|Progressive Calendar 06.28.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2009 06:24:43 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 06.28.09 1. Stillwater vigil 6.28 1pm 2. Labor/single payer 6.28 3pm 3. Really free market 6.28 4pm 4. Vs AIPAC 6.28 6:30pm 5. Stop the reroute 6.28 8pm 6. Underground RR 6.29 6pm 7. Marty/Gov/Merlin's 6.29 6pm 8. Peace walk 6.29 6pm RiverFalls WI 9. Amnesty Intl 6.29 7pm 10. Marie Marchand - I want my money back! (Pres Obama!) 11. Mike Elk - Growing factory occupations may break the banks 12. Wendell Potter - The health insurance industry v health care reform --------1 of 12--------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 6.28 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 12-------- From: "Of the People" <info [at] jamesmayer.org> Subject: Labor/single payer 6.28 3pm NewYork Union Local Shows How Labor Is Fighting for Single Payer Of the People with James Mayer This Sunday at 3:00 P.M. AM950 KTNF or www.am950ktnf.com What Does it Take to Make Obama Listen? Check Out How The Troy New York Area Labor Council is Helping to Build Our National Groundswell & SOLIDARITY for Single Payer Health Care. Join us on Of the People with James Mayer and the President of the Troy, N.Y. Area Labor Council, Mike Keenan this Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 3 p.m. on AM950 KTNF (formerly Air America Minnesota) or, if out of the broadcast area, stream us at http://www.am950ktnf.com/listen. Our on-air call-in number is 952-946-6205. Mike Keenan will show us, step by step how community solidarity is being developed and is yielding an ever larger and stronger force to exert on our elected representatives and our President to establish a single payer health care system. A recent study released by the Institute for Health and Socio-economic Policy supports the idea that single payer health care can drive the economic recovery and create new jobs. The study was presented to members of Congress by the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care. Again, locally, you can join us by tuning your radio to 950 AM in your car, and in your home, or if you're not local, stream us :http://www.am950ktnf.com/listen (You will be asked to put in a MN zip code). Again, the on-air call-in number is 952-946-6205 Off-air, you can reach us by calling James Mayer at 651-238-3740, by e-mail at info [at] jamesmayer.org, or by U.S. mail: James Mayer, 970 Raymond Ave., St. Paul, MN Zip Code 55114. --------3 of 12-------- From: Michele <MRockne [at] gmail.com> Subject: Really free market 6.28 4pm Really, Really Free Market Organizer's Meeting 4:00pm, Sunday, June 28th Powderhorn Park, at the bottom of the hill by the stage Yes! The Really, Really Free Market is back! "What's a RRFM?" you say? It's a potluck, swap meet, skill share, talent show, and a block party all rolled into one. And best of all...it's FREE! That's right, no buying, selling, or trading - just people sharing with one another. Everything is fair game: food, clothes, books, furniture, art, skills, stories, anything you can think of to bring and share. Sound like a great idea? Then come to the organizer's meeting and let's make it happen. Bring experience, ideas, friends, or just enthusiasm and a desire to build community. With the economy in crisis, let's prove that we can take care of ourselves and each other outside of the frame of capitalism. Because there really is enough for everyone. Because sharing is always more fun than exchanging for profit. Because it's high time you met the neighbors. Because we're all in this together. --------4 of 12-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Vs AIPAC 6.28 6:30pm Demonstrate Against the Powerful Pro-Military Zionist Lobby: AIPAC Exposed! Sunday, June 28, 6:30 p.m. Minneapolis Marriott West, 9960 Wayzata Boulevard, St. Louis Park. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbies both the Democrats and Republicans to unconditionally support more U.S. military aid to Israel. AIPAC is seen as one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, D.C. and politicians of both parties are more concerned about gaining AIPAC's approval than justice for Palestinians. "AIPAC Power + U.S. Dollars = Death and Destruction in Palestine!" Organized by: the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), the Coalition for Palestinian Rights, the Minnesota Coalition on Gaza and others. WAMM is a member of the Minnesota Coalition on Gaza. FFI: Email ijan.tc [at] gmail.com. --------5 of 12-------- From: Amanda Luker <amanda [at] pinkslipmedia.org> Subject: Stop the reroute 6.28 8pm In an annual tradition, Arise! Bookstore will host a series of free weekly events throughout the summer, each with a different theme reflecting the diverse interests of volunteers at the collectively run bookstore. The events will take place each Sunday night at 8pm, opening with a speaker or performance, and ending with the screening of a film after sundown. June 28 Discussion with Minnehaha Free State activists. FILM Stop the Re-Route: Taking a Stand on Sacred Land. Arise! Bookstore 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55406 www.arisebookstore.org --------6 of 12-------- From: deeq Abdi <abdippehrc [at] gmail.com> Subject: Underground RR 6.29 6pm There is an Underground Rail Road Volunteer meeting. Monday June 29 6:00-7:00 Sabathani Community center room 126 The Underground Rail Road is project put together by founding