|Progressive Calendar 10.15.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 06:28:05 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 10.15.09 1. Eagan peace vigil 10.15 4:30pm 2. Northtown vigil 10.15 5pm 3. Green tomato cookoff 10.15 6pm 4. Solar energy systems 10.15 6:30pm 5. Ward 10 CC forum 10.15 6:30pm 6. Ward 11/12 CC forum 10.15 6:30pm 7. Women's rights/film 10.15 7pm 8. Iran 10.15 7pm 9. Ward 4 CC forum 10.15 7pm 10. Amnesty Intl 10.15 7:15pm 11. GLBT conf/lunch 10.16 8am 12. Bioneers/KFAI 10.16 11am 13. Congo war/asylum 10.16 12noon 14. Palestine vigil 10.16 4:15pm 15. Teamsters 10.16 6:30pm 16. Chris Hedges - Celebrating slaughter: war and collective amnesia 17. Mel Packer - Democracy denied: the crackdown on Pittsburgh 18. Shamus Cooke - What Obama isn't telling American workers 19. David Macaray - Why the government fears unions 20. Dave Lindorff - Dem party selling out, but still getting screwed 21. Brendan Cooney - Ask Awal Khan about Obama's prize 22. ed - 17 letters for you (haiku) --------1 of 22-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 10.15 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. --------2 of 22-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 10.15 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. --------3 of 22-------- From: EXCO <excotc [at] gmail.com> Subject: Green tomato cook 10.15 6pm Green Tomato Cook-off October 15, 6-8pm St. Paul's Lutheran Church 2742 15th Ave South, Minneapolis Free Event with Gardening Matters and EXCO! Bring a dish for the contest or just show up and eat - ALL ARE WELCOME. --------4 of 22-------- From: Lynne mayo <llen [at] usfamily.net> From: "Raging Grannie (Wanda B)" <wsb70 [at] comcast.net> Subject: Solar energy sys 10.15 6:30pm The Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway North, Saint Paul; 6:30-9 PM October meeting, October 15th, Ralph Jacobson of Innovative Power Systems will review the present state of solar energy systems. Ralph will review the present state of solar energy systems. Bring a paper and pencil and he will run through some calculations on how a solar array can help reduce your reliance on fossil fuel-based electricity. (<http://www.ips-solar.com/>http://www.ips-solar.com/ ). Note: New Meeting Room: The Merriam Park Room, #2410. Sign in and proceed upstairs to the Merriam Park Room, Room 2410, at the top of the stairs, through the hallway door and down the hall on your right. (You will pass the Frogtown Room, #2510, where we have been meeting.) Thank you for not wearing perfume or cologne when attending our meetings. --------5 of 22-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Ward 10 CC forum 10.15 6:30pm October 15: League of Women Voters Minneapolis Candidate Forum. Ward 10 City Council candidates. 6:30 - 8 PM at Walker Library. --------6 of 22-------- From: Nik <kreuzauge [at] gmail.com> Subject: Ward 11/12 CC forum 6:30pm The Thursday, October 15 forum City Council Wards 11 and 12. Keewaydin Community Center, 3030 East 53rd Street, 6:30-8:30 p.m. This will be an opportunity to ask your questions on the city and local issues, such as how the candidates would handle the growing budget constraints and the impact on property taxes. We will have materials on ranked choice voting available at both forums, and time permitting, a short demonstration at the October 15th meeting. --------7 of 22-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Women's rights/f 10.15 7pm October 15: Women's Human Rights Program at The Advocates for Human Rights Women's Human Rights Film Series: "A Walk to Beautiful", award-winning documentary telling the stories of 5 Ethiopian women who suffer from devastating childbirth injuries and embark on a journey to reclaim their lost dignity. 7 PM at St. Anthony Park Branch Library, 2245 Como Ave., St. Paul. Free and open to the public. --------8 of 22-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Iran 10.15 7pm THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale & Hennepin). Park in church lot. Thursday, October 15, 7-9pm. WHITHER IRAN IN THE OBAMA ERA? Although the United States has changed course on Middle East relations with the election of President Obama, many of the political forces active in the Bush era are still forcing the present administration to proceed cautiously, especially with regard to Iran. Nevertheless, we can be cautiously optimistic about long-term improvements in U.S.-Iranian relations. We will discuss the problems President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton still face in their difficult diplomatic task and review their successes thus far. Iran is bound for change no matter what the Obama administration does or does not do. The demographics of youth and rising role of women virtually guarantee this. Presenter: PROFESSOR WILLIAM O. BEEMAN. Professor Beeman chairs the Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota and is President of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association. He was formerly the Director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. For more than 30 years, he has also worked in the Middle East, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Japan, China and South Asia and has special expertise in Iranian culture. Among the 14 books that he has authored or edited are Language, Status and Power in Iran, and The "Great Satan" vs. the "Mad Mullahs": How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other. He has served as consultant to the US State Department, the Department of Defense, Congress and the United Nations. He is a frequent commentator on international radio and TV and his written opinion pieces have appeared in major newspapers throughout the world. [He appears way too optimistic for me. Consultant to State & Defense? That can't be good. A feel-good evening. -ed --------9 of 22-------- From: Marcus Harcus City Council Committee <marcus [at] marcusharcus.org> Subject: Ward 4 CC forum 10.15 7pm Please show up to support me at the next and last 4th Ward City Council candidate debate: Thursday October 15th, 2009 7:00pm-8:30pm (get there early to find a good seat) at Loring elementary located at 2600 44th Avenue North Minneapolis, MN 55412. I will be challenging my opponents and the community to an additional debate to be held at the end of the month, at Henry. I'm requesting that YOU contribute to a compelling base of audience support when I ask the crowd if they want it. I've got a severely injured big toe... and 10,000 campaign flyers to distribute in 20 days. Please join me in the field! I need some soldiers. It's actually fun! Especially if you want to unseat BJ and shock the City of Minneapolis... Volunteer if you can. This is a call for help! Donate if you can: http://www.marcusharcus.org/donate.htm Note: You can contribute even if you don't live in the 4th Ward, or over North, or in Minnesota, or in the United States of America. 