|Progressive Calendar 07.10.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 13:56:16 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.10.09 1. Palestine vigil 7.10 4:15pm 2. Party/Rosemary's 7.10 6pm 3. Postville/play 7.10 7:30pm 4. Moyers/Potter 7.10 9pm 5. Peace walk 7.11 9am Cambridge MN 6. TC zinefest 7.11 11am 7. EXCO design class 7.11 11am 8. Health care 7.11 11am 9. Northtown vigil 7.11 2pm 10. Rodriguez rally 7.11 2:30/4pm 11. Nagasaki 7.11 6:30pm 12. Stillwater vigil 7.12 1pm 13. RNC8 defense 7.12 3:30pm 14. Wendell Potter - Health care industry adopts tobacco lobby's tactics 15. Dennis Rahkonen - Honduran coup: damning indictment of capitalism 16. John Ross - Latin America asks: are the gorillas back? 17. Ronnie Cummins - The organic monopoly & the myth of "natural" foods 18. ed - bumpersticker --------1 of 18-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine Vigil 7.10 4:15pm The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. the Friday demo starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. there are usually extra signs available. --------2 of 18-------- From: welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com Subject: Party/Rosemary's 7.10 6pm Party at Rosemary's house this Friday the 10th! --She is still fighting the foreclosure. Come join WRC and others for a fundraiser. People's Party at Rosemary's Home! Support our friend and neighbor, Rosemary Williams, as we continue to defend our community. Host:Rosemary Williams Friday, July 10, 2009 at 6:00pm - 12:00am Rosemary's House 3138 Clinton Ave. South, Minneapolis We're putting the fun in fundraiser! The cups are being given out in exchange for a suggested donation of $5 (and we'll even accept more). The beer and wine will be flowing freely. We'll be grilling dollar dogs (both meaty and vegan). Slices of watermelon are also on the menu. Of course, rockin' tunes will also be heard (dancing is encouraged). We won't let the tyrants in their ivory bank towers destroy the spirit of our community, so come on by and give that spirit some exercise! Welfare Rights Committee PO Box 7266, Mpls MN 55407 pho: 612-822-8020 main email: welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com alt email: welfarerights [at] qwest.net --------3 of 18-------- From: "[ISO-8859-1] Marco Dávila" <maidaca85 [at] gmail.com> From: Kathryn Sharpe <kathrynsharpe19 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Postville/play 7.10 7:30pm I would like to invite you to attend this wonderful event coming up on July 10 - it offers a powerful, intimate perspective on the real effects of immigration raids on the individuals and communities caught up in them. We hope to see you there! La Historia de Nuestras Vidas July 10th 6pm Dinner 7:30 Performance Holy Trinity Lutheran Church 2730 E 31st St Minneapolis La Historia de Nuestras Vida is a play written and performed by a group of men affected by the Postville Raid of last year, La Historia powerfully explores the difficult conditions that force people to migrate while providing a tender - sometimes quite funny - perspective on the dreams we all share as humans. The play is presented in Spanish. The audience can follow along with the playbill in English. A Tamale Dinner will be served at 6pm and the performance will follow at 7:30pm --Tickets: $20. Proceeds will go to help those affected by the Postville raid Buy Your Tickets On-line:http://ent.groundspring.org/EmailNow/pub.php?module=URLTracker&cmd=track&j=28225 9161&u=3089417 *Donations will also be taken at the door. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Sponsored by The Interfaith Coalition on Immigration, MIRAc and the Resource Center --------4 of 18-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: Moyers/Potter 7.10 9pm Bill Moyers Journal | Profits Before Patients http://www.truthout.org/070809U?n Bill Moyers Journal: "With almost 20 years inside the health insurance industry, Wendell Potter saw for-profit insurers hijack our health care system and put profits before patients. Now, he speaks with Bill Moyers about how those companies are standing in the way of health care reform. Potter spoke out against the industry for the first time last month." [See article by Potter below: #14] --------5 of 18-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 7.11 9am Cambridge MN every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------6 of 18-------- From: Twin Cities Zinefest <zines [at] zinefest.org> Subject: TC zinefest 7.11 11am Sixth annual Twin Cities Zinefest! July 11 + 12 Zinefest is the Twin Cities' premiere DIY craft, culture and self-publishing event, and it's happening soon! The TC Zinefest strives to connect the Twin Cities community to DIY culture as openly and easily as possible by making tables affordable to exhibitors, and events and admission free to attendees. Come to trade, buy, talk or learn. Things are happening all day at Zinefest, and we hope you can come take a look! THE BASICS: Twin Cities Zinefest July 11-12, 2009 Saturday 11am-5pm, Sunday 11am-4pm Stevens Square Center for the Arts 1905 3rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404 admission is free EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday, July 11, 11am-5pm 1pm : open mic zine reading (by attendees and exhibitors) 3pm : MPLS Zines (documentary by Monica Anderson) 4pm : Presentation Night (Minneapolis' own living zine performs) Sunday, July 12, 11am-4pm 12pm : Starting a Distribution Co-op with Likeminded Publications (workshop with Microcosm's Joe Biel - limit 20 participants) 2pm : If It Ain't Cheap, It Ain't Punk: 15 Years of Plan-it X Records (documentary by Joe Biel) THE AFTER-PARTY: Four zine-friendly bands will play at Arise! Bookstore on Saturday night. Please join us! This event is open to the public. Zinesters can bring books to consign at Arise! and party for a bit with their DIY compatriots. The after-party starts at 6pm and will feature music from Teenage Moods, Gerald Prokop, Bla Bla Blacksheep, and Zombie Season. The event is free. Arise! Bookstore is located at 2441 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405. MORE INFORMATION: Check out the website: zinefest.org Check out last year's event featured on Access to Arts: http://zinefest.org/?p=5 CONTACT: Sarah Morean : Twin Cities Zinefest Coordinator : zines [at] zinefest.org : 612-618-7313 --------7 of 18-------- From: Leslie Reindl <alteravista [at] usfamily.net> Subject: EXCO design class 7.11 11am The following is a class being offered through the Experimental College of the Twin Cities, EXCO-TC. At EXCO, everyone can teach or