PPEHRC members. The reasoning behind the foundation of the program is to let neighbors help one another where social service organizations fall short. So far PPEHRC has used the Underground Rail Road Project to find free storage places for families facing evictions, find house-hold items for those in need, short term housing, volunteers, transportation to name a few. --------7 of 12-------- From: "Daniel Fanning, Campaign Manager " <daniel [at] johnmarty.org> Subject: Marty/Gov/Merlin's 6.29 6pm John Marty for Governor 2010 Fund Raiser at Merlin's Rest Pub (3601 E. Lake St., MPLS) 6/29, 6-9 pm Marty for MN Movement Going Strong! The 2009 Legislative Session clearly demonstrated the need for a new direction for Minnesota and new, bold leadership in the Governor's Office. More than ever, Minnesota needs visionary, ethical and courageous leadership guided by Minnesota Values - that's exactly why we need John Marty as the next Governor. Senator Marty has been one of the strongest opponents to the recent cuts to Health & Human Services and Education - cuts that officials from Governor Pawlenty's own administration admit will hurt the "the poorest of the poor" and the "sickest of the sick." Senator Marty is the candidate that can best restore our great State to what it can and should be. Instead of kicking the poorest residents off health care, a Marty Administration will vigorously push to enact the MN Health Plan - a single plan that will give all Minnesotans guaranteed, affordable health care for all their medical needs including prescription drugs, dental care, mental health and chemical dependency treatment. This comprehensive plan will create jobs, save the state (tax payers) money, and will literally save lives! John is the ONLY candidate with a plan to enact Single-Payer Universal Health Care. Minnesota can lead the nation in Health Care Coverage, but we must support a candidate with the bold leadership and progressive vision MN needs. We must support a candidate that will take on the special interest money - one that has a proven track record of standing up to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. That candidate is John Marty. The Marty Campaign is very proud to be picking up strong support all throughout the state. On Friday, Senator Marty was the winner of a Straw Poll conducted at the Social Work Convention at the U of M-St. Paul Campus. The poll included all current and potential candidates for Governor. These social workers supported John because they know he will continue to provide the integrity, common sense and bold leadership he is known for. John has built that reputation while serving in the State Senate for the last twenty two years, and will bring those principals to the Governor's Office. The Marty for MN Movement is going very strong! Last week we made stops in Mankato, Fulda, Spring Lake Park, Duluth, Pine City, and all throughout the Metro Area. John also attended two special events to proudly offer support and solidarity - the Candlelight Vigil for Dr. Tiller and the Pride in the Park Picnic in Pine City. The next couple weeks will bring us to more great communities including - Rochester, Savage, Hibbing, Minneapolis, Albert Lea, Montevideo, Cambridge, Roseville, New Ulm, Austin, St. Louis Park, Winona, St. Cloud, Mound, Stillwater and back to Duluth - just to name a few. Senator Marty will also be participating in a panel discussion at the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) Panel in St. Paul. This is more than a political campaign - it's an opportunity to stand up for our shared vision and values. We can and will win this race, but we need your support to make it happen. John is not a wealthy, self-financed candidate. He does not accept special interest money. No corporate contributions. No PAC Money. No lobbyist money. That's why your support is especially important. Volunteer at the Marty for Governor Campaign Office- 2395 University Ave, Suite #303, St. Paul, MN (651) 646-4468 For more info please contact: info [at] johnmarty.org --------8 of 12-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 6.29 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 --------9 of 12-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 6.29 7pm Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, June 29th, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street, Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at 612/378-1166 or johns779 [at] tc.umn.edu. --------10 of 12-------- I Want My Money Back! (Pres. Obama!) by Marie Marchand Sunday, June 28, 2009 CommonDreams.org I want my money back. I gave $20 a week for seven months, plus $60 every once in a while for a t-shirt and sticker. I gave of my modest purse joyfully. Once I add that all up, it makes a grand total of... $106 billion?! Wait a minute, I thought I was supporting change I could believe in, not more of the same bloodshed and war! Betrayal is a part of life. After awhile, you just come to expect it. Yet, the initial shock always hits you as a surprise. Alas, the nature of betrayal. Humans are vulnerable to being betrayed because underneath our husky shells, our pain and hardened hearts, we are soft and trustful creatures. We want to believe in people. I'm not that young, so I possess some cynicism. But I'm not that old either, so I manage some idealism. Sure, I am used to being betrayed by my government. But I thought my days of calling the White House in tears were