Secretary of the Interior: Douglas LaFollette Deputy Secretary: David Baron Secretary of Agriculture: Dolores Huerta Deputy Secretary: Jill Long Thompson Secretary of Commerce: Roxanne Qualls Deputy Secretary: Michael Shuman Secretary of Labor: Maria Echaveste Deputy Secretary: John Cavanaugh Secretary of Health and Human Services: Tom Daschle Deputy Secretary: Sidney Wolfe Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Angela Glover Blackwell Deputy Secretary: Elliott Sclar Secretary of Transportation: Shelley Poticha Deputy Secretary: Janette Sadik-Khan Secretary of Energy: Claudine Schneider Deputy Secretary: Amory Lovins Secretary of Education: Angela Valenzuela Deputy Secretary: Geoffrey Canada Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Max Cleland Deputy Secretary: Isiah Legget Secretary of Homeland Security: Janet Napolitano Deputy Secretary: Mary Schiavo Chief of Staff: David Bonior National Security Advisor: Dr. Anne Cahn Ambassador, United Nations: Susan Rice Chair, National Economic Council: Robert Reich Director, Immigration and Naturalization Service: Bill Ong Hing Director, Environmental Protection Agency: Robert Kennedy, Jr. First Supreme Court Nomination: Mari Matsuda Ramzi Kysia is an Arab-American writer and activist. He.s currently working with the Free Gaza Movement to break the siege of the Gaza Strip. --------12 of 15-------- Oh, For the Lesser of Two Goods... Why Vote, Anyway? By MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE CounterPunch November 21 / 23, 2008 From the questionable elections in 2000 and 2004 though the recent election and its recounts, I've received oodles of e-mails about mass voter disenfranchisement and problems with punch-screen voting machines. I've read articles about voter flipping, systems that can be hacked into or infected with viruses to change tabulations, and I've heard first hand from friends whose names were purged from voter rolls. Some years ago, I would have had the same kind of reaction experienced by Oprah Winfrey on her virgin voyage into computer voting. Winfrey took advantage of early voting the Thursday before Election Day and either didn't mark the X strongly enough or pressed too long. Whatever she failed to do correctly, her vote for president didn't record. On her show, Winfrey told her television audience about this, reenacting how emotional she'.d become in the voting booth, and warned people to double check their vote. I really wanted to help make history by placing an African American in the highest office in our country. But like many Progressives, I'.d concluded that the differences between Republicans and Democrats are quite overplayed. Then, along came Sarah Palin. For many, the syntax-impaired, Christofascist fashionista changed the equation. I simply couldn't imagine how any person with an IQ above 85 could possibly think that Palin was prepared to step up if John McCain were declared non compos mentis, had to be anesthetized, or died. Suddenly, the lesser of two evils seemed urgently acceptable. Still, I was in a quandary. Should I vote my conscience and go for an Independent or a Green? I thought about Barack Obama's "Yes We Can". But McKenney and Nader were distracting, whispering their truths in my ear. I recalled the 2004 Democratic National Convention when Barack Obama spoke the words that catapulted him into the consciousness of Progressives as someone capable of leading us out of the valley of shame defining George W. Bush's reign of immorality. In Obama, we saw the antiwar candidate, bringing hope in all its heady audacity. Eventually, Obama caved, sounding more and more like most of the other Demopubs, The fizz went flat as he slid to the right of center, the comfort zone of both parties, with his talk of sending more troops to Afghanistan. Finally, we were inflicted with the "faith forum" when Obama and McCain were questioned by Saddleback Church's evangelical Pastor Rick Warren. This was an opportunity for Obama to set the record straight that he's not Muslim, which shouldn't matter in a country founded on religious freedom. But the real opportunity was lost when neither aspirant had the balls to refuse to take part in such superfluous pandering. And, now, President-elect Obama has named nearly a platoon of war hawks and Clintonites to his team. This looks nothing like change we can believe in. This is the reason I've become cynical and why I ask the question: what is accomplished in eliminating voter fraud when the differences between Republicans and Democrats aren't all that great? In fact, I'm beginning to wonder why we vote? Especially, if it's possible that the election process, which should be sacred, may be controlled by Wall Street, Big Oil, the military-industrial complex, a committee that selects who will lead and who will lose. Picture these deciders as so many of us underlings get excited about participating in something we believe could possibly be life altering. Are they laughing at us? "Look, look at how seriously they take themselves," these members of the elite circle might remark. And what if they directed our mainstream media, influencing them to report endlessly on an upcoming election, yammering about hairstyles, pantsuits, celebrity, and other trivia while the real news, like violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, torture, destruction, and murder committed in our names, the health care crisis, a broken economy, a ravaged military, collapsing infrastructure, environmental peril, underfunded public education, the widening gap between the rich and poor, is ignored or relegated to the crawler? Perhaps, it's all some extravaganza of subterfuge--this process which many of us stand for hours in line to complete because we believe in its importance and the weight it gives to our voices. And because we trust that integrity in voting is the cornerstone of democracy. But what if it really is some obese, stinking contrivance? It wouldn't be quite so craven--if the winner represented the lesser of two goods. Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,'05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat [at] aol.com --------13 of 15-------- The Undiagnosed "Cancer" that Has Killed Capitalism by Doug Page November 22nd, 2008 Dissident Voice In the 1920s, Henry Ford perceived a fundamental flaw in capitalism and when he suddenly started paying his auto workers the then extremely generous sum of $5 per day. A unilateral raise of this magnitude was shocking at that time. Ford did this so that his employees would have enough money to buy his Fords. Ford had recognized a fundamental fatal defect of capitalism: Capitalist Employers throughout the capitalist market can not pay their employees enough so that employees are able to purchase all of the products that capitalism can produce and still make a profit. Without profit there can be no capitalism. Think about this. If we have an economic system, capitalism, where almost all humans are employees, who, if not employees, will purchase capitalism.s products? Hunters and gatherers? Self employed farmers? What group in society has cash to purchase what capitalism produces? Are there enough money lenders and capitalist employers with enough profit and earned interest to purchase all of the production? Experience now clearly demonstrates that there are not. These sources have far more money than they have needs so their wealth simply is held in multiple dwellings, jet airplanes and other luxuries, investments, loans, and cash. This is not a left-right problem, nor a conservative- liberal ideological problem. It is simply a fact. It is an inevitable, unavoidable result of the core dynamic of capitalism. That core dynamic is: A person with money hires a person with little or no money for the lowest possible wage to earn as much profit as possible for the person who already has money. It is this profit generating dynamic over decades of time and repeated by hundreds of employers that has created the immense disparity of wealth and power between the top 1% of our nation and the 95% of us at the bottom. This top 1% has as much wealth and income as the bottom 95% of us. The purchasing power of the bottom 95% of us would be vastly enhanced if the wealth of the top 1% was spread more equitably among us all. The fatal defect of capitalism would be bridged. We employees could then purchase all of the products that our labor produced. The fact of the almost unimaginable wealth of the top 1% is little known and is largely suppressed by the capitalist media. The capitalist media ridicules as .class warfare. any thoughts we may have about the injustice and pain we experience because of this disparity of wealth. So we have many millions of persons on the planet who have legitimate needs, and these same persons are willing and anxious to work. Why cannot our work meet our needs? There are insufficient jobs because employers cannot hire all of us and still make a profit. Capitalism gives us only one way to meet our needs. We must go to work for somebody who can make a profit on our labor. This fundamental flaw of capitalism perceived by Henry Ford is now causing our capitalism to implode, to destroy itself. Henry Ford was unique among the planet.s employers in perceiving this flaw and acting to correct it within his own company. So why do not all employers follow Ford.s example? One reason is that the competition by those employers who continued to pay the lowest possible wage would quickly drive the generous employer out of business. Another reason is the simple greed by capitalists to get as much profit as they can as quickly as they can. Employers as a group would have to act together cooperatively and all of them would have to pay enough wages so that employees could buy capitalism.s products. However even if all employers cooperated and paid high wages, capitalism would implode sooner or later because of the large sums drawn out by private employers in the form of profits, CEO compensation, and dividends, and the large sums drawn out by private money lenders for interest on the money loaned for the production process. It is interesting to note that the very successful Mondragon Co-ops of Basque Spain have sustained themselves and expanded over the last 40 years in part because the workers are the owners and they limit the pay of the top managers ordinarily to no more than 3 times the pay of the production workers. The Mondragon Co-ops also have their own Co-op bank to supply their