take classes and all classes are free. EXCOtc is a collective of Experimental Colleges in the Twin Cities that shares visions of a better world, offers free and open classes and is building a community around education for social change. EXCO-TC is made up of four collaborating organizing groups out of: Macalester, the U of M, MCTC, and the Waite House. The first chapter based out of Macalester (EXCO-Mac) began in 2006 and a second one based out of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (EXCO-UMN) began in 2008. We are excited to be developing chapters all over the Twin Cities and are open to both campus and community groups starting chapters. Visit the website www.excotc.org to see other classes being offered this summer. -- Designing for a Changing Future: Understanding the Past as a Basis for Better Designs for the Future Description Design is a (human) response to a situation, challenge, or problem constrained by insight, means, opportunities, and environment. The response can reach far beyond the designer's intent or conception. Today's solution-driven designs for society can be dangerous propositions. This class will examine the listed constraints, taking into account the humanistic and philosophical concepts that underlie today's society (understanding where we have come from) and will engage students in applying a resulting broader vision to specific design problems. Three 1 1/2-hour sessions, each including class discussion: Saturday, July 11--Purpose of design, principles, and analysis of conditions leading to today's design environment, illustrated with slides Saturday, July 18--Cultural filters to which current designs must conform, illustrated with slides Saturday, July 25--Development of new design principles and student analysis of a design problem Optional 4--Student creation of ongoing hands-on designing sessions Time and Place 11 am to 12:30 pm, Room 207 at Macalester College (Student) Campus Center Facilitator Wilhelm Reindl--Mr. Reindl was educated in physics at the University of Munich. In his working life in Minnesota he was a researcher at the University of Minnesota and with the federal Bureau of Mines; a former energy consultant to government, industry, and community organizations; and an independent energy entrepreneur and inventor. --------8 of 18-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Health care 7.11 11am [SEIU is labor gone over to the Dem dark side, selling out single payer and crippling the "public option" so it fails and brings all public health into disrepute. If you go at all, defend single payer, and ask then why they don't, watch them weasel, and call them on it. And if they say they're "on record" as for single payer, ask them to name one concrete thing they've done to support it. -ed] July 11: Join SEIU Health Care Minnesota to speak out to demand health care equity for all, stand up for the health of our children and families, and enjoy food and live cultural entertainment. Enjoy a special performance by Sarah Jones. Free and open to all. 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM at Wellstone Community Center, 179 East Robie Street, St. Paul. --------9 of 18-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 7.11 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------10 of 18-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: Rodriguez rally 7.11 2:30/4pm JUSTICE FOR BRANDON RODRIGUEZ RALLY Saturday, July 11, 2009 4:00 p.m. Wilson Park, 4th and Eddy, Hastings, MN Cars will be leaving at 2:30 from Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis On July 11, 2008, Brandon Rodriguez was killed by three Hastings police officers and a Dakota County deputy. His life was ended within minutes of the call being dispatched. Brandon was suicidal that evening and received four bullets from the officers without them investigating why he was acting the way he was. Brandon was only 23 years old. Rather than addressing the poor handling of the Rodriguez case, the Hastings police chief awarded the officers Medals of Honor. There is no honor in killing a mentally ill young man who posed no immediate danger to the officers. On the one year anniversary of Brandon's death, join us for a rally and march to demand that Chief McMenomy rescind these medals and that Hastings police receive training in addressing situations involving mentally ill people so that future tragedies are avoided. Cars will be leaving at 2:30 from Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis. Be sure to sign the petition at http.//www.thepetitionsite.com/107/Justice-for-Brandon-Rodriguez --------11 of 18-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Nagasaki 7.11 6:30pm July 11: Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates 11th Day Prayer for Peace Praying and Preparation for the Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Bombing of Nagasaki. Reflection by Jim Scheibel, former Mayor of St. Paul. 6:30 PM at Presentation of Our Lady Chapel, St. Paul. --------12 of 18-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 7.12 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 --------13 of 18-------- From: info [at] rnc8.org Subject: RNC8 defense 7.12 3:30pm July 12 RNC8 Defense Committee Meeting 3:30PM to 5:30PM Walker Church 3104 16th Ave So, Minneapolis The one year anniversary of the pre-RNC house raids and the repressive police actions at the RNC is just weeks away. Trials for the RNC8 are expected to begin sometime this fall. Lots of important work to do! The July 12th meeting of the RNC8 Defense Committee is a vital meeting to attend. Be part of this significant struggle to defend the 8 and our right to dissent. Put it on your calendar right this minute! --------14 of 18-------- The Ultimate Irony Health Care Industry Adopts Tobacco Lobby's Tactics By WENDELL POTTER CounterPunch July 10-12, 2009 [See Potter on Moyers tonight 7.10 9pm] At first look, one might not think that the health insurance industry has much in common with the tobacco industry. After all, one sells a product that kills people and the other sells a product nominally aimed at putting people back together. But when it comes to deceitful public relations techniques, the health insurance industry has been learning well from Big Tobacco, which employed a panoply of shady but highly successful public relations tactics to fend off changes to its business for generations. One of the things I said in my testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee on June 24 is that the health insurance industry engages in duplicitous public relations campaigns to influence