over. To think that Barack Obama preyed on this naive hope in me and millions like me is unforgivable. I expect the Republicans to throw money at the Military Industrial Complex. Yet, from the Democrats, I was promised a different direction (like OUT of the Middle East). Regrettably, there has been miniscule change. There is still nothing to believe in. It is against my religion to say the Pledge of Allegiance. (I am a Christian so I pledge allegiance only to God.) I did, however, pledge my time and treasure to Barack Obama. On November 4, 2008, I danced in the streets waving the American Flag, feeling proud to be an American. I was pathetically close to bustin' out some Toby Keith ditties. It's not just the $106 billion that makes me feel betrayed. It's not just the fact that Gitmo probably won't be shut down after all. It is not even the president's assurance to Republicans that he will not release the photos of detainee abuse. It is the rumors of intimidation and strong-arming that are, to me, the greatest betrayal. That President Barack Obama sent Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi to bully anti-war Democrats into voting for the supplemental (and threatening to withdraw the leadership's support for their re-elections if they didn't) is a shameful misuse of power. Where's the humanity I once saw in Barack? It's just more of the same and I can't stomach it. I knew I was nave; yet like millions of Americans, I had no choice but to believe. Our hearts were desperate for hope. We saw Barack Obama as an oasis in the desert. To think that he may be just a mirage is heartbreaking. When you have a minute, give Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold a call at (202) 224-5323. He was the only Democrat in the Senate to vote against the war funding (along with three Republicans and an Independent). Oh, and please consider supporting my grassroots campaign to get my $680 back so I can donate it to the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center. Thanks. Marie Marchand is executive director of the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center in Bellingham, WA. --------11 of 12-------- Growing Factory Occupations Threaten to Break the Banks by: Mike Elk Thursday 25 June 2009 The Huffington Post Truthout So far only one group has been able to force the banks to seriously change their practices - workers occupying their factories. Last December, members of the United Electrical Workers (UE) employed by Republic Windows and Doors were initially denied severance pay when management announced the closing of their Chicago factory. Bank of America and JPMorganChase refused to continue the company's credit line and to provide severance pay, required under the workers' union contract. Adding insult to injury, the company failed to give 60 days notice of the closing which is required by U.S. law under the federal WARN Act. Workers responded by occupying the plant, protesting the refusal of banks to extend credit under the slogan "You got bailed out, We got sold out". After a six-day occupation and expressions of solidarity from around the world, including from President Obama, the banks caved in and agreed to pay workers' severance pay. However, unionized Republic workers did more than just win back their severance pay, they created a model of direct action which has the potential to hold the banks accountable for their actions. Prominent scholars like Paul Krugman, Simon Johnson, and Noami Klein have argued that opportunities to dramatically restructure the banking system have diminished greatly as the sense of crisis has decreased. Nobel Prize wining economist Paul Krugman claims that corporate interests have much to lose if real reform were enacted and are in response, pushing the line that the economy is returning to normal in order to kill reform. As my colleague Joshua Holland points out in a must-read piece: "Much of the business establishment has an interest in heading off any attempt to fundamentally transform the economy. After all, when things go south in the 21st century, the big fish are protected - they get a bailout." While, the stimulus program and other bailout measures may have prevented economic devastation greater than the Great Depression, the current crisis remains one of the worst in decades. Unemployment is increasing to double digits, credit markets remain frozen, and many people may literally be forced to work until they die, as their retirement accounts have been devastated by gambling on Wall Street. Indeed, there is a potential for the crisis to worsen, as foreclosures increased by 20% from a year ago. At first, foreclosures were caused by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage industry, but now unemployed workers unable to pay their mortgages are losing their homes at an alarming rate. The economic crisis remains very real. Wall Street, fearing real structural reform and regulation, are attempting to deny the depth of this crisis. While corporate interests were largely in favor of Obama's stimulus program because it meant more business for them, they are largely opposed to fixing the fundamental problem - putting profits before people. We need to put an end to the predatory practices of the big banks and investment houses by downsizing the banks, limiting CEO pay, eliminating the casino capitalism of credit swap derivatives and other regulatory measures that make banks accountable to communities