|Progressive Calendar 08.06.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 08:51:15 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 08.06.09 1. Hiroshima 8.06 7:30am/8:30am/11am/7:30pm 2. Eagan peace vigil 8.06 4:30pm 3. Northtown vigil 8.06 5pm 4. FFUNCH huzzah 8.07 11:30am 5. Palestine vigil 8.07 4:15pm 6. Outdoor wood oven 8.07 7. David M Green - Hey, did you hear that Democrats won the election? 8. Normon Solomon - The incredible, shrinking health care plan 9. Macek/Sanders - Privatizing the airwaves 10. Ehrenreich+DM - The destruction of the black middle class 11. Rich Broderick - Momento mori: the war to end all wars 12. Wanda Woodward - An ominous glimpse into the future of human labor --------1 of 12-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Hiroshima 8.06 7:30am/8:30am/11am/7:30pm The 2009 Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration Events Join others in the community to encourage reflection on the past and hope for the future through action in the present. All are welcome. Thursday, August 6, 7:30 a.m. (Hiroshima Commemoration: Ceremony of the Cranes), 8:30 a.m. (Speaker: Roger Hale of Ploughshares Fund), 11:00 a.m. (Ceremony of Eleven Bells with Veterans for Peace and Women in Black and Speaker: Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) Lyndale Park Peace Garden, 4124 Roseway Road (just north of Lake Harriet), Minneapolis. 7:30 p.m. (Concert for Peace) Lake Harriet Bandshell, 43rd Street West and East Lake Harriet Parkway, Minneapolis. All-day vigil. Sunday, August 9, 10:30 a.m. (Nagasaki Commemoration with music by MuMin Women's Chorus) Como Park, Global Harmony Labyrinth (off Nason Place near the south end of the pedestrian bridge), St. Paul. Sponsored by: the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration Committee. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Email JoAnn, msphncc [at] gmail.com. --------2 of 12-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.06 4:30pm PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------3 of 12-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 8.06 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------4 of 12-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: FFUNCH huzzah 8.07 11:30am Ffunch 8.07 11:30am Meet the FFUNCH BUNCH! 11:30am-1pm First Friday Lunch (FFUNCH) for progressives. Informal political talk and hanging out. Day By Day Cafe 477 W 7th Av St Paul. Meet on the far south side. Day By Day has soups, salads, sandwiches, and dangerous apple pie; is close to downtown St Paul & on major bus lines Tarnation, how can you resist?? (you can't) --------5 of 12-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 8.07 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. --------6 of 12-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Outdoor wood oven 8.07 August 7 - 9: Women's Environmental Institute Wood-fired Outdoor Oven Building with instructor Darrold Glanville, at the WEI farm. $200 per person. Space is limited - participation is by RSVP only. RSVP at 651-583-0705. --------7 of 12-------- Hey, Did You Hear That Democrats Won The Election? by David Michael Green Wednesday, August 5, 2009 CommonDreams.org That George Bush, man - what a monster, eh? I mean, could you even have imagined a president so destructive? It's actually worse than you thought, though. Lately, there's been a spate of fresh revelations about some of the incredibly disastrous policies that were executed by the Bush administration. Did you know, for instance, that they... ...steered hundreds of billions of bail-out dollars to the very people who drove the country into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, required nothing of these sharks in return, and did almost nothing for ordinary Americans struggling to survive this disaster? ...opposed congressional legislation limiting financial institution incentive pay packages that put the whole global economy at risk? ...opposed legislation allowing shareholders the right to have even a non-binding say on salaries, even though executives took home billions in bonuses last year while their companies were hemorrhaging money so badly they required a trillion bucks in taxpayer bail-out? ...actually threatened Britain, America's closest ally in the world, with withdrawal of intelligence data that could prevent terrorist attacks unless the British government blocked one of its courts from accepting documented evidence of torture at Guantnamo? ...sent droves of Predator-launched missiles into Pakistan - supposedly one of America's allies - killing groups of civilians, even at weddings, thus intensifying hatred toward the United States? ...tried to shut down a charity's illegal-surveillance suit against the government on the basis of a supposed constitutionally-grounded state secrets privilege which would allow the president to kill any legal case before it is even heard? ...undertook a blitz of immigration enforcement without reform of civil rights violations so nasty that one professor of immigration law described the policies as "literally the worst of all worlds"? ...refused to set legally enforceable immigration detention rules covering such basics as health care and legal representation, instead relying on a flawed contractor-based monitoring system? ...pressured a member of Congress to withdraw an amendment that would have ended the military's disastrous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" regime, simply by defunding it? ...asked a federal court to dismiss a case in which the plaintiffs challenged the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, arguing to the court that heterosexual marriage is "the traditional, and universally recognized, version of marriage"? ...dramatically increased the influence of religion in government, directly violating the First Amendment, by lavishly spending federal dollars on "faith-based" programs, and giving religious groups massively increased power and access within the White House to shape policy questions? ...stood by silently, allowing climate legislation to be watered down to nothing, to include generous pollution allowances to coal utilities, and to undermine the EPA's authority to control carbon emissions? ...backed healthcare legislation that did little for the public and actually