public opinion and the debate on health care reform. By that I mean there are campaigns they want you to you know about, and those they don't. When you hear insurance company executives talk about how much they support health care reform and can be counted on by the President and Congress to be there for them, that's the campaign they want you to be aware of. I call it their PR charm offensive. When you read or hear someone other than an insurance company executive - including members of Congress - trash some aspect of reform the industry doesn't like, such as the creation of a public health insurance option, there's a better-than-even chance that person is shilling for the industry. That's the PR campaign the industry doesn't want you to know about. The public relations and lobbying firms that work for the industry plan and carry out those deception-based campaigns, and supply the shills with talking points. One of many tactics they use is to get people who are ideologically in sync with the industry's agenda to turn those talking points into letters to the editor. An example of a letter that contained many of the industry's messages appeared in the June 27 edition of the New York Times. The writer, Pete Petersen, identified as an employee benefits consultant for small employers, took issue with a June 20 Times editorial, which noted that, like Medicare, "a public plan (health insurance) plan would have lower administrative expenses than private plans." Mr. Petersen claimed that the Medicare program is a poor example of an efficient government program because it is administered by the private sector. While it is true that the government contracts with private companies to handle claims, the reason Medicare has such low administrative costs is because it does not have the unnecessary overhead expenses private insurers have, such as costs associated with sales, marketing and underwriting. Mr. Peterson also wrote that Medicaid, Champus and state CHIPs "that are administered by federal, state and municipal authorities" average 26 percent in administrative costs. What he did not mention is that in many if not most cases, those authorities have turned those programs over to the insurance industry to run. Private insurers' involvement in those programs is much greater than in the Medicare program. That helps explain why they have higher administrative costs. Mr. Peterson also claimed that, according to a 2006 PricewaterhouseCoopers study, "86 cents of every premium dollar goes directly toward paying for medical services". What he does not disclose is that America's Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry's biggest trade and lobbying group, commissioned that study. A 2008 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers that was not paid for by the insurance industry tells a different and more revealing story. That study reveals that the percentage of premium dollars going to pay for medical care has fallen from more than 95 percent to slightly more than 80 percent since 1993. Wendell Potter is the Senior Fellow on Health Care for the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin. --------15 of 18-------- Honduran Coup: Damning Indictment of Capitalism by Dennis Rahkonen July 10th, 2009 Dissident Voice Since he's spending his summer vacation at our home, I recently washed my 11-year-old grandson's dirty clothes. As I later folded them, small tags told me they were manufactured in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, and Honduras. Not one item bore a "Made in USA" label, which is very sad, considering that the unionized needle trades were once a bastion of our country's labor movement, and that finding attire produced overseas was a rarity just a few decades ago. All this relates closely to the despicable coup that deposed Honduras' democratically elected president, Manuel Zaleya. Although the coup's initiators say they were motivated by other factors, what really spurred their reactionary ire was Zaleya promoting better pay and conditions for Honduran workers in general, but particularly for the virtual sweatshop slaves whose cruel exploitation by mostly U.S. garment firms has been an utterly obscene profit generator for shameless owners residing in luxury in the North. It would be extremely naive to think those "foreign" companies, along with others involved in banana and fruit growing, did not facilitate the coup in more than minor ways. It goes without saying, also, that U.S. political conservatives, with operative ties to covert Central American intrigues dating back to the Reagan years, are now malevolently present in Tegucigalpa. Our nation's anti-democratic, imperialist role in Central America is nothing new. Countless religious activists, teachers, clinic workers, union organizers, and ordinary campesinos were brutalized by sordid contras secretly armed and trained by the U.S. under illegal Reagan administration aegis during the '80s. Much earlier, however, Yankee pillage of Latin America (as well as other world locales) was already standard operating procedure, as starkly exposed by former Marine Corps Commandant Smedley Butler: I spent 33 years (in the Marines) - most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City (Bank) boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. I had a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions. I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate in three city districts. The Marines operated on three continents. Progressives familiar with people's history know about the titanic struggle it took to unionize U.S. labor, lifting largely immigrant masses out of deep poverty, winning them the pay, benefits, and conditions that would shape the contours of our storied "good life". They know, too, that the most militant unions were purged and broken during the McCarthyite Red Scare, allowing class-collaborationist tendencies to rise, making the decimation of American labor in the aftermath of Reagan's firing of the air traffic controllers essentially a cake walk, much to the profitable delight of corporate parasites. Now our working class - the backbone of society and the creator of all productive wealth - is losing its jobs, homes, health care, pensions, and collective temper on an unprecedented scale. The savagely exploitative, intensely destructive Walmart labor relations model dominates U.S. life, and everything we buy is produced abroad in oppressive settings where women and children toil long hours for mere pennies. We (and certainly they) are being ground into the dust as a tiny minority of private "entrepreneurs" live high on the hog, via stolen wealth that properly should be used to improve everyone's living standards. But capitalism can't do that. It's unable to function in anything but an increasingly rapacious way, shafting majority wage earners ever more painfully, whether through the acute injustice that leaves evicted families on the street in U.S. cities, or Hondurans fearfully facing military repression and a drastic deterioration of their already desperate existence. As its growing resort to super-exploitation, dictatorial harshness, violence and war clearly proves, capitalism is the intrinsic enemy - not the ballyhooed champion - of fair play, democracy, simple decency, and peace. Humanity will have no future worth aspiring to if it stays tied to capitalism's irreparable flaws and fiercely down-pulling restraints. The rest of this pivotal century clearly must be devoted to building truly democratic, broadly uplifting socialism on a global scale. It's the great moral imperative of our era. Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the '60s. --------16 of 18-------- Latin America Asks: Are the Gorillas Back? After the Honduran Coup By JOHN ROSS July 10-12, 2009 CounterPunch Mexico City. The June 28th coup d'etat in Honduras that toppled leftist president Mel Zelaya sends us back to the bad old days of the "gorillas" - generals and strongmen who overthrew each other with reckless abandon and the tacit complicity of Washington. Perched on a hillside in the Mexican outback, we would tune in to these "golpes de estado", as they are termed in Latin America, on our Zenith Transoceanic short wave. First, a harried announcer would report rumors of troop movement and the imposition of a "toque de queda" (curfew.) Hours of dead air (and probably dead announcers) would follow and then the martial music would strike up, endless tape loops of military marches and national anthems. Within a few days, the stations would be back up as if nothing had happened. Only the names of the generals who ruled the roost had changed. Guatemala was the Central American republic par excelencia for such "golpes." Perhaps the most memorable was the overthrow of General Jacobo Arbenz by Alan Dulles's CIA in 1954 after Arbenz sought to expropriate and distribute unused United Fruit land. Like Mel Zelaya, the general was shaken rudely awake by soldiers and booted out of the country in his underwear. Coups in Guatemala continued unabated throughout the 1970s and '80s. General Efrain Rios Montt, the first Evangelical dictator in Latin America, who had come to power in a coup himself, was overthrown in 1983 by the equally bloodthirsty Romeo Lucas, a much-decorated general. In 1993, the Guatemalan military brought down civilian president Jorge Elias Serrano, the last gasp of the Gorillas until Zelaya was deposed last week. It has been 15 years since the generals had risen in arms in Central America. Zelaya's overthrow has stimulated generalized revulsion throughout the world. The Organization of American States, the General Assembly of the United Nations, the European Union, virtually every regional organization in the Western Hemisphere, and the presidents of 33 Latin American republics have condemned the Honduran Gorillas - yet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can't quite get her plumped-up lips around the word "coup", preferring to describe the low-jinx in Tegucigalpa as an "interruption of democracy" or some such euphemistic flapdoodle. One wonders what descriptives Hillary would have deployed if she and Bill had been aroused from a deep snooze in the White House master bedroom on a Sunday morning by gun-toting troops and put on the first plane for Ottawa in their pajamas? Why is Clinton so reluctant to label the Honduran military coup a coup? Because such nomenclature automatically triggers a U.S. aid cut-off through which Washington subsidizes the very same Honduran gorillas who facilitated Zelaya's overthrow - $66 million of U.S. taxpayers' money is programmed for 2010 to this end. Unlike Washington, both the World Bank and the InterAmerican Development Bank have suspended payouts to the coup plotters. The U.S. works in cozy cahoots with the Honduran military. Honduras sent a contingent to Iraq as part of George Bush's Coalition of the Willing. Coup leader Romeo Orlando Vazquez and at least two other officers who participated in Zelaya's overthrow are School of Americas' graduates - according to School of Americas' Watch, the "coup school", as it is called by opponents, once produced two generals who returned to Honduras and overthrew each other. Nearly a thousand Honduran officers were trained in the U.S. under the IMET program in 2005-06, the last year for which numbers are available. The Pentagon calculates that the camaraderie between U.S. and Honduran military officers developed during such training enlists valuable collaborators for a generation. In fact, these U.S.-trained assets threatened to scramble U.S. super light F5 fighter jets to prevent Zelaya from landing in Tegucigalpa a week after the coup. In collaboration with the gorillas, Washington maintains an advance airbase in the country at Soto Cano (formerly Palmarola) with 500 troops under the direction of the U.S. South Command on the ground at all times on the pretext of fighting the War on Drugs and Terrorism. Gregorio Seltzer, the late great historian of U.S. imperialism in Latin America, described Honduras as "a county for rent" and from the 1920s on, United Fruit rented this impoverished nation of 7.2 million, transforming Honduras into the quintessential Banana Republic. During the 1980s with revolutions raging in neighboring El Salvador and Nicaragua, the CIA rented Honduras as a platform for counter-insurgency. The Nicaraguan Contras' supply lines began at Palmarola. More discreet intelligence operations were housed at Puerto Castilla where suspected insurgents were reportedly tortured, dismembered, and fed to the crocodiles. The nerve center for U.S. counter-insurgency in Honduras was Washington's embassy in Tegucigalpa, then under the thumb of the notorious John Negroponte, known throughout the Americas as the gringos' "pro-consul". Negroponte, of course, went on to become George Bush's Intelligence capo de tutti capos. Events in Honduras suggest that he is still pushing buttons. Latin American leftists often refer to the Central American country as "The U.S.S. Honduras." Perpetual susceptibility to manipulation by Washington was perhaps best encapsulated by former president Jose Azcona (1986-90): "we are too small and too poor to afford the luxury of dignity." Honduras is in fact the second poorest country in Latin America, a few degrees behind Haiti where the poor eat mud cakes for lunch. Things went from "Guatemala to Guatapejor" as they say in Central America ("from bad to worse") in the wake of Hurricane Mitch, which leveled the region in October 1998. Hundreds of thousands of jobless refugees took to the roads headed for El Norte to escape the devastation of their homelands. Nearly a million Hondurans are thought to have made it to the U.S., a seventh of the nation's population. Many poured into New Orleans, a traditional landing spot for Hondurans, where they found slave labor employment in the Katrina clean up. Remittances from relatives working in the U.S. are Hondurans' chief source of revenues. Meanwhile back on the homefront, violence driven by unemployed youth holds the country in thrall. Over 30,000 Mara Salvatrucha gang members have turned the streets of Tegoosh and San Pedro Sula into an inferno. 