Progressive Calendar 08.12.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 07:29:31 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   08.12.09

1. Rosemary/breakfast 8.12 5:30am
2. Musuc/young/funds  8.12 11am
3. Robbinsdale home   8.12 11am
4. Beginning is near  8.12 6:15pm
5. Rainforest action  8.12 7pm
6. Amnesty Intl       8.12 7:30pm

7. Eagan peace vigil  8.13 4:30pm
8. Northtown vigil    8.13 5pm

9. Nick Coleman       8.14 11am
10. Palestine vigil   8.14 4:15pm
11. Bicking/party     8.14 6pm

12. Chris Hedges - Nader was right: liberals are going nowhere with Obama
13. Marshall Auerbach - Most of us are broke ... literally
14. Dave Lindorff     - Hecklers Unite! Disrupt ObamaCare town halls!
15. Benjamin Dangl    - Boycotting big beer - especially Coors

--------1 of 15--------

From: Welfare Rights Committee <welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Rosemary's breakfast 8.12 5:30am

Please come and bring coffee to support the occupation against foreclosure
and eviction tomorrow morning at 5:30 am Wednesday 8/12/2009. There is
some thought that support may be needed at that time. Of course there is
no way to predict when a police raid might take place but come on by
before work. Bring breakfast bread, coffee and enjoy the sunrise on
Rosemary's front porch.


--------2 of 15--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com>
Subject: Musuc/young/funds 8.12 11am

KFAI - 90.3FM-Minneapolis/106.7FM Saint Paul and STREAMING at
<http://www.KFAI.org
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12 - 11:00AM
MUSIC AND THE YOUNG: Inspiring Hope and Education- but what about the
Funding?

Arts and music education programs in the schools are under fire. In spite
of strong evidence that arts and music programming in schools enhances
over all academic learning in significant ways, these programs too often
take a back seat to such activities as organized sports and to budget
cutters in the Legislature and Governor's office. TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and
LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with leaders of four Twin Cities youth music
organizations: directors, conductors, and musicians about their music,
their programs and their recruiting methods for ensemble members - and
we'll hear from the student orchestras themselves.
We'll be playing the excellent work of these young ensembles, including a
live performance from a young flutist as well.

GUESTS:
 DIANE SOLLENBERGER - Director, Twin Cities Youth Band (TCYB); Music
educator, Capitol Hill Magnet School, St. Paul
 FELIX JAMES - Jazz Program Director, Walker-West Music Academy, St.
Paul
 AMIR KATS - Artistic Director/Conductor, Greater Twin Cities Youth
Symphonies
 MANNY LAUREANO - Co-Artistic Director, Minnesota Youth Symphonies;
Principal Trumpet, Minnesota Orchestra
 HANNAH PETERSON, flute MN Youth Symphonies award-winning soloist;  2009
Central High School graduate
 TWIN CITIES YOUTH BAND MEMBER
AND YOU! CALL 612-341-0980  CAN'T GET US OVER THE AIR? STREAM TTT
LIVE and LATER


--------3 of 15--------

From: Steff Yorek <yosteff [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Robbinsdale home 8.12 11am

SUPPORT ROBBINSDALE WOMAN IN RESISTING EVICTION FROM FAMILY HOME

The Minnesota Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign is calling for
community intervention in the imminent eviction of Linda Norenberg from
the home in which she grew up. In addition, the MN Coalition for a
People's Bailout as well as other organizations and institutions are
coming together and showing their support.

Press Conference:
Wednesday, August 12, 11:00 am
Linda Norenberg's house: 2750 McNair Dr, Robbinsdale

The property has been in the family since 1938. Ms. Norenberg has sought
advice and help from countless agencies after being given the run-around
by the bank.

Linda's father built the home in 1944 on top a basement where the family
had been living for two years. Her brother remembers, "I woke up one
morning to sunshine overhead after dad had just removed the roof." Linda
grew up there, and moved away to raise her family, returning to buy the
home in 1997 after her father died. Always a pillar of her community, she
currently is employed and the grandmother of three, great grandmother of
three.

