|Progressive Calendar 06.07.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sun, 7 Jun 2009 11:58:00 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 06.07.09 1. Stillwater vigil 6.07 1pm 2. Eviction yd sale 6.07 3. N Korea/forum 6.07 2pm 4. Art co-op 6.07 4pm 5. Healing from RNC 6.07 5:30pm 6. Bicking campaign 6.07 6:30pm 7. Full moon walk 6.07 7pm 8. Seed bombs! 6.07 8pm 9. Mpls burning 6.08 4:30pm 10. Peace walk 6.08 6pm RiverFalls WI 11. Free the Cuban5 6.08 7pm 12. Adam Turl - How the other 0.00000003 percent lives 13. David Korten - This crisis our best chance to build a new economy 14. Rhonda Hackett - Debunking Canadian health care myths --------1 of 14-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 6.07 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------2 of 14-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Eviction yard sale 6.07 Sunday June 7 there is an all day, indoor everything sale to support a local woman evicted from her home. She has had to move her most important belongings into someone else's basement and is now selling everything else she owns for a few extra bucks. The sale is at 3849 28th Ave S in South Minneapolis and includes everything you could think of; baby clothes adult clothes furniture kitchen wares lamps books art and more If you are in the need of anything and have a couple of bucks, I encourage you to visit this sale. --------3 of 14-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: N Korea/forum 6.07 2pm "New War in the Making? What's behind the Crisis in Korea?" Public Forum Sunday, June 7, 2:00 p.m. Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Avenue South on the West Bank in Minneapolis. Why is North Korea conducting nuclear tests? What is the role of colonialism and imperialist intervention in Korea? What has led North Korea to seek a nuclear deterrent? Is there a danger of a new Korean War? What is the role of the U.S. in the Korean peninsula? Speakers include: Roy Wolff, Korean War-era veteran, member, Veterans for Peace, participant in peace delegations in 1995 to South Korea and 2003 to North Korea; Gerald Erickson, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, who attended first joint U.S./North Korean academic conference in North Korea between U.S. and Korean scholars; Mick Kelly, editor of Fight Back newspaper and Twin Cities anti-war activist; Jessica Sundin, member of the Anti-War Committee; John Peterson, editor of Socialist Appeal newspaper and Twin Cities anti-war activist. Sponsored by: Mayday Bookstore. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call 612 333-4719. --------4 of 14-------- From: Arise! Bookstore | Minneapolis Radical and Progressive Books and Subject: Art co-op 6.07 4pm Visual Resistance: Talk and Slide Show With Erik Ruin of Justseeds Sunday June 7, 4pm, Arise Bookstore Justseeds Artists' Cooperative works on and writes about political printmaking, socially engaged street art, and culture related to social movements. Erik Ruin is a Michigan-raised, Philly-based printmaker, shadow-puppeteer, and occasional editor of various publications, most recently the anthology Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority (w/ Josh MacPhee, AK Press, 2007). He frequently works collaboratively with other artists or with activist campaigns, and has created imagery for organizations engaged in work ranging from urban farming to housing cooperatives to prisoner advocacy. Come hear Erik talk about how Justseeds got started and what they're doing! Arise! Bookstore is a collectively-run independent bookstore in south Minneapolis. 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. Open daily 11am-9pm. www.arisebookstore.org http://www.arisebookstore.org --------5 of 14-------- From: smilyus [at] msn.com Subject: Healing from RNC 6.07 5:30pm Hosted by the Northstar Health Collective: A free event featuring: -Community Meal (bring something to share if you can!) -Two Workshops ('Healing Yourself' and 'Healing You Community') -Individual Sessions (including acupuncture, massage, and counseling) -Referrals to approachable/affordable services Sunday, June 7th 5:30 - 8:30 Walker Community Church (3100 16th Ave S.) This event is meant to address continuing problems arising from the Republican National Convention protests, and to help begin the healing of damage that wasn't immediately apparent. It is open to anyone with emotional, psychological, or physical problems. Specifically, it is for those who were arrested, detained, and/or beaten, and activist who worked or are working on related projects. RSVP's apprectiated, especially if you are seeking one-on-one sessions. For more information or to RSVP, contact irenernc [at] gmail.com Melissa Hill St. Anthony East, Minneapolis Info about Melissa Hill: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/6JzNsxnExytdYnDPXomeat --------6 of 14-------- From: Dave Bicking <davebicking [at] gmail.com> Subject: Bicking campaign 6.07 6:30pm Dear friends, Dave Bicking for City Council campaign meeting: Sunday, June 7, 6:30pm Dave's house: 3211 22nd Ave. S. (lower duplex), Minneapolis (Directions: Just over two blocks south of Lake St. on 22nd Ave. 22nd Avenue is just west of the Lake Street stop of the Hiawatha LRT. There is also good bus service along Lake St.) We'll be working on final edits for a campaign literature piece, content for the website, graphic design, the next fundraiser, door knocking plans, and more. Campaign news: We had a great event last weekend: dinner and the movie "The Garden" at Mayday Bookstore. The place was full - nearly 50 people - we enjoyed Lydia's wonderful food, and saw a relevant movie. And the campaign raised over $800. Thanks to all who made it possible, and thanks to all who came. Leading up to the event, Lydia Howell played interviews with me on her show on KFAI, Fridays May 22 and May 29. If you missed those, you can find them at: http://www.kfai.org/archive/05/22/2009 and http://www.kfai.org/archive/05/29/2009 Click on the button after "Catalyst, Politics and Culture" Though not directly related to the campaign, I was on Lydia's show again this past Friday, June 5, along with two members of the Mpls Civil Rights Commission. We talked about the need to oppose cuts to the Civil Rights Department, either the proposed elimination of the Complaints Investigation Unit, or cuts to all the functions, including the Civilian Police Review Authority, of which I am a member. That can be heard on KFAI's archives at: http://www.kfai.org/archive/06/5/2009 It's not a campaign event, but I would like to encourage you to come to a "Civil Rights Community Social" - a discussion on how to save the Mpls Dept of Civil Rights. We need a really large attendance to demonstrate to the city how