|Progressive Calendar 08.12.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|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. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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