Due to job loss and lowered wages, Linda needed to refinance, first with a
fixed rate mortgage. After the mortgagor kept calling with "wouldn't you
like to lower your rate?" she refinanced to an ARM. Realizing that her
"teaser" rate payments weren't paying down principal, she refinanced again
in '03 at the same time that her income dropped. Falling into
preforeclosure in November, '07, she applied for a loan remodification and
was given a seven-month run-around before being notified that the
sheriff's sale would take place December 10th, 2008. It wasn't until
February, '09 that Chase bank told her the sale had taken place January
30th, '09.

Since July 30th when the redemption period ended, she has lost sleep in
fear of eviction. NOW IS THE TIME for all the community to show support.

8/11/09    For more information contact:
Lynette Malles, Poor Peoples Economic
Human Rights Campaign 651-645-2195
Linden Gawboy, MN Coalition for a People's Bailout 612-296-5649
Linda Norenberg, 763-529-3571


--------4 of 15--------

From: Margaret Beegle <beegle [at] louberts.com>
Subject: Beginning is near 8.12 6:15pm

Brian Kaller: "The Beginning is Near: Energy, Climate Change, and
Self-Reliance."
Wednesday, August 12, 6:15-8pm in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall in the
Campus Center at Macalester College.

Brian frames the lecture:

I hope to cover a lot of ground in my talk, which I think puts everything
in perspective - the basics of peak energy and climate change, how energy
consumption has shaped society, how much less energy we used even a few
decades ago, and how much we can afford to cut back and still be
prosperous. With that context, I can go into how various groups - us,
Transition Towns, others - are organizing their communities to be
self-sufficient - to go "off-globalisation" as individuals go "off-grid."
I can expand on the various things we are doing, TT Kildare are doing, Rob
and Karl did in Kinsale, and so on, projects that can be undertaken by
groups in the Twin Cities, which require no money or experience.

I want to emphasize that, while we are only seeing the beginning of
difficulties like peak energy and climate change, our communities can not
only cope with them, but become more resilient and long-lasting, and
actually be much better as a result.

Macalester College 1595 Grand Avenue St. Paul, MN 55105


--------5 of 15--------

From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at] visi.com>
Subject: Rainforest action 8.12 7pm

A Free Screening of:  Green
and a
Presentation on "Palm Oil, Rainforest Destruction & The Climate"
by
DEBRA MICHAUD, RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK (RAN)

There will be a free screening of Green, a visually stunning documentary
about the corporate conversion of the Indonesian tropical rainforest for
palm oil production and the logging of its trees for exotic wood and paper
pulp.  Told through the eyes of one of the palm oil industry's greatest
victims - a dying orangutan - the film conveys a complex narrative without
words.  It is the winner of multiple festival awards.  The screening will
be followed by a presentation and discussion led by Debra Michaud, an
activist with Rainforest Action Network who is based in Chicago.  She will
be speaking about RAN's campaign to get Cargill, which imports vast
amounts of palm oil used in processed foods, soaps and personal-care
products and refined for biofuel, to quit the rainforest.  Cargill is the
largest privately owned corporation in the world and the most powerful
grain cartel. Family-run by the McMillan's, its headquarters are located
in Wayzata, MN. The corporate giant is also responsible for vast swaths of
the Amazon Rainforest being destroyed for soy cultivation.  This is an
opportunity to hear about RAN's important international campaign to oppose
palm oil production and save the rainforest.

Wednesday, August 12 at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South in South
Minneapolis.  The doors open at 6:30 PM with the film showing at 7:00 PM
and the presentation at 8:00 PM.  Refreshments will be provided.

The program is co-sponsored by Rainforest Action Network and the Climate
Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities.  For more information visit:
www.ran.org <http://www.ran.org/> and www.TheProblemWithPalmOil.org
<http://www.theproblemwithpalmoil.org/> EMAIL:  christinefrank [at] visi.com or
PHONE:  612-879-8937.