strongly we care about civil rights and how strongly we oppose these budget cuts! Many groups are cosponsoring. There will be poetry, ice cream, speeches, discussion, and an action plan. Thursday, June 11, 6:00pm, at Brain Coyle Community Center, 420 15th Ave. S., Mpls (on the West Bank, close to the LRT stop) Please come. And please come tonight if you can help with the campaign!! Dave Bicking 612-276-1213 [Dave Bicking if elected would provide an ocean of light in what has been a generally squalid city council and mayor. He would be the first real, reliable, and full progressive on the council, first choice contact for any of us dealing with Mpls government. He can't imagine the amount of work he's asking for. But we can. -ed] --------7 of 14-------- From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Full moon walk 6.07 7pm COLDWATER FULL MOON WALK Sunday, June 7, 2009 7 pm at Coldwater Spring Enjoy a leisurely walk in a beautiful setting. This is the Strong Sun Moon. Today is 15 hours, 29 minutes long. The seeds are planted, the fruit is months from picking. Celebrate kick-back summer time. Directions: From Hwy 55/Hiawatha in south Minneapolis, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at 54th Street, take an immediate right (South) past the parking meters, through the cul-de-sac and into the gate. Follow the curvy road left and then right down to the pond, next to the great willow tree. Sunset 8:56 pm Moonrise 9:27 pm Info: www.friendsofcoldwater.org --------8 of 14-------- From: Arise! Bookstore | Minneapolis Radical and Progressive Books and Resources Collective <arise [at] arisebookstore.org> Subject: Seed bombs! 6.07 8pm Seed Bomb Workshop Sunday June 7, 8pm, Arise Bookstore Learn how to make seedbombs - hard-packed balls of compost, clay, and seeds, which can be tossed into an area in need of vegetation. Bring organic dry compost, dry clay & organic seeds -- native plants encouraged. FILM at sundown: Being There - A simple-minded gardener living a sheltered life is suddenly thrust out to discover the world. [Coming soon to a bare spot near you - radical seed bombers! Green in leaf and root! Tremble o ye capitalists! -ed] Arise! Bookstore is a collectively-run independent bookstore in south Minneapolis. 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. Open daily 11am-9pm. www.arisebookstore.org http://www.arisebookstore.org --------9 of 14-------- From: Cam Gordon <CamGordon333 [at] msn.com> Subject: Mpls burning 6.08 4:30pm The staff report about this is now complete and available here http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/agendas/planning-commission/2009/CPC_Agenda_06-08-09.asp The Planning Division is recommending approval of the conditional use permit amendment to allow the burning an additional 212 tons of waste per day (averaged out over a year). Here is a short summary from the agenda: "Recommended Motion: The Community Planning and Economic Development Department - Planning Division recommends that the City Planning Commission adopt the findings and approve the amended conditional use permit for a waste disposal facility at the property of 419 N 5th St (aka 505 6th Ave N), subject to the following conditions: The conditional use permit shall be recorded with Hennepin County as required by Minn. Stat. 462.3595, subd. 4 before building permits may be issued or before the use or activity requiring a conditional use permit may commence. Unless extended by the zoning administrator, the conditional use permit shall expire if it is not recorded within one year of approval. Condition number 1 of the previous permit C-993 shall be amended to read: The resource recovery facility shall not exceed a size and capacity necessary to reclaim, burn, use, process or dispose of more than 1,212 tons average daily throughput of mixed municipal solid waste. The applicant shall obtain all necessary permits through the MPCA to accommodate the increase in daily throughput. Compliance shall be required with all emission standards specified in the previous permit(s) approved by the MPCA." The planning commission will meet on June 8th at 4:30 in the City Council Chambers (Room 317,City Hall) to consider this. If the Commission's decision is formally appealed winthin 10 days the matter will come to the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee and then to the full Council. If it is not appealed, the Planning Commission's decision will be final. Comments and questions can be sent to me and, to be sure that they are made part of the public record and get to the Planning Commission, to kimberly.holien [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us from the Planning Division. (I will forward all comments sent to me to her as well). --------10 of 14-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 6.08 6pm RiverFalls WI River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from "Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact: d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls, Wisconsin 54022 --------11 of 14-------- From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org> Subject: Free the Cuban 5 6.08 7pm Friends, allies and those concerned with freedom and justice for the oppressed. Please join us at a meeting: Free the Five Cuban Political Prisoners Held in US Jails! 7 p.m. Monday, June 8th Room 425 Blegen Hall West Bank of Minneapolis Campus University of Minnesota For ten years an international campaign has been waged to win freedom for five Cuban revolutionaries who have been unjustly locked up in U.S. jails for more than a decade. In the coming month the U.S. Supreme Court will be considering whether to accept a petition to review an appellate court decision that rejected defense arguments that the five were prevented by the political atmosphere in Miami from receiving a fair trial. The issues in this case are connected to the other fights for democratic rights against the government in this country today. The FBI secretly broke into their homes, copied documents, and listened in on their conversations. Unable to find any evidence they were ³spying,² Washington brought trumped-up conspiracy charges against them. They were kept in solitary confinement for 17 months. In spite of an atmosphere of intimidation in Miami, the court refused to grant a change of venue. Meeting sponsored by the Minnesota Cuba Committee - mncuba [at] mncubacommittee.org --------12 of 14-------- [Eat the Rich] How the Other 0.00000003 Percent Lives by Adam Turl Dissident Voice June 6th, 2009 Back in February - when even the mainstream media was convinced the capitalist economy was in full-blown meltdown mode - Newsweek magazine ran an article titled "Why there won't be a revolution". Newsweek wanted to