Progressive Calendar 06.07.09
From: David Shove (
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]>
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

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

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

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
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]>
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.

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

From: smilyus [at]
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]
Melissa Hill
St. Anthony East, Minneapolis
Info about Melissa Hill:

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

From: Dave Bicking <davebicking [at]>
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: and
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:

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]>
Subject: Full moon walk 6.07 7pm

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

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

From: Arise! Bookstore | Minneapolis Radical and Progressive Books and
    Resources Collective <arise [at]>
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.

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

From: Cam Gordon <CamGordon333 [at]>
Subject: Mpls burning 6.08 4:30pm

The staff report about this is now complete and available here

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] 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]>
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] Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022

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

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at]>
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]

--------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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                         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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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