--------6 of 15--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 8.12 7:30pm

AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, August 12th, at 7:30 p.m.
Mad Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul.


--------7 of 15--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.13 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.


--------8 of 15--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.13 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.


--------9 of 15--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Nick Coleman 8.14 11am

FRIDAY AUG.14, 11am on KFAI's "Catalyst:politics & culture" for a short
interview with NICK COLEMAN, columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Producer/host Lydia Howell asks Coleman about some of the stories he's
covered. KFAI 90.3fm Mpls 106.7 fm St.Paul Live-streaming/archived for 2
weeks after broadcat at: http://www.kfai.org/catalyst


--------10 of 15--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Palestine vigil 8.14 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.


--------11 of 15--------

From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com>
Subject: Bicking/party 8.14 6pm

Come party, enjoy some excellent live music, and support a winning
campaign for Minneapolis City Council!  We're gathering momentum; now is
the time to step up in support if you want to see some real change in
November!

Friday, August 14, 6:00 - 9:00pm.  Dave Bicking for City Council campaign
party and fundraiser, with snacks, deserts, and LIVE MUSIC.  In the
basement of Walker Community Methodist Church, 3104 16th Ave. S., Mpls.
(One block east of Bloomington Ave. and one block south of Lake St. - good
bus service on both those streets.)

Suggested donation:  $10 (more if you can please, less if you can't)

Music:

PAPA JOHN KOLSTAD, singer and blues guitarist.  A Minneapolis legend - and
now, a candidate for Mayor of Minneapolis in 2009!  Previously the Green
Party candidate for MN Attorney General in 2006.  He will likely be joined
by one or more friends and fellow musicians.

ESKIT, amazing and unique songwriter of satire and general silliness.
Singer and piano player extraordinaire.  Author of the Bicking for City
Council campaign song!

This is a real treat, to have both these great musicians together.  Papa
John Kolstad and Eskit have toured nationally and have many recordings to
their credit.

Great music, AND you get to find out a little more about the campaign and
about the issues, and generally have a good time with like-minded people.
You gotta come and enjoy!!

Dave Bicking 612-276-1213

PS.  If you just can't make it to the party, you can still donate to
strengthen this grassroots campaign against the entrenched power of the
incumbent.  Make out your check to:  Bicking for City Council, and mail it
to:  Bicking for City Council, 2425 E. Franklin Ave. #407, Mpls, MN 55406.
 (Contribution limit is $300 per person)

AND, this campaign is only as strong as the base of volunteers who will
bring us to victory.  Please let me know if you can help with any aspect:
door knocking, lit dropping, mailings, organizing events like this one,
writing and research, communications, etc.  All are needed, no matter your
time limitations.  We especially need a few people who can commit to
managing some part of the campaign, such as organizing the door knocking
or overseeing the media work, etc.  Please join us for a campaign that
will win! - and have some fun doing it!


--------12 of 15--------

Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090810_nader_was_right_liberals_are_going_nowhere_with_obama/
Posted on Aug 10, 2009
By Chris Hedges

The American empire has not altered under Barack Obama. It kills as
brutally and indiscriminately in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as it did
under George W. Bush. It steals from the U.S. treasury to enrich the
corporate elite as rapaciously. It will not give us universal health care,
abolish the Bush secrecy laws, end torture or "extraordinary rendition,"
restore habeas corpus or halt the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring
of citizens. It will not push through significant environmental reform,
regulate Wall Street or end our relationship with private contractors that
provide mercenary armies to fight our imperial wars and produce useless
and costly weapons systems.

The sad reality is that all the well-meaning groups and individuals who
challenge our permanent war economy and the doctrine of pre-emptive war,
who care about sustainable energy, fight for civil liberties and want
corporate malfeasance to end, were once again suckered by the Democratic
Party. They were had. It is not a new story. The Democrats have been doing
this to us since Bill Clinton. It is the same old merry-go-round, only
with Obama branding. And if we have not learned by now that the system is
broken, that as citizens we do not matter to our political elite, that we
live in a corporate state where our welfare and our interests are
irrelevant, we are in serious trouble. Our last hope is to step outside of
the two-party system and build movements that defy the Democrats and the
Republicans. If we fail to do this, we will continue to undergo a
corporate coup d'etat in slow motion that will end in feudalism.