reassure the richand - convince working people - that the masses weren't getting ready to dust off their pitchforks and head to the town square. "Americans might get angry sometimes," they wrote, "but we don't hate the rich. We prefer to laugh at them". Newsweek couldn't be more wrong. The 10 percent of Americans who rely on food stamps, the 25 percent of Ohioans who are waiting in lines at food banks, the 500,000 people who lost their jobs last month and the millions more who can't find work - these people aren't laughing. And plenty of Americans [me included -ed] - rightly - hate the rich. While our homes go into foreclosure, while our credit card rates go up, while our jobs disappear and college tuition shoots up, the well-heeled "masters of the universe" on Wall Street are still making out like bandits, but now with hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money, courtesy of the Obama administration. A lot more people would be even angrier if the mainstream media reported the truth about the rich and powerful in America - who they are and how they "made it" to the top. Consider the 10 richest people in the country as of last September, according to the annual Forbes magazine list. Number 10-9 The Koch Brothers Charles Koch ($19 billion) and David Koch ($19 billion) Studies show that the most likely job of any child is that of their parents. If your mom or dad is a janitor, you're more likely to be a janitor than anything else, according to the statistics. Charles and David Koch are no exception to the rule - only much luckier. Like their father, Fred Koch, they run the largest privately owned energy company in the U.S. Koch Industries - with annual revenues nearing $100 billion - is also one of the biggest polluters in history. Fred founded Koch Industries in 1940, and during the Second World War, he made a bundle helping the USSR's ruler Joseph Stalin build up an energy infrastructure in his country. After the war, however, Fred "saw the light" and became one of the founders of the right-wing anti-Communist John Birch Society, which helped whip up a hysteria during the McCarthyite witch-hunts of the 1950s. When Charles and David took over the family business, they also took over dad's right-wing political projects. The Koch Brothers fund a host of conservative groups through the Koch Family Foundations. They founded the pro-corporate libertarian Cato Institute, and David Koch was the vice-presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party in 1980. The brothers also provide money to Americans for Prosperity, the outfit that helped organize the right-wing "tea parties" earlier this year and that toured non-plumber Samuel Wurzelbacher (a.k.a. Joe the Plumber) through Pennsylvania to present a "working-class" speaker against the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that would make it easier for working people to organize unions. Number 8 Michael Bloomberg Net worth: $20 billion Before more or less buying the New York City mayor's office (so far, he's spent just under $150 million on his mayoral campaigns), Michael Bloomberg accrued his fortune by wiring the country's financial system through his software services company. Bloomberg LP's "Market Master" terminals helped make possible the complex computerized trading that became commonplace before the 2008 financial crash. But the recession has been good to Bloomberg, too. Since 2007, he went from "only" 147th on the list of richest Americans to eighth place. Bloomberg tries to present the image of a philanthroper and down-to-earth businessman, but his reign has proved to be a disaster for poor and working-class New Yorkers. He has given millions of dollars to charities in New York City, but the sum is paltry compared to his overall net worth - and his contributions have also tied up city nonprofits with the political interests of the billionaire mayor. Bloomberg likes to tout the fact that he doesn't live in Gracie Mansion - the traditional home of New York City mayors - but aside from his apartment in Manhattan, he owns multiple homes in Britain and Bermuda. As mayor, he's pushed through massive service cuts and layoffs in New York City (even before the onset of the current crisis), closing down day care centers, health clinics and worse. Now, claiming a $500 million budget shortfall - which he could easily cover himself and still be a multibillionaire - he plans more painful cuts. In truth, Bloomberg isn't the mayor of the majority of New Yorkers. He's the mayor of moneyed Wall Street interests. Number 7-4 The Waltons Christy Walton ($23.2 billion), Alice Walton ($23.2 billion), Sam Robson Walton ($23.3 billion), Jim Walton ($23.4 billion) The Waltons earned their money the old-fashioned way - they inherited it. They struck it rich when papa Sam Walton, founder of the low-wage union-busting Wal-Mart chain, kicked the bucket. Wal-Mart is the largest corporation in the world - so Sam Walton's heirs are some of the wealthiest people in the world. As labor author Nelson Lichtenstein described the company: With sales approaching $300 billion a year, Wal-Mart has revenues larger than those of Switzerland. It operates more than 5,000 stores worldwide, more than 80 percent of them in the United States. It employs more than 1.5 million workers around the globe, making Wal-Mart the largest private employer in Mexico, Canada and the United States. Wal-Mart became the behemoth it is today by driving down the wages of its own employees - and by using its weight in the market to pressure suppliers to drive down wages for their workers. Prior to Wal-Mart's rise, labor comprised about 30 percent of total costs for an average retail company. Wal-Mart drove down labor's share to 15 percent. One important way Sam Walton did this was by fostering a corporate culture of messianic opposition to labor unions. Wal-Mart managers are under constant pressure to keep the union out. When unions do get a foothold - as they did recently in Quebec and Mexico, and 10 years ago with butchers at a Wal-Mart in Jacksonville, Texas - the company has closed down stores, or in the case of the butchers, simply abolished the department. The impact on employees is obvious. Only a minority of "associates" is covered by the company health care plan, and Wal-Mart was publicly embarrassed by revelations that it encouraged workers to go on welfare to subsidize their meager wages and benefits. In the 1950s - the era of the so-called "American Dream" - General Motors was the largest employer in the country. Strong unions helped GM workers win decent wages and good benefits. The contrast with Wal-Mart couldn't be greater. As Lichtenstein observes: During its heyday, factory managers at GM - hard-driving men in charge of 