increased wasteful federal expenditures, while continuing to enrich insurance, medical, hospital and pharmaceutical corporation vampires? ...and lots and lots more. Can you believe it? Can you imagine anything as absolutely evil as the Bush administration? Can you believe the stunts they pulled? Well, try this on for size: Every item above actually reflects the actions of the Obama administration in just its first six months - not George Bush! (Although, of course, Bush did a lot of these things too, and would have likely done them all, given the chance.) That's right, that's right. Yep. This is the record of the guy liberals scrambled to put into office, the guy who promised big-time change, and the guy whom foaming-at-the-mouth regressives run around screaming is a socialist ruining America. I don't know about you, but I think maybe all those government officials and media reporters who say Democrats won the last election (actually, the last two of them) have just been having a great big ol' laugh at our expense! Whataya think? This is change from the last eight years?? This is the party that opposed the horrors of the Bush administration and the Republican Congress?? This is out-of-control liberalism? And let's not even talk about the things they aren't doing... ...Real change in Middle East policy? Haven't seen it. ...Remotely serious response to the existential threat of global warming? Nope - might offend somebody. ...Single-payer healthcare system, to provide the only cost-effective and fair solution for universal coverage? Wasn't mentioned by Harry in the commercial. Or Louise. ...Serious cuts to annual defense spending now equal to twice what every other country in the world spends, combined? Nein, dummkopf. The Pentagon's budget is rising - you know, in order to protect America from its big bad enemy, the, uh..., the, um, what's-their-names again...? ...Full-court press to curb hugely expanding wealth disparities and protect the economy from Wall Street predators? Hell, nowadays those clowns have their offices right in the West Wing. In fact, now it's called the Goldman Sachs Wing. Look, I'll be honest. I supported (sorta) Obama and I voted for him. But I did so with open eyes. I knew he could be a progressive once installed in the Oval Office, but that he might well also be a Clinton-like hack for the money boys and a complete coward in standing up to the insane right that is gobbling up America on a steady diet of hate and paranoia. In other words, I'm not shocked that he's not FDR. But why is this guy carrying water for George Bush, covering up his worst crimes? Why are his civil liberties positions so bad that one attorney described them as "the good old Bush-Cheney inherent presidential power theory" all over again? Why is he working so hard to make sure Wall Street sucks every drop of blood it possibly can out of the pale-white corpse of the American middle class, even while it ruins the global economy in yet another get-rich scam, then turns to the government for a bail-out when it all comes a cropper, all the while - and without a hint of irony - still loudly singing its effusive praises of Ayn Rand? Why is it this guy can't simply stand aside and let Congress defund Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a program even the military now wants to jettison? Why does he go to court arguing on behalf of homophobic repression? What in the world is this dude going to tell his children when their country is broke and broken, and their planet parched and dying? "I was just one person. What could I do?" I guess Democrat is the new Republican nowadays. Sure, the pathetically feeble Dems are less likely to launch big wars based on lies (at least since LBJ left the White House), and that's nothing to sneeze at. (Maybe Obama will even end Bush's debacle in Iraq, like he said he would. Maybe. I take nothing on faith with this guy, that's for sure.) And, yeah, Democrats will move slightly faster in the quest to do nothing and to get nowhere when it comes to protecting the environment, civil rights or civil liberties. Woo-hoo. Otherwise, I'm having a hard time seeing the difference. Bill Clinton (he of WTO, NAFTA, welfare reform and Telecommunications Bill fame) was the best friend Wall Street could ever have imagined, and they still tried to ride him out on a rail. Now Obama's got the same Goldman Sachs retreads in there ripping us off again, even as the ship is still going down from the last round. So Democrats won the last election, huh? Coulda fooled me. But here's the bigger question: What for? David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles (mailto:dmg [at] regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website, www.regressiveantidote.net. --------8 of 12------- A Glide Path to Disaster The Incredible, Shrinking Health Care Plan By NORMAN SOLOMON CounterPunch August 5, 2009 Like soap in a rainstorm, "healthcare reform" is wasting away. As this week began, a leading follower of conventional wisdom, journalist Cokie Roberts, told NPR listeners: "This is evolving legislation. And the administration is now talking about a glide path towards universal coverage, rather than immediate universal coverage". Notions of universal healthcare are fading in the power centers of politics - while more and more attention focuses on the care and feeding of the insurance industry. Consider a new message that just went out from Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee, which inherited the Obama campaign's 13-million email list. The short letter includes the same phrase seven times: "health insurance reform". The difference between the promise of healthcare for everyone and the new mantra of health insurance reform is akin to what Mark Twain once described as "the difference between lightning and a lightning bug". The "health insurance reform" now being spun as "a glide path towards universal coverage" is apt to reinforce the huge power of the insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital industries in the United States. President Obama says that he wants "things like preventing insurers from dropping people because of pre-existing conditions". Those are not fighting words for the present-day insurance industry. Behind the scenes, massive deals are taking shape. The president of America's