We owe Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party an apology. They
were right. If a few million of us had had the temerity to stand behind
our ideals rather than our illusions and the empty slogans peddled by the
Obama campaign, we would have a platform. We forgot that social reform
never comes from accommodating the power structure but from frightening
it. The Liberty Party, which fought slavery, the suffragists who battled
for women's rights, the labor movement, and the civil rights movement knew
that the question was not how do we get good people to rule - those
attracted to power tend to be venal mediocrities - but how do we limit the
damage the powerful do to us. These mass movements were the engines for
social reform, the correctives to our democracy and the true protectors of
the rights of citizens. We have surrendered this power. It is vital to
reclaim it. Where is the foreclosure movement? Where is the robust
universal health care or anti-war movement? Where is the militant movement
for sustainable energy?

"Something is broken," Nader said when I reached him at his family home in
Connecticut. "We are not at the Bangladesh level in terms of passivity,
but we are getting there. No one sees anything changing. There is no new
political party to give people a choice. The progressive forces have no
hammer. When they abandoned our campaign, they told the Democrats we have
nowhere to go and will take whatever you give us. The Democrats are under
no heat in the electoral arena from the left."

"There comes a point when the public imbibes the ultimatum of the
plutocracy," Nader said when asked about public apathy. "They have bought
into the belief that if it protests, it will be brutalized by the police.
If they have Muslim names, they will be subjected to Patriot Act
treatment. This has scared the hell out of the underclass. They will be
called terrorists."

"This is the third television generation," Nader said. "They have grown up
watching screens. They have not gone to rallies. Those are history now.
They hear their parents and grandparents talk about marches and rallies.
They have little toys and gizmos that they hold in their hands. They have
no idea of any public protest or activity. It is a tapestry of passivity."

"They have been broken," Nader said of the working class. "How many times
have their employers threatened them with going abroad? How many times
have they threatened the workers with outsourcing? The polls on job
insecurity are record-high by those who have employment. And the liberal
intelligentsia have failed them. They [the intellectuals] have bought into
carping and making lecture fees as the senior fellow at the institute of
so-and-so. Look at the top 50 intelligentsia - not one of them supported
our campaign, not one of them has urged for street action and marches".

Our task is to build movements that can act as a counterweight to the
corporate rape of America. We must opt out of the mainstream. We must
articulate and stand behind a viable and uncompromising socialism, one
that is firmly and unequivocally on the side of working men and women. We
must give up the self-delusion that we can influence the power elite from
the inside. We must become as militant as those who are seeking our
enslavement. If we remain passive as we undergo the largest transference
of wealth upward in American history, our open society will die. The
working class is being plunged into desperation that will soon rival the
misery endured by the working class in China and India. And the Democratic
Party, including Obama, is a willing accomplice.

"Obama is squandering his positive response around the world," Nader said.
"In terms of foreign and military policy, it is a distinct continuity with
Bush. Iraq, Afghanistan, the militarization of foreign policy, the
continued expansion of the Pentagon budget and pursuing more globalized
trade agreements are the same".

This is an assessment that neoconservatives now gleefully share. Eliot A.
Cohen, writing in The Wall Street Journal, made the same pronouncement.

"Mostly, though, the underlying structure of the policy remains the same,"
Cohen wrote in an Aug. 2 opinion piece titled "What's Different About the
Obama Foreign Policy". "Nor should this surprise us: The United States has
interests dictated by its physical location, its economy, its alliances,
and above all, its values. Naive realists, a large tribe, fail to
understand that ideals will inevitably guide American foreign policy, even
if they do not always determine it. Moreover, because the Obama foreign
and defense policy senior team consists of centrist experts from the
Democratic Party, it is unlikely to make radically different judgments
about the world, and about American interests in it, than its
predecessors".