2,000 to 3,000 workerstook - home about five times as much as an ordinary production employee. At Wal-Mart, district store managers - in charge of about the same number of workers - earn more than 10 times that of the average full-time hourly employee. In 1950, GM President Charles E. Wilson earned about 140 times more than an assembly line worker, while H. Lee Scott, the Wal-Mart CEO in 2003, took home at least 1,500 times that of one of his full-time hourly employees. Of course, the Walton kids - who are flush with cash and still own more than a third of the company - live the good life. Some enjoy their vast wealth full time, while others have roles in the low-wage retail empire. Sam Walton has been chairman of the company - and daughter Alice is the family's political activist. In 2004, Alice donated $2.6 million to the right-wing outfit Progress for America, which ran ads supporting the Iraq War and thanking George W. Bush for supposedly preventing another 9/11-style attack on American soil. One of Alice's hobbies is horses. Another is reckless driving. In 1996, she was fined $925 for a DUI. In 1989, she struck and killed a 50-year-old woman in Arkansas. No charges were filed. Number 3 Larry Ellison Net worth: $27 billion It's the mid-1970s. There was just a wave of wildcat strikes across the country - and memories of the 1960s are still fresh in everyone's minds. In San Francisco, Harvey Milk is leading protests for gay rights. Women have won abortion rights with the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. The CIA recently aided in overthrowing the government of socialist Salvador Allende in Chileand - bringing to power the military dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. What would you be doing if you were young back then? Protesting? Organizing a rank-and-file caucus in your union? Not Larry Ellison. Ellison was networking CIA computer databases for the Ampex Corp. - under the codename "Oracle". In 1977, Ellison formed his own company, and he named it, of all things, Oracle. His first clients were Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the CIA. Aside from doing IT work for coup-plotters and assassins, Ellison struck it rich by profiting off other people's ideas. The crucial innovation for networking computer databases was actually pioneered by scientists at IBM who couldn't figure out how to make money off their research. Ellison could - and he's been raking in the cash ever since. But billions of dollars isn't always enough for Larry Ellison's extravagant lifestyle. According to leaked letters and documents from his lawyer, Ellison is regularly maxed out on his billion-dollar credit limit. This, seemingly, is due to his penchant for buying multiple homes and yachts - one yacht cost him $194 million. Ellison spends upwards of $20 million a year on "miscellaneous lifestyle expenses," according to those documents. He lives on a sprawling estate modeled on a traditional Japanese village. For good measure, he also owns an actual villa in Japan (cost: $25 million). Not only did Ellison do computer work for the CIA, and not only does he live like a latter-day Nero, but he also might be a "common criminal". In 2001, he was alleged to have dumped 29 million shares of Oracle stock on the basis of insider information - netting $900 millionjust - before the stock price fell. Number 2 Warren Buffet Net worth: $50 billion Warren Buffet has a reputationespecially - after his support for Barack Obama in last year's presidential election - as a liberal billionaire. He's pledged to give 85 percent of his wealth to charity - after he dies, of course. He supports taxes on inheritance and lives in the same Nebraska home he bought in 1958. But Buffet - born into relative wealth and privilege - isn't really very different from other billionaires. He grew up the son of a stockbroker and U.S. congressman. By age 11, he was working at his father's brokerage house. By 14, he owned 40 acres of land that he rented out to tenant farmers. In the 1960s, Buffet bought a textile company - Berkshire Hathaway - and turned it into a holding company, based on the "concept" of buying undervalued stocks and selling them when their values increased. In other words, he built his fortune on speculation. The company - now Buffet Associates Ltd - stopped producing textiles long ago, instead investing in insurance outfits like GEICO and AIG, corporations like Coca Cola, and media outlets/military contractors like the Washington Post, ABC and General Electric (which owns NBC). Buffet's supposed "liberalism" has a lot of limits, both in business and politics. In 2003, he was an economic adviser to the budget-cutting candidate for governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Buffet once famously quipped, "I'll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It's addictive. And there's fantastic brand loyalty". His relatively Spartan lifestyle (for a billionaire, anyway) also has limits. In 1989, he bought a private jet for $10 million and christened it The Indefensible. His attitude toward his wealthfor - all his supposed philanthropyis - also indefensible: I don' t have a problem with guilt about money. The way I see it is that my money represents an enormous number of claim checks on society. It's like I have these little pieces of paper that I can turn into consumption. If I wanted to, I could hire 10,000 people to do nothing but paint my picture everyday for the rest of my life. Number 1 Bill Gates Net worth: $52 billion Bill Gates III is regularly held up as an example of a rich person who actually earned his wealth - the Horatio Alger of computer software. The co-founder of Microsoft, we're told, made his way up from college dropout to running one the most successful corporations in history through hard work and intelligence. And he then retired to a life of magnanimous and progressive philanthropy. The only problem with this story is that it's just that - a story. The modesty of Gates' upbringing is greatly exaggerated. His father was a successful attorney, and his grandfather was the president of a national bank. While Gates did drop out of Harvard to found Microsoft (thanks to a loan from his family), it wasn't his skills for software development that made him rich, but his "genius" in taking other people's ideas and marketing them. Since effectively cornering the market for PC operating systems, Microsoft's primary goal has been to maintain its predominant position and drive potential competitors out of business. The mythmaking continues when it comes to Gates' philanthropy. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is widely cited as a symbol of Gates' sense of social responsibility, funding projects to provide health care and AIDS treatment in places like Africa. But a Los Angeles Times investigation in 2007 showed the darker side of the fund. "[A]t least $8.7 billion, or 41 percent of its assets, not including U.S. and foreign government securities - have been in companies that countered the foundation's charitable goals or socially concerned philosophy," the Times reported. For example, the foundation has stock from corporations "ranked among the worst U.S. and Canadian polluters, including ConocoPhillips, Dow Chemical Co. and Tyco International Ltd," wrote the Times. The Gates fund invests in "many of the world's other major polluters, including companies that own an oil refinery and one that owns a paper mill, which a study shows sicken children [in a Nigerian town] while the foundation tries to save their parents from AIDS". Then there's the "pharmaceutical companies that price drugs beyond the reach of AIDS patients the foundation is trying to treat," the Times reported. Like most rich philanthropists, Gates gives with one hand - and takes far more with the other. Even before the economic crisis began, inequality had already risen to levels not seen in the U.S. since the eve of the 1930s Great Depression. In the 2000s, family income declined for the first time in decades, while those at the very top became richer and richer. Ultimately, this wealth came from squeezing it out of the vast majority of people in the U.S. and around the world. The rich became richer by making workers work harder for less. Now that we're in a severe recession, hourly wages are declining, unemployment is skyrocketing and, without a social safety net, workers are cutting back - not on luxuries like Warren Buffet's private jet, or Larry Ellison's personal armada, but on necessities like food, housing, education and health care. What should make us most angry is that it doesn't have to be this way. The immense wealth of society doesn't have to be wasted on these parasites. It could be democratically controlled by the working-class people who produced it in the first place, and used to meet human needs. The good news is that people's attitudes are changing. In early April, for example, a CBS News/New York Times poll showed that 74 percent of Americans favor increasing taxes on the rich. (Revolutionary socialists, of course, favor taxing the rich out of existence). [Amen -ed] In the months and years to come, more and more people may be ready to head down to the town square after all - and protest a society of obscene inequality. Adam Turl writes for the Socialist Worker. Read other articles by Adam. --------13 of 14-------- [A very RADICAL (ie anti-rich) article. Make it so. -ed] Why This Crisis May Be Our Best Chance to Build a New Economy by David Korten Saturday, June 6, 2009 YES! Magazine common dreams Wall Street is bankrupt. Instead of trying to save it, we can build a new economy that puts money and business in the service of people and the planet-not the other way around. Whether it was divine providence or just good luck, we should give thanks that financial collapse hit us before the worst of global warming and peak oil. As challenging as the economic meltdown may be, it buys time to build a new economy that serves life rather than money. It lays bare the fact that the existing financial system has brought our way of life and the natural systems on which we depend to the brink of collapse. This wake-up call is inspiring unprecedented numbers of people to take action to bring forth the culture and institutions of a new economy that can serve us and sustain our living planet for generations into the future. The world of financial stability, environmental sustainability, economic justice, and peace that most psychologically healthy people want is possible if we replace a defective operating system that values only money, seeks to monetize every relationship, and pits each person in a competition with every other for dominance. From Economic Power to Basket Case Not long ago, the news was filled with stories of how Wall Street's money masters had discovered the secrets of creating limitless wealth through exotic financial maneuvers that eliminated both risk and the burden of producing anything of real value. In an audacious social engineering experiment, corporate interests drove a public policy shift that made finance the leading sector of the U.S. economy and the concentration of private wealth the leading economic priority. Corporate interests drove a policy agenda that rolled back taxes on high incomes, gave tax preference to income from financial speculation over income from productive work, cut back social safety nets, drove down wages, privatized public assets, outsourced jobs and manufacturing capacity, and allowed public infrastructure to deteriorate. They envisioned a world in which the United States would dominate the global economy by specializing in the creation of money and the marketing and consumption of goods produced by others. As a result, manufacturing fell from 27 percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 1950 to 12 percent in 2005, while financial services grew from 11 percent to 20 percent. From 1980 to 2005, the highest-earning 1 percent of the U.S. population increased its share of taxable income from 9 percent to 19 percent, with most of the gain going to the top one-tenth of 1 percent. The country became a net importer, with a persistent annual trade deficit of more than three-quarters of a trillion dollars financed by rising foreign debt. Wall Street insiders congratulated themselves on their financial genius even as they turned the United States into a national economic basket case and set the stage for global financial collapse. All the reports of financial genius masked the fact that a phantom-wealth economy is unsustainable. Illusory assets based on financial bubbles, abuse of the power of banks to create credit (money) from nothing, corporate asset stripping, baseless credit ratings, and creative accounting led to financial, social, and environmental breakdown. The system suppressed the wages of the majority while continuously cajoling them to buy more than they could afford using debt that they had no means to repay. A Defective Operating System The operating system of our phantom-wealth economy was written by and for Wall Street interests for the sole purpose of making more money for people who have money. It makes cheap money readily available to speculators engaged in inflating financial bubbles and financing other predatory money scams. It makes money limited and expensive to those engaged in producing real wealth-life, and the things that sustain life - and pushes the productive members of society into indebtedness to those who produce