612.600.0155 www.marcusharcus.org --------10 of 22-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 10.15 7:15pm AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, October 15th, at 7:15 p.m. St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com. --------11 of 22-------- From: farheen [at] farheenhakeem.org Subject: GLBT conf/lunch 10.16 8am Join the GLBT & Allied Community for National Coming Out Day OutFront Minnesota Special Announcement OutFront Minnesota is proud to be a Community Partner of Quorum, the Twin Cities GLBT and Allied Chamber of Commerce, as they present Minnesota's 16th annual National Coming Out Day Luncheon and the first Quorum Business Equality Conference. We hope you will join us on October 16th, as our Community celebrates the strength, courage and wisdom of GLBT and Allied people who live openly and authentically. Inspiring speakers, including Robert and Carol Curoe, authors of groundbreaking memoir, Are There Closets in Heaven?, Deb LeMay, Executive Director of PFLAG Saint Paul/Minneapolis, and Shelly Boyum-Breen, Founder and President of Foundation IX, will challenge and inspire you with their powerful stories. GLBT and allied businesses and community organizations will share information about their valuable work in the exhibitor area. The day also features the Quorum Business Equality Conference, a day-long intensive learning experience designed to support GLBT employee groups and their companies' work towards their common goal of fully inclusive, healthy and productive workplaces. Minnesota National Coming Out Day Luncheon & Quorum Business Equality Conference October 16th, 2006 - 11:30am-2:00pm (Luncheon); 8:00am-5:00pm (Conference) Minneapolis Convention Center - 1301 2nd Ave S Minneapolis, MN To make your reservations or find more details, visit www.twincitiesquorum.com/ncod/ or contact the Quorum office at (651) 646-1029. We look forward to seeing you there - 310 E 38th Street, #204 Minneapolis, MN 55409-1337 US --------12 of 22-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Bioneers/KFAI 10.16 11am Fri.Oct.16 and 23,11am, NORTHLAND BIONEERS CONF. on KFAI Radio Tune in to "Catalyst:politics & culture", hosted by Lydia Howell, to hear about the 2009 NORTHLAND BIONEERS CONFERENCE, Oct, 24-25 @ Wiley Hall at U of M, Minneapolis. Keynote speaker SUSAN HUBBARD, CEO of EUREKA Recycling talks about exciting new developments in clean sues for recycled materials and a new way to look at how our lives can be "secure, comfortable AND sustainable". Co-producers of the conference EMILY BARKER and ORAM MILLER give an overview of the wide range of issues this year's conference explores: green jobs and businesses, permaculture, environmental racism and world population. For complete info about the conference go to: http://www.nbconference.org KFAI Radio:90.3fm Mpls 106.7fm St.Paul All shows live-steaming/archived for 2 weeks after broadcast at: http://www.kfai.org/catalyst --------13 of 22-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Congo war/asylum 10.16 12noon October 16: Women's Human Rights Program at the The Advocates for Human Rights and others Brown Bag Lecture on Violence Against Women and War in the Congo and Asylum in the U.S. Noon - 1:15 PM at Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, Suite 1500, 50 South 6th Street, Minneapolis. Free and open to the public, but you must RSVP to 612-341-3302, x 114. --------14 of 22-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 10.16 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. --------15 of 22-------- From: David Kremer <dckremer [at] GMAIL.COM> Subject: Teamsters 10.16 6:30pm Friday, October 16, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Broadway Pizza, 2025 N. West River Road, Mpls. Fundraiser for the education and legal defense arm of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, the reform movement within the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Join labor journalist, Steve Early - author of "Embedded with Organized Labor"; meet working Teamsters and get an update on TDU; and support the cause for progressive change in North America's most powerful union. David Kremer 612-529-4136 --------16 of 22-------- Celebrating Slaughter: War and Collective Amnesia by Chris Hedges Published on Monday, October 5, 2009 by TruthDig.com Common Dreams War memorials and museums are temples to the god of war. The hushed voices, the well-tended grass, the flapping of the flags allow us to ignore how and why our young died. They hide the futility and waste of war. They sanitize the savage instruments of death that turn young soldiers and Marines into killers, and small villages in Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq into hellish bonfires. There are no images in these memorials of men or women with their guts hanging out of their bellies, screaming pathetically for their mothers. We do not see mangled corpses being shoved in body bags. There are no sights of children burned beyond recognition or moaning in horrible pain. There are no blind and deformed wrecks of human beings limping through life. War, by the time it is collectively remembered, is glorified and heavily censored. I blame our war memorials and museums, our popular war films and books, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as much as George W. Bush. They provide