Nader said that Obama should gradually steer the country away from
imperial and corporate tyranny.

"You don't just put out policy statements of congeniality, but statements
of gradual redirection," Nader said. "You incorporate in that statement
not just demilitarization, not just ascension of smart diplomacy, but the
enlargement of the U.S. as a humanitarian superpower, and cut out these
Soviet-era weapons systems and start rapid response for disaster like
earthquakes and tsunamis. You expand infectious disease programs, which
the U.N. Developmental Commission says can be done for $50 billion a year
in Third World countries on nutrition, minimal health care and minimal
shelter".

Obama has expanded the assistance to our class of Wall Street
extortionists through subsidies, loan guarantees and backup declarations
to banks such as Citigroup. His stimulus package does not address the
crisis in our public works infrastructure; instead it doles out funds to
Medicaid and unemployment compensation. There will be no huge public works
program to remodel the country. The president refuses to acknowledge the
obviouswe - can no longer afford our empire.

"Obama could raise a call to come home, America, from the military budget
abroad," Nader suggested. "He could create a new constituency that does
not exist because everything is so fragmented, scattered, haphazard and
slapdash with the stimulus. He could get the local labor unions, the local
Chambers of Commerce and the mayors to say the more we cut the military
budget, the more you get in terms of public works".

"They [administration leaders] don't see the distinction between public
power and corporate power," Nader said. "This is their time in history to
reassert public values represented by workers, consumers, taxpayers and
communities. They are creating a jobless recovery, the worst of the worst,
with the clear specter of inflation on the horizon. We are heading for
deep water".

The massive borrowing acts as an anesthetic. It prevents us from facing
the new limitations we must learn to cope with domestically and abroad. It
allows us to live in the illusion that we are not in a state of
irrevocable crisis, that our decline is not real and that catastrophe has
been averted. But running up the national debt can work only so long.

"No one can predict the future," Nader added hopefully. "No one knows the
variables. No one predicted the move on tobacco. No one predicted gay
rights. No one predicted the Berkeley student rebellion. The students were
supine. You never know what will light the fire. You have to keep the
pressure on. I know only one thing for sure: The whole liberal-progressive
constituency is going nowhere".

[Except perhaps the toilet. -ed]


--------13 of 15--------

Most of Us are Broke ... Literally
America's Biggest Economic Problem?
By MARSHALL AUERBACK
August 11, 2009
CounterPunch

My bills are all due and the baby needs shoes and I'm busted
Cotton is down to a quarter a pound, but I'm busted
I got a cow that went dry and a hen that won't lay
A big stack of bills that gets bigger each day
The county's gonna haul my belongings away cause I'm busted.

--Ray Charles

Almost half of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage are likely to owe more than
their properties are worth before the housing recession ends, Deutsche
Bank AG estimates. The percentage of "underwater" loans may rise to 48
percent, or 25 million homes, as prices drop through the first quarter of
2011, Karen Weaver and Ying Shen, analysts in New York at Deutsche Bank,
wrote in a report published August 6.

In December 2006, only a few months after the peak of the housing bull
market, the total value of U.S. residential property stood at $21.9
trillion. Prices have dropped by 31 percent since the end of 2006, so the
estimated value today is about $15 trillion; however, the mortgage debt
remains more or less unchanged and stands at $10.6 trillion. In other
words, whereas debt-to-equity in the U.S. housing market was 48 per cent
as recently as in December 2006, it is now 70 per cent and will rise to 80
per cent once house prices have mean-reverted.