Health Insurance Plans, Karen Ignagni, "noted that the industry had endorsed many of the administration's proposed changes, including ending the practice of refusing coverage for pre-existing conditions," the New York Times reported on August 3. A couple of days later, in a profile of Ignagni, the newspaper added: "Rather than being cut out of the conversation, her strategy has been to push for changes her members can live with, in hopes of fending off too much government interference". This year, no more significant news article on healthcare politics has appeared than the August 4 story in the Los Angeles Times under the headline "Obama Gives Powerful Drug Lobby a Seat at Healthcare Table". It's enough to make you weep, or gnash your teeth with anger, or worry about the consequences for your loved ones - or the loved ones of people you'll never meet. During his campaign last year, Obama criticized big pharmaceutical firms for blocking efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. But since the election, the LA Times reports, "the industry's chief lobbyist" - former Congressman Billy Tauzin - "has morphed into the president's partner. He has been invited to the White House half a dozen times in recent months. There, he says, he eventually secured an agreement that the administration wouldn't try to overturn the very Medicare drug policy that Obama had criticized on the campaign trail". The story gets worse. For instance, "Tauzin said he had not only received the White House pledge to forswear Medicare drug price bargaining, but also a separate promise not to pursue another proposal Obama supported during the campaign: importing cheaper drugs from Canada or Europe". Meanwhile, with a "mandate" herd of cash cows on the national horizon, the health insurance industry is licking its chops. The corporate glee is ill-disguised as the Obama administration pushes for legal mandates to require that Americans buy health insurance - no matter how dismal the quality of the coverage or how unaffordable the "affordable" premiums turn out to be for real people in the real world. The mandates would involve "diverting additional billions to private insurers by requiring middle class Americans to purchase defective policies from these firms - policies with so many gaps and loopholes that they currently leave millions of our insured patients vulnerable to financial ruin," says a letter signed by more than 3,500 doctors and released last week by Physicians for a National Health Program. Days ago, a New York Times headline proclaimed an emerging "consensus" and "common ground" on Capitol Hill. In passing, the article mentioned that lawmakers "agree on the need to provide federal subsidies to help make insurance affordable for people with modest incomes. For poor people, Medicaid eligibility would be expanded". It's a scenario that amounts to expansion of healthcare ghettos nationwide. Medicaid's reimbursement rates for medical providers are so paltry that "Medicaid patient" is often a synonym for someone who can't find a doctor willing to help. But what about "the public plan" - enabling the government to offer health insurance that would be an alternative to the wares of for-profit insurance firms? "Under pressure from industry and their lobbyists, the public plan has been watered down to a small and ineffectual option at best, if it ever survives to being enacted," says John Geyman, professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington. A public plan option "would do little to mitigate the damage of a reform that perpetuates private insurers' dominant role," according to the letter from 3,500 physicians. "Even a robust public option would forego 90 percent of the bureaucratic savings achievable under single payer. And a kinder, gentler public option would quickly fail in a healthcare marketplace where competition involves a race to the bottom, not the top, where insurers compete by not paying for care". While the healthcare policy outcomes are looking grim, the supposed political imperatives are fueling the desires of Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill to produce a victory that President Obama can tout as healthcare reform. Consider this quote from "a prominent Democrat" in the August 10 edition of Time magazine: "Something called health-reform legislation will pass. The political consequences of not passing anything would be too great". The likely result is a glide path to disaster. Norman Solomon is the author of Made Love, Got War. [Screw Obama. We're on our own, and the sooner we realize it the better. -ed] --------9 of 12-------- The DTV Transition Puts Corporate Profits Ahead of the Public Interest Privatizing the Airwaves By STEVE MACEK and SCOTT SANDERS CounterPunch August 5, 2009 The much-delayed switchover to digital TV is now behind us. On June 12, all full power TV stations in the country ceased their analog broadcasts and made the final switch to a digital only format. In the lead up to the DTV transition, the public's attention focused almost entirely upon ways of mitigating the switchover's effect on the elderly, the poor and non-English speakers who rely on over-the-air television far more than the general population. In response to such concerns, the federal government created a coupon program that subsidized most of the cost of digital-to-analog converter boxes, but then failed to fully fund it. When it became clear that millions of households would not be ready for DTV by the original February 17 deadline, Congress pushed back the transition date. The extra time - together with an additional $650 million appropriated by Congress for more converter boxes and more public outreach - seems to have done the trick. Though some viewers have reported losing the signals of individual stations in certain markets, the vast majority of Americans weathered the shift to DTV without losing service or being excessively inconvenienced. Yet, there is another problem with the DTV transition, one that has never gotten the sort of headlines that the shortage of converter box coupons did. The fact is that the shift to digital television represents a massive government giveaway to a handful of powerful media conglomerates. The Clinton-era 1996 Telecommunications Act which mandated the change to DTV stripped