the mental images and historical references to justify new conflicts. We equate Saddam Hussein with Adolf Hitler. We see al-Qaida as a representation of Nazi evil. We view ourselves as eternal liberators. These plastic representations of war reconfigure the past in light of the present. War memorials and romantic depictions of war are the social and moral props used to create the psychological conditions to wage new wars. War memorials are quiet, still, reverential and tasteful. And, like church, such sanctuaries are important, but they allow us to forget that these men and women were used and often betrayed by those who led the nation into war. The memorials do not tell us that some always grow rich from large-scale human suffering. They do not explain that politicians play the great games of world power and stoke fear for their own advancement. They forget that young men and women in uniform are pawns in the hands of cynics, something Pat Tillman's family sadly discovered. They do not expose the ignorance, raw ambition and greed that are the engine of war. There is a burning need, one seen in the collective memory that has grown up around World War II and the Holocaust, to turn the horror of mass murder into a tribute to the triumph of the human spirit. The reality is too unpalatable. The human need to make sense of slaughter, to give it a grandeur it does not possess, permits the guilty to go free. The war makers - those who make the war but never pay the price of war - live among us. They pen thick memoirs that give sage advice. They are our elder statesmen, our war criminals. Henry Kissinger. Robert McNamara. Dick Cheney. George W. Bush. Any honest war memorial would have these statesmen hanging in effigy. Any honest democracy would place them behind bars. Primo Levi, who survived Auschwitz, fought against the mendacity of collective memory until he took his own life. He railed against the human need to mask the truth of the Holocaust and war by giving it a false, moral narrative. He wrote that the contemporary history of the Third Reich could be "reread as a war against memory, an Orwellian falsification of memory, falsification of reality, negation of reality". He wondered if "we who have returned" have "been able to understand and make others understand our experience". He wrote of the Jewish collaborator Chaim Rumkowski, who ran the Lodz ghetto on behalf of the Nazis, that "we are all mirrored in Rumkowski, his ambiguity is ours, it is our second nature, we hybrids molded from clay and spirit. His fever is ours, the fever of Western civilization that 'descends into hell with trumpets and drums'" We, like Rumkowski, "come to terms with power, forgetting that we are all in the ghetto, that the ghetto is walled in, that outside the ghetto reign the lords of death, and that close by the train is waiting". We are, Levi understood, perpetually imprisoned within the madness of self-destruction. The rage of Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in Iraq, is a rage Levi felt. But it is a rage most of us do not understand. A war memorial that attempted to depict the reality of war would be too subversive. It would condemn us and our capacity for evil. It would show that the line between the victim and the victimizer is razor-thin, that human beings, when the restraints are cut, are intoxicated by mass killing, and that war, rather than being noble, heroic and glorious, obliterates all that is tender, decent and kind. It would tell us that the celebration of national greatness is the celebration of our technological capacity to kill. It would warn us that war is always morally depraved, that even in "good" wars such as World War II all can become war criminals. We dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Nazis ran the death camps. But this narrative of war is unsettling. It does not create a collective memory that serves the interests of those who wage war and permit us to wallow in self-exaltation. There are times - World War II and the Serb assault on Bosnia would be examples - when a population is pushed into a war. There are times when a nation must ingest the poison of violence to survive. But this violence always deforms and maims those who use it. My uncle, who drank himself to death in a trailer in Maine, fought for four years in the South Pacific during World War II. He and the soldiers in his unit never bothered taking Japanese prisoners. The detritus of war, the old cannons and artillery pieces rolled out to stand near memorials, were curious and alluring objects in my childhood. But these displays angered my father, a Presbyterian minister who was in North Africa as an Army sergeant during World War II. The lifeless, clean and neat displays of weapons and puppets in uniforms were being used, he said, to purge the reality of war. These memorials sanctified violence. They turned the instruments of violence - the tanks, machine guns, rifles and airplanes - into an aesthetic of death. These memorials, while they pay homage to those who made "the ultimate sacrifice," dignify slaughter. They perpetuate the old lie of honor and glory. They set the ground for the next inferno. The myth of war manufactures a collective memory that ennobles the next war. The intimate, personal experience of violence turns those who return from war into internal exiles. They cannot compete against the power of the myth. This collective memory saturates the culture, but it is "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing". Copyright 2009 Truthdig, L.L.C. Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. --------17 of 22-------- Democracy Denied, While Criminality Applauded The Crackdown on Pittsburgh By MEL PACKER CounterPunch October 9-11, 2009 During the days of the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, PA, our citizenry witnessed an astounding spectacle and display of military might in the city we love and call home. To the dismay of many, our pedestrian friendly, getting-to-be-attractive downtown was turned into a military base resembling that more likely to be seen in third-world nations run by murderous dictators. Oakland, one of the more attractive neighborhoods for visitors, students, and residents, became a running battlefield dominated by armored police forces carrying offensive weapons that turned our streets into a cheap mitation of Baghdad. This is speculation, but my hunch is that many of those "robo-cops" had a pent-up urge to use their fancy weaponry and, finding little excuse to do so on the largely peaceful marches of the 24th and 25th, found a simpler target on any living being who happened to be hanging around the University of Pittsburgh/Oakland area Thursday and especially Friday night, the 25th. It should be especially disturbing to all of us that this included accredited journalists prominently wearing press passes who, like others, were arrested and had cameras smashed so as to destroy evidence of wrong-doing by police. We have to ask who bears responsibility for this gross over-reaction that put almost 200 people in jail, most in violation of their constitutional right to assemble, and who should bear the blame. It's easy to blame the individual armored police in the streets, and they do, in fact, deserve blame. But the larger blame and responsibility lies with our City Council and Mayor, the County Commissioner (now declaring for Governor), University of Pittsburgh administration, and the Obama administration, which insisted that the Secret Service had the right to run our city during G-20. It is not just constitutional rights that were violated. There were crimes committed, assaults made, citizens beaten, neighborhoods and university buildings gassed with complete abandon and recklessness. People were seized unjustly, beaten, faces slammed into concrete walls and sidewalks while waiting for buses. Many of those arrested were held overnight on buses and females being detained had to listen to sexually derogatory comments from police along with the obvious sexual threat given in the comment "maybe we should take the hot ones off the bus". Scary? You betcha. And this comes from those who are allegedly there to protect our democratic rights. Sorry, it doesn't compute. Democratic rights were trampled, constitutional rights were ignored, and there were far more criminal acts committed by police than by protestors. But here all we have heard from Pittsburgh City Police Chief Nate Harper is that the police did a fine job. These sentiments have been repeatedly echoed by Mayor Ravenstahl, Allegheny County Commissioner Onorato, and Univ of Pittsburgh Chancellor Nordenberg. One kept hoping that as the melee/police riot developed, someone in one of those administrations would have had the moral courage to shout "STOP!" or to at least take to the media the next day with a denouncement of the debacle. But no, ALL of our elected officials chose not only to sit on their hands but to issue public statements applauding the police for their "professional behavior", just as most did during the battle for permits to stage the protests, assuming the position of blind mice. This is moral cowardice at best, criminal complicity at worst, and deserves punishment. Outrages committed by the "peacekeepers" in uniform have now been denounced by many citizens, organizations, newspapers, columnists, and the union representing print journalists. But denouncement is not enough. Recently, in London, criminal charges were filed against a police officer due to acts committed against G20 protesters there. The same should be done here. There is no doubt in most minds that there will be massive lawsuits filed both individually and by organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights in an attempt to rescue our city and nation from this horrible display of naked aggression and military power against unarmed people. I am also certain that the Pittsburgh Citizens Police Review Board will, after investigation, issue a scathing report about police mis-conduct. But much more must be done if we are to put the lid on this behavior and to rescue our city from losing its welcoming reputation and gaining one that says "go away". First, NONE of the officials involved who displayed such moral cowardice deserve our support and should be, frankly, hounded out of office and replaced by citizens that have some respect for citizens' rights. [The same holds for Mpls StPaul re the RNC police state. Mpls election in one month. -ed] Second, the possibility of filing criminal charges and/or civil lawsuits for damages against all who allowed the commission of these crimes, from individual officers to those in elected and appointed office should be explored. If it is a crime to break windows, it is no less a crime to break heads. And those responsible need to be brought to justice in criminal and/or civil courts. [It is a crime to break anything owned by rich people. It is a service to the country to break anything owned by anyone else, ie the bottom 99% of us. Especially our spirit and will. It's all and only class war. -ed] Anything less means further subversion of democracy and a further slide into the erosion of democratic rights for all of us. [The rich sneer at democracy; it limits their predatory instincts to plunder smash and grab. -ed] Mel Packer is a Physician Assistant in Emergency Medicine, decades long peace and justice activist, one of the organizers of the anti-G20 activities primarily with the Thomas Merton Center Anti-War Committee and the Pittsburgh G20 Resistance Project. He lives in Pittsburgh. --------18 of 22-------- The Consequences of a Cheaper Dollar What Obama Isn't Telling American Workers By SHAMUS COOKE October 13, 2009 CounterPunch A lot is happening in the tumultuous realm of global economics. The "Great Recession" has caused shifts internationally, with outcomes that will dramatically change the lives of millions of people in the U.S. and beyond. And while Obama is acknowledging this fact with repeated references to "a new world order", he isn't explaining how this adversely affects working-class Americans. The first unmentionable fact is the long-term decline of the dollar, a phenomenon that can now be considered government policy. The business magazine Forbes comments: "The Treasury Department would never admit this, but for the time being it's in the country's interest to keep its currency low because it stimulates exports for the economy's manufacturing base and lowers the value of the debt that the Treasury is piling up". These policies are essentially economic attacks on foreign corporations and governments, and U.S. workers. A cheaper dollar means an off-shoring of America's debt onto countries like China and Japan - and foreign corporations, who are large buyers of U.S. currency and/or debt. These foreign entities have already issued public warnings about this dynamic, and will not sit forever as their investments turn to mush. Economic retaliation should be expected. A cheaper dollar also antagonizes foreign corporations in another way. U.S. corporations benefit from dollar deflation because it lowers the price of their goods/exports on the global marketplace. But foreign competitors can play this game too, and the result would be economic warfare. Most importantly, a cheaper dollar lowers the living standards of U.S. workers, since the price of foreign goods will become inflated. With a catastrophic U.S. debt, inflation will continue for years to come. Obama's silence on the issue equals a premeditated plan to pursue the above objectives. Workers will thus be forced into demanding wage increases that match this new inflation. Another big secret Obama is keeping from workers is also U.S. debt related (keep in mind much of U.S debt is the result of fighting foreign wars and bailing out banks). Under Obama these policies will continue; "sacrifices" are going to be made in other areas. Obama has already talked at length in favor of "reforming entitlement programs," without mentioning loudly that these include Social Security, Medicare, and other essential social programs. The Democrats' priorities are perverse; money for war and banks, but not for those who really need it. [So then it's time to DUMP the Democrats. Goodbye. Farewell. Get lost. Don't come back. Do we know you? -ed] These secrets were partially revealed at the recent G-20 summit. There, Obama pushed a plan that aimed "to reform the global architecture to meet the needs of the 21st century". Part of the plan said that "G-20 members with sustained, significant external deficits [the U.S.] pledge to undertake policies to support private savings and undertake fiscal consolidation while maintaining open markets and strengthening export sectors". In plain English this means that the U.S. will reduce its debt by slashing domestic consumption and increasing exports. Reducing "domestic consumption" is another often-used codeword for lowering the standard of living of U.S. workers through lower wages and the elimination of "entitlement programs". Once workers' wages have been reduced low enough, U.S. corporations will be able to export more on the global marketplace, the other key to Obama's G-20 plan. [Why do we give this class-enemy even one more minute of our time? Perhaps we like being screwed and kicked in the teeth. -ed] These plans are not mere schemes for conspiracy theorists; they're already being implemented. Unemployment has a direct, negative impact on workers' wages. The Democrats know this and are using it as a tool to enforce the pro-corporate G-20 policy. What else explains the deafening quiet from Obama around unemployment - already a social catastrophe ruining the lives of millions of people? Another way the G-20 plan is already being enforced is by the restriction of credit for workers and small businesses. A recent Wall Street Journal article was titled, "The 'Democratization of Credit' Is Over -- Now It's Payback Time" The "democratization of credit" simply means that workers and low-income people had access to credit if they needed it. No more. Credit that was once used to cover end-of-the-month expenses and emergencies will once again be a privilege of the highly paid and wealthy. Workers must understand that the current effects of the Great Recession are to become the new rules of the "reformed" U.S. economy. The living standards of the past are to stay in the past. Before, U.S. workers took out enormous amounts of debt to in a struggle to defend their standard of living, since wages and benefits were steadily shrinking. The hope was that the economy would improve, and better times would return. The reality is far different. The U.S. economy is losing its place of total dominance in world affairs. And instead of the U.S. government reacting to this by adding social programs, they are taking them away. Government money will continue to bail out banks when needed while funding trillion-dollar wars. Once the reality of the above situation can no longer be denied, and U.S. workers recognize these policies as a corporate and government attack on their collective standard of living, they can begin to act. [Why wait? It will only get worse. -ed] Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscook [at] yahoo.com --------19 of 22-------- Dante Was Right Why the Government Fears Unions By DAVID MACARAY October 13, 2009 CounterPunch It's been noted that the two U.S. industries (not counting defense) most dependent on government handouts are agriculture and ranching. Without federal subsidies and exemptions, these two bedrock industries would be all but unrecognizable, crippled, unable to function. Yet, despite America's farmers and ranchers having their snouts buried so deep in the government trough they have to come up gasping for air, they've managed to maintain an image of the self-made "rugged individualist". Instead of comporting themselves as the corporate welfare recipients they are, they walk around like the Marlboro Man. Cut it any way you like, but hypocrisy is hard to stomach. Whether it's the vehemently anti-gay Republican congressman caught in bed with another man, or the televangelist who weeps real tears when talking about the glory of Jesus Christ, and is found to have embezzled millions of dollars from his ministry, people are disgusted by self-righteous deceit. In Dante's "Inferno," where each of the descending nine levels of Hell