Unfortunately, the current administration has fallen short in protecting us from Wall Street. Therefore, it is up to us through a model direct action, as used by civil rights movement's sit-ins and boycotts and the sit down strikes of the 1930s, to fight back against Wall Street. Under, the motto of "Wells Fargo - Roadblock to Recovery", the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers America (UE), the same union that occupied a Chicago windows factory in December for six days, has mounted protests in 20 cities against Wells Fargo when it denied credit to Quad City Die Casting, a state-of-the-art factory in Moline, IL. Quad City Die Casting had been profitable until last fall. So far, Wells Fargo has even refused to release details on why it is forcing closure of the facility. Workers at Quad City Die Casting are fighting back and are engaged in direct action against Wells Fargo as they refuse to continue provide capital funds. The successful struggle at Republic Windows has provided a model under which workers can successfully fight the banks by occupying their plants. 4,000 workers, members of SEIU, at two Hartmarx men's apparel factories, are also fighting Wells Fargo's actions and are also threatening to occupy their factories. Last months, workers at four Canadian plants, members of the Canadian Auto Workers, used plant occupations to win their severance pay. Last week, President Obama called for broad financial reform calling it the most "the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulation since the 1930s." Experts say that while the plan seems to be directionally correct in many areas, it is worrisome in the details that the plan omits. Some experts worry that the plan does not adequately address the issue of whether the banks are "too big to fail", does little to address the perceived incentive structure of executive pay, and does not outlaw the complex credit derivative swaps that lead to this crisis. However what is most worrisome to me is that the plan lacks any comprehensive measure to make banks more transparent and accountable to the communities they serve. It's time that we as a movement start drawing upon the massive mandate for change personified in Obama's landslide victory to bring real change to our economy. Seizing on the electoral momentum of FDR's massive landslide victory and upsets with poor working standards, UAW members in Flint, Michigan decided to occupy their factory in the Great Flint Sit-Down strike in 1937. Despite the passage of the Wagner Act in 1934, which gave workers the right to collective bargaining, most companies still refused to bargain with unions. The ultra conservative 1930's Supreme Court was even tempted to outlaw unions as unconstitutional in order to stop the power of organized labor to counter big business. The Flint Sit-down strike changed all this. It sparked a series of 538 similar sit-down strikes changed the economy of this nation for the better. The strikes brought companies such as G.M., U.S. Steel, and General Electrical to their knees forcing them to negotiate fair contracts with their workers. The Supreme Court backed off its threat to declare unions unconstitutional. The Flint-Sit down strikes revitalized organized labor with UAW membership increasing from 30,000 to 500,000 in just one year! The strong emergence of the labor movement created the political climate that laid to the passage of the Fair Labor Standards in 1938 which set a minimum wage standards, established overtime pay, and outlawed child labor. Similarly, while LBJ attempted to delay civil rights legislation, the civil rights went out and showed the urgent need for it through sit-ins, freedom rides, and massive boycotts against racial discrimination. As a result, they were able to hold not just individual institutions accountable for their civil rights practices, but indeed creates the political climate necessary for the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act. As Martin Luther King said in "A Letter from Birmingham Jail," "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored." We can also use direct action to create a sense of crisis in order to not just counter they myths of quick economic recovery being pushed by Wall Street and hold them more accountable to communities, but to also create the climate necessary for reform. We can force the banks to change their practices on predatory lending through defending the rights of families to stay in their homes after they have been foreclosed in order to force banks to renegotiate the terms of their mortgages. Laid off workers should stay in their factories after they are closed in order to force to negotiate a way to keep these factories open. Engaging in such actions will diminish the power of the banks to call the shots. As Chris Townsend, Political Action Director of UE, the union which occupied the factory in Chicago pointed out to me "One of the most interesting things about the Republic Windows occupation is that the banks wanted to settle in as rapid a fashion as possible. Two giant banks - in one week - were forced to pay the workers what they were owed to the tune of almost two million dollars. There are lawsuits and legal actions that have been going on for years against banks for similar things that have never been able to achieve those kind of results. These banks don't want to be in the spotlight; they want to hide at all costs. They wanted to settle as quickly in