away most media ownership concentration limits and gave away huge swathes - up to $90 billion worth - of publicly owned digital broadcast spectrum to incumbent TV license holders. In return for giving up a single analog channel, each of these broadcasters received up to 10 digital channels in return. For free. Only one new public service requirement was added - a modest increase in children.s programming. To make matters worse, most digital subchannels run by the big network-affiliated stations air duplicative services such as sitcom reruns, old movies, weather, home shopping programs or cooking shows. That is, if they run anything at all. Despite recent failures such as their flawed coverage leading up to the invasion of Iraq, none of the commercial broadcasters have announced plans we're aware of to use the new channels to expand or improve their public affairs or news programming. Where are the digital channels for women and people of color, and the set asides to support independent programming by and for youth and other less advantaged groups, local C-SPANs and other experimental services? Where are the new public affairs programs designed to showcase the perspectives normally marginalized on commercial TV? Such diversity on the airwaves is needed now more than ever. People of color make up 34 percent of the U.S. population, but only around 3 percent of commercial full power TV license holders, with women holding just 5 percent. Glen Ford, editor of the online Black Agenda Report calls the DTV transition "the biggest squandering of public broadcast resources in the history of the United States". Steps should be taken to ensure that corporations are not the sole beneficiaries of the digital broadcasting age. The value of the broadcast spectrum that Congress simply handed over to the big corporate media ought to be recovered through appropriate means (taxes, license fees, etc.) and used to subsidize a democratically run, decentralized public media system, the sort of media that will provide a forum for the minority and dissident viewpoints sorely missing on mainstream TV. Many talented professional journalists are unemployed or waiting tables right now due to the deepening crisis of the corporate journalism model. We need to foster partnerships between professional and citizen journalists and public TV and radio outlets, PEG access centers, community and micro-radio stations, and other community media. Picture a local public media homepage that looks sort of like a daily newspaper but with prominent live TV and radio streams, lots of links to article and program related resources and social media, with the feel of an online public library and town commons. And no commercial advertisements whatsoever. A functioning fifth estate is essential to the maintenance of democracy. We can and must fix this bad DTV deal, and create and permanently fund various new and extensively reworked public media outlets and centers. We must collectively piece together a system with the highest measure of accountability for every community across the nation as if lives depend on it. Because they do. Steve Macek is an associate professor of speech communication at North Central College. Scott Sanders is a longtime Chicago media and democracy advocate. This article originally ran in The Skanner. --------10 of 12-------- >From Recession to Depression The Destruction of the Black Middle Class By DEDRICK MUHAMMAD and BARBARA EHRENREICH CounterPunch August 5, 2009 To judge from most of the commentary on the Gates-Crowley affair, you would think that a "black elite" has gotten dangerously out of hand. First Gates (Cambridge, Yale, Harvard) showed insufficient deference to Crowley, then Obama (Occidental, Harvard) piled on to accuse the police of having acted "stupidly." Was this "the end of white America" which the Atlantic had warned of in its January/February cover story? Or had the injuries of class - working class in Crowley's case - finally trumped the grievances of race? Left out of the ensuing tangle of commentary on race and class has been the increasing impoverishment-or, we should say, re-impoverishment--of African Americans as a group. In fact, the most salient and lasting effect of the current recession may turn out to be the decimation of the black middle class. According to a study by Demos and the Institute for Assets and Social Policy, 33 percent of the black middle class was already in danger of falling out of the middle class at the start of the recession. Gates and Obama, along with Oprah and Cosby, will no doubt remain in place, but millions of the black equivalents of Officer Crowley - from factory workers to bank tellers and white collar managers - are sliding down toward destitution. For African Americans - and to a large extent, Latinos - the recession is over. It occurred between 2000 and 2007, as black employment decreased by 2.4 percent and incomes declined by 2.9 percent. During the seven-year long black recession, one third of black children lived in poverty and black unemployment-even among college graduates - consistently ran at about twice the level of white unemployment. That was the black recession. What's happening now is a depression. Black unemployment is now at 14.7 percent, compared to 8.7 for whites. In New York City, black unemployment has been rising four times as fast as that of whites. Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, estimates that 40 percent of African Americans will have experienced unemployment or underemployment by 2010, and this will increase child poverty from one-third of African-American children to slightly over half. No one can entirely explain the extraordinary rate of job loss among African Americans, though factors may include the relative concentration of blacks in the hard-hit retail and manufacturing sectors, as well as the lesser seniority of blacks in better-paying, white collar, positions. But one thing is certain: The longstanding racial "wealth gap" makes African Americans particularly vulnerable to poverty when job loss strikes. In 1998, the net worth of white households on average was $100,700 higher than that of African-Americans. By 2007, this gap had increased to $142,600. The Survey of Consumer Finances, which is supported by the Federal Reserve Board, collects this data every three years - and every time it has been collected, the racial wealth gap has widened. To put it another way: in 2004, for every dollar of wealth held by the typical white family, the African American family had only one 12 cents. In 2007, it had exactly a dime. So when an African American breadwinner loses a job, there are usually no savings to fall back on, no well-heeled parents to hit up, no retirement accounts to raid. All this comes on top of the highly racially skewed subprime mortgage calamity. After decades of being denied mortgages on racial grounds, African Americans made a tempting market for bubble-crazed lenders like Countrywide, with the result that high income blacks were almost twice as likely as low income white to receive high interest subprime loans. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, Latinos will end up losing between $75 billion and $98 billion in home-value wealth from subprime loans, while blacks will lose between $71 billion and $92 billion. United for a Fair Economy has called this family net-worth catastrophe the "greatest loss of wealth for people of color in modern U.S. history." Yet in the depths of this African American depression, some commentators, black as well as white, are still obsessing about the supposed cultural deficiencies of the black community. In a December op-ed in the Washington Post, Kay Hymowitz blamed black economic woes on the fact that 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers, not noticing that the white two-parent family has actually declined at a faster rate than the black two-parent family. The share of black children living in a single parent home increased by 155 percent between 1960 to 2006, while the share of white children living in single parent homes increased by a staggering 229 percent. Just last month on NPR, commentator Juan Williams dismissed the NAACP by saying that more up-to-date and relevant groups focus on "people who have taken advantage of integration and opportunities for education, employment, versus those who seem caught in generational cycles of poverty," which he went on to characterize by drug use and crime. The fact that there is an ongoing recession disproportionately affecting the African American middle class - and brought on by Wall Street greed rather than "ghetto" values - seems to have eluded him. We don't need any more moralizing or glib analyses of class and race that could have just as well been made in the 70s. The recession is changing everything. It's redrawing the class contours of America in ways that will leave us more polarized than ever, and, yes, profoundly hurting the erstwhile white middle and working classes. But the depression being experienced by people of color threatens to do something on an entirely different scale, and that is to eliminate the black middle class. Barbara Ehrenreich is the president of United Professionals and author, most recently, of "This Land Is Their Land: Reports From a Divided Nation." Dedrick Muhammad is the senior organizer and research associate for the Inequality and Common Good Project of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. - www.ips-dc.org --------11 of 12-------- Momento Mori: Cheese-eating surrender monkeys and the War to end all Wars Rich Broderick Twin Cities Daily Planet (www.tcdailyplanet.net) Montlivault lies about 15 kilometers from the monstrous Chateau de Chambord, the largest (and surely one of the ugliest) of the Loire Valley manor houses. There is nothing in Montlivault of the pretense and grandiosity, the overbearing arrogance and wretched excess of Chateau de Chambord. It is a modest hamlet, home to some 1000 souls, little more than a crossroads around which cluster a handful of shops and cafes, a small Romanesque church, L'Eglise de Saint Pierre, and a chestnut-shaded parking lot situated between the church and a pair of primitive public toilets. The toilets were the proximate cause for our stop that warm Wednesday afternoon. While we were waiting for my daughter to decide whether she dared risk using les sanitaires, I suggested to my 12-year old son that we peek inside the church. During our recent French sojourn we visited Chartres, Notre Dame, a couple of cathedrals in Lyon and numerous other gothic or neo-gothic churches, but it was St. Pierre that I would unexpectedly find most beautiful - and moving. It was not large, with room enough for perhaps 100 congregants, and almost ascetic in its simplicity. A display by the main entrance explained that the church had been first built early in the 11th century, then renovated and expanded - a little - over the centuries since. Signs of its immense age were apparent everywhere, in the gentle groove worn down the middle of the central aisle, the eroded baptismal fount carved from a single block of stone, the warped pews, the splintering foot-thick crossbeams, the small, flame-shaped windows set deep in their casements. How many marriages and funerals, baptisms and confessions had taken place here over the past 1000 years? How many prayers of supplication and gratitude offered up to the still air gathered beneath the vaulted ceiling? How many tears shed, homilies delivered, eucharists performed, communion wafers placed upon the tongues of shriven parishioners? Eventually a bronze plaque near the altar seized my attention. France, as anyone who has traveled there knows, is a country littered with "Les Monuments aux Morts" - statues and obelisks dedicated to the memory of French soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the service of La Gloire. Ubiquitous, they serve to press the seductive claim that it is, indeed, sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But there was no mention of the Glory that is France on the plaque inside L'Eglise de St. Pierre. Below the heading "1914 - 1918" there was a simple list of the men from this one small parish who perished during the First World War, which erupted exactly 95 years ago this month. The Great War. The War that was going to end all Wars. There were 26 names in all. Twenty-six fathers, brothers, sons and husbands consumed by the hecatomb, surely a significant percentage of this church's adult male parishioners at the outbreak of the war. Yet only a tiny fraction of the 1.7 million French - 4.29 percent of the