is inhabited by increasingly vile sinners, Dante relegates the hypocrites and liars to a lower level than those guilty of homicide. Think about that. Almost 700 years ago, and an Italian poet had already figured out that the shameless, self-aggrandizing phony was more deserving of torture than the garden variety murderer. The so-called Free Market is a breeding ground for hypocrites. Which is why I remind people that if they honestly believe making it on your own is a virtue - that old-fashioned self-reliance, without any handouts from Uncle Sam, is something to be truly admired - then there are only two groups worthy of our respect: labor unions and the Amish. Not only do the feds not assist or subsidize unions, they go out of their way to impede them. They harass unions; they nag them, molest them, provoke them, shake them down. Whatever gains unions have made over the years have been achieved without assistance from the government. Indeed, the narrative history of organized labor has been one of struggle - the struggle to overcome government sabotage. And don't say passage of the historic Wagner Act "launched" the labor movement, because that's a myth. Yes, the Wagner Act helped legitimize the labor movement, but it certainly didn't create it. Wagner became law in 1935 - more than 100 years after organized labor had already set down roots. Not only were strikes occurring as far back as the early nineteenth century, the first professional athletes union (International Brotherhood of Baseball Players) was already in place by 1886. If we really want to see what the federal government has done to "help" labor, let's look at the Taft-Hartley Act (1947). Taft-Hartley eviscerated the Wagner Act; it devoured it. It took out all the good parts. With one stroke of the pen, the Taft-Hartley Act rendered labor's most dependable, bread-and-butter tactics illegal. The truth is, the government fears and distrusts organized labor. Why? Because a powerful workers' collective threatens the status quo. The federal government (and the corporations who run it) fear labor unions the way our country's founders feared the common man, which was why they invented a device (the Electoral College) allowing them to circumvent the popular vote when necessary. The government abhors unions. Consider the IBT (International Brotherhood of Teamsters). Fifty years ago, the Teamsters got mixed up with some very nasty, highly motivated mob figures. And even though that's ancient history - the IBT is now a straight-up, respected, democratic union - the feds have never let them forget it. They like to pretend the Teamsters (in fact, all of organized labor) still have something to answer for. Japan has been forgiven for Pearl Harbor; China's been forgiven for its Communist revolution; major league baseball has inter-league play; the surfers have made peace with the ho-dads. Everybody's been allowed a fresh start. Everybody except labor. Even today, if a Teamster shop steward in a New Jersey local so much as sneezes, some Junior G-man in Washington D.C. perks up his ears. But the irony is so thick you can cut it with a knife. With the middle-class now under siege, organized labor isn't the problem, it's the cure. And it's more than simple economics. It's ethics. If Wall Street had been as law-abiding as our labor unions, there's no banking collapse. If Wall Street had been as "honest" as the average American worker, there's no crisis, no bail-out, no liquidation of financial institutions. And if the Department of Justice had hounded investment bankers the way it hounds unions, the American taxpayer would have an extra trillion dollars to play with. Which would be enough to underwrite national health care. Now how crazy is that? David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright and author ("It's Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor"), was a former union rep. He can be reached at dmacaray [at] earthlink.net --------20 of 22-------- Democratic Party Pratfalls Selling Out, But Still Getting Screwed By DAVE LINDORFF October 13, 2009 CounterPunch The Democrats in Congress, and their main man Barack Obama in the White House, have taken tens of millions in legal bribes from the health insurance industry over the past year, and have obligingly been hammering out in Congress a health "reform" bill that, instead of helping people, has been designed to help the insurance industry. They started out by immediately blackballing any discussion of real health reform in the form of an expansion of Medicare to cover everyone of every age, which of course would have ended the problem of the uninsured, while cutting the nation's overall health bill by at least a third, but in the process shutting down the private health insurance business. Then they chipped away and are at this point on the verge of eliminating any so-called "public option" or government-run health insurance plan to even compete with the private insurance sector. Finally, in a move as breathtakingly accommodating of the insurance industry as was the multi-trillion-dollar bailout financial bailout of Wall Street's biggest banks, they proposed to require (on pain of a $3800 fine by the IRS) to require everyone in America to buy a health insurance plan from the private sector - a gift to the industry of some 40-50- million new unwilling customers. But a combination of public outrage at this forced program of insurance and recognition that the inevitable government subsidy of low-income insurance buyers would be humongous has led Congress to backtrack, and start backing away from the mandatory aspect of this plan. And now the private insurance industry, not satisfied that it has managed to practically dictate the terms of the health reform legislation so fare, and angry that it might not get those 40-50 million new forced customers, is reportedly threatening to turn around and knife the president and the Democratic Congress in the back. They're threatening to (gasp!) start running attack ads on the "reform" legislation. Remember the old "Harry and Louise" ads the industry ran attacking Hillary and Bill Clinton's health reform