Although painful, a rise in debt-to-equity of that magnitude would
actually be manageable if it were not for the fact that income and wealth
in the US is extremely skewed. The top 1 per cent of income earners in the
U.S. account for more than 20 per cent of national income while the median
household has seen no improvement in income for the past ten years.
Within the median household sector itself, then, there is still a
tremendous financial vulnerability which has not been addressed at all by
the Obama administration. Home ownership in the U.S. is far greater than
in most modern economies. Equity ownership is also high. The bursting of
the real estate and equity bubbles has destroyed the wealth of the U.S.
middle class to a devastating degree. And it is with this middle class
that the high private indebtedness lies. If there is going to be a further
financial crisis in the U.S. it is probably going to be focused on the
household sector. If balance sheet recession dynamics are going to depress
aggregate demand through wealth destruction and debt repayment, it is
probably household sector demand where this will surface.

Almost one-third of all U.S. households have no mortgage. If you adjust
for that, the 70-80 percent debt-to-equity ratio suddenly becomes a major
challenge because it means that the two-thirds who do have a mortgage
already face a debt-to-equity ratio in excess of 100 per cent. Even worse,
once the mean reversion has run its course, two-thirds of US households
will be facing a debt-to-equity ratio of 120-125 per cent on average. U.S.
consumers are effectively broke.

Obviously, households have assets and liabilities other than property and
mortgages. But it's clear that the U.S. consumer has been repeatedly on
the losing end of the serial "bubblelisation" of the American economy.
The collapse of the dot.com bubble and the more recent plunge in real
estate means that the great majority of U.S. households are more
financially stressed at any time since the Great Depression. And yet
policy has been largely directed toward "solving" the "problems" of the
financial sector (where much of the country's existing wealth is
concentrated), and only minimal efforts have been applied to solve the
debt problems of households and non-financial businesses

As the DB Securities report illustrates, households. ability to spend is a
function of three factors - cash flow (which again is driven mainly by
income, mortgage rates and tax), credit (bank lending) and homeowner
equity (property prices). Now, with negative equity against their main
asset, with even more pressure on income as a result of the recession and
with virtually no savings to cushion the pain, the majority of U.S.
households have no choice but to cut back drastically on their
consumption. And with the U.S. consumer being forced to pull back, the
global recovery story turns very pale indeed in the absence of sustained
fiscal stimulus WHICH PUTS THE FOCUS ON AGGREGATE DEMAND, NOT BANK BALANCE
SHEETS, as I have repeatedly argued.

The U.S. economy is today crushed by massive household indebtedness.
Maintenance of the status quo is not a solution. Administration proposals
to relieve debt burdens by encouraging lenders to renegotiate mortgages
have failed miserably. Personal income is falling at a terrifying rate.
Already 6.5 million have lost their jobs - with June, alone, adding a half
million job losses. The administration's promise that the stimulus package
will create 3.5 million jobs over the next two years is unsatisfying in
the face of the challenges faced. And yet we are told to "be patient".
[Maybe that's "Be a patient" Stretch out, be strapped down, be
anesthetized, have some body parts removed (head?)... -ed]

We need federal government spending programs to provide jobs and incomes
that will restore the creditworthiness of borrowers and the profitability
of for-profit firms. We need a package of policies to relieve households
of intolerable debt burdens. In addition, given that the current crisis
was fuelled in part by a housing boom, we need to find a way to deal with
the oversupply of houses that is devastating for communities left with
vacancies that drive down real estate values while increasing social
costs. And we've got to reign in the born-again deficit hawks who, having
got their fill from the government's fiscal trough, have all of a sudden
become preoccupied with "paying for" additional spending through tax hikes
or spending cuts elsewhere.

If home prices revert to their mean the average mortgage indebted American
homeowner will have a deeply negative home equity. Given the paltry liquid
wealth and 401K holdings, most of such households may have no net worth at
all. Under current U.S. law widespread negative home equity could lead to
mass debt repudiation as opposed to debt paydown, which could lead to an
ever growing number of foreclosures which in turn could further weaker
house prices. Because so much of the broad U.S. middle class will have
their personal net worth decimated, it might lead to a social and
political crisis of sorts. Such a crisis could materialize sooner and more
abruptly than is now appreciated in Washington.  The brief populist anger
felt in the wake of the AIG bonus payouts might be child's play compared
to what is in store in the future.