nothing at all. Money, the ultimate object of worship among modern humans, is the most mysterious of human artifacts: a magic number with no meaning or existence outside the human mind. Yet it has become the ultimate arbiter of life - deciding who will live in grand opulence in the midst of scarcity and who will die of hunger in the midst of plenty. The monetization of relationships - replacing mutual caring with money as the primary medium of exchange - accelerated after World War II when growth in Gross National Product, essentially growth in monetized relationships, became the standard for evaluating economic performance. The work of the mother who cares for her child solely out of love counts for nothing. By contrast, the mother who leaves her child unattended to accept pay for tending the child of her neighbor suddenly becomes "economically productive." The result is a public policy bias in favor of monetizing relationships to create phantom wealth - money - at the expense of real wealth. In a modern economy, nearly every relationship essential to life depends on money. This gives ultimate power to those who control the creation and allocation of money. Five features of the existing money system virtually assure abuse. 1.Money issuance and allocation are controlled by private banks managed for the exclusive benefit of their top managers and largest shareholders. 2.Money issued by private banks as debt must be repaid with interest. This requires perpetual economic growth to create sufficient demand for new loans to create the money required to pay the interest due on previous loans. The fact that nearly every dollar in circulation is generating interest for bankers and their investors virtually assures an ever-increasing concentration of wealth. 3.The power to determine how much money will circulate and where it will flow is concentrated and centralized in a tightly interlinked system of private-benefit corporations that operate in secret, beyond public scrutiny, with the connivance of the Federal Reserve. 4.The Federal Reserve presents itself as a public institution responsible for exercising oversight, but it is accountable only to itself, operates primarily for the benefit of the largest Wall Street banks, and consistently favors the interests of those who live by returns to money over those who live by returns to their labor. 5.The lack of proper regulatory oversight allows players at each level of the system to make highly risky decisions, collect generous fees based on phantom profits, and pass the risk to others. A Values-Based Operating System To get ourselves out of our current mess and create the world we want, we must reboot the economy with a new, values-based operating system designed to support social and environmental balance and the creation of real, living wealth. We have seen what happens when government and big business operate in secret. The new system must be open to public scrutiny and democratic control. Globalization and the harshest form of capitalism have eroded the bonds of community and created vast gaps in wealth between the richest and the poorest. The new system must be locally rooted in strong communities and distribute wealth equitably. Our environment and our infrastructure have paid a terrible price for the belief that private interests must always win over public ones. A viable system must balance public and private interests. Unregulated speculation is at the root of the current crisis. Society is better served by a system that favors productive work and investment, limits speculation, and suppresses inflation in all forms-including financial bubbles. The following are five essential areas of action. 1. Government-Issued Money. There is urgent need for government action to create living wage jobs, rebuild public infrastructure, and restore domestic productive capacity. It is folly, however, for government to finance those projects by borrowing money created by the same private banks that created the financial mess. The government can and should instead issue debt-free money to finance the stimulus and meet other public needs. Properly administered, this money will flow to community-based enterprises and help revitalize Main Street market economies engaged in the production of real wealth. 2. Community Banking. Under the bailout, the government is buying ownership shares in failed Wall Street banks with the expectation of eventually reselling them to private interests. So far, the money has disappeared or gone to acquisitions, management bonuses, office remodeling, and fancy vacations with no noticeable effect on the freeing up of credit. A better plan, as many economists are recommending, is to force bankrupt banks into government receivership. As part of the sale and distribution of assets to meet creditor claims, these banks should be broken up and their local branches sold to local investors. These new, individual community banks and mutual savings and loan associations should be chartered to serve Main Street needs, lending to local manufacturers, merchants, farmers, and homeowners within a strong regulatory framework. 3. Real-Wealth Investment. Gambling should be confined to licensed casinos. Contrary to the claims of Wall Street, financial speculation does not create real wealth, serves no public interest, and should be strongly discouraged. Tax the purchase or sale of financial instruments and impose a tax surcharge on short-term capital gains. Make it illegal to sell, insure, or borrow against an asset you do not own, or to issue a financial security not backed by a real asset. This would effectively shut down much of Wall Street, which would be a positive result. The money that has been used for speculation must be redirected to productive investment that creates real wealth and meets our essential needs responsibly, equitably, and sustainably using green technologies and closed-loop production cycles. We can begin by eliminating subsidies for carbon fuels and putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. We can revise trade agreements to affirm the responsibility of every nation to contribute to global economic security and stability by organizing for sustainable self-reliance in food and energy and managing its economy to keep imports and exports in balance. If we Americans learn to live within our means, we will free up resources others need to feed, clothe, and house themselves and their families. The notion that reducing our consumption would harm others is an example of the distorted logic of a phantom-wealth economy. 