86 perished in a Mara-induced prison riot in 2003 under Zelaya's predecessor Ricardo Maduro, one of the most deadly prison uprisings in Latin America annals, and 28 women and children were mowed down in a hail of gunfire when the Maras attacked a San Pedro Sula city bus in 2004. The scion of a prosperous cattle ranching family from the north of the country with ties to the gorilla class, Mel Zelaya is an unlikely champion of the poor - during the anti-guerrilla campaigns of the 1980s, human rights workers claim that suspects were burnt alive in bread ovens on one of the family's haciendas. Backed by the Catholic Church and the oligarchy, Zelaya won high office in 2006 as the candidate of the right-wing Liberal Party - Honduras has two hegemonic parties, the Liberals and the Nationals, which take turns repressing the populace. An early advocate of CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement that annexes the economies of the region to Washington, Zelaya beat back protests by labor unions, farmers' organizations such as Via Campesina, and the left Bloque Popular. During 36 months in office, Mel Zelaya navigated through two general strikes and 771 social conflicts, according to data assembled by Mexican columnist (La Jornada) Luis Hernandez Navarro who contends that the president's flipflops did not inspire much enthusiasm for him on the Honduran left, despite his increasingly radical pronouncements, a flaw that proved fatal. With congress and the military bitterly opposed to Zelaya's leftwards tack, the Honduran president's room for maneuvering was undercut by mistrust from down below. Cheap oil was apparently what first attracted Zelaya to Hugo Chavez and the new Latin Left. Under the San Jose Pact, Venezuela distributes low-priced petroleum to Central American and Caribbean governments (including Cuba) and Honduras was an eager beneficiary. In recent years, Mel Zelaya has been a frequent guest of Comandante Chavez, appearing side by side up on the podiums with Big Hugo, Ecuador's Rafael Correa, Bolivia's Evo Morales, Daniel Ortega and Raul Castro, and his government has joined the ALBA, Chavez's Bolivarian alternative to CAFTA and NAFTA. Mel Zelaya's swing to the left did not much please the highly venal oligarchy that controls the Honduran Congress. Obligated to Washington via commercial and military pacts, the impresarios and gorillas who comprise that less-than-august body did their duty and tossed out their Chavez-loving president. In the words of Samuel Zemurray, owner of the United Fruit predecessor in another century: "I can buy the Honduran legislature for less than I can buy a mule." Mel Zelaya's forcible removal from power was set in motion by a proposed popular consultation asking voters whether or not they favored rewriting the Honduran constitution, a document that heavily serves the interests of the oligarchy. If the yes vote carried, the measure would have been placed on the upcoming November 29h ballot. At this writing, a week into the coup, it appears that those elections are on hold. All civil liberties have been suspended by the gorilla government of Roberto Micheletti and a witch-hunt of "communists" and foreigners instigated - the military urges citizens to report suspicious types speaking in "foreign accents" and dozens of purported Nicaraguans and Venezuelans have been arrested. Micheletti and his goons have sworn out an Interpol arrest warrant for Zelaya alleging drug dealing among other criminal acts. Although Zelaya's proposed constitutional reform was multi-faceted and included such items as agrarian reform (anathema to the oligarchy), CNN and the New York Times et al fixated on the Honduran president's intentions to write "re-election" into the nation's Magna Carta. Similarly, presidential re-election has been incorporated in constitutional reforms recently passed in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia. But reforming constitutions to allow for re-election is not just the property of the left. Having rewritten Colombia's constitution twice, right-wing president Alvaro Uribe is now looking at a third term in office. Indeed, the U.S. electoral process is motored by the possibility of presidential re-election. U.S. involvement in the Honduran coup remains veiled but clearly Washington had prior knowledge that Mel Zelaya's overthrow was in the wings. For Barack Obama who, like Zelaya, aspires to re-election, the Honduras uproar represents his baptism in Latin American upheaval. Informed of Zelaya's ousting while hosting Colombia's Uribe at the White House, El Baracko stumbled through a sparsely worded condemnation. In response, the gorillas' new foreign minister Enrique Ortez called Obama "a negrito (black boy) who knows nothing." Perhaps the U.S. president would not have been so constrained in his comments had he perused the volume gifted him by Hugo Chavez during a recent Latin American summit. Eduardo Galeano's "The Open Veins of Latin America" chronicles centuries of U.S. intervention in the Americas in precise detail. Nonetheless, Obama's chief spokesperson Robert Gibbs characterized the book as "a work of fiction." The key question for Latin America is whether Honduras is a nostalgic aberration or a whiff of what's in the wind for newly left regimes throughout the hemisphere? Certainly, the Honduran scenario must excite the current generation of the gorilla class. But making a coup is mostly a function of the strength of alliances between the military and the oligarchy and how closely their interests coincide. Coup-making in Latin America in 2009 is also very site-specific. In Bolivia, for