proposal back in the early 1990s? Well, this time, it'll be Harry and Louise attacking Obamacare. I can see it now. America's Health Insurance Plans, the lobby for the insurance industry vultures, will set up some nice-sounding front group with a name like People for a Healthier America, and they'll fund a new ad campaign like this: Harry will be sitting at the breakfast table, reading the local paper. He'll look up from his coffee as Louise is puttering around by the sink. "This ObamaCare looks like it's gonna drive up our insurance premiums, hon". "What do you mean Harry?" "Well it says here that they're not going to force the poor folks to buy insurance, so most of 'em will probably wait until they get sick and then buy it". "Well what's wrong with that, dear?" "Nothin' 'cept that the law would also prohibit the insurance companies from charging those sick folks higher premiums when they do finally come in to buy insurance". "Well, wouldn't it be unfair to charge them more, when they need it?" "It might seem that way Louise, but if the insurance company has to take a loss on them, they're going to make it up by charging us good folks who have insurance more". "Oh my god, Harry! We're already paying $6,000 a year for our insurance. What will our premiums go up to?" "Says here they could go up by another $1000 a year!" Announcer: Don't let Congress make you pay for the uninsured. Write or call your Senators and Representatives and the White House, and tell them to demand that every American be required to buy insurance immediately! This announcement is brought to you by People for a Healthier America. [end] It's funny really, so see Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), the biggest recipient in Congress of insurance industry money, who has spent the last few months working hand-in-glove with the insurance industry lobbyists to craft a bill to their liking, suddenly accusing his erstwhile financiers of doing a "hatchet job" on his bill. Actually, his bill has been a hatchet job itself on the whole concept of health care reform. All of this, of course, was entirely predictable. Like HillaryCare before it, ObamaCare has been doomed from the start by its unwillingness to address the basic issue behind America's twin crisis of health care: lack of access for those with lower incomes, and absurdly high cost for everyone. What makes it all so pathetic is that America already has an excellent model for delivering quality health care: a single-payer system called Medicare. Everyone in America gets this program, just like in Canada, Germany, France, Taiwan, Japan and elsewhere. The only difference is that in those other countries, people get it from the day they're born. In America, you have to wait until you are permanently disabled, or until you reach the age of 65. Far from having to "start from scratch," as Obama claimed in his last address to Congress in explaining why he was not proposing a single-payer solution despite its obvious success in other countries, solving America's health crisis by adopting a single-payer system would be a simply matter of taking a system that works, and expanding it to cover everybody. But of course that would have made the insurance industry furious. They'd have to go back to just selling life insurance and homeowners insurance and car insurance. And so we can expect a new round of "Harry and Louise," and ObamaCare will go down in flames. You have to laugh at these Democrats. Even when they brazenly try to sell out, they get screwed. [Dems realize the problem, and are on it. To begin with basics, they are working night and day to distinguish their butts from holes in the ground. Since the holes alas may be any size - big or small or anywhere in between - it may take them several terms. Tnen there's the problem that the longer they sit in Washington, the bigger their inactive butts grow, so they have to start the butt/hole discrimination all over again from scratch. So you will have to be patient with them and reelect them over and over, because sooner or later they may finally be sort of able to most of the time tell their mushrooming butts from +any+ size hole, a crowning achievement, especially considering where they started. Certainly worthy of a Nobel prize or three. -ed] 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 --------21 of 22-------- The Wrong House Ask Awal Khan About Obama's Prize By BRENDAN COONEY October 13, 2009 CounterPunch Giving Obama the Nobel Peace Prize is like giving someone the literature prize because you hope he writes some good books. He doesn't even have to be an aspiring writer. To say Obama aspires to peace is to ignore his escalation of the occupation of Afghanistan. It may be a joke, but the Norwegians have told more morbid ones: Roosevelt in 1906 and Kissinger in 1973 both had records far more blood-soaked than anything Obama has had time for. But he has had time to make an impact on people such as Awal Khan, who might want to weigh in on Obama's prize. Khan was serving as an artillery commander in the Afghan National Army away from his home in the eastern province of Khost on April 8, when U.S. forces came knocking. In a case of "wrong house," they killed his 17-year-old daughter, Nadia, and his 15-year-old son, Aimal. They also killed his wife, a schoolteacher who taught villagers for free. They killed his brother and wounded another daughter. After she thought the dust had cleared, Khan's cousin.s wife walked outside. She was nine-months pregnant. She took five shots to the stomach. Her fetus died, but she lived. She might have some thoughts on Obama as a man who "created a new climate," as the Nobel committee claimed. U.S. military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian said the slaughtered family had no connection to U.S. enemies. "It was an unfortunate set of circumstances," he said. A grieving Khan told Agence France-Press, "The (international) coalition has to stop this cruelty and brutal action". Khan is not likely to get his wish from Obama. Even in his announcement that he would accept the prize, Obama resorted hawk talk: "I am the Commander-in-Chief