credit. Capitalism can thus produce far more than can be sold at a profit. Capitalists curtail production to avoid loss of profit. If there is no profit to be made, there can be no capitalism. There remain millions of people with legitimate needs who are anxious to work, but there is no work, because there is no profit to be made. For example, the world wide auto industry has the capacity to produce far more cars than can be sold at a profit. This defect of capitalism existed long before the current mortgage bubble and crisis. Auto plants around the world were operating at less than full capacity because there was not a demand by buyers for all of the cars that could be produced. We have some human needs, for example health care that simply cannot be adequately met by capitalists and still make a profit. If there is no profit to be made, capitalists will simply not provide health care. This fundamental defect of capitalism that has caused it to implode is a truth that is totally suppressed in our capitalist culture. We do not learn of this truth in Econ 1 or even in Econ 101. We do not learn of this truth from our capitalist media. Given this truth, and the culture wide failure to diagnose the problem we must look at the false solution that capitalists select for us. Secretary Paulson, Fed Chairman Bernanke and our elected Democratic leaders identify the problem as a .credit crisis,. or a .liquidity crisis,. and they propose that we employees tax ourselves so as to pay billions of dollars to the bankrupt Wall Street investment banks in the hope that they will again extend credit to employers and liberal credit cards to consumers. They seek to supply the credit to enable capitalists to seek profit making opportunities. (The fact that the Wall Street investment banks have not chosen to use the gifts of our tax money for this purpose so far, while criminal, is irrelevant to the larger problem.) That larger but totally ignored problem is Henry Ford.s 1920s problem. That problem is that there is insufficient sustainable demand for all capitalists can produce at a profit. Human wants are insatiable, and if we humans had the money to buy, credit would flow like a quickly melting glacier. The proposed solution does nothing to provide jobs and wages, and nothing therefore to create demand for capitalism.s products. If we were not so scared, we consumer employees could borrow more money for a short time and thus be able to buy products, but this could not go on very long. Most of us are already maxed out on credit. Sooner or later we have to pay the borrowed money back. Wall Street and our Democratic elected officials are vainly trying to rejuvenate a dead system. Lending or giving the dead system more money simply does not solve the fatal defect. The fatal defect is neither diagnosed nor dealt with. The truth is hidden behind a culture wide taboo so that it cannot be discussed in the main stream. The solutions so far advanced seek only to create profit making opportunities for capitalists. These solutions ignore capitalism.s fatal defect. They do absolutely nothing to correct the fatal defect. Capitalism cannot solve the dilemma identified by John Steinbeck in his 1939 book, Grapes of Wrath: .there is work to do, and people to do it, but them two cannot get together, and there is food to eat and people to eat it, but them two cannot get together either.. Even Franklin Roosevelt failed to diagnose this fatal flaw of capitalism in his New Deal when he sought to save capitalism with its profit making opportunities while providing temporary .band-aid. type remedies for those who had no work. We human being can work together to meet our needs, on a small scale by simply bartering. We can meet our sustainable needs on a larger community scale with Mondragon Co-ops, and on a nation wide scale by causing our government to act solely in our interest to be our lending bank at little or no interest, to supply co-ops, small businesses, partnerships, and self employment, and as our employer of last resort. We can no longer afford profit making employers and money lenders who siphon off the increase in value that our work creates. Because of this fatal defect, our capitalism can be thought of as a huge tornado which having sucked us dry, then dies itself. Or it can be thought of as a cancer that kills those of us who are its workers and consumers, and having killed its host, and then dies itself. Doug Page is a retired lawyer for unions, a former Democratic politician, and a life long observer of government, unions and business. He can be reached at: dougpage2 [at] earthlink.net. Read other articles by Doug, or visit Doug's website. --------14 of 15-------- Western Progressive Opinion: Bring on the Victims! Condemn the Fighters! by James Petras November 24th, 2008 Dissident Voice We know in some detail of the willing and gratuitous support, which tens of millions of American citizens have bestowed on the White House and Congressional perpetrators of crimes against humanity. The Clinton Administration was freely re-elected in 1996 after deliberately imposing a starvation embargo on Iraq and mounting a relentless, unopposed bombing campaign on that devastated country for four straight years, leading to the