population, or the equivalent of 12.9 million Americans today - who died in a pointless conflict that, far from ending war, merely set the stage for a later, even more destructive catastrophe two decades hence. I called my son over and showed him the plaque. Look at this, I told him. Try to imagine what these names mean in terms of the grief and regret, the bitterness and haunting sense of what might have been for those left behind in Montlivault. Nothing in American history (at least of the country's dominant white culture), with the sole exception of the losses in manhood suffered by the South during the Civil War, comes even close to what happened to the families who worshipped at L'Eglise de St. Pierre early in the 20th Century. We cannot, I tried to explain to Gabe, truly conceive of the suffering that took place in this village, in this pays, in France as a whole. It is beyond our comprehension. And remember, too, I thought, the American chickenhawks, class of 2003, and their well-orchestrated campaign of contempt aimed at France because of its refusal to be bullied into supporting the Iraq War: the Bill Kristols and Rush Limbaughs, the "Freedom Fries" jackasses, and The National Review's odious Jonah Goldberg with his sneering insult, "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys"; the Dick Cheneys and George Bushes and Frank Gaffneys and Paul Wolfowitzs; the whole parade of vainglorious cowards who, though they themselves never faced hostile fire, though they managed to duck every opportunity ever afforded them to see combat, nonetheless cheered on a criminal war of aggression - based, like all wars, on lies - ultimately ensuring that other, less- well-connected men and women would die in vain. People like the men listed on the plaque in Montlivault. Think of the promoters of the Iraq War and of how, instead of slinking out of sight, they still strut among us, chattering away on Sunday morning news shows, popping up on op-ed pages to urge new hostilities against today's enemy du jour, even while the 26 dead of L'Eglise de St. Pierre go on paying silent witness to the horror and futility of war. Remember the fallen. Remember, too, the hyenas in every era who sent them to their deaths. Never forget the havoc the warmongers have wrought - and will go on wreaking, just so long as we let them. --------12 of 12-------- An Ominous Glimpse into the Future of Human Labor by Wanda Woodward August 4th, 2009 Dissident Voice Five percent (5%) of the richest Americans own 95% of corporate stocks.1 This means that five percent (5%) are reaping excessive and outrageous profits from a forsaking of the American workforce. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Those who are underemployed are being compensated anywhere between 20%-70% less in wages than their prior incomes. Yet, we continue to see very large increases in consumer goods and services from anything as small as vegetables and milk to large ticket items such as cars, homes, and college education expenses. What has occurred over the past three decades in the United States? More skilled jobs that demand higher levels of education and more technical skills have been shipped overseas creating what has been called "the brain drain". American workers with years of higher level education, greater skills, and more experience are being replaced by either automation or by low income and unemployed foreigners who are glad to work for 1/10 or 1/20 of the pay that an American demands. This leaves mostly semi-skilled and unskilled workers in America such as retail salespeople, waiters and waitresses, health aides, and janitors, all in the lower paying sector.2 In addition to this, American corporations have hired part-time workers and independent contractors in order to avoid having to provide healthcare. Yet the executives in the company have very attractive and robust health and welfare benefits. The majority of U.S. part-time workers are women who earn 69% of what males earn. One projection is that, by the year 2014, there will be around 38 million people who will be job hunting in underdeveloped countries,2 adding to the already one billion plus people across the world who are unemployed and underemployed.3 In a November 2003 study by Alliance Capital Management which reviewed manufacturing jobs in the world's twenty largest economies, it showed that, between 1995 and 2002, a total of 31 million manufacturing jobs were eliminated due mostly to advanced technology replacing the need for human beings.3 One example serves to highlight this. In 2002, Sprint's productivity rose 15 percent and revenue increased 4.3 percent, yet the company eliminated 11,500 workers from its payroll. Jeremy Rifkin, author of The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era, says that, of all the CEOs he has had discussions with, most agreed that intelligent technology, not human beings, will make up the workforce of the future. In 1995, the rate at which U.S. corporations were eliminating jobs was two million annually. More than 75 percent of workers in most of the industrial nations are performing work that is primarily simple and repetitive.3 As of 2003, in the United States, out of 124 million workers, more than 90 million jobs were at risk for replacement by machines. As of the early 1990s, approximately 3.6 billion people (67%) in the world lacked adequate cash or credit to purchase goods and services.2 As Barnet and Cavanagh (1994) state: "A huge and increasing proportion of human beings are not needed and will never be needed to make goods or to provide services because too many people in the world are too poor to buy them" (p. 17). With automated machinery and robots taking over, there is the very real possibility of a permanent underclass consisting of hundreds of millions, if not several billion people. Nobel laureate, Wassily Leontief, states that "the role of humans as the most important factor of production is bound to diminish the same way that the role of horses in agricultural production was first diminished and then eliminated by the introduction of tractors".4 This unprecedented global travesty will create a worldwide situation in which upwards of 80% of the world will be unemployed or underemployed. With several billion people unable to find work, what will prevent