of a country that's ... working ... to confront a ruthless adversary that directly threatens the American people and our allies". That is audacity. At its greatest, the threat to the American people from the Taliban is indirect. And whatever the risk in pulling out, it's something we have to live with. To say that it's worth thousands of dead civilians to possibly reduce an indirect risk to Americans makes sense only in the twisted nationalistic calculus in which an American life is worth many foreign lives. A peace prize should go only to someone who believes in the following math: 1 human life = 1 human life. Perhaps the only reason we know the name Awal Khan is that he was an army colonel. The Khost Provincial Council closed its offices for a month in protest. Provincial councils of Laghman, Logar and Zabol have closed their offices to protest other civilian killings. And Obama is still listening to military advisers talk about how the secret to counterinsurgency is winning over hearts and minds. There are thousands of less "important" people we could interview. We could talk to the families of 95 children reported killed in a U.S. attack on May 4 and 5 in western Farah province. A list of the dead, with names and ages, was compiled by an Afghan government commission based on the testimony of villagers, said Obaidullah Helali, a lawmaker from Farah and a member of the government's investigative team. To see how things look from an Afghan perspective, why not read the independent newspaper Cheragh? Perhaps Obama would return his medal if he read the May 7 editorial on "the killing of so many humans, chopped bodies without coffins, and the orphaned children and widows. In reality, voices and murmurs are choked with pain, and pens are unable to write about it". Compare that to Obama's voice on the subject. Does someone who calls the occupation of Afghanistan "a war of necessity" and adds tens of thousands more troops to it have something to do with "the abolition or reduction of standing armies," as Alfred Nobel stipulated for the prize in his will? In a Pew Global Attitudes survey in June 2009, a plurality or majority in every one of the 25 countries surveyed was opposed to increasing troops in Afghanistan. An overwhelming majority of Pakistanis oppose the drone attacks that Obama has launched. With 58 percent of Americans now opposing the war, one wonders why Obama will not listen to anyone arguing what seems so clear: that the United States has no business being in Afghanistan. Instead of listening to the left, most of which is still stunned by his ethnicity as if hit with a cartoon frying pan, Obama wants to placate the right. Like a long line of liberals before him, he's worried about looking weak. He has hesitated on Honduras, waffled on Guantanamo, and exacerbated Afghanistan. This is discouraging news for peacemongers. As Lou Brock said, "Show me a guy who's afraid to look bad, and I'll show you a guy you can beat every time". Even U.S. Puppet Hamid Karzai has had enough with the civilian dead. In 2005 he said, "I don't think there is a big need for military activity in Afghanistan anymore". In 2007: "The Afghan people understand that mistakes are made. But five years on, six years on, definitely, very clearly, they cannot comprehend as to why there is still a need for air power". On Nov. 5, 2008, after U.S. warplanes killed 23 women and 10 children at a wedding party, he said: "This is my first demand of the new president of the United States: to put an end to civilian casualties". Karzai knows it can't happen. Obama has taken withdrawal off the table, and as long as there is an occupation, civilians will be killed. Obama likely will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people before he leaves office. "Washington keeps bombarding residential areas in the country without paying any attention to the objections," said the May 7 editorial in Cheragh after the slaughter in Farah. Karzai is "sacrificing the people before the lords of the White House.... Can the US separate the people from the Taleban and Al Qa'idah, with the slogan that they are your killers and we are your saviours?! What a futile fancy and unrealizable ambitions". Instead of blindly chasing hawks, Obama needs to listen to Afghan Parliamentarian Shukria Barakzai, who told the Christian Science Monitor that instead of sending 30,000 new troops, Obama should "send us 30,000 scholars... Or 30,000 engineers. But don't send more troops - it will just bring more violence". The original Nobel committees of the first five years had it right. They gave peace prizes to people we've never heard of, but people who were warriors for peace. Norway was a part of Sweden at the time. Nobel, a Swedish arms trader and inventor of dynamite, is thought to have charged Norway with giving out the peace prize because it had no foreign-relations apparatus, so that its committee might be neutral. There seemed to be an implicit recognition that the nation-state and peace are like a shark and a leg, and that statesmen did not qualify for the award. But then Norway became independent and the next year tried to buy a big friend by giving the award to Teddy Roosevelt, opening the door to playing politics with the prize. Obama has said he'll give the $1.4 million purse to charity. With the United States giving a $2,000 condolence payment to the family of each civilian it kills in Afghanistan, that would pay for 700 lives. Or he could give it to Dr. Sima Samar, to name one of thousands of more-deserving people. After graduating from medical school in Kabul in 1982, she has given her life to providing health care to women in Afghanistan and, chased into exile, in Pakistan. She's won a slew of awards over the past 15 years for her bravery and work, but not the Nobel. She has brought peace to a lot of people. And she's not likely to occupy any countries any time soon. Brendan Cooney is an anthropologist living in New York City. He can be reached at: bcooney50 [at] gmail.com --------22 of 22-------- a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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