documented deaths of over 500,000 children and countless more vulnerable adults. The majority of US citizens re-elected Bush after he launched wars which caused the deaths of over a million Iraqi civilians, scores of thousands of Afghanis, thousands of Pakistanis, and after he gave full support to Israel's murderous attacks on Palestinian civilians and the blockade of vital food, water and fuel to the occupied territories, not to mention the frequent bombing of Lebanon and Syria, which culminated, during Bush's second term, in the horrific Israeli bombing campaign of Lebanese cities and villages killing thousands of civilians. We know this brutality received the unconditional support of the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations and their thousands of affiliated community groups (totaling over one million members). We know that for each and every Israeli assassination of a Palestinian, each dispossession of Palestinians from their land and homes and the uprooting of their orchards, vineyards and the poisoning of their wells, there is a systematic campaign here to obliterate our democratic freedom of speech and assembly - especially our right to publicly condemn Israel and expose its agents operating among US power brokers. Through hard experience the majority of the American public has come to recognize the pitfalls of militarism and is slowly coming to realize the profound threats posed by the entrenched Zionist Power Configuration to our "four freedoms". That is all to the good. However, these advances in public opinion have been far from sufficient. The American public has just elected a new president who promises to escalate the imperialist military presence in Afghanistan and fill key posts in his regime with known militarists and Zionists from the previous regime of President "Bill" Clinton. What has escaped public notice is the almost complete disappearance of the peace movement and its absorption into the pro-war Democratic Party electoral machine of President-Elect Barack Obama. Likewise, the vast majority of US "progressive" opinion-makers embraced, with occasional mild reservations, the Obama candidacy and, in effect, became part of the "broad coalition" joining hands with billionaire Zionist zealots and Wall Street financial swindlers, Clintonite "humanitarian" militarists, impotent millionaire trade union bureaucrats and various and sundry upwardly mobile "minority" politicians and vote hustlers. Whether progressives were intoxicated by the empty presidential campaign rhetoric of "change", they willingly sacrificed their most elementary principles at the service of evil (presumably, they would say, to serve the "lesser evil"), but no doubt the evils of new imperial wars, complicity with Israel's colonial savagery and the deepening immiseration of the American people. The US progressive intellectuals show no such (im)moral scruples when it comes to the anti-imperial resistance movements in Asian (especially in the Middle East), Africa and Latin America. US Progressives and Third World Resistance Movements Among the most prominent progressive intellectuals (PPIs) in the US and Europe, writers, bloggers and academics, there is nary a single one who exhibits the same "pragmatism" which they practice in choosing "lesser evil" politicians in the US or Europe, with regard to political choices in highly conflicted countries. Can we find a single PPI who will argue that they support the democratically elected Hamas in Palestine or Hezbollah in Lebanon, or the popularly supported nationalist Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, the anti-occupation Taliban in Afghanistan or even the right, recognized under international law, of the Iranian people to the peaceful development of nuclear energy - because, whatever their defects - these are the "lesser evil". Let us consider the issue in greater detail. PPIs justified their support for Obama on the basis of his campaign rhetoric in favor of peace and justice, even as he voted for Bush's war budgets and foreign aid programs funding the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Afghanis, Palestinians, Colombians, Somalis and Pakistanis and the dispossessing and displacement of at least 10 million people from their towns, farms and homes. The very same PPIs reject and refuse to apply the "lesser evil" criteria in support of Hamas, the democratically elected Palestinian administration in the Gaza, which is in the forefront of the struggle against the brutal Israeli colonial occupation because it is "violent" (which means it retaliates against almost daily Israeli armed assaults), seeks a "theocratic state" (similar to the theologically defined "Jewish" state of Israel), represses dissidents (in the form of occasional crackdowns on CIA-funded Fatah functionaries and militias). At best the PPIs take an interest only in the Palestinian victims of Israel's genocidal embargo of food, water, fuel and medicine; it protests against overt racist assaults by Israel's colonial Judeo-fascist settlers when they assault school girls on their way to school or elderly farmers in their orchards; they protest the arbitrary and deliberate delays at Israeli military checkpoints, which cause the deaths of acutely