society from disintegrating into a state of perpetual lawlessness and chaos? Other ominous predictions regarding robots include the concern that when artificial intelligence is developed, these robots may be given similar rights to humans, including the right to vote. Japanese Professor Ishiguro has created a human android that is so eerily like a real human being that, one day, the unreal will be indiscernible from a real human being.5 In December 2006, one of 200 studies commissioned by the British government was published which stated, "If granted full rights, states will be obligated to provide full social benefits to them [robots] including income support, housing and possibly robo-healthcare to fix the machines over time".6 While it was nay-sayed by most in the scientific community, the fact that it surfaced is alarming. One scientist commented on his concern about who would be responsible if a robot kills or injures someone saying, "We need a proper debate about the safety of the robots that will come onto the market in the next few years. Military use of robots is increasing fast. What we should really be bothered about is public safety". Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, wrote an article in Wired magazine in 2000 which very clearly elucidates the extreme ethical and moral dangers of technology, and specifically robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology. Perhaps one of the most frightening about all three is that they can self-replicate which, as Joy points out, carries with it great power. In Joy's article, he talks about the book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, written by Ray Kurzweil, the famous inventor of the first reading machine for the blind. In the book, Kurzweil advocates for a utopian world in which human immortality is attained by becoming one with robotic technology. The following frightening scenario is printed in the book: THE NEW LUDDITE CHALLENGE First let us postulate that the computer scientists succeed in developing intelligent machines that can do all things better than human beings can do them. In that case presumably all work will be done by vast, highly organized systems of machines and no human effort will be necessary. Either of two cases might occur. The machines might be permitted to make all of their own decisions without human oversight, or else human control over the machines might be retained. If the machines are permitted to make all their own decisions, we can't make any conjectures as to the results, because it is impossible to guess how such machines might behave. We only point out that the fate of the human race would be at the mercy of the machines. It might be argued that the human race would never be foolish enough to hand over all the power to the machines. But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines' decisions. As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more of their decisions for them, simply because machine-made decisions will bring better results than man-made ones. Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won't be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide. On the other hand it is possible that human control over the machines may be retained. In that case the average man may have control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car or his personal computer, but control over large systems of machines will be in the hands of a tiny elite - just as it is today, but with two differences. Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the system. If the elite is ruthless they may simply decide to exterminate the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the elite. Or, if the elite consists of soft-hearted liberals, they may decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human race. They will see to it that everyone's physical needs are satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes "treatment" to cure his "problem". Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove their need for the power process or make them "sublimate" their drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human beings may be happy in such a society, but they will most certainly not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic animals.7 [end excerpt] Kurzweil had included in his book ideas that Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, had written about a dystopian society. Joy goes on to say that he found Hans Moravec's book, Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind, and it gave him more cause for concern. Moravec is a leaders in robotics research as well as the founder of the world's largest robotics research program at Carnegie Mellon University. In Joy's (2000) article, he provides an excerpt from Moravec's book that is similar to Kaczynski's disturbing vision. The Short Run (Early 2000s) Biological species almost never survive encounters with superior competitors. Ten million years ago, South and North America were separated by a sunken Panama isthmus. South America, like Australia today, was populated by marsupial mammals, including pouched equivalents of rats, deers, and tigers. When the isthmus connecting North and South America rose, it took only a few thousand years for the northern placental species, with slightly more effective metabolisms and reproductive and nervous systems, to displace and eliminate almost all the southern marsupials. In a completely free marketplace, superior robots would surely affect humans as North American placentals affected South American marsupials (and as humans have affected countless species). Robotic industries would compete vigorously among themselves for matter, energy, and space, incidentally driving their price beyond human reach. Unable to afford the necessities of life, biological humans would be squeezed out of existence. There is probably some breathing room, because we do not live in a completely free marketplace. Government coerces nonmarket behavior, especially by collecting taxes. Judiciously applied, governmental coercion could support human populations in high style on the fruits of robot labor, perhaps for a long while.8 [end excerpt] These excerpts written by men echo the profoundly disturbing, dominating, and destructive quality that is inherent in