Marshall Auerback is a market analyst and commentator. He is a
brainstruster for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Intitute. He can be
reached at MAuer1959 [at] aol.com


--------14 of 15--------

Hecklers Unite!
Why Aren't Progressives Disrupting ObamaCare Town Halls?
By DAVE LINDORFF
August 11, 2009
CounterPunch

Many progressives are getting all bent out of shape over the "brown shirt"
rabble organized by health industry PR firms to disrupt the so-called
"town meetings" being organized all over the country by Democratic members
of Congress.

What they are conveniently forgetting is that these are not really "town
meetings" at all, at least in the sense of the town meetings I grew up
with, and started out covering as a young journalist in Connecticut - that
is, meetings called and run democratically, with leaders elected from the
floor, open to all residents of a community.

These "town meetings" are really nothing but propaganda sessions run by
members of Congress who are trying to burnish their fraudulent credentials
as public servants, and trying to perpetrate a huge fraud of a health care
bill that purports to be a progressive "reform" of the US health care
system, but that actually further entrenches the control of that system by
the insurance industry, and to a lesser extent, the hospital and drug
industry.

ObamaCare is to health reform what bank bailouts are to financial system
reform, which is to say it is the opposite of what its name implies.

The right-wing nuts who cry that ObamaCare is introducing euthanasia for
the elderly and infirm, or that it is socialism, are ignorant wackos, to
be sure, but they are right about one thing: Americans are about to be
royally screwed on health care reform by the president and the Democratic
Congress, just as they've been screwed by them on financial system
"reform."

The appropriate response to this screw-job is the one the right has
adopted: shut these sham "town meetings" down, and run the sell-out
politicians out of town on a rail, preferably coated in tar and feathers
they way the snake-oil salesmen of old used to be handled!

This is not about civil discourse. This is about propaganda. The Obama
administration and the Democratic Congressional leadership have sold out
health care reform for the tainted coin of the medical-industrial
industry, and are holding, or trying to hold, these meetings around the
country to promote legislation that has essentially been written for them
by that industry - legislation that will force everyone to pay for
insurance as offered, and priced, by the private insurance industry. What
a deal for those companies - a captive market of 300 million people! There
will be little or no effort to control prices, and the higher costs will
be financed through higher taxes, and through cuts in Medicare benefits.

This isn't "reform." It's corruption, pure and simple.

Any mention of a system that works - single payer - the system we already
have in the form of Medicare for the elderly and disabled, and the system
that has proved successful for almost four decades in Canada - has been
systematically blocked and censored out of the discussion. Every effort
has been made to bury an excellent bill, HR 676, offered up by Rep. John
Conyers (D-MI), which would cover every American by simply expanding
Medicare to cover everyone.

The only proper response at this point is obstruction, and the more
militant and boisterous that obstruction, the better.

Instead of opposing the right-wing hecklers at these events, progressives
should be making common cause with them. Instead of calling them fascists,
we should be working to turn them, by showing them that the enemy is not
the left; it is the corporations that own both Democrats and Republicans
alike.

The only proper approach to the wretched health care legislation currently
working its way through Congress at this point is to kill it and start
over. At these "town meeting" staged events, Obama and the Democrats need
to hear, in no uncertain terms, that we don't want no stinkin' ObamaCare.
We want Medicare for all.

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest
book is .The Case for Impeachment. (St. Martin.s Press, 2006 and now
available in paperback). He can be reached at dlindorff [at] mindspring.com


--------15 of 15--------

Why We Should All Shun Union-Busting Beer Companies
Boycotting Big Beer
By BENJAMIN DANGL
August 11, 2009
CounterPunch

When Obama sat down for a beer in the White House Rose Garden with
Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley, they all turned their backs on the
smaller, craft brewers of the country. Obama chose Bud Light, Gates asked
for Red Stripe, and Crowley drank Blue Moon.