order to stop the movement of this type of direct action from spreading because they know such a movement could crush them." --------12 of 12-------- A Former Insurance Industry Insider Tells All The Health Insurance Industry v. Health Care Reform By WENDELL POTTER CounterPunch June 25, 2009 I'm the former insurance industry insider now speaking out about how big for-profit insurers have hijacked our health care system and turned it into a giant ATM for Wall Street investors, and how the industry is using its massive wealth and influence to determine what is (and is not) included in the health care reform legislation members of Congress are now writing. Although by most measures I had a great career in the insurance industry (four years at Humana and nearly 15 at CIGNA), in recent years I had grown increasingly uncomfortable serving as one of the industry's top PR executives. In addition to my responsibilities at CIGNA, which included serving as the company's chief spokesman to the media on all corporate and financial matters, I also served on a lot of trade association committees and industry-financed coalitions, many of which were essentially front groups for insurers. So I was in a unique position to see not only how Wall Street analysts and investors influence decisions insurance company executives make but also how the industry has carried out behind-the-scenes PR and lobbying campaigns to kill or weaken any health care reform efforts that threatened insurers' profitability. I also have seen how the industry's practices - especially those of the for-profit insurers that are under constant pressure from Wall Street to meet their profit expectations - have contributed to the tragedy of nearly 50 million people being uninsured as well as to the growing number of Americans who, because insurers now require them to pay thousands of dollars out of their own pockets before their coverage kicks in - are underinsured. An estimated 25 million of us now fall into that category. What I saw happening over the past few years was a steady movement away from the concept of insurance and toward "individual responsibility," a term used a lot by insurers and their ideological allies. This is playing out as a continuous shifting of the financial burden of health care costs away from insurers and employers and onto the backs of individuals. As a result, more and more sick people are not going to the doctor or picking up their prescriptions because of costs. If they are unfortunate enough to become seriously ill or injured, many people enrolled in these plans find themselves on the hook for such high medical bills that they are losing their homes to foreclosure or being forced into bankruptcy. As an industry spokesman, I was expected to put a positive spin on this trend that the industry created and euphemistically refers to as "consumerism" and to promote so-called "consumer-driven" health plans. I ultimately reached the point of feeling like a huckster. I thought I could live with being a well-paid huckster and hang in there a few more years until I could retire. I probably would have if I hadn't made a completely spur-of-the-moment decision a couple of years ago that changed the direction of my life. While visiting my folks in northeast Tennessee where I grew up, I read in the local paper about a health "expedition" being held that weekend a few miles up U.S. 23 in Wise, Va. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were volunteering their time to provide free medical care to people who lived in the area. What intrigued me most was that Remote Area Medical, a non-profit group whose original mission was to provide free care to people in remote villages in South America, was organizing the expedition. I decided to check it out. That 50-mile stretch of U.S. 23, which twists through the mountains where thousands of men have made their living working in the coalmines, turned out to be my "road to Damascus." Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I reached the Wise County Fairgrounds, where the expedition was being held. Hundreds of people had camped out all night in the parking lot to be assured of seeing a doctor or dentist when the gates opened. By the time I got there, long lines of people stretched from every animal stall and tent where the volunteers were treating patients. That scene was so visually and emotionally stunning it was all I could do to hold back tears. How could it be that citizens of the richest nation in the world were being treated this way? A couple of weeks later I was boarding a corporate jet to fly from Philadelphia to a meeting in Connecticut. When the flight attendant served my lunch on gold-rimmed china and gave me a gold-plated knife and fork to eat it with, I realized for the first time that someone's insurance premiums were paying for me to travel in such luxury. I also realized that one of the reasons those people in Wise County had to wait in long lines to be treated in animal stalls was because our Wall Street-driven health care system has created one of the most inequitable health care systems on the planet. Although I quit my job last year, I did not make a final decision to speak out as a former insider until recently when it became clear to me that the insurance industry and its allies (often including drug and medical device makers, business groups and even the American Medical Association) were succeeding in shaping the current debate on health