masculine pathology, particularly in psychopathy in which there is a complete objectification of humankind, and an absence of human compassion and moral conscience. It has eery commonality with the story of Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus published in 1818 by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in which man, egomaniacally obsessed with power and control, creates that which destroys him. This is a psychopath - a man with no heart; essentially, a beast. Joy's (2000) article is his vocalization of the extremely dangerous and unprecedented potential for extinction that exists as pertains to threats from technology, especially robotics. He emphatically states that "certain knowledge is too dangerous and is best forgone" (p. 11). The reason for his urge for moral caution is best summed up when he states: By 2030, we are likely to be able to build machines, in quantity, a million times as powerful as the personal computers of today. And once an intelligent robot exists, it is only a small step to a robot species - to an intelligent robot that can make evolved copies of itself. A second dream of robotics is that we will gradually replace ourselves with our robotic technology, achieving near immortality by downloading our consciousnesses. I think it is no exaggeration to say we are on the cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil, an evil whose possibility spreads well beyond that which weapons of mass destruction bequeathed to the nation-states, on to a surprising and terrible empowerment of extreme individuals.9 Jacques Attali, French minister and technology consultant to former president Francois Mitterand, declared: "Machines are the new proletariat. The working class is being given its walking papers".10 This is one reason for large increases in productivity despite the fact the employees are working harder than ever and putting in longer hours, and even though large numbers of workers have been laid off. With the elimination of layers of traditional management, shortening production processes, and streamlining administrative duties, restructuring and layoffs in corporations can result in a 40% to 75% workforce reduction. American workers have been left standing at the curbside for decades holding the proverbial bag. They are paying more for the cost of those products and services which the corporation is producing for an estimated 30%-70% less cost due, in large part, to massive savings in the cost of labor as corporations lay off U.S. workers and hire cheap labor from foreign countries at a rate up to 90% of the cost of labor in the U.S. Meanwhile, the compensation of U.S. executives continues to escalate and skyrocket into the tens and hundreds of millions per executive. In addition, this creates a financial windfall for CEOs, senior executives, and the 5% who own stock in these corporations that are saving 60-90% in labor costs. Corporations have betrayed the American workers and have done so without many people being aware of the enormity of the betrayals. Because multi-nationals own virtually all major and mainstream media outlets, they have, for the most part over the past three decades, hid any news that was unfavorable to corporations and the wealthy elite. Hidden from front page or headline news in these mainstream media sources such as CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and Fox News was any news that had the potential to incite large groups of people to unite, engage, and oppose their agenda. The media did not inform the public, to any large degree, about the mass drain of labor out of America that began in the late 1980s. It was not until the early 21st century that large numbers of Americans became aware of the scope of the numbers of lost jobs as well as the fact that the hiring of overseas labor had been occurring for well over a decade. Some of this increased awareness was due to internet access which has non-mainstream sources that provides what many consider are far more accurate pictures and data that are representative of contemporary financial, social, cultural and psychological reality. The wealthiest power brokers have been very aware of the threat that the internet plays in the potential to educate and inform tens and hundreds of millions of people across the world. More crucially, they are cognizant of the potential that this creates for a worldwide organization and uniting of people against what has now become, when combined with overpopulation and global warming, the psychosocial pathology of free market capitalism. .The above is an excerpt from Malignant Masculine Power: The Narcissistic Consciousness of Deceit, Exploitation, Domination, and Destruction that is Leading the World Toward Annihilation, Wanda M. Woodward, MS, Copyright 2007. 1.Henwood, D. (1998). Wall Street: How it works and for whom. New York: Verso. [.] 2.Barnet, R.J. & Cavanagh, J. (1994). Global dreams: Imperial corporations and the new world order. New York: Simon & Schuster. [.] [.] [.] 3.Rifkin, Jeremy. (2004). The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin. [.] [.] [.] 4.Cited in Rifkin, 2004, pp. 5-6. [.] 5.Whitehouse, D. (2005, July 27). Japanese develop .female. android. BBC News. Retrieved 4/4/08. [.] 6.Henderson, M. (2007, April 24). Human rights for robots? We.re getting carried away. The London Times online. Retrieved 3/20/08. [.] 7.Joy, B. (2000, April). Why the future doesn.t need us. Wired magazine online. Retrieved 3/20/08. [.] 8.Joy, 2000, p. 2. [.] 9.Joy, 2000, p. 5. [.] 10.Cited in Rifkin, 2004, p. 7. [.] Wanda Woodward is the author of The Anatomy of the Soul: An Authentic Psychology. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in psychology and her dissertation will be on the theoretical model she developed of gender psychopathology and psychosocial pathology. Upon obtaining her doctorate, she will publish her book, Malignant Masculine Power: The Narcissistic Consciousness of Deceit, Exploitation, Domination, and Destruction That is Leading the World Toward Annihilation which was written in 2007 and is an expose of her theoretical model. Her interests are reading, writing, music, philosophy, psychology, and environmental issues. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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