example, a nation that suffered 193 violent changes of government between liberation from Spain in 1835 and 1981 when civil rule was restored (the two presidents prior to Evo Morales were overthrown by popular rebellion), threats by right-wing, white landowners in the lowland "media luna" provinces to secede from this dirt-poor Andean nation have had faint scratch with the military, largely a highland Indian army. Similarly, although Venezuela has an active right-wing oligarchy that appears to be active in the Honduras "golpe", the military was neutralized by the short-lived 2002 coup to unseat Hugo Chavez engineered out of the U.S. Caracas embassy by Bush henchman Otto Reich, that was foiled when a million citizens descended on the presidential palace to demand the return of the kidnapped Chavez, himself a failed coup plotter. In the southern cone, Argentina has a resurgent right-wing but the military remains so discredited by the memory of the 1976-79 "dirty war" in which 30,000 leftists were thrown to their death from airplanes into the Atlantic Ocean that a coup remains out of sync with reality. Ditto in Chile where a new Pinochet will not emerge any time soon. In other newly left countries like Ecuador (where the army has sometimes sided with the left) and Paraguay, now governed by the former liberation bishop Fernando Lugo, father of at least two, the military is unpredictable and the emergence of civil society serves to counterbalance residual right-wing sympathies. Perhaps the most likely proscenium for a Honduras-like "golpe" remains coup-prone Guatemala where military gorillas thrive, right-wing death squads enjoy unbridled impunity, and the civil society is weak. History, in fact, points in this direction - Alvaro Colum is the first president to be elected from a left-wing party since Jacobo Arbenz who, 55 years ago, was forced to flee Guatemala in his underwear. John Ross will present "Iraqigirl" (Haymarket Books) at Modern Times in San Francisco July 30th. Ross developed and edited the new volume, a coming-of-age diary of an Iraqi teenager growing up under U.S. occupation that has been called "An Anne Frank for our times." He can be reached at: johnross [at] igc.org --------17 of 18-------- How Industry Giants are Undermining the Organic Movement The Organic Monopoly and the Myth of "Natural" Foods By RONNIE CUMMINS After four decades of hard work, the organic community has built up a $25 billion "certified organic" food, farming, and green products sector. This consumer-driven movement, under steady attack by the biotech and Big Food lobby, with little or no help from government, has managed to create a healthy and sustainable alternative to America's disastrous, chemical and energy-intensive system of industrial agriculture. Conscious of the health hazards of Big Food Inc., and the mortal threat of climate change and Peak Oil, a critical mass of organic consumers are now demanding food and other products that are certified organic, as well as locally or regionally produced, minimally processed, and packaged. The Organic Alternative, in turn, is bolstered by an additional $50 billion in annual spending by consumers on products marketed as "natural," or "sustainable". This rapidly expanding organic/green products sector - organic (4% of total retail sales) and natural (8%) - now constitutes more than 12% of total retail grocery sales, with an annual growth rate of 10-15%. Even taking into account what appears to be a permanent economic recession and a lower rate of growth than that seen over the past 20 years, the organic and natural market will likely constitute 31-56% of grocery sales in 2020. If the Organic Alternative continues to grow, and if consumers demand that all so-called "natural" products move in a genuine, third party-certified "transition to organic" direction, the U.S. will be well on its way to solving three of the nation's most pressing problems: climate change, deteriorating public health, and Peak Oil. Sales statistics and polls underline the positive fact that a vast army of organic consumers, more than 75 million Americans, despite an economic recession, are willing to pay a premium price for organic and green products. These consumers are willing to pay a premium because they firmly believe that organic and natural products are healthier, climate stabilizing, environmentally sustainable, humane for animals, and well as more equitable for family farmers, farmworkers, and workers throughout the supply chain. Many of the most committed organic consumers are conscious of the fact that organic food and other products are actually "cheaper" in real terms than conventional food and other items - since industrial agriculture's so-called "cheap" products carry hidden costs, including billions of dollars in annual tax subsidies, and hundreds of billions of dollars in damage to our health, the environment, and climate. Strengthening the argument for organic food and farming, scientists now tell us that it will take a massive conversion to organic agriculture (as well as renewable energy, sustainable housing and transportation) to drastically reduce climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million and to cope with the advent of "Peak Oil," the impending decline in petroleum and natural gas supplies. Organic food and a healthy diet and lifestyle are obviously key factors in preventing chronic disease, restoring public health, and reducing out-of-control health care costs. While in 1970, U.S. health care spending appeared somewhat sustainable, totaling $75 billion, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services project that by 2016, health care spending will soar to over $4.1 trillion, or $12,782 per resident. Millions of health-minded Americans, especially parents of young children, now understand that cheap, non-organic, industrial food is hazardous. Not only does chemical and energy-intensive factory farming destroy the environment, impoverish rural communities, exploit farm workers, inflict unnecessary cruelty on farm animals, and contaminate the water supply; but the end product itself is inevitably contaminated. Routinely contained in nearly every bite or swallow of non-organic industrial food are pesticides, antibiotics and other animal drug residues, pathogens, feces, hormone disrupting chemicals, toxic sludge, slaughterhouse waste, genetically modified organisms, chemical additives and preservatives, irradiation-derived radiolytic chemical by-products, and a host of other hazardous allergens and toxins. Eighty million cases of food poisoning every year in the