One of the major craft brewers based where I live in Vermont is Magic Hat,
a brewery with a delicious array of brews. That brewery issued a press
release following the "Beer Summit" explaining, "Craft Brewers the country
over are chagrined by the President's choice to consume a beer owned by a
company based outside of America's borders. Bud Light, owned by
Belgium-based AB InBev, and Blue Moon, owned by London-based SAB
MillerCoors, together control 94% of the beer market in the United States.
However, the United States boasts over 1,500 craft brewers, the majority
being made up of small Main Street Businesses that employ less than 50
people".

This encounter at the Rose Garden provides a perfect time to reflect on
why we should all boycott the beer monopolies of the world.

One reason to boycott large breweries is the union busting, right wing
culture that dominates some of the biggest breweries in America.
Yuengling, America's oldest brewery, and Coors, America's biggest brewery,
both offer insights into the ugly political and labor practices of this
multi-billion dollar industry.

In 2007 Yuengling owner Dick Yuengling told his workers, "the writing was
on the wall" and that if they didn't get rid of the union he would close
the brewery and open up shop in a location in the southern US where labor
was cheaper. Faced with the choice of looking for work in an area with few
jobs, the workers decided to kick the union out.

At the time, Patrick Eiding, then-president of the AFL-CIO union in
Philadelphia said of Mr. Yuengling, "If he doesn't want union people, then
I would say union people shouldn't drink his beer."

Municipal worker Don Long said he would follow along with the boycott,
explaining that Yuengling "doesn't care for his workers - he just cares
about how much money he can make."

I've joined in a boycott against this beer, and have convinced some of my
friends to do so as well. But it's really Coors Brewing Company that takes
the cake for supporting conservative causes and busting unions.

Over the years the Coors family has contributed handsomely to plenty of
conservative projects and organizations. Reading about their family's
philanthropy is like reading a history of the right wing in America.

Joseph Coors was an advisor to Ronald Reagan, provided the founding grant
to the infamous Heritage Foundation as well as the right wing Free
Congress Foundation, which asks the following question on its website:
"Will America return to the culture that made it great, our traditional,
Judeo-Christian, Western culture?" If not, the US will revert to "no less
than a third world country".

Joseph Coors really put his money where his right wing heart was when he
donated a $65,000 plane to the Contras in the covert US war against the
Nicaraguan Sandinistas in the 1980s. It's high time to raise a glass of
non-Coors beer in solidarity with the Sandinistas. But here's another
reason to boycott America's most successful brewing company; their union
busting.

In 1977, in Colorado, home to the company's brewery, Coors hired scabs to
replace workers on strike at the plant. Jeff Coors, the president of the
family company at the time, told the Los Angeles Times that he wouldn't
back down because agreeing to union demands was like "inviting the
Russians in to take over America".

But the family's repression of workers' rights didn't stop there. Annika
Carlson writing about the Coors' legacy at Campus Progress, says, "Until
1986, prospective Coors employees were sometimes required to take lie
detector tests, answering questions about their sexual orientation,
communist leanings, and how often they changed their underwear".

In 2004, when Peter Coors, the chairman of the Coors Brewing Company ran
for Senate as a Republican from Colorado, local union leaders were quick
to criticize the company's poor labor relations. Steve Adams, the
president of the Colorado AFL-CIO at the time, told USA Today, "Peter
Coors is a Republican, and there are very few Republicans who support
workers' rights. The Coors company track record is not friendly to
workers' rights." To this day, many of Denver's 23,000 Food and Commercial
Workers union still boycott Coors beer due to the company's crackdowns on
labor rights in the 1970s.

You can show that drinking is a very political act by turning your back on
the big breweries. Or, as Carlson says about Coors, "When cracking open a
cold one, remember to toast the things that make the Coors family great:
union-busting, lie-detecting, Heritage-funding, double-talking and, of
course, its beer".

Benjamin Dangl is currently based in Paraguay and is the author of "The
Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia" (AK Press).
He edits UpsideDownWorld.org, a website on activism and politics in Latin
America, and TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events.
Email: Bendangl(at)gmail(dot)com.


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