care reform. While the thought of speaking out had crossed my mind during the months leading up to the day I gave notice, I initially decided instead to hang out my shingle as a consultant to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. I decided to take the shingle down, though, at least for a while, when I heard members of Congress reciting talking points like the ones I used to write to scare people away from real reform. I'll have more to say about that over the coming weeks and months, but, for now, remember this: whenever you hear a politician or pundit use the term "government-run health care" and warn that the creation of a public health insurance option that would compete with private insurers (or heaven forbid, a single-payer system like the one Canada has) will "lead us down the path to socialism," know that the original source of the sound bite most likely was some flack like I used to be. Bottom line: I ultimately decided the stakes are too high for me to just sit on the sidelines and let the special interests win again. So I have joined forces with thousands of other Americans who are trying to persuade our lawmakers to listen to us for a change, not just to the insurance and drug company executives who are spending millions to shape reform to benefit them and the Wall Street hedge fund managers they are beholden to. Take it from me, a former insider, who knows what really motivates those folks. You need to know where the hard-earned money you pay in health insurance premiums - if you lucky enough to have coverage at all - really goes. I decided to speak out knowing that some people will not like what I have to say and will do all they can to discredit me. In anticipation of that, here are some facts: I am not doing this because my former employer was pushing me out the door or because I had become a disgruntled employee. I had not been passed over for a promotion or anything like that. As I noted earlier, I had a financially rewarding career in the industry, and I'm very grateful for that. I had numerous promotions, raises, bonuses, stock options and stock grants over the years. When I left my last job, I was as close on the corporate ladder to the CEO as any PR person has ever climbed at the company. I reported to the general counsel, the company's top lawyer, whose boss is the chairman and CEO, a man I like and worked closely with over many years. The decision to leave was entirely my own, and I left on good terms with everybody at the company. In fact, I agreed to postpone my last day at work by more than two months at the company's request. My coworkers gave me a terrific going-away party, and I received dozens of kind notes from people all across the country including friends at other companies and at America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry trade association. I still consider all of them my friends. In fact, the thing I have missed most since I left is working as part of a team, even though I eventually came to the conclusion that I was playing for the wrong side. Being a consultant has its advantages, but I have missed the camaraderie. After a few months, I thought that maybe I should consider working for another company again. At one point, a former boss told me that another insurer had posted a PR job and encouraged me to contact a former CIGNA executive who worked there about it. Against my better judgment, I did, but I immediately decided not to pursue it. The last thing I wanted to do was to go from one big insurer to another one. What the hell was I thinking? I'm writing this because, knowing how things work, I'm fully expecting insurers' PR firms to quietly feed friends of the industry (which include a roster of editorial writers and pundits, lawmakers and many others who fall under the broad category of "third-party advocates,") with anything they can think of to discredit me and what I say. This will go on behind the scenes because the insurers will want to preserve the image they are working so hard to cultivate - as a group of kind and caring folks who think only of you and your health and are working hard as real partners to Congress and the White House to find "a uniquely American solution" to what ails our system. I expect this because I have worked closely with the industry's PR firms over many years whenever the insurers were being threatened with bad publicity, litigation or legislation that might hinder profits. One of the reasons I chose to become affiliated with the Center for Media and Democracy is because of the important work the organization does to expose often devious, dishonest and unethical PR practices that further the self interests of big corporations and special interest groups at the expense of the American people and the democratic principles this country was founded on. After a long career in PR, I am looking forward to providing an insider's perspective as a senior fellow at CMD, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to speak out for the rights and dignity of ordinary people. The people of Wise County and every county deserve much better than to be left behind to suffer or die ahead of their time due to Wall Street's efforts to keep our government from ensuring that all Americans have real access to first-class health care. Wendell Potter is the Senior Fellow on Health Care for the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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