US, an impending swine/bird flu pandemic (directly attributable to factory farms), and an epidemic of food-related cancers, heart attacks, and obesity make for a compelling case for the Organic Alternative. Likewise millions of green-minded consumers understand that industrial agriculture poses a terminal threat to the environment and climate stability. A highly conscious and passionate segment of the population are beginning to understand that converting to non-chemical, energy-efficient, carbon-sequestering organic farming practices, and drastically reducing food miles by relocalizing the food chain, are essential preconditions for stabilizing our out-of-control climate and preparing our families and communities for Peak Oil and future energy shortages. Decades of research confirm that organic agriculture produces crop yields that are comparable (under normal weather conditions) or even 50-70% superior (during droughts or excessive rain) to chemical farming. Nutritional studies show that organic crops are qualitatively higher in vitamin content and trace minerals, and that fresh unprocessed organic foods boost the immune system and reduce cancer risks. And, of course climate scientists emphasize that organic agriculture substantially reduces greenhouse pollution. Organic farms use, on the average, 50% or less petroleum inputs than chemical farms, while generating drastically less greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. Moreover diverse, multi-crop organic farms sequester enormous amounts of CO2 in the soil. Agronomists point out that a return to traditional organic farming practices across the globe could reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 40%. In other words, America and the world desperately need an Organic Revolution in food and farming, not only to salvage public health and improve nutrition, but also in order to literally survive in the onrushing era of Peak Oil and climate change. Scientists, as well as common sense, warn us that a public health Doomsday Clock is ticking. Within a decade, diet and environment-related diseases, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer - heavily subsidized under our Big Pharma/chemical/genetically engineered/factory farm system - will likely bankrupt Medicare and the entire U.S. health care system. Likewise, climate chaos and oil shortages, unless we act quickly, will soon severely disrupt industrial agriculture and long-distance food transportation, leading to massive crop failures, food shortages, famine, war, and pestilence. Even more alarming, accelerating levels of greenhouse gases (especially from cars, coal, cattle, and related rainforest and wetlands destruction) will soon push global warming to a tipping point that will melt the polar icecaps and unleash a cataclysmic discharge of climate-destabilizing methane, fragilely sequestered in the frozen arctic tundra. If we care about our children and the future generations, we obviously must reverse global warming, stabilize the climate, and prepare for petroleum shortages and vastly higher oil prices. The only way to do this is to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 90% by 2050, by shifting away from petroleum and coal-based energy to radical energy conservation and making a transition to renewable solar and wind power - not only in transportation, housing, and industry, but in farming, food processing, and food distribution as well. In the food sector, we cannot continue to hand over 88% of our consumer dollars to out-of-control, chemical-intensive, energy-intensive, greenhouse gas polluting corporations and "profit at any cost" retail chains such as Wal-Mart. The growth of the Organic Alternative is literally a matter of survival. The question then becomes how (and how quickly) can we move healthy, organic, and "natural" products from a 12% market share, to becoming the dominant force in American food and farming. This is a major undertaking, one that will require a major transformation in public consciousness and policy, but it is doable, and absolutely necessary. But before we overthrow Monsanto, Wal-Mart, and Food Inc., we need to put our own house in order. Before we set our sights on making organic and "transition to organic" the norm, rather than the alternative, we need to take a closer, more critical look at the $50 billion annual natural food and products industry. How natural is the so-called natural food in our local Whole Foods Market, coop, or grocery store? Is the "natural" sector moving our nation toward an organic future, or has it degenerated into a "green washed" marketing tool, disguising unhealthy and unsustainable food and farming practices as alternatives. Is "natural" just a marketing ploy to sell conventional unhealthy, energy-intensive, and non-sustainable food and products at a premium price? The Myth of Natural Food, Farming, and Products Walk down the aisles of any Whole Foods Market (WFM) or browse the wholesale catalogue of industry giant United Natural Foods (UNFI) and look closely. What do you see? Row after row of attractively displayed, but mostly non-organic "natural" (i.e. conventional) foods and products. By marketing sleight of hand, these conventional foods, vitamins, private label "365" items, and personal care products become "natural" or "almost organic" (and overpriced) in the Whole Foods setting. The overwhelming majority of WFM products, even their best-selling private label, "365" house brand, are not organic, but rather the products of chemical-intensive and energy-intensive farm and food production factories. Test these so-called natural products in a lab and what will you find: pesticide residues, Genetically Modified Organisms, and a long list of problematic and/or carcinogenic synthetic chemicals and additives. Trace these products back to the farm or factory and what will you find: climate destabilizing chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and sewage sludge - not to mention exploited farm workers and workers in the food processing industry. Of course there are many products in WFM (and in UNFI's catalogue} that bear the label "USDA Organic". But the overwhelming majority of their products, even their best selling private label, "365," are not. What does certified organic or "USDA Organic" mean? This means these products are certified 95-100% organic. Certified organic means the farmer or producer has undergone a regular inspection of its farm, facilities, ingredients, and practices by an independent Third Party certifier, accredited by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). The