ill Palestinians, cancer victims, women in labor, men with heart attacks and people in need of kidney dialysis by preventing them from reaching medical facilities. In other words, the PPIs support the Palestinians as victims but condemn them as fighters who challenge their executioners. The PPIs's support for victims is a cost-free posture, providing credibility to the "progressive" label; opposition to the fighters assures the establishment that the PPIs's criticism will not adversely affect the US empire-building and its Israeli allies. The most outspoken, self-proclaimed progressive "libertarians" and "democrats" in the Western world claim to support national self-determination and oppose imperial conquests, yet they unfailingly reject the real-existing mass popular movements demanding self-determination and leading the struggle against imperial conquest and foreign occupation. Almost without exception, they denounce national resistance movements for not fitting their preconceived notions of perfect justice, peaceful tolerance and secular, democratic principles, which their idea of a resistance movement should embody. Yet the PPIs do not impose such criteria in advocating support for candidates in their own countries. Hezbollah is flatly rejected as too "clerical" by the PPIs, but British progressives supported Tony Blair, the leader of the Labor Party and his role as bloody accomplice to Clinton, Bush, Sharon and a whole host of servile puppet regimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere. In terms of military aggression - and deaths, loss of limbs and homes - the "lesser evil" Democrats and European Social Democrats and Center-Left politicians have a far worse record that the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas and Sadrist forces. More to the point, the living conditions and safety of the vast majority of the people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Somalia - by any standard - were vastly better under the independent if authoritarian rule of Saddam Hussein, the clerical Taliban in Afghanistan, the Islamic Councils in Somalia than under the US-EU military occupations and client regimes. Some of the PPIs avoid the real and difficult choices by pretending that there are "third choices" just on the horizon in countries currently under imperial and colonial conquest and occupation: They reject the imperial armies and the anti-imperial resistance in the name of abstract progressive libertarian principles. The shameless cant and hypocrisy of their position is clear when the same issue is posed in terms of political choices within the imperial mother country. Here the PPIs have a thousand and one arguments to back one (Obama) of the two major imperial war party presidential candidates; here "realism" and "lesser evil" arguments come to the fore. And what "choices" are made! The same libertarians and democrats who condemn the Taliban for its destruction of ancient religious monuments support Democratic candidates, like Obama, who propose to escalate the US military occupation in Afghanistan and intensify the killing fields in South Asia. There are profound moral and political dilemmas in making political choices in a world in which destructive imperial wars are led by liberal electoral politicians and vigorously resisted by clerical and secular authoritarian movements and leaders. But the historical record of the past three hundred years is clear: Western parliamentarian imperialism and its contemporary legacy has destroyed and undermined far more lives and livelihoods in far more countries over a greater time span than even the worst of the post colonial regimes. Moreover, the colonial wars, pursued by "lesser evil" electoral regimes and politicians, have had a profoundly destructive impact on the very "democratic values" in the Western countries, which the PPIs profess to defend. Conclusion The PPI, by choosing the "lesser evil" - in the most recent instance, supporting Barack Obama - have condemned themselves to political impotence in the making of Washington's policies and political irrelevance to the struggles for national liberation. Consequential supporters of the millions of victims of Western and Israeli butchery do not live off foundation handouts; they make the difficult (and costly) choice to throw in their lot via solidarity with the resistance fighters. The "cost" to progressive intellectuals in the US, of course, is a drying up of invitations to speak at universities with offers of five-figure honorariums; the "benefit" is self-respect and the dignity that comes from being part of an international anti-imperialist movement. James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras. forthcoming book, Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power, is due from Clarity Press, Atlanta, in August 2008. He can be reached at: jpetras [at] binghamton.edu. Read other articles by James, or visit James's website. --------15 of 15-------- Continuity You wanted change? You dug the hope talk? Well, welcome to Clinton's third term!! Sound the long trumpets! Ta da! Bang the drums! BOOM BOOM! Clinton's third term! Rah. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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