4. Middle Class Fiscal Policy. The ruling financial elites have used their control of fiscal policy to conduct a class war that has decimated the once celebrated American middle class and led to economic disaster. Markets work best when economic power is equitably distributed and individuals contribute to the economy as both workers and owners. Massive inequality in income and ownership assures the failure of both markets and democracy. To restore the social fabric and allocate real resources in ways that serve the needs of all, we must restore the middle class through equity-oriented fiscal policies. There is also a strong moral argument that those who profited from creating our present economic mess should bear the major share of the cost of cleaning it up. It is time to reinstitute the policies that created the American middle class after World War II. Restore progressive income tax with a top rate of 90 percent and favor universal participation in responsible ownership and a family wage. Because no one has a natural birth entitlement to any greater share of the real wealth of society than anyone else, use the estate tax to restore social balance at the end of each lifetime in a modern equivalent of the Biblical Jubilee, which called for periodically forgiving debts and restoring land to its original owners. 5. Responsible Enterprise. Enterprises in a market economy need a fair return to survive. This imposes a necessary discipline. Service to the community, however, rather than profit, is the primary justification for the firm's existence. As Wall Street has so graphically demonstrated, profit is not a reliable measure of social contribution. Enterprises are most likely to serve their communities when they are human-scale and owned by responsible local investors with an active interest in their operation beyond mere profit. Concentrations of corporate power reduce public accountability, and no corporation should be too big to fail. The new economy will use antitrust to break large corporations into their component parts and sell them to responsible local owners. There are many ways to aggregate economic resources that do not create concentrations of monopoly power or encourage absentee ownership. These include the many forms of worker, cooperative, and community ownership and cooperative alliances among locally rooted firms. Current proposals for dealing with the economic collapse fall far short of dealing with the deep conflict of values and interests at the core of the current economic crisis. We face an urgent need to expand and deepen the debate to advance options that go far beyond anything currently on the table. The World We Want The world of our shared human dream is one where people live happy, productive lives in balance with one another and Earth. It is democratic and middle class without extremes of wealth or poverty. It is characterized by strong, stable families and communities in which relationships are defined primarily by mutual trust and caring. Every able adult is both a worker and an owner. Most families own their own home and have an ownership stake in their local economy. Everyone has productive work and is respected for his or her contribution to the well-being of the community. In the world we want, the organization of economic life mimics healthy ecosystems that are locally rooted, highly adaptive, and self-reliant in food and energy. Information and technology are shared freely, and trade between neighbors is fair and balanced. Each community, region and nation strives to live within its own means in balance with its own environmental resources. Conflicts are resolved peacefully and no group seeks to expropriate the resources of its neighbors. Competition is for excellence, not domination. The financial collapse has revealed the extreme corruption of the Wall Street financial system and created an extraordinary opening for change. We cannot, however, expect the leadership to come from within the political system. There is good reason why both the Bush and Obama administrations, different as they are, have responded to the Wall Street crash with bailouts for the guilty rather than face up to the need for a radical restructuring of the financial system. No president can stand up against Wall Street absent massive popular demand. To move forward, we the people must build a powerful popular political movement demanding a new economy designed to serve our children, families, communities, and nature. It begins with a conversation to demystify money and expose the lie that there is no alternative to the present economic system. It continues with action to rebuild our local economies based on sound market principles backed by national political action to transform the money system and broaden participation in ownership. This is our moment of opportunity. David Korten wrote this article as part of The New Economy, the Summer 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. David is co-founder and board chair of YES! His most recent book is Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth. Interested? David Korten reads from Agenda for a New Economy. [Anything that favors the bottom 99.99 percent is "RADICAL"; anything that favors the rich by stealing everything from the rest of us is "FREE ENTERPRISE", "the American way", "God's plan", and is supported whole hog by the mass media, wholly-owned legislators, the military and the police (cf RNC). Time for us to clean out our mental attics of the crap the rich have forcibly stowed there in order to enslave us. -ed] --------14 of 14--------- Debunking Canadian Health Care Myths by Rhonda Hackett Published on Sunday, June 7, 2009 by The Denver Post common dreams As a Canadian living in the United States for the past 17 years, I am frequently asked by Americans and Canadians alike to declare one health care system as the better one. Often I'll avoid answering, regardless of the questioner's nationality. To choose one or the other system usually translates into a heated discussion of each one's merits, pitfalls, and an intense recitation of commonly cited statistical comparisons of the two systems. Because if the only way we compared the two systems was with statistics, there is a clear victor. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to dispute the fact that Canada spends less money on health care to get better outcomes. Yet, the debate rages on. Indeed, it has reached a fever pitch since President Barack Obama took office, with Americans either dreading or hoping for the dawn of a single-payer health care system. Opponents of such a system cite Canada as the best example of what not to do, while proponents laud that very same Canadian system as the answer to all of America's health care problems. Frankly, both sides often get things wrong when trotting out Canada to further their respective arguments. As America comes to grips with the reality that changes are desperately needed within its health care infrastructure, it might prove useful to first debunk some myths about the Canadian system. Myth: Taxes in Canada are extremely high, mostly because of national health care. In actuality, taxes are nearly equal on both sides of the border. Overall, Canada's taxes are slightly higher than those in the U.S. However, Canadians are afforded many benefits for their tax dollars, even beyond health care (e.g., tax credits, family allowance, cheaper higher education), so the end result is a wash. At the end of the day, the average after-tax income of Canadian workers is equal to about 82 percent of their gross pay. In the U.S., that average is 81.9 percent. Myth: Canada's health care system is a cumbersome bureaucracy. The U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead. Think about it. It is not necessary to spend a huge amount of money to decide who gets care and who doesn't when everybody is covered. Myth: The Canadian system is significantly more expensive than that of the U.S. Ten percent of Canada's GDP is spent on health care for 100 percent of the population. The U.S. spends 17 percent of its GDP but 15 percent of its population has no coverage whatsoever and millions of others have inadequate coverage. In essence, the U.S. system is considerably more expensive than Canada's. Part of the reason for this is uninsured and underinsured people in the U.S. still get sick and eventually seek care. People who cannot afford care wait until advanced stages of an illness to see a doctor and then do so through emergency rooms, which cost considerably more than primary care services. What the American taxpayer may not realize is that such care costs about $45 billion per year, and someone has to pay it. This is why insurance premiums increase every year for insured patients while co-pays and deductibles also rise rapidly. Myth: Canada's government decides who gets health care and when they get it. While HMOs and other private medical insurers in the U.S. do indeed make such decisions, the only people in Canada to do so are physicians. In Canada, the government has absolutely no say in who gets care or how they get it. Medical decisions are left entirely up to doctors, as they should be. There are no requirements for pre-authorization whatsoever. If your family doctor says you need an MRI, you get one. In the U.S., if an insurance administrator says you are not getting an MRI, you don't get one no matter what your doctor thinks - unless, of course, you have the money to cover the cost. Myth: There are long waits for care, which compromise access to care. There are no waits for urgent or primary care in Canada. There are reasonable waits for most specialists' care, and much longer waits for elective surgery. Yes, there are those instances where a patient can wait up to a month for radiation therapy for breast cancer or prostate cancer, for example. However, the wait has nothing to do with money per se, but everything to do with the lack of radiation therapists. Despite such waits, however, it is noteworthy that Canada boasts lower incident and mortality rates than the U.S. for all cancers combined, according to the U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group and the Canadian Cancer Society. Moreover, fewer Canadians (11.3 percent) than Americans (14.4 percent) admit unmet health care needs. Myth: Canadians are paying out of pocket to come to the U.S. for medical care. Most patients who come from Canada to the U.S. for health care are those whose costs are covered by the Canadian governments. If a Canadian goes outside of the country to get services that are deemed medically necessary, not experimental, and are not available at home for whatever reason (e.g., shortage or absence of high tech medical equipment; a longer wait for service than is medically prudent; or lack of physician expertise), the provincial government where you live fully funds your care. Those patients who do come to the U.S. for care and pay out of pocket are those who perceive their care to be more urgent than it likely is. Myth: Canada is a socialized health care system in which the government runs hospitals and where doctors work for the government. Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt says single-payer systems are not "socialized medicine" but "social insurance" systems because doctors work in the private sector while their pay comes from a public source. Most physicians in Canada are self-employed. They are not employees of the government nor are they accountable to the government. Doctors are accountable to their patients only. More than 90 percent of physicians in Canada are paid on a fee-for-service basis. Claims are submitted to a single provincial health care plan for reimbursement, whereas in the U.S., claims are submitted to a multitude of insurance providers. Moreover, Canadian hospitals are controlled by private boards and/or regional health authorities rather than being part of or run by the government. Myth: There aren't enough doctors in Canada. >From a purely statistical standpoint, there are enough physicians in Canada to meet the health care needs of its people. But most doctors practice in large urban areas, leaving rural areas with bona fide shortages. This situation is no different than that being experienced in the U.S. Simply training and employing more doctors is not likely to have any significant impact on this specific problem. Whatever issues there are with having an adequate number of doctors in any one geographical area, they have nothing to do with the single-payer system. And these are just some of the myths about the Canadian health care system. While emulating the Canadian system will likely not fix U.S. health care, it probably isn't the big bad "socialist" bogeyman it has been made out to be. It is not a perfect system, but it has its merits. For people like my 55-year-old Aunt Betty, who has been waiting for 14 months for knee-replacement surgery due to a long history of arthritis, it is the superior system. Her $35,000-plus surgery is finally scheduled for next month. She has been in pain, and her quality of life has been compromised. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Aunt Betty - who lives on a fixed income and could never afford private health insurance, much less the cost of the surgery and requisite follow-up care - will soon sport a new, high-tech knee. Waiting 14 months for the procedure is easy when the alternative is living in pain for the rest of your life. Rhonda Hackett of Castle Rock, Colorado is a clinical psychologist. 2009 The Denver Post ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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