producer has followed strict NOP regulations and maintained detailed records. Synthetic pesticides, animal drugs, sewage sludge, GMOs, irradiation, and chemical fertilizers are prohibited. Farm animals, soil, and crops have been managed organically; food can only be processed with certain methods; only allowed ingredients can be used. On the other hand, what does "natural" really mean, in terms of farming practices, ingredients, and its impact on the environment and climate? To put it bluntly, "natural," in the overwhelming majority of cases is meaningless, even though most consumers do not fully understand this. Natural, in other words, means conventional, with a green veneer. Natural products are routinely produced using pesticides, chemical fertilizer, hormones, genetic engineering, and sewage sludge. Natural or conventional products - whether produce, dairy, or canned or frozen goods - are typically produced on large industrial farms or in processing plants that are highly polluting, chemical-intensive and energy-intensive. "Natural," "all-natural," and "sustainable," products in most cases are neither backed up by rules and regulations, nor a Third Party certifier. Natural and sustainable are typically label claims that are neither policed nor monitored. (For an evaluation of eco-labels see the Consumers Union website http://www.eco-labels.org). The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service provides loose, non-enforced guidelines for the use of the term "natural" on meat - basically the products cannot contain artificial flavors, coloring, or preservatives and cannot be more than minimally processed. On non-meat products, the term natural is typically pure propaganda. Companies (like Whole Foods Market or UNFI) are simply telling us what we want to hear, so that we pay an organic or premium price for a conventional product. Perhaps this wouldn't matter that much if we were living in normal times, with a relatively healthy population, environment, and climate. Conventional products sold as natural or "nearly organic" would be a simple matter of chicanery or consumer fraud. But we are not living in normal times. Pressuring natural and conventional products and producers to make the transition to organic is a matter of life or death. And standing in the way of making this great transition are not only Fortune 500 food and beverage corporations, Monsanto, and corporate agribusiness, as we would expect, but the wholesale and retail giants in the organic and natural products sector, UNFI (United Natural Foods) and Whole Foods Market (WFM). UNFI & Whole Foods: Profits at Any Cost UNFI and Whole Foods Market are the acknowledged market and wholesale distribution leaders in the $70 billion organic and natural foods and products sector. Companies or brands that want to distribute their products on more than just a local or regional basis must deal with the near-monopoly wholesaler, UNFI, and giant retailer WFM. Meanwhile retailers in markets dominated by Whole Foods have little choice but to emulate the business practices of WFM.i.e. sell as many conventional foods, green washed as "natural," as possible. Unfortunately neither UNFI and Whole Foods are putting out the essential message to their millions of customers that expanding organics is literally a matter of life or death for public health, climate, and the environment. Neither are leading the charge to double or triple organic food and farming sales by exposing the myth of natural foods, giving preference to organic producers and products, and pressuring natural brands and companies to make the transition to organic. Neither are the industry giants lobbying the government to stop nickel and dime-ing organics and get serious about making a societal transition to organic food and farming. The reason for this is simple: it is far easier and profitable for UNFI and WFM to sell conventional or so-called natural foods at a premium price, than it is to pay a premium price for organics and educate consumers as to why "cheap" conventional/natural food is really more expensive than organic, given the astronomical hidden costs (health, pollution, climate destabilization) of conventional agriculture and food processing. UNFI has cemented this "WFM/Conventional as Natural" paradigm by emulating conventional grocery store practices: giving WFM preferential prices over smaller stores and coops - many of whom are trying their best to sell as many certified organic and local organic products as possible. Compounding this undermining of organics is the increasing practice among large organic companies of dropping organic ingredients in favor of conventional ingredients, while maintaining their preferential shelf space in WFM or UNFI-supplied stores. In other words the most ethical and organic (often smaller) grocers and producers are being discriminated against. WFM also demands, and in most cases receives, a large quantity of free products from producers in exchange for being distributed in WFM markets. The unfortunate consequence of all this is that it's very difficult for an independently-owned grocer or a coop trying to sell mostly organic products to compete with, or even survive in the same market as WFM, given the natural products "Sweetheart Deal" between UNFI and WFM. As a consequence more and more independently owned "natural" grocery stores and coops are emulating the WFM model, while a number of brand name, formerly organic, companies are moving away from organic ingredients (Silk soy milk, Horizon, Hain, and Peace Cereal for example) or organic practices (the infamous intensive confinement dairy feedlots of Horizon and Aurora) altogether, while maintaining a misleading green profile in the UNFI/WFM marketplace. Other companies, in the multi-billion dollar body care sector for example, are simply labeling their conventional/natural products as "organic" or trade-marking the word "organic" or "organics" as part of their brand name. The bottom line is that we must put our money and our principles where our values lie. Buy Certified Organic, not so-called natural products, today and everyday. And tell your retail grocer or coop how you feel. Please join thousands of other Organic Consumers and send a message to Whole Foods and UNFI today. Ronnie Cummins is director of the Organic Consumers Alliance. He can be reached at: ronnie [at] organicconsumers.org. --------18 of 18-------- -------------------- We kill capitalism /or/ capitalism kills us -------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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